Kent School District  | November 19, 2018
Dear KSD Community,

This past month I witnessed the power of public and private partnerships in full force. Watching our eight grade students from Mattson Middle School and Mill Creek Middle School compete in a mock Girls FIRST Washington robotics competition - with the help of Blue Origin, Amazon, Kent Chamber and others - made me think about how and why such important partnerships develop.

What is the interest our corporations have in serving our community? It falls to a concept known as Corporate Social Responsibility or CSR, and more recently referred to by the term “Sustainability”. CSR is no longer just doing good but defined in corporate practices as the intersection of economic, environmental and societal interests. By focusing on the area of common ground between business interests and public interests, a company can identify new products, processes, markets, and business models.

Recent business reports show that Washington state is expected to have 740,000 job openings by 2021. However, it is estimated that only 40 percent of Washington’s students earn a credential after high school that they will need to get a skilled position. It is incumbent on us as a district to ensure the strength of our Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs to serve all our student population in ensuring success for their intended pathways. Moreover, recognizing that a growing trend is for employees wanting to perform meaningful work in an organization that values CSR, our district must not only pay attention to future trends in the workplace but also where resources, i.e. volunteers, exist to make future realities happen for our students.

A question I often ponder is what would it take to get a repository of identified workforce needs (job descriptions) and core values of the KSD-area business community that can be matched by the potential and talents of our students? How might we then be able to better connect students with appropriate mentors who have the skills mentioned in the job descriptions?

We would love to hear from you on how best to leverage partnerships in our community to strengthen our CTE programs, including apprenticeships and STEAM initiatives. We thank the many volunteers in our district who give their generous time, skills and knowledge to make dreams come true for our students.

Please continue to stay in touch and let us know how we are doing. Our contact information is at the following web link . Warm holiday wishes to all of you.

On behalf of the Kent School District Board of Directors,

Maya Vengadasalam
President, Board of Directors
Kent School District
Update from Legislative Representative Ross Hardy
Now that our November general elections have concluded, it is a great time to reach out to your state senators and representatives to remind them of the community’s priorities for public education, provide updates from both the parents and community member perspective about how the new state funding model has impacted our school district, and bring up any items you think should be part of the legislative session starting next year.
Take note that for some of the districts that cover the Kent School District, there are new state legislators about to serve their first term. While you may or may not have been involved in their or their opponent’s campaign, this is the time to reach out and begin building that relationship as they seek to best represent the Kent school district among potentially competing priorities.

Ross Hardy
Legislative Representative, Board of Directors
Kent School District
Update from Superintendent Dr. Calvin J. Watts
In this season of Thanksgiving, I am grateful for the time and talent that our incredible educators share with our students and families. I wish to thank our teachers, paraeducators, school-based administrators as well as our support staff at the local school, district office and school board levels. Their commitment to teaching and supporting those who teach is undeniable. Every time I visit schools and classrooms, I am reminded of our continued focus on teaching and learning.
On Thursday, November 8, I had the opportunity to visit (former KSD Teacher of the Year, PSESD Teacher of the Year, and State Teacher of the Year Finalist) Ms. Denisha Saucedo's classroom to observe high impact teaching strategies and to engage with our incredible student learners and leaders. To begin the visit, I was graciously greeted in the main office by three student leaders and then led to Ms. Saucedo's classroom where I became a student. I am always a learner, and I welcomed this chance to gain new knowledge about our text, Percy Jackson, and to understand how our incredible Kent Elementary School students communicate, collaborate, and think critically about the information that is presented by their teacher, and from their respected student colleagues. 
Our Kent sixth grade students reviewed learning targets, were involved in thoughtful discussion throughout the class period. I was even invited to share in the reading and learning, and observed students who notated the "gist" of what they read on a "post-it note" and placed it on each page. I appreciated our students' willingness and ability to cite examples of literary devices used by the author. They provided clear evidence and even inferred relevant ideas within the text based upon what they read and what they knew about the plot, the setting and the definition of mythology. Throughout my entire hour and a half experience, I thoroughly enjoyed listening to our students read and discuss content from the literature.
Each week I prioritize my schedule to include quality time in our awe-inspiring schools. I enjoy capturing these visits through photos and sharing them on my own personal Twitter account and my new personal Instagram account . While social media could not ever entirely capture my day to day work, or accurately depict the interactions and engagement I experience such as in Ms. Saucedo's classroom, I am also thankful for social media platforms that offer us the opportunity to learn more about each other and more fully understand each other's perspective.  

Kind regards,
Dr. Calvin J. Watts
Getting to Know Your School Board Members
The past few weeks, Board members visited classrooms, attended sports events, mentored students, attended the district’s community conversations with the public, and supported the annual fundraisers for KentHOPE, Kent Youth and Family Services, and more. 
"Besides the start of a new school year and the beauty of the leaf colors, my favorite part of fall is soup-making," Karen said. "One of my favorites is this hearty sausage, kale, and butternut squash soup . Enjoy!"
Maya looks forward to visiting her home state of Kerala in India. She longs for the days when climbing coconut trees, p lucking flowers, and feeding and milking cows were innocent and memorable childhood ways to pass time and stay active. Given the concerns for more recess and activity, she sees the need for classroom redesign and creativity in addressing how students stay engaged and physically active.
This past month, Debbie enjoyed assisting her son organize his first-grade classroom and discuss some of the challenges of being a first-year teacher. Even though he is not in our district, the challenges are the same that are faced by new teachers in our district.  She also enjoyed helping make costumes for her family for Halloween.

Ross is currently reading “The New Jim Crow - Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness” by Michelle Alexander. He states, “It’s a very intense read, and for many in our community like myself, it presents a reality that has existed for almost as long as I’ve been alive, but I wasn’t aware of until recently.”
Recent Board Meeting Highlights
Board meeting agendas, minutes, and policies are accessible through the BoardDocs Site . Regular meetings of the school board are held in the boardroom of the administration center located at 12033 SE 256th Street, Kent, at 7:00 p.m. on the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month. Following are a few topics we addressed at the October 10 Board meeting:

  • To build trust with our stakeholders and attend to our fiscal recovery plan, we are organizing and convening a Fiscal Recovery Task Force to serve as our advisors. The Task Force will meet on a regular basis to advise us on matters that affect the fiscal solvency of KSD. The action plan and application form are available on the KSD website. The deadline to apply is November 26, 2018.
  • We worked with KSD staff to complete the annual plan for district accountability and set dates for presentations to review and discuss during our regular board meetings.
  • We continue to prioritize our core six series of policies and procedures and specifically focused on our Management Support 6000 series.
  • We continue to meet monthly with our communication leader to regularly monitor our messaging to ensure that the intended message is conveyed and done in a timely manner. Our communications plan is available on our website.
  •  Board met with Superintendent Watts to review and align our strategic plan metrics to our evaluation of the superintendent, and approved our evaluation tool for the 2018-2019 school year.
Upcoming School Board Events
November 28: Board Work Session at 5:30 p.m.
December 5: Board Work Session at 5:30 p.m.
December 12: Regular Board Meeting at 7:00 p.m.
December 12: Board Work Session at 5:30 p.m.
January 9: Regular Board Meeting at 7:00 p.m.

Board meeting agendas, minutes, and policies are accessible through the BoardDocs Site .