Dear STEM Families:
Hello and welcome back to K-5 STEM! We are meeting, planning, and working overtime to lay the foundation for an amazing school year. As I have begun to collaborate with STEM families and staff, the level of commitment and engagement is thrilling! I feel privileged to serve your children in conjunction with such dedicated community members.
I have been working on the answers to a multitude of questions. The paragraphs below answer some. As a new member of the K-5 STEM community, it has taken time to work with staff and families on priorities, systems, and procedures as we prepare for the start of school.
Some key information regarding the new year:
Slight Adjustment to K-5 STEM start and end Time:
The new transportation standards adjusted K-5 STEM’s start and end times by 5 minutes. New start time: 9:25. New end time: 3:40.
Pick up/Drop off/Parking:
Supervision is provided starting at 9:10 a.m. Please do not bring your child to school before 9:10 am as there is no supervision.
K-5 STEM and Arbor Heights administrators, safety committees, PTA representatives, City of Seattle, and Seattle Public Schools staff met this summer to develop a Safe Routes to School plan for entry and exit and traffic patterns (click on the link to see map). Guidelines were developed collaboratively to help ensure the safety of our students and others. We ask everyone to follow the plans for entry and exit of the Louisa Boren building.
For Morning Drop off and Dismissal: Students may be dropped off or picked up in the designated zone on the west end of the playground. Parents may pull into the drop off/pick up zone and supervisors will direct children accordingly. Parents wanting to walk and pick up their children may park in the visitor parking section of the parking lot, or the park and walk section designated “School Load and Unload only” along Delridge. Students may not be dropped off on Delridge to walk to the playground. To respect instructional time in a building serving more than 700 students, after the first day of school we ask that parents pick up and drop off outside (or in the office for late arrivals) rather than at classroom doors. On the first day of school students and parent may go directly to classrooms.
Classroom assignments will be posted August 28th by 4:30 by the office.
A few Upcoming Events:
Aug. 23: 4-7pm 3rd ANNUAL STEM BACK TO SCHOOL BASH at Lincoln Park!
Aug. 25: 4:30-5:30pm Kindergarten Play Date on Boren playground
Aug. 26: 3rd grade back to school potluck from 5:30-7:30 at Fairmount Park
4-5pm 1st-5th grade New Student Orientation at STEM
5-6:30pm Kindergarten Open House at STEM
Sept. 3: First day of school!
9:30-10:30am meet with other parents and school principal Ben Ostrom to celebrate/decompress.
Arbor Heights Co-location:
This summer I had the privilege of working
with Arbor Heights Principal Christy Collins and staff and families from both schools to tackle plans and logistics around co-location. We addressed issues including professional development, school security, safe movement of students throughout the building, emergency preparedness, and plans for school-wide Positive Behavioral Supports (PBIS) to align key school expectations. I believe that the colocation of both schools in the Boren building for two years will create a number of benefits and opportunities for both schools! I am enthused to work with Principal Collins and the Arbor Heights staff and community to create a positive learning environment and experiences for our children.
One outgrowth of our collaboration with Arbor Heights will be shared Positive Discipline professional development the week before school starts. Positive Discipline is a classroom management (and parenting) program designed to teach young people to become responsible, respectful and resourceful members of their communities. Based on the best selling Positive Discipline books by Dr. Jane Nelsen, it teaches important social and life skills in a manner that is deeply respectful and encouraging for both children and adults. Based on feedback from staff and community last spring, K-5 STEM’s staff made a collective decision to adopt Positive Discipline as a framework to create shared expectations for children across the building. We were thrilled when Arbor Heights agreed to adopt the same program as we work together to support over 700 students. More information will be provided regarding parent education opportunities in the weeks to come.
K-5 STEM is a uniform school! Uniforms are adopted to build community, decrease inequalities and distractions, support safety, and many other reasons. Visit the STEM PTA website for full details on uniform expectations and guidelines. A uniform closet exists to support families requesting financial assistance to meet uniform guidelines, and also address short term needs.
Welcome to New and Returning Staff:
K-5 STEM welcomes several new staff members, and some staff changed assignments. We were fortunate to add some outstanding educators to support our mission of nurturing Project Based Learning, A Culture of Accountability, and A Celebration of the Whole Child. Names in italics are new to K-5 STEM. Make sure to search them out and introduce yourselves.
||Whitney Cook, Alica Hardman
||Soheyla Nur, Lisa Sweeney
||Jodi Williamson, Stacy Chung
||Sunny Graves, Kent Daniels
||Deborah Giza, Mo Newton
||Craig Parsley, Travis DesAutels
||Gretchen Gray, (PE), Julie Schmick (Technology), Marie Nelson (Performing Arts), Mary Bannister (Library)
||Chris Barrett (Resource), Veronica Gruber (SM4), Shamsah Rahim (SM4i)
||Ronald Adams, Carmita Velasquez, Hayward Coleman, Greg Wolf, Clara Hanson, Luke Imboden, Craig Rankin
||Renee Davis (.5 Counselor), Mary Bannister (.25 LAP Reading)
||Cindy Baca, Fallon Kongsaeng
||Tom Zech, Tony Dong
I am working with the PTA to support improved communication that also makes more effective use of the PTA and school websites, and School Messenger. There are currently several efforts in the works. There will be a weekly update going out through school messenger regarding upcoming events, a monthly newsletter, intermittent updates on important issues, and a monthly coffee chat on the third Friday of each month from 8:30-9:30 am.
A K-8 Exploration team consisting of K-5 STEM staff and community members is meeting two times/month to plan and explore the feasibility of a 6th grade roll up for the ’15-’16 school year. The final decision about whether 6th grade will be added for the ’15-’16 or ‘16-’17 school year will come from SPS senior leadership, not STEM. The biggest considerations include school readiness and building capacity. You can expect a larger update on this process sometime in September.
Thanks to generous Arts funding from the K-5 STEM community, staff will begin to receive Art’s Impact professional development on how to integrate arts education into day to day teaching on the early release day on September 24.
There’s a lot going on. We will be gathering August 25-28 as a K-5 STEM staff to participate in professional development addressing Cultural Competency, Positive Discipline, and Math in Focus (Singapore Math); and spend time jumping into planning and details for the year to come. We will have much to share and celebrate in the weeks ahead. Thank you for joining me and our K-5 STEM Staff to create a powerful learning community filled with scholars who are aspiring, creating, and expecting.
I’ll close with a poem from Sheeneagh Pugh.
Sometimes things don’t go, after all,
from bad to worse. Some years, muscadel
faces down frost; green thrives; the crops don’t fail,
sometimes a person aims high, and all goes well.
A people sometimes will step back from war;
elect an honest person, decide they care
enough, that they can’t leave some stranger poor.
Some people become what they were born for.
Sometimes our best efforts do not go
amiss, sometimes we do as we meant to.
The sun will sometimes melt a field of sorrow
that seemed hard frozen: may it happen for you.
I look forward to getting to know you all in person!
K-5 STEM Principal