School update for superintendent

– Submitted by San Juan Island School District Superintendent Danna Diaz

November is the month to be thankful and I would like to take this opportunity to thank the school board, administrators, teachers, staff, students, parents and the community for making the San Juan Island School District one of the best school districts in the State of Washington.

The month of October was busy with the San Juan Public School Foundation Phone-a-Thon, the 100 Day Report Community Meeting, the Transportation Department’s Bus Ridership, Friday Harbor High School’s Homecoming, and the Friday Harbor Elementary School Halloween Parade.

State Rep. Kristine Lytton met island superintendents and board representatives, including June Arnold, vice chairwoman of the school board of directors, and myself, to brainstorm on how we may be able to collaborate in the future. It was a great meeting on Lopez Island!

San Juan County Health and Community Services conducted flu clinics for students and staff at our schools. The school board approved the Capital and Technology Levy recommendations. The district has begun committee meetings focused on the areas of Finance, Emergency Preparedness, Wellness, and more.

Our recent state test scores are astonishing. We surpassed the state scores at all levels on the Smarter Balanced Assessment.

This November, we will meet with the University of Washington to consult about adding a course for our College in the High School curriculum. Right now, students are offered oceanography.

Our community dinner is Nov. 4 at 5:30 p.m. Sen. Kevin Ranker (D-Orcas) is planning a visit to our new STEM building, Nov. 10 at 1 p.m.

Have you noticed our capital improvements; for example, parking lot stripes at the high school? We have been meeting and planning for continued capital improvements. Floors are being completed and painters are refreshing the Turnbull Gym exterior. If you see Facilities Manager Garrett Holmes, let him know he is doing a great job. I would also like to thank John and Eric Gresseth of John Gresseth Architects for their support in the capital improvement process. Business Manager Jose Domenech is making sure we stay on budget and on time with our projects.

Did you know we have a Washington State Immunization Law? RCW 28A-100-120 requires every child attending a school is fully immunized unless exempt for medical, personal, or religious reasons. If immunizations are not up to date, the law requires that your child will be prevented from attending school.

Not only do students have to be immunized but also employees. I received an email from our human resources coordinator to ensure I have up-to-date records and documentation regarding the MMR vaccine. Our responsibility is to ensure all students and employees are safe. San Juan County Health and Community Services is reviewing all of our student records to ensure we are following the law.

I look forward to hearing from you about how we can best provide an exceptional education to our community’s children. Call my office at 370-7905 or email me at