Due to the major weather event (actually, yeah weather!) coming on Saturday, the 29th of August, 2015, the 5th Annual Dwankhozi Hope Garage Sale will be moved to Sunday the 30th only. This takes place on Lorentz Place N, a lovely little street near QAE and we would love to see you on Sunday instead of Saturday.
We have a new secretary! Administrative Assistant is the official title while the unofficial title will likely be "She Who Holds It All Together". Karen Rang started this Wednesday in our office in the Brick. Karen has previously worked in very large K-8 schools in Texas and Florida so we're a little school for her. That's the great news. The rest of the story is that she is new to Seattle Public Schools and will be participating in a significant number of trainings on all of our systems, procedures and software. As of today she still does not even have a SPS email account so she has been busy organizing, meeting folks, and making the office her space. It does look lovely. I know there will be many opportunities for you to welcome Karen to QAE and for all of us to be patient as she learns our school and our school system.
Welcome to QAE, Karen.
It's so very hard to share these things...
We are looking for a new music teacher at QAE. After one year of sharing her love of music with our kids and our entire community in such an incredible way, Melyssa Stone will not be returning. She is moving on to the very prestigious and exciting Danforth Educational Leadership Program at the UW. The hard thing for QAE is that not only is the program prestigious and exciting, it is also demanding. The requirements for internship hours simply made a part-time position at QAE unworkable. Or course we are excited for Melyssa and the opportunities this will bring her way but it is with great sadness we say goodbye after such a wonderful year.
It seems hard to believe that in one year we had so many student performances, the viral Seahawks video, Mrs. Kirch's goodbye, and the inspiration for our kids to sing in the halls, the car, the bath, anywhere they had the confidence to just bust out. Thank you so, so, much Melyssa!
You might be able to help--This position is currently advertised and it may be very difficult to fill as other schools are interviewing for music teachers and the district itself is hiring vocal music teachers to serve a number of schools awarded a grant to begin new programs. If you know of anyone with a teaching credential in music and an interest in our school please call them today and have them go online to the district Careers site to investigate.
Because I am about ready to head into the Swiss Alps in a few minutes this will be a very short post so I can introduce, briefly, new staff members and those with new responsibilities. As they are ready our new staff is posting their bios on our website so you can learn more about them there.
I want to thank our staff and parent volunteers who gave their time and energy to our many interview teams. It was a logistical feat that resulted in bringing some very special people to QAE.
Second grade: Laura Shaw and Kate Thibault
Laura is a Seattle native returning home after seven years in New York. Kate has interned the last two years in a unique internship program at Spruce St. School here in Seattle. They will made a wonderful new team with Jen in second grade.
Fifth grade: Sarah Goldman
Sarah is coming to us from Boston after working in a school with many similar traits we value at QAE. Her team is very excited to collaborate with her.
Resource Room: Slywia Johnson Mazur
Slywia is returning home to QAE after interning here several years ago. We are very happy to welcome her back.
Reading and Math Specialist: Laura Cooper and Lara Francisco
Laura and Lara will continue their fabulous work at QAE as certificated teachers.
Art: Elizabeth Arzani
Elizabeth is moving to QAE from Wedgwood Elementary when she taught art part-time. I predict we will we all remember the day we hired Elizabeth.
You will all have a chance to welcome them to our community. This was a very special experience this summer, finding these special teachers for our children and our staff.
Off to yodel!
Kristi Leland came to QAE on her birthday, just days before we opened our doors. She was truly our first teacher hired by our teachers and not by parents and me. I asked her to trust me and come set up her classroom before she got an official offer from our HR department and of course she did. We knew we had done a good thing hiring Kristi, we discovered we had hired a foundation builder for QAE.
She stole my heart forever when she knelt down in front of a Nyah C. on the second day of school and welcomed her with open arms and a suggestion she stay the day. I'm not sure what she was thinking of me because I had forgotten to tell her that I had invited Nyah to come for a visit until she was wrangling 25 kindergarteners and first graders in the door for the first time. That kindness and willingness to adjust has been apparent every single day during her five years at QAE.
Next year Kristi will be the librarian at Wedgwood Elementary in NE Seattle just blocks from her home. being a school librarian has been her dream for a few years and this means she will be leaving QAE. Just typing these words is painful but it is exciting to see her pursuing her passion. She will be a great librarian. She will be greatly missed.
This post is being done from Switzerland on my phone so please excuse formatting or other errors.
For those of you who don't know the young man pictured to the left his name is Alberto Pena and he is our College Tech onsite at QAE. This position is funded by our PTA and organized by Seattle Public Schools in partnership with area colleges. College Tech students work as part-time technology experts at schools while working toward a college degree. This is a fabulous program if you have the right student. We absolutely have the right student. Alberto is extremely knowledgeable, hard-working, caring, and able to work well with students and adults. He has been absolutely invaluable to our staff in managing our iPads, our desktops, our Wi-Fi, and everything else your kids and our teachers need to keep running every day. He does all this with a smile and passion.
I'm writing this today, first because you should know who Alberto is, and second because I'd like to help him find some work for the summer. Last year he was employed by our Department of Technology Services (DoTS) working on SPS technology issues. He was very valuable and I had a hard time convincing them he was coming back to QAE when we needed him. However--this summer DoTS did some sort of outsourcing of the work he expected and he needs work to support both school and his family. I offered to help with this effort.
Alberto provided a list of possibilities that I will share below but I will start with this--He is very capable with a wide variety of technology skills, so much so that he has been given much more responsibility than we expected when he was first hired. I would love for someone in our community to talk with him about the possibility of a paid internship or work that will allow him to further his skills in this area. He is an earnest, hard-working, personable, young man and I, and we, think very, very, highly of him.
That said, here is a list of what he has offered:
Dear QAE families,
I sent an email to staff today inviting them to a movie this coming Monday night, June 1st. I would like to extend the same to you.
I would like to encourage you to think about seeing a movie with me on Monday night at 7:00PM. This is a part of the Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF). It’s called Most Likely to Succeed and focuses on High Tech High in San Diego, a school that Joe Bailey-Fogarty and I had the privilege of visiting five years ago. I’ve seen the trailer and it convinced me we need to see this. Their solution? Project Based Learning…
Information from the Seattle Times and a link to the trailer is here and tickets are here.
My disclaimer is that I have only seen the trailer but those few minutes were very intriguing and worth an evening at the movie to see more.
After many years of welcoming new staff members as we've grown and grown we are saying goodbye this year to a number of our QAE staff family members. This is very, very, bittersweet for all of us. I have shared all this with our staff in the last 24 hours and now here with our full community. Here goes...
We also have some changes in classroom teaching and possibly more to come as SPS evaluates actual enrollment numbers vs. their projections. As of today those changes are:
Classroom configurations are also different than expected due to enrollment projections and the budget numbers those projections drive. These may change soon as a result of actual numbers. As of today:
These are very big changes for what used to be a small school, the staff changes mean a loss for us as a staff and as a school and the classroom changes mean new working relationships among staff. Certainly friendships will endure but relationships will change. We will too.
It is obvious that we will be hiring a very large number of new staff and our community plays a large role in that. I will let this information settle for today and inform you of the hiring process and our needs related to that tomorrow.
We have a wonderful new update on Little Mo, the son of Moses Masala who suffered serious burns while Moses was with us and necessitated his sudden return to Zambia. From Moses:
Subject: RE: Little Moses
Sorry about not keeping you posted.
Little Mo is doing quite well now. He is out of danger. All life supporting tubes (ventilator, oxygen and feeding tubes) have been removed. With some assistance he is able to walk from bed to the bathroom and to his wheelchair where he has been spending a lot of time watching movies these last few days.
Of course his wounds will take time to heal, but they are healing quite well. He needs some physiotherapy for them to heal in proper position which together with the cleaning of the wounds are quite painful activities. But he is a strong boy and coping quite well.
I left in a hurry and did not thank you all for your generosity with your time and resources. My heart warms up when I think of all the things you did for me and what you are doing for the people of Dwankhozi. God bless you my friends...
Please continue praying for little Mo.
Thank you my friends.
Joe Bailey Fogarty has a request to support his awesome Newspaper House project. From Joe:
Can you put out another plea this week for people to bring in newspapers for our Newspaper House project? Here are the requirements:
Teacher Appreciation QAE style is always an amazing experience. This year was no exception.
A few years back we decided to not do the individual appreciation days--Secretary's Day; Administrators Day; Nurses' Day; etc., in favor of one week for every staff member at QAE. This year we were treated to an amazing array of sweet and savory goods every single day all week, in both the Treehouse and the Brick. You can see the aftermath of just one day in my office in the Treehouse. In addition there were unique gifts for teachers and non-classroom staff. Your support is the most valuable gift you give every day but this is very, very, much appreciated. Individual student and parent notes with some personal goodies made for a complete feeling of support and care. We can't thank you enough--except that the collective weight gain for the week might be troubling. Exceptional goodness led to many an overindulgence.
Thank you, thank you!