Classroom success leads to Achievement Awards at schools

By Marci Larsen, Superintendent | May 01, 2013

Mukilteo schools recently earned seven Washington Achievement Awards, the state’s highest honor for schools.

Odyssey Elementary received an award for overall excellence for the third year in a row and also was honored for achievement in science; Kamiak High School was recognized for overall achievement for the second straight year and was also recognized for math achievement.

Mariner High School won its third award for achievement in language arts; Columbia Elementary was recognized for closing the achievement gap; and Fairmount Elementary was honored for achievement in science.

The seven awards earned this year are added to the nine that Mukilteo schools had received during the previous two years, which gives us a total of 16 Washington Achievement Awards since the state created the recognition program.

It’s always exciting to win honors, such as the Washington Achievement Award, because they confirm the excellent job that is being done in our schools.

Such awards wouldn’t be possible without the cooperative effort of teachers and other staff members, the involvement of parents, and the support of the community.

The good work isn’t just confined to those few schools, either. As superintendent, I am in the lucky position of seeing the evidence of school success in a variety of other ways throughout the school district.

Each spring, the school board meets with a group of students from all three of our high schools to discuss various issues related to their time in school.

The meeting is organized by our three student directors, who each represent their high school and sit with the school board during meetings to lend their voice to the process.

This year’s student directors – Jazmyne Towns of ACES High School, MacKenzie Gaddy from Kamiak, and Hector Ruiz from Mariner – facilitated the meeting a couple of weeks ago. The result was an excellent discussion.

The 40 students talked honestly about their experience in Mukilteo schools, how they felt their time at school has prepared them for life after high school, how they were encouraged to achieve excellence, and how their school is involved in the community.

After hearing their thoughtful and sometimes humorous comments, I came away impressed by the fine character of the young adults who will soon leave our schools and venture out into the world.

Yes, there is success in the classroom. The results of last year’s state assessments showed excellent progress by our students; the level of improvement in middle school scores was especially impressive.

But, I also see the evidence of good work in the stellar performances of the athletes who are involved in school sports, the talent of the students who perform so brilliantly in drama, choir, and marching band, and the dedication that is necessary to excel in activities such as debate, chess competitions and robotics.

We will celebrate National Teacher Day on May 7, which is an excellent time to honor teachers and the important work that they do to open the minds of students to ideas, knowledge and dreams, and the roles that they play as listeners, explorers, motivators and mentors.

It’s also a perfect time to reflect on the fact that teachers can best do all of those great things with the support of other staff members, parents and community, and that good schools and wonderful students result when all of those parties work closely together.

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