Skip To ContentSkip To Content
    Juneau Journal August 16
    Posted on 08/16/2019

    Learning never stopped

    Hello again! Summer is winding down, and I hope you were able to spend some rejuvenating time with friends and family. I know I did. After hiking and biking some, I’m ready to welcome our students back to school in just a few weeks.

    During this summer “break” the learning never stopped. I’m proud to share the hard work that our teachers, district staff, and students did over the summer months to put the new strategic plan, Seattle Excellence, into practice.

    Seattle Public Schools Strategic Plan logo with text "Seattle Excellence"

    You’ll hear and see me talking about Seattle Excellence a lot this year. Why? Because it is our most important work. It is a courageous statement to our community that we are unapologetically focused on supporting students of color furthest from educational justice, beginning with African American boys and youth. Learn more about Seattle Excellence.

    Read below about the efforts of staff and students this summer and how their work supports the priorities of the strategic plan:

    Seattle Excellence

    I was proud to announce earlier this month that Dr. Mia Williams has been appointed executive director of the Department of African American Male Achievement. This new department is charged with the advancement of African American boys and youth, and the elimination of disparities in educational and social outcomes for students, grades PreK-12.

    Creation of the Department of African Male Achievement directly aligns with Seattle Excellence, and the collective commitment to unapologetically support and serve students and families furthest from educational justice. 

    Strategic Plan Mission: Seattle Public Schools is committed to eliminating opportunity gaps to ensure access and provide excellence in education for every student. 

    #SeattleSuperReaders Enhanced their Reading Superpowers

    Seattle students embarked on an exciting reading journey this summer! One priority of Seattle Excellence is high-quality instruction and learning experiences, with a focus on third grade reading. We believe all students can be strong readers by third grade. Our goal is to have 100 percent of students reading daily, and this summer was a great start.

    Every Seattle Public Schools student is a Seattle Super Reader, and summer has been the perfect time to practice and build reading superpowers like learning new words, understanding what they read, and reading smoothly. Super Readers joined forces at school libraries and school librarians opened their doors dozens of times this summer. 

    Strategic Plan Goal: Students of color who are furthest from educational justice will read at grade level by 3rd grade. 

    Strengthening Our Culturally Responsive Workforce

    Over the summer, our staff has participated in various trainings to develop culturally responsive mindsets and create warm, welcoming environments that support student learning.

    Last week, school leaders attended the School Leadership Institute (SLI) – a week of professional development, training, and community-building. I had the privilege of sharing my plans for the upcoming year and told schools leaders that Seattle Public Schools MUST become an anti-racist organization. I asked them to join me in this transformation, to teach me, and to hold me accountable.

    This week, educators also attended training at Ballard High School for the Whole Child Institute (WCI). They learned new skills and strategies to support our students in reaching excellence, not just academically, but in their social and emotional growth as well. We are so fortunate to have educators who recognize the value and importance of making space for each child that walks into their classroom and supports them in their development as young adults and leaders. We are committed to knowing each individual student’s story, strength, and need.

    Earlier this month, the first Ethnic Studies Summer Institute brought together educators from across the district to understand Ethnic Studies as a discipline of study. Attendees learned about the need to focus on the accurate experiences of people and communities of color in district curriculum. Families of Color Seattle spoke and emphasized the importance of children seeing affirming images of people of color that have shaped our collective history, our current context, and society. This mirrors what I heard from students of color from across the district last year. The NAACP Youth Coalition spoke about their experiences as students in the district and why ethnic studies is essential to learning. It was a powerful learning opportunity for our educators.

    Strategic Plan Goal: Students of color who are furthest from educational justice will feel safe and welcome in school. 

    Changes to Juneau's Journal

    I’m committed to sharing district work and updates with you in the most engaging, informative, and transparent way possible. After reviewing our content and readership, we’ve decided to make some changes to the format of Juneau’s Journal.

    Instead of a weekly newsletter, we’ll be sending out Juneau’s Journal bimonthly. One of the two newsletters a month will be in video format. We hope this improves your experience and allows more community members to engage with the important work of the district.

    To get daily updates, follow me on Twitter at @SeattleSupt or the district at @SeaPubSchools. You can find the district Facebook and Instagram at @SeattlePublicSchools.

    Denise Juneau

    Corny joke of the week: Why does an elephant use his trunk as a bookmark? So he always nose where he stopped reading.