Summer anything but quiet for school district | Mukilteo Schools

By Marci Larsen, Superintendent | Sep 14, 2016

Not that long ago, summer used to be a quiet time in a school district.

The students and most of the staff members would be away enjoying their summer vacations, most school buildings would be vacant, and for those of us who work in the central office, it was a time when the phone didn’t ring and one could focus on planning and other tasks best done when there are few interruptions.

The past few summers have been different, however. What with summer school, construction projects, and job interviews for potential new staff members, there has been so much going on, the pace has been not a great deal different than it is during the fall, winter, and spring.

This past summer featured negotiations between the school district and our teachers’ union on a new collective bargaining agreement to replace the three-year contract that expired at the end of August.

It came right down to the wire, but we are happy to have a new agreement in place for the next three years.

And, speaking of teachers, with the addition of a new school this year and a tremendous amount of movement among staff members, we had a busy summer for hiring new employees.

Our orientation session for new teachers had almost 130 new staff members in attendance, which is a new record. There was a lot of movement among administrators, too. Seven of our 20 schools have new principals this year.

Summer school also was busy. More than 700 elementary students attended summer school programs, and over 500 students attended middle school and high school summer classes.

We provided a summer food program, as well, which served about 36,000 breakfasts and lunches to children from late June through early August.

Then, there was the matter of construction. Workers were busy all through the summer in a huge effort to complete the construction of our new Lake Stickney Elementary because, ready or not, the students would be arriving on the first day of school expecting finished classrooms.

That, too, was right down to the wire, but I’m happy to report that, thanks to the tremendous effort of many construction workers and our staff members in capital projects, the school was ready when the students arrived last Wednesday.

That wasn’t the only construction project, though. Work is now in full swing on several other projects that voters approved back in 2014.

The construction of the new early-learning kindergarten center is underway behind Fairmount Elementary on Beverly Park Road and is scheduled to be completed at this time next year.

The demolition of the old gymnasium at Olympic View Middle School also was completed during the summer to make way for a new facility that will house the physical education and music programs, as well as some regular classrooms. Work also got underway on a new multipurpose room and kitchen at Discovery Elementary.

Facility maintenance is always a major effort during the summer. This year’s work featured the construction of new science classrooms at both Kamiak and Mariner high schools, the installation of additional security cameras at each of our secondary schools, the painting of Goddard Stadium, the installation of new portables, as well as several roofing projects.

And that’s not counting projects such as adding automatic door openers at two schools, installing some new ramps for disabled students, replacing flooring, modifying parking lots, and repairing and inspecting things like bleachers, back-flow preventers and eyewash showers.

When people think about schools, they usually think of the activity that goes on in classrooms from early September through the middle of June.

But a large number of staff members work through the summer make those school days possible. So, as the new school year gets underway, here’s a special thank you to those who have been hard at work behind the scenes in support of our students.

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