FYI From the Superintendent

  • Annual School Effectiveness Survey

    Posted by Jodi Burwell on 2/13/2018 3:00:00 PM

    Dear Parent/Guardian:

    In order for us to continue to improve as a school district and as a school, it is important for us to know how our parents/guardians regard the job we are doing in providing a quality education for all of our children. Your feedback is crucial for us to know what you consider our strengths and our opportunities for growth. The best way to gather this information is to survey our parents/guardians using a survey developed by the Center of Educational Effectiveness, a Bellevue, WA based research firm.

    To gather this information, we are asking that you take a few minutes to complete this very important confidential survey.  The survey will only take about 15-20 minutes to complete.

    The information that we receive will be reported back to us as a building profile. This profile will provide us with information to support our building school improvement plans. 

    We value your input as we strive to continue to improve our school. Thank you for your feedback.

    VISD Parent Survey

    Respectfully yours, 


    Michael Soltman
    Superintendent of Schools 

    Estimados Padres de Familia/Tutores:

    Para que podamos continuar mejorando como distrito escolar y como escuela, es importante que sepamos qué piensan los padres de familia/tutores del trabajo que estamos haciendo al proporcionar educación de calidad para todos nuestros niños. Su opinión es crucial para que sepamos lo que ustedes consideran nuestros puntos fuertes y nuestras oportunidades de crecimiento. La mejor manera de reunir esta información es a través de entrevistar a nuestros padres de familia/tutores, utilizando una encuesta desarrollada por el Centro de Eficacia Educativa, una firma de investigación, de Bellevue, WA.

    Para reunir dicha información estamos pidiendo que se tome unos pocos minutos de su tiempo para contestar esta tan importante encuesta confidencial. La encuesta le tomará solo 15-20 minutos aproximadamente.

    La información que recibamos se nos reportará como un perfil de entidad. Dicho perfil nos proporcionará información de apoyo para nuestros planes de mejoramiento escolar.

    Valoramos su opinión y nos esforzamos para continuar mejorando nuestra escuela. Les agradecemos su opinión.

    Encuesta para padres 


    Michael Soltman 
    Superintendente de escuelas 

    Comments (-1)
  • Please Vote by Tuesday!

    Posted by Jodi Burwell on 2/12/2018 10:00:00 AM

    Dear Parents and Colleagues, 

    Ballots are due to the County by tomorrow, Tuesday, February 13th for the renewal of the Educational Programs and Operations Levy (EP&O).  This is a replacement of the levy, formerly known as the “M&O Levy,” approved in 2014.  Every 4 years our district proposes this levy to the voters.  The levy represents nearly 20% of a total operating budget or, for 2018, $4,283,536 of a total operating budget of $21,516,595. 

    While our Washington State Legislature is currently in session continuing to work on the State Supreme Court’s November ruling directing the Legislature to “fully fund” public education, Vashon and other district’s across the state remain dependent upon local levies to sustain current programs. Our district utilizes this local levy support in order to pay for: 

    • the actual costs of meeting special education students’ educational needs mandated by state and federal law,
    • the training and professional development of our faculty and staff
    • paraprofessionals, school secretaries, and counseling support
    • extracurricular programs, sports, and field trips
    • keeping schools and grounds safe, functional and clean
    • qualified substitute teachers; and
    • arts and music programs, AP courses, and enrichment programs all of which are important community priorities.

    Information about this levy renewal is available on our website.  We take our stewardship of your tax dollars very seriously and welcome your questions.  We are grateful to the Vashon community for its historic support of our schools and our EP&O levies so that we can continue to provide the best possible education for your students.  Please drop your ballot in the ballot box located next to the entrance of our King County Library, or mail it by February 13.

    Best Regards, 


    Michael Soltman
    Superintendent of Schools

    Comments (-1)
  • Please help us recruit substitute employees!

    Posted by Jodi Burwell on 2/2/2018 2:00:00 PM
    Dear Parents and Community Members,
    We are struggling to hire substitute employees.  A small labor pool and low unemployment makes finding substitute teachers, custodians, paraprofessionals, secretaries, and bus drivers very difficult.
    If you have a teaching certificate and are interested in substitute teaching, or if you are interested in other substitute positions not requiring certification, please visit our employment section on the website, or contact Amy Sassara, our Director of Human Resources at 206-463-2121, for more information.
    If you are not currently a certified teacher, but have a Bachelor's degree and experience working with children, you may be eligible to apply to be an Emergency Certified Substitute Teacher - a relative straight-forward application process.
    Please consider joining our team and send friends and relatives our way!
    Comments (-1)
  • Great New News About Our Neighborcare Student Clinic

    Posted by Jodi Burwell on 1/19/2018 10:00:00 AM

    Dear Parents and Community, 

    There is some great news to share about our Neighborcare Clinic.   

    We have hired a health educator who will be starting later this month.  Her name is Sarah Bernhards and she will be meeting with students, staff and the community to learn more about the health education needs on Vashon.  Welcome Sarah! 

    The School-based health clinic has a flexible schedules and we are able to see walk-in students “same-day” or by appointment for sports physicals, immunizations, chronic disease management, mental health services, acute needs and much more.  I am so pleased to report that our Neighborcare Clinic has seen 204 unique patients with 747 health appointments in just the few months we have been open! The clinic is open to all students in our district at no cost to families.  Hours are 8 – 4, daily, and priority appointments are available to CES students before or after school. 

    Click here to register your student for school-based health services. 

    Construction is currently underway at the high school to develop the permanent clinic space near the band room and theater entrance.  The clinic will provide easy access to our students and families.  Expect an invitation to our grand opening within a few short months! 

    Current Opportunities!

    Do you know a dentist who would enjoy a part-time assignment serving students in all three of our schools?  We have performed dental screenings on 116 students and are eager to start providing comprehensive dental services.  However, our search for just the right dentist has not discovered this person yet!  Please share this job posting with interested candidates and help us find the perfect provider.

    See you at the clinic! 

    Michael Soltman

    Comments (-1)
  • Michael Soltman retiring June 30, 2018

    Posted by Jodi Burwell on 1/2/2018 11:00:00 AM

    Dear Colleagues, Friends and Community,

    With deep gratitude to you all, I am writing to share that I will be retiring at the end of this school year on June 30th. It will be the conclusion of thirty-five wonderful years of doing the work of my life’s passion; to create a culture of caring and compassion as a foundation to grow the intellectual potential, physical health and wonder in our students.  It has been an immense joy and honor to have served you, our students, and the families of Vashon these past nine years.  We have done a great deal of work together, and what we have achieved has has been worth every effort, and every challenge we faced.  Together we have inspired a growth mindset that has created possibility, opened opportunity, secured resources for change, and led to integrated innovations and programs that positively impact the health and well-being of our students.  I am incredibly grateful to have served with you, a wonderfully supportive community, and an amazing team of faculty, staff, teacher leaders, administrators and board members.

    While my time as your superintendent comes to completion, I look forward to what the future will bring the district.  I have the highest confidence and regard for our newly formed board of directors and I will remain active and committed to supporting a successful leadership transition.   I have the utmost confidence that the selection of a new superintendent will move the district even deeper into the journey to ensure success for all of our students.  Our board will continue to guide our commitment to empowering teachers in our classrooms, ensuring equity of opportunity for all, and fully achieving the district’s mission.

    Thank you for trusting me, teaching me and allowing me to support you these past nine years.  I am truly honored to have served as your superintendent.

    Best Regards, 


    Michael Soltman
    Superintendent of Schools

    Comments (-1)
  • Board Approves All Gender Restroom at VHS

    Posted by Jodi Burwell on 11/29/2017 9:15:00 AM

    Dear Parents and Colleagues, 

    Last school year, a team of students appeared before the Board of Directors to request consideration of constructing an “All Gender Restroom” (AGR) at the high school. The board was supportive of the request and asked for the students to research best practices for a process to support such a transition.  The students presented thorough research of other school district AGR transitions and the school board approved a permanent conversion of the men’s and women’s restrooms on the second floor of VHS including a process for preparing our school community for the transition. 

    This decision is in alignment with the district’s ongoing commitment to create an inclusive and safe school community for all students. For transgender and gender nonconforming individuals, gender segregated restrooms are spaces where they can be met with intimidation, harassment and bullying. When a restroom is “all gender” a person can choose a restroom that aligns with their gender identity, and increase personal safety.

    Construction has now started on the second floor restrooms at VHS.  The construction will be complete upon students return from winter break in January when the AGR opens for students. Leading up to this, students, staff and parents will be invited to learn about gender diversity through a number educational events taking place on December 7th and 11th. 

    Some of us who have not learned about gender diversity may need more information about why the option of an AGR is necessary and fully supported by our district when on the surface it seems to impact such a small percentage of our student population. We invite you to learn more about gender diversity and our district’s decision to provide an AGR restroom by joining us for a meeting on, Thursday, December 7th, 7:00 pm - 8:30 in the VHS Commons.  VHS Students, with the assistance of Aidan Key, founder and director of Gender Diversity, will guide us through understanding gender as a spectrum and what the creation of an

    AGR will mean for students.  Aiden Key’s bio is available here. We have also prepared a frequently asked questions document that you can access here

    I continue to be amazed and incredibly proud of our students and school board as we are presented with opportunities be led by our students into innovations and changes that build a culture of compassion and caring. Each day we strive to model and achieve our district mission statement: Equipping every student to engage, thrive and contribute in an ever-changing world. 

    I hope you will join us at the meeting on December 7th.

    Respectfully yours,

     Michael Soltman

    Michael Soltman
    Superintendent of Schools

    Comments (-1)
  • School Health Clinic Start-up is Amazing

    Posted by Jodi Burwell on 10/27/2017 12:10:00 PM

    I am delighted to report that the new Neighborcare Health school-based clinic located in our high school is off to a great start. Clinic services are available to ALL of our students in the district.  The clinic has served over 70 students in the nearly two months of operations and provided 152 medical and mental health visits! Common reasons students visit the clinic are for sports physicals, vaccinations, well child checks, and illness.  The care team keeps space open everyday for acute visits that require same day appointments.  Please feel free to call the clinic for an appointment at 206-548-7550.

    Mental health and counseling services are available at both Vashon Island High School and Chautauqua Elementary School. McMurray students can receive mental health services at either location.  Dental services will start in early November with the first oral health screening day, followed by additional portable dental services beginning shortly thereafter.

    There is now an easy online registration form that you can use to register your student for services at the clinic.  If you have turned in your registration paperwork and haven't received a phone call from the clinic manager, they are quickly working through the 172 registration packets received.

    We are so fortunate to have these services in our schools. 

    Comments (-1)
  • Winter Storm Information 2017-2018

    Posted by Jodi Burwell on 10/17/2017 4:30:00 PM

    Dear Parents and Colleagues,  

    We are monitoring forecasts predicting a winter storm event for the rest of this week to include high winds and rain. Please monitor local forecasts and prepare your family for the potential of power outages. 

    When we lose power here in the district we continue to operate with emergency generators and passive light through the windows for the remainder of the day.  During power outages our heating systems are inactive.  However, we will have sufficient residual heat in the buildings to make it through a day, and please be sure to send your children to school with coats in the winter.  During power outages you may make arrangements to pick up your children early as you wish.  We will operate transportation on a normal schedule unless it is unsafe to do so due to road conditions. 

    During periods of extreme weather and/or power outages, radio/TV stations will report closures and changes of schedule.  The latest information can be accessed at or by calling the VISD District Office at 206-463-2121 for a recorded message, or on our website. 

    We monitor weather forecasts to make decisions about late starts and closures, and whenever possible we will make an early decision by 7:00 p.m. for the next morning.  If snow is predicted, we will usually call for a 2.5 hour late start.  Then, if conditions worsen overnight, we will communicate a closure decision prior to 6:00 a.m.  The following are the three schedule options we consider when inclement weather is expected:

     Regular Schedule with Emergency Bus Routes 

    1. 2 ½ Hours Late - Typical "late start" Schedule 
    1. Schools Closed

    As a general practice, if severe weather conditions develop during a school day, we will keep students at school until they can be picked up by parents, or be sent home on school buses.  We will operate buses on regular schedules unless road conditions are unsafe.

    Please see the following link to the Emergency Weather Bulletin on our website for full details about each of the options above.  Our primary concern is the safety of our students, their families, and our faculty and staff.  Best wishes for a safe and enjoyable winter season.

    Respectfully yours,

     Michael Soltman

    Michael Soltman

    Superintendent of Schools


    Comments (-1)
  • Thriftway Supports Vashon Schools Foundation!

    Posted by Jodi Burwell on 9/15/2017 5:00:00 PM

    Dear Parents;

    We are grateful to Thriftway, a generous partner in our Vashon Schools Foundation 2017 fundraising campaign.  This month your purchases at Thriftway are matched by 1%  toward the Foundation's goal of $350,000.

    We are thankful that our donors have contributed $135,000 toward this goal to date. This year’s funding priorities include:

    • Further develop a culture and program of racial equity
    • Continue to develop STEM and applied science programs
    • Continue to implement programs fostering mental health, social skills, and suicide prevention
    • Support StudentLink programs for alternative learners
    • Update curriculum in science, calculus, algebra and reading
    • Support for students learning English as a second language

    Your donation by September 30th will support our public school students and ensure that their “beyond basic” learning experience continues. Make a donation today or consider a sustaining monthly gift that fits your budget.  Contribute online at or mail your gift to Vashon Schools Foundation, P.O. Box 481, Vashon, WA 98070.  Your support makes such a difference to our students.

    Best regards,

       Michael Soltman                    

    Michael Soltman
    Superintendent of Schools

    Comments (-1)
  • “Making a Difference: An Evening of Inspiration” – Tonight! VHS Theater - $10

    Posted by Jodi Burwell on 9/8/2017 12:50:00 PM

    Tonight, film-maker Peter Serko, and special musical guest, Jacob Bain, are presenting "Making a Difference: An Evening of Inspiration" at the VHS Theater. Tickets are $10 at the door.  All proceeds go to benefit Journeymen, a Vashon-based 501c3 providing youth rites of passage, long-term mentoring and community engagement opportunities to boys in our region.


    Journeymen recently partnered with Vashon Island School District to bring CIRCLES to all three of our schools. CIRCLES is a no-cost, positive mentoring group for boys and young men featuring weekly in-school meet-ups and epic outdoor adventures.  CIRCLES are a comprehensive character development path for teen/preteen boys and young men featuring weekly, in-school meet-ups (in Groups) paired with fun, dynamic, and challenging group activities outside of the school setting.

    Participants will be supported in their journey to healthy adulthood through our proven effective group mentoring model, collaborative service opportunities, and transformative outdoor rites of passage experiences (ROPEs).

    CIRCLES are currently offered to self-identified male students at Vashon Island Schools at no cost to the school or students and will be expanding into greater Puget Sound throughout the next few years.

    Comments (-1)