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Puget Sound Educational Service District 121 (PSESD) confirms new and returning board members
Shahrzad Shams

Puget Sound Educational Service District 121 (PSESD) confirmed new and returning board members by oath at its regular Board of Directors meeting held on Wednesday, January 17, 2024.

PSESD also welcomed its newest board member Shahrzad Shams for a four-year term representing District 4 (Lake Washington, Riverview, Skykomish, and part of Northshore).

In addition, PSESD welcomed back returning board members Annie Laurie Armstrong, elected for a four-year term representing District 2 (Bainbridge Island, Vashon Island, and parts of Seattle), Joanne Seng, appointed for a two-year term representing District 6 (Auburn, Dieringer, Enumclaw, Snoqualmie Valley, Sumner-Bonney Lake, Tahoma, and part of Puyallup), and Marcella Tomlin, elected for a four-year term representing District 8 (Peninsula, Tacoma, University Place, and part of Puyallup).

Current board member Barbara Peterson, who represents District 7, will serve as the PSESD Board Chair in 2024, alongside Board Vice Chair Marcella Tomlin.

“Guiding and supporting our agency to achieve our stated End of ‘Success for Each Child and Eliminate the Opportunity Gap by Leading with Racial Equity’ is the primary duty of the PSESD board,” said John Welch, PSESD Superintendent. “I am confident our new board member will help us to continue our forward progress in this vital work.”

ESDs are governed by a board of directors consisting of seven or nine citizens who are accountable to and elected by the school board members in the region’s public-school districts. The board members represent geographic director districts based on U.S. census data. The ESD boards provide direction to their superintendent, who is advised by local school district superintendents.

Introducing Shahrzad Shams, District 4

Shahrzad Shams leads Peyvand, a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering underrepresented immigrant youth through art, cultural engagement, and education. Shahrzad is a former elementary school teacher and retired faculty member of the University of Washington’s Persian and Iranian Studies Program. There, she helped to build a robust Persian-language program and as a liaison, forged a strong connection with the Iranian American community in Washington State. Her years of community organization and cultural advocacy have made the Persian and Iranian Studies program a model for public-facing engagement.

As a first-generation Iranian American who has lived in the United States since 1975, Shahrzad has observed, and empathizes deeply with, the challenges faced by immigrant and refugee youth. Her commitment to PSESD’s board is rooted in recognizing the necessity for their representation and advocacy.

“I recognized the importance of immigrant youth perspectives on the board,” Shahrzad explains. “My duty as a PSESD board member is to ensure that every student, irrespective of their origin or background, enjoys a fulfilling journey of knowledge and skill acquisition. I am particularly dedicated to fostering that same experience for underrepresented immigrant and refugee students as they settle into their new home. I envision achieving this goal by helping schools to be intentional in adopting a safe and inclusive space of belonging for immigrant and refugee youth so that they can participate fully in academic and extracurricular activities like other students. My hope is to cultivate a supportive community within and beyond their schools, nurturing an environment where they can thrive and develop into fulfilled, skilled individuals poised to make impactful contributions as world citizens.”

The PSESD board meets monthly, and the public is always invited to attend. Agendas, meeting minutes, meeting recordings, and policies are available on BoardDocs at https://go.boarddocs.com/wa/psesd/Board.nsf/Public.

Please contact Renee Hill in the Superintendent’s Office at rhill@psesd.org or 425–917–7602 if you need assistance for translation, interpretations, or other requests or information about board meetings. Learn more about all of our PSESD Board of Directors at http://www.psesd.org/about-psesd/board-of-directors.

Archive

Puget Sound Educational Service District Selected for Grant Program to Help Local Students Pursue Education and Career Training After High School

Puget Sound Educational Service District (PSESD) is proud to announce that our region has been selected to be part of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Horizons Regional Grant Program, a three-year initiative to help more local students continue their education after high school and achieve their goals.

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Amidst the ongoing violence and bloodshed of the Israel-Gaza conflict, we cannot ignore the countless lives lost and devasting impact, particularly to the young people ensnared in this turmoil. As a community committed to fostering peace and championing for the welfare of all, we stand together in unequivocal condemnation of violence and in our unwavering support for humanity. 

Read More about Our Stance and Promises Regarding the Israel-Gaza Conflict: Advocating for Peace and Humanity
Observing the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

Observed each year on March 21 – the tragic day in 1960 when the police in Sharpeville, South Africa, opened fire on participants in a peaceful demonstration against apartheid "pass laws," killing 69 people, the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination remains an important one in the calendar’s attempt to fight racism and racial discrimination.

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Honoring our Education Support Professionals—This Week, and Every Week!

In education, the thousands who serve among the support professionals are an integral part of the industry and its importance.

That’s why it’s so important to celebrate their contributions each year for Education Support Professionals week, which takes place this year from March 11-15, 2024. The week was first noted for celebration in 1975 by PSE in order to salute the irreplaceable contributions of Education Support Professionals (or ESPs, for short) in the public school system.

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PSESD Presents: AUTHENTIC LEARNING IN THE AGE OF AI, with Dr. John Spencer

The AI revolution is here: How will you respond? And what AI tools can be utilized for personalized learning? Don’t miss this essential two-part event ("Authentic Learning in the Age of AI") for K-12 Educators, Leaders, and Administrators in ALL content areas, taking place on Saturday, March 30, and Saturday, May 4, 2024!

Read More about PSESD Presents: AUTHENTIC LEARNING IN THE AGE OF AI, with Dr. John Spencer
Last Chance to Submit 2024-25 Teacher/Educator of the Year Nominations!

This week is the last chance to submit nominations for Teacher of the YearClassified School Employee of the Year, and Principal/Assistant Principal of the Year! Nominate your candidates online using the Educator of the Year Nomination Form. Applications are for all categories are open until Friday, March 1, 2024 at https://survey.alchemer.com/s3/7127358/2023-EoY-Nominations.

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Frederick Douglass's Birthday

Frederick Douglass was a towering individual, an escaped slave who became an impassioned activist, abolitionist, and icon. However, it is an ironic fact that the brilliant Frederick Douglass would surely appreciate that while we now honor his birth date each February 14, Douglass himself was, until late in his life, not entirely sure of the date of his birth.

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Image of Dior Davenport at our PSESD agency all staff celebration

Free Workshop for PK-12 Washington Educators
Join us for an engaging professional learning opportunity for PK–12 educators, principals, and school leaders. Focusing on computational thinking concepts and coding skills, this symposium will highlight Sphero's commitment to supporting district implementation of vertically aligned curriculum and activities that align to Washington's Computer Science standards.

Sphero Symposium (in partnership of Sphero and Puget Sound Educational Service District 121)
Date: Thursday, March 14th, 2024
Time: 8:30 am – 2:30 pm
Location: Puget Sound Educational Service District
| 800 Oakesdale Ave SW, Renton WA 98057
 

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Solution Providers Spring Expo

Puget Sound Educational Service District (PSESD) and Washington Learning Source (WLS) are thrilled to invite you to participate as an exhibitor at our upcoming Solution Providers Spring Expo! This event provides an excellent opportunity to showcase your company products and/or services to a diverse audience. You will have the chance to engage and build relationships with educators and potential clients.

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Solution Providers Spring Expo

Join us at Puget Sound ESD 121’s Solution Providers Spring Expo, where you can discover the latest trends and innovations for FREE! This expo is a great opportunity to connect with like-minded education professionals and knowledgeable specialists while exploring a variety of dynamic products and services.

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Local Puget Sound-Area Events for Martin Luther King Day Weekend 2024

Monday, January 15, 2024 is Martin Luther King Day — an important holiday honoring the celebrated human rights leader’s birthday. If you are seeking to celebrate King and his dream this year, there are a number of terrific arts, culture, and history events taking place across Puget Sound that are both powerful, inspirational, and family-friendly.

Read More about Local Puget Sound-Area Events for Martin Luther King Day Weekend 2024