Note from the Superintendent
Hello Federal Way Public Schools Families,
Welcome to the 2022-23 school year!
I am so looking forward to this school year and having our scholars and families back in our schools. I hope that the weeks of summer have given you space and time to connect with family and friends, and you’re ready to embrace the new possibilities this school year will bring.
To prepare for the first day of school, our team has engaged in professional learning and planning to support all our scholars’ academic success in the year ahead. Our staff has worked hard to make sure school buildings are clean, summer maintenance projects have been completed, our buses are ready to transport scholars, and technology is prepped and ready to support scholars and staff. Our teachers and principals have been preparing and are especially excited to see you. We’re ready to welcome our children and young people back to their classrooms this fall.
In Federal Way Public Schools, we’re dedicated to every scholar’s academic success, and we’re committed to making each classroom an environment where scholars are engaged, supported, and challenged academically. We know that you, our parents, families and caregivers, are your child’s first teacher and are also critical partners in your child’s success.
Knowing this, I would like to share with you some of the key highlights of the work we’re doing this year to support this commitment:
Building Safe and Inclusive School Communities
At the beginning of every school year, we work to continue building safe and inclusive communities at all our schools, bus stops, playgrounds, and cafeterias by setting expectations with scholars and sharing how we can all support one another to achieve success. This year we are focusing on intentional community building efforts throughout the first 30 days of school. During this time, we will focus on setting expectations with scholars and building safe communities, where everyone feels welcome and ready to learn. We look forward to your partnership in helping to reinforce these expectations at home.
We know well developed social emotional skills are important for scholar success, in and out of the classroom. Throughout the school year, we’ll continue to provide support to scholars, reteach behavior expectations, and focus on integrating Social Emotional Learning, or SEL, into daily instruction. Mental health supports, including free online therapy through Talkspace, will also be available to scholars throughout the year.
We believe every scholar can learn and achieve at the highest level, and we remain committed to setting up each of our scholars for academic success. This year, across the district, we’re focusing on increasing rigor and engagement for our students, focusing on specific instructional strategies to help scholars feel more engaged, connected to their schoolwork, and supported.
We will also continue to expand and build on additional academic supports offered last school year, such as free online tutoring, Saturday Scholar Community, and additional extended learning opportunities. Remember, Tutor.com is available to all students in grades 4-12, free of charge!
Multitiered System of Support (MTSS)
This school year, we’re excited to launch the Multitiered Systems of Support, or MTSS, framework in our elementary schools. We know that every child is capable of success with the appropriate support. MTSS is a way of meeting scholars where they are and providing layered supports for their learning and social emotional behavior. We are committed to ensuring each scholar has the tools they need to succeed, and the MTSS framework is designed to support this goal. You will hear more about this in the upcoming weeks.
Strengthening Community and Family Partnerships
We also know schools can’t do it alone. We’ve heard from many families, scholars, and community members who missed having in-person opportunities to engage when public health requirements limited these options, and from families who felt less connection to their child’s school as a result. The truth is, we’ve missed this connection too, and we are excited to refresh and recommit to our partnerships with families and community this fall by welcoming more families into our school buildings for family events and family advisory committees. We will also be seeking school volunteers, and we are eager to have you on our campuses helping out in our schools. Additionally, we’ll have more in-person clubs and activities, school assemblies, events and other opportunities for students to engage with their school community. We are looking forward to seeing you back in our buildings.
Strengthening the connections between schools, homes, and the greater Federal Way community means greater support for our scholars and families, and greater success for all as a result.
I’m excited about all the possibilities this school year has to offer, and I can’t wait to see what we accomplish together!
We are looking forward to seeing our 21,000 young people on Tuesday, September 6 for the first day of school, and I hope you have a wonderful school year!
Dr. Dani Pfeiffer