An Education Update: State and Local Changes
September 11, 2017 | By Washington House Democrats
The Impact of the New Education Funding Plan
Now that the school year has started across the district, I wanted to share my latest video update on the new education funding plan, its impact on our district, and the connection to the capital budget. This session, the Legislature faced a deadline on fully funding education. With over $7 billion in new K-12 education funding, we are on our way to ensuring our teachers, schools, parents and communities have the resources needed to provide a high-quality education to all students. While fully funding education is an ongoing process and adjustments may need to be made as we see how individual school districts are affected, I’m proud we were able to make this historic investment.
As always, feel free to share the video and please reach out if you have questions or comments.
New School Superintendents
Three of our four school districts in the 41st Legislative District – Mercer Island, Renton, and Bellevue – have brand new superintendents this school year. I sat down with each of them to learn who is joining Issaquah’s Superintendent Ron Thiele in helping ensure our area’s kids have the best learning possible. I was particularly thrilled to hear that each had a focus on reducing stress and increasing the mental health of our students.
Donna Colosky, Mercer Island Superintendent
“Teacher first, learner always” is a motto that new MI Superintendent Donna Colosky likes to emphasize. It’s no wonder she describes her leadership style as collaborative, which includes working closely with parents and the community. Colosky is looking to partner with families and ensure our focus is on our kids’ purpose in life, not just getting into college. In over 30 years in education, one of the biggest issues she has seen is childhood stress. The well-being of her students is one of her top priorities and Colosky intends to work to address student mental health issues and to assure Mercer Island schools meet the educational and socio-emotional needs of all children.
Dr. Damien Pattenaude, Renton Superintendent
“Things we say to kids, they remember,” Superintendent Damien Pattenaude explained, as he recounted the story of when someone first told him he would make a good superintendent, while attending a Future Teachers of Color education program. Dr. Pattenaude is “home grown” from Renton, and recently hired three of his former Renton students as teachers! Pattenaude is focused on being clear about Renton School District’s values: Service, Excellence and Equity. This includes greater family engagement, increasing social emotional learning and before and after school programs at all schools and providing high-quality instruction.
Dr. Ivan Duran, Bellevue Superintendent
Just days before the Charlottesville neo-Nazi march, new Superintendent Ivan Duran participated with his staff in a retreat focused on racial equity and inclusion. Sadly, the proof of its need is all too clear. Bellevue is working to create inclusive environments in part by building racial equity and inclusion teams in every school in order to support students through progress monitoring, data analysis and professional development to support staff in our schools. While he intends for his first 90-days to be about listening, Dr. Duran has already heard comments he will be following up on. He understands that we should not only focus on our students, but also should ensure the adults in the classroom have support instructionally, with the handling of stress, and further developing critical social emotional supports for students. Duran has also noticed a major difference between his time at Dallas schools and now in Bellevue. In Dallas, they had a lower mental health counselor ratio for each school depending on the needs. In Bellevue, not every school has even one full-time.
As always, I look forward to seeing you around the district or hearing from you soon.
Rep. Tana Senn