2020-2021 MISF PRIORITY FUNDING

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.

1. CONNECTING STUDENTS TO THEIR FUTURE

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

Essential Funding to Launch Robust Remote Learning and Sustaining Core Initiatives

The Mercer Island School District (MISD) is committed to delivering an education that prepares students for their future and makes the nearly 4,500 scholars a priority. Inherent in that commitment is an understanding that our students deserve a personalized learning environment that is responsive to students’ strengths and learning styles, interests and passions. At the same time, we aim to maintain the highest academic standards while encouraging students to take risks. We value the development of thinking and processing skills, as well as cultivating Global awareness in our students. We support the development of self-awareness, responsible decision-making and good citizenship. We foster and embrace diversity, inclusiveness and equity. We seek to assist staff members who are pursuing the highest standard in the profession and fulfilling our values, vision and mission.

The pursuit of our values, vision, and mission requires resources: time, money and people. Running parallel to resource challenges are the competing interests for the same resources from other agencies. Thanks to the Mercer Island Schools Foundation’s annual fall All In For Kids campaign, we will build upon the programs developed in previous years, adapt to the new online setting, and start new ones for the future. The Foundation’s support is critical to providing the rich education our community expects and our children deserve.

The following funding requests for 2020-2021 support critical Pre K-12 programs in core academics and enrichment. These resources are needed in the fall so materials will be available to students and teachers for use in the online learning setting and eventually in classrooms throughout the year. We are immensely grateful for the ongoing support of the Mercer Island Schools Foundation and our shared belief that we owe our students a world-class education, regardless of the economic climate.

Learning Services reduced the overall grant request. We want to be sound fiscal stewards of the resources generously donated by the community. Forecasting needs in a dynamic time like COVID-19 is extremely difficult. Through reflection, risk-taking and learning forward, we will better ascertain the needs as the year unfolds and allow for creativity, innovation and responsive teaching.

Sincerely, Fred Rundle

Edgenuity– K-5 Online Learning Platform $22,500

The elementary school summer learning program used a new set of online resources from Edgenuity. The District would like to roll this out with all K-5 classrooms as an added online learning tool throughout the year. The cost of this purchase includes access to assessments, core learning, and interventions both with a teacher and paraprofessional or at-home during asynchronous learning.

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

We support MISD’s belief that our IMS students need connectivity to adults and peers now more than ever in an online learning setting. Islander Middle School will transition 6th graders into IMS with the help of 8th-grade WEB leaders. Online learning will not deter our commitment to a successful entry into middle school and opportunity for leadership. Similarly, MIHS remains steadfastly committed to supporting students academically, socially and emotionally. The school committed to adding an Islander Hour opportunity for students while in a remote setting to enhance connectivity between students and staff.

K-12 Sustainability

• K-12 Increase Enrollment Materials Support $30,000

The increased enrollment request supports our schools by allowing learning services to quickly purchase new instructional materials for additional classrooms, teachers new to the District, and to replace well-used items.

Superintendent Values Vision and Mission Fund: $ 30,000 

Innovation and adaptation are two fundamental requisites for education in the 2020-2021 school year. Whether remote teaching and learning when we start or a gradual return to the schools throughout the year, our teachers, paraeducators, nurses, principals, and entire staff must be responsive to students in an ever-changing environment. The learning setting, strategies, and methodologies changed drastically last March. Still, the values guiding our path, vision for our students, and mission each and every day is unwavering. Thus, the ask in this category is to support teacher and classroom initiatives that either emerge spontaneously or blossom out of new ways to meet the needs of students.

2. ADVANCING ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT

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

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

Planning for the Future, Sustaining the Present, and Tackling the Challenges of the Moment

This category is about sustaining our current instructional resources, planning for future enhancements, and tackling emerging challenges. We prioritize curriculum adoptions over a three to five-year period. Recently, to add more materials at one time, we switched to a multi-year payment process. For example, the middle-level math adoption was split between 2019-2020 and 2020-2021.

This allowed us also to finish the Spanish adoption and slide in Economics and Calculus. This year, we plan to review Algebra, Algebra II, and Geometry in preparation for a full adoption beginning in 2021-2022.

K-12 Math and Science

• K-5 Math Materials $10,000

• K-8 Math Materials and Adoption Year 2 $46,000

• K-8 Science Materials $10,000

Algebra I, Algebra II, Geometry Review $5,000

The K-5 and K-8 math and science material request support replenishing consumable workbooks and materials. The science request is an example of a sharp decrease in the proposal because schools do not anticipate using as much of the materials in an online setting.

9-12 Humanities

• Gr 9-12 Novel Adoption to promote and enhance adding new perspectives to the literature our students read $5,000

World Language

World Language 9-12 Adoption (Year 3) $25,000

K-12 Fine Arts

• Funding Priorities for program sustainability $15,000

• Elementary Music Instructional Material Implementation $3,000

The elementary music team will pilot a new core set of instructional materials. These new resources are compatible with in-person and online learning, perfect for the upcoming year.

Dynamic Social Justice $10,000

The District formed a team called Dynamic Social Justice this summer. The membership is evolving, but this group will support student-lead initiates through the Anti-Defamation League, such as No Place for Hate, organization of events that promote anti-racist and anti-biased culture in our schools, and more.

• Confronting race, racism, whiteness and privilege

• Training, professional learning, student engagement, No Place for Hate

Teacher Innovation Grants $30,000

Through conversations with teachers and principals, the need for immediate grants is unknown. The total request for teacher grants was reduced to start the year. Teachers will be innovating and forging through a steep learning curve. We hope to return with more concrete examples of tools and support teachers need once the year is underway. For now, we believe that a single pool of teacher innovation grants will allow the district to respond rapidly to the ideation coming from the classrooms.

3. PERSONALIZED LEARNING – MEETING THE NEEDS OF EVERY STUDENT                                                                                    

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)   

Meeting the Needs of the Whole Child

Islander Hour (Bridges) / Mercer Island High School $10,000

Islander Hour’s mission is to have designated time for all high school students, regardless of their outside commitments, to receive any necessary academic help, build meaningful relationships with teachers and students, and to participate in community events. Mercer Island High School remains steadfastly committed to supporting students academically, socially and emotionally. In fact, the school committed to adding an additional Islander Hour opportunity for students while in a remote setting to enhance connectivity between students and staff. The primary goal is for each student have an adult in the building that knows their name, strength and need.

Islander Hour Use of Time

Islander Hour (IH) is organized so that the students will have time for advisory and other nonacademic items, such as:

• Community and relationship building

• SEL (social and emotional learning) lessons and topics

• Counseling and registration needs

• Administrative tasks and surveys

• Leadership elections, assemblies and events

Islander Hour Goals for Students

• Homeroom-style environment

• Students organized by grade level

• Students will stay with the same teacher for four years

• Only formal lessons given by teachers will be grade-level topics or responsive lessons

• More freedom for teachers and students

• Relationships to build through a natural process over time

School Improvement Plans (SIPs)

Elementary $18,000

Middle School $11,500

High School $14,000

Each school will continue to work toward meeting the needs of students and aiding in the

development of staff through their school improvement plans. These plans serve as roadmaps, often

extending beyond one year, for the school to follow and make meaningful progress toward change.

Islander Hour Use of Funds

Islander Hour has traditionally used the money to support community building projects done in IH. This has allowed us to do activities without having to burden staff for supplies they may not have. The funds we received previously have paid for professional development for those leading and supporting IH. We anticipate that with IH moving to more instructional hours, we will need help funding a possible PLC (professional learning community) or SEL (social and emotional learning) training for staff members who are leading subgroups. Last year we were able to use funds to support the first-ever IH Curriculum Fair, which had a positive impact on students, staff and parents.

4. PROMOTING PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

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)

National Board Certification support for teachers: $20,000

Mercer Island School District has a long-standing commitment to acknowledging the extra effort teachers make when earning or renewing their National Board Certification. This grant goes toward offsetting the cost of the process for teachers.

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