Falcon Flyer, Volume 3 Issue 11


Just this week a parent happened to mention her daughter’s commitment to reading during the conference and Thanksgiving break. This student read 1000 minutes! The parent asked if I could acknowledge her child’s accomplishment during lunch. Absolutely!! The child got a fist pump from me and confirmation that hard work is directly connected to growth. Please let me know if your student is working really hard and deserves recognition. I much prefer to be the Chief Cheerleading Officer rather than the Chief Administrative Officer or Chief Disciplinarian Officer.

Progress reports will be going home with students on Friday, December 9th. Please be sure to check your child’s backpack for the document. We ask that you sign the envelope and have your child return it to school.

Standards based report cards look much different from what most of us received in elementary school. Students are given marks based on progress toward grade level expectations/standards. A 3 indicates that a child is on track to meet grade level standards. A 4 indicates that a child is working above grade level expectations. A 2 indicates that a child is not likely to meet grade level expectations and that additional support from both school and home is needed to move the child closer to grade level standards. A 1 indicates that a child is well below grade level expectations and that significant support from both school and home is needed.

Progress reports are a bit tricky for students who have met grade level standards and are being evaluated on the standards for a higher grade level(s). This is particularly true for students working a grade or two ahead in math. A second grade child doing fourth grade math is evaluated on fourth grade standards. So while the child is accelerated by two levels, the progress report could show 2s for some of the standards. This would indicate that the student is in need of extra support from school and home to meet the fourth grade standards.

If questions about this type of progress reporting, I’m happy to take a phone call and talk you through it. I often laugh when I go back and look at my elementary school report cards from the early 70’s, which included personal grooming habits. I received just satisfactory marks for brushing my hair and keeping it tidy. Nowadays I strive for a 3 in hair care, but some days I’m still at a 2!


Our space is not bigger, but thanks to all of the generous donations from the Georgetown Collection Fundraiser on November 18, we have added 80 books to our library collection!

The donations were so generous we are able to go back and pick out 20 more books for our library. Thank you to all who contributed to this fundraising activity. Your support is greatly appreciated.


The last class for many after school Enrichment activities is this week. Many Wednesday and Friday classes will continue through next week. Karate and Choirs remain on their own schedules. Please check in with instructors if you have questions.

Karate is now registering new students for their session beginning in January. For more information, go to

Enrichment volunteers are putting together the winter session schedule. It will be released before Winter Break as registration will happen during the second week of January. New classes will begin January 23rd. If you have any questions or concerns, please email us


November is typically the season of giving thanks, but this year’s Teacher’s Assembly Team wants to keep the thanksgiving going. We’ve chosen GRATITUDE as the Falcon Focus for December. We’re going to emphasize expressing gratitude as a great way to build “empathy muscles.” We’re happier when we focus on what we have rather than what we don’t have, and we’re a stronger community when we notice when others are in need and do something to help—even if it’s simply a kind word of encouragement.

Stop, Name Your Feeling, Calm Down!

Our social skills curriculum, Second Step, does a great job of giving students real-life situations to explore and discuss, as well as practical tools to use. Ms. Wilkie’s fifth graders are engaging their empathy skills by play-acting and working through tough situations that could happen to any student. They are learning or reviewing the 3- step, internal process of how to calm down: “Stop, name your feeling, calm down.” It’s a useful strategy for when strong feelings might cause us to react in ways that lead to regret. When we tell ourselves to stop, and we name our feeling and use a calm down strategy, we can respond in helpful and not hurtful ways.

Students are learning three ways to calm down. One is to take a deep breath, or to “belly breathe.” In some classes we’ve practiced “smelling the soup” (breathing in deeply through our nose), then “cooling the soup” (slowly blowing out through our mouth).

Counting is another tool—up to 10, down from 10, by twos… anything to distract oneself from reacting instead of thoughtfully responding. I like to combine breathing and counting by inhaling through my nose as I count up to 5, and then blowing out slowly counting back down to 1. Exercises like this help to engage the thinking part of our brain and buys us time to figure things out.

Self-talk is the third tool. Students learn the difference between negative and positive self-talk. Often negative self- talk includes thinking like, “He always gets to go first,” or “She never cleans up after herself.” Positive thoughts would include, “I can handle this,” or “I know I can get help with this situation.” Or even, “I just need to walk away.”

The fourth grade curriculum includes a video that dramatizes what happens in the brain and body when we are faced with a stressful, “lid-flipping” situation. Students see how our emotions flare, our temperature goes up as our muscles tighten, and clear thinking is cut off! We can only process the situation and come up with problem-solving solutions if we are calm and not on high “red alert!”

Everyone experiences strong emotions. No matter what our age, we all can use the reminder to “Stop, name our feeling, and calm down.” And calming down is most definitely easier said than done. Like any important skill, it requires awareness, preparedness, and lots of practice, which life freely gives!


Help us reach our goal! Are you excited and proud to have your child attend such an amazing school with an incredible music program, art program, many thought provoking assemblies with live theater and a caring, patient and hardworking counselor available to all students at FPE?

The PTA annual fund drive is off to a great start with our community stepping up to contribute $19,000 so far. We’re almost halfway to our $40,000 goal. Make your annual fund contribution today to provide FPE students and teachers with critical resources and support.

Visit the FPEPTA page or drop off a check in the FPE office to make your donation today. VOLUNTEERING OPPORTUNITIES

Volunteers are still needed for the Craft Fair tonight! Please sign up to help.

Other new and ongoing opportunities to volunteer can be found here


To all Prep and Cantate Choir Members

All concerts are on Wednesday and start at 7pm in the lunchroom and include an “encore” performance at the next Friday during our Friday Assembly at 8:00am (December 16 for the Winter Choir Concert).

Students need to come to the music room at 6:30pm for Wednesday evening concerts.

Evening Concert Attire for All Students

Students should wear black or dark bottoms and white or light tops for concerts such as: black or dark pants, black or dark slacks, black or dark dress, black or dark skirt, and black or dark shoes, and white or light shirt with a collar (polo shirts are ok), white or light blouse. You have worked hard to sound your best and should look your best for the concert.


Many of us are fortunate not to worry about our next meal. We want to do our part to help families who face that uncertainty. FPEPTA has made it our goal to support those in need in our community. Help us make
‘giving back’ part of our Fairmount Park culture!

Each grade level is assigned a week for giving. Of course this does not mean you are limited to donating only that week. Contributions can be placed in the donation bin outside the cafeteria before and after school.

Items to Bring In

  • Canned products
  • Juice (boxed or canned)
  • Applesauce fruit cups (no sugar)
  • Whole grain Cereal/Oatmeal
  • Tuna/Peanut Butter Snack Packs
  • Cup of Noodle/Top Ramen,
  • Individual Meals (Soup, Chili, Ravioli, Mac n’ Cheese)
  • Graham Crackers, Granola Bars, Raisins, Dried Fruit
  • Graham Cracker Crusts, non-refrigerated
  • Rice / Beans

Food Drive Week by Grade

  • 1st Grade: November 28 – December 2
  • K/Pre School: December 5 – December 9
  • 5th grade: December 12 – December 16
  • 4th Grade January 2 – January 6
  • 3rd Grade: January 9 – January 13


Now, before the 2017 state legislative session begins, our state elected officials need to hear from LOTS of parents, requesting them to prioritize education funding. Please write or call our state legislators and Governor Inslee, urging them to take two actions as soon as the 2017 legislative session convenes: 1) fully fund public education with appropriate new revenue and 2) delay the levy cliff to January 1, 2019. Please take a moment to personalize your message with of own thoughts or experiences. Ask for a reply that lays out how this will be accomplished.

More information on the PTA priorities, including funding

Even if the Legislature meet its obligations to amply fund basic education by September 1, 2018, the levy cliff means many school districts’ budgets will be reduced by millions of dollars from January 1 until September 1, 2018. Overall, the levy cliff threatens about $500 million per year in K-12 funding in Washington’s 295 school districts. These cuts will likely require numerous layoffs. Districts are already preparing their 2017/18 school year budgets; in Seattle, the projected budget shortfall without a fix to the levy issue is $71 million dollars.

However, local levy revenues do not suffice. The State must fully fund public schools. Washington’s constitution requires the State to amply fund basic education . But they need to hear from you, your family, friends and neighbors! Please take a moment to voice your opinion this week.

Governor Jay Inslee

Senator Sharon Nelson

Representative Eileen Cody

Representative Joe Fitzgibbon


A very heartfelt thanks to those that contributed to our Third Annual Thanksgiving Dinner Drive. Over 40 dinners were collected and distributed within our own community, to families in need at Highland Park Elementary and to other various communities in West Seattle.


Also, West Seattle Food Bank thanks us for the continuous food donations. Here is the tally from the last three pickups.

  • 10/31 – 262 lbs.
  • 11/4 – 232 lbs.
  • 11/18 – 284 lbs.

Please continue to donate! Thank You!!!

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