Start of School Update
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Hello Viewlands Families!
We are excited to welcome students back to Viewlands Elementary for the 2023-2024 school year and to meet our new students and families. We have been planning and designing our new building for over four years. February 2019 voters approved BEX Levy Five, which included a new build for Viewlands Elementary! It was shortly after that, the planning began! While the final touches and completion will continue even after we start school, the excitement is still big! We are all feeling all the big feelings, excitement, joy, trepidation, anxiousness and impatience! We can’t wait to be in the new building and welcoming students back to school, the relaunch of Viewlands, our neighborhood school in our brand new home! The classrooms and most of our shared learning areas inside the school will be complete when students arrive, but final touches inside and playground completion will continue for the first few weeks of September. Thank you in advance for your patience and understanding! Please note the school building will not be accessible to families or students before the start of school. Right now, our staff also doesn’t have access to the building!
In the spring we took time to reflect on our past and set our goals and focus. At Viewlands our focus is on relationships and community, so all students, families and staff members feel valued, empowered and known. When students feel known, valued, and empowered they can be their authentic selves and can thrive intellectually, socially, physically and emotionally! When families feel known, valued and empowered, they will be partners on their child’s educational journey and engaged in our school community! When staff feel known, valued and empowered, they can be collaborative in their instructional practices, feel supported in growing their teaching craft, and committed to building strong relationships with students and families.
With each new school year, we hope to continue to build on successes, reflect on any challenges and strive to enhance our school community connections! We are excited to partner with you for the 2023-2024 school year. Go Orcas!
Please see below for information regarding start-of-school. There is a lot of information! We will continue to send reminders. I look forward to our partnership this year. Please reach out with any questions.
Carrie Wheeler | Viewlands Principal
First Day Of School
The first day of school for Grades 1-5 is Wednesday, September 6th. We will NOT have early dismissal on this day. This is the only Wednesday of the school year that is a regular day, not early an early dismissal.
The first day of school for Viewlands Kindergarten, Head Start Preschool and Creative Kids Preschool is Monday, September 11th. Kindergarten teachers will host family connection conferences September 6th -8th. The K team will reach out to kindergarten families next week to schedule.
School Hours/Bell Times
7:55 am – 2:25 pm Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday
7:55 am – 1:10 pm Wednesday (after the 1st day on 9/6, all other Wednesdays will be early dismissal)
Class Assignments 1st through 5th:
Class assignments will be shared with families on Thursday, August 31st, in the afternoon by 5:00pm. You will receive a welcome email from your student’s teacher. Our staff have taken great care in creating balanced classrooms for students through the input of our staff that considered all shared information from families about their child throughout the last school year. We are not able to take family requests for specific teacher assignments or classroom shifts. Thank you in advance for your understanding and support of our process as we try to best support all of our students.
Please plan to share with the classroom teacher your pick-up plan for your child daily. The classroom teacher will need to know if your child will be a family pick-up, bus, or other after school program pick-up Monday through Friday. This is critical information. Many students will be assigned a bus but may not be riding it. When you receive your welcome e-mail from your classroom teacher on Thursday 8/31, please respond with your child’s pick-up plan.
Kindergarten Family Connections:
The Kindergarten teachers will send out information about kindergarten family connection visits to the school next week, Wednesday or Thursday. Every kindergarten family will have a chance to visit the school, meet the teachers, share information about their child, and see the classrooms on Wednesday, September 6th, Thursday, September 7th, OR Friday, September 8th.
If your family is not able to provide these supplies, we completely understand. We don’t want supplies to be a hardship. All supplies will be shared classroom community resources. If your family is able to donate extra of the supplies, we also welcome those!
We ask that families provide each student a backpack and water bottle. If your child needs a backpack or water bottle, please reach out to our office team at 206-252-4400 and we will provide one!
Student Drop Off and Pick-Up (by Family), NOT School Bus or Walking or Biking
Family members that plan to bring their child(ren) to school rather than using bus transport will be greeted at the front entry Pavilion along 3rd Avenue. We highly encourage walking and riding bikes when possible, but know that car drop off or pick-up will be necessary for some families. Here are the options:
- Families can pull up along 3rd Avenue to drop their child off or meet their child, but this is a no park zone, it is a drop of only, not parking. You can pull up, help your child out where staff will be there to greet students in the Entry Pavilion, then head out so more families can pull up in this zone. At dismissal, you can pull up, meet your child and leave. Please remember this is not a parking zone, only a 5 minute drop off/pick-up zone.
- You can also do short term parking on the north side of the campus along 107th (15 minute parking) and walk your child to the entry Pavilion for drop off or meet them in the Entry Pavilion at pick-up. This allows 15 minutes so you can walk your child to the entry Pavilion, but again is not long term parking.
- You can park east of the school in the neighborhood streets and walk your child to the entry Pavilion. There will be crossing guards at 3rd and 105th and 3rd and 107th. Please make sure you park appropriately, do not block driveways, in no parking areas, or in front of fire hydrants.
Please do NOT:
- Park or pull into the parking lot. The parking lot is for staff parking and school bus drop off ONLY. Please do NOT pull into the parking lot during arrival and dismissal. The parking lot is off limits from 7:30-8:15 Monday through Friday and 2:00-2:45 Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays and 12:45-1:30 on Wednesdays. This is for school busses and other district transportation vehicles ONLY during arrival and dismissal. This is critical for a safe arrival and drop off process.
- Drive down or drop off on the south side of campus along 105th. The dead end street, 105th (west of 3rd) is a no parking/no entrance zone for school community, staff and families. Please avoid using 105th (west of 3rd) for parking, drop off, or pick-up. This includes Creative Kids pick-up and drop-off.
At dismissal students will walk out as a classroom. They will have designated walking loops, staying together as a class, while they go to each designated bus loading area and family pick-up in the Entry Pavilion. It becomes a safety issue, when families are picking up students from various locations or taking kids out of their class line before the Entry Pavilion area. I know that the first few days may take time, especially at dismissal. Safety is our main priority. We will continue to monitor this process and adjust if needed and appropriate. Since this is a new location, we will make adjustments as needed and will communicate those out. We have support staff at arrival and dismissal outside. On arrival, there will be staff helping direct students both inside and outside.
Why Do We Ask Families to Drop in the Entry Pavilion Outside, Not Inside at Classroom Doors?
The first primary reason is safety. When there are large groups of people moving in and out of the building during arrival, it is difficult to maintain safety and track who is entering the building. It is important we closely monitor and track who is entering the school building during regular school hours. During arrival time, the best way to do this is by doing our drop off process outside. If there are special circumstances that require you to come in at arrival on a specific day, we can accommodate this through the office, but we need to do this in advance. If you need to come in for business with the office team, we can do this, but when possible prefer it not be during arrival. If it needs to be during arrival, we ask you to let us know in advance unless it is an emergency.
The second reason is a smooth transition for students. After years of doing it both ways, we have found that it works best for students when we have drop off occur outside, not inside the school building. When the goodbyes happen outside, most students are able to transition into their school routines easier. We make sure to have lots of support staff outside and inside the school to greet students, direct students and help everyone find their way. Classroom teachers are in the classrooms and are able to greet students thoughtfully with this type of arrival. This is an important time for staff to get to know students and create relationships as we welcome them into the school environment. This is not the best time for family connections as it takes away from those teacher-student or staff-student interactions. We prioritize other times for family connections. Families are important! Classroom teachers want to develop connections with families, arrival just isn’t the best time! We also will welcome family volunteers for field trips, needed times in the classrooms once teacher’s develop their classroom routines and for lunch and office support. More information about becoming a school approved volunteer soon.
We know this can be challenging, but safety and creating a smooth start to the school day are priorities. Thank you for your understanding!
Students who qualify for transportation will receive an email from Seattle Public Schools with your student’s bus stop and route information next week. All Viewlands students that live outside the 1 mile walk zone will be eligible for transportation. Some students that live to close to a mile away may also be eligible depending on your location. If you have questions about transportation or have not received bus information by September 1st, please contact the Transportation Department at 206-252-0900 or contact the SPS Transportation Department through Let’s Talk.
Our bus drop off zone for all busses will be the bus loop located in the parking lot. This is a no park or entry zone for family pick-up and drop off. Staff will support students getting off busses at arrival and on busses at dismissal.
School Breakfast and Lunch
School lunch and breakfast will still be free for all Viewlands students. Seattle Public Schools is able to continue to offer free lunch and breakfast for all students at Title 1 Schools, including Viewlands, for the 2023-2024 school year. The breakfast options are highly limited and not a robust breakfast but available to students that need to eat at school when they arrive. Students can bring a lunch from home or get the school lunch options. Please note there are limited lunch options, so if your child does not eat or prefer many foods, school lunch is not always something they will eat.
Healthy School Guidelines
- Children with any symptoms are required to stay home. For fevers, children need to be fever free for 24 hours without medication prior to coming to school. For vomiting or diarrhea, children need to have no symptoms for 24 hours before returning to school without medication. Kids with cold symptoms should also stay home unless it is part of another diagnosed condition, like allergies. For any COVID like symptoms, testing at home is encouraged, but not required.
- Students that develop symptoms/become ill at school will be cared for in our health room by or office team while they wait for family pick-up. Students that are ill at school will have to be picked up by a family member or emergency contact.
- If your child tests positive for COVID, there is still an isolation period of 5 days required. Students may return on day 6 if they are symptom free or significantly improved but will be required to wear a mask at school day 6 through day 10.
Please remember that while it can be challenging to keep your child home, this is the best way to keep our school community healthy! Thank you for your partnership with this!
Absences, Late Arrivals, Early Dismissal, Pick-Up Changes
Please report all absences, planned or not, and early dismissals to the main office at 206-252-4400 or email@example.com
Please report any dismissal plan changes to your child’s classroom teacher and the main office IN ADVANCE. We know occasionally there are emergency changes that are last minute, but outside of that we ask you to let us know in advance, if possible the day before, but at the latest the morning of the change. This is critical. We are trying to keep all 270 Viewlands students safe, so knowing any changes to the dismissal plan in place for pick-up in advance is important. Families will communicate the dismissal plan with classroom teachers prior to the start of school.
- September 6 First Day of School Grades 1-5 (Full Day, not early dismissal)
- September 6-8 Kindergarten Family Connections (scheduled with the classroom teacher)
- September 11 First Day of School for Kindergarten and Creative Kids Preschool
- September 13 Early Dismissal Wednesday at 1:10 (every Wednesday starting on September 13th will be early dismissal at 1:10)
- September 28 Bring Your Family to School Night and Ribbon Cutting for the New Building