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    Letter to Hamilton Families from Superintendent Larry Nyland
    Posted on 05/18/2017

    Dear Hamilton PTSA members,

    Thank you for the opportunity to spend time with the Hamilton PTSA and hear from you regarding your questions. I was excited to be at Hamilton International Middle School! I get to interact with teachers and students on a regular basis.  Every week, I spend time in 3-4 schools, and it is rewarding to see teaching and learning in action. But I don’t often get to spend time with families. I have committed to spending more time in our community; sharing what we are working on centrally; learning what matters to families; and bringing that learning back to my colleagues and staff. I appreciate hearing your top concerns related to dual language immersion, Lincoln High School, busing, and students being ready for 21st century topics. Thank you to Hamilton’s PTSA President, Lisa Smith, and Hamilton’s PTSA Legislative Liaison, Sam Bell, for the invitation and those who attended, including Director Rick Burke, Dwane Chappelle, the City of Seattle liaison to Seattle Public Schools, and Principal Tipton Blish.

    Serving students has been my life long calling and I am pleased to be serving SPS. I am also a graduate of SPS, so serving in this role is like coming home. The success of our students is success for all of us – our entire city. The three key messages I shared about Seattle Public Schools were:

    • We are a high performing urban district. For the past decade, we have consistently outperformed the state and like peers nationally.
    • We continue to have unacceptable gaps between cohorts of our students. Our promise has not been fulfilled to some students – specifically students of color. Many of you may have heard me say that, “Eliminating these gaps is the issue of our time.” It is not just the right and moral thing to do it is in our economic best interest and in the interest of Seattle.
    • We are committed to doing whatever it takes to ensure educational success for every student and we are making demonstrated progress and learning from gap closing schools.
    We are learning what works and sharing this learning across the district. We know that gap eliminating schools in Seattle have the following in place:
    • High quality instructional practices
    • Teachers meet regularly to review student data/work
    • They identify students that struggle
    • They create a clear plan of action and monitor progress
    • And they align the support of community partners towards common goals
    What we have been learning recently:
    • That positive beliefs and positive relationship are correlated with academic growth
    • In gap eliminating schools students believe that an adult at the school cares about them
    • And they feel like they belong
    Why Eliminating Opportunity Gaps (EOG) MATTERS:
    ·         The strategies we are putting into place to serve students who have been historically underserved – improves learning for ALL students
    ·         We are committed to knowing each student by their story, their strength and need
    ·         It is our promise to our students and our promise to our families
    If you have any additional questions, you can email

    Due to the large number of questions received, we have grouped them by topic.

    Click here to see Q&A

    The Q&A will also be distributed to the School Board.
    Thank you, again, for the opportunity to hear directly the concerns and aspirations you have for Hamilton students.

    Dr. Larry Nyland
    Seattle Public Schools