Today marks the last day of classes for our students until 2018 and I am very grateful for the support and work that our teachers, staff, leaders and community have provided to our students over the first part of the school year. I have had the opportunity to visit many of our schools and classrooms in order to see the great learning in our classrooms. I have also learned about the successes and challenges our educators experience daily and I am appreciative of the positive efforts and responsiveness of our staff in efforts to support all students.
Our district community and involvement continuously impress me – just yesterday at Puesta del Sol I met students, teachers and parents who shared the wonderful work they are doing to celebrate the diverse cultures at their school. As many of you know, I have finished the first part of my listening and learning tour and have started to report my findings to our Board. One of the strongest themes I heard was how Bellevue’s incredible diversity is a great strength for both our district and our entire community. I look forward to working with all of you to highlight more examples of how we as the Bellevue School District celebrate our diversity and use it to improve the learning experience for all of our students.
As we enjoy time with our families over the break, we have so much to look forward to in the New Year. Some key initiatives to look for in 2018:
Community Advisory Groups: During my community conversations, I repeatedly heard about the need to have deeper discussions around issues that impact our schools. To address that need, we are launching six issue-based community advisory groups to address the following topics: Finance, Safe Schools-Safe Students, Growth & Planning, Wellness, Equity, and Activities and Athletics. Three of these Advisory Groups will begin meeting in January, with the Safe Schools-Safe Students holding its first community discussion on January 4th. Look for additional announcements on Facebook and the District’s website in early January. I encourage you to attend all groups that interest you. I believe that as a district we have more to learn about these areas from our community and I look forward to a robust and productive community engagement process.
District Levy: In February, the district will have three levies on the ballot, two of which are expiring levies. These levies represent nearly 20% of our budget and fund key programs affecting all students. The levies support the following key areas: Educational & Operations, Technology & Capital Projects, and School Buses. At Bellevue Public Schools, we strive to provide every student an exemplary education that includes academic success, personal development and global citizenship. We are extremely fortunate to have local levy funding to support additional, successful programs for our students not funded by the state. I hope all of you will educate yourselves about the levies and remember to vote. The District’s website contains more information on each of them.
Thank you for all of your work and efforts to support all of our students.
Dr. Ivan Duran