Wade King Elementary

February 2020

A Note from the Principal

Dear Wade King Families,

The Bellingham Promise was revised last year to call out our district focus on equity, diversity, and inclusion. At Wade King, our staff has started our own inquiry into the impact of cultural identities on teaching and learning. This inquiry will likely span years as we learn, reflect, and adjust, continually moving toward more equitable and inclusive practices within our school community, as well as building our understanding and appreciation of all holidays, beliefs, traditions, and celebrations in our community and world. In the words of Maya Angelou, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”

I recently shared my decision to stop having students bring Valentine’s Day cards to school. I truly appreciate parents who shared their perspectives, questions, and concerns with me. My decision to move away from Valentine’s Day cards does not mean that we aren’t acknowledging Valentine’s Day. It is a day that is important to some kids and families. It’s a part of who they are, and it is not my intent to take that away. At the same time, Valentine’s Day is not celebrated by every family, and isn’t a joyful day for everyone. Rather than celebrating Valentine’s Day by bringing cards to school, we will be focusing on kindness, gratitude, and friendship as part of our social-emotional learning throughout the month of February. Many grade levels will engage students in writing notes of appreciation to their classmates, creating friendship books, sharing compliments, engaging in random acts of kindness, and other friendship activities. Some of these things may happen on February 14th, but they will happen other days as well. In the name of inclusion, it is important to me that we are being respectful of everyone in our school community. Shifting our practice away from having students bring Valentine’s Day cards to school doesn’t solve that, but it’s a step toward greater equity and inclusion.

If your child is asking why we are not bringing Valentine’s Day cards to school, you could respond by letting him/her know that people who celebrate Valentine’s Day are celebrating love and friendship and there are ways to celebrate those things without Valentine’s Day cards. You might also use it as an opportunity to talk about inclusion, explaining that not all families celebrate the same holidays that your family celebrates. Together, you might consider how it would feel for your family to be at a celebration for a holiday your family doesn’t celebrate.

You might be thinking, does this mean that holidays are not going to be acknowledged at school? No. In fact, over time, I want our staff, students, and families to have a much deeper understanding of the holidays, traditions, and cultural norms that are important to Wade King families, as well as families elsewhere in Bellingham and worldwide. We can learn a lot from one another, which is an important focus of International Baccalaureate Schools like Wade King. As we move forward, we will continue to hold tight to school traditions that are equitable, inclusive, and honor our diversity, and over time re-envision those that aren’t. We are working toward making sure the things we do at Wade King are inclusive of all.

I've heard concern that by changing our practice around holidays, we are taking away 'fun.' There will continue to be opportunities to celebrate learning and have fun together, as classroom and school communities. We are in the process of starting a student leadership team, with representatives from each of our 2nd-5th grade classrooms, who will work with our Assistant Principal, Mr. Holmgren, to solve schoolwide problems that arise and plan ways for our students to have fun together. I envision this group planning monthly schoolwide community-building activities that could include a spirit day, whole school dance party, extra time with cross-age buddies, music at lunch, or other fun activities.

Finally, in the coming months, we will establish a Wade King Equity Team that will include staff and parents. This team will meet and help guide our equity work within our school. I will be looking for a few parents to join that team.

Please continue to reach out to me if you have questions or ideas.

Stephanie Johnson, Principal

Important Dates in February and March

2/13 Family Game Night & Dessert Auction in cafeteria and gym 6-8 pm (sponsored by PTA)

2/17 NO SCHOOL - President's Day

3/3 Class Picture Day

3/6 Teacher Inservice Day - NO SCHOOL for students

3/12 PTA Meeting in the Library 6-8 pm (childcare provided)

3/13 Mobile Dental Clinic in Rm 30 - am only

3/13 Talent Show 6-9pm in cafeteria (sponsored by PTA)

3/18 5th Gr Exhibition 6:30-7:30 pm

3/23 1st Gr Field Trip to Mt. Baker Theater 9:30-11:30 am (sponsored by PTA)

3/25 King Consort Performance in the Music Rm 6:30-7:30 pm

3/25 BAAY Dress Rehearsal from 2:30-3:30 pm

2nd Grade Toy Museum Demonstrates Creativity

Second graders held their annual Toy Museum to conclude their inquiry into the ways an object's balance and motion can be described and changed. Students showcased the toys they built that rolled, spun, and/or balanced. There were toys that moved on wheels, some that spun, and others that were propelled by balloons. There were catapults, trucks, and cars. Some of the connection pieces that caused motion were comprised of rubber bands, balloons, string, and springs. This is always a great inquiry into forces and motion, and the creativity never ceases to amaze us all.

Wade King Students Welcome the Chinese New Year

As an International Baccalaureate School, learning the Chinese language and learning about Chinese culture are part of our curriculum. On January 24th,, our students hosted our annual Lunar New Year event, complete with dragons, a visit from Shi Zi, beautiful lanterns, and singing. 5th grade students took a leading role by parading our large, traditional Chinese dragons and playing a wide array of percussion to accompany the dragon processions. Our little lion friend 'Shi Zi' also made an appearance and explained, in Chinese, some new year traditions. Students also performed a skit demonstrating what to do to celebrate the new year. Many family members attended and enjoyed the performances. Gong Xi!
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5th Grade Strings Concert

Our 5th Grade Strings gave a stellar concert under the direction of Mrs. Schwab. It is amazing how 35 students can go from scratching out a note on a string instrument to playing beautiful music in just a matter of weeks. They worked really hard and truly demonstrated their musical abilities. Well done!

January Gymnastics and Olympic Connections

Did you see the gymnastic equipment in our gym in January? Each elementary school in our district uses a set of gymnastics equipment for four weeks as part of their PE classes. This is an extraordinary opportunity for students to explore equipment they would not normally see and use in PE. Our PE teacher, Tim Carlson, taught students gymnastics moves on the low balance beam, the uneven bars, the parallel bars, rope, rings, and tumbling on the floor mats. When you are watching the Summer Olympics in late July this year, try to find a broadcast of the gymnastics competition and ask your child about their experiences with the equipment and the techniques. This is a great way to extend connections with their personal experience and what they observe in the world. They will have a new appreciation for what can be done in the realm of gymnastics. Who knows, maybe a budding gymnast in your house is just waiting for that spark of inspiration.

Salmon in our Schools

There has been a lot of excitement outside the library as students, staff, and visitors watch salmon alevins hatch from eggs. We will be able to continue to watch them grow and develop until they are released at the end of March. Be sure to ask your child what he/she has noticed!

Black History Month

February is Black History Month. Our school will explore the lives of Black people who have helped shape our national and regional history. We will learn together during our Friday school meetings, classroom morning meetings, and with resources in our library. Check out our display case in the main lobby for additional information about these courageous history-makers.
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School Levy Facts

The special election for our levies is coming up and ballots are due on Tuesday, February 11th. District families received this Levy Facts information page. For more information, please follow this link.

Family Game Night & Dessert Auction - February 13th 6-8 pm

Thursday, February 13th is our annual Family Game Night and Dessert Auction. This fun-filled night is for the entire family and will include a Silent Dessert Auction, Bingo, with Ethiopian inspired prizes, and Jeopardy with Ethiopian Trivia. (This is a great time to Google Ethiopia...come prepared!)

Every year we have terrific desserts donated by Wade King families. We need your help to have as many homemade or store-bought desserts as possible to make this event a success (nothing that needs refrigeration, however). This PTA fundraiser raised $1,060 last year. Can we raise even more this year?

Please drop off your donated dessert(s) in the school office any time during the school day on February 13th. Desserts go to the highest bidder at the end of the evening (bidding starts at $10 per dessert).

If you have questions or would like to donate a dessert, please contact Annie Chin at annie.byington@gmail.com

PTA Sponsored After School Activities

There is still room in many of our PTA sponsored After School Activities. You can see the catalog and register for winter activities online with this link. This is where you will also find information about scholarships. If you need support, call Mrs. McMeel or Mrs. Murphy in our office at 360-647-6840.

Parent Bookshelf

Did you know there is a shelf of books for parents to check out in our office? There are several titles you might be interested in, including Positive Discipline parenting books that align with the Positive Discipline strategies we use across our school. Be sure to check this out the next time you are in the office!

Vinyl Stickers with New Logo

PTA spirit wear clothing sales have ended, but there are still vinyl stickers available for purchase with our new logo. Order forms can be picked up in the office and completed order forms (with cash or a check made out to Wade King PTA) can be placed in the locked PTA Mailbox in the office. These are great on windows, water bottles and hydro flasks, notebooks, and mirrors.

Bellingham Food Bank

Food is available for families in our communicty at both the Food Bank, Christ the King Community Pantry, and Alderwood Elementary School Pantry.

Families are allowed to visit food bank sites two times per week. First time visitors need to bring proof of address within the Bellingham city limits dated within the past 30 days. Visitors may pick up food for two households total. (If you are picking up for another household, please bring a note from that family with their names listed as well as proof of address.)

Families are welcome to visit the food banks at the following times and locations:

Bellingham Food Bank main location — 1824 Ellis Street
Mondays, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Wednesdays, 1 to 6 p.m.
Fridays, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Christ the King Community Church pantry — 4173 Meridian Street
Tuesdays, 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

Alderwood Elementary School pantry — 3400 Hollywood Avenue
Thursdays, 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

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