Welcome to Daniel Bagley!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Have a great year!

OK, I'm really signing off, now.  If you have any random questions, feel free to email me, although I expect you have lots of connections and contacts at this point, so hopefully I'm redundant.

If you are willing and able to volunteer next year for any PTA activities, including kindergarten orientation, we'd be grateful.   Thanks to all who answered the survey; here are some of the summary items I'll be recommending to the 2012 new family orientation coordinator:

  • Before summer activities: in addition to kindergarten tours in January & February, add a new kindergartener social in May or June.  Although the families will know they'll be attending Bagley because of the new attendance area qualifications, we'll have to advertise at the orientation, on the website, on local blogs, and by school mail since this will be a new program... that will be the trickiest part.
  • Lots of people liked the idea of a family mentoring program.  Could be pretty casual, meet once (at spring new K social?), then correspond by email once you've met in person.  I didn't get too many emails, and I'm guessing that is because I am a faceless blogger in this forum.    Anways, a mentoring program would need someone to get mentors - probably 1st grade families since the experience is fresh, or current Bagley parents who also have an incoming kindergartener so they know the ropes - and arrange some group meetup times.  Maybe this could start as early as the spring social.
  • Maybe: regular weekly or biweekly times for playground meetups for all Bagley kids, not just new students.  Historically, fewer activity options have resulted in higher new student attendance at each event, and less work for volunteers, but if this was just a really casual drop-in activity (maybe 'sponsored' by different K-1 classes each time?), it could work.  I'm still iffy.  BUT an early summer playdate to meet up with mentors would be helpful.
  • Start collecting new student emails at orientation and set up a new K yahoo group to coordinate and communicate activities such as a regular meetup.  Yes!  Communication is tough, and getting people's email contacts early would be terrific.
  • Continue with the blog or set up an FAQ webpage.  We have had 1600 hits since the end of July.  Wowzers!
  • Still have two or three new student playground August meetups, but plan for one weekend morning in early- to mid-August, one weekday evening picnic or potluck the week before school starts (by that Thursday, people will know their teachers), and maybe a daytime weekday get-together.  Important: only have a few to avoid diluting attendance and making more work for volunteers, but spread them out and offer different time slots.  Also, be considerate of working parents' schedules.
  • Have name tags at all events.  Popsicles on hot days.  
  • Make a clever reusable Bagley bee sign, instead of having balloons.  There are a ton of long rulers in the storage room that could be used somehow.
  • At the week-before-school event, have big signs for each teacher/class so families can congregate accordingly and meet other families who are in the same class.
  • Somehow loop in the Boys and Girls Club to the orientation process.
  • Improve communication from the school itself (PTA doesn't have much control over this, but the concerns are noted).  Quite a few people did not receive any mail from the office - although I suspect this is often an issue related to timing of registration?
  • n.b.  Some suggestions to have an earlier opportunity to check out the school - right before bedtime the night before school starts isn't ideal.  Moving the teachers' welcome night ain't gonna happen b/c the teachers need to prepare right up until the last minute, so they have requested that night-before timing.  BUT maybe we can come up with some kind of combined spring social/school mini-tour?  Need volunteers to make this all happen, people!

See you 'round DBE,

Monday, September 26, 2011

Rainy day procedures

If it's really raining, go straight to the classroom after 9.   If it's only sort of raining, take a look at the playground - if kids are out there, it's a regular drop-off.

Pickup is outside the front, rain or shine. Bring your umbrella.  (Although, I have cheated, and snuck in to stand beside the front doors in the past, but that was when I had my preschooler with me and didn't want her to get too wet and cranky)

More on recess issues: http://bagleykindergarten.blogspot.com/2011/08/what-is-typical-schedule-how-much.html

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Chocolate milk in the cafeteria

Some of you might remember the post from August, where I talked about snacks and lunch, and how my kindergartener son ran up a $5 chocolate milk tab last year, in September, before we realized what was going on.

Well, yesterday my kindergartener daughter from *this* year informed us as we were walking home from school: "I didn't eat anything from my lunch box today, except the chocolate milk I got at the cafeteria.  You don't need money!  Just type in your number - the cook will look that up for you".  Sigh.

So, history does repeat itself.

I suggested that I could come in to have lunch with the kids - ostensibly to hang out, but actually a reconnaissance mission - but that suggestion was met with shock and horror by both of them... so we just have to hope that the chocolate milk tab isn't increased any further!

p.s.  I thought the K-1s were now having recess before lunch, but my son absolutely denies that.  So, who knows?  Maybe I'll remember to ask next time I'm at school.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Random activities and events afoot

If you haven't added the Daniel Bagley google calendar to yours, now is a good time. There is a lot happening.

First, notice that MAP testing for kindergarteners and new-to-SPS kids is happening in the fall to establish a baseline. The rest of the school will wait until January. Testing period #2 will be in May or thereabouts. 

Second, if you are wondering about APP/Spectrum/ALO programs because your child could be a genius, then MAP scores plus a discussion with your teacher (at or before parent-teacher meetings in November) will be the determinant for school options next year. But, we'd love to keep you in the Bagley community!

New Student Orientation - your feedback requested!

We need your help to improve future orientation programs for new students.  Please take two minutes to fill out this survey.  The link should take you right there (I tried to embed it directly into the blogpost but the formatting went all weird).


Thank you!

p.s.  I'll be signing off for a while, unless anyone has specific questions for me.  Work, kids and volunteer activities are starting to pile up  :)   Thanks for reading, it's been fun...

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

PTA meeting overview. What fun!

Fun times at the PTA meeting last night!  Here are the snippets:

  • Four large raccoons ran right past the front door as we were leaving (that is the most important, hence the first bullet).  Cool!  Or not, depending on your perspective.
  • Most of this will be in the Buzz on Thursdays, but not all in one place.
  • 389 kids at Bagley right now, and a few more about to start.  There will be more trickling in over the year as people move into the district.
  • Erika noted that there will be only two MAP testing periods this year, in January & May. Some weirdness there for kids who want to test into APP programs and need the proof of high MAP scores to qualify.
  • What do you want to see at Bagley?  Send in that 'mission and vision' statement via Kidmail, or email.  Yeah, you.  You're a parent therefore you are now the community.  And there aren't too many of us, so every voice counts.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Free Money contest, Jogathon, and more

Since people are still reading this, I thought I'd make a quick plug for the Free Money contest (since I'm organizing it) and Jogathon (which is in a few weeks).

But first, PLEASE fill out the new student survey!  We want to know how to improve orientation next year!  

So, the Bagley PTA raises $95,000/year for classroom support in the form of staff salary subsidies and supplies - see previous post - and an EASY way to do it is through Free Money programs.

All you have to do is remember to save your receipts, or register your Safeway/Fred Meyer/QFC card, send in old juice pouches, etc., and Daniel Bagley receives donations.  Easy!  Free!  No selling or soliciting by parents!  All our programs are listed on the website.

For the contest, ending October 7, save your Greenwood Market and Ballard Market receipts, BoxTops for Education, and Labels for Education, register your Safeway card with eScrip, and your Safeway and Fred Meyer/QFC card with eLabelsForEducation.com.   Details were sent out in kidmail last week.   Win a $25 gift card - one for top earner and one random draw.   More prizes throughout the year, including classroom prizes, so keep saving even after the contest ends.

Also, the jogathon is coming up quickly!  September 30! Ask friends and relatives and colleagues and neighbors, or just plan to make this one of your main donations to the PTA, if you have the giving capacity right now.  The goal is to raise $100/kid in the Jogathon.

Over the course of the year, $95,000 raised works out to about $250/kid (although clearly this is an average - whatever families can afford is much appreciated).  You can help with fundraising through Jogathon or springtime auction donations, Chinook Book and Wreath sales, buying scrip, and the myriad Free Money opportunities (which are, I repeat, FREE).  Decide what works best for your family!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Your questions, answered!

One of the kindergarten parents emailed me with SIX questions (thank you!), so I thought I'd post for all to see.  Please excuse any weird formatting.  I'm not even going to bother to try to fix it.

Scrip:  Can we pay for scrip with a credit card? 

The PTA isn't totally set up for electronic payments yet (looking into smartphone payments such as Square, but no action at this time), and the old-school credit card swiper is pretty cumbersome, so in-person scrip must be purchased cash or check only.

Takeaways from Curriculum Night

I hope everyone feels a lot more informed after Curriculum Night.  We didn't really touch on MAP testing, but it sounds like that - and more - is on the agenda for next week's PTA meeting (Tuesday September 20, 6-8pm, limited spots for childcare available by emailing Mary Lamb).

Our class gets to bring whatever snacks we want when it's our turn to bring them in, yay!  Our teacher decided that it was getting too complicated to work around all the different allergies, so highly allergic kids will bring their own.  I think this is a smart decision and takes away stress from the teacher.

Hey, I found out that the K-1s *are* getting recess before lunch, which explains why my 1st grader has been eating everything (my kindergartener hasn't quite figured it out yet, so she is exhausted, cranky and starving every day at pickup.  Fabulous).

Any questions about any of the info from your teachers or in yesterday's kidmail?  Let me know!


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Kidmail Thursday!

Thursday is kidmail day.  Check backpacks tonight for a broad assortment of goodies (or tomorrow, if there are technical glitches or time management issues!).  Today's will be especially loaded because it's the first one of the year.  Look for a Baby Buzz mini-newsletter - you can opt out of hard copies for the Baby Buzz, and you really should to save lots of time and paper and money, but everyone is getting paper versions this first time, jogathon information, Free Money contest details, art news from Ms. McNeer, and lots more.

Parent volunteers spend a few hours every Thursday morning photocopying, stapling and sorting the kidmail.  If you want to stop by clip 'n' chat to help out, drop by the first portable between 9:30-11:30 on Thursday mornings.  Little kids welcome, too!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Curriculum Night is *THIS* Thursday night!

Curriculum Night, THIS Thursday from 6:30-8 in the lunchroom & your classroom, is a chance to learn about the lesson plans going forward including topics and focus areas, briefly discuss any issues you might have, and to set up your parent-teacher conference time in November.  Curriculum Night is hosted by the principal and teachers.

Kids are NOT allowed.  There is no childcare provided (unlike PTA meetings, where there is free childcare - though not sure about toddler-aged kids).  Get a babysitter for Curriculum Night.  It is probably a good idea to have both parents/primary caregivers attend this one so you get the full picture, and can split up to chat with multiple teachers if necessary.

Come and find out what's going on!  What is writers' workshop and reading workshop?  What is the computers class all about?  Will we have a bike unit in Health & Fitness this year?  When is the first computerized/standardized MAP testing session? Etc.

Also, you'll be able to buy scrip, Chinook books, and t-shirts, and sign up for the PTA & school directory.  :)

Monday Morning Meetings

I might have forgotten to post this previously, BUT all parents are welcome to attend Monday Morning Meetings, right after school starts every Monday morning in the lunchroom, ~9:35-9:50.

Parents need to stand at the sides and the back of the room so all the kids can sit on the floor.  Then you'll have a chance to watch any class performances (not at the first one, probably), listen to the principal address the kids, hear any announcements, and see if your kid knows the words to the Pledge of Allegiance and the Bagley school song.

This week, there is a meet-the-principal coffee at 10:15, so stick around to say hi!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Where do we go from here?

The kids are in school, we're learning the routines, and everyone is adjusting to the new schedules.

I see that I'm still getting about 50 hits a day on this blog, so it seems like people are still seeking guidance/information... but to be honest, I'm at a bit of a loss as to what to post now that we're finally in school.

I'm happy to keep posting for another few weeks, but only if you, loyal readers/parents of kindergarteners, provide me with some suggestions.  What is concerning you?  What are your questions? What information is not otherwise readily available to you?

Please email me (lexyrelph at gmail dot com) with any comments or questions - or use the form at the bottom of the sidebar, which sometimes works.

(Alex, Ms. Messom's 1st & Isabelle, Ms. Richards' K)

Friday, September 9, 2011

What is my kid doing all day?

Your student is probably giving you little hints about their day, but what are they really doing?

The first week or two, there is a lot of time spent learning the routines, and classmates' names.   Academics will be slowly introduced into the mix, and you'll learn more about the classroom plans at curriculum night next Thursday.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

You survived the first day of school! Now what?

The kids have found their desks and lockers, have made best friends after just one day, heard the *actual tune* to the Bagley song, and have partied on the playground.  So, what should you do next?


  • Check backpacks for kidmail (the forms you got today need to go back to your teacher with your student by Monday - wade through 'em, figure out what you really need to return, and muddle through the whole privacy opt-out form)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The big ol' dirt pile in the playground

For those of you who were outside at Welcome Night tonight, you probably noticed a large, unfenced pile of dirt right in the middle of the playground.  Around mid-afternoon today, some clever contractor apparently decided that fencing off the grassy area was sufficient.

But, since this is the real world, and we are dealing with elementary school children, we know that a dirt pile is like a magnet to clean little children.

The Bagley admin folk didn't have enough 'caution' tape to rope the entire area off at the last minute.  But, there are plans in the works for tomorrow - more caution tape, large orange safety cones, and recess monitors patrolling the area.

This weekend's greenfield work party will hopefully be tackling Dirt Mountain, but until then, be forewarned that there is a high probability of kindergartener dirtiness.

First day of school is tomorrow! How it works...

It's hard to believe, but our babies will be starting kindergarten tomorrow!

Bring your cameras and kleenex, put his/her lunch and water bottle into the brand new backpack, bring your school supplies & $20 (give to your teacher at some point this week), and arrive at the playground well before the first bell at 9:25.  There, you will locate your class line - usually the teachers are out early on the first day to orient the kids - and students can put their backpacks in the line before running off to play.  At 9:25, they run back to their line, which is always in the same place, all year, and they'll go into the school with their teacher in an orderly fashion so they can start class at 9:30.

Parents are welcome to come inside with the class on the first day for photo ops and send-off, but you should consider bringing your camera to welcome night for a photo at your child's desk.  It'll be chaotic tomorrow morning.

Parking will be CRAZY on the first day, so walk if you can, and if there are no spots in the parking lot, please find street parking that is legal and doesn't block the neighbors' driveways.

After drop-off, no need to run off to work right away - come to the lunchroom to have coffee, buy t-shirts, chat to other parents, join the PTA, etc. (bring your checkbook, just in case).  At ~10, there will be the annual all-school flag raising ceremony on the front lawn.

Pick-up will be at 3:35 on the front lawn, rain or shine.  Walk if you can, or be a friendly-to-neighbors driver/parker.  Teachers will bring the students out to the front lawn for parent or caregiver collection (same general lawn spot all year, in all weather).  During the first week, you might be allowed to come to the classroom door for pickup, but this is teacher dependent.  Expect the potential for your child's class to emerge from the doors later than 3:35 due to the complexity of coordinating an entire class of five and six year olds as they are learning a new routine.

Welcome to Daniel Bagley!

p.s. If your child is taking the school bus, staff and/or parent volunteers will make sure they are collected and escorted directly to the correct bus after school.  It's all very safe and organized.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Welcome Night is tomorrow (Tuesday September 6)

Looking forward to seeing the New Families at Welcome Night tomorrow, at Daniel Bagley!

Come at 5:30 with a picnic (and blanket) to socialize with the parents from your child's class - since you now now your teacher! - and let your Bagley Bee explore the playground equipment... it looks like the construction fences will be down, mostly.  

At 6:30, come to the front doors of the school (on the front lawn) to be greeted by the principal, Ms. Ayer, then find your child's classroom, meet your teacher and explore the building.  I *think* it will be just the K-1 teachers in attendance, but I'm not sure - call the office to check if you're with an older new student.

  • Feel free to bring your PTA & medical forms as well as school supplies to Welcome Night, so you don't have to burden your student with them later on in the week.   The PTA volunteers will take your membership form; the rest of the items go directly to your teacher.
  • Also, Bagley t-shirts will be on sale!  Helpfully, the words to the school song are on the back of the shirts, so consider the t-shirts to be teaching tools.

Why you really should join the PTA, and some of those other forms you need to complete

Amidst the stack of papers you received with your teacher assignment letter last week, you will notice a goldenrod colored page that says 'Join the PTA!' on one side, with a Family Information Form on the other.

Even if you don't plan to join the PTA (and you should), please complete this form!  It will ensure that your contact information is included in this year's family directory.  Other benefits of this form:

Friday, September 2, 2011

The Jogathon! Friday, September 30, 10:30am at Lower Woodland track

You have heard about the Jogathon by now.  So, what is it all about?

The first thing you have to understand is that Mr. Millsap, Daniel Bagley's Health & Fitness teacher, is like a rock star to the kids, who demonstrate enthusiastic adulation for him.  You'll hear regular comments such as "Mr. Millsap says..." or "Mr. Millsap is funnier than you, dad" or "Mr. Millsap can run 10 miles in one minute".

Anyways, Mr. Millsap is the driving force behind the annual Jogathon, this year held on the morning of Friday September 30, at the Lower Woodland track (since our playground will not be fully available).

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Is there a Daniel Bagley school song?

Why, yes, yes there is.  You'll see the lyrics on the back of the Daniel Bagley t-shirts (which, incidentally, will be for sale for cheap! at Welcome Night and the first day of school, as well as other opportune times throughout the year).  I couldn't find the lyrics written down on the website, though.

Is the melody written down anywhere?  I don't think so, but there is a rumour of a recording lying around somewhere.  Meanwhile, we can deduce an approximation of the tune from the kids singing it at Monday Morning Meetings.

Forthwith, the lyrics (which your kindergarteners will have memorized after only a few weeks of school):

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Recess time!

(Refer to earlier post on a typical day's schedule for more on recess)

Generally, the recess periods are staggered so that the younger grades (K/1/2) are outside at a different time than the older grades (2/3/4/5).  Of course, with the overlap of mixed grade class compositions, this doesn't always work out perfectly; for example, does the 1/2 class go outside with the K/1 group, or the older group?  Hmmm...  Anyways, the point is that there won't be any unnecessary trampling of 5 & 6 year olds whenever the students are set free from the confines of the classroom.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The deal with mixed grade classes and Montessori

(Original post 8/26/2011; updated with some new information 8/30/2011)

You will have noticed by now that all the classes at Daniel Bagley are mixed grade (K-1, 1-2, 2-3, or 4-5).  I understand that this is common practice in Montessori programs to accommodate a range of ages and skill levels; our school's Contemporary program has mirrored this.  I'm not sure whether it is for consistency, or flexibility with maintaining class sizes, or ensuring equivalent learning opportunities, or best practices, or a combination.

Have a question? Check the archives!

I'm noticing a lot of activity on the blog as we approach the beginning of the school year, so I suspect there are quite a few first-time readers visiting the site.  I never imagined we'd be getting 100 hits a day.  Crazy!  Many thanks to all you wonderful Daniel Bagley families for checking it out.

If you have a specific question, take a look at previous posts (there are only about 30 of them, so you can scan the titles easily), but if the answer isn't there, PLEASE email me and I will post something as quickly as possible.

(mom to Alex - 1st grader, and Isabelle - kindergartener)

p.s. Look for teacher assignment letters in the mail any day now!

p.p.s. New family social at Welcome Night (Tuesday September 6) - come & hang out at the playground and front lawn any time between 5:30-6:30.  Bring a blanket and a picnic and meet the other families in your class (and school).  Meet-the-teachers starts at 6:30.

p.p.s.  First day of school next Wednesday September 7 - bell #1 is at 9:25am (when the kids line up in their class lines on the playground).  Bring your camera for first day pictures and stick around for the annual all-school flag ceremony immediately afterwards.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Field trips and other extracurricular events

Yup, there are field trips in kindergarten, about one per semester.  Usually parent chaperones are requested (if you are unsaddled with a younger sibling), and usually there is school bus transportation.  Field trips are often  held in conjunction with other classes.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Bit and bites from this morning's playdate (waitlist, teachers, after-school classes, etc.)

Thank you to all the families who came out to our New Family playdates!  It was wonderful to see all the new (and older) students making friends over the last two weekends.  We estimate that there were about 25 families who came out today, and about 25 last weekend as well.  That's a pretty good representation of the new Bees.

Here are a few thoughts on some of the items that came up this morning:

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Making the transition to Kindergarten

Granted, I don't really know much about this (my kids usually tell me to 'go away' as soon as they get to camp/soccer/gymnastics/school because they're fiercely independent), but some children have a harder time transitioning to full day kindergarten.  There might be clinging and tears for a day or two, or it might continue for weeks, depending on the child.

There are tons of web resources and books out there, but a good (and important) strategy is probably to talk to your teacher to find out how she prefers to approach the situation.  It's not like she hasn't gone through it before with hundreds of other five year olds.  She'll know how to smooth the transition with minimal disruption to other students.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Kindergarten/New Family Playdate this Saturday, 10:30am, Greenwood Park

Our second and final K/new family playdate will be this Saturday, 10:30-12, at Greenwood Park (87th and Fremont, a few blocks east of Safeway).  Look for the yellow balloons & grab a nametag.

Our principal Ms. Ayer will be there again to answer your questions, and there will be lots of other Bagley families, both veterans and rookies, so it will be a good chance to connect while your kiddos run amok.

It's supposed to be sunny & hot again, so bring your hats, water, and sunscreen, and a couple of us will donate sufficient quantities of Otter Pops to aid any Bees in need of cooling off.  I'll plan to bring a cooler if you have anything you'd like to store with the Otter Pops (e.g. cold drinks, picnic lunch...)

We had 20-25 families there last weekend, most of whom came before 11am.  Hope to see you there on Saturday!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Computerized testing, report cards, and more

Wondering about how your child's progress is monitored, assessed and evaluated?

Well, the teachers have all sorts of ongoing systems and strategies, and you can find out more at Curriculum Night on September 15, where you'll have kid-free time to talk to the teacher about this stuff, and at Parent-Teacher Conferences just before Thanksgiving (either the three days before t-giving, or if you take that week as vacation, you'll schedule an evening time somewhere around then).

Here are a few:

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Understanding the wait list

***Update August 27 2011 - there is movement on the Montessori list, so there is hope... Look for an email from SPS noting that you have been offered a spot (check your spam folder)***

Being in limbo is not easy, and based on discussions at this morning's playground meetup, there are quite a few of us in this position!

(Great to see so many families out to play in the sunshine at Greenwood Park this morning, BTW - another one next Saturday morning, 10:30-12 - cross your fingers for more summer weather!)

Right now, many Seattle families are still making decisions about their fall school choices, and sometimes students will not withdraw from Bagley until the last minute, when they accept a spot at another school, and open up a spot for someone from the wait list.

Friday, August 19, 2011

How can I help to make our school even better?

Especially in the wake of BIG budget cuts, there is a tremendous need for community support in order to ensure the successful education of our kids.  Our school relies on parents to fill any needs not funded by SPS, to keep Daniel Bagley top-ranked in the state.

Some of the ways we can help include:

  • Joining the PTA
  • Donating/fundraising/collecting receipts to fund all the PTA-supported programs (previously discussed)
  • Stocking up the classrooms with supplies that otherwise would be paid for out of the teachers' wallets or PTA funds
  • Communicating regularly with the teachers about your child's progress, or any concerns
  • Helping your student to learn at home
  • Volunteering in the classroom
  • Coming on field trips as a chaperone
  • Joining one of the many PTA committees to create a vibrant, healthy Bagley community

Reminder: kindergarten playdate #1 tomorrow!

Hope to see you on Saturday, 10:30-12, at Greenwood Park!

Our principal Ms. Ayer will try to be there, and there will be lots of other Bagley families (both veterans and rookies), so it will be a good chance to connect while your kiddos run amok.

Look for the yellow balloons (hmmm, might even get helium if I have time) & grab a nametag.

p.s.  All families, new to Bagley or not, are invited to attend!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Bagley Buzz!

Hot off the presses, a new edition of the Bagley Buzz is here!  Our school's newsletter is issued mostly-weekly, with a super-sized 'Big Buzz' once a month, this year prepared by Heather (thanks, Heather!).

Most of us get the Buzz by email (you should get on the vlist to make this happen), but if you opt-in for hard copies, you'll receive them in kid mail.  I *think* Big Buzz is hard copy for everyone anyways.

Anyhoo... since I have no idea how to post a PDF on Blogger, I have uploaded it to my googledocs, so if you want to find it, try viewing it here.  It will not automatically open in a new window, since I don't know how to do that, either.  Maybe the link will work.  If not, someone should tell me and I'll come up with Plan B.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Daniel Bagley Greenfield Project

So, you are probably asking why the playground is fenced off, with backhoes and excavators and dump trucks parked all over it.   Why, it's for the new Bagley Greenfield and playground!

From the Greenfield committee before school ended:  "This is what we can expect to come back to in the fall":

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Planning for sick kids, early dismissals, and days and days and days off

Working parents, be forewarned: you should get your backup plans in place now.  There are early dismissals/PD days planned every other week, and lots of week-long breaks during the year.  At times, it seems like the kids are out of school more than they are in it.

Let's take a look at some of the reasons your students will not be at regularly scheduled school, and you can plan around them.  A handy calendar is at the end of this post.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

What is a typical schedule? How much recess do they get? What happens when it rains? What is curriculum night?

Rest assured, your kindergartener will be exhausted after school, for at least the first few months.

Approximate Daily Schedule

A typical day looks something like this (times rather approximate - you'll get specific info from your teacher):

  • 9:00-9:25  arrive at the playground, run around like a maniac, play soccer, climb on equipment
  • 9:25-9:30  line up in class line at first bell and go inside by second bell
  • 9:30-11:00  class time + mid-morning snack
  • 11:00 recess
  • 11:15-12:00  class time
  • 12:00  lunch for 15 minutes + 15 minutes of recess (see previous post on the 'eat lunch in 5 minutes to get more recess' issue)
  •  12:15-2:00  class time
  •  2:00  recess
  •  2:15-3:35  class time
  •  3:35  end-of-school bell 
...so, quite a lot of outdoor playtime.  

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The scoop on fundraising, and how to make it mostly painless

If you are about to have your first experience in the Seattle Public School system, you are on the cusp of discovering the importance of the PTA.  Especially in a time of big budget cuts, parent volunteers and donors are essential to creating an enriched school environment.

At Daniel Bagley, we're darned lucky to have fabulous teachers, staff, parents, and PTA, who contribute their own time towards our great community.  But we also need to raise money ($95,000 this year) to cover costs not funded by the school district, such as:

  • $52,500 in staff subsidies (K-1 classroom tutors, nurse salary, math and reading specialists, and special education)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

New Bagley parents: what are your concerns?

Seriously, let me know!  What interests you?  I'm trying to remember what it was like to be a kindergarten parent last summer, and then jotting down ideas as they occur to me.  If there is something that you don't understand, please use the form at the side, or just email: lexyrelph at gmail dot com.

Meanwhile, best ways to get connected before school starts:

  • Join the vlist, the Bagley family listserve: http://www.danielbagley.com/happening_vlist.htm
  • New Family/Kindergarten Playdates at Greenwood Park:
    87th and Fremont Ave. Saturdays August 20 and 27 from 10:30-12. 
  • New Family/Kindergarten Welcome Night:
    Tuesday, September 6, 5:30 pm. BYO picnic social in the playground. At 6:30 pm, meet your teachers, principal and PTA.
Details on all of these were previously posted - look for the links on the sidebar.

Topics I might try to address include:

  • volunteering/getting involved with the PTA and at the school
  • more about the greenfield project
  • where to buy cool Bagley t-shirts, and scrip cards
  • how you can help fundraise without having to ask anyone for money, sell anything, or shell out cash ('Free Money'!)
  • afterschool programs and extracurricular activities
  • how to help your child adjust to kindergarten; what is MAP testing?
  • how to deal with the incredible frequency of early dismissals and days off, and whether we will get thanksgiving week off again this year
  • help me fill out my forms; and 
  • what does the PTA actually do?

Is there homework in kindergarten? How does the Bagley library work?

Homework is teacher-specific.  Some teachers assign homework to kindergarteners, and some don't.  If you have strong feelings one way or the other, talk to your teacher.

Last year, our son did receive a homework folder at the beginning of the week, which was to be completed and handed in by Friday.  This consisted of a few activity pages (e.g. draw a line from the word to the picture, connect-the-dots, draw pictures of things in your house that are square and label them) and a book appropriate to the student's reading level.  

Saturday, August 6, 2011

How do I get to school?

I'm glad you asked!

Bagley students come by car, school bus, bike, and foot. SPS has new guidelines for which students are eligible for bus service this year based on location (more effects of big budget cuts), so we can expect to see a shift towards more cars, bikes and walkers.

No matter what modes of transportation you will be using,note that the playground is supervised starting around 20-25 minutes before the first bell, so you can leave kids at school just after 9.

Friday, August 5, 2011

New family social before Welcome Night, Sept. 6, 5:30-6:30

Pack a picnic for dinner, bring a picnic blanket, and join your fellow Bagley kindergarten families on the Bagley front lawn and playground, right before Welcome Night! You will have a chance to talk to the other parents in your child's class (you won't know your teacher assignment in time for the other playdates) and your new Bee will relish the opportunity to give the play structures a test drive, while meeting their classmates.

PTA reps will be there to answer questions, and we'll have Popsicles for the kids as an extra treat towards the end. Get a sneak peek at the soon-to-be Greenfield!

Once the Welcome Night agenda kicks off at 6:30, there won't be much time for chit-chat, so this is a great way to connect with other parents (think: future carpools and playdates) before school starts. At Welcome Night, you will meet your teacher, the principal and the PTA, tour the main areas of the school, and recieve valuable information, all before the evening program closes at 7:15.

P.S. We don't really have a backup rain option, so keep your fingers crossed for sun...

Thursday, August 4, 2011

What does my child need for school? SUPPLIES INFO POSTED!

*Now posted on the main page at danielbagley.com*
From Ms. Ayer: "Each teacher on the K/1 team will take care of purchasing the bulk of the student/classroom supplies necessary to begin the school year. Over the years we have found this to be the most cost effective way to buy our materials. It is also nice for the students to begin the year with the exact same supplies, in order to avoid unnecessary conflicts and hurt feelings. These items will vary slightly for each teacher, but they consist of things such as: pencils, pencil grips, erasers, glue sticks, markers, name tags, binders, folders, tissue boxes, post-its, etc. The cost will be $20 per child. We will collect $20 cash or checks: payable to Daniel Bagley Elementary, during the first 2 weeks of school. If you can give extra for our scholarship fund, terrific! If you will need a scholarship, no problem… just ask!"

K/1 families: Please send the following items for collection in the first week if your last name begins with:
A-H: 2 boxes of tissues, wet wipes, one 24 pack of Crayola brand colored pencils and sandwich sized Ziploc bags
I-N: 2 packs of white board markers, and 1 pack of Pink Pearl erasers
M-Z: 1 bottle of hand sanitizer, band-aids, 1 1/2” X 2” Post-its, gallon-sized freezer weight Ziplocs.

How big are the classes, and are they all mixed grade?

****UPDATE #2: last year's data from Dan is posted in the comments - shows # kids per grade****
****UPDATE: actual info for 2011-2012 from Erin is posted below and in the comments. ****
"Great information! The class sizes are spot on.
Here's some additional information based on the Principal's update at our last PTA meeting.
All classrooms will be multi-grade this year. The Contemporary program will have K/1, 1/2, 2/3, and 4/5 classes. The Montessori program will be K/1, 2/3, and 4/5.
The district projected our enrollment to be a little over 400 and our average enrollment last year was 389.
The class configurations in the Contemporary program are subject to change if summer enrollment numbers shift significantly from projections. The Montessori program is less likely to change since it is an opt-in program and Montessori teachers are more difficult to hire.
Hope this helps and welcome to Bagley!
Erin Reid, PTA Co-Treasurer"

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Full Day vs. Half Day Kindergarten

You will have noticed by now that the Seattle Public School District is charging you $237/month for kindergarten. They have already asked us to submit payment information for the upcoming year (which is an improvement over last year's process).

You will also have noticed that if you opt for half-day kindergarten, there is no fee.

So, if half-day kindergarten a realistic option?

Monday, August 1, 2011

Drop-off, Pick-up, Lunch, Snacks, Boys & Girls Club

You received a 'what to expect your first week of school' letter in your June mailing from Bagley. Here's a summary of how key parts of the school days work:

* School starts at 9:30; students line up in their class line up (in the playground behind Bagley) by the 9:25 bell.
* Typically, your child will find their line, drop their backpack, and play until the 9:25 bell.
* On the first day, you may come into the school with your child to see them off (ask your teacher where their line will be - it is the same place all year), and then stay for coffee with other parents and the all-school first day flag raising ceremony.
* Car drop-offs can be done in the parking lot, or you can walk or bike to school. There are bike racks in the playground near the garden.

* School ends at 3:35.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Who is my child's teacher?

Teacher assignments are made a few weeks before school, and you will receive a snail mail letter with your classroom assignment about a week before classes start. You'll meet your teacher at Welcome Night on Tuesday, September 6, 6:30pm at Bagley (come a little earlier so you can actually socialize with other parents from your kid's classroom, & so your kids can run amok on the playground - no time for that at Welcome Night).

If you are on the waitlist, note that changes are made continuously, right through the end of September. You could be offered a spot in your first choice program a few weeks after school has begun. Check your student's waitlist status at seattleschools.org using the link in the right sidebar.

***UPDATE 8/16/11 - next school mailing will be sent out on August 29 (or earlier), so we'll find out our teacher assignments later that week.***

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Staying in touch with Bagley happenings

The PTA & Daniel Bagley staff communicate with parents using several different methods, and the fastest is by email - join the vlist to stay up-to-date!

The vlist is an email forum for Daniel Bagley parents that is sponsored by the PTA. It’s an easy way to stay connected and keep informed of what’s happening in and around Daniel Bagley. Join via: www.danielbagley.com/happening_vlist.htm.

Other means of communication you'll see:

You can also email the PTA officers with questions; their addresses are at http://www.danielbagley.com/pta.htm

Don't forget to join the PTA and support our fantastic community! You will receive membership information just before school starts. We have reached 100 percent PTA membership for the past four years, meaning that we have had at least as many adult members of the PTA as there are students in the school. Thanks to our incredible, tireless PTA and parent volunteers, Daniel Bagley is able to offer an enhanced educational experience through programs such as classroom tutors (aides), vocal music, health and fitness, art, family fun nights, and much more. This is even more important now, in light of the recent budget cuts.

Friday, July 29, 2011

New Family Playdates - August 20 & 27, 10:30-12, Greenwood Park

Daniel Bagley Playground Play Dates!

On Saturdays August 20 and August 27, the Daniel Bagley PTA will be hosting get-togethers at Greenwood Park (602 N 87th St.) from 10:30 am–noon.

(Normally we would host these play dates at Daniel Bagley, but during the summer of 2011, our playground will be closed for a major renovation. For more information about this exciting project, visit www.danielbagley.com/green-field-project.htm. Not to worry, the playground will be re-opened in time for the 2011–12 school year.)

These play dates will give your incoming Bagley Bee a chance to meet some other children who will be entering the school. There will be a PTA representative and/or a current Daniel Bagley kindergarten parent hosting each Saturday morning, who will be happy to answer your questions.

Look for yellow balloons to spot a Bagley Bee parent.