During American Education Week last month, Lake Washington Schools Foundation was honored to be recognized as an important community partner at the Lake Washington School District Superintendent’s Community Leaders Breakfast on November 16. This annual event, led by Superintendent Dr. Jon Holmen, served as an opportunity to celebrate and thank community members who play a role in the success of students. In attendance were elected officials, school board members, and individuals from community-based organizations, public/private agencies, P-12 education and higher education.
“The theme of American Education Week is Students today, Leaders tomorrow,” remarked Dr. Holmen. “We used this theme to celebrate and recognize the staff in Lake Washington and our partnership with our community partners to support our students to grow into our leaders of the future.”
Lake Washington Schools Foundation was one of four organizations highlighted as a valued partner in supporting students in Lake Washington School District to achieve excellence.
“[LWSF has] a unique mission,” said Dr Holmen. “It is directly connected to the support of the students and the school district here.”
During the breakfast, Foundation Executive Director Katy Philips spoke to fellow community leaders, “What I want to point out to you is what an essential part of our mission you all are. You are our community. You are the resources that we are here to gather and deploy to help our students achieve their highest potential.”
Robyn Le, a 7th grade student at Kamiakin Middle School, was also present to share her perspective on the Inclusive Libraries project, a 5-year, $180,000 grant sponsored by LWSF to expand the diversity of library book collections across the district. “I was so excited to hear about the Inclusive Libraries project coming to our schools. Reading books with different types of characters, cultures, stories, and perspectives, has taught me a lot about people that may look or act differently than me.”
“It’s also been amazing to read about protagonists that look like me.” adds Robyn. “I remember feeling surprised when I first read “Front Desk” by Kelly Yang, because it was a popular chapter book that featured a character that looked just like me. That was really the first time that I could picture an Asian girl being a main character, and not just a side character like those in so many novels I’ve read before. It made me feel important and it made me feel seen. I hope books will do that for many others.”
The Inclusive Libraries Project is one of many programs sponsored by Lake Washington Schools Foundation to achieve its mission of enhancing academic access and nurturing all students’ emotional well-being. Funding for LWSF programs are made possible by the generosity of donors and sponsors in the community.
Other community partners highlighted at the breakfast include Eastside Native American Education Program (ENAEP), Sodexo Nutrition Services, and Washington network for Innovative Careers (WANIC).