Teacher’s Projects on

Several Fairmount Park Elementary teachers have some projects that could use your support. Projects include:

Hooray for Handwriting by Ms. Britt

Marine Animal Books for Second Graders by Ms. Hitch

Help ESL Students Succeed with iPad Technology by Ms. McVicar

Help Us Get Our Games On! by Ms. Griffin

Please visit the Donors Choose page for the full list:

Advertising helps supplement this free website by | Disable Ads Here

Nuts and Bolts from Ms. Breidenbach

  • Julie_BreidenbachTuesday’s  Open House will be held but shortened in time to 3:00-4:00.  I am doing this in case the teachers are called for a contract vote.
  • Open House begins at 3:00 tomorrow.  I’ll have adults in bright vests who have the class lists.  See those adults for your child’s homeroom assignment.
  • The 8:00-3:00 4th/5th grade Conflict Mediator training will go on as scheduled tomorrow.  Please send your 4th and 5th grade student with a sack lunch.  Students will report to the school lunchroom for their training.
  • Enrollment changes in the past week led to me changing the primary configuration in our general education program.  We will now have two straight kindergarten rooms and also a K/1 multi-age.  Many of the JumpStart kindergarten assignments have changed due to this reconfiguration.
  • Breakfast is $2 and lunch is $3 if your child is purchasing lunch.  Make checks payable to CNS (Child Nutrition Services) and write your child’s full name in the “for” line at the bottom of the check.  Is your child planning on purchasing school lunch?  And is your child a picky eater?  Students opting to purchase school lunch should expect to eat either of the entrée items.  It’s quite common for the cook’s estimation not be exact and for one entrée to run out sooner than the other.
  • Our school colors are royal blue and white.  We wear our school t-shirts, sweatshirts, or royal blue on Fridays.   All new first and second grade students will receive a free t-shirt from last year’s grand opening event.  Sorry….I only had about 30 left so I can’t do it for all students.
  • I suggest you put a small bottle of hand sanitizer in your child’s lunch box/bag.  While we have restrooms near the lunchroom and sanitizer available in the lunchroom, students most often use it when it is readily accessible in their lunch boxes/bags/containers.
  • We are a school of nearly 500 students this year.  Please try to keep private vehicles away from the main entrance.  Use the bus service if eligible.  Please walk if you are within the walk zone.
  • I prefer not to be a nag….so please keep private vehicles off of 38th and Findlay (the area south of the main entrance) if you have to drive your student to school.  I will nag and growl but ultimately get frustrated when a parent continues to disregard the drop-off area.     If you see a green cone out along Fauntleroy, that signals all buses are in.  You are then welcome to also use the bus area to drop off your child.  FAUNTLEROY IS FOR IMMEDIATE UNLOADING….DO NOT PARK THERE OR WAIT TO WATCH YOUR CHILD ENTER THE PLAYGROUND.  OTHER CARS WILL NEED YOUR SPOT!!!!!!!!!
  • I growl, hiss, and glare when vehicles are parked in the fire zone that is signed “no parking” and also painted red.    I need that area clear at all times should we need quick access for emergency vehicles.
  • Thanks to Shanti Breznau for the flag containers along Findlay/Fauntleroy.  Please use those flags when crossing at that intersection.
  • Do you have a sun sensitive child?  Please apply sunscreen at home before coming to school.  Teachers are not allowed to help students with anything that needs to be topically applied.
  • I plan on meeting with parents at 8:50 on the first day of school in the student lunchroom.  Although I am not 100% sure when that first day of school will be, plan on meeting with me in the lunchroom whenever it does happen!
  • The most recent version of our Family Handbook will post to our website this afternoon.  I tinker with that document regularly so am always willing to take input as to what we should add.  The most recent version will always be on our website.   You will receive a hard copy (of the current version) in the first day packet.
  • The teachers are ready to go no matter when we start.  I feel fortunate to have such an amazingly strong teaching staff here at Fairmount Park!!  (And we also have an incredible office team and custodial staff who have everything ready to go for the first day of school!!!)

Julie Breidenbach – FP Principal

Advertising helps supplement this free website by | Disable Ads Here

Welcome Back from Ms. Breidenbach

Julie_BreidenbachAugust 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.


Julie Breidenbach

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

Advertising helps supplement this free website by | Disable Ads Here

Gimme 5 Dance!

Kristi McChesney and Amy Sennett Starner are teaching students Michelle Obama’s Gimme 5 dance for performance at assembly, 10am, Friday, April 3rd. The Gimme 5 dance is part of Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move initiative and will be performed at the White House egg roll. Parents are invited to learn the dance as well and participate in the performance. Amy will be teaching the dance at 1:15 recess on TH (3/26), F (3/27), T (3/31), W (4/1), and TH (4/2) if you prefer live instruction! If you plan to attend assembly, please consider coming 15 minutes early or staying 15 minutes after to help move the tables from the cafeteria and return them. Special thanks to Amy for proposing this fabulous activity!

Enter the 5 ways you are living a health life in the comments below:


Let’s CeleBAArate!

lunar_new_year_TM2014Gather at school on Friday, February 6, at 4:30 pm to welcome the Year of the Sheep! Ms. Chow, Ms. Gano, Ms. McChesney, and the School Spirit Team have been hard at work planning a spectacular Lunar New Year Celebration, which will include Trays of Togetherness, ribbon dancing, face painting, awesome art stations, and performances by the Franklin High School Lion Dance Team and the extracurricular enrichment karate class.

Dana Varon has coordinated a mouth-watering line-up of food trucks for the event: Chopstixmobile (Asian fusion), Wicked Pies (pizza), and Curb Jumper Street Eats (sliders) will be parked on Findlay. Happy New Year, Falcons!


During Chinese New Year, guests are o ered an assortment of treats from a Tray of Togetherness (chuen-hop) – a tray filled with
an assortment of symbolic foods to begin the New Year. Our trays will feature some traditional foods (red melon seeds for happiness,
candied melon for health, kumquats for prosperity), but other easy snacks as well. Families are invited to contribute dried fruit,
mandarins, kumquats and other easy to eat healthy snacks (no nuts please!). Please leave any contributions in the front office in the box marked Lunar New Year Monday through Wednesday of next week. We’d also love to borrow any sectioned trays!

There are lots of opportunities to help out with Arts and Crafts Tables and pre-event materials preparation. Help is also needed for set-up and clean-up. Please click here to sign up.


Food Drive February 2nd-6th

Hey falcons!  The student council is doing a school wide food drive for the West Seattle Food Bank!  The food will be collected in the office from February 2nd- 6th.   Last collection will be at the Lunar New Year celebration on Friday, February 6th! Here are some needed items you could donate:

–         Canned Meats

–         Canned Vegetables

–         Juice Boxes

–         Snack Foods

–         Peanut Butter

–         Jellies and Jams

–         Diapers

–         Toiletries


Counselor’s Corner: Parents as Emotion Coaches, Mini-Workshop Recap

Jan PFrom Mrs. Pendergrass

After a review of what’s been happening in the counseling program, on Tuesday morning I shared with parents what it means to be an Emotion Coach. First we talked about why coaching is a good way to look at parenting.

  • Coaches provide drills and exercises to prepare for the “game” (doing life on their own)! Never do for a child what they can do for themselves. Make the mundane fun and even a friendly competition.

  • Coaches provide encouragement as well as instruction. We all know kids respond to praise. And sometimes we need to use “tough love.” (Be the parent, not the friend.)

  • Coaches are on the same team as the players! It’s not “us against them.”

  • Coaching is rewarding and challenging, but requires tireless dedication, lots of study and practice and a commitment to good communication.

So why do we want to be Emotion Coaches? Research shows that children who understand their feelings and learn about their emotions have these advantages:

  • They form stronger friendships with other children.

  • They calm themselves down more quickly when they get upset.

  • They do better in school.

  • They handle their moods better and have fewer negative emotions.

  • Kids feel validated and become problem solvers.

  • They get sick less often.

Emotion Coaching is a parenting technique to help children understand their feelings. When parents Emotion Coach, children learn how emotions work and how to RESPOND to feelings in healthy ways, not REACT. (All feelings and emotions are OK, but not all actions.)

If you do an internet search for “Emotion Coaching” you’ll come up with 5 steps. But I’ve broken it down into 3 and made them spell a word that actually is appropriate to the situation: ICE—ice is what you put on an injury. It cools you down and reduces inflammation. Here’s how to use ICE as an Emotion Coach:

I = IDENTIFY: Help them put words to their feelings; Label and Validate (show empathy)

The conversation might look like this: I see you are angry and frustrated. Is there anything else you are feeling? (Child might say, “I’m mad at you!”) You’re mad at me. Are you disappointed because I won’t let you… (the situation)? You seem a little sad, too. (Hopefully you are assisting in the calming down with a gentle touch or soothing cuddle.)

C = CLARIFY: Deal with the behavior; Take time to calm down; Set the limits.

It’s OK to feel angry and frustrated, but it’s never OK to hit or call people mean names… when the timer goes off… (apologize; some natural or previously stated consequence).

E = EXPLORE: How to handle better in future; Brainstorm other solutions; Problem solve: what else is going on?

Did anything happen at school today that is also making you feel bad? (Label and validate more feelings. Ask questions about how THEY can handle better… be solution focused, not bossy!) Take time to encourage like a coach and believe in your kid!


Counselor’s Corner: Lunchtime Groups

Mrs. PendergrassFrom Mrs. Pendergrass

Initiating and taking turns during conversations, maintaining eye contact, distinguishing verbal and nonverbal social cues, being polite, repairing misunderstandings… these socialization skills don’t happen overnight! Many of us as adults are still trying to master these key behaviors and subtleties of communication. They are vital for gratifying human relationships of any kind and at any age. They are also essential for effective classroom learning.

Just like parents at home can reinforce good reading habits by modeling and taking time to read with children, so can parents lay the foundations of healthy socializing by teaching these skills at home. Children need instruction on how to politely get your attention when you are otherwise involved. They are watching and learning when we clarify and work through misunderstandings in the home— as we hopefully model respectful tones, patience, acceptance of responsibility and expressions of forgiveness. And when things don’t go as well as they could have, there may need to be some healthy discussion after things cool down. What great learning opportunities!

Today at school I was working with Ms. Kelly’s 4th graders about how to be assertive in certain situations while avoiding being either passive or aggressive. The students acted out various scenarios and were very articulate about how to speak up with respect for themselves or for others. We had very meaningful discussion about how difficult this can be in real life as well as how it can make or break the spirit of cooperation and learning atmosphere in the classroom.

This week I am putting together some once-a-week lunchtime small groups for working on skills for healthy friendships. Teachers have recommended students for these groups and some students have personally expressed interest in participating. We will invite as many as we can for this first 6-8 week round (getting just the right group dynamic is critical), and will gradually be adding more throughout the school year. Through discussion, role-play, fun activities and games, the goal will be to help kids make and keep friends, manage emotions, develop healthy character traits and a positive sense of identity. If your child brings home a group invitation and permission slip, please sign and send it back ASAP and let me know if you have any questions.


Book Fair in January!

FairmountFlyer_BookFair_UsborneDear Fairmount Park Families,

Usborne Books & More Book Fair is coming to our school! We’ll be here from Tuesday, January 13, thru Friday, January 16, 8:15 AM to 4:00 PM. The Book Fair will also be open during our Literacy Night, January 15, from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM.

With over 1800 titles we have books to inspire, educate and entertain children of all ages! Your children will be creating and bringing home their wish lists on Tuesday and Wednesday, January 13 and 14.

Teacher wish lists will be posted at the book fair so families will be able to purchase books for the classrooms!

Your purchases will help earn free books for our school as well!

To view the complete catalog or to order on-line go to

We look forward to seeing you at the book fair!

Debora Hare, Fairmount Park School Librarian

Mara Barndt, Usborne Book Consultant
425-681 4238 | [email protected]


Flu Shots in West Seattle

All West Seattle residents over the age of 4 are welcome to receive flu shots on:

  • Wednesday October 8th  from 4:00 PM-7:30PM at Chief Sealth and
  • Monday Oct 20th from 2:30PM-7:00PM at West Seattle High School

Bring insurance card – there are no co-pays or out-of-pocket costs.

For questions contact Roxanne Springwater, school nurse [email protected]org