2nd Semester Update

Posted by Greg Allison on 4/3/2019 2:00:00 PM

Dear Parents,
As we enter into 2nd semester, we want to share out some important work going on at our school.  McMurray is working diligently to sustain a positive, safe, and inclusive learning community and in this effort, we are employing a variety of strategies throughout the school intended to maximize learning, build social and emotional skills, as well foster a “growth mindset” within our students that will carry them forward to high school and beyond.
In building a positive school culture, enhancing student voice and engagement is critical in this focus.  This year, we are supporting our Executive Council and Sources of Strength clubs to lead projects that create community, positive engagement and throughout our school in many ways, recognizing that in addition to academics, we want to help develop student’s interests and passions.  These strategies include guiding, empowering and engaging our students as leaders.  Already this year, our student council has supported projects that aim to build awareness of local and global causes.  Celebration of our students and acknowledgement of positive contributions in multiple ways is an important way of building engagement and voice.  We seek feedback regularly from our students, host multiple “Recognition Assemblies” throughout the year to honor contributions to clubs, athletics and other endeavors, and employ the “McMurray Roundup” recognition form and “Student of the Week” honors.
In our focus on building an inclusive school climate, equity and empathy are at the forefront of this work.  We are proud to observe the engagement of many student leaders in our clubs, particularly two new clubs, La Chispa and People of the World (POW).  Students are working to build the school and likewise, the type of world they want to live in.  We are striving to honor our diversity by celebrating the many cultures represented at school through colorful bulletin boards and integrating awareness in our curriculum.  Recently, we celebrated Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. through powerful performances of spoken word to honor Dr. King’s legacy by Daemond Arrindelle, Malea Dickerson, and Kevin Estrada.  Students were called upon to reflect upon how they can make a difference through their inclusive and empathetic actions.  We encourage our students to continue to be curious, get involved in these efforts and care for those around them.  
These efforts at building community and a culture of care and belonging are our biggest assets in maintaining a safe school.  Prevention efforts such as our social emotional learning through Second Step, and training for students and staff continue as a top priority for our school.  We are also in the midst of significant school preparedness efforts to help us respond to any possible threat or hazard.  We are partnering Puget Sound Educational Service District, community partners, federal & state law enforcement, & fire department to update our plans on an ongoing basis, train staff, and practice monthly safety drills throughout the year.  After any incident on a school campus or major incident in the nation, our district will meet with the administrative team, other staff, and law enforcement partners to review what occurred, how it was responded to and what we can learn to improve our own practices here on Vashon.
HOW YOU CAN HELP: Work with your student to ensure they’re mindful of conversations they have in person and on social media. Ask them not to participate in any group chat that discusses any act of violence against any person or any school. Make sure they know to report any concerns to a trusted adult immediately or through our online Anonymous Alerts reporting process.
We are proud of the way these investments are taking hold in our school culture and how our students continue to learn, grow, and take care of one another.   Thank you for echoing these themes at home and for your support in developing our students’ “whole selves” here at McMurray.  If you are interested in learning more or partnering in these efforts, please let us know if you are interested.  We appreciate your partnership!  
Greg Allison                                                                    Juanita McCulloch
Principal                                                                           Assistant Principal