I would like to share my perspective on the past year at North Wall Schools and our future vision for the school, staying true to the mission of North Wall which is to
Nurture Wonder And Life-long Learning.
Leadership: We met our goal of transferring leadership from myself to Leslie Watkins, Head of School, and the responsibilities of Wayne Swanson, our past Business Manager at the school, to Christine Ruby, Director of Operations, along with the bookkeeping to Kara Lee. I am now working very part-time as Executive Director in supporting the continued fulfillment of our dream to “nurture excellence” at NWS.
Staff: Together we met our goal of continuing to inspire high quality teachers who believe in our mission and have the talents to implement it. We have a very low turn-over rate, and the average longevity of our staff is 8 years. We also felt like we met the goal of supporting the staff in continuing their pursuit of further knowledge and education. All of our staff attended some form of educational workshop outside of the school as well as the monthly in-services and the semi-annual 2 day in-depth trainings offered at the school. Three of our staff have post graduate degrees, and one of our staff is pursuing a graduate degree.
Global Connection and Community Service: Another goal that was met was to increase our connection with children in Guatemala through Roots and Wings International and to support North Wall children in learning Spanish. In addition, we supported Kira’s closet, Coats for Kids and the Mead Food Bank in our local community.
Long Term Resources: Another goal was to provide long term resources to sustain the operation of the program. We have developed strong leaders by sponsoring our Executive Director and our Head of School to attend the Global Leadership Summit and also sponsoring our Gifted and Talented Instructor and our Gifted and Talented Coordinator to attend the Washington Education for the Talented and Gifted Conference. We have improved the campus by resurfacing and striping the parking lots, remodeling 2 classrooms for better functioning, re-roofing the main building, and revamping a public bathroom.
Curriculum: We continue to meet our commitment to provide a challenging, well-rounded, individualized, project-oriented curriculum by teaching literature, math, science, engineering, technology as well as art, PE, music and Spanish. We are one half of the way to our goal of providing a notebook or laptop for every student in the 2nd-6th grade. We celebrated learning through many culminating activities such as monthly field trips, an all-school play for our Christmas program, another historical drama, and a 2nd-6th grade spring trip at the end of the school year.
Assessment: Even though we do not “teach to the test”, our 2nd graders performed above the national average scores on the ITBS standardized test administered to them last spring, and our 3rd-6th graders scored above district and state average scores on the Smarter Balance, Washington State’s standardized test, which is given to all public school students. We updated our collaborative goal setting process of students, parents, and teachers and now use SMART goals. We assess all students 3 times per year using our own Progress Reports and see each student advancing according to his/her own ability and passion.
Future Vision: I am excited to be the Executive Director of such a thriving school and am grateful that our grandchildren and others are able to attend North Wall up through 6th grade. The program is exemplary and unique in individualizing for the gifted child as well as all children. In the future, I see the school growing and continuing to be a place where each student is honored for his/her God-given talents and encouraged to become a positive member of our local community and also to become a contributing member of the world community. I am honored to be able to continue my life-long commitment to this school even while I am semi-retired!