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    Back to School Letter from Principal Friesen
    Posted on 09/02/2020

    Dear Sacajawea Families,

    First, I want to welcome all of you to this new School Year!  Even though this year will look very different than years past, I still feel that first-day-of-school feeling I feel every year.  I’m excited to begin this year with all of you and your children. One goal I want to share with you is that we are working on having consistency and predictability for families, while at the same time we will try to be flexible in meeting needs for families with a variety of needs.

    Thank you to our Sacajawea PTA, and to all of you who attended the family forum last Thursday night!  It was wonderful to be able to connect with so many of you!   The following us information shared at the Family Forum last week, along with some updates:

    Remote Learning and devices – Students and teachers will engage in remote learning.  To support this, the district will be providing iPads for kindergarten through second graders, and laptops for 3rd through 5th graders.  These devices have been ordered for the whole district, but we don’t yet have a timeline for when they will arrive and be distributed. Once we have the devices, we are planning to have a materials distribution day in order to distribute the devices along with school materials students will need. We hope to also make this a celebratory event while maintaining safety and social distance for all.

    Schedules and Learning Methods - the district is providing us with daily school schedules, including a specific start time of 8:30 AM, a scheduled lunch break for everyone, and a school ending time of 3:00 PM. Within that schedule, we want to be flexible in how we serve students and meet the needs of each family. There will be multiple ways a student can be marked present at school each day, in order to help provide this flexibility.  At the same time, we’ll have consistent, published weekly schedules and learning plans families can depend upon for consistency across the school week.

    Learning blocks will include a variety of activities and not require lengthy focus on a talking screen. Students will engage in online activities that are whole group, small group, and individual as well as independent offline work.

    With the tentative agreement with SEA and SPS reached yesterday, guidance on daily schedules has just been published.  Sacajawea staff and I are working together to use the guidance for Sacajawea schedules.  These will be published to our community soon.

    Start of School

    Our first day of school will be Friday, September 4th, 2020.  From the district:  September 4–11 will be considered “Strong Start” days for fall of 2020.  These first days of school will ensure a strong foundation for the rest of the year. Two hours each day will be dedicated to “live” online student supports. Educators will focus on supporting students’ social and emotional well-being, community building, family connections, and technology access. For the remaining school hours, educators will provide supplemental activities for each day of the first week. These activities will take place offline and will be completed independently by students.

    During the strong start days at Sacajawea, we plan to concentrate on 1) Making connections and relationships between students, families, and teachers 2) Helping orient students to online learning and 3) Helping students become familiar with the technology tools they will be using during remote learning.

    Our first full day of school will be Monday, September 14th.  Stay tuned for more information about what the first day and strong start schedules will look like at Sacajawea, and for daily schedules for each grade level for full days of instruction beginning September 14th 

    Materials/Library

    One structure we plan for the year is to have materials distribution days on alternate weeks.  Students will be able to reserve library books that will be gathered for them and will be able to pick up and return books and materials every other week throughout remote learning.

    School-Wide Structures/Community and Relationships

    We plan to continue many of our school-wide traditions, such as our monthly NESTs, sprit days, reading buddies, and our annual continental focus.  In addition, during the spring school closure, Mr. Ryan and Mr. Walker hosted weekly lunch bunches for each grade band.  Mr. Ryan, and our new Health and Fitness Teacher, Ms. Kohler, plan to continue this soon.

    Family Engagement and Support

    In addition to communication out to you, we want to hear from and involve families at Sacajawea.  We are planning monthly family forums with the principal (co-sponsored with our PTA) in addition to regular family opportunities to check in with teachers throughout the week.

    We still have plenty of opportunities for volunteering, and our Friday Packs for Kids food bank will continue.  To volunteer, contribute to the food bank, or receive assistance, please contact our volunteer coordinator, Charlene Shanahan cyshanahan@seattleschools.org

    I’m looking forward to a wonderful year at Sacajawea once again!

    In Partnership,

     

    Rachel Friesen, Principal