What Is Being Funded2017-09-17T19:10:20+00:00


The promise of the Mercer Island Schools is to deliver a 21st century education that prepares students to convert information into knowledge and create innovative solutions demanded by tomorrow’s world.  Together, the Mercer Island School District and the Mercer Schools Foundation believe that an excellent education is a foundation for opportunity, growth, and success in life. The pursuit of the vision requires resources–time, money and people. It is this community’s private support for our Mercer Island schools that makes the difference. Community investment in our schools fuels the high- quality, world-class education for every child in our community.


Developing self-awareness, emotional/social intelligence, responsible decision-making and citizenship (Fundamental #3, Policy 2020) 

Academic achievement is certainly a critical aspect of our school district’s focus; however, our students will struggle to thrive in school or in the world beyond Mercer Island without skills and strategies related to their social and emotional well-being. The District is committed to offering opportunities and explicitly teaching students appropriate social skills, and to be involved citizens who engage productively in society and make responsible decisions to benefit the whole.

Bridges at Mercer Island High School: $10,000 

Bridges (Building Relationships in Diverse Groups to Empower Students) is the high school’s advisory program designed to promote good character and citizenship. Students meet in multiage groups on a weekly basis to discuss schoolwide issues, take surveys and engage together in special projects. This request supports teacher planning time, speakers, a Career Day and supplies.

“Where Everybody Belongs” program support at Islander Middle School: $6,500

IMS is continuing the successful “Where Everybody Belongs” (WEB) program to develop and utilize the leadership skills of eighth-grade students while building connections between eighth- and sixth-graders. The WEB program builds the IMS community of students as well as addressing schoolwide issues such as bullying. The funds support the annual cost for materials and supplies, along with professional development required for an additional IMS teacher who will lead the program.


Maintaining the highest academic standards (Fundamental #2, Policy 2020)

Alignment with the district is a poignant theme for our organization. Thus, each request is correlated with one of the 2020 Vision’s seven fundamentals AND the new MISF core pillars.

K-5 Math materials and K-8 Science materials for students: $38,000 

This request ensures that MISD teachers have the equipment they need to make science and math engaging to more students every year.

The elementary schools will be adding math manipulatives to promote exploration, trial and error in an environment that promotes creativity and risk-taking as opposed to paper-and-pencil computation.

Elementary and middle-school teachers continue to explore new ways to engage students in science through inquiry, problem-based thinking and real-life experience. The MISF enhancement allocation supports the regeneration of science investigations, which extend learning beyond the textbook in grades K-5 as a transition to the newly adopted curriculum, with ongoing experiences in grades 6-8.

K-5 Science adoption: $70,000 

TCI – Bring Science Alive! is a comprehensive K-5 science curriculum based on the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) that builds on the best practices of science education for elementary students, including the Disciplinary Core Ideas, Engineering Practices and Cross Cutting Concepts contained in the standards. This new adoption provides foundational content, engaging activities, assessment materials and support for struggling learners, and extensions for all students in a technology-rich environment

K-5 Writing adoption: $75,000 

Being a Writer and Guided Spelling replaces its current Units of Study. This program provides a structured curriculum that fills the gaps of currently missing grammar, usage, mechanics and spelling while providing teachers with a more easily accessed teacher manual. This new curriculum will help support all learners and help teachers more easily implement writing instruction.

Sixth-grade Social Studies adoption: $30,000  

The last sixth-grade formal social studies adoption was in 1991; certainly curriculum and textbooks have changed.

World History – Great Civilizations will be an excellent complement to the new language arts curriculum and will benefit the overall experience for students:

  • Common experience across grade 6 classrooms
  • Current historical thinking and perspectives about the ancient world
  • Clearer learning outcomes for students and pathway to inform the ninth-grade course
  • Extension opportunities for personalized learning and differentiated teaching
  • Alignment with the Washington State Grade Level Expectations (GLEs)
  • Learning framework – Attitudes, Skills and Knowledge (ASK) aligns with the work of the social studies review committee
  • Integration opportunities for technology in and outside of the adopted materials
  • Visual images deepen historical understanding.

The sixth-grade teachers will have opportunities for professional development to implement and extend the language arts and social studies materials proposed for adoption.

Sixth-grade Literacy adoption: $30,000  

As a result of the recent K-5 literacy adoptions, it became apparent that sixth grade would need a more challenging curriculum that was research-based and aligned to the Washington State Standards.

SpringBoard is the comprehensive program that offers the right amount of flexibility for the team and offers the following strengths:

  • ELA materials, assessments and professional learning are aligned to college and career readiness standards
  • The program is aligned with AP course content as well as the skills and knowledge of the SAT
  • It has well-structured lessons to break down the types of writing
  • It contains authentic assessments that truly measure growth
  • Students and teachers can access online support and materials

Teachers will collaboratively develop the full breadth of the curriculum, inclusive of activities and lessons that are research-based, engaging and appropriate for the students’ transition from elementary to middle school.

Grades 9-12 novel adoption: $5,000  

Using the Washington State Learning Standards along with student needs, teacher passion and community interests, the MIHS English Department annually discusses new texts for the ninth- through 12th-grade (9-12) course offerings.

The core question addressed by the team is, “Which literature sequence and offerings will offer students the best opportunity to engage in critical thinking and meet the learning targets and objectives for each course?” The entire English department discussed the plans. Together they validated the need to add new literature to the courses, which would be contemporary and diverse, align to the 2020 Vision and reflect student demographics.

Grades 3-5 Highly Capable program literacy: $7,000

Making Meaning first caught the attention of teachers, principals, parents and other educators during the K-5 general education literacy adoption process. HiCap teachers, as well as administrators, noted a number of strengths:

  • Nonfiction units are robust and applicable to content areas
  • The authentic texts support pertinent skill development
  • The pacing is not overly structured, which allows for compacting to meet the needs of learners
  • Students have opportunities to participate in shared reading, read-alouds, guided reading, literature groups and independent reading (components of comprehensive literacy)
  • Texts provide perspective from a diverse set of viewpoints
  • Professional development supports effective reading instruction
  • A unique combination of academics and social emotional learning is embedded in the curriculum

K-12 increase enrollment materials support: $25,000 

With the increases in student enrollment, both in the number of students and the number of signups for courses at all levels, additional materials are needed to ensure all students have access to the appropriate curriculum. All requests are an extension of original programs, textbooks and materials funded by the Foundation.

K-12 Fine Arts:  $33,000 

Supporting the fine arts (music, drama, dance and visual arts), from lighting equipment for the high school to a variety of musical instruments and equipment at every level. The fine arts priority list includes items for the elementary, middle school and high school fine arts programs.

2020 Vision investment fund: $20,000 

This fund is being set aside to continue the district’s efforts to implement the 2020 Vision. This grant has been an asset to our school superintendent by offering the flexibility of providing just-in-time support to emergent ideas that were unplanned. The new superintendent will benefit from being able to access this resource.


Creating a more personalized learning environment where student-centered education is responsive to students’ strengths and learning styles, interests and passions. (Fundamental #1, Policy 2020)   

Personalized learning refers to meeting the needs of all learners by recognizing and creating opportunities that address the diverse strengths and challenges that students bring to the learning environment. Teachers differentiate content, process and product according to the student’s readiness, interests and learning profile. Accordingly, the teacher and learner accept the continuum of teacher-directed to student-centered approaches to learning, designed to increase academic success for all learners.

School iImprovement will support the district wide focus of implementation of the fundamentals. Funding will support professional development and teacher leadership.

Elementary: $25,900
Middle School: $21,000
High School: $27,400


Creating a more personalized learning environment where student-centered education is responsive to students’ strengths and learning styles, interests and passions. (Fundamental #1, Policy 2020)

Professional development support for National Board teachers: $10,000

Grants awarded to teachers who pursue National Board certification, the highest certification a teacher can receive. Currently more than 45 Mercer Island teachers are National Board certified, representing about 20 percent of our teachers. (Nationally, 4 percent of the teachers are certified). Teachers who receive the grant sign a contract stating that they will remain in the district for two years after receiving their certification or renewal. The state of Washington awards a pay increase of $5,090 a year for 10 years. Foundation support makes this program possible for many teachers who would otherwise be unable to afford it.

Professional development opportunities are embedded through all academic adoptions and programs funded by the Mercer Island Schools Foundation.