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Lowell Elementary School: Symphony of Learners, Living in Harmony

News and Events

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 slaes go to benefit teh students of Lowell Elementary School!
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.
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

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:


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.


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.


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:
Reading Wonders

Reading Wonders
is coming to Lowell for the 14-15 school year!
Lowell will partner 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 will receive all materials (grades K-6), initial training and follow-up professional development (on-going supports) throughout the school year to address our implementation needs.
Want to learn more about Reading Wonders? Check it out here. There will be an all-staff initial training session in May, as we continue to launch our professional development for the 14-15 school year.
Click below to view this presentation:


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.
In addition, Principal Rania informed the school community that we will have a school-wide ice cream dance party, prior to winter break!
The next Principal-for-the-Day opportunity will be March 2014 (end of Trimester 2). 
Upcoming Events
Additional Links

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