September 2017

  • Dear Lakeridge Students and Families,

    Whoosh! That’s the sound that comes to mind as I reflect on my first September with all of you here at Lakeridge. Of course, our hallways have been wonderfully filled with lots of Giggles! Ooohs & Aaahs! Huhs? and Hahas! as students, parents and staff navigated these first few weeks of the 2017-18 school year. But, above all the buzzing and roaring of the new school year, one message has come through loud and clear: Lakeridge is a school of excellence, joy and passion. For me, September 2017 will always hold a special place in my heart as a spectacular start to a new journey here at Lakeridge. Thank you all for that!

    With September behind us and October in full swing, this launches the first of this year’s Lakeridge “Messages from the Principal” for the year. After many discussions with parents and staff and after years of feedback from all kinds of constituencies, I’ve decided to try to keep these to a few important notes that are quick and easy-to-read. I know you likely get loads of newsletters, notes and notifications from our school, the school community, and beyond, so the goal is to keep these as user-friendly as possible.

    National Bullying Prevention Month
    October is National Bullying Prevention Month! Lakeridge kicked off this important month with a play, “Alexandra and the Dragon” performed by Taproot Theatre Company. This engaging and entertaining performance taught our students to be “supportive bystanders” and the difference between tattling and reporting. It also emphasized how to “Recognize, Report, Refuse” when faced with bullying situations. The definitions and the content of the play were developed in partnership with Committee for Children’s Steps to Respect bullying prevention program. Steps to Respect is also our district’s social-emotional and bullying prevention curriculum taught in every classroom, every year!

    Diversity & Tolerance
    At Lakeridge, we have a beautiful array of racial, ethnic, religious and language communities that grace our halls every day. We are both wonderfully similar and uniquely different, but we are a single, united community of Lakeridge Lions. At Lakeridge and in Mercer Island School District, we believe our diversity make us beautiful, strong and successful. The district’s “Equity and Diversity” School Board Policy states “We believe the diversity of our student body, our community and our staff is a strength that should be fostered and harnessed.” (1610BP) as one of many core values around diversity and equity. Furthermore, we also believe elementary school is fertile ground for teaching students about tolerance, diversity and to celebrate and embrace the diverse world we live in today and in which they’ll work tomorrow!

    To that end, we also know that kids are exposed to a vast world of ideas – both good, bad and even tragic. Every day and from a vast array of sources that are often out of our control, children are influenced by things they hear and see in the world around them. Sadly, some of those negative influences come out at school as unkind and demoralizing words and actions that leave long-lasting scars on children’s self-esteem, self-image, safety, and feelings of belonging. They also undermine our work to provide safe, inclusive, warm and welcoming learning environments for every child. Even right here at Lakeridge, we deal with incidents of unkind biased words and actions towards students of all ages and from all walks of life.

    It is sometimes difficult to know how to talk with kids about our racial, cultural, religious and/or ethnic differences as well as bias, discrimination and intolerance, but it is important. Kids need us to help them learn how to deal with biased treatment as much as what constitutes bias and discrimination toward others.

    The American Academy of Pediatrics published an article to help parents (or any adult) talk with kids at any age about bias. Please take a moment to read Talking to Children about Racial Bias for some excellent guidance on how to open up the discussion with your children.

    “These conversations begin to lay the groundwork for your child to accept and respect everyone's differences and similarities. As children mature, the answers to questions will become more complex. These are moments to learn what your child understands or is struggling to understand about racial bias.” -  Talking to Children about Racial Bias

    Together, we can build a warm, safe and inclusive school culture and future for all our kids!
    To read the full School Board Policy, please visit the Mercer Island School District website or the following links: Equity and Diversity Board Policy 1610

    LION PRIDE!

    We got the ball rolling on the first of our monthly LION’S DEN lunches with the principal this week! This year, Lion’s Den will be to celebrate each classroom’s best examples of our CHARACTER TRAIT OF THE MONTH. September’s trait was GRATITUDE and we had the library full of kids who come to school with a grateful, positive, thankful spirit every day. The trait for October is COOPERATION and I’m excited to see the Lion’s Den lunch busting at the seams with fantastic kids! Go Lions!

    Green Pride!

    Did you know? Lakeridge is a nationally recognized US Department of Education Green Ribbon School! This year, we’ve added even more to our amazing array of green actions and activities including…

    • Re-useable party supplies in every classroom! Instead of filling up landfills with plastic utensils, plates, cups and such, PTA provided every classroom with a party supply tote filled with everything classrooms need for parties. After the party is over, room parents take the dishes home, run them through their dishwashers, and return them clean and sanitized for the next big event!

    • Garden Club is donating to Mercer Island Youth and Family Services! This summer our Garden Club filled MIYFS’s refrigerator more than once with fresh veggies from our garden and now they’re gearing up to donate fall veggies. It was already a beautiful garden and now it’s adding bushels of goodness to our local community!

    Student Safety Notes

    • New Double Entry! We are still working out the fine details of how to most efficiently and safely organize and operate our new double entry doors. Thank you to all of you who’ve been so patient as we live with our new set-up during these first few weeks of school.

    • Bikes, Bikes, Bikes! This year’s Bike Rodeo was yet again both a long-standing tradition at Lakeridge and a rousing success. Bike Rodeo was followed by our annual Walk & Bike to School Day. Mother Nature smiled on us with beautiful Fall weather for kids to learn how to be healthy, safe and green on two wheels.

    • Early on playground...Please note that there is no supervision on school grounds before 9:10 in the morning. Our before school care program, KidsCo, may be out on the playground before school, but they are only supervising the kids in their programs and to maintain their licensing, they cannot take on supervision of other students. Please do not leave your children unattended on school grounds before school.

    • The Lakes walking path…If you chose to drop your students off at the walking path between Lakeridge and The Lakes community, please do so safely and respectfully. Keep in mind that this is not a school- sponsored drop off point. Also keep general safety guidelines in mind anywhere you drop off your children. Things like not letting your kids out on the wrong side of the street and always driving cautiously through neighborhoods especially at school times and even more cautiously during the dark mornings of Winter help us all keep all kids safe on their ways to school.

     

    Go Lakeridge Lions!
    Warm Regards,

    Heidi Jenkins Signature