Superintendent's Message

Learning by Listening
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I am learning by listening to our staff and students, finding ways to make the learning and education in Arlington better than ever. As a leader of learning, I believe listening and considering diverse opinions and perspectives will result in better decisions and actions to benefit students.Listening

Last year, I initiated “Student Voices Lunches” at every school to hear directly
from students about what is helping their learning, what is hindering their learning and, what they would do if they were superintendent. Students have welcomed this opportunity and their feedback has been great! Samples of feedback from students include:

Things that Help my Learning:
• Allowing me to keep trying when I don’t learn it right away
• Positive relationship with the teacher
• Learning together with other students because having more brains involved is better
• Hands-on learning

Things that Hinder my Learning:
• Other students talking in class (every group shared this comment)
• Students who don’t take learning seriously and don’t do their homework
• Loud heat pump fans and thin walls at Post

Things I would do if I was the Superintendent:
• Provide equal time for reading, writing and math instruction
• Increase hands-on learning opportunities
• Make the school taller
• Better food

This year, I also initiated “Staff Voices Mornings” at each school and other district sites. This too has been very valuable. Staff provide the daily connections and instruction to students, and their perspectives are vital to evaluate the effectiveness of our procedures, resources, professional development, and more. Samples of staff feedback include:

Working Well:
• Reduced class sizes at K-3 are great!
• Building administrators are amazing
• PTA support
• Love the new buses
• Communication is great across the district

Needs Improvement
• Traffic at some schools during arrival and dismissal is very difficult
• Need more substitute teachers
• Overcrowding
• Need more buses

Questions/Suggestions

• More professional development opportunities for staff
• Look for a better way to engage staff in SafeSchool training
• Consider one early dismissal or late arrival every week for staff professional development.

In addition to the student and staff voices, next year I will launch two new “Voices” opportunities: “Leadership Voices” to hear feedback from district and school leaders; and “Community Voices” to hear feedback from YOU about what is working in our schools and district, what is not working, and suggestions you have for us. The first “Community Voices” will take place on Oct. 17. Three to four parents from each school and members from across the community will be invited to a lunch to share their feedback. I look forward to these events. If you are interested in participating in one of these events, please contact Gary Sabol, Director of Communications, at 360.618.6217 or a school/building administrator.

Learning by listening to the “Voices” in Arlington is essential to meeting our mission to educate, prepare and inspire each Arlington student. We
cannot do this in isolation. Listening to learn from students, staff, families and community members is vital to evaluate and make better decisions to provide the best education for our students.

I invite you to be engaged, involved, and share your “Voice” often. Check school and district websites for information about ways you can volunteer, participate and partner with us. Thank you!

Enjoy spring and remember, we can cultivate better growth in learning for each student if we do it TOGETHER.

Dr. Chrys Sweeting
Superintendent