September 2020 Welcome Back Message
Dear Island Park Families,
Welcome back to school. I hope you have had a safe and healthy summer. Thank you for your patience and support while we worked diligently this summer to address the myriad of school challenges created by world health events.
This letter is intended to catch you up on important updates as we approach the start of new school year.
I am happy to announce that our counselor, Polly DeBron, will join us again at Island Park. Look for an email from her outlining her office hours and contact number. Here is the formal announcement from MIYFS:
“As part of the City’s response to pandemic-related budget reductions, two Youth and Family Services (YFS) Department school-based counselors were laid off and placed on standby status and all other counselors were reduced to 28 hours/week. Thanks to generous donations from the Mercer Island Youth and Family Services Foundation, the City Council has reinstated the West Mercer Elementary and Island Park Elementary counselors and increased all school counselor positions to 32 hours/week. The City is pleased to partially restore school counseling services for 2020, and thanks the MIYFS Foundation for their generous donation that made this possible.”
As of the writing of this letter, our staffing has remained relatively consistent. The few updates include:Nicole Winters, last year’s Spanish teacher, will be joining our first grade team. Nicole taught first grade before joining us at Island Park. She is excited to return to work with primary students and collaborate with our talented first grade team.
Krista Way is our new school nurse. Krista was hired just as we started remote instruction. She joins us from Willowick, Ohio, where she was an LPN, a pediatric nurse manager and worked in hospice care. Welcome, Krista—our learning community looks forward to meeting and working with you.
Even though this is a unique year, some tasks are the same. To complete your child(ren)’s enrollment you must complete the RSVP process. This is online and should take just a few minutes. This “RSVP” process is open now and will need to be completed before the first day of school, September 2nd. I encourage you to take a few moments and complete this process as soon as possible because class assignments will not be available to you until the process is complete. This is an important process each year...please also review all contact information (including emergency contacts) to make sure we have current information to communicate with you. You will log into your Skyward Family Access account to complete all forms. Details on how to do this can be found here: https://www.mercerislandschools.org/Domain/175
I assume all have heard by now that we will begin our school year remotely in what we are calling the Red Remote Learning Plan. More information about the plan can be found here: Red Learning Schedule
In addition, the elementary administrators have been creating videos and posting helpful documents on the details of the fall learning. If you haven’t already seen these videos and documents (or you would like to see them again) you can access them here: Elementary Fall 2020 Information
While remote learning is a change from our normal routine, our staff have been busy all summer engaged in learning and planning to make this a successful year for all. Teachers have been particularly thinking about how to develop relationships with and among students and families. We know that social engagement is vitally important for well-functioning classrooms. Part of this relationship building entails meeting your child’s teacher. Our teachers are planning for a virtual Open Houses, curriculum night, and will be available for conferring during the school week. Please be looking for more information from your child’s teacher.
An important before-school event that we always do at Island Park is our Open House. The purpose of the Open House is to help students feel comfortable in their new learning environment, to begin to know their teacher, how the class will be conducted, and who their classmates will be. We plan to continue our Open House tradition on the day before school begins (September 1st) via Zoom meetings . Please be on the lookout for an email from your child’s teacher on or before August 31st with a link to the Open House Zoom session that will take place on the afternoon of September 1st. Since we know many families have more than one student at Island Park, we will be organizing a different time for each grade level. To help with your planning for that day, here are the Zoom meeting times for each grade level:
- 5th grade: 12:30 pm
- 4th grade: 1:00 pm
- 3rd grade and PLP: 1:30 pm
- 2nd grade: 2:00pm
- 1st grade: 2:30 pm
- Kindergarten: 3:00 pm
The start of school also means preparing materials and supplies to allow learning activities to successfully take place. This year since the learning will be primarily happening at home, we know we need to help prepare your home for the tasks to come. We are preparing for a Remote Learning Kit (important school supplies) pick up day on Tuesday, September 1st. More details on this pick-up schedule will be sent soon.
The kits that we are preparing will include: family purchased school supplies (those of you who purchased from SchoolKidz last spring), workbooks, manipulatives, etc. These kits, along with the iPads that are being handed out at the iPad pick up days (8/18 and 8/25), will provide for a successful launch to the school year for your child(ren).
The first day of school for students in 1st through 5th grade is on Wednesday, September, 2nd. Students’ are to log on to their teacher’s Zoom class at 9:15am for the start of their school day (this is our normal start time when in the building and what we want students to get accustomed to). Teachers will send you classroom Zoom links before September 2.
Kindergarten families will participate in WaKids Connection Conferences the first 3 days of school, your teacher will reach out to you to schedule your individual families conference time.
The first day of school for kindergarteners is Tuesday, September, 8th. Students are to log on to their teacher’s Zoom class at 9:15am for the start of their school day.
A great deal of time, effort and thought has gone into the process of student placement for the 2020-2021 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 grade, peer group and teacher.
Class Assignments (K-5) will be posted in Skyward @ 5:00pm (only available for families who have completed the RSVP process by this time).
K-5 “Open House” Zoom sessions with your teacher, please refer to Zoom times listed above.
School begins for students 1-5 (9:15 log on)
First day of school for kindergarten (9:15 log on)
Curriculum Night (via Zoom):
- 5:00-5:45 K-2
- 6:00-6:45 3-5
I want all of our families to know that we are committed to partnering with you to make this the best year we can for ALL of our children. The Island Park community is a family; we love our students, our work, and our school. Staff has put in countless hours this summer to shape this year as one of growth for all of our students.
Welcome back! Together we will make this a wonderful year full of meaningful and joyful memories.
Warmest Regards, David Hoffman Principal
Island Park Elementary