San Juan Island School District

March, 2016

San Juan Island School District Superintendent Danna Diaz Letter to the Community

I want to begin my monthly update by thanking our school district’s classified employees. Classified employees include our bus drivers, custodians, kitchen crew, secretaries, office managers, and paraeducators.  In short, anyone who is not a teacher!  This past week was proclaimed by Governor Inslee as Classified Employee Appreciation Week, in recognition of their contributions to public education. These individuals deserve recognition every day and I would like to personally thank them for their commitment and dedication to the students, staff and families.

The purpose of public education is to prepare students for life beyond high school. It is the launching pad for their future. Our seniors are busy applying to colleges and universities, completing scholarships and FAFSA applications. Most importantly, they are receiving their acceptance letters from colleges and universities. Just stop by High School Counselor Gordy Waite’s office and you will see an acceptance letter wall of fame. Congratulations! I am looking forward to attending the graduation ceremony in June.

At the secondary level, we started to implement the High School and Beyond Plan. It is a collection of written documents designed to help students think about their future and choose coursework that prepares them for their goals after high school. Please make sure your child understands his/her plan and how we may better serve him/her.

Randy Dorn, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, recently published an article for families and students so that they understand the process on how to plan for college. Here is the link:

Earlier this month, we facilitated a session with the Arts Leadership Team so that they can give the district strategic direction. The four strategies that were developed are:

1)    Engaging & empowering teachers to provide quality Arts instruction,

2)    Advocating to district leadership for equitable Arts policy, funding, and implementation,

3)    Celebrating and sharing student learning and achievement in the Arts, and

4)    Fostering community awareness of the impact and value of the Arts.


Thank you to the Arts Leadership Team for taking time to provide the district with direction.

Later this month, we will facilitate strategic planning and we hope you will attend the sessions for families and the community:

Monday, March 28 from 5:00 - 6:30 pm or

Tuesday, March 29, from 8:00 - 9:30 am, in the FHHS library.

I would like to learn from the community and the Board of Directors what goals you would like for me to accomplish the next five years. 

There are so many ideas and so much creativity in the STEM building that we have to continue to plan for the future. This spring I will be working with a team to facilitate STEM goal development. Our teachers and staff have been attending training, learning about the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). In May, secondary math and science teachers will have specific professional development in these subject areas on the island.

We are in the process of upgrading our website. We are excited to improve how we communicate with you. Our students, teachers and parents have selected a new template and we will be working on the design in May.

This summer we will have a plethora of capital projects at our schools. Here are just a few of the projects; the elementary school will have a fire suppression system installed that will include a sprinkler system and smoke detectors, the middle school will have a fire alarm system upgrade as well as a structural evaluation and gutter repair, and the high school will get a new roof, fire alarm system upgrade, an HVAC controls upgrade and new heat pumps.  We will be planning the design of the Turnbull Gym locker rooms and will upgrade the school kitchens.

Did you know that our buses have new radios? Yes, the bus drivers can now more reliably communicate with our transportation supervisor. Safety is paramount and the radios will allow us to keep our students and drivers safe. In addition, Transportation Supervisor Joe Gamez has moved the bus fleet to a new bus yard, again, in the interest of safety in the parking lot.

I am proud to say that this past week, we had over 45 students register for kindergarten. We are excited that parents have chosen our district for their child’s K-12 education. If you know of students eligible for kindergarten, let them know that the San Juan Island School District offers full day kindergarten. We would like to offer them an extraordinary education.

If you have any questions, you may contact me via email at or by phone at 360.370.7905. I would like to thank each and every one of you for giving me the opportunity to live, work and learn on San Juan Island.   I appreciate your support.