We are excited to start another school year in Federal Way Public Schools! We’re privileged to serve each and every scholar in Federal Way Public Schools, and I’m excited to share some highlights for the upcoming 2019–20 school year.
All of our efforts are aimed at improving student learning. This year we’re getting clearer about the use of a research proven strategy called formative assessments and providing timely feedback to students. Formative assessment happens when the teacher checks for understanding during the lesson and provides specific, descriptive feedback to students about the next steps in their learning. Coupled together, these are the two most effective strategies in improving student learning.
We will continue to proactively address safety concerns, including bullying. One way we’re doing this is through a 24/7 monitoring tool we implemented in the spring of 2019, which monitors student generated content linked to school-provided email and alerts us when students are engaged in unsafe behaviors, bullying, self-harm and inappropriate content.
New this year, we are implementing a program for all high school athletes, which emphasizes character building, healthy relationships, violence prevention and more. All high school coaches in Federal Way Public Schools will lead this program with their teams and every high school athlete in the district will benefit from this program. We believe this program will enhance safety at all of our secondary schools.
We’ve applied for and received a grant to help improve our math instruction. This grant funds the pilot of an innovative math program at two of our schools.
A second, larger grant from the Gates Foundation will fund improvements in how we intervene and address behavior and academic concerns. It will fund our committee work to look at interventions for behavior and academics. Additionally, we will survey all scholars to better understand their social emotional and academic needs and how we might provide additional supports.
Parent and Student Voice
New this year, I will launch a Parent Advisory to the Superintendent to provide another venue for parents from every school to share their perspective on what’s working at their school and what needs to be improved. We anticipate having over 60 parents on this advisory.
In addition to the Scholar Advisory to the Superintendent, for the first time all of our schools will implement a scholar advisory group at their sites. In other words, principals will meet monthly with 20-plus students to hear their perspective on what is working and what is not.
We are excited to be building upon our successes and spark innovative ideas for improvement. Our ultimate goal is for our students to feel safe, welcome, empowered and successful as learners. We know schools can’t do it alone, and we look forward to our continued partnership as we move into another successful school year!
Dr. Tammy Campbell is the superintendent of Federal Way Public Schools.