Superintendent’s Corner: Brighter Days

Mima Mounds at sunset Olympia, WA

While many people see the beginning of a new calendar year as an opportunity to set goals and resolutions, I would argue those happen on a fairly regular basis for us. What I do like about January is that we start climbing out of “The Big Dark,” and each day has a little more daylight in it. This time of year is also the start of the legislative session, which can usher in additional changes as well

As I wrote about in October, changes continue to be a constant. New staff, new opportunities, and sometimes new regulations. We — a collective of many staff — are keeping tabs on lots of legislative action that could eventually have an impact on the services we offer, the way in which we offer them, or opportunities for us to be creative in finding solutions. In many instances, what we are looking for is either clarity or additional resources. If at any point you have some questions about a piece of legislation and its possible impact, feel free to reach out to me, and I’ll do my best to let you know what I know.

I don’t know about you, but I had a hard time fathoming what 2024 might look like when I was younger. Quite honestly, I wasn’t sure I’d even be alive in 2024. The one thing I don’t miss is writing checks. That was the bane of all calendar shifts as you wrote checks and constantly put the previous year down. While those issues seem out of date, one of the big accomplishments for 2024 that I would like to see is additional support and progress toward supporting our students and families in the region through various avenues where obstacles have existed for years. I’d love to see the special education cap eliminated or, at a minimum, increased. I’d like to see additional support in the area of physical and mental health support directly to our students. Finally, I’d like to see increases in early learning support and expanded access to meals for our students through the federal government. There are plenty of other bills that would be supportive of the work we do with both students and adults, so stay tuned. I have a feeling 2024 will be an interesting and impactful year for us all…hopefully in a good way.

Much of this talks about our support of the students and families in our region, which is the driving force behind what we do. However, I am cognizant of the support we need to offer the adults who support the students and families in our individual districts and schools that are all different sizes. I appreciate what each and every one of you does to support the work of ESD113. 

With much gratitude!

Dr. Flip Herndon