The Comet Chronicle

Challenger Elem. Parent Newsletter March, 2019

Message from the Principal-Time to Slime!

On Wednesday, March 13, the students of Challenger will get to Slime the Principal. At the beginning of the school year, we created incentives to increase our PTA membership. I agreed to let the students cover me in slime if 75% of our families joined the PTA. The rest is history. One student from each class, and a few teachers, were randomly chosen to participate in the event. Be sure to ask your child who the participant is from their class. The rest of the student body will watch it all happen! The event is not open for parents to attend due to lack of space but we will record the whole thing and make sure to share it.

Wish me luck!

Class Placement for 2019-2020

The classroom placement process is complex and many factors go into the decision making process. At this time, we do not know how many classes we will have at each grade level and who will be teaching each of those classes. Enrollment numbers fluctuate until August and even then they can change. Therefore, staffing is not finalized until sometime in August.

Our staff takes the task of student placement very seriously. We assure you that each grade level team (with assistance of specialists, paraprofessionals, and support staff etc.) take time, effort and care in developing class rosters that result in offering all children a quality educational experience. The following are factors that are taken into consideration as class rosters are developed:

  • the program needs of the child
  • a balanced ratio of boys to girls
  • a balance of academic achievement levels
  • behavior factors regarding each student
  • social needs and the compatibility of students with others in the classroom
  • independent work habits and leadership skills
  • information provided by the teacher

Once balanced rosters are created and staffing is finalized, teachers are assigned.

As parents you may have pertinent information about your child that you would like considered in the placement process. Examples of comments that we all agree upon are: “We want a warm, nurturing, caring environment for our child,” “We want our child challenged,” “We want our child in a structured classroom.” We take these comments as a given; it is each teacher’s responsibility to provide a nurturing, challenging, safe environment for every student.

The task for the current year teachers is to develop balanced classrooms based on the knowledge they have about the students, not the teachers at the next grade level. Since the goal is balanced classrooms we are not able to honor requests for students to be placed with special friends. Examples of information staff find helpful are: “Please separate my twins, Sally and Suzie,” or “Please do not place my son, Joey, in the same class as Fred as we are neighbors and they are together all the time,” or “My child has only been in the United States one month and needs ELL support.”

If you choose to provide specific information regarding your child that the teacher does not have or may be unaware of, please provide a written letter in a sealed envelope (no e-mail will be accepted) addressed to the Principal. Letters may be mailed to the address below or delivered to the office by parents. Written letters are due by March 29th. Please note we do not accept letters that specify individual teachers by gender, experience level, or name. We do not accept letters turned in late.

Thank you in advance for your understanding and support of this process and be assured we will do all we can to ensure thoughtful placement of each child.

Did your child leave something at home?

There is a lot going on at school these days. We have assemblies, guest speakers, art docent lessons, rehearsals for concerts, amazing volunteers working in classrooms, and lots of teaching and learning. With so much happening, it is easy for students to leave things they need for school at home. If this happens, we have a drop off procedure you can use. There is a drop-off table just outside of our main office. Parents are asked to place the item on the table with your child's name on it. We then ask you to email the teacher to let them know something has been left so that your child can pick it up. Parents should not go to classrooms to drop anything off so lessons aren't interrupted.

Order Your 2018-2019 Yearbook Today

Yearbooks are available for pre-order until March 31. In June, students will receive their yearbook and get the chance to sign each others' books. Everyone loves seeing their photo in the yearbook, so be sure to order one! Order forms can be placed in the PTA box directly across from the front door of the main office or place your order online.

We are only pre-ordering books this year. We will not be selling books when they arrive in June.*

Waste-Free Lunch Contest is Coming

District-Wide Waste-Free Lunch Contest

is coming Wednesday, April 24th

Every year, the Issaquah School District hosts a waste-free lunch challenge for all its schools to see which one can generate the least amount of waste. Two years ago, Challenger won with less than one pound of trash. Last year, we came in second with just under two pounds.

This year’s contest takes place on Wednesday, April 24th. Below are some tips to help reduce our waste that day and every day!

Understanding the Problem

The Typical Lunch: If you take a good look at the lunches our children bring to school, here's what you’ll typically find:

· sandwiches in disposable plastic bags

· fruits and vegetables in plastic bags

· prepackaged chips, cookies, fruit bars, granola bars, cheeses, and fruit leathers

· single-use yogurts, apple sauces, and puddings

· crackers, pretzels, chips, and other snack foods sealed in plastic bags

· disposable juice boxes and pouches, juice cans, water bottles, and milk cartons

· plastic forks and spoons

· paper napkins

· reusable lunchboxes and disposable paper and plastic bags

A Waste-free Lunch:

· sandwiches and other main dishes, fresh fruits and vegetables, and treats packed in reusable containers

· cloth napkins

· stainless-steel forks and spoons

· reusable drink containers

· reusable lunchboxes

Want to reduce food waste?

Here are some things you can do...

· Cut up fruits and vegetables. Children often take 1 or 2 bites out of an uncut apple or banana and throw the rest away. To avoid this, pack cut-up fruits and vegetables in a reusable container. Your child can take a few bites and save the rest for later.

· Pack drinks in reusable containers. Children cannot reseal juice boxes, cans, or pouches. Often they drink half (or less) and throw the rest away. To get the most out of your money, buy drinks in larger containers. Send a small amount to school in a reusable container. (Recycle the bottle at home.) Remember, children need plenty of water, so consider making water your beverage of choice.

· Ask your child to bring home lunch leftovers. Looking at leftover lunches is also a great way to get information about your children's lunch preferences.

· Before offering your children an afterschool snack, ask them to finish their lunch. Kids often throw away some of their lunch in favor of a snack.

Last Day of School – Thursday, June 27, 2019

This past February’s historic snowfall created many challenges for our community and school system. Now that it appears our snowy winter weather is subsiding, we can communicate the remainder of our school year calendar. In accordance with our negotiated agreements and approved 2018-19 school year calendar, the six days of school missed due to weather will be added to the end of the current school year calendar. The last day of school is now Thursday, June 27th. High School Graduation dates will not change.

Every school district in our region has a unique set of circumstances related to how they might make up snow days. As a result, you will see districts implementing different plans. Options such as built in snow make-up days, conversion of non-student professional development days, state waivers or renegotiating instruction time are not viable options for the ISD this year. With this recent snow event resetting our common experience, the District is exploring opportunities to build in more snow day make-up options to our future calendars. Any changes will be communicated as soon as possible.

Comet Coin Update

Challenger students have earned another 2000 Comet Coins! That means that there were 2000 instances of students, either alone or as a group, caught being safe, respectful, responsible, and/or resourceful. Our comet coin bowl was overflowing. We had an extra popcorn day for the whole school!

Our next school wide prize will be given out after another 2000 coins are collected. I can't wait to see what our Positive Behavior Support Team comes up with for our next celebration.

Spring Recess April 8-12, 2019

Important Dates:


15 STEM Fair

21 Site Council; Library

26 Kindergarten Vocal Concert; 6:30 PM; MPR

26 Report Cards Available on Skyward; 5:00 PM

31 Last Day to Pre-order Yearbooks


2 Third Grade Vocal Concert; 6:30 PM; MPR

3 Screening for Incoming Kindergarten Students

8-12 Spring Break

18 Site Council

19 Popcorn Friday

23 Drum Group Concert; 6:30 PM; MPR