By Nancy Truitt Pierce
It’s the start of another school year and I want to thank all the groups in Monroe and beyond who have reached out to help our kids over the summer and as they prepared to come back to school. I am amazed and delighted at the generous and enthusiastic support of so many in this town. Here are just a few of the ones I know about. Please let me know what else you’ve heard of, too.
The Sky Valley Food Bank
Neil Watkins and his team of volunteers have been wonderful partners again this year. They prepared backpacks full of school supplies for kids who needed help. They also bring backpacks of food for kindergarten and first-graders for families in need to use over the weekend each Friday of the school year.
For the second year, the YMCA hosted a Jump Start session in August to help kids who were entering kindergarten. They provided an intensive orientation for nine days at two of our elementary schools that gave the kids an easier entry into their new school experience. Thank you to Patsy Cudaback and her team!
Sultan-Monroe Masonic Lodge #160
The Benevolent Order of Masons held their Bikes for Books reading program again this summer. They partnered with the Monroe branch of the Sno-Isle Library system to challenge kids to read 10 books or 1,000 pages over the summer. Anyone who succeeded had their name entered in a drawing to win one of two shiny new bikes (one for a girl and one for a boy). It was another huge success, attracting more than 600 kids to the challenge. Thank you to Betsy Lewis and her team, plus all the members of the Masons!
Again this year, the Monroe Police Department hosted “Walk Your Child to School” to remind families and kids of important safety tips. Thank you to Sgt. Irving and all the Monroe police officers who came out to meet the kids and their families on Sept. 10. Thank you to the Natural Leaders and the PTA of Fryelands Elementary for all their help that morning!
WABS & Boeing
For the sixth year in a row, the Washington Alliance for Better Schools and the Boeing Company are providing an Afterschool Math and Science Program which promotes hands-on math and science learning experiences in an afterschool environment. Using activities designed by local teachers, Boeing engineers volunteer their time to lead activities that reinforce math and science concepts. Both Park Place Middle and Hidden River Middle school are participants.
WABS also provided an externship experience for our math and science teachers from the middle and high schools over the summer. It is a high-profile opportunity for teachers to gain valuable, hands-on professional experience, enabling them to connect their curriculum to real-world applications.
Monroe High School Link Crew
Over 100 upperclassmen at Monroe High School stepped up to help our new freshman have an easier entry into high school. The leaders gave up two and half days of their summer for Link Crew training and preparation. Then on the first day of school each took a small group of freshmen and helped the ninth-graders learn about Monroe High School, show them around the campus, tell them what to expect as a high school student and act as their mentors for the remainder of this school year. Thank you Link Crew leaders!
Too many to name!
One more shout out to all our partners who brought activities to Frank Wagner Elementary over the summer. They include the Senior Center, Monroe Library, YMCA, MPD, Boys and Girls Club, MPS Foundation – timed to complement the summer lunch program and Frank Wagner Summer Reading Club.
And we can always use more help! One of the strongest predictors of academic success is a child’s wealth of experiences. Not all families in Monroe have the resources or work schedules to do that for their child. The more we can come together as a community to help them, the more of a chance they have to succeed. Please think about what else YOU can do to help. We have a lot of volunteer opportunities so call the Community Connections Coordinator, Sue Skillen, at (360) 804-4317 to get involved. We will gladly accept all the help we can get!
Nancy Truitt Pierce occupies Position #2 on the Monroe School District Board of Directors.