August 16, 2019
Dear Northwood Parents and Guardians,
It is hard to believe that the first day of school is almost here. We hope you have had a wonderful summer with friends and family, and that you and your children are eager to begin the year. The Northwood staff is looking forward to welcoming students and families in a few short weeks.
I would like to extend an extra warm welcome to families new to our district and our school. We look forward to meeting and working with you.
District Back-to-School Forms - Required RSVP Process
Our Mercer Island School District forms and payment information are all ONLINE, through a process called RSVP. A postcard and email were sent to families in early August to explain the process. Families are able to log into their 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 the RSVP process prior to viewing their child’s classroom placement. *NEW this year: district policy now requires EVERY family to verify their residency. RSVP information and directions can be found on our district website at Skyward Access and RSVP .
Important: You will not be able to access who your child’s teacher will be until you have completed the RSVP process.
Back-to-School Welcome Events
We have several events to welcome all our families to the new school year.
• Northwood Classroom Open House: On Tuesday, September 3, 2019, from 3:00-4:00pm, all our teachers will open their classrooms to welcome families into the learning space. This is a chance for students to find their new classroom, visit some of the learning spaces throughout the building (i.e., gym, library, Spanish & art rooms, library, resource room, etc.) and for parents and students to meet the teachers. This is also a great time to drop off your child’s school supplies. (For those families who purchased supplies in the Spring through SchoolKidz, your child’s supplies will already be in the classroom.)
• Our Northwood PTA is hosting a Welcome Coffee for families on Monday, September 9, 2019 from 9:15-10:15am. This is an opportunity to connect with other parents/guardians in our community, learn more about the PTA, learn about ways to become involved in the Northwood community, and sign-up to volunteer.
• Northwood PTA will also hold a General Membership Meeting on Monday, September 9, 2019 from 10:15-11:30am, following the Welcome Coffee. We hope you will consider joining the PTA and learning about ways this organization supports our school.
• Northwood Curriculum Night will occur on Tuesday, September 17, 2019. At this event, teachers will provide parents information about the curriculum, experiences, and expectations for their grade level and classroom. This event is designed as an information-sharing event for adults, and children may find it challenging to sit through. The curriculum night schedule is as follows:
5:00-6:00pm: 3rd-5th grade presentations; Early Childhood Special Education Presentations
6:00-7:00pm: Kindergarten-2nd grade presentations
• Northwood PTA will also host a Fall Family Social on Thursday, September 26 from 6:00-8:00pm.
• New Families are also invited to attend our all-district New Families Event on October 3 at Islander Middle School from 6:00-7:30pm. The event will be held in the commons of Islander Middle School, 7447 84th Ave SE. No RSVP is necessary and children are welcome. At this event, you will be able to meet Superintendent Donna Colosky, members of the Mercer Island School Board, and key school district leaders. In addition, more than 25 Island community organizations will be in attendance to offer information about their services.
As we shared last spring, we have made a change to our School Supply process for families. We will no longer collect donations and purchase in bulk, instead students are to bring specific supplies for each grade. You have a few choices to help you get these supplies ready:
• We offered a pre-purchase option in the spring through SchoolKidz. If you signed up for it, your child’s supplies will be here at school for you to see at our Open House on 9/3. No further action is needed; you are ready!
•If you didn’t sign up for the pre-purchase option last spring, you have the following choices:
1.Use the grade-level supply list on our website Northwood School Supply Lists 2019-20 and purchase through your favorite vendor.
2.Use this link to find the school supply lists on TeacherLists.com. On this site, you can select an online retailer and purchase the list to be sent to your home.
• We are asking that these supplies be brought to school for the open house on September 3 or on the first day of school.
How to Get Involved
We have a wonderfully involved community in Mercer Island School District, and 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, attending Parent Playground, and more. Please contact your child’s teacher for ways to become involved in our school. Our partner organization, the Northwood PTA, led in the coming year by President Amanda Stoffer and Vice President Beth Christofferson, offers multiple and varied opportunities for families to be involved in the community. You can also find information on upcoming events, informative newsletters, and volunteer opportunities on the Northwood PTA website. All volunteers are required to complete an annual training and volunteer paperwork, found on the Volunteers page of our MISD website. If/when you plan to volunteer, please ensure you have completed and submitted your required paperwork at least 24 hours in advance of your volunteer time.
A great deal of effort went into the process of student placement for the 2019-20 school year and the entire staff at Northwood is looking forward to getting to know your children.
You will have access to your student’s placement via Skyward August 30. Please note that you must complete the District RSVP process to gain access to your child’s placement on Skyward. Please see the Skyward Access and RSVP information page on our website for instructions on how to access your Skyward account. 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 2018-19 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 a 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 nurturing, accepting, positive classroom environments.
Our teachers have written welcome letters to their future students, which can be accessed on our Northwood Website after class assignments are available on August 30.
Faculty and Staff Changes
While the vast majority of our staff is continuing into the 2019-20 school year, as in any organization, we have experienced some personnel changes and additions this year. As of today, new additions to our staff include:
2nd Grade Teacher: Megan Ulias
3rd Grade Teacher: Jessie Dye (returning from leave of absence)
Overload 2nd Grade Specialist Teacher: Kelly Conway
Current Classroom Teacher Roster (as of August 16 - subject to change)
Kerry Sundholm & Veronica Golden (co-teachers)
Personalized Learning Program
Early Childhood Special Education
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 9:15am
School hours for Kindergarten - 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
Extended day program: Contact teacher for your child’s schedule.
Important Dates for Fall 2019-20
Please mark your calendars for the following fall events:
September 3: 3:00-4:00pm - Northwood Open House – Families are invited to come by Northwood during this time to see their classrooms and meet their teachers.
September 4: 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.
September 4, 5, and 6: Kindergarten WA-Kids Family Connection Conferences by Appointment. Kindergarten families will receive an email on August 16 to make their appointment.
September 9: First Day of School for all Kindergarteners; NOTE: This is a full day of school for all students, K-5.
September 9: 9:15-10:15am - PTA Welcome Coffee in Northwood Commons. All Families are welcome; we encourage you to come make new parent connections and learn about PTA volunteer opportunities.
September 9: 10:15-11:30am - PTA General Membership Meeting in Northwood Commons.
September 12: First Day of School for ALL Early Childhood Special Education Program (AM Classes, PM Classes, and Extended Day)
September 17: K-5 Curriculum Night & Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) Program Night
5:00-6:00pm - 3rd-5th grade
5:00-6:00pm - ECSE Program Sessions
6:00-7:00pm - K-2
September 26: 6:00-8:00pm Northwood PTA Fall Family Social
October 3: Mercer Island School District New Families Event, 6:00-7:30pm at Islander Middle School
October 22: Northwood Student Picture Day
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. Please also see the Northwood Parent Student Handbook for information about our car loop pick up and drop off procedures. Please use only the curb-side lane for student drop-off and pick-up.
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 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 names 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 2019-20 school year. The purpose of the PAC is to inform, encourage, and provide opportunities for parents and community members to be involved in the school’s instructional program and improvement processes. By definition, the PAC is an informational and advisory body.
For more information about the PAC, scheduled meeting dates and times, and to access the online application to be a parent representative on the PAC, please see the Parent Advisory Council page on the Northwood website.
We are excited for the start of the new school year, and we look forward to welcoming all your children into their school community. Thank you to all of the PTA members and parent community members who continue to support our wonderful learning community.
Aimee Batliner-Gillette, Principal
Melanie Ready, Associate Principal