March 11, 2015
Dear Maple Families,
At Maple, we are preparing for the upcoming state-mandated spring assessments for students in grades 3-5. As you may know, this year the state has moved to a different set of assessments, called Smarter Balanced. These essentially replace the Measurements of Student Progress (MSPs) and High School Proficiency Exams (HSPEs). The Smarter Balanced assessments cover the same overall subject areas – English language arts and math – and require about the same amount of time, roughly four hours per subject area. The Smarter Balanced assessments, however, are different in two primary ways:
1. They are taken online. Students answer more interactively, the platform offers more supports, and the assessments are adaptive – or customized to each student’s ability.
2. They cover new academic standards. Our College and Career Readiness Standards, based on Common Core, set a higher bar for students than the state’s previous set of standards. Smarter Balanced assesses those standards, requiring more complex thinking and writing at all grade levels.
You can read more about Smarter Balanced in Seattle Public Schools by clicking Testing under Additional Links on our main homepage, www.SeattleSchools.org
Smarter Balanced is different enough that scores cannot be accurately compared to those of previous years, but all districts in the state expect fewer students to meet standard. For example, a student who may have performed at the top level on the MSP may achieve a Level 3 (out of four levels) on Smarter Balanced initially. This is a normal scoring shift whenever more rigorous academic goals and their assessments are introduced; adjustment takes time for teachers and students at every academic level. Please know that this year’s scores will be viewed as a new baseline that will help our teachers measure future growth. Most important, we are proud of the countless ways our teachers are preparing our students for college, career and life, including teaching the more rigorous standards.
At Maple, we have the required technology in place and are ready to accommodate students with special needs. Our testing schedule will be provided by your child’s teacher. On the assessment days please do your best to avoid scheduling vacations on these days. You don’t need to prepare in any other way at home, but you and your child are welcome to walk through the practice tests at SmarterBalanced.org.
Smarter Balanced assessments begin in third grade, and we are keeping an especially close eye on our third-graders’ literacy development. For this reason, most third-graders with a Level 1 score (out of four levels) on the English language arts assessment will be have a scheduled time for families to meet with the Principal before the end of the year. Because we need those scores early in order to make time for the conferences, third-graders will be the first to take the English language arts assessment. The conferences are required by the state, and we see this as another opportunity to partner with you to create a plan to build those crucial early literacy skills.
Thank you for all you do at home to prepare your child for learning and life. At Maple, we are proud of our strong families and outstanding students!
Elena Sanchez, Principal
Volunteer in the Maple Garden
For several years, students, families, and staff have been growing wonderful plants in the Maple Garden. Last year we added several new garden beds, and now we are looking for more parent volunteers to help throughout the year. If you are interested in helping with the garden, and would like to know what to do, please contact the school office.
Congratulations Ms. Sanchez !
Dear Seattle Public Schools staff,
Today I am delighted to announce several principal appointments. The following interim principals, currently serving at their schools, have been appointed principals after receiving input from their schools’ families and staff, and information from their mid-year performance evaluations:
Graham Hill Elementary: Walter Chen
Maple Elementary: Elena Sanchez
Lawton Elementary: Dorian Manza
Salmon Bay K-8 @ Monroe: Dr. Neil Gerrans
In addition, last week I also transferred and appointed Treena Sterk into the principalship of Eckstein Middle School, replacing Sherri Kokx who has taken a position in School Operations. Ms. Sterk’s move to Eckstein from her current position as principal at Cascade Parent Partnership Project has created an opening at Cascade. The district’s plan is to post and fill that position soon. In the meantime, retired principal Dr. Terry Meisenburg is serving as interim principal.
I also want to take this opportunity to review the principal appointment process in Seattle Public Schools. There are essentially four ways principals are appointed. One is to post an announcement and accept applications. In this case, qualified applicants are presented to the school. The executive director of schools and the school’s building leadership will create a committee and steps to screen those candidates down to three individuals who are presented to the superintendent. The superintendent then makes a decision and appointment.
Another way a principal is appointed is as a direct appointment to interim principal. This takes place when there is a need to have someone in place who can maintain momentum in a school and minimize disruptions, not allowing time for typical school community input. In these instances, the superintendent makes an interim appointment.
A third way is to appoint an interim principal as principal. This is done after building leadership has had sufficient time to review the interim’s performance, compare their performance to the school community’s desired attributes in a principal, and gather community input. This feedback is considered in the superintendent’s decision to make the appointment.
The fourth way is for the superintendent to make a direct appointment of a principal through transfer. In these cases, the superintendent appoints a principal based on desired attributes gathered from the school community.
Please join me in congratulating Mr. Chen, Ms. Sanchez, Mr. Manza, Dr. Gerrans, Ms. Sterk and Dr. Meisenburg in their appointments. Thank you for your dedicated professionalism and service to our schools and students.
Seattle Public Schools
Maple wins a 2014 School of Distinction Award
October 31, 2014
Dear Elena and staff,
Congratulations on winning a 2014 School of Distinction award!
Because these awards are based on sustained improvement, I know you and your staff have worked hard over multiple years to help your students reach higher achievement levels in math and reading. I appreciate your outstanding efforts and am pleased to see those efforts recognized in this public way.
You and your school provide a shining example of educational excellence in Seattle Public Schools. I hope you’ll extend my congratulations to your staff.
Dr. Larry Nyland
Clothes for the Nurses Office
The Nurses Office would greatly appreciate donations of sweat pants (girls and boys, sizes 6 to 12) and belts. Accidents happen, and the grassy playground field can get slippery and muddy. A supply of sweat pants and belts provides students with the opportunity to borrow something dry, and be comfortable for the remainder of the day. Donations can be dropped off in the Office.
Congratulations Maple School !
413 Schools Win State’s Highest Honor
Washington Achievement Award combines state’s Accountability Index and federal accountability criteria
OLYMPIA —A total of 413 schools are 2013 Washington Achievement Award winners. Winners were notified Monday via email from State Superintendent Randy Dorn and State Board of Education Chair Dr. Kristina Mayer.
The Washington Achievement Award is sponsored by the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction and the State Board of Education. Award winners are selected using the state’s Accountability Index and the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) Flexibility Waiver.
“It is important that we use the revised Achievement Index to not only provide feedback to schools and districts on their progress, but also to identify schools with exemplary student performance,” said Mayer. “These awards shine the light on what is working well in schools across Washington.”
Schools are recognized as top performers in one of six categories:
- Overall Excellence
- High Progress
- Reading Growth
- Math Growth
- Extended Graduation Rate (awarded to high schools and comprehensive schools only)
- English Language Acquisition
Dorn supports this collaboration. “So many schools in our state are doing good work to make a difference for kids,” he said. “These awards represent some of the best. It’s an honor to recognize them and celebrate their success.”
The award-winning schools will be honored at a ceremony on April 24 at Timberline High School in Lacey.
The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) is the primary agency charged with overseeing K–12 education in Washington state. Led by State School Superintendent Randy Dorn, OSPI works with the state’s 295 school districts and nine educational service districts to administer basic education programs and implement education reform on behalf of more than one million public school students.
OSPI provides equal access to all programs and services without discrimination based on sex, race, creed, religion, color, national origin, age, honorably discharged veteran or military status, sexual orientation, gender expression or identity, the presence of any sensory, mental, or physical disability, or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal by a person with a disability. Questions and complaints of alleged discrimination should be directed to the Equity and Civil Rights Director at (360) 725-6162 or P.O. Box 47200, Olympia, WA 98504-7200.
New Principal at Maple Elementary
Dear Maple Elementary School community,
Today I am excited to announce that Elena Sanchez has been appointed as the new interim principal at Maple Elementary. She replaces your current principal, Pat Hunter, who will be retiring on August 31st.
For the past two years, Ms. Sanchez has been the assistant principal at Maple Elementary. Prior to that, she was a teacher and mentor teacher at Maple since 2006. As evident in her eight years at Maple, Ms. Sanchez has demonstrated great commitment to the Maple community. She considers herself truly privileged to be a part of the Maple family and to have served the Maple community as a teacher and assistant principal. And now, she is looking forward to serving Maple families and staff as interim principal.
Ms. Sanchez received her Bachelor’s Degree from Western Washington University. She received her Master’s Degree in Education from Seattle University. She then received her principal certification from the Danforth Program at the University of Washington. As is our practice with an interim appointment, the Maple staff and community will have an opportunity to provide feedback on Ms. Sanchez’s work this coming year. In January/February, we will decide if a search needs to be conducted for a permanent principal, or if Ms. Sanchez will be converted to permanent status. Elena Sanchez mentored under Pat Hunter, who served as the principal at Maple Elementary for the past 14 years.
Ms. Pat Hunter has served students, staff and families in the Seattle Public Schools for the past 25 years, beginning her career as a Samoan tutor and as PTSA president at the old Whitworth Elementary School. Ms. Hunter taught at Madrona for eight years and was the head teacher at Graham Hill. Just before coming to Maple, she stepped in as interim principal at John Muir elementary school. Ms. Hunter is so proud to have committed her career serving the community in which she lives, and we wish her all the best in her retirement.
Maple Elementary is a Level 5 school – our highest performing level - thanks to the hard work and commitment of the staff, students and families. Maple Elementary is also a Level 5 school thanks to the strong advocacy and determined leadership of Ms. Hunter over the past 14 years. Under
Ms. Sanchez’s leadership moving forward, I am confident that Maple will continue in the “Maple Way,” with all students performing at the highest levels. Seattle Public Schools is as great as it is due to the passion and excellence of leaders like Ms. Hunter and Ms. Sanchez.
Please join me in applauding Ms. Hunter for her 25 years of service to the Seattle Public Schools, and join me in welcoming Ms. Sanchez as the new principal for Maple Elementary!
Dr. Larry Nyland
Seattle Public Schools