Dear West Mercer Families,
We have many exciting things happening in our school community!
October 31st - Halloween
Costume-wearing is entirely optional. We had originally planned to just allow costumes during the classroom party only, but we are extending the option to wear a costume to the whole day. If a students' costume is restrictive to learning/recess or becomes a distraction in class, we will ask them to change out of the costume. Masks, fake blood, weaponry, and/or culturally-insensitive costumes are not appropriate for school.
If you are planning to volunteer at your child's classroom party, please make sure all your volunteer forms are in by the end of today. Volunteer forms must be filled out every school year.
November 1st, 1:15-1:55 - Belonging Assembly & "We Are Islanders"
Each month this year, as part of our School Improvement Plan social-emotional learning goal around belonging, our school holds a "Belonging Assembly." Each assembly focuses on a component of belonging and is led by two buddy classes and our Leadership Ambassadors student club.
Our assembly on Wednesday, November 1st will be our second installment in this series and feature a special guest performance from members of the MIHS Band. The visit from the MIHS band provides an opportunity to elevate the arts, make connections between our schools and students, and further cultivate a sense of community and belonging in the Mercer Island School District. We are also looking forward to sharing our support and pride for the MIHS band as they approach their big NYC Macy's Day Parade performance!
The opportunity for this cross-school connection came out of the work of the new "We Are Islanders" group, which primarily consists of West Mercer families and staff at present, with the ultimate goal of connecting across all schools. The mission of We Are Islanders is as follows:
Through joyful connections and camaraderie, our mission is to cultivate a sense of belonging and unconditional value for students and families that celebrates our diversity and pride through the statement, “We are Islanders.”
More information about We Are Islanders connection opportunities is forthcoming.
West Mercer families are welcome to attend our November 1st assembly. Please keep in mind our gym does have limited capacity and we will only be able to accommodate additional attendees to the degree it is safe to do so. Limited seating/standing room will be offered at the back of the gym.
November 1st - First West Mercer Parent Advisory Committee Team Meeting Thank you to those families who offered to serve on the Parent Advisory Committee this school year. We have our first meeting this next week where we will be reviewing our draft School Improvement Plan and actions to address our school improvement plan goals this school year. Notes and PAC team member information following this meeting will be shared via our West Mercer PAC webpage. PAC members are encouraged to be a resource to other West Mercer families regarding the school improvement plan - both in terms of sharing information and receiving feedback to share with the team.
At West Mercer, in addition to Tier 1 instruction, we offer a targeted small group intervention/extension block four days a week across all grade levels. Within this 25-minute "Wolfpack" block each day, students receive small group instruction from classroom teachers and/or paraeducators in math or literacy based on their needs. Because the Wolfpack Block is cross-class at each grade level, students also have an opportunity to build connections and community with other students and teachers within their grade level. We started this initiative last year and saw tremendous academic progress for students. We are continuing with this program this year, with our first cycle (4-6
weeks) of Wolfpack Block targeting math needs. Wolfpack Block has begun to roll out across grade levels - ask your student what they are working on in their group!
West Mercer Weekly Wrap Up and Isakson Reads Videos
The infamous series has continued! Each Friday, I share a quick "Weekly Wrap Up" video with the school that highlights key events from the week, announcements, upcoming events, and a word of the week. The word of the week connects to a corresponding text, which I then read aloud on a separate video called "Isakson Reads." All these videos are posted and archived on our school website to view at any time. Ask your child about their favorite "Isakson Reads" book so far this year!
Our student groups are well underway! It is so wonderful to see students engaged in these various enrichment opportunities. Thank YOU for supporting the PTA, which in turn can support these enrichment programs for our scholars. Here is the fall club roster:
Reading and Math Discoveries
Call for Volunteers - PTA
We are in need of volunteers! Please review the list of opportunities and sign-up using this link: https://westmercerptsa.membershiptoolkit.com/volunteer_opportunities
Call for a Volunteer - Instructional Materials Committee
The Instructional Materials Committee (IMC) is the group responsible for reviewing and approving curricular adoptions before they go to Superintendent Rundle and the Board for approval.
We had several members whose end of their 3-year term landed at the conclusion of last year and we need to fill the following spots ASAP.
The IMC is looking to fill a West Mercer parent spot.
The time commitment for this committee involves attending no more than 3 meetings this year all via Zoom. The meetings are scheduled for 2 hours, but the duration of each meeting is typically shorter depending on the number of agenda items and possible curriculum approvals.
January 9 from 4-6pm via Zoom
March 12 from 4-6pm via Zoom
May 14 from 4-6pm via Zoom
Please let me know if you would like to be a part of the IMC on behalf of West Mercer and I will forward your information on to Jamie Prescott, who leads this team.
Thank you to the PTA for coordinating volunteers and supporting the Hearing and Vision screening day! Also, thank you to the PTA and our Popcorn Friday volunteers who were here at 9:00 am popping popcorn for the fun lunch event today!
My wife and I will soon not be outnumbered by our 3 dogs. We are expecting a little (human) nugget in late December. I plan to take Family Leave when the baby arrives through mid-Winter Break in February, returning February 26th. My dear friend and former colleague, David Hoffman, will serve as the Sub Administrator here at West Mercer in my absence. David served as the Principal of Island Park Elementary before retiring in 2022. He is an incredible educator and leader, and I feel very confident leaving the school in his hands while I am away.
Thank you for your partnership and support. My virtual and physical door is always open, as always. Please don't hesitate to reach out.
West Mercer Elementary
Mercer Island School District
c: (206) 295-1868