Greetings Bellevue Students, Parents, Families, Community Members, and Staff:
Our new school year is off to a great start. I appreciate the exceptional efforts of our educators and staff to ensure that our classrooms and learning environments were ready for our students. It was uplifting to visit our schools and see our students and their families embracing an exciting future.
Quality education requires additional resources, so I am also very thankful for the support our community provides to our district through levy and bond funding. We strive to be good stewards in using this to preserve and expand the excellent programs, services, and facilities we offer to our students.
It is important to recognize that in order to be successful, students need support beyond academics. That is why one of our district’s six priorities is Student Well-Being. We must remain mindful of the emotional and physical needs of all our students and continue to affirm each student’s sense of identity and belonging if we hope to create learning environments where each and every one of our students can thrive.
Here are some highlights from the work we are doing to support student well-being:
- With support from the Bellevue Schools Foundation, we are training more staff to assess and support student mental health in all of our schools. This effort includes screening middle and high school students for mental health services and following-up with the support they need. We are also increasing the number of high school counselors to meet the needs identified through the screenings. We are grateful for our partnership with the foundation as we work together to support our students and community.
- Our schools continue to create safe and welcoming environments for students. Our district’s commitment to the whole student begins in early learning and extends through 12th grade, by helping students develop social emotional skills that allow them to understand themselves and form healthy relationships with other people. On October 23rd, we will be participating in the worldwide celebration of Unity Day. Unity Day highlights the need for educating students about anti-bullying and how to reach out, speak up, and be a friend to one another. Students and staff are encouraged to wear orange to raise awareness of the negative effects of bullying. This year will mark our eighth year participating.
- We know that physical well-being is also important to supporting students’ emotional well-being. Did you know that nearly 40 percent of Bellevue’s 20,000 students are transported by our bus drivers every day? In the spirit of National School Bus Safety Week, which takes place on October 21-25 this year, I want to highlight our commitment to ensuring student safety on our buses. We have expanded the number of buses with stop paddle cameras – reminding drivers to stop for student safety (and avoid a $419 ticket). I had the unique experience of riding a bus with our students on the first day of school. This trip to a school helped me better understand how hard our bus drivers work to build healthy relationships with students and families and how invested they are in the safety of each and every student they serve.
- Our Nutrition Services department also plays a key role in supporting the physical well-being of our students. National School Lunch Week – the second week of October – recognizes the importance of school meal programs. The goal of Nutrition Services is to be a resource for families and provide the best meal options to our diverse student body. They are ready to serve nourishing lunches in every school to every student – no questions asked. Our district recognizes the critical contribution that adequate food and good nutrition make to academic success as we continue to “feed young minds” on many levels.
Thank you for joining me on this journey to support the well-being of our students as they become creators of their future world.
Bellevue School District