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A Message from the Superintendent

Dear families:

As the end of the school year rapidly approaches and we celebrate the achievements of our students, we can also look back upon this year as one that raised challenges. I am proud of how we once again pulled through as a community and a school district—with grit and togetherness. We are finishing this year, looking forward to a future of promise.

ScottWhile very different from the year that we were in remote learning, this school year presented challenges that came from once again being together after such a long absence. Our students had to learn how to live in community with one another. They had to form relationships with peers who had very different experiences while learning at home—with everyone missing those rites of passage that are such an important part of growing up together in school. We missed so many invaluable, shared experiences.

Many of our students thrived this year when we returned. Many did not. As a district, we made the commitment to focus on establishing a sense of belonging—of seeing each other fully. We gradually added more activities, gatherings that brought us together in ever-larger assemblies, concerts, sporting and cultural events, even lunches. But even as we brought community back, creating new touchstones, many students struggled to know how to connect or feel that they belonged. As a district, we needed to pull more resources together that would help us all to heal. We all were and continue to be in a new world.

We now have a more robust toolbox at our disposal to help all students navigate this world. With a Mental Health Support Leadership team, full-time counselors at every school next year, a district behavior support specialist, student support advocates, and a student assistance professional, there are people at every level prepared to activate supports. Our partnership with Care Solace will provide a free mental health navigation resource to our entire community. Our free Summer Academy will also help students learn “through adventure, community and fun.”

We continue to focus on belonging. Our equity team has spent the year learning and thinking about how our community can build bridges and partnerships that will support the commitments captured in the Lakewood Compact. We are identifying opportunities for community to come together, for students to have a greater voice in schools, for staff and parents to more fully partner in our programs and classrooms. We are thinking about ways to ensure that every member of our school community experiences high levels of engagement, compassion and fairness in our schoolhouses.

There is still much work to be done. We cannot recreate the relationships that defined Lakewood before the pandemic. What we can and will do is build even better, stronger relationships—systems of support--in 2022-23 that enhance our ability to see and hear what students, families and staff want and need to create.

Thank you for your partnership and support. I look forward to growing with all of you in the coming year.