Award Year: 2018

Captain Johnston Blakely Elementary School

4704 Blakely Avenue North East
Bainbridge Island, WA, 98110-2259

(206) 842-4752

Mr. Reese Ande, Principal at time of Nomination

Bainbridge Island School District

School Website


Staff, parents, and community work collaboratively to nurture and challenge each student to achieve their greatest potential and become active contributors in a global society. We appreciate and respect individual differences, and honor creativity and kindness.

Student Demographics
  • Black/African American: 1%
  • White: 85%
  • Hispanic: 3%
  • Asian: 2%
  • Native American: 1%
  • Two or more races: 8%
  • ELL: 2%
  • Economically Disadvantaged: 0%
Blakely fourth graders participating in our Outdoor Education Program

Blakely fourth graders participating in our Outdoor Education Program

Blakely is a community of passionate adults with unanimity of purpose and shared vision for the future. We are strategic and relentless in supporting each child in his/her journey to academic, social, and emotional growth. Leadership and decisions are shared by all constituents and driven by data, both quantitative and qualitative. Blakely is a students-first community where the diverse needs of our children are met by trained professionals who plan for success.

For many years, we took great pride in being a place where students were truly seen. We actively sought to view them as unique learners and special individuals. The practice that put us on the path to increased success was strategically spotlighting and promoting student voice. Honoring student voice and encouraging students to communicate their thoughts empowers students. A student who feels valued and included is more likely to take a risk.

The spark started in math. Teachers began using number talks with the goal of increasing math reasoning and communication. Students were presented an open-ended or above grade-level math question during a number talk and the peer interaction would begin — thinking, asking questions, and explaining, as the teacher would model the student-led discourse with numbers and symbols. Student engagement soared during number talks. As more students began to articulate their ideas, we realized the potential of our students and started to examine the rigor of classroom tasks. Unpacking the diversity within student thought led to a genuine understanding of where our students were and where we could take them.

To quote educator Josef Albers,“Good teaching is more a giving of right questions than a giving of right answers.”