Dear Wapato School District Families,
I hope each of you can join me in saying, “It’s been a great start to the school year.” Teachers and support staff alike worked diligently prior to the start of the school year and over the last couple of months to assure not only a smooth start, but a continuous positive experience for all.
During my initial Welcome Back presentation to all district employees on August 27th, I stressed the importance of teamwork. Our mission as a district is to prepare our students for success in the global economy. To accomplish this, our students must be ready for college, trade school, military, or the work field right after graduation. To best accomplish this we, as a community, must function as a team. Each and every one of us play a vital role in the education of our students. This includes district employees, parents/guardians, uncles, aunts, grandparents, and the community as a whole. I applaud those of you that have engaged in your child’s education. If you have not engaged in your child’s education, I challenge and encourage you to join us and get involved. Please feel free to contact your child’s principal or teacher if you have any questions on how you can help make a positive impact on your child’s education.
One of the district’s four Improvement Goals is “Maintaining and Strengthening Safe and Secure Schools.” In our efforts to keep your children as safe as possible, Wapato School District contracted with Yakima County Sheriff’s department in acquiring SRO (School Resource Officer) Bobby Miranda, who is fully dedicated to our district. SRO Miranda has been a wonderful asset to our district and has been establishing positive relationships with staff, students and parents. Although SRO Miranda is visible in all buildings, the majority of this time is focused at our Wapato Middle School, Wapato High School, and PACE. In addition to our SRO, we have continued our partnership with Phoenix Security. Phoenix Security provides four SSO’s (School Security Officers). Two of the four are dedicated to our four elementary schools, and the other two are dedicated to our secondary schools. We are pleased to have SRO Miranda and the SSO’s on our team.
Wapato Public Schools is making a concerted effort to be balanced in our approach to safety and security by focusing on prevention, intervention, enforcement and recovery. We have initiated SEL (Social Emotional Learning) throughout the district. Social Emotional Learning (SEL) is defined as the process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions. Our elementary schools have adopted and are currently implementing the Caring School Communities curriculum. Our middle school is implementing OSPI’s SEL curriculum and Botvin’s Life Skills Curriculum: Promoting Health and Personal Development. Wapato High School utilizes their Wapato Way to teach and develop SEL skills during their Advisory classes on a monthly basis. PACE is in their third year implementing the School Connect SEL curriculum. Principals have shared that teaching Social Emotional Learning strategies is leading to higher student achievement in academics, better attendance, fewer behavior referrals, and a general increase in positive and civil behaviors amongst their students.
Although implementing SEL skills is making an impact on attendance, please keep in mind that attendance has a direct correlation to student achievement. The more a student is in school the more the student learns. For every day your child is absent, six (6) hours of instructional time is lost. Research shows that students that miss less than seven (7) days in a school year are more likely to be on track, as opposed to students missing more than seven (7) days. If fact, students missing more than seven (7) days are at risk or in danger of falling behind and getting off track and not graduating. Therefore, we strongly encourage you to do all you can to assure your child has his/her best attendance year ever.
Wapato Public Schools truly appreciates you and your support. The value you place on the education of your student is commendable. Thank you. I look forward to the continued partnership throughout the rest of the school year.
Kelly Garza, Superintendent