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Back to School Letter from Principal Breidenbach

All enrolled families will receive a hard copy of Principal Breidenbach’s letter, which was sent via USPS today:

Julie_Breidenbach

Dear Fairmount Park Families,

I’m excited to send my first official back to school letter as a Fairmount Park Falcon!  Please bear with this unusually long nuts-and-bolts letter, but our grand opening is just around the corner and my job is to make that opening as smooth and successful as possible.  If your child will not be attending Fairmount Park, please email me immediately.  The families of children on our wait list will appreciate knowing that space is available.

I can hardly believe it’s been six months since I excitedly accepted this position.  The building was basically a shell, and the grounds were covered with construction vehicles and equipment when I first toured the site.  I requested changes both major and minor.  A short six months later, we can all heartily thank District staff for listening to my concerns and responding appropriately.  I now walk through a building that is bright, child-friendly, and ready to house our first group of students.

Your children are going to be greeted by an exceptionally strong and professional staff comprised of seasoned educators and those new to the profession.  They all share the same demanding work ethic and commitment to serve all students in an environment that is supportive of students’ social and emotional needs as well as their academic needs.  An important interview question was this: “The principal asks you to do something that doesn’t sit well with you.  How will you respond?”  I hoped to hear that he/she would candidly and respectfully voice his/her concerns rather than remaining silent.  Knowing that a new school has many unique demands, I wanted people who have strong individual voices who are collaborative team players as well.

Currently our enrollment is 340 students, but I anticipat the number will grow before the start of school. As our enrollment grows, grade configurations change, so I haven’t made any classroom assignments yet.  Classroom assignments will be provided at the Ice Cream Social/Open House.

I would like to thank all the PTA volunteers for doing so much work this summer in preparation for our grand opening.  Our new logo is spectacular.  Did you notice the “FP” embedded in the falcon?  Parents have also organized walking school buses, researched the walking paths to ensure safe routes for students, and have regularly arranged play dates at the park.  I firmly believe a school is only as strong as the volunteer support.  With what I’ve seen so far, I’m confident Fairmount Park is going to open with energy, enthusiasm, and a commitment to serve all students!

The opposite side of this mailing will contain a lot of information regarding our opening.  Sit back with a cup of coffee or beverage of choice and please read the entire document.  And as always, email me at jabreidenbach@seattleschools.org if you have any burning questions before the start of school.   Please, never interpret my short responses as dismissive or abrupt.  I make it a point to answer all emails and typically do so with as few words as possible so that I can respond to all.  I’m known for getting “right to the point.”  ( I don’t have phone service in the building yet so email is your only way to communicate with me.)

Our official ribbon cutting ceremony is scheduled at 2:45 on Tuesday, September 2nd.   When that short ceremony concludes, our official open house event begins.  Volunteers will be on hand to tell you your child’s room number.  (Kindergarten and preschool students will go directly to that wing for assignment information.)   You will have a chance to meet the teacher,  check out the classroom, and stow school supplies in your children’s desks/rooms.  After that you will have a chance to complete your bingo card and most importantly, visit the lunchroom for an ice cream cone.  (Popsicles will be available for those with allergies.)

I look forward to seeing everyone on September 2nd.

Sincerely,

Julie Breidenbach

Fairmount Park Principal

 

Important information for the start of school!

  • Math will be the first hour of the day in every 1st-5th grade classroom.  This will accommodate students needing a placement different from their class with no interruption to the rest of the academic day.  Regular education students will work at grade level, Spectrum students one grade level ahead and  APP students two grade levels ahead. Please contact Ms. Breidenbach before August 20th if you have an APP student needing to work one level ahead instead of two. Regular education or Spectrum students who would like to work ahead one year must be tested to prove that they are capable of skipping a year of math curriculum.  Testing will be from 7:50 – 8:50 AM the 18th – 22nd of August. Please contact Cindy Gano at cmnumata@seattleschools.org to schedule a testing time for your child.
  • Student lockers in most hallways are very small.  Please do not purchase a backpack with rollers intended for middle school students.  Large backpacks will not fit, and students will not be able to stow backpacks in the classrooms.
  • Bus information is typically mailed to families a few days before the start of school.  The office staff is so busy on the first day of school that I am asking that transportation issues be addressed on Friday, August 29th.  The office staff will be working that day, so drop by between 8-3, and we’ll do everything we can to answer your questions and solve transportation problems.  Thanks.
  • The first day packet will include a student data sheet for your child.  THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT DOCUMENT IN THE PACKET.  Please make all necessary phone/address/contact corrections and return to school ASAP.  This sheet reflects all the information we have for your child in the data system.  For emergencies as well as day to day issues, we need accurate information for all students.  (The automated phone system calls your home phone.  If you do not have a land line or seldom use it, insert your cell number into that line.  It’s okay to list your cell phone as both your cell phone and your home phone if you do not use a landline.)
  • Pickup and drop-off information will be in our school handbook which will be emailed to all families late in August.  Hard copies will be distributed at our open house. A team of teachers is currently working with me to get all of our structures/routines/expectations included in the school handbook.
  • A supply list is included in this mailing.  If you are unable to obtain these before the start of school, please let me know.  I will make sure your child has the necessary school supplies.
  • Classroom assignments will be available at the start of the Ice Cream Social/Open House at 3:00 pm on September 2nd.  If you are unable to attend the event, you can call between 3:00-4:00 that day to get the assignment information.  Tempted to ask me to change your child’s classroom placement?  Please do not.   It would not be appropriate to honor some requests while others comply with the policy.
  • Kindergarten Jump Start is the week of August 18-22.   Enter the main doors on Findlay and make a left to join us in the lunchroom.  Staff will help me check to see all the necessary forms have been completed.  After that, you’ll be told which teacher to join for Jump Start.  The Jump Start teacher won’t necessarily be your child’s assigned kindergarten teacher.    Children will go with the teachers to the classrooms, and I will stay in the lunchroom to talk with parents about the upcoming year.  Because of allergy issues and other dietary restrictions, I am asking all students to come with their own snack.  Please keep it healthy, simple and as tidy as possible – Goldfish, pretzels, cut cheese or fruit, etc.  I will have pretzels for any child without a snack.  If your child requires medication, an asthma inhaler, or EPI pen, you will need to remain on site during Jump Start.  Finally, please send your children with a coat, backpack, and lunchbox so that teachers can teach the students how to stow their personal items.
  • A leadership opportunity is available to students in grades 4/5.  Do you have a 4th or 5th grade student who would like to be a Recess Mentor/Conflict Mediator during the K-2 recesses? If so, please read on.  Professional staff will train the students on the dates listed below.  Your child must be willing to give up his/her lunchtime on occasion to help the younger students during their lunch recess.  If your child needs recess to release his/her own wiggles, this may not be the right fit.  Also, your child needs to be comfortable playing games and sports as this job will require him/her to help teach the games and activities to the younger students.  (Teaching first grade students how to play kickball is not for the faint of heart.)  I hope that about 30 students will be interested.  Please email me right away if your child would like to participate. All trainings are mandatory as professionals are hired/paid to conduct these trainings which cannot be duplicated by school staff.    More information about this program can be obtained at http://www.cruinstitute.org/index.php?p=studenttraining.   The training dates are:
    • Tuesday, September 2nd, 9:30-2:30.  (Students should bring a snack.)
    • Monday, September 8th, 3:00-5:00 (Students should bring a snack.)
    • Thursday, September 11th, 3:00-5:00  (Students should bring a snack.)
  • Fairmount Park t-shirts will be distributed to all students on Friday, September 5th.  Children will have the option to wear it over the shirt they wore to school or go to the bathroom to change.  We will be a sea of royal blue that day for our first Friday assembly.
  • Curriculum Night is September 10th.  We scheduled it early this year knowing that you will all want to hear from teachers right away.  Before or after the classroom presentation, please have your picture taken by the Yuen Liu photographers for your official FP ID.  Once you have completed the background check and the required video, we will give you that ID badge.  Staff will be able to quickly identify “badged” adults as having the right to engage with students at school.
  • The volunteer screening process for SPS has changed this year.  Planning to volunteer at school right away?  Please go to the district website and complete the following three steps if you would like to start volunteering right away:  (the website explains all these required activities)  Link to this page: http://bit.ly/SPS-Volunteering
    • View the required video listed on the website.  Sign and return the required form indicating you completed the video.
    • Sign and return the form that is included once you review the duties of a volunteer.
    • Complete the background check form.  Please mail that form back to us right away so that we can do your Washington State Patrol check before the start of school.
  • The first edition of the Falcon Flier will be sent home Thursday, September 4th.  My goal is to have this weekly newsletter sent electronically once we’ve inputted all the data sheet information.  Please make sure we have a current email (or two) for your family.  Families without home internet access will receive a hard copy.
  • Fourth and fifth grade camp is December 1-4.  Please make sure that your Thanksgiving travel plans include a return no later than the 30th.  If you arrive back on the 1st after our departure time, you’ll need to take your child to Bainbridge Island to join the other students at Islandwood.
  • One unique aspect of our building is that all students will be walking up at least a half-flight of stairs to get to their classrooms.   We do have elevators, but they will be used for health related issues only.  Please contact me right away if your child has a summer injury that will require the use of an elevator so we can develop a plan.  I suspect we will be the school with the healthiest students and staff with all of our walking up and down the stairs!
  • Individual and classroom pictures are scheduled for Friday, September 12th.  Absent students will have the opportunity to have pictures taken later in October on picture retake day.
  • School lunch lines will be slow at the start of the year as all students will have new PINs this year.  I recommend that if you have a child that will be stressed out in a long line that you send a lunch from home the first few days.  And at the risk of being environmentally unfriendly, please make sure your child is able to independently open all containers that you use to hold food.  My hands are an active Petri dish due to the fact that I clean up spills, wipe tables, and touch many items that have had saliva on them.  Yes, it is gross but part of my job. I don’t have time to put on gloves and use hand sanitizer each time I make contact with items in the lunchroom.   When I have to help a child open a container, everything on my hands get transferred to your child’s container.   In doubt?  Ask your child to open the containers to ensure that they can do so independently.
  • The play area/courtyard will open at 8:25 beginning Thursday, September 4thPLEASE DO NOT ALLOW CHILDREN TO ARRIVE TO SCHOOL PRIOR TO THAT TIME.  PLEASE DO NOT USE THE PARK PRIOR TO 8:25 AS OTHER PARENTS MAY ASSUME  YOUR PRESENCE MEANS THAT THEY CAN  DROP OFF THEIR STUDENTS EARLY.
  • Breakfast begins at 8:25 each morning.  Breakfast is not served beyond 8:40 with the exception of students arriving on a late bus.
  • The first bell is at 8:40, when students can then enter the building for the start of school.  Dismissal is at 2:55.  Procedures for pick-up will be in the family handbook that will be available later in the month.

 

Important Dates to Add to Your Calendars

August 18th – 22nd – 9:00 am to 12:00pm – Kindergarten Jump Start

August 18th – 8:45 am – Kindergarten Jump Start check in – student lunchroom

August 18th – 9:15 – Kindergarten parent meeting with Ms. Breidenbach in the lunchroom

September 2nd – Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

September 2nd – 3:00-5:00 – Open House (meet your teacher) and Ice Cream Social

September 3rd – first day of school

September 3rd – 8:40 – all teachers will be on the field to meet/line up their students – teachers will be holding signs with their names

September 3rd – 9:00 – PTA Welcome in the student lunchroom

September 4th – entire school year – 8:25 am – students allowed to arrive at the school play area

September 10th – Curriculum Night for K-5 classrooms

6:00-7:00 – K-2 Classroom Presentation

7:05-8:00 – 3-5 Classroom Presentations

6:15-6:45  – Ms. Breidenbach will speak with parents of 3-5 students in the lunchroom

7:15-7:45  – Ms. Breidenbach will speak with parents of K-2 students in the lunchroom

6:00-7:00  – Yuen Liu photographers will take photographs of all parents for their FP volunteer badges

September 12th – School Picture Day

December 1-5 – 4th/5th grade camp at Islandwood on Bainbridge island