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Current Newsletter

Issue 10, june 2020

Month at a Glance:

June 8 National Best Friends Day

June 12 National Loving Day

June 14 Flag Day

June 19 Summer Vacation Begins

June 20 1st Day of Summer

June 21 Father’s Day

From the Principals

Blaine Primary and Elementary School Families,

June has arrived and we have just a few more weeks of school before we wrap up our year. The 2019-20 school year will certainly be remembered as one of the most unusual school years most of us have ever experienced. We will sorely miss all the typical end of year celebrations that take place with our students as we close out this school year. With that in mind, we look forward to our return to school in the fall. While we don’t know yet what school will look like when we return, we’re hopeful that we will experience school in more familiar ways next year. We encourage families to stay informed about up to date 2020-21 school year planning by checking the Blaine School District website and following information coming out from OSPI - Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. You can find up to date school planning information on the OSPI website: https://www.k12.wa.us

During the month of May our staff was able to organize and return school supplies to most of our students and families at Blaine Primary and Elementary Schools. We want to thank everyone who helped with this monumental effort! Strange as it is to say, even though we were socially distanced and talking through masks, seeing families during the supply pick up process lifted our spirits. It was a strong reminder of how significant our relationships are in schools. Over the past few weeks we’ve also been working to build school schedules and place students in classrooms for the 2020-21 school year. You will see reference to classroom placement later in this article.

As we close out the 2019-20 school year we have a few remaining items to plan for:

  • Computer Drop Off - June 15th -19th BPS and BES will organize opportunities for families who
    have borrowed a district computer to return these to school. Look for a more specific plan coming soon. Typically we share this information on the Blaine School District website and BPS/BES PTO Facebook pages.
  • Kindergarten Registration - if you know of any families planning to enroll their kindergarteners for the 2020-21 school year please encourage them to visit the Blaine School District website and complete the online registration information. We are happy to help families with this process if they have any questions. Please contact Dawn Corcorran (dcorcorran@blainesd.org) with any questions.
  • Classroom Placement - Thank you to all the families that provided us with input about their child’s classroom placement. As we’ve previously shared, our goal each year is to develop balanced communities of learners in every classroom. We invest a great deal of energy and intention as we place students in classrooms. This process involves teachers, families and a variety of support staff. In mid to late August your family will receive a letter in the mail welcoming you back to the 2020-21 school year and informing you of your child’s classroom placement. We will also make this information available in the Blaine Primary and Elementary School offices.

School offices will open back up in mid August prior to the first day of school, which occurs on Wednesday, August 26th. Between June 19th and August 26th we encourage families to fill their days with lots of fun, relaxation, and learning. There are many low-impact ways to keep your children involved in educational opportunities throughout the summer. Prior research tells us that students often lose hard earned learning when they do not continue to read or participate in other intentional learning activities over the summer months. In the educational research field this is referred to as the “summer slide” as it’s a time that reading levels can slide backwards during the summer. In light of this information and coupled with the challenges we’ve faced the past few months, ongoing opportunities for learning may be more important than ever. To support these opportunities kids can participate in a variety of learning opportunities. Please consider reading to your child, or better yet, encourage your child to read good fit books over the summer. If you have questions about how to support your child’s learning over the summer, please don’t hesitate to talk with their teacher or contact our schools for ideas.

We want to take this opportunity to share position changes planned for next school year at Blaine Primary and Elementary Schools:

New P-5 Staff next year include:

  • Jordan Radke will become the new Blaine Primary School Principal. Mr. Radke comes to Blaine from the Monroe School District where he served as assistant principal at an elementary school. Please join us in welcoming Mr. Radke to the Blaine School District!
  • Lindsay Nowakowski will become assistant principal at Blaine Elementary School next year. Lindsay has been serving as an interim P-5 assistant principal since December. Prior to her work as an administrator she was a TOSA (teacher on special assignment), 4th grade teacher and resource room teacher in Blaine.
  • Michelle McKeown will become assistant principal at Blaine Primary School next year. Michelle has been serving as an interim P-5 assistant principal since December. Prior to her work as an assistant principal, she has been a P-5 curriculum and instruction administrator, TOSA (teacher on special assignment) and 4th grade teacher in Blaine.
  • Emily Olsen will join the Blaine Elementary School Staff as a Resource Room Teacher next year. Emily has been serving as a leave replacement teacher in our resource room since November. Welcome Emily!

Good Byes!

  • Nancy Bakarich - Ms. Bakarich began her career in Blaine as a teacher nearly 40 years ago and served as an administrator and Blaine Primary School principal for the past 20 years. We are grateful for Ms. Bakarich’s many years of service and commitment to students, staff and families in the Blaine School District. Good luck in your retirement Ms. Bakarich!
  • Kris Remy - Kris has served for 17 years as an Occupational Therapist in schools. For the past 10 years she has been a part of the Blaine School District. Good luck in your retirement Ms. Remy!
  • Rachael Super - Rachael has served as a teacher for 34 years. Most recently she has been a 2nd grade Teacher at Blaine Primary School. Good luck in your retirement Ms. Super!
  • Brenda Hargreaves - Brenda has served 25 years as a teacher. Most recently she has served as a Library Specialist at Blaine Primary School. Prior to that Ms. Hargreaves was a classroom teacher at BPS. Good luck in your retirement Ms. Hargreaves!

Finally, we would like to thank the Blaine Primary and Elementary School communities for all of their involvement and support this year. It has certainly been a unique school year with a variety of highlights and challenges. We have been privileged to serve the children and families of both schools over the past few months. We want to wish all of our students and their families a wonderful summer break and look forward to (hopefully!) seeing your smiling faces in late August. Thanks for a great year Blaine Primary and Elementary Schools!

Craig Baldwin, P-5 Principal
Lindsay Nowakowski, P-5 Assistant Principal
Michelle Mckeown, P-5 Assistant Principal

Blaine Elementary Updates:

PTO Needs Help to Show Our Teachers Some Thanks!

They teach our children to read and write. They foster a lifelong love of books and music. They are expert problem solvers and coax behavior that can rarely be replicated at home. Let’s face it...teachers are magical. Having to homeschool our own children during this time has definitely made our collective gratitude grow! While we may not be able to show our appreciation for these superheroes as we have in the past, there are still many ways to say “thank you”! The PTO is working on a top secret thank you project and needs your help. Check out our Facebook page to see how you and your kids can take part!

Counselor's Corner:

Hi Blaine Primary Families!

Emotions are powerful. We have seen this in recent news coverage and videos of protests and strife amid a pandemic unfolding around the country and the world. The images we see and voices we hear can evoke powerful emotions within ourselves and our children. Grief at the loss of loved ones or lost bonds of friendship and love that we once so easily shared with one another. Anxiety about the uncertainty of our personal futures as well as our collective futures. Anger at injustices we may have experienced ourselves or have witnessed others enduring whether near or afar.

And although we are physically distancing ourselves, we are still vulnerable to absorbing the collective emotions of others because we have empathy. We understand the grief of someone who has lost their loved one to violence or sickness, the anxiety of losing one’s livelihood to financial downturn or vandalism, and the anger of those who have endured assault or oppression. Our kids understand and absorb these feelings too…

And they look to us as adults for reassurance. While we may not be in control of all the circumstances of our own lives or those of others, we can provide reassurance to our kids that we love them. And that we are doing all within our power to keep them safe and care for them. When they have questions we can answer them in an age-appropriate way. And it’s OK to say “I don’t know” followed by “I love you and I am here to care for you and keep you safe.” You are their rock and foundation no matter what! You got this!

Part of this reassurance is also moderating the media that you and your children consume. While many of us are craving connection with others while distanced, it is important to turn off or put away our devices periodically and be present with our families. While we want to stay connected and informed, tuning into electronic media too often can stoke the anxiety in ourselves and our kids that we wish to sooth instead. Kids tune into what their adults say and do, so take the opportunity to model healthy media habits.

As we approach the end of our school year, you have an opportunity to continue the connection and learning with your kids in a less structured way. Take walks in your neighborhood, visit parks and other open spaces, and take time to do fun activities together led by your child’s interests. Doing normal activities together is one of the best ways to reduce the stress and anxiety of uncertainty.

I hope you have been enjoying the Feelings videos that staff at the Primary and Elementary have produced. Check them out for helpful tips in case you have not seen them yet:

Feelings Video Series - Sad Feelings Video Series - Anxious Feelings Video Series - Angry

Look for more videos to be posted on the Blaine School District YouTube channel.

If you or your child needs support in learning, parenting help, mental health needs, or other assistance, I am available daily through the end of the school year (360-332-0614, Monday to Friday, 9:00am to 4:00pm). I will also be checking my phone and email messages periodically through the summer. Please feel free to reach out to me during this time of distance learning. I am here to help you i

Sincerely,

Craig Robinson

BPS School Counselor

Hello BES Families!

As summer break approaches, I’m sure we are all wondering about what the future looks like for our families. This summer is going to look and feel different, but that doesn’t mean it needs to be any less enjoyable! Here are some ideas for family activities to build connection during this time of uncertainty.

Family Fun Ideas - while social distancing

Summer Educational Fun

With the future being unknown for so many of us, I wanted to provide you with some resources that could be helpful to you now or in the future. These resources are specific to Whatcom County and have been a helpful place to gain knowledge for other families in our community.

Community Resources During COVID-19

Whatcom Unified Command

2nd to 3rd Transition: For those families who have a 2nd grader moving onto 3rd grade, we are in the process of creating a video of the Elementary school, 3rd grade teachers and other staff (specialists) to help ease any anxiety or stress your student may be experiencing about this change of setting. Typically, we have student tours; I visit 2nd grade classrooms and provide a question and answer segment where students can address any questions or concerns. We will have this video completed before the end of the year so you and your student can watch this video and get to know the Elementary school a little better. We are so excited about you coming to our school!!

Finally, I want to express how deeply disappointed I am that we will not be wrapping up this school year together as the school family that we are. I am hopeful that things will be different in the fall but want to express to your family and student/s that we as a school community are thinking of you! In the coming weeks, if there is anything I can do to support your family transition into summer break please do not hesitate to call/email me. While we cannot be together in person, I want to tell you that I am still committed as your student’s school counselor to providing support and care to the students and families I serve.

Sincerely,

Ms. Point-Moore

BES School Counselor

Tips for Keeping Students Sharp Over the Long-Haul:

With the majority of schools across the country closed, many parents are feeling the stress of taking more active roles in their children’s education. As time away from the classroom extends into summer, parents also face the challenge of helping their children maintain what they’ve learned through a summer of uncertainty.

While on summer break, kids commonly lose some
of the learning momentum from the previous school
year. It’s a phenomenon casually referred to as the “summer slide.”

A report from the Northwest Evaluation Association found students in third-fifth grades lost about 20% of their school-year gains in reading and 27% in math, on average, during summer break.

After such an abrupt end to formal curriculum, the slide could be a little steeper for kids in the fall. However, summer plans for families likely look different this year. More free time may make it easier to build in time for educational activities, which can also offer an escape during this uncertain time.

This year’s shift to at-home learning has provided
plenty of resources parents can use to keep their children’s minds engaged and actively learning. The shift has also prompted families to create new routines and healthy learning habits. Continuing these best practices over the summer may prove beneficial in setting students up for success when they return to the classroom.

  • Set a clear daily schedule with realistic goals and be sure to allow flexibility. A child’s attention span grows longer with age - typically 2-3 minutes per year of age - so the amount of time an elementary school student will focus on a task may be significantly shorter than a high school student.
  • Build in time for kids to play. According to the journal, “Pediatrics,” playing promotes healthy brain development and boosts academic skills. Play time also helps children manage stress - making it an important and fun way for parents to support kids coping with stress or anxiety.
  • Create a conducive learning environment at home. If possible, set up a designated desk and distraction-free workspace children can use for everything from completing school assignments to playing educational games.

While routines are important, they may not be the only key to summer learning success. Research from Harvard indicates parents who engage with their children in simple activities over the summer - like reading together or talking about baseball statistics - can have a greater impact on their children’s academic performance than popular summer activities, such as summer camps, travel or summer school.

Since education can happen anywhere as part of everyday life, there are many activities families can do together to create a sense of summertime fun while fostering academic growth.

  • Spend some time cooking or baking together. Use these experiences as opportunities to practice reading recipes or practice math by measuring and adding ingredients.
  • Work with other parents or family members to find summer pen pals. Have kids write letters back and forth to practice reading and writing skills.
  • Explore science and nature by taking a walk. Try and identify different types of clouds, trees, plants, rocks and animals. Take pictures of any you find interesting. Then look up additional information
    when you return home to practice research skills.
  • Watch the news or read about current events together. This can provide practical lessons on social studies and help kids raise questions about the world around them.
  • Allow for reading aloud. According to the National Association for the Education of Young Children, reading aloud is the single most important activity for reading success as it helps build word-sound awareness. Encourage your child to play teacher and read aloud books, magazines, or comics to family members, pets or even stuffed animals.
  • Begin a book club. Read the same books as your children then discuss what you all read over a shared snack or gathered around the dinner table. Joining in shows the importance of prioritizing reading during the summer.

Take Travel Online : Five Ideas for Virtual Family Adventures

A dream vacation is the perfect antidote to stress and the monotony of daily life. When a getaway isn’t in the cards, you can still escape and explore new places virtually.

A virtual trip can be a great way to explore destinations you might consider for a future vacation, or it may be a chance to see remarkable sights around the world that you wouldn’t get to experience otherwise. Virtual travel can also engage kids in learning when you pair the experience with lessons on culture, geography or even a homemade take on local culinary treats.

Add authenticity to the experience with special touches that mimic the ambiance. If you’re visiting the beach, kick up the heat and turn on a fan for some breeze. Light a coconut-scented candle and enjoy a bowl of ice cream while you take in the sights.

Get your virtual adventures underway with these selections:

Look around the Louvre in Paris. Explore the Egyptian Antiquities, remains of the Louvre’s Moat and Galerie d’Apollon by virtual museum tour as you head inside this iconic art lover’s institution.

Sneak inside the San Diego Zoo. Get up close and personal with the resident apes, penguins, pandas, giraffes, elephants and tigers in real time via one of the many live cams positioned to spot wildlife from the comfort of your couch.

Walk the Great Wall of China. Make your Great Wall goals a reality. Get a glimpse of this 300-mile wonder of the world with a cyber stroll before dreaming up your own future family trip.

Watch big wave surfing in Maui. Transport yourself to the beach as you watch white-knuckle surfing at its most surreal. Whether you’re a super fan or first-time spectator of the sport, it’s a compelling beach-cam watch and a welcome escape from the everyday.

Travel 352 million miles to Mars. Feel a world away as you explore Mars from aboard NASA’s Curiosity Rover. Learn as you roam between its different mission sites for a virtual, yet realistic,
view of the Red Planet’s remarkable landscape.

For families who miss traveling together, you can share the joys of your virtual journey through videoconferencing and adding some extra ambiance and a change of scenery by downloading a travel wallpaper for your meeting background.

Garden of the Salish Sea Summer Learning Ideas:

Garden of the Salish Sea is an organization that has worked with Elementary and Primary classrooms to promote science learning, especially outdoor and local exploration of our community ecosystems.

Check out their social media and new family resources page (gardensalishsea.org) to access lessons and activities for the summer months. Families can look forward to family field trips and beach exploration lessons with virtual beach walks and activities. Have fun outside, be well and support learning for your whole family!