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Enumclaw School District is Attracting the Attention of Educators Locally and Nationwide

Both our high school small schools model and our kindergarten instruction project have drawn the attention of educators across the nation who are looking for ways to better meet the needs of all kids. Recently, we have had visitors from Highline School District, Monroe High School, California and Texas visiting our high school. In addition to visitors, Stanford University has put together an educational field guide for high schools interested in moving to small schools and has featured Enumclaw High School as a model to learn from at www.schoolredesign.net. We have recently hosted visitors from Sumner, Port Angeles and Yakima to see and learn from our full-day kindergarten program.

Upcoming visitors this spring will include a team from Portland, Oregon and the Deputy Superintendent from the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI).

The following are two thank you letters that visitors have sent to us. We are proud of our teachers and their dedication to continuous improvement and are glad that they are having an opportunity to share their learning with others.

 

Letter 1:

Dear Editor,

Enumclaw schools are on to something. I recently had the good fortune of touring your high school (at the suggestion of some colleagues at Stanford University) and left encouraged, hopeful and inspired.

It is not simply your community's move to small schools that is gaining national attention. It is your approach and panache. Your schools are to be commended for embarking on an impressive initiative to make schools better for all kids.

I observed people trusting one another and teaming up to ensure improved personalization and achievement. I heard a Board member talk of the respect and faith she had in her community. I heard teachers talk about their ability to work more closely with students to meet their needs. I saw evidence of rising test scores. I heard parents express feeling a closer connection between school and home. I observed district and school leaders offering support. And most importantly, I saw students working diligently and feeling nurtured and cared for.

I can only imagine what hard work it must be and want to commend you on your efforts.Change is hard, and it takes time. But what I saw today tells me it is well worth your effort.

Keep up the good work Enumclaw. You have a great story to tell.

Sincerely,

Victoria Bergsagel

 

Letter 2:

Dear Sunrise Elementary,

It has been several weeks since I wanted to write but I didn't quite know what I was going to say. My visit to your school gave me a lot to think about! I think I told you that I am looking for answers of how to best meet the needs of those children who struggle the most. Seeing your school and especially speaking with your teachers completely energized me and gave me a fresh perspective. Yet by the end of the day I also felt sad and confused. I guess this was because I hadn't been anticipating such a close fit in philosophy between what I have always believed and what Enumclaw has put in place. Something is pulling me to take a chance and apply to your district in order to grow.

After a lot of thought and sharing your insight and those of your teachers, I have decided to apply and just see what happens. I sent my packet out today.

Anyway, I just wanted you to know what a profound impact the visit had on me. If nothing else I am already a better educator just for having spent time at Sunrise. Thank you so very much for all of your preparation, time and kindness. I will always be grateful. Sincerely,

Terry H. (Kindergarten Teacher)