Community Support

When I filed for office I knew I had the backing of my family, but I had no idea the amount of support I would receive from the community. People that I have volunteered with for the past two decades began asking how they could help. It is humbling, to say the least. A volunteer gives of themselves, because they believe in the cause – they want to make a difference – they have a desire to give back – they want to improve the status quo, etc.

I am truly honored to have the support of volunteers with even more decades of community service behind them than I have. Former LWSD Board Director Jackie Pendergrass is one of those dedicated public servants.

Thank you, Jackie, for your heartfelt letter and support!

http://www.redmond-reporter.com/letters/sage-understands-the-lake-washington-school-district-letter/

Never stop learning,

Cassandra

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Be(e) Involved!

There are many ways to be involved in your child’s education. You don’t have to attend Walk to School Week with Ped(estrian) Bee to support your child and his/her teacher.

If you have flex time, consider chaperoning a field trip. For elementary students, you might want to volunteer to read with kids or practice math facts in class. Your child’s school may have a “Watch Dogs” program (http://www.fathers.com/watchdogs/allaboutwatchdogs/) or an Art Docent curriculum you can help with.

For working parents, the PTA Staff Appreciation Committee is always looking for families to send in home-baked goodies or items to treat the staff with. Check your school’s website or email your PTA president to learn about opportunities to be involved that work with your schedule.

If none of them suit your situation, remember that grandparents and other family members can fill out the district volunteer application and lend a hand at school too: https://www.lwsd.org/get-involved/volunteer-programs/volunteering-in-lwsd/volunteer-application-process.

Giving of your time and talents benefits your child as well as the other students in the classroom — to say nothing of how appreciative the teachers are! Win-win!

Never stop learning,

Cassandra

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Eastside Education Network: Meet the Candidate – Cassandra Sage

I was recently profiled on the Eastside Education Network blog by Beth Sigall. Here’s the first part of it:

What was the lightbulb moment that made you decide you wanted to run for school board (election or re-election)?
This is my 22nd consecutive year as a parent and PTA leader in LWSD. I have a degree in Early Childhood Education and hold a certificate in Montessori studies. Running for a position on the LWSD school board is an exciting opportunity to share the decades of history I have with our district. When I learned Nancy Bernard was retiring after giving our district 20 years of community service, I felt we needed someone with a long standing relationship with LWSD to take on that role. It felt like a natural next step to file for the school board position and put my experience to work!

To read the rest, go to https://eastsideedu.com/meet-candidate-cassandra-sage/.

Never stop learning,

Cassandra

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Living with the Spectrum

Our 2016 Holiday card is pictured here. As you can see, one pair of shoes is missing (we excused the dog from donning footwear, because she crossed her paws so daintily!). For a split second, we thought about cropping the bare feet out, but then decided “This is our reality. This reflects our day to day life. To us, this photo is picture perfect.”

When you raise a child with autism, you learn that the techniques you used with your typically-developing kids may not be effective with your special needs child. There is no “rushing out the door.” In our home, it involves a visible timer, a reminder before the timer goes off, the choice of who gets to turn the timer off, the question “what do you need before we go to school” and (hopefully) the response “backpack.” Most days it involves a transition item (a beloved toy or book, taken to the car) and the reminder that it needs to stay in the vehicle to “watch over it” while your child is at school. Basically, it takes extra time, planning and endless patience to get this important member of our family off to a positive start for the day.

One thing that helps parents and families who live with the spectrum is acceptance from others. When you see a six-foot-tall teenager at the store having a meltdown because he or she is not getting a toy this trip, the gift you can give to that family is to withhold judgment. I wish I could say that the raised eyebrows and staring glares meant nothing to us as parents. But the fact is we do realize our child is being disruptive to your wait in line at the cash register and we wholeheartedly wish you did not have to hear or witness it. We don’t want to experience it either! A smile or even ignoring the fuss altogether would be of true assistance to a family in this situation.

For more information on how to support families and individuals with autism, visit https://www.autismspeaks.org/ and http://www.washingtonautismadvocacy.org/updates/.

Never stop learning,

Cassandra

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The Power of the Diploma

I enjoy graduation “season” because it brings a student’s accomplishments to the forefront and opens doors to their future. In most cases these kids have spent the past 13 years of their lives learning not just academics but also social interactions that will assist them throughout the rest of their lives. Regardless of a student’s “next steps,” having that diploma in hand helps them get there!

According to KingCounty.Gov:

“In the United States, higher educational attainment also correlates with lower rates of unemployment. 8% of workers over 25 years old with less than a high school diploma were unemployed in 2015, compared to 2.8% unemployment for workers holding bachelor’s degrees.”

In other words, students who do not finish high school are nearly three times as likely to be unemployed in King County in comparison to graduates who went on to collegiate, post-secondary learning.

Does this learning have to be at a four-year college in order to become employable? No! While college and university degrees are a great path for many students, it isn’t for everyone. Within the Lake Washington School District sits the Lake Washington Institute of Technology. LWIT does offer some 4 year programs, but they also offer certificates in everything from Aerospace/Manufacturing Gas Tungsten Arc Welding to Web Applications Development.

Congratulations to the high school graduates of 2017 and best wishes for wherever the next step takes you!

Never stop learning,

Cassandra

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