Jodee and Michelle's Notes Archive

Principal's Note 1/22/14

Dear Salmon Bay K-8 Families,

 

After being out sick almost the entire past week, it feels great to be at school this morning. I had a great meeting with our Building Leadership Team this morning. After sharing a number of team and classroom celebrations with one another, we made time to also share some challenges and to brainstorm solutions together. I am so proud of the teamwork and collaborative spirit of our staff. Toward the end of today's BLT meeting, I also had the opportunity to share results from the recent Family Input Survey that so many of you completed. We had a total of 156 respondents with nice representation across each of the grades! I can't wait to share these results with families at this weekend's FOSB retreat, and really hope you are planning to attend. Also on this weekend's FOSB agenda is an update from Envisions Learning Partners about our current professional development and our next steps with standards-based planning, project-based learning and alternative assessment. There is much more exciting information on the retreat agenda, and I am looking forward to an enjoyable experience with staff and families as we continue to work together to achieve our vision.


-Jen 


Principal's Note 1/6/14

January 6, 2014

Dear SB K-8 Families,

 

I hope that everyone enjoyed a relaxing winter break with family and
friends. I am excited to be back in the company of our kids, teachers and
families and am looking forward to the rest of our school year.


 

Prior to our break, I shared a family input survey, asking each
of you for feedback regarding our progress toward achieving our shared vision.
Knowing that the week before break was a very busy time of year, I have
extended the timeframe to increase your opportunity for providing input. The survey (above link) will remain active until  midnight on Sunday, January 12th.


 

Since collaborating last fall to review and revise our vision, we
have been using that valuable information to guide us in naming the K-8
practices that provide our school community with a unique, alternativeapproach to education. We have consistently utilized a balanced,
whole-child framework to analyze our current practices and to determine our
goals and strategies for the future. As I continue to reflect upon the past
year and a half, I would greatly appreciate the opportunity to consider your
experiences, thoughts and perspectives in addition to my own.


 

Thank you so much for your time as you respond to the survey
questions. I look forward to reading your feedback and to continuing our
journey together.


 

Sincerely,

Jen

 

 


Principal's Note 12/9/13

 

December 9, 2013

Dear SB K-8 Families,


 

I hope everyone enjoyed time this weekend with family and friends.  As always, there are great things happening at Salmon Bay K-8! I am proud to begin this week’s newsletter with some exciting staff celebrations:

  • Marian, one of our 4th/5th teachers, received her National Board Certification. National Board Certification is an advanced teaching credential that requires teachers to analyze their teaching as well as their students’ needs. This process is very rigorous and time demanding, requiring video submission, written reflection and a clear demonstration of student growth and achievement.

  • Jon, Joel and Katie, three of our 6th grade teachers, attended the Sound Grading Conference in Portland, Oregon last week. The conference highlighted the following objectives:

    • learning how to turn assessment information into accurate, defensible report card grades

    • gaining a deeper understanding of the issues involved in sound grading

    • learning how to track and communicate assessment results; and

    • learning how to ensure that grades provide accurate reflections of student achievement.

  • Devin and Kate, two of our middle school teachers, were highly recruited to serve on the district’s new “Literacy Cadre” to develop a K-12 Common Core aligned English Language Arts curriculum that will be implemented by classroom teachers district-wide.  


 

Please join me in recognizing the above staff members for their ongoing commitment to best practices in teaching and learning.


 

Next, I am excited to provide you with an update about the work we have been doing this year in pursuit of our vision.


 

Building Leadership Team

  • Mission, Vision and Values: As you know, the Building Leadership Team worked closely with the staff and families last year to update our Mission, Vision and Values statements. Together, these statements will continue to guide our work together as we make decisions that support student achievement in the context of the whole child, a value deeply rooted in our beliefs about teaching and learning.

  • Alternative Education: Following the completion of our mission, vision and values statements, the BLT began to work collaboratively with the staff to bring greater clarity to what “alternative education” represents at Salmon Bay K-8. While it has been acknowledged that this work is highly personal, particularly for those staff and families who have been with Salmon Bay dating back to its roots as Coho-Noms (individually and collectively), we embarked on this important work, knowing that it could serve as a valuable tool as we continue to grow as a K-8 community. Through the whole child lens, and using alternative education “indicators” developed in 2005 by a Seattle Public Schools task force made up of parents and teachers, we began this important work. I look forward to sharing more with you about this in the upcoming months. Here are some highlights of our work around the topic of alternative education:

    • The value we place on students’ intellectual needs is met by our commitment to active engagement through experiential learning and through a differentiated approach that supports the needs of all of our students.

    • The value we place on our students’ physical needs is met by our commitment to a daily K/5 PE program, the use of co-created K-8 behavioral expectations and through incorporating opportunities for student movement throughout the instructional day.

    • The value we place on our students social-emotional needs is met by our commitment to align staff and student needs,  to make time for relationship building during the school day and outside of school hours and by valuing families as integral partners in every child’s education.

  • Next Steps:

    • Comprehensive School Improvement Plan (CSIP): The BLT is currently in the midst of updating our CSIP to reflect current data about student achievement in reading and math. We are also including a school climate goal to address the area of communication (among staff and between staff/families). I look forward to sharing this work with you within the next couple of months.

    • Professional Development Plan: A key component of our CSIP will be our professional development plan for the 2014-2015 school year. Using our mission/vision/values statements and our work to this point around alternative education, we will work together to prioritize next steps for building on the work we have done this year with Envisions Learning Partners (ELP).


 

Professional Development

  • Envisions Learning Partners (ELP) - Highlights from our work together this year:

    • Graduate Profile: ELP believes that if schools clearly define their graduate outcomes for students to include not only the courses or subjects they need to pass but also Deeper Learning Outcomes -- mastering academic content, thinking critically, communicating effectively, collaborating productively and learning to learn,  -- we will create schools that ensure all students are ready for success in college and career. During a professional development earlier this year we began creating Graduate Profile that fully integrates the whole child framework. We will be completing this work during our January 15th early dismissal session and look forward to sharing the results with the broader school community.

    • Key terms: We are also working with ELP to personalize definitions for some key terms that will drive our professional development including, 21st century skills, rigor and alternative assessment. Again, all of this work will be done through the lens of our valued whole child approach to teaching and learning.

  • Next Steps:

    • Project Based Learning and Performance Based Assessment: Knowing that project based learning and performance based assessment are practices that align with our mission/vision/values statements and with our beliefs and practices regarding alternative education, we recognize that continued professional development will allow us to strengthen these practices across our school. Our first step will be to “inventory” current practices so that we can build on our strengths and identify areas for improvement. This will involve grade-level, K/8 and content area discussions about curriculum and instruction, alternative assessment, human and material resources and innovative scheduling practices that will support us in achieving our vision.


 

I look forward to sharing more with you in the near future. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or comments.


 

Thanks,

Jen


Principal's Note 10/28/13

A Learning Community

 

Salmon Bay K-8 features many wonderful attributes that help highlight us as an alternative option school.  One trait that continually illuminates the spirit of Salmon Bay is community!  My Webster dictionary defines community as a: "group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common."  At Salmon Bay, I witness teachers, parents, and students working to build relationships that strengthen our community.  

Yesterday, as I was shopping for some early history books at a local toy store, I ran into a former Salmon Bay teacher.  It was delightful to see the teacher and to hear about her new adventures in teaching; the highlight of the conversation was to hear how she had met with her former Salmon Bay teaching team for dinner the night before.  Later in the day, my family and I joined nearly 100 Salmon Bay students and parents at the Sounders Game.  Social activities like these help set foundational stones for a larger community.  

Over this last week, I have seen many wonderful examples of how teachers, parents and students have coordinated special activities and events designed to strengthen our community and the world beyond.  

  • Parents Walker Lockhart and Karen Dugan have faithfully coordinated weekly walk/bike to school events to highlight the Walk-n-Wheel month.

  • 6th grade teacher Katie guided a group of 6th grade students as they united to help improve our school bus zone by painting the curb with a fresh coat of paint.

  • An exceptional group of parents are actively collaborating to produce the next Salmon Bay theatrical event...Peter Pan (Showing on December 12-15th.)

  • Parent Stephen McGehee has been hosting after school sessions to teach students audio and visual tech skills so they can help manage equipment in the school.

  • Social Studies teacher Sam Olson has reached out to Sister Schools (http://sisterschools.org/) to coordinate a school supply drive for children in Uganda.

  • The Ballard Food Bank is connecting with Salmon Bay families in need by delivering groceries to our school through their Backpack Program.     

  • Science teacher, Melanie Shelton, is actively working with students and community members to coordinate a Fare Trade Fair and Pancake Breakfast on Saturday, November 23.

  • Community members Gloria Forsythe, Julia Kuskin, Maria Gutierrez, and David Verba have stepped into the school to help as club leaders for our Friday Club dates in the middle school.

  • Everyday I see parents volunteering in classrooms to help create active and engaged learning environments.

Our fabulous volunteer coordinators Sharon Feliciano and Caitlin Racey are connecting and coordinating volunteers on a weekly basis.  Please contact them if you are interested in getting more engaged at Salmon Bay K-8 School.  Your help, ideas and suggestions are greatly appreciated.

 

In the next week we have two great events coming up to continue to improve our community.  FOSB and Principal Jen are having a  joint coffee hour with parents to talk about facilitating communication.  We also have a family potluck on Friday evening, yet another opportunity for you engage as part of our community. Thank you to each and every person who strives to make this school the best school it can be.  

 

Cheers,

Brett


Principal's Note 10/28/13

A Learning Community

 

Salmon Bay K-8 features many wonderful attributes that help highlight us as an alternative option school.  One trait that continually illuminates the spirit of Salmon Bay is community!  My Webster dictionary defines community as a: "group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common."  At Salmon Bay, I witness teachers, parents, and students working to build relationships that strengthen our community.  

Yesterday, as I was shopping for some early history books at a local toy store, I ran into a former Salmon Bay teacher.  It was delightful to see the teacher and to hear about her new adventures in teaching; the highlight of the conversation was to hear how she had met with her former Salmon Bay teaching team for dinner the night before.  Later in the day, my family and I joined nearly 100 Salmon Bay students and parents at the Sounders Game.  Social activities like these help set foundational stones for a larger community.  

Over this last week, I have seen many wonderful examples of how teachers, parents and students have coordinated special activities and events designed to strengthen our community and the world beyond.  

  • Parents Walker Lockhart and Karen Dugan have faithfully coordinated weekly walk/bike to school events to highlight the Walk-n-Wheel month.

  • 6th grade teacher Katie guided a group of 6th grade students as they united to help improve our school bus zone by painting the curb with a fresh coat of paint.

  • An exceptional group of parents are actively collaborating to produce the next Salmon Bay theatrical event...Peter Pan (Showing on December 12-15th.)

  • Parent Stephen McGehee has been hosting after school sessions to teach students audio and visual tech skills so they can help manage equipment in the school.

  • Social Studies teacher Sam Olson has reached out to Sister Schools (http://sisterschools.org/) to coordinate a school supply drive for children in Uganda.

  • The Ballard Food Bank is connecting with Salmon Bay families in need by delivering groceries to our school through their Backpack Program.     

  • Science teacher, Melanie Shelton, is actively working with students and community members to coordinate a Fare Trade Fair and Pancake Breakfast on Saturday, November 23.

  • Community members Gloria Forsythe, Julia Kuskin, Maria Gutierrez, and David Verba have stepped into the school to help as club leaders for our Friday Club dates in the middle school.

  • Everyday I see parents volunteering in classrooms to help create active and engaged learning environments.

Our fabulous volunteer coordinators Sharon Feliciano and Caitlin Racey are connecting and coordinating volunteers on a weekly basis.  Please contact them if you are interested in getting more engaged at Salmon Bay K-8 School.  Your help, ideas and suggestions are greatly appreciated.

 

In the next week we have two great events coming up to continue to improve our community.  FOSB and Principal Jen are having a  joint coffee hour with parents to talk about facilitating communication.  We also have a family potluck on Friday evening, yet another opportunity for you engage as part of our community. Thank you to each and every person who strives to make this school the best school it can be.  

 

Cheers,

Brett