Putting a fresh focus on the new school year

Putting a fresh focus on the 2019-2020 school year
Posted on 09/10/2019

The calendar may say September 2019, but principals across the six Lynden Schools buildings take a much more wholistic view of the start of school, creating themes and focus points designed to last an entire school year. 

Catch up with each building principal to see the unique focus for their school.

Lynden High School

Principal: Ian Freeman

Assistant Principal: Michelle Nilsen

LHS will focus on developing student understanding and growing academic language that arises throughout classes at LHS. “We often hear about how a student performed poorly on tests simply because they didn’t understand what a word or question meant,” Freeman says. “As a staff, we will be highly intentional about using academic language, but even more importantly, we will be intentional about teaching academic language.” Freeman says a student’s ability to succeed within education is unlocked by developing vocabulary, understanding and use of academic language, all across the school. 

Lynden Middle School

Principal: Molly Mitchell-Mumma

Assistant Principal: Cyndi Selcho

The LMS ASB theme for the year is “We Are LMS.”  LMS staff will focus on how they know students are learning and ensuring effective ways to respond when students need more time and support. By focusing on students’ learning, rather than covering content, teachers will be better equipped to identify gaps in learning and can develop lessons and strategies to address those gaps.  Built into the school schedule is a feature called “Focused Instructional Time” (FIT) which is intended to provide opportunities for students to master expected learning targets when they need additional time and support. In addition, as students enjoy the second year in the new school, new traditions will continue to be established and an important element of these new traditions is to make every student feel welcome and connected. The ASB officers and student leaders have developed a positive school culture campaign aimed at creating an environment where students connect to each other and recognize the strength in diversity. “We know that students who feel like they belong,” Selcho says, “do better in school and we want all students to know they belong because we are all LMS.”

Fisher Elementary

Principal: Courtney Ross

Fisher Elementary will continue the school-wide implementation of PBIS, Positive Behavioral Intervention Support, for the 2019-2020 school year. Through the school’s ongoing work with Safe and Civil Schools, a nonprofit consulting group that works with schools to develop and integrate social-emotional intelligence into all aspect of the learning environment, Courtney Ross, principal, says “our focus this year will be to enhance our intervention process for students and staff.” The goal: “Our focus is to be safe, be respectful and be responsible.” 

Isom Elementary

Principal: Tim Doering

Isom Elementary will continue with the school’s theme of “Aim High.” This theme represents the direction of thinking tied to having a growth mindset, one which shows a belief in your ability to change and grow. “At Isom,” Doering says, “we want to set high standards for ourselves and aim for goals that stretch us so we can all reach our greatest potential.” 

Bernice Vossbeck Elementary 

Principal: Wendy Barrett

BE has started implementing the Safe and Civil Schools program to provide a framework for developing a positive and productive learning environment and as a foundation staff has adopted Be Respectful, Be Responsible, Be Safe as a school behavior expectation. With that, the year’s theme is I CAN, You CAN, We Can with the idea that every person has the power to behave responsibly, respectfully and safely. “We want our students to understand that every person has the ability to do their personal best as a learner, a teacher and a leader,” says Barrett. “We also have the power to encourage others toward positive and productive behaviors.” The theme helps start conversations that lead toward encouragement — “You can …” — and the CAN also serves as an acronym to Celebrate Accomplishments Now. 

Lynden Academy/Lynden Preschools

Principal: Ellie Meenk 

Expect to see Lynden Academy and Lynden Preschools “Moving Mountains Together!” Meenk says her team decided on this theme because they believe that students, parents and staff work incredibly hard to make massive positive changes in students’ lives and by working as a team, they can tackle the big issues and have success together. From an academic perspective, the K-12 focus will be on mathematics, as staff work together to align math and connect the school community to needed skill sets. In PreK, Lynden Preschools will also work on connecting skill sets with the greater district and entire community. Meenk says, “We are all so excited.”