In early June, more than 30 community members including a good number from the Key Peninsula met at Peninsula High School to hear school district Superintendent Jim Coolican discuss the importance of “Developmental Assets” and community and educational partnerships. He emphasized that, “as the district moves from a ‘good’ school district to a ‘great’ school district, we must have the mindset of no excuses regarding students achieving their full potential.”

“Education reform has taken the nation from universal access to universal proficiency,” he said, stressing the district’s commitment to student achievement.

Coolican highlighted student survey results cited in the Promise to Youth brochure provided all participants to emphasize the importance of community-school partnerships. “We can do anything but we can’t do everything,” he said. “All of us have a role in building assets for our community’s youth.”

Among those attending were State Reps. Pat Lantz and Lois McMahan and Pierce County Councilman Terry Lee. The Key Peninsula was well represented by Cristi Watson, executive director of the Key Peninsula Community Services/Food Bank; Jacque Crisman, principal of Evergreen Elementary; Dennis Taylor of Safe Streets; Mike Kecham, director of YMCA’s Camp Seymour; B.J. Bolson, co-principal of KP Middle School; Koffe Kpachavi, director of Camp Colman; Dexter Reuhl and Rochelle Doan of Communities in Schools-Peninsula and, doubtless, others.

Gig Harbor Peninsula Chamber of Commerce member Werner Karshner facilitated a discussion of various topics relevant to furthering the Promise to Youth developmental asset approach. He noted that, “Developmental Assets identify 40 concrete, positive qualities and experiences that have a direct relationship and influence upon youth development. By working together to provide and build these assets for our children we can consciously and intentionally nurture our children to become competent, caring and successful adults.”

If you would like to know more about the Promise to Youth Community Leadership Team and the Developmental Assets, would like a copy of the Promise to Youth informational brochure, or would like to have a speaker for your organization or group, contact Carol McLaughlin at 857-8183 or