Welcome Back Letter From Principal Breidenbach

Welcome Back Letter from Principal Breidenbach
Posted on 08/18/2016

August 16th, 2016 


Parents,
 


Welcom
e to the 2016-2017 school year. I’m looking forward to having all of our Falcons return to their school nest in September, which is just around the corner. We’re in the midst of last minute preparations to welcome returning and new students and their families. Our nest will be full with 525 K-5 students this year and 20 preschoolers. Please call the office immediately at 206-252-9300 if your child will not be attending FPE in September so that we can make the necessary adjustments.    


Staff will focus on two important areas this year. 
The first is continue to provide a school climate that recognizes students’ social and emotional needs along with their academic needs. We will continue with our Positive Discipline approach so that our focus is on the function of the child’s behavior to understand the motivation behind unexpected and inappropriate behaviors. The staff will also continually evaluate and adjust interventions for students needing extra help and offer appropriate acceleration and extensions when called for. I feel fortunate to work with such an incredibly reflective, focused, and flexible staff. I can say without any reservation that your children will be in good hands this year at Fairmount Park School.   


We did have some staffi
ng changes over the summer. Because of enrollment growth we added a 5th grade classroom which Kate Ravenscoft, a former SPS teacher, will teach. Chris Barrett accepted a position near his home and so Tamora Schoeneberg accepted Chris’ full-time resource room position. Tina McDonald then accepted the part-time resource room position that opened up. I then moved David Hollingsworth to Tina’s instructional assistant position.   

I’m excited to share that we will have a full-time reading support staff person this year. Laurene Beckwith, one of our instructional assistants, will be moving into a full-time Leveled Literacy Intervention (LLI) position. LLI is the instructional program we used last year and again this summer to target reading gaps. In my 32 years as a public school educator, I have never seen a reading program yield such gains for readers who need extra support. Teachers will start assessing reading skills within the first few days to identify which students will benefit from LLI. My goal is to have this reading support up and running by the end of September.  As we identify students and form groups based on reading levels, I will be contacting parents of all students involved.  This additional reading support will happen during the school day and will require a student and parent contract.   


Some important nuts and bolts for the start of school:
 

  • The first day of school for students in grades 1-5 is Wednesday, September 7th.   

  • The first day of school for kindergarten students is Monday, September 12th.   

  • The playground opens at 7:40 daily. Our first bell will be at 7:50 with the tardy bell ringing at 7:55 and dismissal at 2:05. Information about drop off and pick up expectations will be in our family handbook. 

  • Kindergarten Jump Start is the week of August 22nd-26th. Staff will be in the courtyard at 8:45 on the 22nd to sign in all students and collect the two forms that we sent home. We will have those forms available on the 22nd if you need another copy.  Jump Start runs 9-12 daily. I will be meeting new parents in the library at 9:15 on the 22nd to give an overview of the school and answer any questions. All parents are welcome but my talk will address the needs of new families.     

  • Kindergarten teachers will be holding parenting conferences with parents on September 7, 8, and 9.  We will begin scheduling them on Friday, August 26th. I’ll have more information about this process at Jump Start.   

  • The office opens again on August 15thKathy Shelton (our office manager) and Haley Ensign (our assistant principal) will be working that week. Feel free to call or email if you have any questions or need assistance.   

  • Supply lists are posted on the school website at this link.  We are able to provide supplies to students who are unable to bring supplies to school.  

  • Our Ice Cream Social/Open House is Tuesday, September 6th, from 3:00-5:00. Look for adults in brightly colored safety vests for classroom assignments. Those adults can provide your class assignment(s) and point you in the right direction. My suggestion is that you bring school supplies at that time so that your child can settle into his/her desk. (The office staff will provide classroom assignments between 3:30-4:30 by phone if you are unable to attend the Open House.)   

  • The family handbook will be posted on our website by September 2nd. The office has hard copies available for families without electronic access.   

  • The first day packet will be mostly electronic this year. All forms not requiring signatures will be sent electronically. There will be a much smaller paper packet with forms requiring signatures.  The most important form is the form that lists all your family information and emergency contacts. PLEASE MAKE SURE YOU UPDATE THAT FORM AND RETURN IMMEDIATELY.  We typically have a few broken bones each year from playground accidents and so it’s absolutely essential that we have current contact information.   

  • Directions on becoming a volunteer will be posted on our website in the next weekYes, you have to do all that paperwork yearly.  Again, you have to do all the paperwork yearly. Once more, you have to do all the paperwork yearly. Finally, you have to do the paperwork yearly.  That was my attempt at humor. SPS has very explicit instructions and expectations for volunteering which includes completing the forms yearly.     

  • Curriculum Night is Thursday, September 22nd. K-2 classroom teachers meet with parents from 6-7 and grades 3-5 from 7-8. There will be no childcare that evening as I will be using the lunchroom that evening to give new parents an overview of the year. More information about that evening will be sent out the first week of school. 

  • Consider dialing back your child’s bedtime sooner rather than later. Our 7:55 start is going to be a hard adjustment for my night owls. Most pediatricians recommend at least 10 hours of sleep for elementary students.   

  • Dress your child in layers through the end of September. The building is chilly in the morning and gets very warm after lunch.   

  • I regularly boast that Kathy and Lori might very well be the most efficient and helpful office team in the school district. Please utilize their resourcefulness if you have any questions about the start of school.   

eagerly look forward to seeing you all at our Open House. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns.   

Sincerely, 

 

Julie Breidenbach 

Fairmount Park Principal 

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