• January 06, 2020    

    Dear Northwood Families,

    Welcome back from Winter Break.  I hope you had a wonderful few weeks with family and friends. Happy New Year!

    Topics included in this email are:

    *Northwood's Great Kindness Challenge
    *Twitter & Facebook
    *Northwood International Night
    *Professional Learning and Early Release Days - Did You Know?
    *Literacy - Professional Learning
    *Upcoming Events

    Northwood’s Great Kindness Challenge

    Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said "Life's most persistent question is: What are you doing for others?"  To answer that question, and as part of our observation of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and Temperance and Good Citizenship Day, Northwood Owls will participate in The Great Kindness Challenge from January 16 – February 14. We are observing an extended period of this Kindness focus as part of Mercer Island Community-wide effort to focus on Kindness.  All our MISD schools will be engaged in Kindness-focused activities during this period, and our MISD leaders have coordinated with other community organizations to partner with them as we collectively focus on Kindness.  

    To kick off this focus, your child will receive an Acts of Kindness checklist from their teacher which will provide many different ideas for acts of kindness.  The goal is for students to engage in as many acts of kindness as they can during this Kindness Challenge period (and beyond). Students can engage in these acts anywhere: school, home, activities, daycare, etc.  It is their job to check off the kind acts they complete (and to keep track of their checklists).  As part of this Challenge, students will periodically reflect on their kind acts and create a school-wide Kindness display in the commons near the library.  The Northwood Student Council has also been working on ways to support the community efforts for Kindness.

    To join in from home, you can create a family focus on kindness through conversations with your children.  At the end of the day, ask what they did to help someone, how they showed kindness, or what acts of kindness they observed others engage in.  You can also download a Family Edition Kindness Checklist from the Great Kindness Challenge website: https://thegreatkindnesschallenge.com/familyedition#. Watch for more information about our Great Kindness Challenge.  Let’s work together to build and maintain a community culture of kindness!

    Twitter & Facebook

    Did you know that Northwood Elementary is on social media?  We have two platforms, Facebook and Twitter, on which we share the great goings-on at Northwood Elementary.  Our staff works together to gather and post examples of the learning our students are engaged in at Northwood.  Please see the Northwood Website and scroll down to the bottom to find our Facebook and Twitter links.

    Northwood International Night

    We are looking forward to celebrating our diverse community through our International Night on February 5, 2020 from 6:00-8:00pm.  The PTA leaders, and many of our Northwood families, have been working hard to plan this event, and we are looking forward to another successful year!  If your schedule permits, I hope you will consider joining us for this fantastic community event.  Please see the most recent Parliament Press for the links to sign-up to host a booth, perform, or support in other ways.

    Professional Learning and Early Release Days - Did You Know?

    Throughout the year, our teachers and paraprofessionals engage in professional learning designed to continuously improve teaching and learning at Northwood Elementary.  Our early release Wednesdays provide regular opportunities for professional learning for staff. Each month, at least one, sometimes two, of the early release days is used for targeted professional learning for staff.  The remaining early release days provide time for staff to apply new learning, prepare and reflect on lessons, evaluate student progress, meet with Professional Learning Communities, and engage in other planning and preparation tasks. Additionally, teachers meet at least twice monthly on Thursday mornings in Professional Learning Communities to analyze student data, define learning targets, and plan interventions and instruction.  We also hold monthly faculty meetings to further our learning and our collective work toward our School Improvement Plan.

    This year, our time has been/will be spent enhancing our knowledge and skills on the following topics:

    •Positive Behavior Intervention and Support System - Strengthening our Universal Instruction for all learners in social, emotional, and behavior knowledge and skills
    •Functions of Behavior
    •The Conflict Cycle
    •PBIS on the Playground
    •Analysis of school-wide student learning data to inform next steps
    •Analysis of school-wide parent, student, and staff perceptual data to inform next steps
    •Using technology tools for student assessments and progress monitoring of learning
    •Strategies to support English Language Learners in the classroom
    •King County Green Team - School-wide practices for a Green community
    •Differentiating instruction to meet learner needs in a Multi-Tiered System of Support
    •De-escalation strategies to support learners and Regulation Room tools
    •Enhancing Teacher Clarity to improve student learning
    •Response-to-Intervention: universal instruction in reading in a Multi-Tiered System of Support
    •School safety, security, and Board Policies

    Literacy - Professional Learning 

    Mercer Island School District has begun an intensive professional learning effort to enhance literacy instruction in all our elementary schools across the district.  This year, 36 teachers are engaged in a research-based program called LETRS: Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling. This group of teachers includes all our Kindergarten teachers, ELL teachers, Instructional Coaches, Resource Room teachers, and Learning Support Program teachers.  Our long term plan, in keeping with the Superintendent’s Focus Priorities, is to provide this professional learning in future years to all teachers in our K-5 elementary system. Over the course of the year, teachers will learn more about:

    •how the brain learns to read and write
    •instructional best practices to develop Phonological and Phonemic Awareness and knowledge of English orthography and phonics patterns
    •instructional best practices to promote efficient and automatic word recognition and fluent reading and to develop vocabulary and background knowledge necessary for comprehension
    •indicators of reading difficulty and dyslexia
    •instructional best practices to intervene when we see signs of reading difficulty and dyslexia

    Although it is a challenge to have teachers out of the classroom for five full days, we believe this learning is critically important to the work our teachers do with your children.

    Upcoming Events

    •1/6/20 - School Resumed - Welcome Back!
    •1/8/20 - MISD Childfind by appointment, 10:30am-12:30pm (see MISD website for information)
    •1/13/20-1/16/20 - 5th Graders at Islandwood Outdoor Education School
    •1/14/20 - Mercer Island Parent Edge Event @ 7:00pm at IMS - Rosetta Lee "Who Are We:  Identity, Inclusion, and Allyship”
    •1/15/20 - 5th Grade Orchestra Curriculum Night @ 6:00pm at IMS
    •1/20/20 - Martin Luther King, Jr. Day - No School
    •1/21/20 - 2/14/20 - Northwood’s Great Kindness Challenge Month
    •1/21/20 - 5th Grade Band & Orchestra Assembly @ 9:30am
    •1/22/20 - 5th Grade Band Curriculum Night @ 6:30 at IMS
    •1/27/20 - Professional Learning Day for Staff - No Elementary School; No Early Childhood Program sessions
    •1/28/20 - Kindergarten Information Night @ 6:00-7:00pm in Northwood Commons
    •1/29/20 - Kindergarten Registration Begins (online)
    •2/5/20 -  PTA hosts Northwood International Night in the Northwood Commons @ 6:00-8:00pm
    •2/12/20 - MISD Childfind by appointment, 10:30am-12:30pm (see MISD website for information)


    Aimee Batliner-Gillette

    Principal | Northwood Elementary School

Last Modified on January 6, 2020