School district has a lot going for it

Guest Columnist

My name is Maggie Grate and I am a member of the Snoqualmie Valley School District Facilities Task Force. My husband Phil and I have lived in the Snoqualmie Valley for 13 years and have two boys. One will attend Chief Kanim Middle School this fall and the other is a fourth-grader at Fall City Elementary School. We have watched the Valley’s rapid growth and have seen the student population at our son’s elementary school reach capacity.

Through my participation on the task force, I have learned that our district’s student population is growing at all of our schools and that something must be done quickly. We need to expand our facilities so that we can continue to provide quality education throughout the district. We simply do not have enough physical space to properly accommodate our current students, let alone serve a growing student population.

I am aware that there are people in our community frustrated with our current dilemma who want to know why “they” did not address this problem sooner. I believe “they” is “we” and that we should move forward quickly to implement a long-range plan that will provide the space our students need to learn and thrive in a school community that my family has found to be very positive.

“Webster’s Dictionary” defines community as a unified body of individuals. We are a school community made up of students, teachers, parents, staff and administrators who have much to be proud of and celebrate. For example:

* We have a staff comprised of highly educated, motivated people who go above and beyond to make sure our kids are learning not only what the state requires, but much more. In addition, they are being taught to respect one another in their community and to understand that when they work together as a unit, they can accomplish a great deal. I have seen teachers work with kids in conflict, allowing them to disagree with each other in a manner that brings a positive resolution. I am impressed with the antibullying program and know that our neighboring districts do not have a program of this quality in place.

* Students at Mount Si High School are applying to and being accepted by some of the most prestigious colleges in the country and more than $3 million in scholarship money was offered to our seniors this past year.

* Our most recent 10th-grade WASL results indicate that 92 percent of the sophomore class met the standards on the WASL in reading and writing; and 67 percent met the standard in math. This is an increase of 17 percent from the previous year.

* Our school district enjoys a very good reputation across the state. Many programs we have in place have been recognized by the state and used as models for other districts.

* We have very strong parent support, not only for the activities that go on in the classroom but also for the school community in general. When there is a child or family in need, people in this Valley respond and make sure that there is financial and emotional support provided.

The above are just a few examples of why we have our boys enrolled in the Snoqualmie Valley School District schools and a small sample of why I believe we need to be mindful that what really matters is what goes on inside the schools. Though we might like the district to build innovative and architecturally beautiful buildings, the most important criterion is that we build schools that allow our students to achieve academic success in a safe, nurturing environment. Furthermore, we should build schools that our teachers, staff and administrators find supportive of their endeavors to educate our children. Doing so will help our district attract and retain a highly capable, motivated and enthusiastic faculty.

As the task force considers many challenges, we constantly ask ourselves, “What is best for the kids?” As such, I am confident the task force will make a carefully considered recommendation to the school board that has the best interest of our entire school community in mind.

This column is part of a biweekly series of guest columns written by members of the Snoqualmie Valley School District Facilities Task Force. For more details, please visit and click on “Facilities Task Force .

In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in News

James Aquirre (middle left) being sworn in by Police Chief Perry Phipps (middle right) at a city council meeting on Aug. 9, 2021. File photo by Conor Wilson/Valley Record.
Investigators secure video evidence in Snoqualmie officer-involved shooting

Investigators with the King County Independent Force Investigation Team (IFIT) said they… Continue reading

file photo
Department of Health announces QR code verification program to prove vaccination status

WA Verify is intended to make vaccine verification simpler and more efficient.

Mid-afternoon traffic on northbound Interstate 5 on Nov. 22 near Everett. Dan Bates/The Herald
Thanksgiving traffic forecast is heavier than pre-pandemic

Drivers and ferry riders could be in for long waits, depending on when they go.

Patti Cole-Trindall
King County Executive appoints Patti Cole-Tindall as interim sheriff

Cole-Tindall has a background in the sheriff’s office and county government.

Comparison map between current district map and proposed draft. (Screenshot from King County’s website)
King County proposes redistricting map, asks for feedback from public

Public invited to comment at November 30 public hearing.

King County Councilmember-elect Sarah Perry and a celebration photo, courtesy of her campaign manager Robby Paige.
Sarah Perry pushes 20-year incumbent out of King County Council District 3 position

By Hannah Saunders, For Sound Publishing Following her first campaign for a… Continue reading

Tony Persson, general manager of the North Bend Ace Hardware. Photo by Conor Wilson/Valley Record.
Lack of transit, housing crisis and pandemic fuel local labor shortage

There are nearly 3,000 unfilled positions in the Snoqualmie Valley.

Photo of Boalch Avenue in North Bend, part of the Meadowbrook neighborhood. Courtesy of the City of North Bend
North Bend City Council delays vote on joining Meadowbrook ULID

For years, private property owners have tried to extend public sewer system into neighborhood.

A Snoqualmie Officer was involved in a shooting Tuesday night, Nov. 16. Photo courtesy of the Bellevue Police Department.
Man killed by Snoqualmie Police was homeless, living in car

The 33-year-old man who was killed by a Snoqualmie police officer late… Continue reading

Most Read