News and Events
November 21, 2014
Conferences will take place Saturday, November 22, and Monday, November 24, between 9am and 7:30pm. At Curriculum Night families were encouraged to sign-up for a conference date and time with their child’s teacher. If you have not scheduled a conference, please be sure to contact your child’s teacher directly. Reminder: There is no school for elementary students November 24-28, 2014 due to parent-teacher conferences and the Thanksgiving holiday!
Parent-Teacher Conferences: A Few Tips for Families
As parents and/or caregivers, you are your child’s first and most important teacher. You and each of us that work at Lowell have something in common: We want your child to learn and do well. When families and teachers talk to each other, each person may share important information about your child’s talents, strengths, and needs. Each person may also learn something new about how to assist your child. Parent-teacher conferences are a great way to engage in meaningful conversations with your child’s teacher. Whether next week is your first parent-teacher conference or you are a veteran to this experience, here are a few suggestions to help make your parent-teacher conference productive and effective.
Keep these principles in mind for a productive parent-teacher conference:
Best intentions assumed
Emphasis on learning
Examples and evidence
Respect for all
Dedication to follow-up
What should you expect?
A two-way conversation: Like all effective conversations, parent-teacher conferences are best when both parties (teacher and families) talk and listen. The conference is a time for you to learn about your child’s progress in school: Ask to see data about your child’s attendance, grades, and test scores. Find out whether your child is meeting school expectations and academic standards.
Emphasis on learning: Effective parent-teacher conferences focus on how well the child is doing in school. They also talk about how the child may even do better. To get ready for the conversation, look at your child’s homework, tests, and notices before the conference. Be sure to bring a list of questions that you would like to ask the teacher.
Opportunities and challenges: Like you, teachers want your child to succeed. You will hear positive feedback about your child’s progress and areas for improvement. Prepare by thinking about your child’s strengths and challenges beforehand. Be ready to ask questions about ways you and the teacher can help your child with his or her challenges.
What should you talk with the teacher about?
Progress: Find out how your child is doing by asking questions like the following: Is my child performing at grade-level? What do you see as his or her strengths? How could he or she improve?
Assignments and assessments: Ask to see examples of your child’s work. Ask how the teacher assesses work.
Your thoughts about your child: Be sure to share your thoughts and feelings about your child. Tell the teacher what you think your child is good at. Explain what he or she needs more help with.
Support learning at home. Ask what you can do at home to assist your child in learning. Ask if the teacher knows of other programs or services in the community that could also provide additional support.
Support learning at school: Find out what services are available at the school to help your child. Ask how the teacher will both challenge your child and support your child when he or she needs it.
This information was taken from the following resource: Harvard Family Resource Project (2009).
I look forward to our productive parent-teacher conferences.
Let’s make it a great weekend and have a happy holiday!
Your partner in education,
Dr. Marion Smith, Jr.
Please attend a Community Meeting to comment on 2015-2016 Boundary Change(s) impacting Lowell
November 4, 2014
Beacon Hill International School
2025 14th Ave South
One of Seattle Public School's 2015-2016 boundary changes will move a large number of students from Bailey Gatzert Elementary to Lowell. The Lowell PTA is asking Lowell families to attend a community meeting held by Seattle Public Schools to express our concerns about possible impacts:
This move would impact Bailey Gatzert students. Most of these students are ELL (English Language Learners) who have wraparound services and supports at Bailey Gatzert. These services have been developed over many years. Lowell will not be able to provide the same level of language or other supports currently available at Bailey Gatzert.
This move would further strain Lowell's resources. Lowell is a "boutique" (300 student / PK-5), Title 1 school that has absorbed two new populations this year (Spectrum and homeless/transitional students) and is working on meeting their needs in addition to the school's existing General Education and over 35% Special Education students. Adding another population with distinct, urgent needs will further strain limited resources and hamper the school's ability to meet current students' needs adequately.
Please take an hour out of your evening on Tuesday and come tell SPS why this 2015-2016 boundary change will negatively impact both school populations.
Dine Out for Lowell at Lost Lake Cafe (1505 10th Avenue) on Tuesday, October 28 (5:00-9:00pm). Come out and enjoy delicious food, drinks and conversation with members of the Lowell community. 50% of all sales go to benefit the students of Lowell Elementary School!
Access the 14-15 Student and Families Handbook (sent home via kid mail) online:
Thank you for your continued support and for using this as an opportunity to discuss with your child the various issues considered before this decision was made:
1. equity, 2. homelessness, 3. sense of community, and 4. privilege.
October 20, 2014
Curriculum Night is scheduled for Tuesday, October 7, from 6:00-7:30 pm. At this event, teachers will share with families an overview of their class, instruction, and priorities for the school year. Individual conferences will not take place during this time. Curriculum Night is for teachers to showcase what is happening in the classroom and to share their plans for the school year.
Dine out at Witness
Date: September 30, 2014
Location: 410 Broadway East
The owner of Witness, Gregg Holcomb (parent of a former Lowell student) has generously offered to donate 50% of all proceeds to Lowell during this Dine Out event. So... Come join the Lowell community, meet new friends and families, and help raise money for Lowell to support various activites and programs on campus.
On Friday, September 26, 2014, Lowell students and staff will participate in The HistoryMakers 5th Annual Back to School program in which 400 leaders will visit 200 schools throughout the U.S. to inspire students to COMMIT to their own educational excellence.
The HistoryMakers, a national, non-profit educational organization, is committed to preserving, developing, and providing access to an archival collection of thousands of African-American video oral histories. With over 2,000 oral history interviews with both well-known and unsung African-Americans, The HistoryMakers is the nation's largest African American oral history collection of its kind.
The goals of the Back To School with The HistoryMakers program are to put Black Leaders (our HistoryMakers) in direct contact with young people all across the nation in efforts to accomplish the following:
· Encourage commitment to student achievement, parental involvement, increased test scores, high school graduation, and successful college entry and matriculation.
· Respond to the Obama Administration’s call for service in a real and meaningful way.
· Bring African American leaders into schools to see things firsthand and speak to and hopefully motivate students directly.
· Bring additional resources into the public school systems such as The HistoryMakers digital archive (www.thmdigital.thehistorymakers.com) of oral history interviews.
· Raise awareness of the achievements of accomplished African Americans in their local communities.
Lowell intermediate students (grades 3-5) will be joined by two local HistoryMakers: executive leadership professor, speaker, author and poet Dr. Gloria J. Burgess (returning for a second year to Lowell after serving as our first HistoryMaker last year) and physicist Dr. Warren W. Buck.
Learn more about The HistoryMakers here: http://www.thehistorymakers.com/
First Week of School Message
Message from Dr. Smith
The start of the 2014-2015 school year has been a great one. I am excited and energized because I work with such a dynamic staff and faculty. As I facilitate class meetings, observe instruction, engage in conversations with students, families, and teachers, I am energized about the possibilities and successes that await us this school year as we take our “boutique” school to new levels of excellence. We are growing. Last check our enrollment count was 284 students.
As I stated during the First Day Tea with families and during the Kindergarten Kick-off, this year it’s about Crossing the Line! As a staff we are making personal and collective commitments to challenge the status quo and to pass over mediocrity to have better results, better relationships and more opportunities—an uncomplicated understanding that should feed our every endeavor—consistently pushing us to give the extra effort in every task, action and effort we undertake.
As we complete the first full week of school, I have challenged the staff and faculty to ask ourselves two questions each day:
1. What did I do or say that had a positive impact on the life of a child?
2. How did I Cross the Line today to make a difference in the life of a child?
New Faces on Campus
There are a few new adult faces on campus this year. Please join me in welcoming these people to Lowell:
Jacquie Bowen (nurse)
Caroline Glusenkamp (special education teacher)
Nathan Hoch (5th grade teacher)
Na’Ceshia Holmes (principal intern)
Liz Kuykendall (kindergarten teacher)
Megan Miller (instructional assistant)
Mia Richkind (speech language pathologist)
Joy Southworth (reading specialist)
Alex Zigman (physical therapist)
On behalf of the Lowell community, I welcome each of these dedicated professionals to the Lowell Dream Team!
We are still in search of a half-time resource room special education teacher. This is a new position. The position has been advertised and will remain posted until filled. In the interim, we will work on securing a substitute. If you know of anyone that may be interested in this position, please refer them to the district website to submit an application.
University of Washington Teacher Candidate Interns
Toni O’Neal (1st grade teacher) is our Ackerley Project Coordinator and she has played an integral role in working with the University of Washington to secure teacher candidate interns for this school year. Since the first days of school, these teacher candidate interns have been hard at work each day learning and working alongside their mentor teachers:
Rebecca Lefferts (working with Carly Nelson, Grade 3)
Allie Orme (working with Autumn Mittelstaedt, Grade 1)
Jessica Wahlund (working with Toni O’Neal, Grade 1)
Kera Lena Begeman (working with Kelly Lusnia, Grade 3/4)
In addition we have a City University Teacher Candidate:
Karen Giroux (working with Amy Forhan-Stocks, K-3 Special Education)
Mondays with Marion
I will continue to host informal conversations regarding any issue you feel needs to be addressed. I encourage you to attend and to bring potential solutions to any concerns, so that we are able to leverage our best thinking. My purpose is to listen with the intent of making our school a better place to play, learn and grow for our children. Please note meeting dates are subject to change. Refer to the Friday Flyer to keep informed of any changes. A few upcoming dates:
October 6, 2014, 6:00-7:00pm / Library
November 3, 2014, 9:35-10:35am / Library
December 1, 2014, 6:00-7:00pm / Library
Curriculum Night is scheduled for Tuesday, October 7, from 6:00-7:30pm. At this event, teachers will share with families an overview of their class, instruction, and priorities for the school year. Individual conferences will not take place during this time. Curriculum Night is for teachers to showcase what is happening in the classroom and to share their plans for the school year.
Fall MAP Testing
To obtain additional baseline academic data for our students in the areas of math and reading, and to assist with grade-level instructional planning, grades 1-5 may participate in Fall Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) testing. In addition, all grade 2 students will participate in literacy testing during the following: Sept. 28-Oct. 30. Speak with your child’s teacher, if you want to know more about these tests.
New Math and Reading Curricula
All SPS Elementary Schools will implement a new math curriculum this school year: Math in Focus.
To ensure an uninterrupted block of time for math instruction, we have implemented the following school-wide schedule for initial math instruction:
9:45-10:45 (60 minutes)
After reviewing diagnostic assessments and coordinating with colleagues, grade K-2 teachers will facilitate centers-based instruction; grades 3-5 will facilitate instruction based on a “Walk-to-Math” approach as/if needed. More information on our “Walk-To” instructional framework, as part of our Advanced Learning Opportunities (ALO) Plan and Spectrum framework will be communicated in a future Friday Flyer. NOTE: Instruction and learning is fluid. As a result, our instructional framework and instructional practices in classes will shift with the needs of our students.
In Literacy, Lowell has partnered with McGraw-Hill Education to serve as a 14-15 field test site. We are so excited to field test a new English Language Arts (ELA) Common Core State Standards literacy curriculum, Reading Wonders.
As a field-test site, we have received all materials (grades K-6), initial training, and will receive follow-up professional development (on-going supports) throughout the school year from our literacy and curriculum specialists to address our implementation needs.
Want to learn more about Reading Wonders? Check it out here. Click below to view this presentation:
With our boundary change, growth in enrollment and identified student needs, Lowell has been identified as an English Language Learners (ELL) service site for the 14-15 school year. What does this mean? ELL- identified students will receive support services during the school day from an ELL instructional assistant. In addition, we will receive on-going supports from the district ELL Department to work with staff on language acquisition, professional development, and translation/interpretation needs. As I learn more, I will communicate information to you.
“Learn to Earn” with Umpqua Bank Continues
This year Lowell will continue its partnership with Umpqua Bank’s “Learn to Earn” Program to promote financial literacy. Twice a month, bank representatives and volunteers will visit the school to accept students’ deposits into special savings accounts that can be opened with just $1. There are no minimum deposit amounts and statements are mailed home quarterly. Information about specific Banking Days and Times is forthcoming.
The Student Voice
Continuing this school year will be “D3: Desserts and Discussions with Dr. Smith.” Twice each trimester a different group of students will have an opportunity to meet with me in an informal yet structured setting to discuss what is happening at Lowell, from the student perspective. Students, nominated by their teacher(s), will be provided a safe space to speak openly, while offering solutions and different perspectives about a variety of issues and topics faced on our campus. Light snacks and refreshments will be served.
Drop-Off and Pick-Up
Classes begin promptly at 9:30am. Children arriving after 9:30am must report to the cafeteria, sign in, and pick up tardy slips from the late arrival table. Please do not drop off children before 9:10am as supervision is not provided before then.
Our dismissal time is 3:40 pm. Every minute counts during our instructional day, so we discourage early pick-up of students after 3:15 pm. If you arrive for an early pick-up prior to 3:15 pm, you must sign the student out in the main office. Otherwise, you should meet your child at the wall near the playscape for students in Grades 1-5. Kindergarten students are dismissed in the playcourt area behind their classrooms.
Our after-school dismissal procedures have been refined and they are going well. We are pleased with how our teachers, staff, students, and families have responded to help us ensure students get on the correct bus routes home or are placed in the right hands after school. A special “shout out” to those who have worked with us regarding bus transportation.
Special Reminder: When dropping off or picking up your child, please do not block the personal driveways of our neighbors. Let's be good neighbors!
Should you have questions, comments, concerns, or want to talk, I have an open door policy, so feel free to stop by the school. In addition, I may be reached by telephone (206-252-3020) or by e-mail (email@example.com).
Your partner in education,
Dr. Marion Smith, Jr.
Volunteers are very important to the school. There are some important steps that MUST be completed to volunteerl:
1. Fill out the volunteer application form in the office (also sent home in student folders).
2. Bring a copy of your driver's license to the office for a background check.
3. (New) Take the online training "Adult Sexual Misconduct Prevention-Online Course." http://www.seattleschools.org/modules/cms/pages.phtml?pageid=307222
We look forward to seeing you on campus!
If you woud like your child considered for Advanced Learning (as defined by Seattle Publilc Schools), fill out the form at http://bit.ly/1xPt2pj byOctober 2. Testing will be done later in the fall.
Information about Seattle Public Schools Advanced Learning process and testing was sent home in the First Day Packet and is also available in the school main office.
Your child will bring home an envelope to collect orders with a descriptive letter attached. Chinook Books are full of incredible savings throughout the Puget Sound region. You make up the cost of the book just by using the coupons at businesses you already frequent. The best part? Lowell gets 50% of each sale! Each student who turns in their order form by October 13th will be entered in a raffle to win two passes to the Pacific Science Center. The classroom that sells the most books will celebrate with a pizza party. If you have any questions or have a great idea to boost sales, contact Lowell PTA member Brenna Pink at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It's almost time to head back to school, and there are two events coming up to know about.
We need volunteers! Lowell PTA has organized a classroom set up/building clean-up day for Tuesday, Sept. 2 from noon until 4 pm. We have many teachers that are just now setting up their classrooms due to the construction that has been happening this summer. Please come for any amount of time that you can! There will be lots to help with.
The Lowell PTA is also sponsoring the annual "Back to School Welcome Tea" in the cafeteria on Wednesday, Sept. 3. Drop by after you drop off your kids for coffee and muffins, meet some of the PTA board members, and hear from Dr. Smith about this upcoming school year.
Please save the date for our Back-to-School Picnic!
August 26, 2014 (6-8pm)
Lowell playground and field
There will be pizza, drinks, nibbles, and entertainment! Bring a blanket or chairs and frisbees, balls, or other things to play with. Come catch up with old friends, make new ones, and get ready for school. We hope to see you and your family there!
A list of quick updates as to what is happening to prepare for our September opening:
· Construction is on schedule (more or less). Teachers should be able to access the building the week of August 18th. Contractors, construction workers, and custodial staff will fully occupy the building the month of August to ensure that all the furniture is assembled, technology is installed, and all building materials are placed/stored in appropriate places.
· Tempted to ask me what the classes will look like at each grade level? As our numbers continue to grow week by week, our sections keep changing. I’ll get that information out to families in mid-late August once things settle down in the enrollment process. With this understanding, I ask that you be patient and wait until late August before asking about class assignments.
· Student class assignments are a staff decision. The class placement process occurred within our grade level teams with administrative and specialists input. Both academic data and social/emotional needs were considered when class assignments were developed. Note: Class assignments, along with a welcome letter from the teacher, will be mailed to families on Friday, August 15, 2014.
· Welcome New Staff:
o Nathan Hoch (5th Grade Teacher)
o Na’Ceshia Holmes (Principal Intern)- new position
o Elizabeth Kuykendall (Kindergarten Teacher)
o Yvone Miller (Instructional Assistant)
o Joy Southworth (Reading Specialist)- new position
o Celine Vasquez (Instructional Assistant- ACCESS)- new position
o Caroline VanderHaar (Special Education Teacher, Medically- Fragile)
- Thank you to staff and families who participated in the interview/ selection process. Additional information about our new staff members will be included in the Welcome Back letter sent to families in mid-late August. We have an amazing group of people joining our Lowell family!
· All classrooms K-5 will be using the newly district-adopted text resource Math in Focus. As mentioned in an earlier communication, the most important component of a math program is strong instruction. The textbook is just a tool and very much secondary to the skills of the educator. All students will receive a math program that is balanced and commits to strong computational skills as well as focused work in the application of math in real world problems/situations.
· Our school instructional hours are 9:30-3:40 – the playground will officially open at 9:10 each morning. There is no supervision before this time.
· Upcoming Dates to Know:
o August 5: Building Leadership Team (BLT) Retreat / 9:00-4:00pm / Edgewater Hotel
o August 11: Main Office Opens for the 14-15 School Year (date subject to change based on construction/renovation schedule)
o August 12-15: Seattle Public Schools Summer Leadership Institute (SLI) / 9:00-4:00pm / Garfield High School
o August 15: Class Assignments Mailed to Families
o August 25: New Staff Orientation / 10:00-12:00pm / Lowell Library
o August 26: First Day for Staff
o August 26: “Welcome Back” School Picnic / 5:30-7:30pm / Lowell Playfield + Playground
o September 3: First Day of School (Grades 1-5)
o September 5: Kindergarten Kick-Off / Time: TBD / Lowell Library
o September 8: First Day of School (Kindergarten)
Kinder Families Update-
1. Due to building renovations and construction, Lowell is not participating in Jump Start in August for incoming students and their families. In lieu of this, kindergarten teachers will be scheduling Home Visits or Family Connections Conferences with all families individually in mid-late August/early September, as part of WaKIDS.
2. Kindergarten Slow Start: In an effort to welcome our incoming kindergarten students into a calm and settled school climate, and to allow additional home visits/family connections to occur, Kindergarten will start on Monday, September 8. Kindergarten students will NOT begin on Wednesday, September 3 with the first through fifth grade students. The “Slow Start” is part of WaKIDS and has been approved by Seattle Public Schools.
3. A Kindergarten Kick-Off will be scheduled for all kindergarten students and their families on Friday, September 5th at Lowell. This will allow students to see their classrooms, have a school tour, practice outdoor and lunchroom routines and introduce themselves to other students and families in a supportive, relaxed and social setting. It will be a great way to get ready for the start of school on the 8th.
Enjoy the remainder of the Seattle summer (and see you soon)!
Dr. Marion Smith, Jr.
Dear Lowell Elementary Community-
Reading Wonders is coming to Lowell for the 14-15 school year!