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    School Newsletter 9/5/19
    Posted on 09/06/2019
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    Dear Sacajawea Families!

    I’m excited to say welcome back!  As I’ve been checking in with students over the last few days, I’ve been asking, “How is your day going?” and “How do you like your new class?”  Almost every child has given me a thumbs up, said “great!”  or just flashed me a big smile.  In the lunchroom over the last few days, I’ve noticed existing friendships continuing, and new friendships developing, and a generally positive outlook from students excited to be back at school.  Your Sacajawea staff and I are also glad to be back!  We are anticipating a wonderful year together as a community!

    There have been a few changes around here over the summer, so I’ll use this space to update you on those:

    New classroom spaces and staffing changes:

    • Jennie Tucker is now the lead teacher in our 3rd – 5th Grade distinct program.  Jennie comes to us from Thornton Creek elementary and has many years’ experience in Seattle Public Schools. She is replacing Sara Taylor who is now a distinct teacher at Jane Addams Middle School.
    • Also in our 3rd-5th distinct program we have a new instructional assistant, Margaret Murphy.  Margaret is also coming to us from Thornton Creek and has been with Seattle Public Schools for several years.  Last year, we only had one instructional assistant in our 3rd-5th grade distinct classroom.  This year, Margaret will be joining Brian Smith in this role. 
    • We will also have Tim Walsh working as a one on one instructional assistant in our 3rd-5th distinct program (Replacing Kirsty Wareing who is on maternity leave), along with Lindsay, who will be serving as a Behavior Technician in the program.
    • In our K-2 distinct program, we have a new lead teacher, Lauren Minor.  Lauren is an experienced special education teacher coming to us from the Irvine Unified School District in California.  In addition to her work as a special education teacher, Lauren is a Registered Behavior Technician, and is on her way to completing her Board-Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) license. Isaiah Swanson will continue as instructional assistant in our K-2 distinct program, and we are hiring one additional instructional assistant for this program.  Our outgoing teacher, Kelly Robideau has moved to Everett School District, and Melodie McLamb is completing her teaching certification and has been hired as a lead teacher at Eckstein Middle School.
    • In our access program, we have Kayli McKinney as our new access lead teacher.  She is working well with our existing team, Kathy Fox and Shelley Pierson as well as Kristen Baum who has transferred over from our developmental preschool program to work with access students this year. Our previous access teacher, Diana Diamant has moved to Texas, and instructional assistant Jill Schnaiberg has just completed her teaching certification is becoming a lead teacher. 
    • Emilie Neal is changing roles from 4th/5th to first grade teacher this year.  Her new classroom will be in room 2.
    • Carlos Vera is our new bilingual instructional assistant.  With 22 languages spoken at Sacajawea, we are excited to welcome Carlos as he will be working beside Ms. Pauline Pfohl, our English language teacher.  Carlos is bilingual in English and Spanish.  As Spanish is our most common language spoken after English, Carlos will serve as an asset to all of our English Language Learners and will especially be on hand to assist Spanish-speaking students and families. Benjamin Estes, our previous bilingual instructional assistant is going to school full time at University of Washington this year to seek his teaching certificate.


    іWelcome and Bienvenidos to all our new staff!! We are glad to welcome you into the Sacajawea community!

    Location Changes

    • Our services for English language learners will now be located in Portable 3. 
    • Portable 2 will be a multi-purpose space that will be used by our Speech, Occupational and Physical Therapists, Tutors and counselor during the school day and will be available for meetings before and after school.
    • Our access program has moved back to its original space in the Skyhouse.
    • Our K-2 distinct program has moved into room 4.  This means that we now have all K-2 students together on the lower floor.
    • Ms. Doss’ 4/5 Classroom has moved to room 104, which now means that all of our 3rd, 4th and 5th grade classrooms are adjacent to each other in the main upstairs hallway.

    Recess Time Change

    This year as we have been looking at our instructional data, planning for our new math implementation, and comparing our classroom schedules to the district-mandated times for instructional minutes in each subject area, we've realized that we have not been meeting all of our minimum instructional minutes in some subject areas. Looking at our current schedule, our choice was between shortening our recesses or shorting student time in Health & Fitness class and Art class (PCP) in order to meet these minutes.The district allocates 30 minutes per day, per school for recess and we have had 45 minutes per day prior to now.  With our new schedule this will change to 35 minutes of recess during the school day.

    As a staff, we chose to keep our lunch schedule as it is (20 minutes to eat lunch, and 15 minutes of recess, with an understanding that any student who needs more time to eat is encouraged to finish his or her lunch) and to shorten our 9:50 and 1:00 PM recesses each by 5 minutes. This gives us an additional 50 minutes of instructional time each week, equal to 1800 minutes, or 30 hours, of instruction across the school year. Also, by keeping our PCP time the same, we can meet the state mandated 100 minutes of PE per week, which we would not be able to do if we shortened PCP to the district allocated 32 minutes per day. We are staying with 40 minutes per day in Art or Health and Fitness for each class.

    Here’s our new lunch/recess schedule:

    • 7:40 – 7:55 before school recess
    • 9:55 – 10:05 AM recess
    • 10:55 – 11:20 K-2 Lunch
    • 11:20 – 11:35 K-2 lunch recess
    • 11:30 – 11:50 3-5 lunch
    • 11:50 – 12:05 3-5 lunch recess
    • 1:05 – 1:15 PM recess

    Not counting before school recess, we will now have 35 minutes of recess time per day. In addition, many teachers give students regular movement opportunities throughout the day in the form of the brain dance, in class walking breaks, movement brain-breaks,, walking field trips, and sensory breaks. Students can also self-select breaks as needed in classroom reset stations and at our hallway sensory break station.

    Classroom Newsletters

    This year, we plan to try something new with classroom newsletters.  Each teacher will send his or her classroom newsletter out each week.  They should communicate with you what day you can expect to hear from them and are expected to send their newsletters consistently on the same day each week.  All newsletters sent out between Friday and the following Wednesday will be posted on our school website each Thursday, the same day our school newsletter goes out.  While your teacher may include photos in the newsletter they send to your class, the newsletters posted on our website will contain written content only. Photos will be removed to protect student privacy.  We hope that this will be another place where you will be able to find information about your child’s class.

    Ready Math Program

    Over the summer we received our new math materials for the Ready Math program that were generously provided by your PTA dollars. Teachers have been engaged in training over the summer to learn about the implementation of the new program, and we are ready to begin!  Over the next few weeks our students will engage in a diagnostic assessment to help us understand their learning needs in math, and we will be able to design our instruction around those needs. 

    Lessons in Ready Math start with “Explore” sessions that introduce students to concepts through problem-solving and discussion.  Then, students engage in a series of “Develop” lessons that help them to increase their knowledge and confidence as they apply and build their learning of the topic.  They end each lesson set with “Refine” sessions that help solidify and/or extend student learning.  Each set of sessions has family communication letters that will help us communicate to you about the concepts your children learn in class, and the program comes with a periodic diagnostic assessment along with lesson and session assessments we can use across the year to monitor student growth and understanding.  Expect to hear more about Ready Math at Curriculum Night, and in my newsletters and teacher communications throughout the year.  Check out their website for more information:

    Looking forward to working with you and your students as the year continues,

    Rachel Friesen, principal