Each month, Dr. Zorn reaches out to our business community via the Kelso Longview Chamber of Commerce newsletter with information about the successes and challenges of our public schools.
On the heels of a wonderful Thanksgiving spent with my family, I am also inclined to reflect upon my incredibly rewarding 17 months in Longview. There are many things in Longview for which I have deep gratitude; I am so grateful to be a part of a school district and community that is committed to meeting the unique needs of each of the students our schools serve.
I am convinced that there is no more important work than the work of the public educator and consider myself blessed to engage in this work with the excellent public educators in the Longview Schools. I am also grateful for the support of the Longview/Kelso business community for providing abundant support and encouragement in the work that we do. We have much to celebrate in the Longview Schools!
Recently, I had the pleasure of acknowledging RA Long High School’s receipt of Washington’s 2016 School of Distinction Award for improved graduation rates. We have also learned that our district wide graduation rate has risen 8% since 2012. Mark Morris High School’s PE department was recently awarded the 2016-17 National Healthy Schools Bronze Award and the 2016-17 Let’s Move Active Schools Award. This is the second year in a row that MMHS has received the Let’s Move award, along with Cascade, Monticello and Mt. Solo middle schools; and Columbia Heights, CVG, Kessler, Mint Valley, Northlake, Olympic Robert Gray and St. Helens elementary schools. Our two high schools had 27 of their 2016 fall athletic teams receive WIAA Scholastic Team Awards due to their outstanding academic performance in the classroom.
Our Design for Excellence is providing a focused path forward as we work to improve upon the achievement levels of all of our students. We have an invigorated focus on literacy and are providing extensive support and challenge for our young readers. Through our district’s partnership with the Longview Rotary Club we have begun unveiling our Free Little Libraries that will be in front of each of our elementary schools. We have partnered with Columbia Wellness to provide mental health support to our students, and have provided improved emotional and behavioral support to our students through the addition of middle school counselors and climate and culture specialists in our high poverty elementary schools. Our teacher induction and mentoring program is providing supports to our newest teachers, providing them the assistance necessary for them to be effective, career teachers. These are just a few examples of the excellent work that is being done in the Longview Public Schools.
I am thankful for the many community volunteers who have given their time to help make our schools better places of learning for our students—traditionally our volunteers amass more than 30,000 hours of service to our students each year. Our Strategic Plan Review Process involved over 20 community members who gave a day of their precious time to learn about the work being done in our schools to improve student achievement. Finally, we are blessed to have a dedicated and supportive board of directors who give tremendous amounts of unpaid time to make things better for the children of our community. I could not be more proud to be a part of the Longview Schools and the Longview community.