Principal’s Newsletter September 2013
Dear Cedar Way Family and Friends,
This is the beginning of my thirteenth year as principal of Cedar Way Elementary, and the future for our students has never looked brighter!
To create a learning community that fosters the development of responsible individuals who embrace the world as thoughtful, knowledgeable, skillful, contributing citizens.
This has been the mission of Cedar Way Elementary since long before I arrived, and it is as relevant now as it ever has been. While the mission has not changed, the world has. Significantly. Many of the skills and abilities that are required in the workforce today didn’t even exist ten years ago, and many of these skills will be obsolete in another ten years. Global knowledge and information is growing at a parabolic rate. Sometimes it feels like we’re playing a constant game of catch up, always a few steps behind something we cannot control. This is where we, our community here at Cedar Way Elementary, and in the Edmonds School District can step forward and help our children take control – not of the world around them, but how they live and engage with it.
This year brings many changes to education in our nation, state, district, and right here at Cedar Way Elementary. Educators and leaders across our country have come together to form a national set of standards designed to prepare all students for the 21st century. These are called the Common Core Standards. They call out what kids need to know and be able to do in reading, writing, listening, communicating and mathematics from Kindergarten through 12th grade.
In our state we have been using the Washington State Standards as our curriculum, and we have been measuring student performance using the MSP. Each state has their own set of standards and their own measurement of performance. We’re fortunate in that our state standards are more rigorous than most – we set our expectation higher for our teachers and our students than many states. Next year, we will adopt and implement the new national standards, the Common Core Standards, and we will measure not only student performance, but student growth in relationship to those standards.
We’re positioned well to make this shift. The Edmonds School District has strong leadership that collaborates closely with all staff to ensure we have both the knowledge, skills and resources to prepare all our students for success. It’s easy to recognize this here at Cedar Way Elementary –
As a result of the success of the lawsuit against our state legislature to adhere to our state constitution to amply fund public education, we received the first down payment toward that goal. For the first time since I have worked in public education, we are adding to our district budget instead of cutting, and we’re being smart about how we use those funds.
This year, I’m very pleased to announce the following additions to Cedar Way Elementary:
- A full-time Library Information Specialist (we’ve had a half-time LIS for several years)
- A full-time school counselor and psychologist
- A full-time Behavior Support Coordinator
- A new Kindergarten Classroom
- A new 1st grade classroom
- A new 2nd grade classroom
- A half-time English Language Teacher
- A new district instructional technology coach
- A new district instructional coach
- A new district principal coach
Our class sizes in Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grade are lower than they have been in years, and with the high quality staff we have in support positions, teachers and students will receive much greater support in teaching and learning.
Another big change in education in our state is a new evaluation process for principals and teachers that places professional growth and student learning front and center. This year, during our PTO meetings, I will present an overview on the Danielson Framework for Teaching to share both the complexity of teaching as well as the specificity of the language that describes best practices.
As you can appreciate, this is a great deal of change for any organization. Our school district leadership has provided tremendous support to be able to manage and shepherd these changes, and the level of collaboration amongst staff here at Cedar Way Elementary is unparalleled. I’m so grateful to be a part of the Edmonds School District, and honored to be the Principal here at Cedar Way Elementary.
With your ongoing partnership, this is going to be a great year of teaching and learning!
Hawk Cramer, Principal