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What Every Parent Wants to Know about the Issaquah School District- Elementary School Information

1. Classroom Interactions 

  • Teacher may teach the whole class, in small groups or one-on-one. 
  • Other adults, such as para-educators or parent volunteers, may also work with students.
  • Classmates change each grade level.  
  • Students have a different teacher each year. 
  • Each class goes to another teacher for lessons in music, P.E. and library.

2. Teacher-Student Expectations: 

  • Learning conversations with critical-thinking questions: What do you think? How do you know? What is your evidence? 
  • Students participate actively – this is recorded on their report card under “behaviors that promote learning”. 
    • For whole class discussions, raise your hand to talk. 
    • For small group discussions, share your thinking with your small group 

3. School Behaviors 

  • Walking feet 
  • Space bubble - Americans like personal space. 
  • Voice level 
  • No touching or rough play at recess.

4. Homework 

  • Packet of paper or individual piece of paper 
  • Most teachers require daily reading as a part of homework. 
  • It’s not graded; it’s for practice 
  • The teacher usually reviews the homework in class.
  • Supporting your child at home 
    • Teachers, parents, and students are working to build independence for the student. 
    • Have a place for your child to empty their backpack and pack necessary items for the next day. 
    • Read, speak, and write in your first language. 
    • Help your child with friendship skills when playing with friends. 

5. School Celebrations 

  • Holidays, Spirit week, Seahawks Day, pajama day, crazy hair day, etc
  • Talk to the teacher about your holidays and celebrations.
  • Check school website or teacher website for more information and upcoming events.

6. Getting Information from the School

  • Check school website periodically to read about upcoming events and other news.
  • Sign up for enews
  • Teacher websites will provide contact information, syllabus and calendar of events.  Sometimes teachers send or post newsletters to their students and families of students.
  • Call teacher using the teacher’s direct line (teacher can call back using Language Line, a phone interpreter service, if there is a need for an interpreter)
  • Teachers and schools can send emails and notifications home via Family Access.

7. Reason for communications with school

  • To set up a meeting with the teacher to discuss your child’s progress at anytime during the school year.
  • In early December, there is a Parent-Teacher conference so you can meet with your child’s teacher and discuss their progress.  Please sign up for the conference with the teacher in Family Access in November.
  • If your child is absent, call the Attendance phone number or email the Attendance Email with the following information: name of child, teacher, date(s) and reason for absence.
  • If concerned about grades or school work, call or email teacher (Language line available).
  • Social, behavior or emotional concern – contact the school counselor.
  • If you would like to communicate with teacher, counselor or principal for any reason.

8. Student Absences and the new attendance law 

  • The school will contact you if your child has: 
    • 2 unexcused absences in one month 
    • 5 excused absences in one month 
    • 10 or more excused absences in one year 
  • Communicate with the school about your child’s absences, so they get “excused” (illness/health, family emergency, pre-approved family trips, religious observances) 
  • Attendance law is designed to help parents and school communicate regarding students’ absences.

9. Communications and Family Access

  • Main method of accessing information about student for parents.
  • Provides parents with attendance, test scores and grades (report cards)
  • Schools communicate about absences, grades, send emails and notifications to parents
  • Direction on the Family Access site
  • Family Access webpages can be translated in nearly 100 languages.
  • Make sure the email and contact information in Family Access is accurate.

10. Grading and Report Cards

  • Not mailed or sent home.
  • No ranking system in the US.  Students are graded based WA State standards.
  • Grades in elementary school don’t count towards college. 
  • 2’s & 3’s are most common grades. Celebrate the 3’s! 
  • Parents need to go to Family Access to view and download the report cards
  • State test scores are also listed on Family Access
  • Information on the Elementary Report Card page to help you understand it.
  • Parents can sign up for the December Parent Teacher Conferences in November

11. Types of Assessment

  • Teachers use pre-tests and post-tests to track student growth. Pre-tests are given before a unit, so teachers can see what students already know. 
  • Teachers use daily assignments and tests to provide grades for report cards. 
  • State and national assessments are not part of your child’s grade. They are also posted on Family Access.
    • SBA (Smarter Balanced Assessment)- grades 3-5 
    • CogAT (Cognitive Abilities Test)- grade 2 
    • ITBS (Iowa Test of Basic Skills)- grade 2. 
    • Washington Comprehensive Assessment of Science- grade 5 

12. PBSES (Positive Behavior Social and Emotional Support) 

  • Uses positive reinforcement and creates a positive learning environment. 
  • Teaches friendship & cooperative skills, as well as problem solving skills. 

13. Highly Capable Program

  • PEP/SAGE/MERLIN/Secondary HCP
  • Testing required for eligibility.
  • All 2nd grade students tested.

14. Science Technology Program

  • Choice program by lottery (4th and 5th grade only)
  • Located at Briarwood, Cascade Ridge and Clark
  • Extra emphasis on science and technology
  • 3rd Grade students selected by a lottery in April
  • Parent information sessions in February and March.  Attendance is required to apply.
  • Parents will need to provide transportation for their child if the school is not their assigned home school.

15. ELL (English Language Learner) Program 

  • Classroom teacher is the main teacher for the ELL student 
  • Teachers use language-rich strategies, small group activities, and preteaching of vocabulary. 
  • ELL teacher will work with students in a small group, 1-2 times a week. Educational Paraeducators may also work with students. 
  • The designation “ELL” will not put be on high school transcripts. *Unless students take a high school ELD class.

16. Special Services - IEPs

  • Special education services include individualized, specially-designed instruction in academic, self-help, communication, motor, vocational and social skill areas. 
  • Individual Education Programs (IEPs) are developed at least annually. IEP goals are written for each student based on the results of formal and informal testing and observations. 
  • In order to qualify for special education services a child must meet three criteria:
    • Have a disability
    • The disability affects the child’s access to education
    • The child needs Specially Designed Instruction
  • Most supports for students with learning needs are addressed at the school building.

17. Special Services – 504

  • The 504 Plan is a plan developed to ensure that a child who has a disability identified under the law and is attending an elementary or secondary educational institution receives accommodations that will ensure their academic success and access to the learning environment.
  • In order to qualify for special education services (504) a child must meet two criteria:
    • Have a disability
    • The disability affects the child’s access to education

18. Lunches and Food Services

19. Cost

  • Tuition is free 
  • Some things have fees such as after-school programs and class field trips.
  • Financial assistance is available. Please ask a school counselor, the school office professional, or the Family Partnership Team. All requests are kept completely confidential.

20. Parent Participation

  • Parents & Teachers work together.  We welcome parents to be involved as partners.
  • Advocate for your child.  Ask questions. Give feedback.
  • Attend Parent-Teacher conference & Curriculum Night
  • Request Language Line (phone interpreter)
    • Examples: If you want, tell the teacher about any important life events that may affect your child at school (birth of sibling, divorce, death in family etc)
    • If you want to discuss academics or behavior. 
    • You can also contact principal or school counselor directly about concerns at school. 
  • If you need help, please contact the Family Partnership Team with further questions. 
  • Become a Cultural Liaison or Cultural Ambassador or Interpreter at your school.
  • Speaking English is not a requirement to participate at schools.

21. Parent Volunteers

  • Complete Volunteer form online
  • Examples include: Art Docent, Popcorn Parent, classroom helpers, field trips, math or reading volunteers, VOICE mentors

22.  PTSA – Parent Teacher Student Association and Issaquah Schools Foundation 

  • Fundraisers for materials and programs
  • Hold special events such as Gingerbread houses, Spooky Spaghetti night, Culture nights
  • Family and Community Engagement (FACE) liaison