Welcome Back to School!

  • Photo of David Welcome back to school! 

    I hope you are enjoying a wonderful summer. I also hope you are recharged and ready to start a new school year. I am so delighted that you are part of our amazing learning community. I welcome and value your positive energy and dedication to excellence in education, and I look forward to working with you and your children.  

     All signs point to another incredible and productive school year. Our skilled and devoted staff is already planning and preparing for your child(ren). Our enthusiastic office team is registering new families, ordering needed materials and updating student files. Our hard working and conscientious custodians have spent the entire summer thoroughly cleaning the facility. And, our much-appreciated PTA is gearing up to welcome families, provide volunteer opportunities, and offer other exciting events and programs. We are indeed a joyful and caring community with the common goals of nurturing responsible, caring students and promoting high-level learning.

    A warm welcome to new Island Park families.  I look forward to meeting and working with you.  Please make a note of our welcome-back-to-school community coffee at 9:15 a.m. on Wednesday, August 30.      

    Student Placement

    A great deal of time, effort and thought has gone into the process of student placement for the 2017-2018 school year.

    Careful consideration was given to input from staff and families as well as student learning styles. Classrooms have been balanced academically and socially. Our class lists are structured to provide equitable class sizes at each grade level. Moving students is difficult without causing imbalances and inequities.

    Thank you so much for being positive with your child and helping him or her understand that it is impossible to place all students with a preferred best friend or teacher. ALL of our staff works hard to make school a positive experience for ALL students. Island Park is eagerly looking forward to enriching your child’s life. Thank you for understanding that it can take a few weeks for a child to acclimate to a new school, grade, peer group and teacher. 

    New Staff

    Each year brings positive change. As of the first week of August, additions to our staff include: 

    Kindergarten: Our new kindergarten teacher is Kayla Schuman.  Kayla just moved to the area from the Minneapolis/St. Paul area where she taught kindergarten. She brings great enthusiasm, positive energy and incredible references from those with whom she has worked.  I am confident that her skill set and passion for working with our youngest students will enrich children’s lives.  She completes and compliments an already stellar team of kindergarten teachers.

    Kindergarten: Our second new kindergarten teacher is Mary Mullen. Mary joins our learning community from the Issaquah school district where, for the past three years, she taught full day K. Mary brings a stellar reputation as a strong collaborator with colleagues and parents and, according to references, is completely committed to doing whatever is necessary to support children and grow excited learners. Welcome, Mary.

    Fourth GradeKatherine Jacobsen  (yes, that’s right we will now have two teachers with the last name of Jacobsen at school—not related :) ) will be joining our terrific fourth grade team where she will also share her love for teaching and creatively engaging students. Katherine recently moved to the Northwest from the Phoenix area where she taught fourth grade.  Her bright personality and focused dedication to her craft are sure to create big smiles and rich learning.  

    Fifth Grade: Anne Larson just moved to the Seattle area from Madison, Wisconsin where she taught intermediate grades and was a tech specialist/coach.  Those with whom I have talked share that Anne is a strong team player, skilled in lesson development and instruction, and, most importantly, sensitive to the emotional and academic needs of students.  We are very excited to have Anne join our fabulous fifth grade cohort.  

    Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) Cassandra Wozniak comes to Island Park with seventeen years of experience.  She has worked with the Lake Washington, Issaquah and Snoqualmie school districts as well as in private practice.  Her specialization is working with children, teens and adults with social thinking challenges and also has extensive pre-school work.  In her autobiographical statement, Cassandra states:  I am a dedicated and passionate SLP who believes in the importance of respecting and honoring each child’s unique needs. 

    Additional new staff: Aleena Kahn, PLP (Personalized Learning Program) para-professional.  Aleena will be joining our wonderful PLP staff; her skills, dedication, patience and kindness will enhance an already impressive program. 

    I know that Kayla, Mary Katherine, Anne, Cassandra and Aleena are excited to meet everyone.  They are joining an incredible learning community.  Welcome all!

    Current Classroom Teacher Roster  (2017-2018)

    Kindergarten                                  First Grade                               Second Grade

    Lori deStowlinski                            Sharon Jarnigan                      Ashley Bossie

    Jordan Jacobsen                             Beth Nielsen                            Samantha Moseley

    Kayla Schuman                               Shelley Wangen                      Kelly Rorem/Diana Low

    Mary Mullen

    Third Grade                                  Fourth Grade                               Fifth Grade

    Meredith Carlson                       Ahisha Avant                                Anne Larson

    Stephanie John-Lewis               Katherine Jacobsen                    Sally Loeser

    Cheryl Sandstrom                       Meaghan Williams                     Kerida Millison

    A Few Facilities Updates/Reminders

    • An upgrade was made to our school entry area this summer.  New construction created a vestibule where, after checking in and receiving a temporary badge, office staff will “buzz” visitors into the building. This was part of a district capital improvement initiative to provide security enhancements to all of our elementary schools.
    • An upgraded fire alarm system was installed throughout the campus.
    • The old portables at the back of the school were torn down and the two newer ones at the north end of the campus were moved into their place. The west end of the field, where the newer portables resided, will be restored to create a larger playfield for students and the community.
    • Painted lines near the student drop-off area clearly delineate student-walking areas from carpool lanes.  The diagonal yellow stripes painted across the front sidewalk serve to remind students to stay clear of the parking lot curb as cars pull up for drop off or pick up.  Thank you for reminding your children to walk only portions of sidewalk that do not have stripes.

    Important Dates for Fall 2017-18

    Please mark your calendars for the following fall events:

    • August 29:  10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. – Island Park Open House – Families are invited to come by the school during this one hour window 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 a.m. - PTA Welcome Coffee. 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, please contact the school office if you did not receive a date and time or need to change a previously scheduled time)
    • September 4:  Labor Day - NO SCHOOL
    • September 5:  First Day of School for all Kindergarteners
    • September 13:  K-5 Curriculum Night
      • K-2   5:00-6:00pm
      • 3-5   6:00-7:00pm
    • September 25/26:  Island Park Picture Days  (more information to follow)
    • October 11:  District New Families Event.  6:00 – 8:00 p.m. Islander Middle School Commons

    Volunteering Opportunities

    Community involvement is a key component to the success of students in our Mercer Island Schools. We invite everyone to be a part of our school community. We welcome and encourage volunteers and hope that you will take advantage of the many opportunities available to you. These opportunities include supporting classrooms, attending/volunteering at PTA events, chaperoning field trips, and more. Please contact your child’s teacher for ways to become involved in your child’s classroom. To learn more about how to become a volunteer, please follow this link: Volunteer Info  Also, check out volunteering opportunities at the school’s PTA site: PTA Website

    For more information about the start of the year school, district events and important information, be sure to explore Island Park’s website and related links. Island Park Website

    Thank you to all who are helping prepare for the new school year. Your commitment to ensuring that Island Park remains a celebrated and successful school is awe-inspiring. I eagerly look forward to greeting students and families again. It remains an honor and privilege to serve as your principal.  Please stop by and say hello. Together, I know we will make this school year one of growth and achievement for all children.

    Warmest Regards,           


    David Hoffman


    Island Park Elementary