Brian Wharton

2016 File Photo — Brian Wharton is the Yelm Community Schools superintendent.

As a school district and a city we all benefit from our relationships with those who serve in the various branches of the military.  

Here in Yelm, our families from JBLM and our retired veterans are integral to our success and add the spirit of service across our community. In addition to our Veterans Day celebrations in our schools, I want to acknowledge the many contributions of our military members that often can go unseen in the operation of a school district.

Our school district could not do all the things it currently does without our military partnership with the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA). Our DoDEA grants during the last five years have provided a large portion of the Chromebooks students use daily, our AVID programs at secondary schools, curriculum and training resources for math and science, and most recently our work in social emotional learning across the district. 

In our elementary and middle schools, a large cadre of dads volunteer in Watch DOGS (Dads of Great Students). Many of our Watch DOGS are military members who give significant time supporting students. We are also partnering with JBLM to increase our mental health supports for students.  

A military and family life counselor works with our students weekly and is a truly valuable resource. Our local Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) organization has been incredibly benevolent in providing food for families during the holidays. When we celebrate our veterans this week, we are not only thanking them for their service, we are also acknowledging how much stronger we are as a school district because of their support.  

Thank you, veterans, for all you do for us.

November also brings an opportunity for families to meet with their teachers about student progress.  

Parent-teacher conferences will take place the week of Thanksgiving and will be scheduled directly through each school. 

While we are in this remote learning environment, it is critical that teachers and counselors connect with families.  

In addition to our direct work with students, the holiday months allow us to support families in a variety of ways; and there is significant need now. Our schools are amazing this time of year with food drives, blanket, coat and clothing drives, and other supports for families in need.  

Most of these efforts are in conjunction with our community partners.  

Please contact us or your neighborhood school if you know a family that needs support. 

•••

Brian Wharton is the superintendent for Yelm Community Schools. 

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