Students can be well prepared for college

By Dr. Marci Larsen, Superintendent | Apr 13, 2011

Several weeks ago, I had the pleasure of meeting with a group of parents that we call our Key Communicators. The group, which has representatives from each school, gets together five times during the school year to learn about education issues such as student achievement and graduation requirements.

We talked about the budget at our most recent meeting. The parents learned that we have faced budget shortfalls totaling about $11.4 million the past two years and that we are looking at an additional budget shortfall for next year that is likely to be in the neighborhood of $2 million to $3 million.

It wasn’t a happy discussion, as you might imagine, and the parents no doubt left the meeting wondering why schools are forced to cut budgets at a time when the public also is expecting schools to do more.

As people were leaving the meeting, Stacy Harris, a Kamiak High School parent, gave me some news that took my mind off money issues and reminded me what our efforts really are all about.

Stacy told me that her son, Joshua, had graduated from Kamiak last summer and was now enrolled at Western Washington University, where he intends to pursue degrees in physics and math.

But, the thing that Stacy wanted me to know was how much Joshua had benefited from his time in Mukilteo schools. He started taking Spanish when he was at Harbour Pointe Middle School, kept at it all the way through Kamiak High School and was so well prepared going into college that he tested into a junior-level Spanish course at Western and has the opportunity to be granted 15 credits in Spanish free of charge.

Not only that, with the Advanced Placement classes and certain other classes that he took while at Kamiak, he was given a total of 51 college credits as he entered Western. Needless to say, Stacy is thrilled by the huge benefits her son was able reap because of his hard work in high school.

Stacy’s story got me to thinking about other successful graduates, so I got in touch with Anish and Archita Taylor, a brother and sister who both graduated from Mariner High School. The two were born in India and moved to the United States in 1993.

When he was at Voyager Middle School, Anish took a science class that included an opportunity to fly rockets. The experience so intrigued him that he went to the University of Washington to get a degree in aeronautics and astronautics.

He has since earned his pilot’s license, received a master’s degree and is now an engineer at Boeing.

Meanwhile, his sister, Archita, became fascinated with politics when she was involved in a mock trial while in the eighth grade. She has turned that into a degree in political science and economics from the University of Washington and is now studying in her first year of law school at Seattle University.

It is particularly important that, in times of stress, we hear stories about success. If you are a successful Mukilteo graduate or the parent of one, and would like to share your story, I’d love to receive it.

Please send me a letter or an email. We will then post the stories on our Web site so others can see them.

As we get caught up in the challenges of cutting the budget year after year and struggle to get by with less, we need to guard against losing sight of the important role that we play in the community.

Who knows? Maybe there’s a child sitting in one of our second grade classrooms who will someday become the President of the United States or who will come up with an innovation that will transform lives throughout the world.

Joshua, Anish and Archita, along with many other successful Mukilteo school graduates, remind us that anything is possible, as long as we can give them the tools they will need to pursue their dreams.

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