Kent School District  | June 21, 2019
Dear KSD Community,

We celebrated a number of passages these past few weeks: from employees of the year, to academic growth, retirements, graduations. All were emotional milestones for our district, and we congratulate everyone involved in supporting our most impressive students and their families at KSD.

A few interchanges stood out for me these past few weeks:

  • Our graduates with special needs at TOP and at our other high schools always remind me of the love and care our educators show to instill the indomitable spirit in our students to achieve graduation status. I cannot think of a more moving and celebratory moment than when our special students feel honored and recognized for their achievements.
  • The graduation ceremony at Kent-Meridian is often the loudest with cheers and jubilation. With many of our immigrant, refugee and new arrival students attending K-M, we know that many families travel from out of the country to attend. Graduation is such a momentous occasion for all cultures, but especially so when opportunities are not afforded in other countries to pursue college or career. The pure joy and expressiveness makes it a very special event year after year.
  • In listening to the retirees’ experiences over the years, my emotions are especially stirred with the departure of our custodians. I often think about the important work they do for our students without receiving much recognition – my father was one of them before bringing us to America and becoming a software engineer. A recent article and letter beautifully captured the custodians’ work.
  • During the retirement reception, I spoke with a teacher retiree who commented that our building staff is disconnected with the central office. While this is not a new concern, I appreciated hearing her suggestions. She mentioned that many years ago, every school would have teachers, classified staff, and principal present their story to the Board at one of the Board meetings. This move allowed the school staff to showcase their strengths and inform the Board of any areas needing improvement.
  • While some schools have the opportunity to present to the Board as per state law, a challenge we now have is to highlight the many successes across our 42 schools and academies and directly hear from our school staff on their issues of concern. Our social media team does a fantastic job of highlighting the great work of our educators, support staff, and students. I hope that our future Board conversations with the public can address how we can create more meaningful in-person ties between and among the Board, central office and the school buildings.

As always, please feel free to contact us with your thoughts. We thank you for your continued support and dedication to strengthen and improve our district. Have a great summer!

On behalf of the Kent School District Board of Directors,

Maya Vengadasalam
President, Board of Directors
Kent School District
Messages from Board Members Straus, DeBruler, and Daniels
Message from Debbie :
As the school year draws to a close, I would first like to congratulate our graduating class of 2019 and their families on their accomplishment. I wish you continued success in your life. For those who will be continuing on the journey toward graduation, I hope that you have a wonderful summer. Remember learning does not stop because you are not in a classroom. Strive to learn something new every day. Have a great summer.  

Message from Karen:
 Watching each nervous senior mount the short stairs to the stage, I feel extremely honored to be a part of his or her big day---graduation. Whether it’s a firm handshake, great eye contact, and a smile, or a clammy hand, eyes set on the descending steps, and a firm grasp needed from me to stop him or her from walking past the photo opportunity, each senior approaches the moment in an individual way. Sometimes it involves recovering from tripping up the steps. Sometimes it involves responding to their families’ cheers. The gamut of emotions runs from pride and confidence to extreme nervousness. Some seniors revel in the moment and others just want to get it finished. This benchmark day launches them into their futures, whatever they choose to do or be. I always hope they make the most of their personal strengths and never stop being learners. Go forward and be important, positive contributors to your world! 

Message from Denise:
It is hard to believe that the school year has come to an end so quickly! It has been such a wonderful year of accomplishments for the students in our district! Each year I have attended the multiple graduations we have. I am humbled by the success of each of our graduates, but none have moved me more that the TOP graduation. To see the resiliency and determination of our uniquely challenged and gifted students was truly amazing, and I am proud and excited for each one of them! The talent in KSD is evident in the many concerts and performances I have attended over the year, as well as the many awards our schools and students have received.

As I think of our graduates, I know that many of them have wonderful plans to attend college or vocational school or enter into one of our military branches. I encourage us all to remember those that might not have their plan solidified just yet, and feel as though they may be a bit behind the curve. Each of us has our own path that we must follow to achieve our successes, and it is important that we recognize and honor those differences in each of our students.

I hope you have a relaxing and wonderful summer and look forward to beginning a new school year in the fall!

“No longer will I accept the things I cannot change, I will change the things I cannot accept.”

~Angela Davis 
Update from Superintendent Dr. Calvin J. Watts
As the school year comes to an end, we have much to be #KSDproud of over the past year: 1) 83.7% of our class of 2018 students graduated in four years; 2) our three highest graduation rate gains occurred among our Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, and Inclusive Education student groups; 3) with the exception of our class of 2018 Native American/Alaska Native student group, each federally recognized group increased its graduation rate; 4) since 2012, more KSD students from the class of 2018 graduated within four years; and 5) our State Audit Exit Conference was recently published and produced no findings from 2017-2018, strongly indicating that our district is on a path toward continuously improved financial health.

As a leader and a learner, I constantly reflect upon these questions: a) What are we doing? b) Why are we doing it? c) Whom should we support? d) How should we provide these supports? and e) When should we adjust? Answers to these and other similar questions can be challenging. However, I choose to believe that we have everything (and everyone) we need in Kent School District to solve every problem we have. We have incredible students and families who trust us to provide them our very best efforts and our very best selves on a daily basis. We attract, recruit, employ and develop thousands of teachers, administrators, and support staff who work tirelessly to ensure that others have what they need to be successful. 

Until 100% of our students are successful and ready for the futures they choose, however, we must continue striving to achieve our mission and our vision. We must also guarantee that our core values of equity, excellence and community serve as the foundation upon which we achieve racial equity—when race and/or ethnicity no longer serve as a predictor of success or non-success among our student groups. In order to accomplish this worthy goal we must ask a few more questions, including: What actions will we take? What learning needs to occur? And how will we work together to accomplish this goal? 

In fact, our three Action Learning Projects for 2019-2020 require that we begin asking some of our students, teachers, school administrators, and central office staff these very important questions: a) How might we create a more welcoming environment, and a culture of care within our schools and central office? b) How might we increase access and opportunity for students to enroll in more challenging courses?, and c) How might me significantly reduce disproportionate discipline rates among all student groups, particularly among our Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino and Inclusive Education student groups? 

When we are able to answer, “Yes!” to these questions then we will know that our students are well on their way to success based on the future they choose! 

Kind regards,
Dr. Calvin J. Watts
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.
The past few Board meetings, the Board recognized our Employees of the Year with a reception, held a retirement celebration and reception, awarded the Soames Scholarship awards to student recipients, and congratulated our WA State School Recognition schools at Daniel, Meridian, Ridgewood, and Sawyer Woods elementary schools, and Kent Mountain View Academy.

The Board also held the following special meetings:
  • Auditor Exit Conference
  • Policy Review sessions
  • Revised Board protocol guidelines
  • Discussion on the RFP for independent auditor services
  • FY 2019-20 budget
Presentations to the Board were the following:
  • 2018-2019 Budget Status Update as of April 2019
  • Stay Interviews Phase Two Report
  • Update on RFP KSD2019-02 - Independent Auditor Services
  • Nutrition Services Update
  • March 2019 Financial Statement
Discussions and approvals included the following:
  • Resolution No. 1556 Authorization of Interfund Activity in 2018-2019 General & Capital Fund Budgets
  • Resolution No. 1557 Surplus McMillan Assemblage Property South of Mill Creek Middle School
  • Career & Technical Education Computer Lab Purchase
  • Comcast Fiber Support and Services Agreement
  • Technology Levy Purchase - Integrated Library System (ILS) Replacement
  • Change Order Approval: Kent-Meridian High Practice Field Renovation
  • Resolution No. 1558 Supervisory Certificated Personnel Contracts
  • Resolution No. 1559 Non-Supervisory Certificated Personnel Contracts
  • Non-Rep/Non-Rep and Professional-Technical Salary Schedule
  • Decision Regarding Sale of Real Property - McMillan Assemblages
  • Capital Facilities Plan 2018-19 through 2024-25
  • Bid Acceptance: Neely-O'Brien Bus Driveway
  • Northwood Middle Field Renovation Phase II Bid Acceptance and Award of Contract
  • Resolution No. 1560: New Valley Elementary School New-in-Lieu Replacement Option
  • Resolution No. 1561: MRSC Rosters
  • Comingle Recycle Services
  • Innovation in Education Grant for Martin Sortun
  • Procedure 2410P Graduation Requirements 
Upcoming School Board Events
June 25: Last Day of School
June 26: Board Work Session at 5:30 p.m.
June 26: Board Meeting at 7 p.m.
August 29: First Day of School

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