Kent School District  | March 22, 2019
Dear KSD Community,

In watching professional development at work a few years ago, I learned of Carol Dweck’s book, Mindset – The New Psychology of Success . Former Lake Youngs Elementary principal, Cathy Lendosky, was leading her team of teachers in discussing the book.

The book introduced some terms to consider, fixed mindset vs growth mindset. As it relates to education, Dweck relays that every action and word can send a message to students about how to think about themselves. As stated in the book, “it can be a fixed mindset message that says: you have permanent traits and I am judging them. Or it can be a growth mindset message that says: you are a developing person and I am interested in your development.”

The growth mindset concept applies not just in schools, but to life in general, discarding the idea of groupthink. Motivation at work and home stems from the opportunity to present diverse opinions and ideas, and receive constant constructive feedback – akin to growth assessments, also known as formative assessments, used to help monitor the progress of student learning.

While Telisa Reed, KSD Director of Assessment, was presenting a fantastic mid-year formative assessment data review to the Board, I wondered about the story behind the data and what opportunities exist to embrace the growth mindset message for strengthening motivation and creativity in our classrooms - all the while rethinking the notion of, “failure is not an option.”

As always, please share with us any thoughts you may have.

Questions and answers from previous board meetings and community conversations are posted on the KSD Board page. 

On behalf of the Kent School District Board of Directors,

Maya Vengadasalam
President, Board of Directors
Kent School District
We want to extend a warm invitation to you and your family to attend our bi-monthly board meetings held on the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month. To advocate for our students and support the educational partnership between the school board, district, and the community, the school board encourages community members to attend each of our board meetings.
Legislative Update from Director Ross Hardy
As the 105-day Legislative session steams toward a close, the topics that we can impact have gotten shorter, but potentially more core to the changes we seek.

Engage on bills that are important to you. Reach out on potential implications (positive and/or negative) of bills for your schools, either to me or to your legislators directly:

  • House Education members regarding:
  • SB 5395 requiring comprehensive sexual health education in grades K-12
  • SB 5689 requiring updates to school district policies for preventing harassment, intimidation, and bullying and requiring districts to adopt a transgender model policy and procedure
  • SB 5141 regarding training requirements for schools that have school resource officers (SROs)
  • Senate Health & Long - Term Care members regarding 2SHB 1039 a bill concerning opioid overdose medication at kindergarten through twelfth grade schools
  • Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education members regarding SHB 1264 regarding training supports for educators related to secondary traumatic stress
  • House Human Services & Early Learning regarding 2SSB 5437 a bill to expand eligibility to the early childhood education and assistance program

I will also reiterate a movement on a topic I have talked about in detail, special education and the funding of such 100% as part of basic education. If full funding of special education is paramount, then SB 5091 is key!

Ross Hardy
Legislative Representative, Board of Directors
Kent School District
Messages from Board Members Straus, Debruler, Daniels, and Freeman
Message from Karen :

The recent snow had all but receded, leaving a few icy piles in various places. One particularly large pile covered most of the width of a sidewalk near my home. As I drove home on a Wednesday, I noticed a man who lives somewhere around my neighborhood trying to get around that stubborn pile of ice in his motorized wheelchair. He was stuck in the soft, sloping dirt alongside the sidewalk. Apparently he did free himself after multiple attempts.

The next afternoon, I took my flat-headed shovel back to that icy pile, determined to break it up and get it off the sidewalk. I had chopped and removed about half of it when I heard a voice from across the street asking if I needed some help. I turned to see a young man wearing a backpack, obviously on his way home from school. Yes, I would be happy to have some help. He crossed the street and I told him why I was out there on the public sidewalk, nowhere near a house chopping away at the icy snow pile. He offered to take the shovel from me, and handily removed the rest of the pile from the sidewalk. When he was finished, I introduced myself and told him that I’m on the school board. I asked him his name and where he went to school: Eric from Kentridge High School. He initiated a handshake as I thanked him.

What an unexpected and lovely act of kindness from Eric. His parents and Kentridge High School can be proud of this thoughtful young man!
Message from Austin:

Hello KSD community! As the newest member of the school board, I am excited to put my expertise and experiences to work as I not only represent the secondary students, but also work towards Successfully Preparing All Students for Their Futures! As we are currently in the month of March with no more days off, I understand the continued push that my friends and students are engaging every school day. This week concluded our Elementary Conferences, and for the secondary students, the College Bound Scholarship Conference is coming up on March 30. The College Bound Scholarship Conference brings together high school juniors, seniors and their families to explore Washington college programs, which will be held at Green River College. This conference is just another example of the important opportunities available to students of ALL the high schools and academies that focuses on excellence and equity.

And speaking of equity, I would like to share some of the ideas that came from student leaders and A.S.B. Presidents that I had the opportunity to speak with at my most recent meeting. Some ideas suggested by students included: establishing a Moratorium on Expulsions, requiring a History course covering subjects other than the United States, requiring an ethnic studies course, requiring all textbooks to be from the year 2010 or newer, etc. I'm looking forward to the next two Student Leadership Advisory meetings to be held before spring break occurs. I am always available to talk about issues confronting the school board and all of the students in the district, so please reach out to me on social media or at board meetings.

Message from Debbie:

One of the greatest abilities in life is being able to read. It is so important to encourage our children of all ages to take time to read. I recently finished Michelle Obama’s book, Becoming . I enjoyed reading this book as I was able to draw correlations on how we grew up in the same time period, but had different experiences. Reading gives the opportunity to see things through someone else’s eyes. I like the quote by Jeanette Winterson that says: “A book is a magic carpet that flies you off elsewhere. A book is a door. You open it. You step through it.”
Message from Denise:

As we recognize March as Women’s History Month, we celebrate the many achievements and contributions that we have made within our society. Like so many others, I am inspired by the victories of an amazing and diverse group of women to assist in the leadership of our country as a result of our last election. Even though women continue to assert their value in our society, I, like many others are a bit disappointed at times at the lack of recognition and support they receive. Gender discrimination regarding leadership opportunities, compensation, and education continues to be a reality for many women. 

Educational institutions are largely responsible for educating our students for the future, and it is imperative that we consider the messages we send regarding gender issues. We oftentimes unintentionally promote ideas about gender roles and expectations that can limit our students in reaching their full potential. We must be intentional in promoting and supporting a culture and attitude of mutual value respect and acceptance, regardless of gender. 

As Angela Y. Davis once said, “I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept.”
Update from Superintendent Dr. Calvin J. Watts
Throughout my career in education, I have read a lot about leadership, and I've had many opportunities to share my thoughts, experiences and opinions on how and why leadership matters. I have also been fortunate enough to learn from colleagues and mentors, and I use every possible opportunity to practice and improve upon my leadership skills. Through it all, I have learned that effective leadership will never occur without the presence of one important component--a relationship. In order to lead and follow effectively, a positive relationship must exist between both the leader and the follower. Here are a few recent examples that have reminded me of why this is true!
Over the past two weeks, I met recently with impressive teams of young people in KSD, including 4th, 5th and 6th grade leaders from Meridian Elementary School Ambassadors, 9th - 12th grade leaders from our Men on the Move Program, 6th grade leaders from East Hill Elementary, and 11th and 12th grade leaders from our KSD Student Leadership Advisory. 

During each session, I asked each group to respond to the question, what is leadership? Their answers ranged from being a good example for others, to helping others learn, grow and improve and taking care of those who are following you. I was impressed by their responses. 
During each session, I reminded our student leaders why we follow leaders. For example, we may follow a leader for a moment, simply because of their title or position. We typically follow leaders for significantly longer periods of time when we trust them. We naturally begin to trust leaders only after we know them. And as I connected and engaged with each student and continued listening to their responses, they began to ask even more questions and share concerns and provide solutions that may very well help improve KSD. These moments reinforced what I already believed. Yes! Our youngest leaders clearly understood the most important aspect of leadership. These elementary, middle and high school leaders fully recognize that leadership is about relationships! I applaud our student leaders for recognizing this awesome responsibility and for continuing to set positive examples for our youngest and our most experienced leaders in KSD.  

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.
This past month, Board proclaimed and celebrated the following: National Black History Month, National Career and Technical Education Month, Music in Our Schools Month, Women's History Month. Education Support Professionals Week (formerly Classified Employees Week). We also celebrated our first student representative to the KSD Board, Mr. Austin Freeman!

Additionally, Board held special meetings and presentations:

Special Meetings
  • Board held a joint meeting with the Covington City Council beginning with a tour of Covington Elementary School.
  • Director of Transportation, Justin Dennison, provided an update on current transportation issues.
  • Dr. Jewelle Harmon, Chief Accountability Officer, reviewed the Organizational Effectiveness department update.
  • Executive Director of Communications, Melissa Laramie, reviewed the Board Communication Plan Review and proposed a communication tool for future use.
  • Inclusive Education Program- DeNelle West, Chief Learning Officer; Jennifer Jones, Executive Director of Learning Supports and Spencer Pan, Director of Inclusive Education provided an update regarding the Inclusive Education team in the Teaching and Learning Community of the KSD. The presentation shared information, reflected on data trends, and reviewed direction/next steps. 
  • Highly Capable Program- DeNelle West, Chief Learning Officer; Dr. Christine Corbley, Director of Teaching and Learning; Karen Stevens, Coordinator of Elementary ELA, SS, and the Highly Capable Program; Amy Abrams, Coordinator of Secondary ELA, SS, and the Highly Capable Program; and Reby Parsley, HiCap Odyssey Teacher, presented information on the Highly Capable Program.

  • Institute for Community Leadership (ICL) Student Presentation – Students presented their views on civic engagement and their engagement with WA State Legislature.
  • Telisa Reed, Director of Assessment, provided an update on the Mid-Year Formative Assessment Results (i-Ready).
  • As the new incoming arts coordinator, Dr. Christopher White, explained his vision and goals for the KSD Visual and Performing Arts programs.
  • An update on the Parent Climate Survey was presented.
  • Core 24 Presentation – Dr. Harmon announced potential options to explore to address the Core 24 state requirement for 2021, and a search for volunteers to serve on the exploration committee. If interested in serving, please contact Dr. Harmon via email.
Upcoming School Board Events
March 27: Board Work Session at 5:30 p.m.
March 27: Regular Board Meeting at 7 p.m.
April 3: Board Work Session at 5:30 p.m.
April 10 : Board Work Session at 5:30 p.m.
April 10: Regular Board Meeting at 7 p.m.

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