John Hay Families,
Last week, Partners approved the school grant amount for the 2015-2016 school year. This grant supports programs no longer funded by the district- programs that are deemed critical by the staff at John Hay in ensuring the success of every student. It is important to share the details with you as there would be no grant to approve if it weren’t for your continued financial support.
As Dr. LaRock stated in his email to families last Friday, the goal for next year is to provide stability and support to the staff, students and families as we all navigate through the many changes that will take place including new programs, new curriculum, new office staff and new leadership. In addition, several classrooms are starting next year at capacity and others will start at only 1 under capacity. In order to provide the amount of stability and support requested by the staff, Partners approved a grant amount that is larger than previous years. The grant allocates funds for critical academic support programs and a significant increase in counselor presence. The grant also continues to fund the ongoing administrative support we have been able to offer in years past.
RCS (Reduction In Class Size), extra reading support, which is part of LAP (Learning Assistance Program), and the school counselor will demand most of the $245,000 approved by Partners last week. It is astounding to know how much these important academic support programs cost, but this is the reality with which we are faced. All three of these programs have proven to be extremely beneficial to the success of every student.
RCS ensures that kids will receive instruction in core math and/or reading subjects at reduced class sizes that will distribute students from 2 or 3 classes to 3 or 4, respectively. The increased amount of personal attention each child receives from the teacher could never happen without RCS. The teacher is able to teach to the level of each child, supporting those that need a little extra help, and pushing those that need more challenge. LAP works in much the same way as RCS, offering extra reading support in smaller groups to those who need it.
The counselor position will more than double in size this next school year, increasing from 1.5 to 4 days per week. The support that Ms. Weissenborn has given students, staff and families this year has been invaluable. Increasing this support will ensure that more students and families get the support they need. To quote Dr. LaRock, “this increase will [also] allow John Hay to grow a comprehensive social emotional school-wide program to provide us all with a common language, common tools, and common positive behavior approaches to student conduct.” Increasing the counselor position will help provide the “stability and support” needed this next school year.
The role of John Hay Partners is to work with the administration and staff in carrying out the CSIP (Continuous School Improvement Plan). We are all aligned in our priorities for the kids- academic support first, enrichment second. We have been fortunate in recent years to have enough money to fund both, thanks to the generous families at John Hay. Due to the increase in academic support needs, and the increase in how much these programs cost, the grant approved last week only covers academic support. We as a community need to accept the fact that we may not be able to fund some of the enrichment programs we have enjoyed over the last few years, specifically Seattle Children’s Theater and Instrumental Music.
Partners is so incredibly appreciative of your continued financial support. We understand what a luxury it is to have such a dedicated community. This dedication and show of support is what makes John Hay such a special school. Partners is joining Dr. LaRock in asking everyone to buy in to this support. For the stability of our teachers, students, and staff, it will be a necessity. Please show your support at the auction this coming Saturday, or make a tax deductible donation at anytime, so we can continue to make John Hay great for every student for years to come!
John Hay Partners Board