Welcome, Everyone, to Vashon Island’s Outstanding Public Schools!
Vashon kids are in their last weeks of our VISD Summer Learning Academies, parents are taking their first look at classroom supply lists, and some families may be making last minute travel plans for Labor Day weekend. Summer is certainly winding down which signals to me that we are about to start another great school year come Monday, August 30th. I’m very excited about the 2021-22 school year and the start of my fourth year as superintendent. On Vashon, students experience a rigorous, friendly, and uniquely place-based education. We offer exceptional academic programs and a wide range of opportunities in the arts, career technical education, sports, music, and travel related to both classroom study and extra-curricular clubs or activities. Our schools reflect the commitment of our high quality faculty and staff, the participation and dedication of our parents and families, and the contributions of our vibrant community partner organizations.
Our mission, “Equipping every student to engage, thrive, and contribute in an ever-changing world,” has guided our commitment to the success of every student since 2013. In a few weeks, VISD will begin a refresh of our strategic planning that will engage and involve all stakeholders in our island community. Our collective values and beliefs will be a platform to create schools where all students are academically challenged and feel like they belong. We are looking forward to your participation as we map out our goals for the next five to seven years.
We are small enough to know every student by name, strength, and need and large enough to provide complete programming that provides each student with the tools and learning opportunities they need to prepare for both college and career. This amazing journey for students often starts in preschool as an Orca and graduating in their small blue gowns and white sashes. In what seems like a blink of an eye, they are putting on a green gown and graduating as a Pirate with no limit to their opportunities.
To all of our staff members, who officially returned many weeks ago, THANK YOU for your commitment to your professional growth this summer. So many of you have spent the past weeks voluntarily participating in webinars, reading educational blogs, researching best practices in instruction, swapping ideas with other teachers, and so much more. You are devoted to giving our students your best and I am confident that they are in good hands.
Students, please know that these first days and weeks of school will be focused first and foremost on helping you establish a sense of community and connection with your teachers and classes. We have witnessed the impacts of the pandemic on your lives and hope you will find community when you return. It is easy to say we are very excited to see you this school year! You are the reason we do what we do and we are committed to providing not just exceptional academic experiences but also making sure you have the social, emotional, and mental health support you need to succeed.
The culture within each of our three public schools is built upon a deep compassion and caring for one another. Within this culture is a steadfast commitment to social-emotional learning and racial equity work. Our teachers and staff are renowned for their experience, qualifications and dedication. They work together both within departments and across grade levels to ensure continuity of curriculum and support for students.
Our public schools also thrive because of our community of support. Our academic resources and curriculum are greatly enhanced by contributions from Vashon Schools Foundation, Vashon Partners in Education, FACE, Vashon Nature Center, Vashon Center for the Arts, and the Vashon Rotary among others. Thanks to partnerships with Neighborcare, Vashon Youth and Family Services, DOVE and Vashon Alliance to Reduce Substance Abuse, our learning community has access to education and resources directed towards mental and physical health.
I continue to be grateful for your continued support and confidence in our wonderful district. As we kick off this school year, 2021-2022 will be a year where our future comes into focus. Vashon is a very special place for those who are fortunate enough to experience what our island has to offer. We would like to extend you a warm welcome and hope you have a wonderful year.
Dr. Slade McSheehy