Superintendent's Message, Aug. 24, 2018

  • Dr. Cohn
    Dear friends and neighbors:
     
    Welcome to the upcoming new school year!

    Each year we start anew in the fall, and each year we all look forward to building on the successes of the year before. Two of those successes are a 93% graduation rate, and skyrocketing participation in Advanced Placement courses.
     
    These aren’t just Everett Public Schools successes, they are community-wide successes. Your help is instrumental in preparing each student to succeed in a fast-paced world and to contribute meaningfully to our community. Thank you for your support in this mission.

    Welcome to year #2 of 1:1 technology!
    In 2016, district voters said “yes” to a capital levy and paved the way for each student in Everett Public Schools to use a personal computer for learning – no more lining up for a row of computers at the back of a classroom or waiting for next week to access the computer lab down the hall. That’s not the work world our kids will soon enter.

    Mastering technology to access information, to store and use information to solve problems and create solutions – these are key to students' graduating with skills and abilities to compete in tomorrow’s world. As parents, students, and staff have repeatedly told us, this 1:1 access – at home and at school – is a “game changer”.

    Everett Public Schools’ Integrated Technology Plan is one aspect of the district’s strategic plan our citizens, including parents, employers, and higher education leaders helped establish in 2010. Over two years, hundreds of community members, parents and staff helped set the groundwork to set this strategic plan into motion. Their insights in 2010 and 2011 are helping eliminate the technology gap for our students today.

    This fall Jackson and Cascade high schools and Cedar Wood, Jackson and Whittier elementary schools become 1:1 technology schools. This fall we reach the half-way point in ensuring every student has equitable access to a learning device – a learning tool as “basic” today as were pencils in yesterday’s schools.

    Our school board, staff, and I extend a grateful “thank you” to those who established this vision eight years ago. And we say “thank you” for helping make the dream a reality by supporting our communities’ children when you say “yes” to educational opportunities like this that make a huge difference in students’ futures. Take a peek at the Technology Handbook for Students and Parents to learn more about the program and our timeline for becoming a 1:1 district. 

    Welcome to 200 more students in our schools this fall!
    In September, we expect 20,088 students to attend our district’s 26 elementary, middle and high schools. Over the past several years our growth has been the highest in Snohomish County. In ten years we expect about 1,800 more students than we’ll have this year.

    Families are choosing to move to our region because of the quality of life our community, the number of jobs in our region – and because we have great schools. Our challenge is the same faced by other growing school districts: How do we ensure safe, high quality learning space for a growing student population?” This is a question for schools across the district and an especially pressing one for families in the Jackson High School community.

    Jackson High was built in 1994 for 1,500 students, and then expanded in 2011 to accommodate enrollment reaching 1,926. This fall we expect 2,188 students at Jackson, hundreds who must be housed in 17 portables now on site. If we must rely on portable classrooms for growth, Jackson could have 30 portables by 2023, taking up space now used for tennis courts and parking.

    How to provide safe learning spaces for students at Jackson High is a challenge a large committee will help us solve this school year. Mitigating, or alleviating, the pain of that enrollment growth is a significant task. The solutions will touch hundreds of families and their children. We expect the committee’s research and work to last about a year and you’ll be able to track their work on our website.

    The new school year promises to be exciting, challenging, fulfilling, and yes, successful for our community’s children. Thank you for your support for our Everett Public Schools.

     
    Dr. Gary Cohn
    Superintendent