The Reimagining Middle School (RMS) Committee was developed to make suggestions for a new, “reimagined” middle school model that is based on research, co-designed with stakeholders, and includes:

  • A more engaging and relevant academic program
  • The integration of SEL instruction and relationship-building into the school day
  • MTSS tiers/system of supports
  • Global competency principles
  • Equitable grading practices
  • Smoother school-level transitions for students and families

The RMS Committee’s implementation plan will be based on research and stakeholder engagement and that phase in the changes over time and through a thoughtful, well-defined, realistic piloting and evaluation process.


Why is this important?

Students, in partnership with staff, families, and the larger Bellevue community, will imagine a new kind of middle school where young people engage in innovative, personalized learning experiences both in and out of school, in order to capitalize on and build their cognitive and social emotional capabilities.

  • Covid-19- The Covid-19 pandemic has challenged almost every aspect of how we think about education and pushed us to think about how we can better serve our students, particularly those who have been traditionally marginalized.
  • Global Issues: A time in history when our world is dealing with enormous challenges and at a time when the opportunities created by those challenges have never been greater. Our students are the ones who will bring solutions to environmental concerns, global warming, conservation of natural resources, racial and gender inequalities, role of technology and development of alternative energy sources, etc.
  • Child Development: Early adolescence is defined generally as ages 11 to 15 and grades six to nine. These students experience significant biological, cognitive, and social-emotional changes during this period of their lives. Research on positive youth development outlines how middle schools can help young people navigate the changes of early adolescence and build on their innate strengths to become confident, purposeful, healthy, thriving adults and members of society.
  • Identity and Social: During the middle school years, our students will be navigating these challenges of adolescence while also continuing to grow in to their identities. It is important that we support all of our students in feeling empowered in their identities, through experiencing sense of belonging in their school communities.

The middle school years represent an opportunity for young people to find their voice, discover and develop their interests, and develop longstanding relationships. This effort will imagine a new kind of middle school where young people engage in innovative, personalized learning experiences, both in and out of school, to capitalize on and build their cognitive and social emotional capabilities. We have an opportunity to improve the school culture, build more trusting relationships with students, and empower them to take greater ownership of their learning.

Together, we can create a dynamic and powerful force to advance new ways of thinking about how our BSD students will reimagine their middle school experience!

Reimagining Middle School – Frequently Asked Questions


Level 1: This team will be committed to the process of Reimagining Middle School

  • Participating in the meetings
  • Gathering other perspectives and reporting back to school
  • Being the champion of the work
  • Commitment to the whole process
  • Being a team player

Level 2: This team will provide feedback as work progresses.

  • Join some of the meetings
  • Assist in gathering other perspectives and reporting back
  • Provide feedback and new ideas
  • Gathering data/information



Members serve one-year terms from September 2022 to June 2023

One to two meetings per month on Thursdays.


Roles and Responsibilities

The Reimagining Middle School (RMS) Committee is:

  • Charged with providing input and recommendations to the Superintendent.
  • Encouraged to communicate and share their work and thinking with their own networks.
  • Invited to identify members who can pro-actively liaise with other groups to foster communication and collaboration.
  • Asked to commit time to reading and preparation in between meetings.

The Reimagining Middle School (RMS) Committee is not charged with implementing changes in the district, including determining or executing procedural or policy changes.

The chair or co-chairs will provide periodic updates to the Board of Directors as directed by the Superintendent.

The Superintendent will consider the Committee’s input and recommendations.

Meeting Schedule

All meetings will be scheduled 4:30-6:00 p.m.

2022-2023 Steering Committee Members


  • Wen LaCasse, Tillicum Parent
  • Courtney Baxtron, Odle Parent
  • Valeri Makam, Tyee Parent
  • Anissa Bashey, Highland Parent
  • Gaurav Malhotr, Chinook Parent


  • Sahaj, Odle Student
  • Hasini, Odle Student
  • Diego, Tillicum Student
  • Noelle, Tillicum Student
  • Mishra, High School Student


  • Kim Hay, Tillicum Special Education Teacher
  • Dan Sakaue, Advanced Learning Odle Teacher
  • Gabe Adams, Tyee Teacher
  • Mathew Wright, High School Teacher
  • Tori Knight, Drama Highland Teacher
  • Scott Gregorich, Science Chinook Teacher


  • Devonia Bryant, Tillicum Principal
  • Danielle S Virata, Odle Assistant Principal
  • Susan Thomas, Principal
  • James Peterson, Chinook Principal


  • Kalena Crafton, Odle Literacy Coach
  • Jessi Cassidy, Tyee Paraeducator
  • Mariela Stockdale, Highland Graduation Success Coach
  • Susie Challancin, Chinook ITCL

Central Office:

  • Melisa Macias, Teaching and Learning Director
  • Wendy Powell, Social Emotional Curriculum Developer
  • Anna Van Windekens, Research Scientist
  • Nellie Pogosian, Dual and Multilanguage Curriculum Developer
  • Tom Duenwald, Director of Educational Technology
  • Regen Lorden, BEA Vice-president
  • Gargi Trichel, Communication & Engagement Specialist

Extensive Stakeholder Engagement

The work of the committee will be augmented by one-on-one interviews and focus groups with other stakeholders and constituents.  Findings from these intake sessions will be shared with the committee during the course of their regularly scheduled meetings.

Stakeholder Updates

Reimagine Middle School Stakeholder Update November 2022 (PDF)Reimagine Middle School Stakeholder Update January 2023 (PDF)

Contact Us

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or concerns at RMS@bsd405.org

Teaching & Learning
The Bellevue School District acknowledges that we learn, work, live and gather on the Indigenous Land of the Coast Salish peoples, specifically the Duwamish and Snoqualmie Tribes. We thank these caretakers of this land, who have lived and continue to live here, since time immemorial.