• June 5, 2020

    Dear Northwood Families,

    Our arrival at the month of June this year has felt heavier than any other in my years in education.  As communities, we have been challenged by the global pandemic and its effects on the lives of people around the world.  We have seen the racial inequities in our society more starkly as the effects of the pandemic hit communities of color much harder than white communities.  Additionally, across the U.S. and in our local area, the deaths of Black Americans at the hands of police officers and the subsequent protests of these past days have underscored the obligation of our school community to be actively anti-racist, working every day toward realizing our District Fundamental 7, “Foster and embrace diversity, inclusiveness and equity, with a focus on respect and acceptance of every student.” 

    If you have not already done so, I encourage you to read the Superintendent's Message sent to all our Mercer Island School District Families earlier this week.  Contained in her message was a link to resources, linked again here, https://www.embracerace.org/, that may support your family as you talk with your children about social justice and anti-Racism.

    Our Northwood teachers have reached out to families to share additional resources, and they have engaged students in discussions about the ongoing protests, race and racial bias, and what it means to be anti-racist.  As Superintendent Colosky notes in her message, this is too important to be met with silence:  “Every child and adult in our community should be safe, seen, valued, and dignified.”

    As the end of our school year draws to a close, and as we continue to plan for what the 2020-21 school year brings, I hope you will continue to partner with the Mercer Island School District and Northwood Elementary as this ongoing equity work continues.  It is hard and critical work, and it is work all our children deserve.

    The remainder of this message contains the following content:

    • End-of-Year Celebrations & Video
    • School Supply Orders for 2020-21
    • Associate Principal Melanie Ready - Thanks and Farewell
    • Library Book and Non-Consumables Return Plan
    • Last day of School
    • Future Planning
    • Future School 2020-2021
    • Mindfulness Challenges
    • King County Library System (KCLS Access)
    • Resilience Article

    • End-of-Year Celebrations

    Please refer to your teachers' communications for specific information about your child's classroom.   Teachers and PTA Room Parents have been discussing options for safe ways to celebrate our classroom communities for the end of the year.

    • Class Parties During our last weeks of school, many of our classrooms will be celebrating with a safe/virtual version of a classroom party.  Please connect with your child's teacher for more information.

    • 5th Grade Slideshow Northwood’s 5th grade students will be celebrating the approaching end of their elementary years and their coming matriculation to middle school on Monday, June 15.  As part of this grade level celebration, PTA leaders have put together a photo slideshow/video of our 5th grade students that we will be showing via Zoom on June 15 at 9:00:00am.  Parents of 5th graders are invited to join their children via to view this photo slideshow.  Please watch for communication from your teacher with more detail.  We hope to see you online!

    School Supply Orders for 2020-21 (ACTION NEEDED)

    Hopefully you read the Northwood communication regarding the school supply process for next year.  Teachers have provided lists for families to purchase their own supplies OR families may order a box of supplies through SchoolKidz.  More information can be found on our Northwood website here:  School Supplies for 2020-21
    SchoolKidz Supply Kit program is easy and convenient! Kits include the exact colors, quantities, and brands teachers are requesting in a personalized box ready for your child’s first day of school. Place your order by Friday, June 19th to have all your child’s necessary supplies delivered to his or her classroom for next year.
    Orders can be placed online at:

    Website: http://www.shopttkits.com

    Northwood Account: #28891

    Website Live: Tuesday, 06/04 - 6/21 

    Questions? Contact Laura Bowers at laura.bowers@mercerislandschools.org 

    Associate Principal Melanie Ready - Thanks and Farewell

    After supporting the Northwood and West Mercer communities for the past two years, we wish Mrs. Ready the best as she takes on the Principalship of Lake Wilderness Elementary in the Tahoma School District. Mrs. Ready is excited about the opportunity for her to expand her leadership role and take on the lead position at one school. It is also much closer to her home and will allow her more time with her own family. We wish her well but will miss her greatly.  We hope to be able to announce her replacement in the next few days.  

    Library Book and Non-Consumables Return Plan

    On June 16 and 17, we will have staff at Northwood to allow families to drop off library books, classroom books, or other classroom non-consumables that they have had at home with them during remote learning.  A schedule for this process will be forthcoming.  Please do not plan to drop off technology tools (ipads, hotspots, etc.) in this process.  Consumable materials, such as student workbooks, crayons, markers, pencils, etc. are yours to keep and need not be returned.  When returning classroom materials, please place them in a bag labeled with the teacher’s name and grade level prior to placing them in the dropbox. Examples of non-consumables to return to Northwood may include:

    • Northwood library books
    • classroom library books
    • Book-in-a-Bag books
    • white boards
    • counting chips or cubes
    • scissors
    • other classroom manipulatives or tools 

    If you have questions about whether materials should be returned to Northwood or kept at home, please contact your child’s teacher.  Student ipads, hotspots, or other technology support tools checked out by your family for remote learning should be kept safely at home during the summer.  A process for returning these materials will be coordinated from the District Instructional Technology office. 

    Last Day of School

    Our last day of school is June 19.  Our Northwood staff has created a celebratory video in lieu of our regular last day assembly; teachers will share the video with their students directly.  Teachers are also working on other ways to provide closure of the year and celebrations of their time with their students.  While we all wish we could be together in person, our priority is to keep everyone healthy and happy as we wrap up the year. 

    We will continue to monitor and respond to the guidance from the Governor in terms of the Phased reopening plan and what that means for summer office hours for Northwood Elementary. 

    Future Planning

    If you and your children will not be returning to Northwood for any reason, and you have not yet notified the office, please do so at your earliest opportunity.  We rely on accurate enrollment counts to staff our classrooms and programs.  Thank you. Contact Laura.Bowers@mercerislandschools.org 

    Future School 2020-21

    As we continue to navigate the changing landscape of the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on our schools, businesses, and communities, the Mercer Island School District is connecting regularly with state and regional leaders to keep abreast of changing guidance and recommendations.  As school and district leaders, we are forming teams of stakeholders to gather input and develop plans for 2020-21 school formats and structures.  As a learning organization, we are committed to growing and improving our practices to provide positive learning experiences for our students.  We anticipate more guidance from OSPI will be forthcoming, and we will use all available information and input to make decisions about our schools’ structure and format in the fall, be it through remote learning, on-site learning, or a blended learning program.  Thank you to all of the families who have already provided feedback through your teachers, PTA or staff surveys, or direct communications with me and other district leaders.  Please watch for a new survey from Learning Services in the coming days.  We appreciate you taking the time to provide input about your child’s learning experiences; we rely on this input to help us meet the needs of our students and families in these challenging times. 

    Mindfulness Challenge

    June and Summer Mindfulness Challenges for Students:

    • Week of June 8:  This week, students consider how to use mindfulness and heartfulness to show kindness and caring when they play.  They may send kind and grateful thoughts to those they are playing with when things are going well.  If they find themselves in conflict, they are asked to notice how they are feeling, take some mindful breaths, and think about how or whether they want to act on those feelings.  This then allows them to access some of the conflict resolution tools they have learned through Second Step or Kelso's Choices.  Being mindful of how we feel when we play allows us to make choices about how we act.
    • Week of June 15: Mindful Breathing:  The transition to summer can be exciting and stressful.  This year’s transition is complicated by the last weeks of remote learning, Stay at Home guidance, and the recent racial justice protests. Students may feel excited for summer, sad because they continue to miss their friends, nervous about next year, impatient for the school year to be over, anxious about the pandemic or the recent protests and curfews, or many other emotions. Returning to mindful breathing can help us become more aware of our feelings.  It can help us slow down our reactions and give us the time to choose how we want to act.  Support your child to take some time each day to engage in mindful breathing and to notice and be present with their feelings.
    • Summer Challenge:  Over the summer, challenge your child to continue a regular mindfulness practice, helping them to be present with whatever activity they are engaged in at the time.  Bringing awareness to the present moment helps children develop skills in emotional and self regulation as well as the ability to choose to act, rather than to just react, in situations.  At Northwood, we do a Mindful Minute each morning as we start our day; consider how this practice might translate into your summer schedule.

    King County Library System (KCLS) Access

    Next week’s video lesson from Librarians on the Learning Grid (June 8) will provide students with information on the KCLS summer library program and how to sign up.  KCLS staff have produced an KCLS informational video about their summer programming, Imagine Your Story, as well. Due to pandemic-related library closures, the entire KCLS program is ONLINE this year- and kids can choose to download a reading minutes log :   KCLS Summer Reading Program .  Students can also access ebooks through KCLS catalog; please click here to browse available ebook titles.  

    As a reminder, ALL of our students have library accounts that allow them to access KCLS online resources at  www.kcls.org/students  from school, home, or from any other computer, ipad, tablet, smart phone, or device.  In partnership with the Mercer Island School District,  KCLS has created special library accounts in its system for our students so they may seamlessly log-in from any computer or device.  The account numbers are formatted as the student's school ID number preceded by the Mercer Island School District's three digit number (400). Please contact our Teacher Librarian- Miss Harnish if you have any questions or need help accessing your account. 

    Resilience Article

    With all the challenges we are experiencing right now, it can be helpful to reflect on the ways that we can support our children to develop resilience in the face of difficulty, hardship, and trauma.  The article linked below provides some insight and strategies to foster resilience in our children.  I hope you will find it useful.

    Resilience is the Most Powerful Skill...

    We wish you a safe and healthy June.

    Respectfully, 

    Aimee Batliner-Gillette

    Principal | Northwood Elementary School

    Nondiscrimination Notification
    The Mercer Island School District does not discriminate in any programs or activities on the basis of sex, race, creed, religion, color, national origin, age, veteran or military status, sexual orientation, gender expression or identity, marital status, disability, or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal and provides equal access to the Boy Scouts and other designated youth groups.

     

Last Modified on June 6, 2020