Introduction to Terms at K-5 STEM


STEM_logo_color-video2-e1396407569794This at-a-glance introduction to the terms and acronyms at K-5 STEM may be helpful to both new and returning families.

Included, are many links to more information about curricula, district policies and more.

Click to view/download pdf:

STEM Intro to Terms

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1st Day of School Welcome Coffee


coffee cupThe K-5 STEM PTA and Principal Ostrom will be hosting a 1st Day Coffee for parents on Sept 3rd, from 9:30-10:30am. Weather permitting, we will be in the first courtyard across from the gyms/near cafeteria and small playground. PTA will provide coffee, cups, napkins, sugar/creamer & tissue… If people would like to bring breakfast treats to share it would be appreciated!

FYI- the Arbor Heights parents will be in the same space from 8:30-9:30am, so there may be some overlap. Both Ben Ostrom and AH principal, Christy Collins, will be available during this time.

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Positive Discipline at K-5 STEM



You’re going to be hearing a lot about Positive Discipline over the coming weeks as K-5 STEM becomes a Positive Discipline school.

Positive Discipline is designed to teach young people to become responsible, respectful and resourceful members of their communities. It teaches important social and life skills in a manner that is deeply respectful and encouraging for both children and adults (including parents and teachers.)

It’s based on the best selling Positive Discipline books by Dr. Jane Nelsen and co-authors Lynn Lott, Cheryl Erwin and others.

Here is information regarding positive discipline, along with some links to internet resources:


Where did we ever get the crazy idea that in order to make children do better, first we have to make them feel worse? Children do better when they feel better.
-Dr. Jane Nelsen

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School Uniforms


Uniform Owl Close Up

We are hoping you have already been shopping for uniform clothes during the Back to School sales.  If you have questions about the Uniform Policy you can review the following links for more information.

Uniform Policy 

Uniform Shopping

School Logo on Uniform 


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Follow Our Website




Feeling out of the loop?  Don’t want to miss any news?  Follow our website and you will be emailed daily with any new posts.  Click on the Follow button on the right side of the page to submit your email address.  You will need to confirm your address from your inbox.  Daily emails will go out at 7:00 pm each day.  Questions?  Contact the Website Team.

**We will not share or sell your email address.


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Volunteer Requirements at K-5 STEM and SPS


We love volunteers!

Adults interested in volunteering, chaperoning field trips, tutoring, helping at lunch, etc… MUST first go through the SPS requirements. Click this link and follow the steps to be one of STEM’s best resources- a volunteer!

See you in the halls….

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Embroidered Owl Logos Free from Lands’ End – August 26 & 27 Only!


Lands’ End just announced another FREE LOGO sale starting August 26th for 2 days only!

Click on the Lands’ End logo below to shop. When checking out, use promo code FREELOGO3 and pin 5206.

Code: 900152018

Lands End Free Logo

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Pick-up/Drop Off Traffic Plan


There have been some changes this year in how the parking is set up for Pick-up and Drop-Off.  Below is the map and plan provided by Seattle Public Schools, Seattle Department of Transportation and Feet First.  You can download the plan here.

BorenTraffic1 BorenTraffic2





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Welcome Back Letter from Principal Ben Ostrom


STEM_logoProject Based Learning • A Culture of Accountability • A Celebration of the Whole Child


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:

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

Aug. 28:

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.

Positive Discipline:

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.

Uniform Expectations:

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.


Position Names
Kindergarten Whitney Cook, Alica Hardman
1st Soheyla Nur, Lisa Sweeney
1st/2nd Jean Wylie
2nd Jodi Williamson, Stacy Chung
2nd/3rd Ro Gluck
3rd Sunny Graves, Kent Daniels
4th Deborah Giza, Mo Newton
5th Craig Parsley, Travis DesAutels
Specialists Gretchen Gray, (PE), Julie Schmick (Technology), Marie Nelson (Performing Arts),  Mary Bannister (Library)
Special Education Chris Barrett (Resource), Veronica Gruber (SM4), Shamsah Rahim (SM4i)
Instructional Assistants Ronald Adams, Carmita Velasquez, Hayward Coleman, Greg Wolf, Clara Hanson, Luke Imboden, Craig Rankin
Support Renee Davis (.5 Counselor), Mary Bannister (.25 LAP Reading)
Office Cindy Baca, Fallon Kongsaeng
Custodial 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.

K-8 Planning:

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.

Arts Impact:

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!






Benjamin Ostrom

K-5 STEM Principal


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Fundraiser Heads Up – Chinook Books available November 3rd


Chinook cover-profile-sm-seattle

The Chinook Book Fundraiser will start on November 3rd.  

We are giving you a heads up so you don’t purchase a Chinook Book from another vendor.  You will be able to purchase from this website starting on 11/3.

The  Chinook Book is packed with over 500 valuable coupons from local, sustainable merchants. It’s available as a print edition and app (for iPhone, iPad and Android).  Check out what’s inside.

Thanks for your participation and support.  Let’s make this a successful fundraiser!


Chinook Book Merchants


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