The Finish Line

A Message from Superintendent Greg Baker

Dear staff, families and community,

We are at the finish line of another academic year. Job well done!  This illustration from Whatcom Middle School artist Erin Gardner (currently hanging in the District Office) pretty much sums up our feelings.

Art drawn by student of someone crossing a finish line.

I know I wrote yesterday with updates about our budget, attendance areas and facilities projects, but I wanted to touch base one more time on this last day of school with an encouraging story.

Earlier this month, all fifth graders participated in our annual track meet at Civic Field. We heard from Wade King Elementary School teacher Gretchen Howard about how moving it was to see kids racing together with great love for each other. She said it was an important reminder of the beauty of Unified Sports, which promote social inclusion through athletics.

Gretchen wrote:

“I wanted to share this video clip and a photo from the Fifth Grade Track Meet.  I saw so many examples of encouragement, sportsmanship and positivity — the boy who ran back at the end of his 800 meter run to help a friend who had fallen and kids cheering from the stands for the person coming in far behind the others — it was lovely. I also have a special place in my heart for everything Unified, official or not. This 50-meter heat made my heart so happy, and I thought I’d share it. Then, today, as I was writing this note, I received this letter from Linda Morrow, grandparent to a Parkview student, and mom to a 50-year-old with Down syndrome.”

I hope you have a moment to watch the video linked above and read the letter.  We have come a long way in public education to be inclusive of all students. While we continue to seek ways to improve, it’s great to hear a story from the past and compare it to a bit of success today.

And so here we are, crossing the finish line. Gretchen’s stories and Linda’s note remind us that the race isn’t always about coming in first; it’s about showing up, doing your best, being mindful and caring of those around you. As The Promise says, “Together we achieve more than alone.”

Happy summer, everyone!

Greg Baker

Wade King Elementary School fifth grade Unified team about to set off on the 50-meter dash on June 7.
Wade King Elementary School fifth grade Unified team about to set off on the 50-meter dash on June 7.