Mercer Island Spotlight: Mercer Island School District

The Mercer Island School District (MISD) serves the student population in the city of Mercer Island. The district is made up of a total of 5 schools: 3 elementary schools (Lakeridge, Island Park and West Mercer), 1 middle school (Islander) and 1 high school (Mercer Island). Dr. Gary Plano is the current superintendent of MISD. Enrollment for the district is presently 4200+ students, and growing.

Academic performance of MISD students is high. According to the district’s Washington State OSPI report card, student performance on 2011/2012 state tests ranged from 88% passing to 98% passing. The graduation rate for the class of 2011 was over 94%. To help students reach such impressive academic outcomes,  the district employs 223 teachers, which have over 11 years of teaching experience on average. 74% of the MISD teachers have masters degrees and 205 of them teach core academic classes.

Even though the demographics of Mercer Island residents reveals that 70% of island households do not contain children, residents are extremely supportive of the public schools. Mercer Island Schools Foundation, a local non profit, reaches out to islanders and local businesses to help raise funds to support the school district. Their fundraising efforts include the annual Phone-A-Thon and Breakfast of Champions. Over the past 25 years, through the generosity of island residents and businesses, Mercer Island Schools Foundation has been able to contribute $8 Million to MISD.

In recent years, national media and websites have touted the high academic performance of Mercer Island School District, along with schools within the district. Forbes Magazine rated MISD #2 on their 2010 and 2011 list of “Best Schools For Your Real Estate Buck.” Location Inc.’s real estate website, Neighborhood Scout, ranks MISD as the #1 best school system in the state of Washington. U.S. News and World Report gives Mercer Island High School a Silver Medal, ranking it #559 nationally and 14th state-wide.

Mercer Island School District strives to be environmentally conscious. It is one of eleven districts which have earned the King County Green School certification. All five schools in the district have reached Level One status, which means they have met the waste reduction and recycling goals of the program.

Extra activities like band, sports teams and drama are readily available to Mercer Island School District students. Approximately 700 student are involved with the district-wide band program. The Mercer Island High School Marching Band has traveled the world, playing in London, in the Rose Bowl Parade in California and at Seahawks games in Seattle. The high school drama department puts on several productions a year, plus offers Improv and Theatre Tech Classes. The high school also operates the only radio station on Mercer Island, KMIH (104.5). The student sport programs whose athletes are excelling in their studies are recognized for their academic excellence.

The school district makes an effort to balance student need and community opinion. With the growth projections for the district, today’s 4,213 student population will grow to 4500+ students by year 2023. To accommodate the projected increase in enrollment, Mercer Island School District is seeking an option that will be both the best use of funds and an acceptable solution for residents. The district is examining three 6th school options and they have asked for community input. It will be interesting to watch this process unfold during upcoming months. Engage Mercer Island Schools Facebook Page is one way to stay in tune with this important district-wide issue.

Mercer Island School District information is readily available online. Visit their website, Facebook Page or follow @mercerislandsd on Twitter to learn more about the district and student news.