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    Welcome Back from Principal Breidenbach
    Posted on //

    August 14th, 2017

    Dear families,

    Welcome to the 2017-2018 school year! I am so excited to see both new and familiar faces. The start of school is always a special time for students and staff - an opportunity for a new start, new challenges, and new friendships. Teachers often have a tough time sleeping the night before the first day of school just as the students do. I know we are doing something right when students tell me that they couldn’t wait to return to school after their summer break.

    Our teachers return the last week of August and will be busy with internal professional development activities as well as setting up classrooms. Seattle Public Schools (SPS) has adopted a new English Language Arts (ELA) curriculum adoption for all students K-5. We are all looking forward to implementing this program both for academic reasons and also for the social and emotional learning embedded throughout the reading/writing/vocabulary/phonics/handwriting lessons. We also have a new system for assessing reading that you will hear more about later. And to top it off, the teachers will have a new online system to monitor student growth and achievement. It’s going to be a busy but exciting year for the teaching staff. We just need the students to arrive to put all this ‘newness’ to work.

    An important personal goal this year is to look closely at parent engagement at FPE, which experience tells me is critical to student success. My job is to ensure that we remove all barriers to parent participation and make every family member feel welcome and comfortable. Your partnership is valued, welcomed, and absolutely necessary. Please know that I welcome constructive feedback. Just pick up the phone and give me a call. I know that reality is that I can’t make school perfect for every student. However, I can listen and reflect on all feedback that families offer.

    Our morning schedule is the same this year. The playground opens at 7:40, and the bell to enter the building rings at 7:50. School officially starts at 7:55. Dismissal is at 2:25 on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. On Wednesdays our dismissal will be at 1:10. However, school does dismiss at 2:25 on Wednesday, September 6th.

    We have grown a bit since the end of June and expect 550 students this fall. The computer lab was repurposed as a classroom when the 22nd K-5 classroom was added late in June. The computer lab will now be mobile with laptops on a rolling cart.

    I look forward to seeing all families soon! Enjoy the remainder of this wonderful weather. And as always, contact me if you have any questions or concerns.


    Julie Breidenbach
    Fairmount Park Principal

    Information for All Families

    • We will hold our annual open house from 2:30-4:00 on Tuesday, September 5th. Students will have an opportunity to meet their teachers and stow their supplies. You can call the office between 2:30 and 3:30 that day to learn your child’s teacher if you are unable to attend.
    • Parent handbooks will be emailed prior to the start of school along with more ‘nuts and bolts’ regarding the start of the year. This will have all the information you need, from reporting an absence to how we drop off students in the morning. It’s several pages, but please read it before the start of school. Experience tells me that it’s better to send all those documents closer to the start of school.
    • Will your child need any type of medication at school this year? That would include Epi-Pens, asthma inhalers, or even over the counter aspirin. We are not allowed to administer any medication without a doctor’s direction. The necessary form for administering medication will be on our website this week.
    • Supply lists are attached to this email. The PTA has information on their website if you wish to order online. The building provides supplies for families who are unable to secure them. Please avoid large backpacks or backpacks with wheels. Many of the lockers are too small to hold such large backpacks. We will be asking students in two classrooms to share locker space this year due to our additional growth.
    • We will have 22 classrooms in K-5 this year. Five of the rooms, or about 23% of our students, will be in ‘split’ classrooms (two grades combined into one class). It’s somewhat unusual to have so many split classrooms, but rest assured that our highly skilled teachers will meet the needs of all students, whether the classroom is a single grade or a ‘split.’ Teachers will share more information at the September 14th Curriculum Night. I strongly recommend you wait until September 14th to hear from the teachers before raising any concerns. Your child’s first interaction with the teacher at Open House on September 5th should not be based on concerns about being placed in a split classroom.
    • 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 one 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 week. Yes, 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 yearly attempt at humor.) SPS has very explicit instructions and expectations for volunteering which includes completing the forms yearly.
    • 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.
    • Curriculum Night is scheduled for Thursday, September 14th. K-2 classroom presentations will be from 6:00-7:00 pm and 3rd-5th from 7:00-8:00.
    • Transportation is automatically assigned to your home address if you qualify for bus service. Email Katie Hairston at if you would like “space available” status (space available means you do not automatically qualify for transportation and live outside of our walk zone) or if you are using another West Seattle address for after school childcare services. Do so right away as I expect there to be fewer “space available” seats this year.

    Information for Parents of Incoming Kindergarten Students

    • Jump Start runs August 21st – 25th. Teachers have a busy week planned that includes team building and get acquainted activities, snack time, recess, and tours of the building.
    • sign in for Jump Start will begin at 8:45 in the courtyard. Teachers will arrive at 9:00 to meet students.
    • I will hold an informal meeting with parents from 9:15-10:00 on Monday, August 21st. You’ll have time to ask questions and learn more about what will be happening in Jump Start and the upcoming parent conferences on September 6th-8th.
    • Please return the registration form that was mailed to you if you have not done so already. (We will also have copies to complete the first morning of JumpStart.)
    • Please send students to school in sports shoes. School is an active place and students need shoes that are made for running!! I also recommend students wear socks so that they don’t get splinters from the wood chips.
    • Students should bring a ‘finger food friendly’ snack with them in their lunch box each day. Please avoid any nuts and peanuts in particular.
    • We will not be going outside for the eclipse. However, we will be taking students to the gym for some games and recess rather than an official outside recess.
    • Students should also bring their backpacks. We want the students to get into the routine of unpacking their backpacks and will be working on daily practices/procedures throughout JumpStart.
    • Kindergarten students will not have school September 6th-8th with the exception of the students in the K/1 classroom. (We will call parents of students assigned to the K/1 room on Friday, August 25th so that you know to send your children to school beginning September 6th.) Parents are asked to call the office beginning on August 28th to schedule your parent teacher conference during the September 6th-8th conferencing time. Lori Moore will be doing all the scheduling. Lori’s direct line is 206-252-9304. (Conferences will parents of students in the K/1 classroom will be Friday, September 1st. Expect a call on the 25th from our office to set up those appointments with the K/1 teacher.) I will talk more about this during our meeting on August 21st at 9:15.
    • Entering kindergarten is an exciting time for students and families. Children will experience many things for the first time. You can trust that your children will be in the hands of an exceptional and caring staff.