August 11, 2017
Dear Northwood Parents and Guardians,
Welcome back to school!
We hope you have been enjoying a wonderful summer and are looking forward to starting a new school year in just a few short weeks.
We are looking forward to an exciting year of learning together. Our teachers and staff are already planning and preparing for your child(ren). Our hard working and conscientious custodians, alongside several additional members of the Maintenance and Operations team, have been hard at work all summer supporting our Summer School and Extended School Year programs. These programs concluded at the end of July, and they are now deep cleaning the school to ready it for the return of all our Northwood children and families. The Northwood PTA, led by President Danielle Orr-Bement, has continued their work of connecting new families in advance of our first day through Kindergarten summer play dates, and they are now gearing up to welcome families, facilitate and provide volunteer opportunities, and offer other exciting events and programs in the coming year. We are pleased to return to our joyful and caring community, sharing in common goals of nurturing responsible, caring students, and promoting high-level learning.
An extra warm welcome to families new to our district. We look forward to meeting and working with you. In addition to the all-school PTA Welcome Coffee on 8/30 at 9:15am, you are invited to attend our District New Families Event at Islander Middle School on October 11, 6:00-8:00pm. Kindergarten Parents are also invited to the Kindergarten PTA Welcome Coffee on the first day of Kindergarten, September 5, at 9:15-10:00am.
District Back-to-School Forms - Required
Our Mercer Island School District forms and payment information are all ONLINE this year! A postcard and email will be sent in mid-August to explain the District Back-to-School forms. Beginning August 14th, you will be able to log into your Skyward Family Access account and complete all the district forms, permission slips and notifications required for the start of school. Parents and guardians will also verify their student demographic information and update phone numbers, email addresses, and emergency contacts. All parents will be required to complete and/or acknowledge all forms for their children prior to the first day of school, August 30.
How to Get Involved
Community involvement is a key component to the success of students in our Mercer Island Schools, and we are continuing the tradition at Northwood. We invite everyone to be a part of our school community. We welcome and encourage parent volunteers and hope that you will take advantage of the many opportunities available to you. These opportunities include supporting in the classroom or common learning spaces, attending/volunteering at PTA events, chaperoning field trips, and more. Please contact your child’s teacher for ways to become involved in our school. You can also find information on upcoming events, informative newsletters, and volunteer opportunities on the PTA website. All volunteers are required to complete an annual training and volunteer paperwork, found on the Volunteers page of our MISD website.
A great deal of effort went into the process of student placement for the 2017-18 school year and the entire staff at Northwood is looking forward to getting to know your children.
You will be notified of your student’s placement via Skyward during the third week in August. Please see the Back to School information page on our website for instructions on how to access your Skyward account to learn about class placement. Since we understand how unsettling it can be waiting to find out who your child’s teacher will be next year, it is important that you understand the process that we have gone through to place your child in his or her class. This process started in the end of the 2016-17 school year, and we can honestly say that each child, each class, each mixture of children, all special programs, etc. were carefully scrutinized for a proper balance and good mix.
As this is a lengthy process that we take very seriously, please understand that class placement changes will not be made during this first grading period; any change creates a ripple effect through the whole grade level. It is important that placement be given a chance. Typically, it takes a few weeks for a child to acclimate to a new school, grade, peer group, and teacher -- this is normal transition period and an important part of elementary school learning. Thank you for understanding the placement process and speaking positively with your child regarding their placement to help them understand that our staff has worked hard to ensure a positive school experience for everyone. All our teachers are looking forward to meeting their new students and creating a nurturing, accepting, positive classroom environments.
Faculty and Staff Changes
As in any organization, we have experienced some personnel changes this year. As of the first week of August, additions to our staff not previously published include:
- School Nurse: Rhiza Jackson & Joanne Webster
- Special Education Paraprofessionals: Linda Morice, Julie Ulrich, Stephanie Agnew, Diana Apacible, Katie Cole
- General Education Paraprofessionals: Danielle Orr-Bement, Janel Foss, Carolyn Freeman, Kelly Conway
Our hiring processes continue as we adjust to increasing enrollment and work to fill positions recently vacated. These include:
- Resource Room Teacher
- Early Childhood Special Education Program Coordinator
- Early Childhood Paraprofessional
Current Classroom Teacher Roster (as of August 11 - subject to change)
Kerry Sundholm & Veronica Golden (co-teachers)
First Grade Second Grade Third Grade
Cindi Pacecca Trina Sherman Danielle Melin & Sandra Schwarz (co-teachers)
Kate Lepp Erik Wallin Tiffany Nelson
Alexa Donovan Jessie Dye
Third/Fourth Fourth Grade Fifth Grade
Amy Kerby Lindsay Oliveira Marisa LeVeque
Matthew Lavigne Alyssa Mitchell
Deborah Tretheway Tori Vermiglio
Early Childhood Special Education Program Personalized Learning Program
Ashley Tyler Nina Nierman
The full staff list can be found on our Northwood website at Northwood Staff
Our school hours are as follows this year. Please make note of the times. The first bell rings at 9:10am, at which time teachers will bring students into the building. Please note that there is no outside supervision prior to the first bell, and students should not arrive on campus prior to 9:00am. The tardy bell rings at 9:15a.m.
School hours for Kindergarten and 1st - 5th grade are 9:15am – 3:45pm
Early Release Wednesday school hours are 9:15am-2:05pm.
Early Childhood Special Education Program hours are:
- Morning program: 9:30am-12:00pm
- Afternoon program: 12:45pm-3:15pm
Important Dates for Fall 2017-18
Please mark your calendars for the following fall events:
- August 29: 3:00-4:00p.m. - Northwood Open House – Families are invited to come by Northwood during this time to see their classrooms and meet their teachers.
- August 30: First Day of School for 1st - 5th grade students. NOTE: This is an early release day like all Wednesdays throughout the year. Students will be dismissed at 2:05pm.
- August 30: 9:15-10:30a.m. - PTA Welcome Coffee followed by General Membership Meeting from 10:30-11:30a.m. in Northwood Commons. All K-5 Families are welcome; we encourage you to come make new parent connections and learn about PTA volunteer opportunities.
- August 30, August 31, & September 1: Kindergarten Family Connection Conferences by Appointment. Kindergarten families will receive a letter in the coming days with their appointment date and time.
- September 4: Labor Day - NO SCHOOL
- September 5: First Day of School for all Kindergarteners
- September 5: 9:15-10:00am - Kindergarten PTA Welcome Coffee in Northwood Commons
- September 6: Early Childhood Special Education Program Open Houses - Families are invited to come by Northwood during this time to see their classrooms and meet their teachers.
- 11:00am-12:00noon: Both AM and PM sessions
- September 11: First Day of School for Early Childhood Special Education Program
- September 14: K-5 Curriculum Night & Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) Program Night
- K-2 5:00-6:00pm
- 3-5 6:00-7:00pm
- ECSE Session #1 5:00-6:00pm
- ECSE Session #2 6:00-7:00pm
- September 15 @ 9:30am in Northwood Commons: Principal’s Coffee & PAC with Focus on New Families and English Language Learners
- September 21: Northwood Picture Day
- October 11: District New Families Event, 6:00-8:00pm at Islander Middle School Commons
Getting to School
One of the advantages of a neighborhood school is the possibility of walking to school. If you haven’t already done so, please review the information about getting to school on our Northwood website, found on the Safe Walking Information page. We have posted information about designated safe walking routes, recommendations for teaching your children safe walking skills, and recommended driving routes if you choose to drive to drop-off & pick-up your child by car.
If your family lives in a neighborhood served by our school buses, please contact the Transportation Department with any questions about bus routes, times, or other topics.
Where Does My Child Line Up at the Start of the Day?
We have designated locations under the covered area of the playground for each grade level and classroom to line up outside the school building each morning. The start of each line is marked by a painted classroom number on the concrete. When the first bell rings at 9:10am, teachers will meet their students at these locations and walk them into their classrooms. On the first day of school, signs with teacher name’s will help children find their classroom line.
Please note that there is no outside playground supervision before school and, for safety reasons, children are asked to line up with their classmates and not to engage in recess activities prior to the start of school.
Northwood Parent Advisory Council
The Northwood Parent Advisory Council (PAC) is seeking members for the 2017-18 school year. The purpose of the PAC is to inform, encourage, and provide opportunities for parents and communication members to be involved in the planning and evaluation of the school’s instructional program and improvement processes. By definition, the PAC is an advisory body. Final decision-making authority rests with the principal.
This year, our PAC meetings will coincide with our Principal’s Coffees. For more information about the PAC, scheduled meeting dates and times, and to access the application to be a parent representative on the PAC, please see the Parent Advisory Council page on the Northwood website. Applications are due to the Northwood main office on or before 4:00pm on Friday, September 1, 2017.
Our Parent Student Handbook contains much more information about Northwood, Mercer Island Schools, and the Mercer Island community. We invite you to visit the website to learn more.
We eagerly await our opportunity to open our doors in the fall and greet students and families. It is an honor and privilege to serve as your building leaders. Thanks to all of the PTA members and parent community members who continue to support our wonderful learning community. Together, we know we will make this school year one of growth, achievement, and joy for all children.
Aimee Batliner-Gillette Jill Ravenscraft
Principal Associate Principal