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    Juneau's Journal Feb. 8
    Posted on 02/08/2019

    The Power of Student Voice

    At the February 6 School Board Meeting, the Board unanimously passed a resolution to declare that the lives of black students matter, as well as the lives of all of Seattle Public Schools’ underserved students, and encouraged district-wide participation in the national Black Lives Matter At School Week. I am proud that the Board has committed to supporting this critical work not just during this week of focus, but every day.

    Our promise is to prepare young people for life, work, and citizenship. And yet, our national public education system wasn’t designed to give everyone the same advantages. To fulfill our promise to students and families, we must consistently examine and disrupt oppressive systems and practices and build new supports that create the right conditions for learning. We need to center our decisions on the perspectives of students and families that we have underserved and that we are currently failing. It requires courage, focus, and a willingness to challenge the status quo.

    I am grateful for the community’s presence at Wednesday’s Board meeting and am particularly thankful for the students who were present and shared their truths so powerfully during public testimony. They challenged us to move beyond “talk” and make real strides in making sure that students of color, specifically black students, thrive in Seattle Public Schools by implementing specific strategies, including hiring more educators of color and expanding ethnic studies. Educational excellence for each and every student is the commitment we have made. It is a promise that I aim to keep, and student voice is key to moving forward in the direction of equity for Seattle Public Schools.

    The student councel group photo

    At the second meeting for the Superintendent’s Student Advisory Board this past weekend, young leaders met to discuss potential focus areas for their strategic work, provide feedback for the district's draft dress code policy and strategic plan, and dove into student survey data. I have such hope for our community thanks to these young people, and all those who so courageously advocate for their peers.

    This week’s school visits led me to McClure Middle School, John Hay Elementary School, and Queen Anne Elementary School.

    Photo of student in classrom talking with Superintendent JuneauAt each school, students were exploring their social-emotional learning; illustrated through project-based learning at Queen Anne Elementary promoting social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision making; intentional efforts to strengthen relationships and build community during instructional time at McClure Middle; and supporting students through targeted, individualized learning at John Hay Elementary. This was especially timely, given that this week is also National School Counseling Week. Our school counselors support thousands of students throughout the district, providing support in social and emotional development, college and career prep, and so much more. Please join me in celebrating the influence and impact of these outstanding educators.

    In a final note, remember to vote in the upcoming Feb. 12 special election. Due to the inclement weather forecast, you may want to mail your ballot early in case mail service is suspended next week. Your voice matters!

    Corny joke of the week: Did you hear about the monkeys who shared an Amazon account? They were Prime mates.