Vashon Island School District

To equip every student to engage, thrive, and contribute within an ever-changing world.



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  • Welcome to Vashon’s Award-Winning Public Schools!

    Many of our parents and graduates describe the Vashon Island public school system as having the attributes of a private school education.  We offer high quality academic programs and a wide range of opportunities in the arts, sports, music, and travel both in the classroom and through co-curricular clubs and activities. Our schools reflect the commitment of our faculty and staff, the participation and dedication of our parents and families, and the contributions of our vibrant community partner organizations.

    Our mission, “to equip every student to engage, thrive, and contribute within an ever-changing world,” guides our commitment to the success of every student. Our joy is to know every student as an individual and to provide each student with the tools and learning opportunities they need to prepare for college or a career, and ultimately to lead productive lives as citizens.

    The culture within each of our three public schools is built upon a deep compassion and caring for one another. Our teachers and staff are renowned for their experience, qualifications and commitment. They work together both within departments and across grade levels to ensure continuity of curriculum and support for students.

    Our public schools thrive because of our community of support. Our curriculum is greatly enhanced by contributions of funding from Vashon Partners in Education, Vashon PTSA, and Vashon Island Public Schools Foundation, among others. Thanks to partnerships with Vashon Youth and Family Services and Vashon Alliance to Reduce Substance Abuse, our learning community has access to education and resources directed towards mental and physical health.We look forward to extending you a warm welcome.

Strategic Plan

Superintendent's Message

  • VISD Logo Dr. Slade McSheehy





    VISD Superintendent’s February 2019 Message - Academic Excellence

    I have the luxury of having two full time weather analysts in my home. Both Hank and Gus, maybe like most kids, are very eager to proclaim “Snow Day!” when they see the little snowflake on the weather app. I, on the other hand, review the latest forecast and then get up before 4 a.m. to check the roads and consult with our staff, knowing that whatever the decision, it will have a significant impact on our community. I will admit, I love the snow and seeing farm fields covered in white or a couple of deer running through the snow covered forest. Vashon is pretty amazing. I hope everyone was safe in their daily travels and that the snow days had a minimal impact. Safety is my first priority. At the same time, I try to ensure families, staff, and our community are informed as soon as possible.

    As we move into second semester and get into the full stride of learning, I would like to momentarily hit the pause button, and celebrate some of what makes Vashon Island School District a district that embodies academic excellence. We are fortunate to have the best staff in each building helping our students grow strong both in mind and body. Please take a moment to read a little about each of our school’s academic excellence.   

    At Chautauqua, their staff have had a clear and aligned focus on their literacy programs. With the new literacy adoption of Collaborative Classroom, we have see student's writing soar. Students have written personal narratives and opinion pieces. It has been exciting to see students share their personal experiences and what they care about. They have expanded their opinions beyond just wanting more recess to wanting to dedicate themselves to reducing the use of plastics and trying to save the orcas. A fifth grade teacher just shared, "The students have a strong voice in their writing. We've been able to connect to their passions through the curriculum." Our younger students have been working in small reading groups at their own level. They show their academic excellence learning sight words, exploring multiple ways of working with words and spelling patterns and reading with a partner. They are reading a diverse selection of literature at their own level, sharing in groups, and they are intensely focused. We are loving it and so are they! Seeing our budding readers get excited about reading their own books and writing their own stories is inspiring.

    A critical focus at McMurray in Humanities and other classes is to support students in to developing informational and media literacy skills and research strategies in collaboration with our librarian, Ms. Jaffe. Teacher-librarians’ knowledge and skills are critical in our efforts toward academic excellence. Each grade level is completing in-depth research projects with exceptional results.   

    In 6th grade, students are currently working on an in-depth research project on Egypt, where students are guided to focus on sources for a topic pertaining to Egyptian culture. Students work through an iterative process of summarizing pertinent information from sources, editing and deepening this information, and then synthesizing this information into their own “museum display” that engages others in their topic. This project emphasizes persistence and precision as they work through the entire process. Please join McMurray students for “Egypt Festival” on Friday, February 15th to celebrate this significant research!

    At Vashon Island High School, intensive work has been in place to expand Advanced Placement (AP) opportunities and make them widely available to all students. Advanced Placement courses, offered in collaboration with The College Board, have long been a foundation for academic excellence at our high school. All AP teachers must undergo intensive training before offering a course. In addition, courses are strictly audited each year to align with The College Board’s standards. This work is beginning to pay big dividends for students. Our most recent AP-Five-Year Score Summary from 2018 shows that we have increased the total number of AP students from 192 to 207 students since 2014. The percentage of AP students with a score of 3 or better has also increased from 68% to 78% indicating that students are demonstrating higher levels of academic excellence over the last 5 years. Vashon students also far outscore the average Washington State score of 63%. In 2018, VHS had 58 students take the AP exam in Human Geography with an average score of 3.93. Our students outperformed the WA State Human Geography average, 2.74, by more than an entire point. Kudos to our amazing staff and students who take on the challenge and demonstrate high levels of success on these rigorous and difficult exams. In addition, kudos to the administration and their building leadership team for continuing to grow our programs while reflecting on how best to serve and meet the needs of all of our students.

    Lastly, I would like to highlight our Seal of Biliteracy program. This program was adopted by the State of Washington to recognize the importance of developing language skills in more than one language. Most people will agree that a second language can be a significant asset in our ever-changing world. It is open to any student in grades 7 through 12 who knows a language other than English through their families, through independent study, and/or study in school. To earn the Seal of Biliteracy, students must pass a world language test at the intermediate mid-level in speaking, reading and writing. Students must also pass the state test for high school English language arts. Finally, students must meet all graduation credit requirements to officially earn the Seal.

    In our most recent language testing, we had 8 students meet the world language standard: Oskar Batho (10th), Kevin Estrada Alamo (12th), Solrun Heuschert (12th), Sean Hillman (9th), William Kim (10th), Katherine Kirschner (9th), Lucas MacLeod (12th), and Cooper Py (12th). Since the beginning of the program, we’ve had 43 students meet the world language standard for the Seal; 27 of these students have already graduated from our school district. Two students have demonstrated mastery in 2 languages other than English. An additional 20 students have earned competency-based credits for their skills. In these first three years of our program, we've had students test in the following languages: American Sign Language, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Russian and Spanish.

    During my transition earlier last year, I knew there was a strong tradition of academic excellence present in Vashon schools. After these fast-flying first seven months, I am convinced that we are doing great work as demonstrated in the above examples. I’m very proud to have joined the Vashon “family” to continue this tradition. We are able to focus on how we engage every student to feel like they belong while also helping students thrive and grow to their utmost potential. Thank you Vashon schools’ staff, students, families, and community.  

    Mensaje del Superintendente del VISD de febrero de 2019 - Excelencia académica                                                   

    En la Escuela Secundaria Vashon Island, se ha realizado un trabajo intensivo para ampliar las oportunidades de asignaturas de asignación avanzada (AP) y hacer que estén disponibles para todos los estudiantes. Los cursos de asignación avanzada, que se ofrecen en colaboración con el Consejo Universitario [The College Board], han sido durante mucho tiempo una base para la excelencia académica en nuestra escuela secundaria. Todos los maestros de AP deben someterse a una capacitación intensiva antes de ofrecer un curso. Además, los cursos se revisan estrictamente cada año para alinearlos con los estándares del Consejo Universitario. Este trabajo está comenzando a brindar grandes beneficios a los estudiantes. Nuestro resumen más reciente de calificaciones de AP, de cinco años de 2018 muestra que hemos aumentado el número total de estudiantes que toman cursos de AP de 192 a 207 estudiantes desde 2014. El porcentaje de estudiantes de cursos de AP con un puntaje de 3 o mejor también aumentó de 68% a 78%, lo que indica que los estudiantes están mostrando niveles más altos de excelencia académica en los últimos cinco años. Los estudiantes de Vashon también superaron con creces el puntaje promedio de 63% del estado de Washington. En 2018, VHS tuvo 58 estudiantes que tomaron el examen de AP en Geografía Humana que obtuvieron un puntaje promedio de 3.93. Nuestros estudiantes superaron el promedio de Geografía Humana del estado de Washington de 2.74, en más de un punto. Felicitaciones a nuestro increíble personal y estudiantes que asumen el desafío y demuestran altos niveles de éxito en estos rigurosos y difíciles exámenes. Además, felicitaciones a la administración y al equipo de liderazgo de su edificio por continuar desarrollando nuestros programas, a medida que reflexionamos sobre la mejor manera de prestar servicios a todos nuestros estudiantes y satisfacer sus necesidades.

     Por último, me gustaría resaltar nuestro programa de Sello de bilingüismo [Seal of Biliteracy]. Este programa fue adoptado por el estado de Washington para reconocer la importancia de desarrollar habilidades lingüísticas en más de un idioma. La mayoría de las personas están de acuerdo en que un segundo idioma puede ser una ventaja importante en nuestro mundo en constante cambio. Está abierto a cualquier estudiante de 7.º a 12.º grado, que sepa un idioma que no sea el inglés, ya sea por sus familias, a través de un estudio independiente o estudios en la escuela. Para ganarse el Sello de bilingüismo, los estudiantes deben aprobar un examen de idioma extranjero en el nivel intermedio mediano en expresión oral, comprensión lectora y expresión escrita. Los estudiantes también deben aprobar el examen estatal de Lenguaje, lectura y escritura en inglés. Finalmente, los estudiantes deben cumplir con todos los requisitos de crédito de graduación para obtener oficialmente el Sello. 

    En nuestras pruebas de idiomas más recientes, tuvimos ocho estudiantes que cumplieron con el estándar de idioma extranjero: Oskar Batho (10.º), Kevin Estrada Alamo (12.º), Solrun Heuschert (12.º), Sean Hillman (9.º), William Kim (10º), Katherine Kirschner (9.º), Lucas MacLeod (12.º), y Cooper Py (12.º). Desde el comienzo del programa, hemos tenido 43 estudiantes que cumplen con el estándar de idioma extranjero para el Sello; 27 de estos estudiantes ya se han graduado de nuestro distrito escolar. Dos estudiantes han demostrado competencia en dos idiomas distintos al inglés. Otros 20 estudiantes han obtenido créditos basados en competencias por sus habilidades. En estos primeros tres años de nuestro programa, los estudiantes han presentando exámenes en los siguientes idiomas: Lenguaje de señas americano, francés, alemán, japonés, coreano, polaco, ruso y español. 

    Durante mi transición a principios del año pasado, sabía que había una fuerte tradición de excelencia académica presente en las escuelas de Vashon. Después de estos primeros siete meses, que han pasado volando, estoy convencido de que estamos haciendo un muy buen trabajo, como lo demuestran los ejemplos anteriores. Estoy muy orgulloso de haberme unido a la “familia” de Vashon para continuar con esta tradición. Tenemos la posibilidad de enfocarnos en cómo involucrar a cada estudiante para que sienta un espíritu de pertenencia, al mismo tiempo que los ayudamos a prosperar y desarrollarse al máximo de su potencial.

    Gracias al personal, los estudiantes, las familias y la comunidad de las escuelas de Vashon.