Happy summer!

Dr. Cohn
Dear Everett Public Schools community members:

This school year has ended, smoothly, calmly, successfully, but with some unfortunate uncertainties about legislative decisions. Kids have left our schools. Most of us are packing a few things for the summer, or preparing for our summer professional development work, or simply recharging from an exciting year with kids. 

While there may be some uncertainty about the legislature (stay tuned), we end this year with absolute certainty about exemplary districtwide accomplishments! We have had an amazing, outstanding year, and this is because of the hard work of students, their supportive families and dedicated staff.

Last fall, we learned at the very last minute that the federal government reinstated the “choice” and “tutoring” requirements for schools not meeting Adequate Yearly Progress. What a challenging way to start the year!

The illogic of the “other” Washington did not derail our 2014 school year opening. Instead, our school staff, principals and Title I team notified all qualifying families, made last-minute transportation adjustments, reassigned staff and welcomed students to school on the first day without a hiccup or delay in learning.

In April last year, we barely knew what a Chromebook was, but by September we had over 3,500 of them deployed throughout our district. Teachers used them all year so that the Smarter Balanced assessments were administered without hiccups this spring. Thanks to the many staff members' months and months of planning, our teachers and students were familiar with the technology before they took those tests. Many family members learned about the new assessments at workshops and supported their kids during testing with healthy breakfasts, good sleep and homework help.

Our graduation rate successes are the result of an entire system working toward one purpose. A student’s ability to succeed through high school is built upon a foundation that begins even before kindergarten. Everyone plays a role. Our having the highest graduation rates in our history (four-year rate of 89.3%; five-year rate of 91.2%) is a direct result of our collective work. And it is even more remarkable in the face of increasingly rigorous course offerings and academic standards. It is largely because of this long-term effort that we were selected as a nationally distinguished district, our school board as the state school board of the year, and five schools received achievement awards from the state of Washington. This has been a remarkable year in so many ways.

Those are but a few of the highlights of achievements to which we each contributed this school year. There are hundreds more that warm our hearts, make us proud and have changed lives in our midst. As you begin whatever summer plans you have, go with my deep gratitude for all we have done in 2014-15, and unwavering confidence in our abilities to do even more in 2015-16.

Warm wishes for a rejuvenating summer!

Gary Cohn,