Welcome, Everyone, to Vashon Island’s Outstanding Public Schools!
It is a tremendous honor for me to write this letter of welcome as Vashon Island School District begins the 2022-2023 school year! I hope everyone had an enjoyable and safe summer break and we are excited to see returning and new families this school year. 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 amazing contributions from our vibrant community partner organizations.
During the 2021-22 school year, Vashon Island School District completed a five-year strategic plan, developed with significant involvement of VISD stakeholders. The plan – The Vashon Promise - ensures that “Every student is Welcomed, Known, and Treasured and Graduates Confident and Competent to Thrive in a World they Imagine.” In the course of the 2022-2023 school year – the first full year of implementation of the strategic plan – our leadership team, staff, and VISD Board will embark on a two-year process of “making sense” of the implications of our comprehensive strategic plan for our school system and executing many aspects of the plan. We intend to fulfill “The Vashon Promise” by putting more systematic processes into place at the school and district levels in order to help each student feel a stronger sense of belonging, read at or above grade level by the end of grade 3, be prepared for advance course taking by the time they move into high school, and be career ready once they graduate.
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 their career. This amazing journey for students often starts in preschool as an Orca, continues in middle school as a Mustang, and culminates when they graduate as a Pirate with no limit to their future opportunities.
I would like to extend a big thank you to all staff for preparing for this year’s learning experiences. Instructional staff have attended multiple workshops and training sessions to sharpen their knowledge and skills and our maintenance and custodial staff have worked countless hours preparing facilities and school grounds to make sure our schools are safe for staff and students. Office personnel are greeting families, registering students, and making sure that we are ready for all of our students to begin the school year. In August, we are “all hands on deck!”
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. Whether you are a first year commuter student or have lived on island for your entire school career, we are here to make great things happen for you! We are committed to providing not just exceptional academic experiences but also making sure you have the social, emotional, and mental health supports you need to succeed.
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, Journeyman, Sisterhood, and the Vashon Rotary among others. In addition, we appreciate the partnerships with Neighborcare, Vashon Youth and Family Services, DOVE and Vashon Alliance to Reduce Substance Abuse, who provide excellent access to education and resources directed towards student 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, 2022-2023 will be a year where our future continues to come 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