Families of Lynden School District-
The beginning of a new calendar year presents an opportunity to reflect on our celebrations and lessons learned while also setting sights on the opportunities that surely lie ahead. Summarized below are some of my top areas of celebration and items we are looking forward to in 2024. I want to express my continued appreciation for the partnerships and support throughout the community of Lynden Schools to work toward and ensure the best outcomes for Every Student, Every Day.
Lynden Schools was blessed in 2023 to be able to serve and grow alongside the children and families of Lynden. We’ve observed a tremendous amount of growth and maturity within our young people. Celebration Number 1 for our schools is the success and growth of our students. People may read and hear about all the challenges, and there are some, but I’m encouraged for the future by the competencies and caring hearts of the next generation. I want to encourage the people of our community to engage and invest in them in positive ways…they are worth it!
The town’s population growth and continued expansion of students with rich cultural heritages and from diverse backgrounds is my personal celebration Number 2. We’ve worked hard as a district to expand the cultural understanding of our staff and reinforce the importance of every student, every day. There are so many assets within each of our students and it is important we meet them where they are and as they are. A free and high-quality education is the great equalizer in America and the most important thing we can do for all students is to focus on the development of basic skills (reading, writing, math, science) while creating motivated, critical thinkers who are contributors to the community others oriented.
Stabilizing the operating budget post-COVID was difficult work and required decisions that we knew would have a negative impact on student outcomes. I’m proud of our leadership, labor groups, and community for learning about school funding and being part of solutions that would mitigate the impact on our community’s children. We’ve staffed our departments and schools at levels lower than in previous years while also working together to meet the needs of students. Parents and community members who spend time in our schools understand how challenging the work can be. We continue to appreciate the support and I’m personally grateful for the ‘in the trenches’ members of our community who are driving the buses, serving the meals, cleaning the messes, ensuring safety, staffing the offices, supporting learning, and leading the lessons. It’s honorable service and they deserve our community’s appreciation.
Looking forward to 2024
Opportunities created by continued growth and our community’s collective recognition of the importance of a high-quality education for all students is my prevailing ‘look ahead’ for 2024. Lynden Schools will continue to look for ways to improve outcomes for the students we are blessed to serve.
The Lynden School District has a pair of consequential funding initiatives being brought to voters in February. The renewal of our current Educational Programs & Operations Levy requires 50% approval and will allow us to maintain current extra-curricular, safety, and academic support staff & programs. This is not new funding but replaces two 4-year levies passed by voters in 2020.
There will also be a school construction capital bond on the ballot which requires 60% approval. The bond project is a result of three citizen groups tasked with meeting the facility needs of the district in the most fiscally responsible manner. I encourage our community’s citizens to review and process the information being provided to make well-informed decisions impacting all of us who choose to live, work, raise our families, and retire in this community.
And finally, a desire for Lynden Schools to align with the values held by the citizens of Lynden was and continues to be a common message I hear from people. This requires the community to come together to identify our shared values and the hopes and aspirations we have for our children. The School Board and district leaders will be working on the development of a new Strategic Plan in 2024. A meaningful product to help prioritize our energies and resources requires broad involvement and an openness to the perspectives of others. Unity and focus is attained when all voices are heard; please watch for announcements and consider contributing your voice to this worthy process.
Wishing you all a happy new year filled with many blessings.