Welcome to 2020! The start of a new decade is exciting. I am not sure how I feel knowing that nearly all our students were born after 2000. I am positive, however, that our school district will continue to grow and achieve on behalf of our 5,800 students.
2019 ended on a high note with our school board receiving “Board of Distinction” recognition by the state school directors association. It is well-deserved recognition for a group of volunteers who are highly committed to our district and students. We are eager to see many successes in 2020.
Here is a sampling of the new and exciting projects 2020 will bring for our students, families and community.
• In April, we break ground on the construction of the new Yelm Middle School. We are truly excited about the design of the new facility and the improvements it will bring on and around the campus. Work is nearly done moving the facilities operation from the YMS campus over to our property at Fort Stevens. Demolition of the old facilities buildings will be the first work our community will see.
• On Feb. 11, voters in our district will be asked to renew our expiring levy. The new levy will be smaller than the one it replaces both in rate and total collection. Levies pay for athletics and activities, special education costs, counselors, nurses and safety staff not funded by the state. The McCleary legislation deliberately kept the need for levies as part of school funding. It only decreased the dependence on levies as part of a district’s total budget.
• Our school board has directed an exciting new opportunity to have a student representative serve with the board. This non-voting representative will help meet the board’s goal to increase student voice and to create a direct conduit with the schools. We want to more deeply understand what our students feel they need to be successful in school and after graduation.
• Graduate Yelm! will continue to grow in community partnerships and personal pledge membership. By June, we will have 150 partners in the Graduate Yelm! Network and at least 100 individuals committed to creating the environment necessary for all our students to graduate with a plan for the future. Come join us!
On behalf of our entire staff and school board, we are excited for what 2020 will bring. Please take time to visit our schools. They are incredibly positive and supportive environments for students. There are many athletic events, concerts, festivals and events that are open to the community. Please come see all the great things our students do on a daily basis. It is a privilege to serve this community.
Brian Wharton is superintendent for Yelm Community Schools.