Sept. 6 marked the beginning of a new school year for our nearly 2,000 Eatonville students. As I visited each school that day, I felt a profound sense of appreciation for our staff members who worked diligently to prepare for this important school year to ensure the success of each and every student. Their dedication to our students cannot be overstated. I was, likewise, so impressed by our students who were eager to return to school, by parents who expressed an interest in teaming up with staff members and supporting their efforts and by community members offering support. I have also had the pleasure of meeting with the PTA, PTO and Booster Club leaders at Weyerhaeuser and Eatonville Elementary Schools and at Columbia Crest A-STEM Academy. They are extremely dedicated to our students, staff members and to our community. Together, we will accomplish great things!
Staff members and students report that this our first month of school has gone smoothly. Our students are already making great strides academically as well as learning life skills that will prepare them for success in the world after high school. Our students and staff members are second to none! This promises to be a great year for all.
I have enjoyed attending many sporting events and I am absolutely amazed by our student athletes at all levels and in every sport. Like you, I cheer when the scoreboard reflects a victory but even when it doesn’t, I feel like we have won because I see their determination, progress, teamwork and sportsmanship. As an example, at a recent meet, I watched our swim team stand at the end of the pool and cheer on teammates and competitors alike. They recognized and honored effort as much as outcome.
I see coaches, parents and fans that are on the sidelines cheering for our student athletes, every step of the way. We definitely have the home field advantage, even when we travel to compete at other schools.
Our students are quick to volunteer service for the benefit of others. For example, students at Eatonville High have already organized a food drive and a pet supply drive. Several Eatonville students also participated in Eatonville’s 911 Day of Service community projects. Our students are always looking for opportunities to serve!
As I have discussed, one of our greatest challenges is providing transportation for all of our students. In spite of our efforts to find solutions, we still find ourselves in need of more drivers and more answers. On Sept. 20, we held a transportation public forum, calling on all stakeholders to find solutions to this challenge. In response, 75 people showed up to share ideas and discuss solutions and we also received over 100 ideas on our transportation feedback survey. We are busy looking through each solution and evaluating the feasibility of implementing these ideas. I wish there were easy and same-day solutions but if that were the case, we would have resolved this challenge long ago. The good news is that we now have several new applicants and new bus drivers coming onboard. We are moving toward some sustainable solutions. This will take time but we are committed to solving the dilemma. I want to thank you for your support and understanding as we address this need.
I am extremely grateful and proud to be a member of the Eatonville School District. Thank you for the opportunity to partner with you to serve our remarkable students, families and community members. Together we will accomplish great things for our students and for each other.
I will end with a quote from Helen Keller. “Alone we can do so little. Together we can do so much.” Eatonville Strong.
Jay Brower is Superintendent of the Eatonville School District