Roosevelt Elementary News

September 11, 2020

Important Dates

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News from Mr. Gresham

Dear Roosevelt families,

I hope this message finds you well, and I hope week 1 was a success for your child and your family. For our 2nd through 5th grade families, thank you for your incredible efforts to make sure your child was in their live class. I know that there was a lot of tech troubleshooting, guiding, and supporting, and what an effort it has been. For our K and 1st grade families, thank you for making time in your week to meet with the teacher and engage in your child’s learning plan. Thank you for staying engaged in this unprecedented journey of learning together.

Speaking of learning together and tech troubleshooting, I started today in one of our 2nd grade classrooms where the class was going through a process of greeting every student. For those students that weren’t able to be present, the teacher had taught the routine of putting hands over hearts and saying, “[Student Name] we wish you well.” I then jumped over to another 2nd grade class that was talking about agreements between one another so that everyone could be successful. With just a couple of minutes left in the session, the teacher got bounced from the Zoom call (happens to staff as well). The 16 little faces seemed to turn to me for what to do next. A bead of sweat formed on my brow as I thought about what to do. I drew upon some recent learning and said, “Second graders, I’m going to teach you a little routine we are going to use for a person who can’t be with us right now. Put your hands over your heart. Move them in a circle. And, say with me, ‘[teacher name] we wish you well.’” Whew…that was good timing on learning for me. I am so grateful for our amazing Roosevelt staff who have jumped into this situation with full force, creativity, love, and professionalism, and from whom I continue to learn.

Following are some important things to note…

School Assemblies Starting this Wednesday, 9/16

A critical part of the Roosevelt school community and ongoing social/emotional learning has been our weekly school assemblies. We are continuing this practice starting this coming Wednesday. Instead of showing up to the virtual classroom, students are asked to arrive at the “virtual gym,” for a school assembly (the actual gym is where we typically hold school assemblies). Just like class meetings, the assembly will start at 8:30. Following the assembly, students will be able to engage in activities to further their learning via Seesaw. On Wednesday, use the following link to get to the assembly

Passcode: 574427

Instructional Practices During Live Class Times

In an in-person classroom, you would see that in the course of a day all of our teachers would provide instruction to the whole class, instruction to small groups of students, and instruction to individual students. Being able to talk individually with a student about their work and give feedback is a critical component of teaching and learning. The same is true in the remote/virtual environment. At times, during scheduled class times, our staff will be doing short pieces of instruction in virtual spaces where it is just the teacher and the student. This provides an emotionally safe opportunity for a student to ask questions and provides a private setting for a teacher to give guidance. If you have questions or concerns about this practice, please don’t hesitate to reach out via email, text, or call.

Thank you for reading, and thank you for your continued support!


Tom Gresham



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Late breaking news from the USDA! Free meals continue for all students

As of Aug. 31, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has extended the free meals program into the 2020-21 school year. This means all children ages 0 to 18, plus our Community Transitions students, will continue to receive free meal boxes. You will no longer need to provide a name or PIN at pickup. This is late-breaking, great news and differs from the informational meal flyer you will receive shortly in the family handbook mailing.

We encourage all families to pick up a free box of 14 meals and support our food services program and the Good Food Project in Bellingham Public Schools, as well as our local community. In every week’s box, we will provide a scratch-made entrée out of our Central Kitchen with ingredients sourced from local farms when available. Now is a great time to bring the school cafeteria into your home with these meals. By picking up a box, you will keep farmers in business, district staff employed and families fed.

Every Wednesday starting Sept. 9, boxes will be distributed from 4 to 5:30 p.m. at 15 school locations and six community locations.

Please note we ran out of boxes this past week and will be increasing our production for next week.

Note on free and reduced priced meals application: Families should apply for free and reduced priced meals online as we start the school year. It is unclear how long the USDA funding for free meals will continue. Go to for the Letter to Household which gives the income guidelines and a link to the online application.

Note on Pandemic EBT: Families have until Sept. 11 to apply for the Pandemic EBT food assistance program. Apply online at (choose “Pandemic EBT — Emergency School Meals Program” box in the Food Assistance section) or call the DSHS Customer Service Contact Center at (877) 501–2233. Language translation is available.

Translation Feature of Roosevelt Newsletter

Our newsletter has a feature to translate our newsletter in multiple langauges!

1. How to use the Translation Feature?

Your recipients will need to open your newsletter on the Smore website by clicking on the link provided at the top of the email.

Once they accessed the online newsletter, they need to look at the top right side of the newsletter at the Accessibility Bar and click on the "Translate Newsletter" option.

News From PTA

Whether you are new to Roosevelt or a returning family, you can get involved by: coming to a PTA meeting, volunteering, participating in PTA sponsored events, proposing ideas, and joining the PTA! PTA membership is $12 for an individual or $20 for two people. Your annual membership dues go toward student advocacy, fundraising efforts, enrichment programs, and PTA sponsored events. Membership gives you a vote on issues or events that you want to support within our Roosevelt community. You also receive special discounts from the Washington State PTA. Now you can sign up and pay for your membership online: Join Now!

Our first PTA meeting will be on Tuesday, September 29th at 7pm. A zoom link will be provided soon. We hope to see you then!

More PTA News

This statewide essay contest explores the important and varied influencers in the lives and education of children – from the children’s perspective. Every day children are exposed to a variety of people and each one has an opportunity to influence the path a child decides to take. Whether it is someone that sparks an interest in a new topic, helps them work through a problem, shapes the kind of person they want to become by modeling behavior, simply listens to them, or any number of other actions, this is the platform for students to share their appreciation. The application deadline is March 1 each year.

Please mail submissions to:

Washington State PTA
Attention: WSPTA Essay Contest
15 Oregon Avenue, Suite 202
Tacoma, WA 98409-7463

Or email to:

Reconnect Plan

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Reminder to check Skyward

Staying connected

□ Fill out forms in Skyward Family Access
All families registered in the district have access to online student information system called Skyward. When logged in families can view current address, phone numbers, emails and emergency contacts on file for all of your students. You will also be able to view student assignments, grades and lunch account balances. Please fill out and electronically sign all annual district forms in Skyward Family Access. Forms that must be completed annually include:

  • Annual Attendance Information
  • Privacy form for opting out of release of student directory information for publicity purposes and student/parent directories
  • Military recruitment opt-out (high school only)
  • Military family form

If you are a family or student experiencing homelessness, please contact your school or visit the Family Support Services webpage for contacts. (Homeless Support Program dropdown menu.)

□ Update communication preferences in Skylert
Within Skyward Family Access is a Skylert tab that allows for parents/guardians to update contact preferences, managing how and where you receive our district and school communications, whether phone/text/or email. Make sure you update family email addresses, cell phones and text message preferences.

□ Follow us on social media
We share most updates and good news stories as social media posts. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Food services
Starting Wednesday, Sept. 9, the food services model will change to a 10-meal/5-day box and students/families will need to use student names and PIN to pick them up every week.

All families may participate in weekly meal boxes; qualifying families should sign up for the free/reduced price meal program. An electronic application for free/reduced school meals is available online. For assistance in Spanish or another home language, please contact the Family Resource Center at (360) 676-6456 or by email.

The new model will include some scratch-made entrée offerings that align with our Good Food Project out of the Central Kitchen.

Tech Support

Below is the link for help with Technology- whether you are requesting a device or just need some help with the device you already have from the school district.

Technology Request Form

Qualtrics sophisticated online survey software solutions make creating online surveys easy. Learn more about Research Suite and get a free account today.

District Resources Website

Do you still have a question that has not been answered via this newsletter or email? The Bellingham Public School website now has a (click here) one-stop resources page. On this website, you can submit a question about childcare, meals, learning resources, technology resources, mental health, and more. We are here for you.

Multi-Language Message Line

Families whose first language is not English can leave a message on our multi-language message line at 360-647-6816. Families dial 2 for Russian, dial 3 for Vietnamese, dial 4 for Punjabi or dial 5 for any other language (say name of language at beginning of message). Please call 360-676-6456 for Spanish.

Safe Schools Reporting Tip Line

Students, parents or community members who have information, tips, or concerns regarding a safety issue in our schools are encouraged to text or call 844-310-9560 or visit for confidential, anonymous, two-way communication with our safety staff.

Office Information

Office voicemails will be checked. If you have any questions please feel free to contact JoLynda or Sylvia by email.

Points of Contact

Tom Gresham, Principal -

Valarie Swenson, Assistant Principal -

Chris Wermus, School Counselor-