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    Questions from Principal Chat Night

    October 17, 2017

    Are Dragon Dens happening this year? When do they start?
    Yes! We are planning for one per month beginning next Thursday, October 26th. Our All School Assembly will launch the theme of the Den a few days before to get students thinking.

    Incidentally, our Dragon Den team of Mrs. Papineau, Ms. Steel and Mr. Zillig presented with me at the district school leaders’ meetings this August. Our team shared the Dragon Den philosophy, structures and sample lessons. This was well-received, and several other schools are beginning to follow a model similar to ours. This helps build culture and strong student to student and student to staff relationships.

    How has Homework philosophy evolved since last year’s conversations? What is current expected homework burden for K-5 at BF Day?
    We continue to have a no formal homework policy for K-3. Students are expected to read nightly, and the independent reading time varies by grade. There is formal homework assigned in Grades 4-5. The mini middle school staff have shared their work assignments with students and parents, and there is a parent component in reviewing assignments with their children.

    The full homework policy is found in the Family Handbook on Pages 22 and 23.

    Would it be possible to have a staff member available for morning drop off before 7:35? This would fill the gap from B&G Club no longer offering morning care.
    We recognize that our school hours can present a challenge for some families, and we are always trying to accommodate special circumstances. Generally, there is someone in the office by 7:15. The official start time for staff is by 7:25. Prior to 7:35, students may report to the office.

    Since the official start time is 7:35, we would have to budget additional funds to cover a staff member – perhaps an additional 15 minutes per day. At this time, the office is able to accommodate the few early arrivals. Should there be an increase, we would have to consider partnering with the PTSA to see if we can make funds available.

    The easiest way to assess the interest/need in early care would be to have parents email me directly at

    How has the demographic profile of the school changed in recent years? (Are the school demographics changing? What does this mean for the future of our school?)
    Overall, our enrollment numbers are stable at approximately 300 students. The pre-school has brought in another 20 students. The demographics of the students are changing slightly in terms of the number of English Language Learners (ELL students), as well as the overall percentages of students who qualify for Free/Reduced Lunch.

    Both the ELL and F/R percentages are declining, and this is happening in many north Seattle neighborhoods. Rents and home prices are increasing, and some families opt to move south within Seattle or to other cities like Kent, Tukwila, and Federal Way.

    Currently, we have 302 students. 165 male and 137 female.

    There are 18 students designated as homeless. 19 students are eligible for English Language Learner (ELL) services. 39 students have an advanced learning designation, although many others receive AL services as based on their academic performance. 10% are eligible for Special Education services.

    3% are Native American
    15% are Asian
    19% are Black
    8% are Hispanic
    3% are Pacific Islander and
    53% are White.

    How is the Pre-school program going?
    This new program is going very well. There are 20 students enrolled, and they are integrating themselves into our school nicely. In addition to the teacher, there is a full time instructional assistant and an hourly tutor. Breakfast and lunch are served in the classroom, family style. They receive art and PE as part of our regular school schedule. There is a developmentally appropriate balance of academic and social-emotional learning. The students are definitely enjoying their experience at B.F. Day.

    Do we have anything to fear with October enrollment numbers?
    We are OK with numbers in our classrooms, and there are no reductions planned for classrooms. However, we have been reduced by a .2 (one day) for our English Language services. So, our ELL teacher will only be at school on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Instructional assistants are here on other days, so students do receive support on a daily basis.

    Are disciplinary issues getting better or worse?
    We are working diligently to meet students’ needs by examining our data carefully. We have a new data management program called SWIS, and this allows us to track locations and times of the day where issues arise. Our most problematic time is during recess.

    We have a number of ways we are addressing the recess concerns: A committee is exploring positive interventions that will reinforce expectations throughout the building.

    Positively stated behavior expectations were taught at the beginning of the school year and will be reviewed after Conference break, Winter break, etc.

    Leadership class with Mr. Taylor will be assisting with primary recess to coach students, play games, etc.

    How are we doing with equity?
    We are tracking academic, behavior and attendance data carefully – by grade and ethnicity. We follow district expectations We are watching data around behavior referrals to ensure that staff are not issuing behavior referrals to a particular ethnicity or group. In support of SMART Goal 1A, Ensuring Educational Equity for Every Student, teachers and principals are asked to monitor and report 3rd grade reading proficiency, given that 3rd grade reading success has a strong correlation to high school graduation. An important Key Performance Indicator (KPI) for the “Formula for Success” is getting all 3rd grade students to meet or exceed state standards.

    We also check to make sure all students have access to afterschool clubs, Outdoor School and class trips, in spite of a family’s ability to pay.

    What are the gaps/barriers you face that are specific to B. F. Day (rather than district) that you feel could be solved if only you had…
    Here are just a few…
    Adequate time for interventions, enrichment and assessment (especially in math) – additional staff to assist teachers/work directly with students would be helpful.

    Adequate time to support students on focus, ability to access learning – a staff member/parent to lead a yoga or mindfulness class.

    Time/staff to support breakfast time check-ins with students to launch students’ school day more positively – a staff member/parent to assist in the cafeteria or gym to greet students, interact with them, help them focus positively on the school day.

    Time/resources to assist with student supervision - Additional support by parent volunteers or for before school times.

    Adequate technology expertise to help keep the lab fully functional and ready for student use. I have had one parent express interest in helping to support the lab, but we can always use additional hands to assist and make recommendations.

    Is it possible to have a text feature for the Dayette?
    This would allow a voice program to be used. Please email Carrie or me directly, and we can provide the Dayette in Word, which would give you access to text to speech options. ( or

    Could you talk about Spectrum/Advanced Learning and what the approach is this year? (With Spectrum phased out and ALO phased in, I’d love to hear more about structures in place to support ALO, as it seems very amorphous and subjective.
    We continue to support Spectrum/advanced learning for all students as their eligibility and class achievement dictates. Advanced Learning students are assigned to each of the homerooms at a grade, not just one homeroom as was previously done.

    Teachers work to differentiate through small group instruction, more accelerated pace, more complex tasks and texts and through computer assisted programs.

    Frequent assessment of all students helps teachers more accurately assign tasks to meet students’ needs.

    Our full Advanced Learning Policy is detailed in the Family Handbook on Pages 33 – 34.

    Curious about writing, especially in K-3 – sentences and paragraphs, subject, predicate, noun, verb, adjective, cursive?
    As Ms. Dawson reported on the Facebook BFDay Family Page, all these areas are addressed in writing instruction at our school. Cursive is not formally taught, but several students have expressed an interest in this, and teachers do their best to accommodate students’ requests to learn how to write in cursive.

    It is my understanding that MAP scores are invalid for Grades K-2. Are you concerned with looking at invalid test results? Is it a waste of money and time?
    MAP scores are one important measure of student success in grades K-2. K is tested just once in the Winter of K. (WaKIDS also provides Pre-school and K teachers with information about academics, social emotional development and other developmental markers.) In Grades 1-2, there are optional MAP testing times in the Fall and Winter, and Spring is mandatory in Reading and Math. Just today, there was a district workshop on interpreting and utilizing MAP test results. Ms. Cooper attended this training, and she is now communicating her learning to the rest of the staff. So, MAP scores will still be used, and the testing time is a very effective use of student and teacher time. For example, RIT scores provide the next steps in skill level development in both reading and math. This will help with differentiation for advanced learners, as well as for students who may have some gaps in their skills. We are very excited with these new features for MAP!

    Any updates on bus drop on Fremont Ave?
    We continue to explore options with district transportation and the City of Seattle. We are currently partnering with the city to conduct a traffic study on Linden Ave N. to determine the possibility of a 4 way stop on Linden at 39th. We are also looking into the implications of having the Fremont drop zone, as this will add two staff duty assignments to the mix. We will have a decision likely by the start of the new calendar year.

    What are the school’s goals for integrating all learners, including advanced learners and special needs kids in classrooms?
    As with Spectrum and Special Education, our goals are to meet as many of a student’s needs in the general education classroom. Differentiated instruction and interventions done by the teacher are considered Tier 1 services, and these are the preferred method of helping students learn. It is also where we have the most resources in which to have an impact for students.

    Tier 2 services are interventions that may be done in another classroom or by another teacher in a child’s homeroom. These services help advanced learners and students needing more time and/or a different resource to be successful. (ELL, Literacy interventions, Math interventions) are examples of Tier 2. We try to minimize time out of class.

    Tier 3 services offer the most intensive interventions and supports to students. Most often, these occur as a result of an Individual Education Plan (IEP) or a 504 Plan.

    B. F. Day is awesome and improving by the year in our family’s experience. Any thoughts about covering social sciences and history in upper grades, ed WA State government, history, geography?
    Thank you! Teachers do incorporate Social Studies/History in the upper grades. This is often in a block of time shared with Science. 4th grade teaches Washington State history, and 5th grade teaches US History up to the Civil War.

    I don’t necessarily have a question, but a comment. I think more room assistance can be provided by parent volunteers, if the teacher asks, communicates the need for it.
    I will continue to encourage teachers to utilize parents to assist with classroom tasks and for working with students. I know K teachers will be asking for parent assistance in setting up sight word rings for students, as well as for help in printing off just right books so that students have take home books to read at night and over the weekend!