• Dear West Mercer Families, 
    As we round the corner on summer and get ready for our new school year in the coming weeks, I am reminded of my own childhood in Tacoma and the back-to-school excitement that permeated the air in late August. Without the level of technology we have today, our class lists were hard copy papers posted to the front door of our elementary school. The nerves and anxiety of finding out my classroom teacher and classmates grew each day as my friends and I walked to school to check for the class list, as a firm date was never provided in advance. This yearly class roster ritual combined with a thorough inventory of my new school supplies, coordination of my fresh outfit for the first day of school (which in 4th grade included an oversized pair of hot pink, high-top knockoff Chuck Taylors), and a new crisp fall breeze overlaying our once warm summer nights are all memories of nostalgia firmly cemented in my mind. 

    We are now approaching this ‘back-to-school’ time in your child’s life and potentially all the nerves, anxieties, excitement, and joy this time may bring. (I know this can be both a thrilling and overwhelming time as a parent as well.) The West Mercer staff is here to support you and your child as we enter the next school year. My hope is this message will shed a little light on what our school community is all about and provide important information and dates you will need to start the 2022-2023 school year.

    West Mercer Values
    Our teachers and staff are thrilled to welcome our new and returning West Mercer scholars back in just a few weeks. As always, foundational in our school community is relationship. We lean into building relationships within and beyond the classroom so your child is known by name, strength, and need by many adults in our learning community. It is important to us that your child is valued and celebrated for the unique experiences they bring, ideas they share, and for who they are - all scholars are welcome and supported at West Mercer. 

    Other core values in our school community include joy, safety, a sense of belonging, and a commitment to growth. As we embark on a new year of learning together, we will continue to live these values and to elevate and share examples of these values in action in our classrooms, within school-wide events and assemblies, and through parent/family connection opportunities such as the Principal Coffee/Tea Chat. While all of these values are important, we will focus heavily as a staff this year on growth - both in terms of how we create challenging and engaging learning experiences that allow growth for all of our scholars AND how we create space for our scholars to reflect upon and honor the growth they make individually and together as a classroom and school community.

    Important Information 
    Safety - Paramount to our school is safety. We have strong emergency response procedures and continue to revise and update our processes as a school and district. Dr. Rundle’s communication regarding student safety and school security can be reviewed here

    COVID Updates - We are following the latest guidance provided by the Department of Health. Masks are no longer required at school. Students and staff may choose to wear a mask at school with the expectation that others’ choices will be respected. If your child experiences COVID symptoms or may have been exposed to COVID, please follow this flowchart

    Transportation - Our bus routes are still being finalized through the month of August. If you would like more information about bus transportation, please review the website. You may also contact transportation directly at (206) 236-3338. 

    School Lunch - Students may bring a home lunch or purchase lunch at school. More information regarding school lunches, free and reduced price options, and the menu can be found here.  

    Indoor/Outdoor Lunch - As we did last year, we will be offering both indoor and outdoor lunch seating options again this year. You may request to have your child join the outdoor lunch option by emailing your child’s classroom teacher. 

    RSVP - If you have not already completed RSVP through Skyward, please take care of this as soon as you can. You should have received communication regarding the RSVP process from the district. You will not get your child’s placement if you do not finish the RSVP process. 

    Enrollment Status - If your family is not planning on returning to West Mercer this next year, please let Lynn Lawrence at lynn.lawrence@mercerislandschools.org know immediately. 

    Volunteers - All parents or family members who wish to volunteer at West Mercer must have paperwork completed each school year prior to volunteering. This requirement includes those who have volunteered in the past. Please complete all paperwork at least 2 school days in advance. All volunteers in educational settings are required to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 or have a medical or religious exemption per Governor’s proclamation 21-14-3 (see King County Public Health guidance). If you have questions about volunteering, please contact Kerrie McCartney at kerrie.mccartney@mercerislandschools.org. Volunteer information will also be available at Community/Curriculum Night on 9/20.

    New Curriculum - We have two new curricula at the elementary level this year. Our K-2nd grade teachers will begin using the Benchmark Advanced literacy curriculum. Our 3rd-5th grade teachers will begin using I-ready for mathematics. You will have opportunities to learn about these curricula at the Community/Curriculum Night on 9/20 and at the Principal Coffee/Tea Chat on 9/29. 

    New West Mercer Staff - Yashmi Malik (2nd Grade), Courtney Deveny (School Psychologist), Shelaine Wright (Nurse), Melissa McGrath (Multilingual Paraeducator), Jolene McClerkin (Paraeducator), Aaron Elefson (Paraeducator), Allie Colosky (PALS Coach)

    Administrators - We no longer have the Associate Principal position within our elementary schools. I will be the administrator contact for all students, staff, and families at West Mercer. 

    Supplies - If you purchased supplies from our third party vendor in the spring, those supplies will be available in your child’s classroom on the first day of school. If you did not purchase supplies in the spring, please refer to our school supply lists by grade on the West Mercer website

    Class Lists - Class placement information will be available on Skyward after 4:30pm on Friday, August 26th. 

    Important Dates and Back-to-School Events 
    August 23rd - Dive Into Kindergarten (K Only)
    August 26th - Class placement information released at 4:30pm
    August 29th - Kindergarten Playdate and Ice Cream Social at 5:30pm (K Only)
    August 30th - Open House/Meet Your Teacher, open from 3-4pm
    August 31st - First Day of School for 1st-5th Grades
    August 31-September 2nd - WaKIDS Conferences (K Only)
    September 5th - NO SCHOOL, Labor Day
    September 6th - First Day of School for Kindergarten
    September 6th - Welcome Coffee for Families at 9:15am in the gym
    September 15th - Ice Cream Social from 5:30-7:30pm
    September 20th - Curriculum/Community Night
    September 29th - Principal Coffee/Tea Chat with Families from 9:15-9:45 in the library
    September 30th - Back2School Packets and Wolf Wear Orders Due 

    We are in partnership in this work and we appreciate working with you to support your child. It is going to be an incredible year. 

    Megan Isakson
    Principal, West Mercer Elementary