During this period of cautiousness and uncertainty, I am extremely grateful to be part of such a strong school community. As Washington’s principal, I appreciate the patience, resilience, collaboration, and flexibility of our students, our families, and our staff. I would be lying if I told you that I have all the answers and a fool-proof plan to carry our school through the next six weeks (or longer), but I’m confident that, working together, we will get it all figured out and will come out stronger on the other side. I think what brings the most anxiety to this current world crisis is that we don’t know what to expect. In order to ease some of that uneasiness, I’d like to propose a number of mutual expectations that will benefit each of us as we navigate the challenges we are facing together.
Staff – Our staff can expect to work creatively together to provide meaningful instructional supports for our students. The district and building leadership teams are using this week to identify ways that teachers can support students during our closure. When teachers return to work next week, they will be provided with time and resources to develop these supports, so that students will have a variety of tools to help them stay mentally sharp while they are away from the classroom. If we are intentional about this work, we are confident that students will be able to return to school with minimal interruption to their academic progress.
Students – Students can expect to receive critical supports in each of your courses. You can expect to stay engaged and continue to push yourself to learn. Laptops have been made available for checkout to any student who desires to use one (over 100 students took advantage of this opportunity on Friday, and those who weren’t able to can come in Monday, March 16th through Thursday, March 19th from 8 am to 2 pm to the WHS library to pick one up). Students can also check your current grades in TeacherEase and use these six weeks to complete any missing work or study for that assessment that you need to redo.
Families – Expect to be kept in the loop. Critical updates will be posted on the district website and will be sent out through email (please make sure that we have your current email address on file). You can track your student’s academic progress on TeacherEase and encourage them to complete any missing work that might be causing them to currently have a failing/INC grade. Families of seniors can support their soon-to-be graduates by making sure that their portfolios are complete, that college financial aid applications are done, and that your student is caught up in all of their classes.
As you have questions, please refer to the district website, where critical updates will be posted. If there are any building-specific questions, feel free to contact the school at (253) 298-4700 during regular business hours.
Please take care of yourselves and each other during this time away from school. I look forward to seeing our amazing students again in six weeks.
Brent Whitemarsh, Principal