Fife Public Schools

A Message from Superintendent Alfano

December 1, 2021

Dear Fife Public Schools Community,

We are about to enter into the winter months, and a well deserved break is coming soon for all. I would like to take this opportunity to ask families to help us with a present area of concern.

As we returned to school full time this fall after nearly 18 months of remote and hybrid learning, we anticipated and prepared for the impact on students, especially in the areas of academic, social, and emotional needs. We have utilized ESSR funds to create additional support positions for our students at each of our schools. Our educators and leadership teams participated in book studies specifically focusing on the needs of kids returning to school. Those conversations and learning continue to this day.

However, the behavior challenges from some students continue to be a focus of concern, and this is an area where we can use your support. I certainly am not going to place blame on anyone, any group, or any outside force. However, I need to share that our schools are seeing an increase in inappropriate behaviors, and as we continue to do our work with students and staff at school, we are actively looking for support and solutions from our families - as valued partners. I have been your superintendent for eight years now, and I’ve never felt the need to share such a message before. We are not alone with these behavior challenges. I meet weekly with our neighboring school district superintendents, and I also met in October with superintendents from across the country. Student behavior in schools is a real topic of conversation both locally and nationally.

We work hard as a school district to hold high expectations for ourselves, our staff, and our students. In Fife, we have always taken pride in the warm and supportive climate and culture in our schools and, collectively, in our school district as a whole. We are not always perfect, but we are proud that our school environments are welcoming, and our students genuinely feel happy being in our classrooms.

This fact is still true for the majority of our students. However, at this particular time, we need everyone’s help. Please talk with your child(ren) about being part of the creation of positive environments that we know so well. I know our school leaders are working with staff and students alike to “hit the reset button” on school climate. It is important that we address this together.

Our students and staff are hard at work addressing this concern. At our November school board meeting, for example, a team of middle school students and teachers presented their work to address school bullying. As educators, leaders, and families, our role as adults is to do all we can to support their efforts.

It is important for me to share that we are not in a panic, nor are our schools out of control. However, I do need to be honest with you. Collectively, we need to work together to help our students until we are on the other side of these behavior challenges. You can also reach out to your child’s principal if you have questions or ideas. I know they are working hard and would appreciate the connection.

More than ever - Together We Are Fife - and I wish everyone a Happy Holiday Season and New Year!