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Lowell Elementary School: Symphony of Learners, Living in Harmony
 

News and Events

15-16 Student Class Assignments
A Message from Dr. Smith
April 22, 2015
 
2015-2016 Student Class Assignments
Each spring there is considerable discussion and planning about student placement in classes for the next school year. This is a matter that we do not take lightly at Lowell Elementary School as the staff and I meet to create well-balanced classes in which all children will have opportunities to learn and grow in their academic, social and emotional skills. It is my hope that a brief review of our procedures for class placement of students will eliminate the need for families to individualize their concerns or to make requests for specific teachers.
When classes are structured, we follow a clear set of guidelines. Classes are formed into intentional heterogeneous groups with the following considerations:

· School-wide teaching and learning goals
· A full range of aptitudes within each class
· An even proportion of abilities and learning styles across the classes at each grade level
· An equal number of pupils in each class on a grade level; an even boy/girl balance
· Resources needed to maximize our efforts to ensure student growth and achievement

Once these factors have been considered, teachers begin to “build a class” of children who show promise of working well together and challenging one another. At this point, attempts are made to match pupil and teacher personality and style. Quite naturally, these decisions are based upon observations made by the teachers during the course of the year. While we welcome your input about your child’s individual learning needs, we trust that you understand that your comments are but one of the many factors that we consider in forming classes. The final decision on class placements will reside with me.

Inviting Families’ Input Into Class Placements
As noted above, there are a variety of factors that staff examine to determine the class placement for every child-- one being families knowledge of their child. Should you want to provide additional data that will be reviewed during the class placement process, I ask that you fill out the 2015-2016 Class Placement Input Form (to be sent home via kid mail with the Friday Flyer on April 24th) and return it to the main office no later than May 8, 2015. We welcome your input.
 
Your partner in education,
Dr. Marion Smith, Jr.
Principal
The Big Event- April 2, 2015
April 2 is the Big Event - Lowell's big auction/fundraiser for the year!

This year features an art theme so you can expect to find some amazing art (featuring renowned Pacific NW artists) for live auction and lots of arts related silent auction items. We encourage you to invite your family, friends, neighbors and coworkers. This will be a fun, art-filled event. Tickets on sale now for $35 (they will go up to $50 on March 27.)

Purchase at www.lowellbigevent.eventbrite.com
Message from Dr. Smith

March Message

Goal + Purpose + Mission = Focus!

We have a Goal: To serve children. We have a Purpose: To teach students requisite academic and life skills. We have a Mission: To demonstrate how to work collectively to best support each other in our efforts to best serve our children.

As a learning community, our goal is the WHAT of our work. The goal is not the place we begin. It is the place we end up. Our purpose is the why of our work—why we as individuals are moving toward the goal, the end. Our mission is the how of our work. Once we are clear about the what, the why and the how, we have a clear and cemented focus.

As Trimester 2 comes to an end and we begin the final trimester of the school year, let’s remain focused! Moving forward, let’s agree to shift our attention from the daily activities and reconnect with the goal, the purpose and the mission of our collective work.

 

Early Release Day + Professional Development Day: March 25th

Wednesday, March 25th is an early-release day. After students have been dismissed, staff will meet for professional development sessions (between 2:00-5:00pm) in different locations:

1. General Education Teachers / 2:15-5:15pm / John Hay Elementary Cafeteria / Topic: Singapore Math

2. K-5 SpEd Teachers + Instructional Assistants / 2:00-4:00 / Lowell Elementary / Topic: New SPS SpEd Policy and Procedures Manual

3. Pre K Teachers + Instructional Assistants / 2:00-4:00 / Thurgood Marshall Elementary /  Topic: New SPS SpEd Policy and Procedures Manual

 

15-16 Projected Enrollment + Staffing Allocations

15-16 Projected Enrollment and Staffing Allocations were used by the Building Leadership Team (BLT) to think about what positions are needed on campus for the 15-16 school year to best serve our students. Because of Open Enrollment for school choice (Feb 23-March 6), enrollment projections and staffing are subject to change. The numbers below represent the Projected Student Enrollment, used for staff budget conversations, for the 15-16 school year:

Kindergarten: 87

Grade 1: 60

Grade 2: 49

Grade 3: 38

Grade 4: 33

Grade 5: 43

Total: 310

The total projected enrollment does not include Pre-K data.

On March 5th at 4:00pm, members of the BLT met in the library for a planning and work session. During this session we discussed staffing scenarios and finalized budget options to be presented to staff for a vote on March 11th.

2015-2016 School Budget

Following the SPS budget processes, the Lowell staff recently voted on and approved the 15-16 proposed budget.

The school-based budget process was one of collaboration with the Building Leadership Team (BLT) and was developed based on the following:

Guiding Principles

1.      Positions not People

2.      How will this guard and maximize instructional time?

3.      Why is this best for student achievement?

4.      How are resources aligned to our C-SIP and school-wide Learning Targets?

Continuous School Improvement Plan (C-SIP) goals

Staff Input

Projected Enrollment

Allocated Staffing

A copy of the approved 15-16 budget is available in the main office for those interested in this information.

Based on the approved budget, there will be new positions on campus for the 15-16 school year:

·         .5 Counselor

·         .5 Technology / Computer Specialist Teacher

·         .5 Assistant Principal (see information in the next section)

Mitigation Request

The School District set aside $8.3 million for additional allocations above standard for all staffing adjustment processes between February and October in FY15-16. School allocations were distributed on February 25th. Schools with unique program needs were identified, reviewed and additional staff was added above the Weighted Staffing Standards (WSS) model as pre-mitigation.

Lowell benefited from this initial review, as we received an additional 1.0 classroom teacher and .5 PCP teacher for the 15-16 school year. 

Based on our unique needs, the Building Leadership Team (BLT) submitted a request to mitigate two positions:

.5 Assistant Principal ($70,010)

1.0  Homeless Liaison ($66,833)

This week, I was notified that we have been approved to receive a .5 Assistant Principal. Our mitigation request for a 1.0 Homeless Liaison has not been approved; however, this request will be considered for the June staffing adjustments.   

A copy of the complete Mitigation Request Form that was submitted is available in the main office for those interested in reviewing this document.

Reminder: Smarter Balanced (SBAC) Testing Begins

The following information was sent to impacted families via kid mail and PTA e-mail listserve last month. It is provided here again, as SBAC testing at Lowell begins next week for students.

Dear Lowell Families:

At Lowell, we are preparing for the upcoming state-mandated spring assessments for students in grades 3-5. As you may know, this year the state has moved to a different set of assessments called Smarter Balanced. These essentially replace the Measurements of Student Progress (MSP) used in previous years. The Smarter Balanced assessments cover the same overall subject areas – English language arts and math – and require about the same amount of time, roughly four hours per subject area. The Smarter Balanced assessments, however, are different in two ways:

 

1.     They are taken online. Students answer more interactively, the platform offers more supports, and the assessments are adaptive – or customized to each student’s ability.

 

2.     They cover new academic standards. Our College and Career Readiness Standards, based on Common Core State Standards, set a higher bar for students than the state’s previous set of standards. Smarter Balanced assesses those standards which require more complex thinking and writing at all grade levels.

You may read more about Smarter Balanced in Seattle Public Schools by clicking “Testing” under Additional Links on the District main homepage, www.SeattleSchools.org.

 

Scoring 
Smarter Balanced is different enough that scores cannot be accurately compared to those of previous years; as a result, all districts in the state expect fewer students to meet standard. For example, a student who may have performed at the top level on the MSP may achieve a Level 3 (out of four levels) on Smarter Balanced initially. This is a normal scoring shift whenever more rigorous academic goals and their assessments are introduced; adjustment takes time for teachers and students at every academic level. Please know that this year’s scores will be viewed as a new baseline that will help our teachers measure future growth. Most important, we are proud of the countless ways our teachers are preparing our students for college, career and life, including teaching the more rigorous standards.

 

Scheduling 
Our testing schedule was attached to the original document sent to families in February (for your review). At Lowell, we have the required technology in place (our computer lab plus an additional 2 laptop carts provided by the District).

 

Next Steps: To ensure accurate and effective testing, we are asking for your help. First, it is essential that your son/daughter attend school on the days the test is being administered. Students in attendance each day of testing will be entered into daily raffles for prizes. Students absent on any of the regular testing days will be allowed to take their tests during outlined make-up sessions. Next, as is true for every school day, it is important that your son/daughter have a good night’s sleep, eat a nutritious breakfast, and arrive to school on time. Finally, it is recommended that you discuss the test at home, to encourage your son/daughter to do his or her best, and to assure him/her that this test is all about demonstrating what they know and that the results are used only to note where additional help may be needed; this test does not affect student grades or promotion. To assist your child with preparing for Smarter Balanced testing, please refer to the “Test Taking Tips” included with the original letter sent home in February.

 

Thank you for all you do to prepare your child for learning and life.

 

School Tours a Success

Thank you to everyone who participated in this process (and those who continue to support your school in various other ways). Approximately 35 families participated in our scheduled school tours and Open House for the upcoming school year. Let’s continue to build capacity and to share with the larger Seattle community what a great place Lowell is to learn, play and grow!

End of Trimester 2

Trimester 2 ends Friday, March 20, 2015.  Progress Reports will be sent home with students next week, along with the Friday Flyer.


Your partner in education,

 Dr. Marion Smith, Jr.
Principal

 

Shelter-in-Place

March 27, 2015

Dear Lowell community,

Today we had an incident where we implemented a shelter-in-place at the school. After receiving a report of a suspicious person in the nearby neighborhood, we entered shelter-in-place from 1:50pm-2:45pm, which means all doors to our schools were locked, students were kept inside and our teaching and learning continued. There were no disruptions to our classes.

We immediately contacted the Seattle Police and school district security, who responded. Once they determined everything was safe, we lifted our shelter-in-place.

I am very proud of how our staff and students responded to this incident. Our staff will continue to evaluate and update our safety plans and talk about personal safety with our students. Please know that providing your students with a safe learning environment remains a top priority, and it is important that we continue to work together towards this unified goal. 

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me, at mjsmithjr@seattleschools.org or 206.252.3020.

Your partner in education,

Dr. Marion Smith Jr.

Principal

Dine Out for Lowell
Dine out for Lowell at Coastal Kitchen (March 16, 5:00-11:00PM, 429 15th Avenue East)

Once again, Coastal Kitchen is generously donating 50% of proceeds to Lowell! Come enjoy some Basque cuisine, catch up with other families, and let the kids get their faces painted for free.
School Tours + Open House

Tours for prospective Lowell families and students for the 15-16 school year have been scheduled for Monday, January 26, 2015 and Monday, February 9, 2015. There will be two tours held on these days. Tours will be conducted in the morning (10:00-11:00am) and again in the afternoon (1:00-2:00pm). An evening Open House will be held on Thursday, February 26, 2015 at 5:30pm, in conjunction with the all-school Heritage Night Festival.

Each tour session will begin in the school library where Dr. Smith will provide a brief overview of the school. 
Families will then break into small groups led by current Lowell parents and Student Council members to tour the school; this includes classroom visits during the tours on January 26th and February 9th.

Please call the office at 206.252.3020 or e-mail office assistant Christi McGrath (crmcgrath@seattleschools.org) to RSVP for a tour session. Thank you!
Pacific Science Center

School-wide Field Trip to Pacific Science Center

January 21, 2015 
9:50am-2:30pm

Lowell has been selected to attend a free field trip to the Pacific Science Center! Thanks to 1st grade teacher Autumn Mittelstaedt for applying for this opportunity for the Free Google Field Trip Day. Sack lunches will be provided, however scholars with dietary restrictions must bring a sack lunch from home. Details and permission slips were sent home via kid mail and must be returned no later than January 15th.

Dine Out Event

When: Thursday, January 15, 2015
Time: 4:00-10:00pm
Where: Pazzo's (2307 Eastlake Avenue East)

Dine out for Lowell at Pazzo's
Enjoy some of Seattle's most delicious pizza while helping Lowell! 50% of proceeds for the night will go to our school. The ever-popular face painter will be there from 5:30-7:30, and Happy Hour specials on food and drinks run until 6:00pm.    
Before and After School Open Lab

Starting Monday, January 12, 2015, we will begin providing before and after school academic activities for students. Each session will take place in the Computer Lab.

Before School: 8:45-9:15am
After School: 3:50-4:20pm

* Monday / Wednesday: ST Math Open Lab

* Tuesday / Thursday: Homework Helpers

* Friday- NO SESSION

Message from Dr. Smith

December 19, 2014


4 R’s of Winter Break!

Happy Holidays! Below is a message I wrote to Lowell staff earlier this week. I share it with families as something that may be applicable to an area in your own lives:

As educators, your resilience (and tolerance for turbulence and change) is a necessary characteristic when working in the field of urban education. Thank you for everything you do on behalf of all children.
This winter break, I do hope you all take time for wellness. I use the word wellness intentionally as this is of great concern as we work tirelessly to ensure that all students are safe (first and foremost) and that they are receiving high-quality, effective instruction and supports. That is not all that is involved in our jobs. There is so much more that never gets mentioned, yet a natural part of our work daily. This job is not for the weak! What is critical and on top of priorities on Monday, may very well be at the bottom of your priorities the following day. I have observed people extremely tired, not able to find balance, and simply dealt challenges that are never anticipated whether it is their own wellness or that of a loved-one, or that of a child. We must find a balance, a Zen, a sanctuary, a peace of mind if we are to continue this level of intensity in an ever-so-demanding profession.


With this understanding, I would like to give you a little gift of thinking and doing during the winter break. I call it the four R’s. Here are my four R’s:


Retreat:
Emotionally and physically from the building and your work.
Reflect: After a week or so, reflect on what has gone well, what did not go so well, and how you played a part in both scenarios.
Rejuvenate: Do things that bring you joy and passion outside of your role at school. You are much more than your job title. Reconnect with that part of you and with those who know and love you.
Re-focus: Create a clear plan and outline action steps of what you want to accomplish over the next trimester. 


It is my hope that you take time to be fully present with family, friends, and yourself during the entirety of the break. Breaks are here for a reason. Use them up.


Student Achievement Recognition
A big SHOUT OUT to the Lowell teachers and staff for our collective efforts as we continue to impact student learning! With a growth in math proficiency by 23% in one academic school year, our shifts in instructional practices and targeted supports have been recognized by the District.


Last week, I received a message from Superintendent Dr. Larry Nyland notifying and congratulating me on receiving a Student Achievement Award for the 13-14 school year. This was news to me. I was informed that this year, recognitions and awards were determined by a new Balanced Scorecard that included multiple measures of performance, including effective leadership practice and student achievement.

With this understanding, I responded to Dr. Nyland that “on behalf of the teachers and staff at Lowell Elementary School, this is an award that recognizes the collective vision, dedication, resilience and progressive teaching of all those I work alongside. I look forward to continuing to celebrate the work of the amazing faculty and staff at Lowell who continue to defy the odds as we reverse historic trends of underperformance for highly-impacted student populations.”
During the summer and the fall, I stated to Central Office personnel repeatedly how they should publicly acknowledge and recognize the work of the teachers and staff at Lowell who continue to meet the needs of a diverse student demographic; it seems that this message has been received.


Thank you for your continued support of our collective work.


New Staff
Due to growth and supports needed for students, there have been a few new faces on campus starting this week and a few more that will join us after the holiday break. Please join me in welcoming the following:


William Martinsen
(.5 Math Interventionist) - reinstated position
Jessica LaChapelle (Special Education Instructional Assistant- Resource Room) - new position
Luan Vu (.5 English Language Learners/ Bilingual Teacher) - new position
Karen Giroux (Special Education Resource Room Teacher) - new position


Brief biographies of these new staff members will be included in an upcoming Friday Flyer. I am excited to have these professionals join the Lowell community. When you see them, please show them a Lowell welcome!


Guest Teaching
Oh, how I miss my days in the classroom as a teacher. As a result, after winter break, I will begin to guest teach in various classes during Trimester 2. I can’t wait! Over the past 2 years at Lowell, I have been able to guest teach in our PE, 1st grade and 5th grade classes. For those unfamiliar with my teaching experiences, I began my education career as a lead pre-kindergarten teacher in a dual language school. From there I went on to teach middle school English Language Arts, and ended my time in the classroom as a high school English Literature, Language and Composition teacher, prior to my transition to school administration and leadership.


December Core Virtue: SPORTSMANSHIP
Congratulations to the students who were recognized at the Dragon-of-the-Month Community Circle on Friday. Check out their pictures on the bulletin board at the main entrance. The Core Virtue for next month is FAIRNESS.


IslandWood
On Monday, December 15th, our 5th grade students, along with teachers Mr. Hoch and Ms. Martin, and a host of parent chaperones took a journey to IslandWood – School in the Woods – located on Bainbridge Island.  Ms. Holmes and I surprised the students with a visit on their last night to attend a final campfire where students had an opportunity to display their talents.  Our students demonstrated creativity, courage and teamwork in performing skits, songs, dances, and beat-boxing. The night ended with the students reflecting on lessons learned and what they were taking away from the experiences.  We were excited to welcome our 5th grade students back to the Lowell campus on Thursday afternoon (December 18th) and anticipate them sharing their learning, as a result of being technology-free, with the entire school community.


Thank you to the dedicated staff, parent volunteers, and PTA who made it possible for them to have this memorable experience.
State Testing: Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC)
As you may be aware, the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) is replacing the Measurement of Student Progress (MSP) state test for students in grades 3-12. Students will take the SBAC annually, beginning in March of 2015. 


In order to support your child/children at home, you may want to familiarize yourself with the test format and questions. Families may take a practice test by visiting the District web site. From the main page, select the “State Testing” link.  (This may be found in the box entitled Additional Links on the right side on the page.)  This link will take you to the district’s Smarter Balanced Assessment page.  On this page you will find the link to the practice test, as well as other resources and sites about the SBAC. Teachers are working with students to provide them with many opportunities to access the SBAC materials, as well as keyboarding time, as we transition to the state test. As we get closer to state testing, additional information and resources will be provided and sent home to grade 3-5 families.
Please forward any questions you may have about this new state test to SBACadmin@seattleschools.org.
Change
As we begin Trimester 2, I want to give a big SHOUT OUT to the Lowell Team for their collective resilience, responsiveness, and flexibility in meeting the needs of all our children amidst the myriad of changes that have impacted our school community this academic school year.

One area of note: With a 13% transitional/homeless student and families population, we will continue to enroll new students to our classrooms each week. THANK YOU for your mindfulness and for your welcoming spirit not knowing how long our children in transition will be in our care. As long as they are here, I know they will receive the best supports and education that we can provide.


Working together we will build our collective capacity to respond to unmet student needs and to our changing demographics. I remain humbled by the compassion, dedication, and hope I see embedded in all that we do to best serve our children and families.
 
Have a happy holiday! I look forward to seeing you all back at school on Monday, January 5, 2015.
 
Your partner in education,
Dr. Marion Smith, Jr.
Principal
 
Message from Dr. Smith


November 21, 2014

Parent-Teacher Conferences

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.
 
“BE HEARD”
Keep these principles in mind for a productive parent-teacher conference:
 
Best intentions assumed
Emphasis on learning
Home-school collaboration
Examples and evidence
Active listening
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!
 
Your partner in education,
Dr. Marion Smith, Jr.
Principal
 
Message from Dr. Smith
November 7, 2014

And How are the Children?
Among the many fabled and accomplished tribes of Africa, no tribe was considered to have warriors more fearsome or more intelligent than the mighty Masai. It’s surprising, then, to learn the traditional greeting passed among the Masai warriors; “Kasserian Ingeri,” one would always say to each other. And what it meant was, “And how are the children?”
 
It is still the traditional greeting of the Masai, acknowledging the high value the Masai placed on the children’s well being. Even warriors with no children of their own would always give the traditional answer, “All the children are well.” This meant, of course, that peace and safety prevail; the priorities of protecting the young and the powerless are in place; that the Masai people had not forgotten their reason for being, their proper function, and their responsibilities.
 
“All the children are well” means life is good. It means the daily struggles of existence, even among poor people, include the proper care of the young and defenseless. I wonder how it might affect our consciousness of our own children’s welfare if we took to greeting each other in the same daily question, “And how are the children?”
 
I wonder, if we heard that greeting passed along to each other a dozen times a day, whether it would begin to make a difference in the reality of how children are thought of and cared for in this country. I wonder what it would be like if every adult among us—parent and nonparent alike—felt an equal weight of responsibility for the daily care and protection of all the children in our town, in our state, and in our country. I wonder whether we could truly say without hesitation, “The children are well. Yes, all the children are well.”
 
What would it be like if the President began every press conference, every public appearance by answering the same question: “And how are the children, Mr. President?” If every governor of every state had to answer the same question at every press conference: “And how are the children, Governor? Are they well?”
 
Wouldn’t it be interesting to hear their answer?
 
(unattributed manuscript from the Texas Comprehensive Centers at SEDL, no date)
 
As we think about our collective responsibility and work, I ask you, “Kasserian Ingera?”
 
School Board Director Visit
Dr. Stephan Blanford (Director of the Seattle School Board, District V) will be on campus on Wednesday, November 12. Dr. Blanford will tour the Lowell campus and discuss important issues with me. I look forward to showcasing the great things about Lowell and sharing our collective concerns about how central office, school and school board may improve our work together.
 
Staffing Update
As previously communicated to families, due to shifts in District and school enrollment, we will be increasing our staffing to best support our students. In the next two weeks, staff and faculty will interview for the following positions:
 
.5 Math Specialist
1.0 Resource Room Teacher
1.0 Special Education Instructional Assistant
 
 
New Staff
There are a few new faces on campus: Irqa Direye (English Language Learners Instructional Assistant- Somali), Susana Medina (English Language Learners Instructional Assistant- Spanish), and Stephani Hemness (Pre-K Instructional Assistant). Please join me in welcoming these dedicated professionals to the Lowell community!
 
Parent-Teacher Conferences
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 will be no school for students the entire week of November 24-28 due to conferences and the Thanksgiving holiday.
 
Update: Advanced Learning
With enrollment numbers updated, we have been able to finalize options for our Spectrum and ALO populations. For reading, identified students will receive accelerated and enrichment instruction provided by our Reading Specialist and by the teacher in the classroom using Beyond Level resources from the Reading Wonders curriculum. For math, identified students will receive accelerated and enrichment instruction provided by our Math Specialist (to be hired next week) supplemented by the teacher in the classroom using Extension-Based lessons from the Math in Focus (core curriculum) and My Math (supplemental curriculum). Thank you to those that attended the most recent Monday with Marion session on November 3, 2014, to learn more about this and to ask questions about next steps. Thank you for your continued support as we worked through this process together to ensure that the needs of all students are addressed.
 
ST Math Returns
Spatial-Temporal (ST) Math returns to Lowell!

Created by MIND Research Institute, ST Math is game-based instructional software for K-12 and is designed to boost math comprehension and proficiency through visual learning. Integrating with classroom instruction, ST Math incorporates the latest research in learning and the brain and promotes mastery-based learning and mathematical understanding. The ST Math software games use interactive, graphically-rich animations that visually represent mathematical concepts to improve conceptual understanding and problem-solving skills. All K-5 teachers on campus have access to this supplement to our regular math instruction. Moving forward, we will host ST Math Open Lab Hours before and after school. Days and times for this Open Lab Session will be communicated in the next Friday Flyer.
Want to talk? I have an open-door policy and I am here to speak with you, so stop by campus to see me, e-mail (mjsmithjr@seattleschools.org), or call the main office (206.252.3020). Here’s to a great weekend.

Your partner in education,
 
Dr. Marion Smith, Jr.
Principal
15-16 Boundary Changes Impacting Lowell

Please attend a Community Meeting to comment on 2015-2016 Boundary Change(s) impacting Lowell

November 4, 2014
6:30-7:30PM
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.

Celebrating our Veterans
In honor of Veterans Day, the school community will participate in an assembly presentation on Thursday, October 30, 2014 hosted by Dr. Major Gary Newbill, retired U.S. Marine. This presentation is provided by the Veterans Inspiring Patriotism Program at the Joe Foss Institute. The program challenges the audience to understand the freedoms and opportunities we have in this country. Each presentation includes a multi-media display, a talk by a veteran discussing their service and the relationship of service to America's freedoms, and a question-and-answer session. We look forward to learning more about our special guest and his contributions to our country.
Dine Out for Lowell

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!
14-15 Student and Families Handbook

Access the 14-15 Student and Families Handbook (sent home via kid mail) online:

https://lowellelementary.files.wordpress.com/2014/10/student-and-family-handbook-2014-2015.pdf


What About Halloween?
 
A Message from Dr. Smith:
 
This year, Halloween takes place during the school week. I have received questions and e-mail messages about whether or not students will be permitted to wear costumes to school on this day. My response: Similar to last year, on October 31st, the Lowell community will participate in a Fall Harvest Festival.
 
As for costumes: For many reasons, the celebration of Halloween at school leads to student exclusion. With the shift in our student population and demographics (13% transitional/homeless), there are social, financial and cultural differences among our families that we must respect. The spirit of equity has led schools throughout Seattle Public Schools to de-emphasize the celebration of Halloween at school and the wearing of costumes during instructional hours.
 
With this understanding, there will be no costumes allowed on campus on Friday, October 31, 2014. Students and staff are encouraged to wear their Lowell gear to school on Friday to celebrate School Spirit Day! Students participating in Halloween festivities will be able to engage in this on their own time, after school hours. During the school day on October 31st, there will be a school-wide Fall Harvest Festival with games and activities. This will be a PTA-sponsored event; more information about this event is forthcoming.

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.
Staffing Adjustments
Message from Dr. Smith:

October 20, 2014
 
Dear Lowell Elementary School community,

I wanted to share with you that the school district has released their annual official October enrollment numbers for the 2014-15 school year. District-wide almost 52,000 students are attending Seattle Public Schools this year, which is an increase of 978 students over last year and is within 1 percent of the district’s enrollment forecast.


Every year after receiving official October enrollment counts for each school, the district reevaluates staffing across schools, making adjustments up and down based on each school’s enrollment as well as other factors including equity funds, special education, English language learners, and grade and programming configurations at the school. Here at Lowell Elementary School, we have experienced higher enrollment than projected. This has led the district to increase our budget by adding a 1.0 full time equivalent (FTE) teacher position.


There is a quick turn-around time in regards to filling this position / posting this position. If another school in the District is losing staffing, based on under enrollment, these teachers will be placed in open positions in schools that are adding staffing—like Lowell. Placement of staff and the timeline for this process is determined by the Human Resources Department.

What Next?
Members of the Lowell Building Leadership Team (BLT) have started to discuss how best to utilize this additional staffing (1.0FTE teacher), should no one be placed in the position. In the end, the decision regarding additional staffing will be based on current data and high priority instructional needs. Families will be notified of what position or positions will be added, after BLT decisions.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me. Thank you again for your continued support of your school.

Your partner in education,
 
Dr. Marion Smith, Jr.
Principal
 
 
 
Curriculum Night


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.

1st Dine Out Event of 14-15 is September 30th

D
ine out at Witness

Date: September 30, 2014
Time: 4:30-7:30pm
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.
5th Annual Back to School with The HistoryMakers

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: Dr. Smith

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!

Staffing Update

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

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:

http://www.brainshark.com/mcgraw-hillseg/vu?pi=zFizLMpX0z4Y5Hz0

ELL Services

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 (mjsmithjr@seattleschools.org).

Your partner in education,

Dr. Marion Smith, Jr.
Principal

 

Volunteering at Lowell

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!

Advanced Learning Testing

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.
Chinook Book Sales


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 brenna.pink@yahoo.com.
Back to School Events
 
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.
 
 
 
 
 
Back-to-School Picnic

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!



August 1, 2014 Message

Lowell Families,

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.

Principal

New Bell Schedule for 14-15

Dear Lowell Elementary Community-
 
Seattle Public Schools has finalized bell times – our start and end times – for the 2014-15 school year.
 
Starting in the fall, our school will start at 9:30am and students will be dismissed at 3:40pm. This is slightly different than our current school year. For those students riding the bus, the arrival time at school will be 9:15am and the departure time after school will start at 3:50pm.
 
These bell times are a result of changes to transportation for the 2014-15 school year, which the School Board approved on Feb. 5. We know changing bell times is not ideal; however the District at one point had 27 different start times for schools and now has three standard start times. Creating streamlined start and end times will allow the District to save about $2.7 million in transportation costs.
 
The full list of bell times for all schools next year is posted online at: http://bit.ly/2014-15belltimes.
 
 
Senator Jamie Pedersen Visits Lowell
Capitol Hill resident and Washington State Senator Jamie Pedersen (43rd District-Seattle) will visit Lowell on Tuesday, May 27. After his campus tour and classroom visits, he will speak with a few classes regarding the State Legislature. Let’s welcome Senator Pedersen to our school community in true Lowell style...with Two claps and a YeeHaw!
 
More about Senator Jamie Pedersen:
 
 
Upcoming Events
Additional Links

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