December 5, 2017
Dear Northwood Families,
I hope you all enjoyed a restful Thanksgiving holiday with friends and family.
This family message contains the following content:
•Car Loop and Parking Lot Procedures
•Changes to Your Child's Dismissal Plans
•December Mindfulness and Character Trait Focus
•Professional Development of our Northwood Staff
•Upcoming Events and Activities
Car Loop and Parking Lot Procedures:
As the weather has gotten colder and wetter, we have seen an uptick in the number of students arriving and departing through our car loop at the front of the building. Please help promote safety and efficiency for all students by following the procedures below (excerpted from Northwood Student Parent Handbook). Please do not park in designated handicapped spots unless you have a valid handicapped parking placard. We have several families in our community who need these spaces to accommodate their mobility. Please continue to respect our neighboring organizations by not using their lots for school visits and pick-up/drop-off. Our Kiss-and-Go Zone (Car Loop) can accommodate an efficient drop-off and pick up process if all parents and students follow these guidelines.
•Use the school bus or walk whenever possible.
•Never leave your vehicle at the curb, even for “a minute.”
•Use the inside curb lane for picking up or dropping off your children. Do not allow your children to walk across the lot to find you.
•Children should enter/exit cars on the curbside for safety.
•As you enter the lot, pull up as far as you can before stopping to drop off or pick up your child.
•Be ready. Please have backpacks ready, coats on, breakfast eaten BEFORE you enter the drop-off line so your child is ready to “Kiss-and-Go” when you stop the car.
•Please exercise patience at all times.
•Refrain from cell phone use while operating your vehicle in the parking lot.
•If your child care provider or other family member will be dropping off or picking up your children, it is your responsibility to make sure that those designated persons are also familiar with the policies and routines.
•If you need to park, please use a designated parking spot, get out of your car, use the crosswalk to meet your children, and use the crosswalk to escort them back to your car.
•Please do not use the parking area as a secondary “pick-up lane”. Children will not be allowed to cross from the curb to get to your car in that area of the lot. Please only use the designated pick-up loop.
•There are parking lot “attendants” present at the drop off and pick up. Their primary responsibility is student safety.
•The parking lot layout can be busy and confusing. Our goal is to get the children to school safely and keep the cars moving. Please follow the parking attendants directions when in the parking lot.
Thank you for supporting the safety of all our students and families.
Changes to Your Child's Dismissal Plans:
If your child's plan for the end of the school day unexpectedly changes, please contact the main office by phone to get the message to the child and his/her teacher prior to 3:30pm. During the school day, teachers' focus is on the students in their classrooms, and they frequently do not check email until after dismissal. As a result, they generally will not get an emailed message in time to share it with students before the end of the day. Calls or messages received by the office after 3:30 do not allow office staff enough time to get the message to the child before dismissal. We cannot guarantee that messages received after 3:30pm will make it to the child.
December Mindfulness and Character Trait Focus:
Mindfulness learning and practice continues at Northwood.
This month's mindful challenges are listed below and our our Mindfulness webpage
December 4: Gratitude
Next time you are feeling sad, angry, lonely, or afraid this week, try to think of 3 things you are grateful for, and notice how this makes you feel.
December 11: Mindful Walking
This week we are going to practice mindful walking. When we know how to move mindfully, we don't hurt people with our bodies and we don't hurt ourselves (for example, by running into something or tripping). When we are mindful, it is much easier to notice things.
Monthly Focus Character Trait:
We will spend our few weeks of December reviewing the character traits we have learned about already this year. We will revisit the concepts of Kindness, Cooperation, and Perseverance as we focus on practicing these traits throughout our school day. Please consider ways you might continue the conversation at home about these traits by:
•noticing and acknowledging when friends or family members demonstrate one of these traits
•discussing how we might demonstrate one of these traits when situations arise (e.g., if struggling with homework, encourage perseverance; if engaging in a big activity/project/task, encourage cooperation to share the load; if siblings or friends are in conflict during play, encourage kindness as a first step to resolving conflict)
Did you know that teachers (and principals!) are students, too?! Well, we are. We spend many of our “early release” Wednesdays gathering to learn together. Sometimes we learn as a building and sometimes we learn as a district. Below are a few highlights of ways we have learned together over the past year.
•COMMON ASSESSMENTS - As an district-wide elementary team, we have been developing common assessments for our math curriculum. Each grade level, K-5, has been identifying areas of mathematical growth for their respective students and then have been looking for common assessments to use across the district at that particular grade level. Teachers are engaged in discussion around collective areas of growth for their mathematicians and then seek out assessments that will most closely align with these areas of mathematical growth. How do teachers determine where students need additional support? Through data-diving, which is an in-depth look at student data. Teachers use several databases to dig deep and really look at student learning, using this information to guide conversations with their grade-alike colleagues. These common assessments are then used to support all four elementary schools’ SIP goals in the area of math.
•CULTURALLY RESPONSIVE TEACHING - Staff at all four of the elementary schools have had the opportunity to hear both Dr. Caprice Hollins and Ben Ibale speak on topics such as: Culturally Responsive teaching, Micro-agressions, and How to Talk to Children About Race and Privilege. These presentations have sparked deep, rich conversations among staff members as we look at all of our students through an equity-based lens. Teachers are committed to providing the very best education for all of their students and we look forward to having Ben Ibale return for three more sessions in 2018 so we can continue our learning.
•PROFESSIONAL BOOK STUDIES - Our staff this year is involved in a year-long book study. We meet three times/year at the building level to discuss what we have read. The conversations are reflective and hopeful and we all look forward to implementing what we have read and what we have discussed in our classrooms. The titles this year include: Mindsets in the Classroom: Building a Growth Mindset Learning Community by Mary Cay Ricci, Better Than Carrots or Sticks: Restorative Practices for Positive Classroom Management by Dominique Smith and Douglas Fisher, Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do by Claude M. Steele, and Blind Spot: Hidden Biases of Good People by Maharin R. Banaji & Anthony G. Greenwald.
Upcoming Events and Activities:
•12/5 @ 7:00pm, Northwood Commons - Northwood PTA Membership Meeting
•12/5-12/13 - Kindergarten & Second Grade PEP/HiCap Testing (Classroom based)
•12/6 @ 6:30pm, Northwood Stage - Northwood Winter Concert (Choir and Drum & Mallet Clubs)
•12/13 @ 10:30-12:30 - ChildFind
•12/18 - 01/01/2018 - No School - Winter Break
•01/02/2018 - School resumes
Have a wonderful December.
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.