As we prepare to open schools in a fully remote (in-home learning) model on Sept. 2, we are working to modify and improve instruction and support services given that we now have time to plan more thoughtfully.
In May, we pulled together over 100 teachers to help develop instructional models for the upcoming school year, including a full remote model, based on their experiences, current research, and feedback from students and families.
How will instruction be different in the fall?
- More consistency, clarity, and organization
- Increased feedback on learning progress
- Opportunities for connection
We will use two learning management systems (LMS) which function as the overall platform that organizes assignments, information, resources, assessments, feedback, collaboration and communication with students and families. At elementary school, Google Classroom will be the LMS. In middle and high school, Canvas can be used in addition to Google Classroom. Students can log into these platforms as well as other digital tools directly through one login through the RSD Login Portal (see more at the link below).
We’re also working on clear expectations around the types of learning activities that will occur in the in-home learning model. Our students will have access to live instruction daily, with predictable schedules and routines, as well as:
- Opportunities to connect with teachers and classmates about academic content and for social/emotional connections
- Structured time and support for students who receive Special Education and/or ELL services.
- Access to recordings of instruction so they may view again or at another time
- Opportunities to receive 1:1 or small group support, as needed
- Feedback on assignments and learning progress; grades will be issued
Additionally, special education teachers and therapists and teachers of students receiving English language learning services will consult with families on instructional strategies to support families.
Based on continued increase in COVID-19 cases notably among young people throughout the region and specifically in South King County, Renton School District will begin the 2020-2021 school year on Sept. 2 with fully in-home learning.
At this time, we cannot predict how long we will remain in the in-home learning model. Our goal is to begin in-person instruction in our hybrid in-school/in-home model when public health authorities advise that it is safe. At that time, families will have the option to continue remaining with in-home learning if they choose.
We continue to work to improve in-home learning and communication between students and teachers, including:
- more live instruction,
- small group support,
- fewer learning platforms, and
- more consistent communication between teachers and students.
In addition, teams will collaborate with families to address the needs of students with disabilities and special learning needs. We are working with our bargaining partners now and will soon provide more details on the specifics regarding improvements to in-home learning.
Please read more and remain connected to this work on our 2020-2021 School Year Reopening Plan website .
We asked our students and families to offer feedback regarding their experiences as we transitioned on April 6 to in-home learning to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. We also asked for their input as we crafted a plan for the coming school year.
Some takeaways from the survey:
- 71% say the amount of communication they received from the district was just right
- 60% say the amount of communication they received from their teacher was just right, supportive, clear
- 61% say they had the necessary technology at home for in-home learning
- 33% say they were using district-issued technology
- 52% say the amount of classwork their child received was just right
- 63% say adult support for their child is almost always home
- 61% say they will feel comfortable sending their child back to school in the fall if schools meet public health guidelines
- 63% say they would not consider keeping their child home and continuing in-home learning if schools are open in the fall
Summer Online Learning Opportunity for Students in Grades K-8:
Students in kindergarten through 8th grade are invited to take part in our summer in-home learning opportunity using i-Ready, an online resource that provides literacy and mathematics practice.
Our i-Ready program provides students with lessons based on their individual skill level and needs, so students can learn at a pace that is right for them. Lessons are fun, interactive, and take about 30 minutes per subject. There are no scheduled meeting times; students will complete the lessons at their own pace. A teacher will communicate with families if there are challenges or adjustments that need to be made. The lessons are offered weekly, June 29-August 14. Computer and internet access are needed to participate. Younger students may need adult help in logging on to complete the lessons. Students and families interested in the summer i-Ready program must sign-up by June 24 to participate at https://forms.gle/AJLL7RUQNa7ZpAFa9
Summer STEAM Activities
Each week during the summer, we will be posting a new STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) activity for students and families on our district website. While these activities will be aimed towards elementary students, older students may enjoy them as well. Families will also be able to take photos of students’ projects and to potentially share them on district social media. Find these weekly STEAM activities at: www.rentonschools.us/learning-and-teaching/summer-2020-in-home-learning-activities
High School Summer Credit Recovery
We’re again offering credit recovery for any high school students who did not pass courses required to meet graduation requirements. The online program allows students remote support by a school-based mentor. There is no cost for summer credit recovery, but space is limited; priority for participation will be given first to seniors, then juniors, and then sophomores. High school counselors will contact students who are being invited to participate in this summer program.
Our last day for regular meal service is Wednesday, June 17. On Monday, June 22, we will move to our free summer meal service.
We will continue to serve grab & go breakfast and lunch meals on Mondays and Wednesdays from 11 a.m.-12 p.m. at the locations listed here. Children do not need to be present for pick up; families can pick-up meals at any location.
The summer program will run through August 21.
Following Washington Governor Jay Inslee’s new guidelines, Renton School Board has moved to fully remote public meetings. Any person wishing to listen to School Board meetings through a virtual option, please join the webinar. Or copy and paste this link into your browser: https://rentonschools.zoom.us/j/290143216. For public comments, please email Board.Public.Comment@rentonschools.us.
Or phone options:
- iPhone one-tap: US: +13462487799,,290143216# or +16699006833,,290143216#
- Or Telephone: Dial (for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location): US: +1 346 248 7799 or +1 669 900 6833 or +1 253 215 8782 or +1 301 715 8592 or +1 312 626 6799 or +1 646 876 9923
- Webinar ID: 290 143 216
- International numbers available: https://rentonschools.zoom.us/u/abzqoLTqbx
Renton School District is working closely with Public Health Seattle & King County, in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to monitor a novel (new) COVID-19 coronavirus. Coronavirus is not at all connected to race, ethnicity or nationality.
We continue to make decisions regarding coronavirus based on the safety, health, and well-being of all our students and staff. This is an evolving situation for our district and healthcare organizations in our region and around the world. We appreciate our community's continued patience and flexibility during this unprecedented time.
Visit our coronavirus page information about COVID-19, precautions that are being taken and prevention measures you can take, as well as information on the effects of measures for our district and the community.
Taxpayers throughout the Renton School District will benefit from the district’s solid financial management, excellent credit rating, and a favorable bond market. The district this week successfully completed the first sale of school construction bonds which were overwhelmingly approved by voters in the school construction measure on the November 5 ballot. The district’s sound financial position permitted it to raise $125 million in construction funds while securing an historically low interest rate of 2.2%. These resources will be used to fund construction projects at schools across the district and to build a new elementary school.
Investors were attracted by the district’s very strong Aa1 credit rating from Moody’s Investors Service. The bond financing process garnered substantial interest from investors and was sold through a public offering led by the securities firm Piper Sandler & Co. The bonds were purchased by investors from around the country, consisting mostly of professional money managers, banks, and insurance companies. By law, this funding is to be used only for school construction projects, renovations and upgrades; it cannot be used in the general fund or as part of the work to balance the 2020-2021 budget.
Superintendent Damien Pattenaude said the bond sale is consistent in meeting expectations of voters and taxpayers. “We are in good shape when it comes to meeting our commitment to our community,” said Dr. Pattenaude. “These are important needs in our schools, and we are very appreciative of the community’s continued support for our students and our schools.”
Dr. Fred Maiocco, the district’s Chief Financial Officer and Assistant Superintendent led the efforts to move quickly to secure the funding at a favorable time for the district. “This is a very good time to borrow money to complete these important projects for the Renton community” said Dr. Maiocco. “Because of these historically low interest rates, district taxpayers will see significant savings in borrowing costs over the life of the issue.” Dr. Maiocco also noted that while the remaining bonds approved by voters will be sold in coming years, it currently looks like the total cost of the bonds will be significantly lower than initially planned.
Every 10 years, the U.S. counts every person living in the country through a national census. The results inform the distribution of resources and representation in our communities for the next decade. The 2020 Census will determine funding for schools, hospitals, housing, public transportation and much more.
Timeline for 2020 Census:
- March 12-20: Households will begin receiving official Census Bureau mail with detailed information on how to respond to the 2020 Census online, by phone, or by mail.
- April 1: Census Day is observed nationwide. By this date, every home will receive an invitation to participate in the 2020 Census. Once the invitation arrives, you should respond for your home in one of three ways: online, by phone, or by mail.
- May-July: Census takers will begin visiting homes that haven't responded to the 2020 Census to help make sure everyone is counted.
- December: The Census Bureau will deliver apportionment counts to the President and Congress as required by law.
Levy limitations and a drop in enrollment will result in a budget deficit projected to be about 5%, or between $12-$15 million, for Renton Schools in the 2020-2021 school year. This will require us to make tough, strategic decisions to balance expenditures while delivering an educational program reflective of our core values of Service, Excellence, and Equity.
School budget resources come from a combination of local, state, and federal sources. Changes to those resources, even slightly, can significantly impact funding for our district's budget.
Factors leading to 2020-2021 budget deficit
- State funding increases in areas like special education and some staff benefits, do not fully cover all the costs for basic education or the increased cost of the School Employees Benefit Board (SEBB), the new statewide school employee health benefits plan.
- State legislative rules are significantly reducing our ability to collect the full amount of our local levy, overwhelmingly approved by our voters last February.
- Student enrollment came in nearly 300 students below projection this school year.
Learn more and follow budget development process
Staff, families, and community can follow the district's budget-development process on the 2020-2021 Budget Development webpage, where you can:
- Read more about the 2020-2021 budget
- Watch a video presentation on why reductions are necessary
- Offer feedback online
Three community budget development presentations are planned on Tuesday, Feb. 25, 6:30 p.m. at three locations: Hazen, Lindbergh, and Renton high schools.
Renton High School students celebrated their diverse cultural backgrounds and heritage during the annual Multicultural show presented in the school’s IKEA Performing Arts Center. It was an amazing performance by Renton High students celebrating family.
Students in Julia Buller's 3rd-grade class at Benson Hill Elementary School have spent the past 100 days writing down acts of kindness they see around them, kind things they do for others, and kind things others do for them. Today, they celebrated 100 Days of Kindness.
Students at Dimmitt and McKnight middle schools and Renton High School are considering becoming medical doctors in the future. Students are being inspired and encouraged to consider medicine or other healthcare careers with the help of the University of Washington School of Medicine. Students are visiting medical research labs, learning about physical exam skills, patient interviewing techniques, suturing, neurology, psychiatry and more through University of Washington Doctor for a Day program.
Renton Schools is helping more students be financially prepared for college.
With hard work by school staff, 90% of the district's eligible middle school students have signed up for the state's College Bound Scholarship program, which, in combination with other state aid, will cover tuition at state public college rates. Eligible students must sign-up in middle school by June 30 of their 8th-grade year to receive this early commitment of state funding. Students who sign-up for the scholarship graduate from high school and enroll in college at higher rates than their peers.
Washington Governor Jay Inslee has recognized Renton Schools with the Gold Star Award as one of the state's top school districts that exceeded the state average to ensure students and families are signed up for the state college funding opportunity.
The College Bound Scholarship Program is administered by the Washington Student Achievement Council. Students and families can learn more and apply College Bound Scholarship
Schools across the district are hosting events, assemblies and other celebrations of the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Schools blend these activities into their existing work to teach students about history; Black scholars in math, science and other fields; segregation; race; and other topics of U.S. social and political climate.
Pictured are some of the MLK assembly activities at Benson Hill Elementary School where students reenacted lunch counter sit-ins and other civil rights actions against segregation.
Registration for new kindergarten students began in January 2020. Parents of eligible students can visit their neighborhood school to pick-up a registration packet. A child must be five years old by August 31, 2020 to be eligible for kindergarten enrollment.
Parents can fill out the necessary paperwork and register their child now. Tours of schools and meetings with teachers will be conducted in mid-April during the “Ready for Kindergarten” events being held at each school where staff will share expectations for students as they enter kindergarten and provide families with some fun activities to help ensure that your child is prepared.
We offer free full‐day Kindergarten programs in all our elementary schools. Kindergartners attend school on the same schedule as students in grades 1-5:
- Core curriculum of reading; writing; mathematics; science; social studies; Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM); and additional experiences in art, music, PE
- Transportation is provided to students on an established bus route
Click here to find out more and register now for kindergarten spots in the 2020-2021 school year!
There’s talk of possible snow in our area in the coming weeks, which could lead to school delays or closures.
Making a decision about weather-related school delays or closures is always difficult, because so many different situations have to be considered. We take the decision-making process very seriously. Our staff begins evaluating road conditions across the district at 3:30 a.m. to be ready for the superintendent to make the call by 5:30 a.m. Student and staff safety is always our number one priority.
If inclement weather—like snow or ice—makes a school schedule change necessary, the decision will be made by the Superintendent and communicated to families and staff by:
- Call/email/text to all families and staff (please ensure your school has your updated phone/email)
- Renton School District website and all school websites
- The district's Facebook page
- The district’s Twitter page
- The district's Instagram
- Local media outlets (TV, radio)
If road conditions warrant, we may also change some of our school bus routes and pick-up/drop-off locations. See your limited school bus route here.
Stay up to date on what happens if bad weather causes school delays or closures, and the expectations for students and staff, at this website.
Renton School District's School Board, Superintendent Pattenaude, and district staff recently met with City of Renton Mayor Denis Law and City Council members to continue working together to improve schools, communities, and the quality of life throughout the city. Topics discussed at the regular meeting included exploring joint use and upkeep of facilities and sports fields, safety, traffic, and more. The work is part of our efforts to ensure Renton remains a great place to live, learn, work, and play.
Ten Renton School District teachers recently met the rigorous requirements to renew their National Board Certification. Like board-certified doctors and accountants, teachers who achieve National Board Certification have met rigorous standards through intensive study, expert evaluation, self-assessment and peer review. The painstaking process can take hundreds of hours of professional and personal time to attain the certification that many consider the gold standard of teacher credentials.
Additionally, two Renton School District nurses recently met the rigorous requirements to achieve National Board Certification. Kathryn Risa, school nurse at Bryn Mawr Elementary School and Leiana Smith at Risdon Middle School each completed the rigorous process to achieve National Board Certification. Nurses who achieve certification have met rigorous standards through intensive study, expert evaluation, self-assessment and peer review.
Voters throughout Renton School District showed overwhelming support for students, educators and support staff in the Nov. 5 election. More than 27,000 voters cast their ballot, with more than 70% approval for the School Construction measure to build a new elementary school and make improvements at nearly every school in the district. Both of those numbers are historic firsts for Renton Schools.
Renton School District has been honored with the 2019 Valerie Logan Leadership in Science Education Award, presented by the Institute for Systems Biology. Renton Schools was recognized for its vision for high quality science education for all students which has elevated STEM education for students across the region.
The award is presented to community leaders and organizations committed to an educational practice grounded in research, who build networks among teachers, principals and STEM professionals, and who share ISB’s bold vision that all children and youth should have the opportunity to learn science as a gateway for their future.
Two additional Renton School District nurses recently met the rigorous requirements to achieve National Board Certification.
Kathryn Risa, school nurse at Bryn Mawr Elementary School and Leiana Smith at Risdon Middle School each completed the rigorous process to achieve National Board Certification. Like board-certified doctors and accountants, nurses who achieve certification have met rigorous standards through intensive study, expert evaluation, self-assessment and peer review. The painstaking process can take hundreds of hours of professional and personal time to attain the certification that many consider the gold standard of nursing credentials.
Lindbergh High School senior Priti Ahya is a 2019 National Merit Scholar semifinalist, a distinction that places her in the top 1 percent of the 1.5 million high school students who took the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT) National Merit Qualifying Test in the fall of 2018.
After high school, Priti plans to study computer science or computer engineering at either Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) or the University of Washington. Her love for computer science comes from having access to hands-on computer science classes offered at Lindbergh High and has helped shape what Priti hopes to become in the future.
Renton School District's mission is to provide all students with meaningful classroom experiences that affords them many options after graduation.
A new state law takes effect on January 1, 2020, and all existing health, life, and disability plans through Renton School District will terminate effective December 31, 2019.
Starting in 2020, all Washington State school districts will receive benefits for their eligible employees through the School Employees Benefits Board (SEBB) program. These will replace the health and insurance benefits we currently provide to all of our staff. The first SEBB program open enrollment is October 1–November 15, 2019. Benefits begin January 1, 2020.
This change is due to a new state law that mandates starting on January 1, 2020, all Washington State K-12 school employees are to begin receiving health insurance and benefits through the statewide SEBB program which is part of the Washington State Health Care Authority (HCA). SEBB was created to standardize benefit plans, rules, and costs throughout districts, ESDs and charter schools across the state.
Renton Schools offers benefits, including medical, life and AD&D, long-term disability, vision, and dental. Current voluntary benefits include short term disability, additional life insurance, and flexible spending plans. These benefits will also be offered through the SEBB. While vision, life, long-term disability and dental will be covered 100%, the monthly premium costs for SEBB medical plans will be based on the plan you choose and whether you enroll eligible family members.
Hazen High School senior Arnav Thareja is a 2019 National Merit semifinalist, a distinction that places him in the top 1% of the 1.5 million high school students who took the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT) National Merit Qualifying Test in the fall of 2018.
After high school, Arnav plans to study computer science and artificial intelligence at either Stanford University, University of California, Berkeley, or University of Washington. His love for computer science comes from his family: his father is an information technology architect and developer. But classes and clubs offered at his high school also have helped shape what Arnav hopes to become in the future.
“Being able to study Advanced Placement (AP) computer science along with having a Robotics Club at Hazen High School has really helped spark my interest in computer science,” Arnav said. “Having these high-level, hands-on programs offered in school are important to a student’s development and in helping guide them to a successful future.”
Arnav will now compete with 16,000 other high school seniors nationwide for more than $33 million in scholarships offered next spring from the National Merit Scholarship Corp., colleges and universities, and corporate sponsors. Scholarship winners will be selected from the finalists after a review of their skills, accomplishments and potential for success in rigorous college studies.
August 29, 2019—Renton School Board last night approved a three-year agreement between the district and the Renton Education Association (REA—our teacher/certificated staff union). The agreement, which was ratified by more than 82% of certificated staff, is the culmination of months of hard work by a joint bargaining team of teachers and district staff to create a contract that honors the great work being done by our educators in classrooms across the district.
Highlights of the three-year agreement include:
- 3 years of school calendars (which helps our families, staff, and community plan for breaks, teacher-training days, and more)
- Additional 10.5% pay increase over the three-year period
- Increased certificated staff voice and accountability
- Stability in our workforce
“We’re delighted that we can come to such a great agreement with our wonderful teachers and educators,” said Board President Pam Teal. “This agreement honors their work to educate our 16,000 students, while also providing our families and communities with the stability of three years of school calendars.”
Moody’s Investors Service has announced an upgrade to Renton School District’s credit rating, up to Aa1, from Aa2 previously. The rating upgrade places the Renton School District as one of the nine highest rated school districts in Washington.
In its press release, Moody’s noted “remarkably strong economic growth, a diversifying tax base” and “the district’s position in the heart of the booming Seattle metro area” as key factors in its decision to upgrade. Moody’s also noted Renton’s “strong management team” and conservative approach to budgeting as critical to the financial stability of the district.
A strong underlying credit rating generally translates into reduced borrowing costs for taxpayers.
Students enrolled in Renton High School’s International Baccalaureate (IB) World School program continue to excel in the rigorous academic program. This school year, Renton High is celebrating high IB test scores and an increase in IB Diploma success rates, which requires excellence across all academic subjects.
- More than 130 Renton High students took IB exams this year, an increase over 2018
- The highest proportion of students met all IB Diploma requirements
- The average total points for students who received an IB Diploma was 29, greater than last year
- Nine students scored 30 points or higher (the worldwide IB test score average is 31.5).
The challenging academic curriculum empowers students to be lifelong learners, interculturally aware, and have the skills to pursue future studies in colleges around the globe.
“Students who took our rigorous IB classes benefit from acquired endurance and discipline as they enter college,” said Renton High Principal Gia San Martin. “What a privilege to witness these dedicated young people transform from students to young scholars who advocate for sustainability and intercultural relations.”
Thanks to continued voter support of School Construction Bond measures on the ballot, our schools are safer for students and will withstand an earthquake much better than many other schools across the state.
According to a new Washington state analysis by the Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR) many older schools built before 1975, and those in less repair, may not hold up in an earthquake. Of the 222 school buildings assessed as part of the analysis, most would be unsafe to occupy after a powerful quake, about a quarter would not be able to be repaired, and 43% posed a “high” or “very high” risk for loss of life, according to DNR’s report.
The assessment, which did not include our schools, found that older buildings and those constructed from unreinforced masonry or rigid, under-reinforced concrete were most vulnerable. Engineers assessed each school’s construction and design, considering factors like a structure’s ability to bend before breaking.
Washington state does not require seismic upgrades, nor does the state dedicate funding for retrofits. School districts can only rebuild schools or make much-needed large-scale repairs and improvements when voters approve school construction bond measures. Renton Schools next School Construction Bond measure is on the Nov. 5, 2019 ballot (even with approval, tax-rates for Renton School District taxpayers will continue to decline: read more here).
Thanks to voters throughout Renton School District, our schools are safe, will last for decades, and help improve home values in communities throughout the district.
Elementary and middle school families can again choose to pay a low, one-time fee for school supplies for next school year. The district implemented the program this school year as a way to reduce cost for families and make the school supply process more streamlined and economical. School supplies offered to students were selected based on input from teachers and school staff.
- The district will purchase school supplies for elementary and middle school students, and provide replacements throughout the school year.
- Families will continue to provide students with backpacks and lunchboxes, along with school planners at middle schools.
- High school students continue to provide their own school supplies.
- The program is voluntary: families can choose to continue to purchase their own school supplies.
- Families will pay a low, one-time fee of $30 ($10 for families on free/reduced lunch) for a school years' worth of school supplies.
Families can pay by check/cash at their school at the start of the school year, or pay online anytime at
Renton Schools has calendar dates for the 2019-2020 school year. The calendar is not complete; but here are key dates for holidays and breaks.
- August 28 First day of school (except for kindergarten and preschool)
- September 2 No School - Labor Day
- September 3 - First day of school for kindergarten
- September 4 - First day of school for preschool programs
- October 11 - No School - Professional Teacher Day
- November 8 - No School - Professional Teacher Day
- November 11 No School - Veterans Day
- November 28-29 No School – Thanksgiving Break
- December 2 - No School - Professional Teacher Day
- Dec. 23-Jan. 3 No School - Winter Break
- January 20 No School - MLK Jr. Day
- February 17-21 No School - Mid-Winter Break
- March 16 - No School - Professional Teacher Day
- April 6-10 No School - Spring Break
- May 25 No School - Memorial Day
- June 17 - Last day of School