methow grist 2011-2014 archive

From Methow Valley School Superintendent Mark Wenzel:

Dear Methow Valley families:

The tragedy at the elementary school in Connecticut last Friday hit communities across the nation hard. The senseless death of so many children leaves us hurt and feeling a great sense of loss. Our hearts go out to the families.

I returned home today after two days away with students at a Speech and Debate tournament. My 3-year-old daughter, Ruby, excitedly announced that she and her mom had made gingerbread cookies for me. I found myself taking a few extra seconds to look at her face and savor the moment.

As we move beyond this tragedy, I'd like to reflect a bit on our schools and how we process events such as this.

First, the district has a comprehensive safety plan and schools conduct drills throughout the year focused on student safety. We will take time after the holidays to review plans with staff to ensure the safest environment possible.

Second, we will continue to foster a learning environment that focuses on relationships. I’m proud that in survey after survey, students and parents list “supportive relationships” as one of our school district's greatest strengths. It is the core of who we are – and will remain a priority.

Third, we will continue to support mental health counseling at both the elementary school and at Liberty Bell. We have increased counseling hours this year, in addition to peer mediation at both schools and student support groups at the junior high. We want students to know that there is always someone to talk to when they need help. Accordingly, if your child needs particular support this week, please contact me.

As we move beyond the hurt caused by Friday's shooting, it's important to reach out to one another, give gratitude and celebrate all that we have.

Many children and families in this community receive targeted food and financial support through our family empowerment counselor, Lois Garland. To contribute to a family in need, please contact Lois at or 996-2215.

In regards to celebration, our schools will present two holiday concerts this week. Liberty Bell band and orchestra students perform Wednesday, 7 p.m,, at the high school, while our elementary students share their gifts on Friday at 1:30 p.m. at the elementary school.

Also, tomorrow (Monday) night at 5:30 p.m., community members will gather outside the Methodist Church for a short candlelight vigil to commemorate the many lives lost in Connecticut. Please bring a candle, if you attend.

Thank you for being a part of this community. Let's give thanks for each other and for our families, as we move to heal the hurt.


Mark Wenzel, Ed.D.
(509) 996-9205


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