Kent Elementary receives grant | Slide Show

Principal Sherilyn Ulland, right, is surprise to see that Boeing
Principal Sherilyn Ulland, right, is surprise to see that Boeing's Liz Warman the Regional Director of Global Corporate Citizenship Northwest Region, awarded Kent Elementary with the 2011 John D. Warner Award for Educational Excellence, Thursday, Nov. 10.
— image credit: Charles Cortes, Kent Reporter

Kent Elementary School staff were recognized for encouraging students to be leaders and involving the community in the learning process.

Boeing representatives surprised staff during a meeting with the ninth annual John D. Warner Award for Excellence in Education. The award provides the school with a $25,000 unrestricted grant for demonstrating excellence in school leadership, parent involvement and student learning.

Boeing selected Kent Elementary because of its strong partnerships within the community and school leadership’s commitment to making improvements in the district, according to a Boeing spokesperson.

"This is a fantastic honor for Kent Elementary and Kent School District," said Dr. Edward Lee Vargas, superintendent of the Kent School District. "This award represents the commitment of the staff and community of Kent Elementary to having a laser-like focus on student achievement.

Kent Elementary opened in the Kent Valley in 1999 and currently has more than 570 students. The school is known for involving the community and families on a daily basis.

Many parents volunteer in classrooms, sort curriculum packets in the staff lounge or attend English classes during the school day. School documents are translated into Spanish so the families speaking Spanish as their first language are properly informed about events.

"I am very proud of the accomplishments of all of the teachers, support staff and administrators for working with each and every student to help them achieve success," Vargas said. "The team at Kent Elementary is very deserving of this award, especially after achieving Adequately Yearly Progress and being declared a 2010 Academic Achievement Award recipient."

Boeing created the grant to honor John D. Warner, who retired as Boeing’s chief administrative officer in 2003 after a long and distinguished career with the company. The award recognizes Warner’s longtime and continuing dedication to reforming public education.

“Public elementary schools in ten Puget Sound districts were invited to nominate an elementary school and nominations were judged based on the needs of the student population, student achievement within the last five years, community or parent involvement and school leadership,” said Liz Warman, director for Boeing Global Corporate Citizenship.

Global Corporate Citizenship refers to the work Boeing does in its diverse communities, both as a company and individual employees. Last year, Boeing contributed more than $20 million to organizations in Northwest communities where employees work and live.

Kent School District is the fourth-largest district in Washington State covering 72-square miles and the second-largest employer in the community. Kent School District is also the most diverse school district in the state; students speak more than 130 languages. The district is also a majority-minority school district, which means more students of color are in the classrooms than white students.

Currently, the district is partnering with a higher education institution allowing classroom teachers to earn English Language Learner endorsements so they can better help their students achieve success.

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