As the 2013-14 school year begins, we would like to take this opportunity to welcome our students to the Puyallup public schools. The support from our community has been outstanding throughout the years and has resulted in a school system that consistently produces student performance marks which exceed the state average in every academic category. Our graduation rates have been steadily improving and also outpace the state by several percentage points.
The Board of Directors of the Puyallup School District has made it a priority to reach out and serve the children of our community in ways that we have not attempted previously. In our district, students will find an award-winning arts program and access to very robust athletic and co-curricular opportunities. Programs for highly capable students are plentiful, and the will district begin a formal outreach program to our home-school families this fall.
The district also will be working to re-engage young people 16 to 20 years old who have previously dropped out of school. The goal with all of our educational programs is to meet the needs of our community and to make the investments necessary to help each child be successful.
Investing in improved educational technology is another way the district is seeking to support the learning and growth of our students. During the past 12 months, the Puyallup School District has made a concerted effort to prioritize existing funds to upgrade technology for the benefit of students, teachers and the community.
This year, parents will find a new web tool that integrates all of the school, program and district websites. Parents will find new teacher websites and will have the capability to personalize their “parent access” to the system. This will be particularly helpful for parents of multiple school-age children.
In addition to the new web presence, the district has improved the capability of the district network and added more than 2,000 new computers to serve the students in our schools. Additional capacity for more than 1,300 students to work on centrally supported “thin client” workstations within the district also was created.
This summer, more than 1,500 outdated and energy-inefficient CRT monitors were replaced with new clear LED flat-screen monitors which are up to 60 percent more energy-efficient.
During the past year, technology for teachers and principals also was upgraded to make the work of serving our students more efficient.
One of our most exciting projects will be a pilot program at Walker High School which involves students and teachers utilizing one-to-one tablet devices, as well as new teacher presentation technology to enhance learning. There will be smaller pilot programs initiated at Ballou Junior High with the AVID classes, and at Pope Elementary with its QUEST program.
The intent is to develop educational and logistical plans for a broader implementation of one-to-one devices district-wide in the future.
This past June, graduating seniors gained access to a variety of post-secondary educational opportunities, including admission to some of the finest universities in the country. Our students received millions of dollars of scholarship support from foundations and groups within our community.
Your generosity and willingness to support the fine academic work of our students is both inspiring and heartwarming. It is truly special to see a student who is the first in their family to access post-secondary education, and to receive a scholarship that will change their life, in a positive way, forever.
It is with great appreciation for the support of our community that we begin the 2013-14 school year with a message of thanks. The Puyallup School District will continue to be outstanding stewards of the funds provided to us by our public, and our students will enjoy enhanced educational and post-secondary opportunities due to the diligent work of our teachers, principals and support staff.
Thank you for your support of our schools and our community.Timothy S. Yeomans is the superintendent of the Puyallup School District.