- Sumner-Bonney Lake School District
- Superintendent's Messages
September 2019Posted by Laurie Dent on 9/3/2019
Convocation, the District’s back to school event for staff, is the only time of the year when our more than 1,200 staff members gather in one place, for one moment.
I had the pleasure of addressing staff during this valuable moment together to reflect on our districtwide equity initiative, renew energy toward our goal of 100 percent graduation and recognize the powerful moments staff create that change students’ lives.
I hear countless stories from students and staff about such moments that have transformed futures. From discovering a newfound interest in math to being the first in a family to graduate high school, moments have power.
I challenged staff, and I encourage everyone, to commit to being intentional in creating moments that matter in the lives of our youth. Become the author of moments that can change the world.
Please enjoy this short video that captures some highlights from Convocation in relation to making moments that help ensure every student graduates.
Laurie Dent, Ph.D.
June 2019Posted by Laurie Dent on 6/7/2019
Instead of writing about my passion for graduation and pride in increased rates, I’m sharing a lively video that captures the excitement of our entire school district community during this much-anticipated graduation season.
On June 5, more than 500 seniors from both Bonney Lake High School and Sumner High School boarded buses for a tour of all SBLSD schools and Dieringer School District’s three schools.
The expressions and enthusiasm is contagious as you watch our seniors walk the halls for high-fives from elementary and middle school students and staff.
This is a must-watch of a very special and highly-celebrated milestone, which is reached with the help of dedicated staff, families, partners, volunteers and communities.
May 2019Posted by Laurie Dent on 5/1/2019
Every May, the Sumner-Bonney Lake School District takes a moment to celebrate and honor all staff for their commitment in serving every student. Every staff member, in their own special way, plays a pivotal role in building a child’s confidence, character, and future pathway for success.
Because of staff members’ unwavering dedication, our graduation rate is at an all time high (90%!), students are earning national recognition for innovative projects that benefit the greater community, and they’re honing treasured servant leadership skills that are wonderfully special to our District.
From secretaries and custodians to teachers and administrators, I see their heart for kids and their heart for doing what it takes to achieve 100 percent graduation. I often liken our staff to that of a family. A large family, but one with a rare and remarkable culture that we live to our core.
It’s our 1329 dedicated staff members who join as One Team with One Mission to help get every single student across the stage at graduation. This commitment and perseverance is unlike anything I’ve seen anywhere before.
I so very much thank all of our staff, with support from families, partners and the community, for making the Sumner-Bonney Lake School District an award-winning place for all to learn and grow. My deep appreciation for our staff goes beyond these words into heartwarming gratitude for helping achieve the dreams of our deserving students.
Laurie Dent, Ph.D.
April 2019Posted by Laurie Dent on 4/4/2019
Like never before, community is critical to the success of our students. From meeting basic needs to helping students feel safe, cared for and accepted, our Sumner-Bonney Lake community is an amazing and powerful force that makes these things happen.
Actions, indeed, speak louder than words. This has never been more evident than with community events that create connectivity and help facilitate trust, and community awareness of District initiatives that spark challenging conversations.
Here are just some examples of ways you - our staff, families, volunteers and partners - are coming together as a community with common values and a shared purpose to make a positive impact on our kids and in this special place we call home.
Community Summit: The 26th Annual Communities For Families Community Summit, held March 19, saw a record number of attendees - more than 300 - who discussed important topics with timely impacts to the health and wellbeing of students and the community. Participants packed into workshops and contributed to conversations around building hope for teens, vaping, inclusive communities and more. At the event, results from the Community Shoe Drive were unveiled with more than 1,000 pair of shoes donated to our students in need. I thank Bonney Lake Mayor Neil Johnson and Sumner Mayor Bill Pugh for spearheading the successful shoe drive!
Community Cultural Celebration: Did you know there are 28 languages spoken within our District? With every language comes a culture that celebrates a rich history with unique traditions that are fun to share and celebrate. Please join me at the 2nd Annual Community Cultural Celebration on April 27 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Sumner Middle School. Attendees will enjoy booths and activities representing an array of countries and cultures with food, history, performance and more!
SBLSD Equity Initiative: Last August, the District embarked upon a three-year Leading with Equity Initiative, a collaborative effort within our district and among our community to generate awareness and make changes around racial equity. Equity-related work to date includes creation of an Equity Task Force, ongoing staff trainings and book studies, policy reviews and youth forums with opportunity for equity-focused dialogue. This is only the beginning; I'm eager to continue this important work!
It's through the social bonds and meaningful relationships within our Sumner-Bonney Lake community that help create and maintain the wellbeing of students and their families. I'm incredibly grateful and very much value this community and their unwavering support for the District.
Laurie Dent, Ph.D
March 2019Posted by Laurie Dent on 3/6/2019
Sunshine, tulips, daffodils and graduation robes are all in the near future!! Spring is on its way! When some people get spring fever, I get graduation fever. I'm already counting down to my most rewarding time of the year, when I have the privilege and honor of watching our students walk across the stage to receive their well-earned diplomas.
In the quest for 100 percent graduation, it's important to recognize that each graduate takes their own unique path in reaching the momentous occasion. Whether it's needing a bit longer than four years to graduate or overcoming learning disabilities, our rising graduation rates represent a purposeful and vigilant focus on closing the achievement gap among specific student groups.
Here are some notable gains within our 2018 graduating class:
Graduation Increase: COHORTS
The 2017, 5-year graduation rate of 91% represents an all-time high for SBLSD!
Graduation Increase: SPECIAL PROGRAMS
Graduation Increase: RACE
These achievements affirm my commitment to 100 percent graduation and illustrate what I often say, "all means all." Regardless of students' skin color, ability or socioeconomic status, everyone deserves the opportunity to succeed with a firm belief that they can graduate. Together, as a District and a community, we're making great strides in our graduation of all.
February 2018Posted by Laurie Dent on 2/15/2019Connecting with kids is critical to understanding how we can improve as a District. Since becoming Superintendent, I've made it a priority to meet with high school students on a regular basis for open and honest conversations about their school experiences with topics ranging from safety and bell schedules to course offerings and lunches.This year, and most of last year, my conversations have focused around what the District can do to create school environments where students feel safe in simply being themselves -- regardless of race, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion or socioeconomic status.I very much admire students' courage to speak their truth while feeling assured that what they say will be heard and not dismissed. While at times their honesty is painful to digest, it's also fortifying when they feel comfortable voicing their ideas and advocating for the safety of their friends. Make no mistake, hearing stories of hurtful racial and bigoted slurs in our classrooms and hallways cuts deep. These incidents must stop.Everyone is entitled to a positive learning environment that embraces all differences. Connecting with students in a way that helps us develop relationships, maximizes the District's ability to make this a reality.These conversations rest heavily on my heart and call me back everyday to help lead the change that makes all students feel celebrated, challenged and cared for. Students, indeed, are a vital part of effecting this transformative, positive change.
January 2019Posted by Laurie Dent on 1/16/2019
As I watch this video, I'm inspired by the writings of staff and students whose hope embodies kindness, inclusion, and the success of every child. Seeing how these hopes between staff and students are so much connected is encouraging in my journey for unity.
As we continue to talk about "hope," my hope remains that, as a district and a community, we face changes that need to happen in order to unite together in an act of solidarity to make every child feel special and a part of our community.
Unity is strength. Together, we can form a collective mindset so that every child is celebrated, challenged and cared for. I invite you to join me in this journey.
I encourage you to watch this heart-warming video. Should it spark a hope within you, please share it using #SBLSDHope.
November 2018Posted by Laurie Dent on 11/8/2018
October 2018Posted by Laurie Dent on 10/10/2018
June 2018Posted by Laurie Dent on 6/11/2018
Dear Sumner School District Community,
As Superintendent of the Sumner School District, I stand committed to the students we serve every day. I take great pride in leading an exemplary district known for academic excellence, strong instructional programs, award winning athletic and extracurricular programs, and outstanding community support.
I take my responsibility seriously to ensure our students and families feel cared for, celebrated, and academically challenged at school. EVERY student in this district provides a unique richness and plays an integral part of our culture.
Based on numerous in-depth conversations with students, staff, families, and community members, I have learned that some students feel afraid to come to school and are hurting because they are being, or have been, taunted, teased or ridiculed by others.
Any hateful rhetoric heard in our hallways, buses, playgrounds, and classrooms must end — plain and simple. I find it appalling that some students fear coming to school because of their religious beliefs, sexual orientation, racial background, or socio-economic status.
As a District, we have a moral and ethical obligation to take action. Students need our protection, advocacy, and reassurance now more than ever. Students who are harassed, bullied, and/or intimidated by others need to feel safe in reporting and be assured that their concern will be heard and investigated.
We will fight our hardest to make sure every child feels protected, valued, and cared for no matter their race, sexual orientation, religion, or ethnicity. Firm consequences will be issued to students who act in offensive and hateful ways toward others.
This week, families, students, staff and community members will have access to an online conversation that allows everyone to confidentially share their thoughts and concerns about this topic. Your feedback is critical in helping me gain a greater understanding of ways we can improve as a District. I, in turn, pledge to review and study comments and suggestions as an opportunity to learn and grow while helping every student reach 100% graduation.
In the upcoming months, there will be additional opportunities for you to provide input and partner with us on examining issues of equity and inclusion. Please watch for announcements or invitations on our district website. I highly encourage you to get involved.
To report harassment, intimidation, or bullying, go to www.sumnersd.org/safety or notify your school principal if you see or hear anything that concerns you.
Laurie Dent, Ph.D.