News and Events
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.
Dine out at Witness
Date: September 30, 2014
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.
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
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!
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 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:
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 (email@example.com).
Your partner in education,
Dr. Marion Smith, Jr.
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!
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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!
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.
It’s difficult for me to believe there is only one week left in the school year! As I reflect on the year, I want to thank you for the opportunity to serve as your principal. I remain excited and energized because I work with such a dynamic and dedicated staff and faculty. As we end our second year together, let us not forget that learning is an every-moment-of-every-day experience. School may be over until September but each of us, young and old, continues to learn on a daily basis. I wish you all a very happy and safe summer holiday. I wish you and your family time together to be creative and to have fun.
I would like to take this time to thank the Lowell staff and faculty, the Partners at Lowell School (PALS) PTA, our community partners and all who have made this school year so productive and enriching for our school community. A particular thank you to Diane and Christi who keep it all together in the main office. The phone never stops; the foot traffic is endless; requests, questions and paperwork come at them from all angles and they just battle on with a smile. Unfortunately, it has to be said there are days and weeks when those of us who rely so much on these two ladies may take it all for granted as we busily get on with our own business. Therefore let's take this moment to stop and think about how much they do for us and how much we do appreciate them.
This has been an exciting, challenging and transformative year. Get ready ... Year 3 is coming fast and we have positioned ourselves to be THE downtown elementary school in Seattle, as touted by Bryan Cohen of the Capitol Hill Seattle Blog: http://www.capitolhillseattle.com/2014/04/lowell-reinvents-itself-as-the-elementary-school-for-capitol-hill-and-downtown-seattle/
For those of you in the know, this deserves 2 claps, 2 slam dunks and a Yee Haw!
Looking Ahead to 14-15
Bell Schedule: Starting in the fall, our school will start at 9:30am and students will be dismissed at 3:40pm. This change in bell time is a result of changes to transportation for the 14-15 school year, which the School Board approved in late February.
Title I Designation: With almost 50% of our student population eligible for free and reduced lunch, we will qualify for additional federal funding as a Title I school. This additional money, around $27,000 for the school year, will be used to provide targeted supports and interventions in the area of mathematics.
WaKIDS: Kindergarten students and teachers will participate in WaKIDS. After 3 years of implementation, use of WaKIDS (Washington Kindergarten Inventory of Developing Schools) is growing steadily. It is used by 1800 Kindergarten teachers and 38,443 Kindergarten students across the state. WaKIDS participation will be required for all Washington school districts in the 2017-18 biennium.
What is WaKIDS?
WaKIDS focuses on the whole child, the family and the community in its three-part structure:
Assessment: Using Teaching Strategies Gold (TSG), teachers assess entering Kindergarten students in the fall across 6 domains (fine & gross motor, language & literacy, math & cognitive skills).
Family Connections: Teachers meet 1:1 with incoming Kindergarten students and their families during the first few days of school to establish a positive, collaborative rapport.
Early Learning Collaboration: Early learning professionals and Kindergarten teachers share training and data to align instruction and support smooth transitions for children.
More information about WaKIDS will be sent home as we get closer to the start of the new school year. Important Date to Know: Kindergarten students will begin the 14-15 school year on Monday, September 8, 2014.
Here are a few additional items for your consideration as we end the school year:
Reading over the Summer
Reading during the summer months may make a critical difference in your child's progress in the fall. The Lowell Reading Challenge invites students to read at least 10 books over the summer (two of them non-fiction). Those who do will receive a special prize from their teacher in the fall.
Research is very clear that books read at home should be EASY! If your child wants a more challenging book, read it aloud to him or her. Reading aloud to children of ALL ages is a great strategy that builds vocabulary, and is just plain fun! Talking with your child about books also improves your child's comprehension. Possible questions: What has happened so far in the story? What do you think the character will do next (and why)? What are you wondering about the book/story now? What is the problem in the story and how is it getting solved? In fact, the more you engage your child in meaningful conversation in general, the more he or she will improve his/her thinking.
If your child is not an eager reader, encourage ANY reading--comic books, sports statistics, series books, joke books, magazines, online stories read aloud (http://kids.aol.com/KOL/1/KOLJrStories) -- or interactive app books (http://digitalmediadiet.com/?p=897). Taking turns reading or listening to one another read aloud develops vocabulary as well as a love of reading.
Principal for the Day: Take 3
Congratulations to 3rd grade student, Ahmed Mohamed, who was selected to be the final principal of the day this school year. Ahmed is excited and ready to lead Lowell during the final week of school.
Student class assignments for the 14-15 school year will be sent to families the second full week of August, along with a Welcome Letter from the teacher and recommended supply list.
Increased Art, Music and PE Instruction
Exciting news! Each of our specialists will increase their hours and direct instruction with our children next year. As part of a central region initiative to support arts-infused instruction, Creative Advantage, both Robyn Jordan (visual arts teacher) and Michael Anderson (general music teacher) have been funded to increase their time on campus and will serve as co-leads of our School Arts Team.
In addition, our school-based budget has enabled us to increase Kyle Hoffman (PE teacher) from part-time to full-time status.
Additional Recess Monitor Needed for Next Year
We need you for the 14-15 school year! We are looking to hire a second recess monitor to assist with recess supervision. Do you have two hours to spare each day? Do you know someone who is great with children, organized and who is available for two hours each day? If so, contact administrative secretary Diane Hutchinson (206-252-3020) to express interest in this paid position. The hours are 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. (hours subject to a slight change due to final master schedule) Monday- Friday. Thank you in advance for spreading the word about this great opportunity.
Trimester 3 progress report grades will be sent home via kid mail on Thursday, June 19.
School Summer Hours
The school office will be open through June 27. The school building will be closed from July-mid August, as part of the major construction to be completed by the Seattle Public Schools Capital Projects to install a fire sprinkler system and to complete seismic, structural and electrical upgrades. The building will open again in mid to late August, after construction is completed. Specific dates and times will be communicated to families. The best way to reach me during the summer is via email at email@example.com. Phone messages are not checked over the summer. Please note that phone calls received after the office closes in June will be returned in August.
For those of you who are leaving Lowell, I wish you the best in your new school community. For those returning, I look forward to seeing you in the fall. Have a safe, relaxed and enjoyable summer vacation.
Your partner in education,
Dr. Marion Smith, Jr.
Dear Lowell Elementary Community-
Reading Wonders is coming to Lowell for the 14-15 school year!
Sponsored by Seattle Music Partners, the Carpe Diem String Quartet will perform a special in-house concert for the Lowell community on Friday, February 28, 2014, at 10:30am.
One of the most unique and sought-after chamber ensembles on the concert stage today, the Carpe Diem String Quartet performed over 90 concerts in 33 states across the USA in the 2011-12 season, most recently playing for an audience of over 4000 at the Redlands Bowl in southern California. Carpe Diem is a boundary-breaking ensemble that has earned widespread critical and audience acclaim for its innovative programming and electrifying performances. With programming that reflects its passions for Gypsy, tango, folk, pop, rock, and jazz-inspired music alongside the traditional string quartet repertoire, Carpe Diem has defied easy classification while quickly becoming one of America’s premier “indie” string quartets.
The Lowell community was excited to welcome Captain Mike Edwards of Seattle Police Department’s East Precinct to our school this week. Captain Mike has graciously offered to volunteer on the last Monday of each month to visit classrooms and to read to (and with) our students. This past Monday, January 27, 2014, Captain Mike, read to both kindergarten classes as well as to students in our special education classes. Captain Mike read the story, The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywald which spoke about working together. We look forward to having Captain Mike on campus each month.
On December 4, 2013, our very own Rania B. (2nd grade student) was Principal-for-The-Day. Among the many events (classroom observations, chatting with students, lunch supervision and selecting the next Dragon Allstars), Rania stated that a highlight was touring the Stanford Center where she was able to sit and meet with Superintendent Jose Banda.