August 17, 2021
Dear Northwood Families,
Welcome back to school. I hope you are having a healthy and happy summer. Thank you in advance for your patience and support while we work diligently to prepare for a safe and enriching school experience for our students.
Topics in this letter include:
● COVID-19-related Health Updates and Plans
● RSVP Process - Required of All Families
● Certificated Staff Updates
● Classified Staff Updates
● Open House Event
● School Supplies
● First Day of School
● Student Class Placement
● Parent Advisory Council Application
● Before/After School Care on Site
● Pathway Student Services Center
● Important Dates
COVID-19-related Health Updates and Plans
Please watch the video linked below for the most recent health mandates, elementary school protocols, and other important health and safety mitigations and routines. Update from Elementary Administrative Team. Please also see the August 9, 2021 message from Superintendent Colosky and Deputy Superintendent Rundle Update on COVID-19 response and the 2021-22 school year
RSVP Process - Required of All Families
As we continue to move through the pandemic, some school-related tasks remain the same. To complete your child(ren)’s enrollment you must complete the RSVP process annually. 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 1st. I encourage you to take a few moments and complete this process as soon as possible because teacher 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. To complete your RSVP, please log into your Skyward Family Access account and complete all forms, including uploading requested residency and health documentation. Details on how to do this can be found here: https://www.mercerislandschools.org/Domain/175
IMPORTANT: You will not be able to access who your child’s teacher will be until you have completed the RSVP process. Teacher assignment will be available on Friday, August 27th at 4:30pm for all who have completed the RSVP process.
Certificated Staff Updates
We have had a few staff changes since last spring. These include:
● Associate Principal - Jill Kelly. Jill joined the Mercer Island School District at the start of the 2019-20 school year supporting the West Mercer and Lakeridge communities. Prior to her move to the Pacific Northwest, she served as an Associate Principal for several years in Texas. We are happy to welcome Jill to our Northwood team.
● First Grade:
○ Jordan Jacobsen. Jordan will join our 1st grade team, transitioning from Island Park where she has taught primary grades for the past several years. We are happy to have Jordan’s years of experience in primary levels to anchor this great group of teachers.
○ Natalia Ramirez. Natalia joined our first grade team partway through the 20-21 school year, skillfully taking over a 1st grade classroom remotely and then transitioning to in-person learning. We are excited to welcome Natalia back to Northwood and to the 1st grade team.
● Third Grade:
○ Emily Curtiss. Emily recently completed her Masters in Teaching at Seattle University and finished her student teaching in Bellevue School District, where she navigated both remote and hybrid concurrent teaching. We are pleased to add Emily to our 3rd grade team.
● Fourth Grade:
○ Yashmi Malik. Yashmi is returning to Northwood for the 2021-22 school year as a teacher on the 4th grade team. Yashmi has been part of our Northwood team in several roles over the past few years, and her knowledge of the school community will be an asset as she moves into this position.
○ Julie Newcomer. Julie helped open Northwood as a Kindergarten teacher and has been an Instructional Coach in Mercer Island for the past several years. She will be returning to Northwood this year as a 4th grade teacher, and she is excited to return to the classroom and to our Northwood community.
● Fifth Grade
○ Kirstie Black. Kirstie comes to us from Utah, where she taught 3rd grade before moving to Washington state. Kirstie will be a great addition to our 5th grade team.
● Music Teacher
○ Austin Ward. Austin comes to us with experience teaching elementary musicians in Tennessee. He enjoys working with students in the classroom and through optional clubs, such as choir. Austin will be a great addition to our Northwood Specialist team as well as to our broader team of music educators across the District.
● Special Education Teacher
○ Hannah Robinson. Hannah will partner with Brenna Nelson in our K-5 Special Services team. Hannah joined us part-time in the spring, getting to know the team and learners receiving Personalized Learning supports as we rounded out the last school year. We are happy to have her join the team.
Classified Staff Updates
We have also added a few new faces to our paraprofessional team.
● Julie Ulrich - Julie Ulrich transitioned to Northwood in the Spring as a paraprofessional to support some of our learners with adaptive and communication needs. Julie has previously supported students at Northwood, Island park, and Mercer Island High School. We are please to welcome her back.
● Wenli Jiang - Wenli Jiang will be joining our Special Services team of paraprofessional supporting students with adaptive and communication needs. She has worked at Northwood and other schools as a substitute paraprofessional. We are excited to welcome her to Northwood for a regular assignment this year.
● Alyx Stone - Alyx will also be joining our Special Services team of paraprofessionals supporting learners with primarily academic and social/emotional needs. She comes to us with experiences supporting diverse learners in non-profit organizations, and she is currently seeking her degree in Early Childhood Education at University of Washington.
Open House Event
We are excited to invite families to our in-person Open House Event on August 31, 2021 from 3:00-4:00pm. This time is intended to allow you and your child to locate your child’s classroom, say hello to their new teacher, and get excited about the first day of school. In keeping with the Department of Health Guidance, visitors are required to adhere to physical distancing and masking protocols. Both kids and adults are required to wear masks while inside at Northwood. Please support physical distancing throughout your time at Northwood, whether inside or outside, by keeping your visit brief, thereby allowing space for the next child and parent to visit the classroom.
For those returning families who purchased school supplies through SchoolKidz in the spring, your child’s supplies will be delivered to their teacher and ready for their use when they arrive at school.
For those families who did not purchase school supplies through SchoolKidz in the spring, the grade level supplies lists can be found on our Northwood website here: https://www.mercerislandschools.org/Page/16171
First Day of School
First day of school for students in 1st through 5th grade is on Wednesday, September, 1st. Students should arrive on campus no earlier than 9:00am and locate their classroom lines, designated by signage with teacher names. We will have staff on hand to support our students in locating their classroom lines.
Kindergarten families will participate in WaKids Connection Conferences in person and by appointment during these first few days of the school calendar: September 1, September 2 and the afternoon of September 3. Kindergarten parents, please check your email for information about scheduling this Kindergarten meeting.
The first day of school for Kindergarteners is Friday, September 3rd. This will be a ½ day of school for Kindergarteners with dismissal at 12:15pm. Kindergarten students will eat lunch at home on this day. Grades 1-5 have a full day of school on this date.
Student Class Placement
A great deal of time, effort and thought has gone into the process of student placement for the 2021-2022 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. The Northwood staff 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, and for encouraging a growth mindset in your child.
Teacher assignments will be available through Skyward on Friday, August 27th at 4:30pm (but only if you have completed the RSVP process).
Parent Advisory Council Application
The Northwood Parent Advisory Council (PAC) is seeking members for the 2021-22 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.
Before/After School Care on Site
MISD has partnered with Innovation Learning to provide before and after-school child care at our elementary schools. Innovation Learning is an extended learning provider, offering before and after-school programs at the four elementary schools that help children develop skills in a safe, fun, and academically focused setting. It provides a quality, connected learning program that complements your child’s school experience. By integrating STEAM education, project-based learning, play-based discovery, and academic support, they engage students in using problem-solving skills, cultivating creativity, and building their capacity for innovation. Visit the Innovation Learning website for more information.
Pathway Student Services Center
New this year to the Northwood campus will be the district’s Pathway services center. You will start to see construction start the week of August 16 with 10 large sections of the new building being delivered and installed. The Pathway Center will provide employment, education, and independent living services to students that are 18 to 21. We anticipate the new center to be open mid-October. We are excited to welcome these students to our campus.
August 27: Class Assignments (K-5) will be posted in Skyward @ 4:30pm (only available for families who have completed the RSVP process by this time).
August 31: K-5 “Open House” @ 3:00-4:00pm; Thank you for wearing masks and physically distancing yourself.
September 1: School begins for students 1st-5th
September 3: School begins for Kindergarten (Kindergarten half day, dismissal at 12:15pm - no lunch served to Kindergarten students)1st - 5th grade students on regular full day schedule
September 13: Curriculum Night (via Zoom): ● 5:00-5:50 3-5 ● 6:00-6:50 K-2 & ECSE
Our amazing Northwood PTA Leaders have been continuing to think creatively about the ways they support our learning community. We are hopeful we will be able to resume some of our amazing community events, in accordance with public health guidance, this year . Please visit the Northwood PTA website, Northwood Elementary PTA, to learn more about current dates and event plans and to see how you can become a member and get involved.
We look forward to partnering with you to make this a great year. We love our students, our work, and our school, and we are very much looking forward to starting this new school year.
Northwood Elementary School