A time of Plenty, A time of Want…
Greetings Maple Valley!
These are interesting times in Education. We have had some windfalls that will help us strategically plan to improve and enhance safety and programming for our staff and students for a long time to come. At the same time, we continue to experience shortages in staffing that threaten to impact the services we can provide. This week, I want to share the good news and also ask for your help in addressing our challenges.
We recently were notified that a Safety Grant from the Department of Justice we had applied for back in June was approved. We will be receiving close to $150,000 dollars with a match from us around $45,000 that will allow us to revamp all of our camera systems, improve our radio communications with first responders, install emergency medical kits in every classroom and office, secure exterior doors more effectively with camera and audio service at our entrances and also provide audible alarms at every building to notify anyone who is outside if we need to shelter in place. Additionally, we have just submitted our budget for the ESSER III funds after feedback from our community urged us to prioritize high-quality education for our students through strong curriculum and staff training, small group instruction interventions, instructional support for interventions and special education, technology access, and school facilities improvements for air quality and safety. We will be working on all of our plans to ensure we can ramp up our staffing, access to quality curriculum, and infrastructure improvements for the next few years. Additionally, there are incentives coming to encourage our staff to expand their education to allow them to fill educational roles in our district that we hope our paraprofessional staff will take advantage of going forward. These are all incredibly exciting opportunities for us to grow and ensure we provide top notch education for our students in an environment of safety and support. The potential this presents leads to our time of want as well.
Just as we are receiving critical funding to provide these crucial services for our students, we are simultaneously facing one of the most severe staffing shortages that has ever occurred in education. We are going to have to make some difficult decisions about our bussing routes in the immediate future as we do not have sufficient drivers to cover our routes. Additionally, the many specialists and tutors we could use to meet our goals for addressing learning losses over the past two years cannot be found.
There are initiatives underway to close this staffing gap, but those will be long-term solutions and we need high-quality people now. This is where you can help us. Please promote to anyone you know that if they have skills to drive, teach and just need to renew their certificate or want to volunteer to tutor our kids, please let our building principals know of your interest. We need to come together as a community to serve our kids and the time is now. Thank you for spreading the word, and supporting the staff we currently have. They are all working so hard to ensure our kids are the top priority. We appreciate the support this community has always shown and we welcome your ongoing support and partnership!