Lakewood will listen on what to do next

By Scott Peacock

Since last week’s returns from the Lakewood School District special levy election, I have found myself reflecting upon what drew me to the district—what I experienced and felt during my interview and in the days, weeks and months since being invited into this community as your superintendent.

What I saw, and still see, is a fierce sense of pride and independence in the people who have carved out a district that distinguishes itself from Stanwood, Marysville and Arlington. This community maintains a powerful sense of history and interconnectedness, even in the face of growth and change. I also see a community that takes pride in its schools, as illustrated in the new high school situated in our district’s cultural, geographical and educational center.

Most of all, I see a community that embraces our kids. Whether we come together to watch sports, listen to our bands and choirs or watch a play, we celebrate and support our youth—their successes, their challenges, their pains and their joys. We relive our own hopes, struggles and friendships as a new

generation defines itself within our programs.

Parents, children and staff play together at PTA Gingerbread Nights. At tailgate parties in the fall or ASB movie nights, our high school students socialize across grades and social groups. During conferences, parents and staff put their heads together over student work and progress reports to think together in ways that support our children’s growth.

Our schools are a gift to our children. But they are also a gift to us—whether or not we always see or feel it. They capture a shared history. They bring us together. They sustain a shared purpose. They build a future.

There is no question that taxes are high everywhere and continuing to climb. We all feel the growing burden. These real concerns rang through in this past election and will not be discounted by me or the school board.

As we consider ballot options moving forward, the school board and I will continue to listen. We will weigh the financial concerns of families in our district alongside the growing needs of a changing student population.

We will continue to ensure that the future of our community, embodied in our children, is nurtured through programs that are purposeful and responsive to what many of you have said that you want to create and support.

We will remember what makes Lakewood—Lakewood.

Scott Peacock is the superintendent of the Lakewood School District. His column runs monthly.