December 3, 2018Greetings, and happy December!
Last Monday, November 26, our school board approved a resolution to place a levy measure on the ballot in February. As you may know, the rules regarding local levies have changed, including the following:
- Our school district is limited to collecting $1.50 per $1000 of assessed valuation of the properties within our district.
- The amount we will collect if the levy passes is $870,605. The previous levy amount was $1,250,000.
- The levy can only be used for "enrichment", not basic education.
- The levy will support the following programs at a minimum:
- After school learning at the Braves Club
- Food Services
- Athletics and Activities
- Special programs, including special education, Hi Cap
"Levies are for Learning" is still a true mantra - each one of the above programs has a direct and positive correlation and impact on student learning.
There will be several opportunities to hear presentations about levy facts and information. The current list is noted below. I am more than happy to meet with individuals or groups any time.
Finally, we are waiting for the outcome of the Swinomish Senate meeting on Tuesday, December 4th, where the Tax Committee's recommendations will be considered. Once we have their decisions, we will finalize our levy informational materials and publish/mail them to our staff and community. Please let us know what questions you have.
Enjoy the day!
School Board Meeting: Monday, December 17, 5:30 PM
Upcoming 2019 Levy Community Presentations
December 17, 2018, Monday ~ Board Meeting @ 5:30pm, District Office Board Room
January 9, 2019, Wednesday ~ Soroptimist @ 5:30pm, Swinomish Yacht Club
January 10, 2019, Thursday ~ Public Meeting @ 5:30pm, District Office Board Room
January 16, 2019, Wednesday ~ Kiwanis Meeting @ 7:30am, Student of the Month @ 8am, then Presentation, La Conner Retirement Inn Activity Room
January 16, 2019, Wednesday ~ Information table at the Swinomish Community Dinner @ 5:30pm
January 21st, 2019, Monday ~ Rotary Dinner @ 6pm, Presentation (20 min, 10 min Q&A), Farmhouse Inn Restaurant
January 22, 2019, Tuesday ~ Chamber of Commerce @ 9am, La Conner Civic Garden Club
January 22, 2019, Tuesday ~ La Conner Town Council @ 6pm Maple Center
January 28, 2019, Monday ~ Board Meeting @ 5:30pm, District Office Board Room
January 29, 2019, Tuesday ~ Public Meeting @ 5:30pm, District Office Board Room=======================================October 26, 2018Today marks the end of the first quarter of our school year. Thank you for sharing your precious children with us and for allowing us to be part of their story!Our conversations this fall have centered around strengthening and fostering a "Caring Environment", one of our three La Conner Strategic Plan Goals.Let me say: We are ALL IN for ALL KIDS!What that means for me is that we are working hard every single day to create the classrooms and schools where ALL children and adults can thrive and be adored. We are working to connect with each person individually to share with them the message, "I believe in you! I am here to help you learn! I adore you!"We do this by seeing the person first, by practicing personal greetings, by smiling, giving high-fives, and by noticing those that might be having a tough day. We build each other up. We inspire hope.We truly believe that by focusing first on our caring environment, the learning will come along hand in hand. Just yesterday I had a teacher share with me that he overheard a 5th grade student say, "This is the best thing I've ever done at La Conner Elementary!". We want kids having those experiences every single day.The school board and I have embarked on a series of small community conversations. We would welcome the opportunity to engage with you. There are great things happening in our schools every day, and we also recognize that we are focusing on our three goal areas of "Caring Environment", "Student Learning", and "Communication" because we still have work to do. We have not arrived, and we will strive to make significant improvements in all areas by working together.Warmly,Whitney MeissnerSeptember 6, 2018We are so excited that school is underway! With one week of classes behind us, I can report that students and teachers are smilng, we are practicing our safety plans, and learning is abundant!This year we have a strong focus on the following three initiatives:
- Strengthening our caring environment
- Communicating well with our staff, parents, and community
- Supporting learning experiences for all students
Throughout the year, there will be opportunities for all stakeholders to engage with us in each of these areas and more. We hope you will read our stories, view our pictures, and meet our staff.
Our Back to School night is Wednesday, September 12th. We will begin serving dinner at 5:00 PM in the elementary cafeteria. All families are welcome and there is no charge. Teachers will be available from 6:00 - 7:30 PM.
Throughout the year there are many opportunities to connect with us - from classroom visits, to concerts, field trips to sporting events, plays to celebrations. We hope you will take an active part in our school. Together, we make La Conner great!
Finally, I wish to share that we kicked off a theme that we hope will guide us for a long time - Be Brave! The students and staff were presented with wrist bands with this phrase. Please feel free to use #BeBrave on any social media posts about La Conner schools. We believe it will help us all learn, grow, and accomplish great things.
Happy September! It's going to be a great year.
Whitney MeissnerAugust 14, 2018Hello everyone,If you have any questions, please contact me at 360-466-3171.Thank you,Whitney MeissnerMay 18, 2018Last night, I had the privilege of attending the Poets' Soiree, a kick-off event for the Poetry Festival. Arlo Liddel was invited to perform his piece regarding the constitution prepared for the Hamilton event. At the end of his performance, Arlo mentioned that he had met another student performer at one of the recent student marches. He took a moment to advocate for the messages connected to school safety. His words was well received, and included something to the effect of "Let's stop having that kind of thing happen".How desperately sad to awake today to news of another school shooting. I'm very worried about my friend, Randy Russell, who is the superintendent in Freeman. He shared with me, and with the entire group of superintendents at a recent conference, that whenever there is an episode of school violence, the media contact him for an interview, a quote. He has inadvertently become the "go to" expert on what happens with a school shooting. And every time he is called, he has to relive what he calls the worst day of his life.I am very grateful to the work of our Safety Committee. I want to let you know that I truly believe we will continue to keep La Conner students and staff safe through our authentic and meaningful care for each other. We need to have grace for disagreements, forgiveness for past hurts, and a commitment to strengthen a culture of hope, care, and support.Please take the opportunity today to share with a person or two what you really love about them. Please tap a kid on the shoulder and say, "I believe in you. I am so glad you here".I truly feel blessed to be part of this amazing district. I believe in you. I am so glad you are here.-Whitney MeissnerFebruary 2018As I watch the news unfold about yet another devastating school shooting, I felt a need to reach out and touch base with you.We are living in uncertain times, yet I am confident that the solution to this epidemic is strong, positive, caring relationships. This is a cornerstone of La Conner Schools, and one I want to continue to nourish.We know that there are MANY cases (one just this week in Everett) of people coming forth to share information and prevent violence. I am convinced this happens in places where people have focused on unconditional love for students and staff, where kids and parents know they can trust the adults with such information.We are a public school district. We are committed to all kids, all families. Sometimes, that means taking an extra moment to notice the hurts our students are feeling, to notice the anger that is simmering beneath the surface, to notice and extend love to kids that try hard to be "unlovable".I thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for the love and service you show each and every day. Let us continue to be the place that is free from this violence, full of love and kindness.Yours in service,Dr. Whitney MeissnerJanuary 2018
La Conner Schools are thriving. I feel so blessed to be in such an amazing school district surrounded by a caring, involved, and supportive community. Thank you to everyone who is part of our success. As we look ahead to what we expect to focus on in 2018, a few themes come to mind.
Relationships. We are a people business, and spending time strengthening our relationships is a critical priority. Both within our district as well as the larger community, we hope to build more connections. An excellent example of this is our new and improved after school program, the Braves Club. We greatly appreciate the community support to help this program develop its new structure this year.
Achievement. The reason school districts exist is to help all kids learn. In addition to our ongoing emphasis on literacy, math, and the arts, we have several new curricular initiatives in progress. These focus on STEM, Tribal Sovereignty Curriculum, and Science and the Swinomish. We are also building a system of professional development for our staff that will provide more time for collaboration to strengthen the teaching profession and student learning. In addition, we are reflecting on ways to empower students to be independent and interdependent learners, as well as to consider how to strengthen the way students engage with their learning on a daily basis.
Strategic Planning. The district has a Strategic Road Map that focuses on three key areas: Student Progress, Caring Environment, and Communication and Problem Solving. We have built another layer for this work by forming focus groups to consider current and preferred realities, as well as how to achieve our preferred reality. Topics for these groups include Science Curriculum, Safety and Emergency, Since Time Immemorial Curriculum, Technology, Alternative School, CTE Program Development, 2018-19 Training Calendar, Support for Federal Programs, and Facility Use Guidelines. We would welcome parent and community involvement on these Focus Groups.
Finance. As we begin 2018, we are in a transition between the old and new models of school finance. Our state legislature has significantly overhauled the structure of school funding, and we, along with the other 294 school districts, will have a steep learning curve as we work through the transition. As learning is our business, we welcome this opportunity.
Relationships. Did I mention relationships? It’s worth stating again. Especially during times of transition, such as onboarding a new superintendent, or shifting school funding systems, there is bound to be confusion and uncertainty. Our greatest assets are each other, and it’s absolutely imperative that we support and strengthen our relationships, especially in times of change.
Please know we welcome questions, partnerships, and involvement in our schools. We take the word “public” in public education very seriously. We also believe greatly in miracles that happen every day in our schools.August 2017It is Back to School Eve and excitement is in the air. All district staff joined together for a day of learning on August 28, 2017. The enthusiasm is palpable and brings joy to my heart!As we prepare to roll the busses, cook the meals, and teach the lessons, we know this is also a time for families to enjoy their last full day of summer together. Hearing about your precious time together and knowing how important quality family time is, we thank you for entrusting us with your most precious of treasures: the children.Our teaching staff is well prepared and features quite a few new faces along with our beloved returners. Please help us welcome:
- Stacy Silver, Elementary Special Education
- Megan Lee, 4th Grade
- Michelle (Moos) Avila - 1st Grade
- Jake Grantham - Secondary Social Studies
- Sarah Shipley - Secondary Social Studies
- Lynda De La Rosa Hernandez - Secondary Special Education
- Angel Cantu - Secondary Math
- Lauren Hippenstiel - Secondary Drama
- Ari Landworth - Primary
Also joining our district staff this year we have:
- Samantha Alumbres - Elementary Paraeducator
- Heidi Darling - Secondary Paraeducator
- Randy Swift - Transportation Mechanic/Bus Driver
- Linda Rumbolt - Food Services
- Jennifer Moyer - Psychologist
- Ashton Tveter - After School Program Paraeducator
- Stevie Goetz - After School Program Paraeducator
- Todd Torgeson - Secondary Principal
We are also excited to announce our 2017-18 theme, ACE IT! ACE = Achieve * Connect * Engage, and we believe the center of the message is the key to our success - connections with others and each other. Click below to see the image.
Please feel free to contact me if you would like to visit our schools or talk with me. My door is open and I'm very proud to be part of this amazing school district.360.466-3171 x4006Yours in service,Dr. Whitney Meissner=============================================July 2017
To All Parents, Students, District Patrons and Visitors,Welcome to the 2017-18 school year! I am very excited and honored to be serving La Conner as your superintendent.The middle of July is a great time to enjoy sunshine, family, friends, and community. Here in the school district, we are preparing for the start of school. Teachers are engaged in professional learning this summer. The maintenance department is busy working on many incredible projects on our campus. Kids are getting in shape for fall sports and many are participating in summer school.I have already begun meeting with individuals and groups to learn more about La Conner and the La Conner Schools. Everyone is consistent in sharing the many wonderful opportunities that exist for kids here, and also what a great place this is to live, work, and play. I invite you to contact me for an appointment to share with me your perspective on what's working and what could be strengthened. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org, or you can contact the office staff at 466-3171 to set a time to meet.What can you expect from me? I'm here for kids. I want to ensure that La Conner Schools continue to be a nurturing, caring, high quality educational system for all kids. I want people who work here to love coming to work and feel like they are thriving personally and professionally. I want to be visible and accessible for students, staff, parents, and community.My 25 years in public education have afforded me many incredible opportunities. I started out teaching math and English in the Federal Way School District in 1992. From there, I was assistant principal at Snohomish High School for 4 years, followed by 14 years in the Chimacum School District where was a principal, assessment director, athletic director, and facilitated a variety of professional learning opportunities for staff.I have been a member of Rotary for several years and recently joined La Conner's Rotary Club. I love the mission of the club: "Service Above Self".I look forward to meeting each of you and helping our students and staff open doors and fulfill dreams!Thank you for the warm welcome. I am so happy to be here!Dr. Whitney Meissner