March Message From Superintendent Rundle on Ramadan, Women's History Month, Student Recognition and New Websites
Dear Mercer Island Community,
Welcome to March! Winter is not yet behind us, but longer days and buds forming on trees give us hope that spring is coming. We have spring athletics, Fine Arts Showcase, and so much more to look forward to in March. In addition to highlighting Women’s History Month and Ramadan, I have a new feature in the monthly newsletter to spotlight accomplishments of our students from the previous month. I hope our community sees the incredible ways our students are excelling in and out of the classroom. When our staff, schools, and community work together our students’ potential is limitless.
Before launching into our celebrations let me offer a quick reminder that we had a snow day earlier this year, making Monday, March 20 a school day.
Women’s History Month
March is Women’s History month. This month our schools and classrooms will honor the contributions women have made to the development and accomplishments of our country. It is believed the original roots of this day began during factory protests in the 1850’s, but it gained momentum in the mid to latter parts of the last century. President Carter issued the first proclamation during the week of March 8, 1980. Congress followed in 1987 by designating the entire month Women’s History Month.
Ms. Scheurich, West Mercer 3rd grade teacher, developed a set of resources accessible for students and families. This is one of many artifacts either developed by MISD staff or assembled to promote Women’s History Month.
I know our work to elevate women politically, economically, and professionally continues, but I am proud to work in Mercer Island. We are a community where women serve as leaders of our schools, hold elected positions at the federal, state, and local (school board and city council) levels, serve as the City Manager of MI, operate the Boys and Girls Club, and impact our school district as volunteers and staff members. Women have and will continue to make notable contributions to MISD!
Our Islamic community members will observe the holy month of Ramadan, which commences March 22 and ends April 20 on Eid al-Fitr. While many only associate fasting from dawn to sundown with Ramadan, it is also an important time for Muslims to increase the study of the Quran, highlight community and generosity, and more intentionally commit to their faith.
Our schools will increase our collective awareness of Ramadan and how this may alter our student’s routines and lives in and out of school. Just as we have done with other religions, our schools will make accommodations for our students, especially on Eid al-Fitr. To our Muslim friends, neighbors, and students, “Ramadan Mubarek.”
Highlighting the Whole-Child- Our Students In and Out of the Classroom
During February, we recognized and honored some incredible accomplishments of our students both in and out of the classroom. We value the whole child, and want to showcase their incredible contributions. I have heard from community members that they want to hear more about our students. I could have called out more to be sure, but here is a snapshot from February!
- 2023 National Merit Finalists- Congratulations to MIHS students Tong Lin, Samara Bluming, Charlotte Wood, Rachel Senn, Eliot Geer, Miles Silverman, and Emily Horton King!
- On February 3 after the performance by MIHS Drama of “And A Child Shall Lead” cast members participated in a talkback conversation with the audience and a representative from the Anti-Defamation League.
- A great round of applause for IMS students who helped raise funds for the Red Cross for Turkey-Syria Earthquake Relief. IMS students working together raised $919. Great job by the students.
- The MIHS Unified Basketball Team had a great season, which ended in February.
- MIHS Students in Ms. Wiatr’s French Class celebrated Crepe Day, which represents the sun returning from the long months of winter.
- It was great to recognize the Girls Swim and Dive team at the February 9 Board Meeting for winning the 3A State Championship. And in February, MIHS Boys Swim and Dive won their third consecutive 3A State Championship.
- MIHS students were very involved in celebrating Black History Month as Andy Nystrom from the Mercer Island Reporter highlighted.
- On February 16, the MIHS Bel Canto Choir delivered Singing Valentines to students and staff.
- Student Board Representatives Andrew Howison and Asha Woerner and Board Representative to the Puget Sound ESD Mustafa Agha were at Day On The Hill in Olympia this past weekend and met with Senator Lisa Wellman, Representative My-Linh Thai, and Representative Tana Senn, and Governor Jay Inslee.
- MIHS junior Ava Yeh was selected as one of two harpists in the country to be named to the prestigious National Youth Orchestra. In July Ava will attend a two-week training in New York and then embark with the orchestra on a tour of North America. Congratulations Ava!
- MIHS senior Milo Mechem-Miller is heading to New York for the national Shakespear competition after placing first in the Seattle Shakespeare competition this past weekend. Milo had to perform a monologue and a sonnet from Shakespeare’s canon. What a great accomplishment Milo!
- I ended February with a Rare Disease Day video message which is me in a zebra suit with MIHS mascot Herbert the Snail sharing information about rare diseases and how MISD students and families are impacted by rare diseases and how our community can help.
This morning we relaunched the District website and all our school websites. We are really excited for the capabilities of our new sites, from the use of video to translations of our pages into different languages, to a better look and design of the sites, we know they will be tools that will help our community.
Here are the URLs of each of our seven sites:
MISD - https://www.mercerislandschools.org/
MIHS - https://mihs.mercerislandschools.org/
IMS - https://ims.mercerislandschools.org/
Island Park - https://ip.mercerislandschools.org/
Lakeridge - https://lr.mercerislandschools.org/
Northwood - https://nw.mercerislandschools.org/
West Mercer - https://wm.mercerislandschools.org/
We have a message on the District site highlighting several aspects of the sites we think our community will find important and we put together a video tour of our sites which can be helpful to navigating the sites. There is a correction button in the upper right of all sites, so if you see an error or misspelling, let us know by filling out the form, which you can also find here.
In honor of Inclusive Schools Week, WASA is partnering with the Mercer Island School District to present a showing of the film This is Not About Me followed by a forum with the film’s star Jordyn Zimmerman and Mercer Island High School graduate, Grant Blasko.
Humankind. Last November, I attended a conference with our student representatives to the school board, Director Lurie, and Director Tucker. Guest speaker, Dr. Adolph Brown, delivered one of those keynotes that leaves you reflecting, wondering, and thinking well beyond the ride or flight back home.
This past week, the Mercer Island School District held three community engagement sessions to present proposals and ideas from the Long Range Facilities Planning Committee. While nothing has been decided, the presentations and feedback from the community will help the District complete the final Long Range Facility Plan (LRFP).
If you have not already, you might hear about threats from Hamas calling for violent acts to be brought against Jewish people globally on October 13, tomorrow.