Tuesday, April 29, 2014

LWSD Press Release on the Bond Failure

Redmond, Wash. –The initial results of the April 22 bond election indicate the measure will not pass. Preliminary results show that 52 percent of voters approved the ballot measure. A 60 percent supermajority is required for bond measures.
Since a similar measure on the February 22 ballot also fell short, the district will not be able to run another bond measure this year. The district’s board of directors will determine any future measures.
“The results are disappointing for the students, staff and families of the Lake Washington School District,” noted Dr. Traci Pierce, superintendent. “Without this funding, we will have to begin reviewing other options immediately for housing our rapidly growing student enrollment. The good news is that so many families want to move to our area to attend our excellent schools.  I am very proud of the work of our district and schools.”  Read More >>

The district currently has more students than space in permanent classrooms. It is projected to have more students than all classrooms, permanent and in portable buildings, within the next two years. The district has gained over 1,600 students in the last two years and expects over 4,000 new students within eight years. October 2013 enrollment for the sixth largest district in the state came to 26,220.
Twelve school districts around the state ran bond measures on the April 22 ballot, including Lake Washington. No school bond measures were passing as of April 23.


Anonymous said...

"The good news is that so many families want to move to our area to attend our excellent schools."

I don't think people are moving here because of the school district. I think it's mainly about job opportunities. I'm not trying to be rude or antagonistic, I just find Dr Pierce's remark to be incorrect.


Anonymous said...

Almost 7 years ago our family moved here when my husband took a job with Microsoft. I spent a lot of time online doing my homework on the local schools before he even accepted the offer. We spent our "house-hunting" trip visiting schools in all the local school districts to decide where to look for a house, instead of just looking at houses. We were most impressed by the opportunities that our kids could have at Rockwell, RJH, and RHS, and by the level of involvement and commitment to the schools we saw in the community. We moved to Redmond's Education Hill for the excellent schools! Community support is vital for every public school so you better believe we looked for it before choosing a where to make our home.

Anonymous said...

We moved here 6 years ago and after researching the schools, we landed on Education Hill. We were very impressed with the School District's longer term thinking for its curriculum and the individual schools that we toured. There is no question that it is all about the schools when a corporate relocation client talks to a real estate broker. And our school's office staff answer 2 to 3 calls a week from families wanting to move into our district - from US families and overseas families. Garden Mom - think again, because you are completely off base on this one.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous April 29,

You said you moved to this area b/c your husband took a job with Microsoft which I stated is the motivating factor for many families.

Anon April 39
I have yet to meet a realtor who doesn't boast about the "award winning schools" in a district--whatever area/region/state the home is in. They all say it. And a lot of people are moving here b/c of job opportunities.

Education Hill *is* (in my opinion) one of the best neighborhoods to live in Redmond--regardless of the school district.


Susan Wilkins said...

We moved from Bellevue to Education Hill in 1997 after checking LWSD test scores and graduation rates.

Our oldest entered kindergarten in 1999 at Horace Mann. We have 3 additional children who also have attended LWSD schools. Two of our four kids were in the Quest program. One attended a Choice school. I will generalize and say that students in Quest and Choice schools get a superior education. Students in regular elementary classrooms get an average education that depends on the teacher's skill and the behavior and capabilities of students in the class. Classrooms with disruptive students were far less beneficial for my kids than classrooms filled with well-disciplined students. The district will not acknowledge this, but it has a few teachers who cannot teach or who cannot maintain order so that the classroom is constantly chaotic. The district's policy that required students to stay in their assigned class the entire year prevented us from moving our kids to better learning environments.

The math curriculums that the district has used (enVision Math, Connected Math, etc) were mediocre to awful. Many elementary teachers were not proficient at teaching math. There were no assessments to determine each student's level of math proficiency so the entire class was taught the required grade-level curriculum regardless of whether they were far behind or far ahead. The district's favorite online math program, IXL, is good at drilling some concepts, but it is also rather mediocre.

Horace Mann and Rockwell did not teach writing or grammar. Many 5th graders couldn't write a simple sentence with correct punctuation. There was not a daily reading requirement. There was little homework given and teachers didn't contact parents if students weren't doing their work or didn't understand the assignment in class.

When two of my children were in 5th grade, one at Rockwell in 2006 and the other at Horace Mann 2011, I spent hours tutoring them in math because they didn't understand the material that was being taught. When I asked for supplemental help for 5th graders who had failed the 4th grade MSP in 2010, I was told that no money for assessments or tutoring was available. When my youngest son was assigned to a 6th grade classroom with 35 students in 2011, I finally gave up on the school district and opted to home-school. It was then that I discovered how little he had been taught over the years at Horace Mann. His math level was at about 3rd grade, so we had to make up years of lost learning. Most kids in my neighborhood attend private schools.

For parents who proclaim that their children are receiving an excellent education, I have to wonder how they know this. Did their children get good test scores? Did their report card have all 3s and 4s? Did their child bring home a well-written story or essay? The schools receive special awards every year and hang banners at the school entrances proclaiming these achievements. The district constantly tells us how great its schools are, but getting evidence of this greatness is difficult. So how do these parents who write in about the "great schools" really know how well their children are doing? How do they know how well the entire school is doing?

Students in Quest and in Choice schools do receive an exceptional education, but the wait lists are long for these specialized schools and only about 8% of students will get a seat in one.

Redmond High School has many competent teachers and challenging classes for bright students, but it is not good at providing remedial learning for students who failed to learn basic concepts in elementary or middle school. Unfortunately, I am aware of many students who attended elementary school with my children who have dropped out.

LWSD constantly tells us how great its schools are. It took me awhile to see through the smoke and mirrors to realize that many children, including my own, may not be getting a very good education in this school district.