News and Events
September 2, 2014
Dear Bryant Families,
Welcome back! I hope your summer was a great one! For me, I had the realization half way through five weeks in and covering what seemed like most of China, that I am not 24 anymore…imagine my surprise! At this point in my life I prefer a bit slower pace and more comfort when I travel. Great trip but exhausting!
I am so excited about another year at Bryant! Our students made significant progress and we have a lot to be proud of from last year. I want you to know that Bryant teachers and staff will continue to partner with you to develop our amazing school and make sure that all children have the best possible learning experiences! With the help of the PTSA and your new co-presidents, Meghan Delaney and Leeann Huntington, our staff and teachers, and our building leadership team (BLT), we plan to work hard and smart to continue to find ways to improve and maintain meaningful communication with you about your children and their school.
I am certain that your children are also excited about the upcoming year. Our teachers have been preparing for their arrival on Wednesday and planning for the school year beyond.
Our grade configurations, teaching assignments and specialists for the 2014-2015 school year are as follows:
Kindergarten: Kevin G. Gallagher, Alex Jones, Carleen Confer, Kathy Kereluck, and our new K teacher, Chara Johnson
1st Grade: Michaela Koerner -Storkman, Lynn Masunaga-Fahselt, Sheila Davis and Ann-Marie Spata
2nd Grade: Brian Matthias, John Arrowsmith, Nicole Richard, Amy Alphin (1-2) and our new 2nd grade teacher (last year at Bryant as a reading specialist) Kristine Duncan
3rd Grade: Susan Finnegan, Huong Nguyen, Connie Bernard (3-4) and Clare Johnston
4th Grade: AJ Benaltabe, Katie Salisbury and Susan Kearney
5th Grade: Craig Arango, Steven Garlid and Elizabeth Day
Library: Anne Aliverti
Reading/Math .5: Teresa Elhardt
Special Education: Jennifer Ward and Judy Miller
PE: Tate Loftin and Kathy Weinman
Music: AJ Newland, and our new instrumental music teacher, Peter Fleming and choir teacher, Debi Johanson
We also welcome our new assistant principal, Julie Pearson!
Looking at the grade level configurations you may have noticed that we have 5 Kindergarten classrooms. In the spring, we had been staffed in our district budget projections for 4 Kindergarten rooms. But now our enrollment numbers have risen to 603 total students and our 4 K classes had grown to the 30-31 student range late in August. This could not stand. I was able to mitigate for and obtain an additional .5 teacher allocation to address this problem. Creating a new K class will allow us to establish manageable class size in the low to mid 20’s at all grade levels but 5th. 5th grade will come in at 27-28 students per class and is within the contract limits for class size at this grade level in Seattle Public Schools.
As many of you know, the school district does not provide baseline funding allocation dollars for counselors in elementary schools. In simple terms, it is up to elementary schools to arrange their own funding for counselors. To set up the 5th Kindergarten class required that we redirect additional building based funding that in the spring our staff had voted to use for our counselor. We had expected in the spring, based on projections, that our enrollment would not climb so high by the end of summer.
These two .5 allocations together gave us 1. 0 to establish the new position.
Losing our .5 counselor to help create a classroom is deeply unsettling but it is what we prioritized back in the early spring as a staff and BLT if we were to find ourselves with such a large enrollment. Again, we had hoped our numbers would not go up as they have done to necessitate this. It was a difficult decision but in the end it could not be avoided.
We are very sorry to lose Christina Soong at Bryant and value her amazing contributions beyond words. Fortunately, Ms. Soong has been hired by another district as an assistant principal and I wish her all the best. She will be missed tremendously. But in the meantime, work has been underway to identify and plan for the tasks, responsibilities and supports to students and their families that Christina had been so skilled at delivering at Bryant.
In other news, many of you may know that our wonderful friend, mentor, colleague and super Kindergarten teacher, Diane Paulson has retired. Ms. Paulson’s contributions to Bryant are legendary and immeasurable and she will continue to have a positive and lasting impact on our Bryant community! We have set up a box in the office for letters and cards from those of you that would like to reach out to thank her for her many gifts to children and congratulate her on this exciting new stage in her life.
I am confident this instructional year will be a great one! Bryant teachers and staff are incredible! This year we will work intentionally to achieve the goal that every one of our students will be challenged and grow. We will be implementing the new math curriculum, “Math in Focus” and informing reading and writing instruction with the benefit of the school district’s new literacy scope and sequence. Of course, more big news is that we are staffing our computer lab (Patricia Parker –super volunteer and tech guru) to increase computer literacy for our students. This increased access to and focus on technology will also help prepare students for the new Smarter Balanced State Assessment (3rd-5th grade at elementary level) that will be given in place of the MSP in the spring. Last year, our teachers began to implement the new Common Core State Standards in their instruction as we prepared for the challenges that this new direction in standards is bringing to education in Washington State. This important work will continue during the 2014-2015 school year. Much more about all of this to follow!
We will also be implementing school wide, a highly respected social skills curriculum, Super Flex. Aligning our work in this area will support students with clear expectations, skills and understanding for maintaining a healthy learning and social environment in every classroom at Bryant, on the playground and beyond.
To top things off, there is a fabulous line up of after school enrichment classes scheduled for the fall. Many thanks to our ASE coordinator, Christine Haas!
Welcome to a brand new school year! There is no place I would rather be than at Bryant.
Welcome back Bryant families!
I hope your summer has been wonderful! The teachers, staff and our new assistant principal, Julie Pearson and I are excited to see you. Everyone is eager to begin the new school year.
This year; teachers will be informing you of your children's class placements on Thursday afternoon, 8/28 or Friday 8/29 by email or phone. Please be patient. All families will be informed by Friday evening.
I will have a letter to you in the opening packet that shares a bit about where we are in regards to program and staffing at Bryant this year. I will also post this on our website over the holiday weekend.
Again, welcome to a great new school year at Bryant!
Principal, Bryant Elementary
First Bell: 9:25 AM
Tardy Bell: 9:30 AM
Dismissal Time: 3:40 PM