A Message From Principal Talbot

Hello Dragon Families,

I am so glad to have students at school! We’ve been having a great time together! I wanted to share a little bit about our school improvement plans and how they fit with our district’s strategic plan.

The Seattle Public Schools Strategic Plan asks us to improve student-focused collaboration. We know that at Lowell, we need to do great work together because none of us alone can meet the needs of all the students we serve. We are using a process called Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (or MTSS) to accomplish this goal together. MTSS is a process in which we examine every student’s progress in reading, math, and social and emotional well-being. We do this work in teams 4 times a year.

In order to know how students are doing, we have an assessment calendar that includes measures for math, reading, and SEL skills. We’ve designed a consistent agenda for MTSS processes and expectations for data collection. We have developed a model for students to receive interventions based on the information we collect, and to cycle out of interventions when they’ve grown and are successful.

We’ve also blocked 40 minutes each morning for SEL instruction for each grade level. We will ensure that every student learns emotional self-regulation and social skills in their class with their peers. When students are having reading, math, emotional or behavior problems, we will help them a little more during other times of the day. We will partner with parents to make sure we know what works best for the student and that we are working together. We might do a reading group, a small math team, a check in and check out, a scheduled break, or a social group with our counselor or a teacher. We believe that if we work systematically and collaboratively, that we can understand the story, strength, and need of every student and meet the needs of every student at Lowell!

Hello from our new principal

In case you missed it, here’s the hello email sent by Dr. Sarah Talbot, our new principal starting next year. We’re excited to welcome her to Lowell! If you have questions and missed today’s “meet and greet” in the library, feel free to find Nick or Maria, who interviewed Sarah as parent respresentatives on the hiring committee.

Dear Lowell Community,

I am thrilled to introduce myself as the newest member of the Lowell Community. I applied to Lowell because it is a unique and special place, and I am really excited to have the privilege of being chosen to lead here.

I bring with me 22 years of experience as an educator, and a broad experience across a variety of levels and kinds of schools. I have a doctorate in educational leadership from Seattle University. I’ve worked with students from pre-k to graduate level and have led in all levels of public schooling. This broad experience gives me an understanding of where elementary school is situated in the work of helping children gain the skills and knowledge they need to have the successful adulthoods they deserve.

Lowell is the perfect place for students to learn to lead in ways that are good for them and good for the people around them. Our schools are funded by our taxes so that our democracy can have a productive, educated electorate who lead our community and our nation. With a mix of families that is close to representing our nation as a whole, students at Lowell get a perfect chance to practice communicating across cultures and different life experiences. They have the opportunity to learn to build thriving relationships with the people in their community. This is a special place for students and the adults lucky enough to work with them; I can’t wait to get started.

I am finishing up the school year before I officially start at Lowell, but I will be announcing a few events for families and staff to get to know me and for me to get to know you. I want to have a deep knowledge of what our strengths are as a community and what our next steps might be. One of my goals will be to revisit our mission and vision; I want to include those qualities we truly want our students to leave our school with – I know I want them to have a sense of wonder, a joy for learning, strong relationships, and the academic skills to put those to good use. I can’t wait to hear what you and they want for their futures and to begin the joyous work of getting there.

Gratefully,

Sarah Talbot

 

Sign up soon for after-school programs! Scholarships available

Eric Luu helps coordinate enrichment programs provided by Miller Community Center at Lowell, and he just emailed the latest numbers for Winter Quarter after-school programs. He says that scholarships are still available, but that many classes don’t have the minimum yet (5 students) and might be canceled.

See his email below for the list of classes and more information on how to sign up:

Dear Lowell staff and families,

Thank you for supporting our growing program at Lowell Elementary. Fall quarter provided us with valuable insight towards what we should be focusing on to improve the program. Feel free to email me with ideas or feedback. All comments are greatly appreciated and will contribute to sculpting a valuable program for our community.

The first subject I want to enlighten everyone about is the availability of our scholarships. Through the Miller Community Center, qualifying families may receive up to 90% financial aid on all Seattle Parks and Rec programing. I’ve attached the scholarship form to this email. [note: or find links to the form, including translated versions, here]

To Apply:

  • Print out the ScholarshipForm (in grayscale) or come pick one up from Miller Community Center at 330 19th Avenue East, Seattle, WA 98112
    • Forms will also be given to Lowell Elementary for easy access [note: or find links to the form, including translated versions, here]
  • Fill out form. Return to the form directly to Miller Community Center with an attached 1040 Income Tax Form (good until June 22, 2018). Incomplete forms without all necessary paperwork will not be accepted and will delay the process.
  • Miller Community Center will notify all applicants once we receive confirmation for the scholarship office.

If you are planning on using scholarship funds for Winter Enrichment, please turn the form and your 1040 Income Tax Form in ASAP. Miller Community Center will be closed on January 1st.

Scholarship forms may take up to 2-3 weeks to process. If you are currently on our scholarship programs, please note that funds will be replenished at the beginning the 2018. These funds may be used by anyone who qualifies for our scholarships and is on a first come first serve basis.

It’s been roughly 3 weeks since registrations have opened. All our classes are currently open for registration with a few classes meeting the minimum required to run.

Classes will be canceled by January 5th if minimums are not met. Make sure to apply immediately (or email me back to let me know you’re interested and need some time). Please note that this minimum will be strict and we will not run any classes that don’t meet the minimum.

Please review the following information for Winter Enrichment:

 

How to give testimony at the Seattle Public Schools board meeting

SPS has a page with instructions for attending and giving testimony at board meetings, but parent Liza Rankin has some additional pro tips, especially on reserving a Wednesday spot on the Monday before:

I usually type up a quick email ahead of time and then right at 8:01 hit send. If you send it before 8 they won’t count it. I find emailing boardagenda@seattleschools.org easier than calling in. You have to include name, phone, email address. My email is something like: 

“I would like to request speaking time for the board meeting on ________. My topic is ______.

Thanks,
Name
phone
email address”

You can have people reserve times who might not want to speak themselves, just to get the slots, but the catch is that to give your time to someone else, you must be present at the meeting. So say you signed up to speak but were giving your time to me, we’d both need to be there in person and go up to the podium together, and you’d say into the mic “I cede my time to Liza Rankin” and then I could speak. No one can speak twice, so if I was also signed up myself, that wouldn’t work. Testimony is scheduled to begin at 5:30pm and the list of speakers gets posted online by 5pm the night before the meeting.

You cannot discuss personnel in testimony, so they’ll stop you if you say “person xyz wasn’t helpful” or “our prinicpal xyz” but you can say “we were not consulted or given any notice about these changes from district or building administration” or similar. Even though each person only gets 2 minutes to talk, you can print out additional info for the board and bring it with you.

The next board meeting is this coming Wednesday, 11/15, at 4:15, so that means requests to testify need to be sent at 8am this Monday. This is a good venue for all sorts of parent concerns, from the situation with our buses to just how problems relate to negative experiences for kids.

Islandwood is next week! November 13–16

It’s going to be a little quieter around school next week when our fifth-graders take off for Islandwood, a 250-acre outdoor learning center on Bainbridge Island. This extraordinary program is offered to elementary school students throughout the Puget Sound region.

This is not just a camping trip, as the Islandwood team reminded us at a recent parent-info night: Islandwood is school, and the work our students do there is completely integrated with the Lowell fifth-grade curriculum. Our fifth-graders will have the chance to learn about a variety of science topics, develop a sense of environmental stewardship, connect with and learn about the wildlife of our diverse bioregion, and work together to solve problems as they learn.

Our fifth-grade classes from Lowell are heading to Islandwood November 13-16! Even if you are not a fifth-grade parent, you can support our campers by donating a pillow, a blanket or sleeping bag, or a set of basic toiletries. (We could probably use five each of those.) Contact Ms. Laura if you can help—especially if you have any connection to a business that might be able to help—or if you missed the info night and have questions about the upcoming trip.

Veteran’s Day Assembly and Reception, Thursday (11/9)

Lowell would like to invite veterans in our community to come and be honored at an assembly and informal reception this Thursday, November 10. (There is no school on Friday, November 11 in observance of Veterans Day.)

Veterans and their families are invited to attend a short reception at 2:15pm, followed by a school assembly from 2:50 to 3:20pm, where we will sing songs and a student will lead us in the Pledge of Allegiance. Veterans are invited to speak about their experiences if they wish.

For more information, email lowellparents@gmail.com.