August 17, 2015
Welcome to the 2015-2016 school year! During my time off I’ve been able to log many miles along the Alki Beach path. I don’t think I will ever tire of watching the bald eagles fly along the beach looking for their breakfast. Unfortunately, I also had a bit of a problem involving a kayak and an unexpected wave which will result in an upcoming knee surgery. I will miss some work in the next few weeks so please don’t be too surprised if emails don’t get answered in my typically prompt manner.
We welcomed our kindergarten students on Monday for JumpStart! It’s been helpful to have many siblings in that group who have already spent many hours at Fairmount Park. Their comfort level with the building is evident and eases the anxiety for new students.
I am looking forward to our second year as a school and to building on what we learned from last year’s successes and challenges. We are fortunate to have a strong teaching corps that is constantly reflective and eager to improve their teaching practice. Work on school climate and traditions will continue to be a focus so that all students build strong connections and find success. This is the year to deepen the analysis of our academic program and continue to develop strong instructional practices within our professional learning community teams.
I’m very excited that Haley O’Neill is joining our team as assistant principal. Haley will work Wednesdays through Fridays and focus primarily on staff evaluations and professional development. I’ll be handling all the operational issues such as discipline, budgeting, scheduling, safety, and logistics. l will have a strong presence in classroom this year to ensure that all Fairmount Park students are meeting academic and behavioral expectations.
Our weekly Thursday newsletter, the Falcon Flyer, will be sent home in hard copy the first few weeks until we update email information. Please make it a priority to read that document weekly as it will have important school and PTA information. My goal is to move to electronic distribution of the newsletter by the first of October.
Please remember that at Fairmont Park we refer to all students by their grade level, not program title. A second grader is simply a second grader, no matter if that child qualifies for special education services, gifted services, or English Language Learners (ELL) services. We are one community!
Students in grades 1-5 need to start ramping up the reading time if it hasn’t been happening during the summer. We plan to hit the ground running with literacy and need those reading muscles in shape for the start of the school!
Supply lists are included in this mailing. Please email me or call the office if you are unable to obtain the supplies for the start of school. I will work with your child’s classroom teacher to ensure that all necessary supplies are available for your student.
Curriculum Night is Thursday, September 24th. Please mark your calendars for this back to school night for parents. Teachers will provide parents with a yearly overview of what will be happening in the classrooms. PreK-2 classroom presentations will be from 6-7 with grades 3-5 from 7:00-8:00.
The office is now open 8-4 daily. Call if you have any questions or need assistance. I hope you enjoy the remaining weeks of summer vacation, and I look forward to greeting all 480 students and families on September 8th or 9th.
Fairmount Park Principal
Fairmount Park School Daily Schedule
8:25 – Playground Opens; Breakfast Begins
8:40 – First Bell
8:45 – Start of School
11:05-11:40– Lunch/Recess K-1
(11:05-11:25 in the lunchroom; 11:25-11:40 on the playground)
11:10-12:45 – Recess/Lunch 2/3
(11:10-11:25 on the playground; 11:25-11:45 in the lunchroom)
11:45-12:05 – Recess/Lunch 4/5
(11:45-12:05 in the lunchroom; 12:05-12:20 on the playground)
1:00-1:15 – Recess K/1
1:15-1:30 – Recess 2/3
1:30-1:45 – Recess 4/5
2:55 – Dismissal
3:00 – Buses depart
Important information for the start of school:
- Open House is on Tuesday, September 8th, from 3:00-4:30. Families are invited to tour the school, learn classroom assignments, and stow the items from classroom supply lists. If you are unable to attend this event, look for a staff member with a yellow vest on September 9th. Those staff members will have class lists to help any student or parent determine classroom assignments. Classroom lists are not posted to preserve student privacy.
- Family handbooks will go home on the first day of school in the first day packet. Please reference that document for understanding of school guidelines, requests, and expectations.
- The first day packet will have a student data form. THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT DOCUMENT IN THAT PACKET. Please make all necessary edits and return the form to school ASAP.
- Students should go to the blacktop on September 9th to and wait for the classroom teacher to meet them. The teachers will hold up signs with their names and will line up students on the blacktop and near the play structure. The blacktop opens at 8:25 daily. The teachers will meet students at 8:40 when the first bell rings.
- I would ask that students come to school daily with sturdy/sport shoes along with socks. The play chips resulted in many splinters embedded in sockless feet last year. Also, the weather will be warm at the start of school. Smelly feet are a common problem when students do not have socks on.
- Our lunch program is changing to a prepack program this year due to the low number of lunches served. Everything will be precooked and packaged off site and then served here. How will that look? I expect fewer choices for fruits and vegetables, and students will be opening sealed containers to access their food. I suggest that you send a lunch from home until we know more about how this will work. With a new cook and a new type of lunch program, the lunch line might be a little slow at first. And, students always require additional time as they get used to entering their lunch numbers.
- Our conflict mediator program for 4th and 5th grade students will run again this fall. Training for 4th or 5th grade students wanting to join this team will be on Tuesday, September 8th, from 8am-3pm. This program isn’t something to force your child into. The students are trained in how to mediate a conflict and will then “work” with primary students during lunch recess. If you child has no desire to “work” during their lunchtime, please do not force your child to participate. This program isn’t a great fit for all students. Please email me if you would like your child to participate. Students will need to bring a sack lunch with them for this full-day training.
- Expect parking to be challenging the first few days of school. Please park legally and never stop or park in the designated bus zone in front of the building, the fire lane that is painted red, or in a neighbor’s driveway. I have been known to shake my finger at drivers who disregard the red fire zone area. I need that area clear for emergency vehicles should they be needed. I also come unglued when vehicles make U-turns or stop in the crosswalks.
- Drop off is along Fauntleroy in front of the bus loading area. Please have your child exit on the passenger side of the car and then walk to the pathway to enter the playground. Further details will be contained in the family handbook. Students may be dropped off or arrive 8:25 or later. You will get a reminder from me if your child is on school district or park property even one minute early. It simply isn’t safe for students.
- Pickup is difficult at our school. Parents will need to park along neighborhood streets and walk to the courtyard to meet students. Please take the five extra minutes to park legally in the neighborhood and walk to the courtyard and wait for your child. I ask that you not come into the building as the hallways get congested with parents waiting outside the doors.
- I have an obligation to keep traffic off of 38th Street (the street that runs almost perpendicular with the front of the building) before and after school. Please keep your vehicle off that street per an agreement made with Seattle Public Schools, the City of Seattle, and neighbors along that street.
- We are required to compost throughout the building. It will be helpful if parents pack lunches with reusable containers to minimize throw-away packaging. I will ask students to pack out what they pack in. This will allow the custodian to help students with purchased lunches to get through the composting lines quickly. Although your child’s lunch container might be a bit smelly when you clean it out, you will know exactly what your child ate and what was left in the container. PLEASE send students with food that does not require an adult to open. My 32 years as an educator have shown me that students who have finger food without packaging more often eat their lunches as compared to those who must struggle to open multiple packages.
- Lunch times have been moved earlier this year to accommodate hungry students. (I’ve attached our daily schedule to this mailing.) There will be no snacking in classrooms this year to ensure that students eat their lunches during lunchtime. My attempt to be liberal with snacks/food in the classroom backfired last year. Students ate their lunches in their classrooms and used their time in the lunchroom for purposes other than eating. I had a challenging time with off task student behavior in the lunchroom. As such, the expectation for all will be to eat their lunches in the lunchroom during lunchtime.
- The office staff has student and adult school sweatshirts for sale. Please visit the office and select the appropriate size for your child. This helps to reduce the back and forth swapping of sizes and concerns of lice.
- We are a full house this year with 19 classrooms for K-5 and two preschool classrooms. The preschool rooms serve students in our special education developmental preschool and an extended day program for preschool students with autism. Homeroom teaching assignments are as follows:
- Preschool: Ms. Coons, Ms. Toladano
- K: Ms. Lamb, Ms. Naze, Mr. Warbington
- 1st: Ms. Britt; Ms. Halladin; Ms. Swarts
- 1st/2nd multi-age: Ms. Anderson
- 2nd: Ms. Hitch, Mr. Peterson, Ms. Sherwood
- 3rd: Ms. Chow, Ms. Cowan, Ms. Gano, Ms. West
- 4th: Ms. Kelly, Ms. Wilson
- 4th/5th multi-age: Ms. Quinlivan
- 5th Griffin, Ms. Wilkie