Information for New Families: What to Expect
Below is some helpful information about Whittier; the first section is specific to incoming Kindergarten families, the second section applies to everyone. You might also check out the Back To School page (under the "News" tab), where we post things like School Supply lists and morning line-up information (when available).
Information for Kindergarten Families
For the first time, Seattle Public Schools is offering teacher/family visits, called “Family Connections”, to every kindergarten family in the district. The goal of the Family Connections visit, to be held on September 7, 8, or 9, is to provide one-on-one time for the teacher to learn more about your family and your child. In order for these visits to occur, all kindergarten students will start school on Monday, September 12. The first day of school for all other grades will be Wednesday, September 7.
In August, your child’s teacher will contact you to schedule your 30- to 40-minute Family Connections visit. These visits are intended for the student and parent(s)/guardian(s). We know that finding childcare may be challenging for those three days, particularly with older kids in school, and wanted to let you know as early as possible so that you can plan ahead.
Stay in Touch
For back to school information as updates are made available, please consider joining the 2016-17 Kindergarten class Facebook page by searching “Whittier Elementary Class of 2022” and/or signing up for the Whittier WildChat. You are encouraged to send questions or concerns to the Outreach Coordinators — we will do our best to provide answers and/or put you in touch with the appropriate staff member at Whittier.
There are several daytime back-to-school and welcome events for new families — see items 11 and 12 under “Information for Everybody” below. These events may be challenging to attend, especially for working parents or families with childcare needs. Be assured that these community events are optional and there is no penalty if you are not able to attend. For example, class assignments are mailed to you if you are unable to attend Fill Us In (see below), and paperwork and payments can be returned once classes are underway.
We've put together some general information about Kindergarten at Whittier.
Information for Everybody
There are several venues for information regarding Whittier news and events, including this website, grade-level Facebook pages (see below), direct emails distributed by classroom parent representatives, KidMail (fliers sent home in your child’s folder), and the Principal’s Paw Print, a monthly newsletter from Principal Schweitzer sent home via KidMail. In addition, during the school year the PTA emails a weekly newsletter, the WildChat, to subscribing parents on Thursdays. Join the WildChat email list here.
Please consider providing your email address to the Whittier Outreach Coordinators so they may contact you with important news and updates over the summer. You can also reach the Outreach Coordinators with questions at email@example.com.
If you are on Facebook, we encourage you to join the class Facebook page for your child’s grade:
Kindergarten: Whittier Elementary Class of 2022
1st grade: Whittier Elementary Class of 2021
2nd grade: Whittier Elementary Class of 2020
3rd grade: Whittier Elementary Class of 2019
4th grade: Whittier Elementary Class of 2018
5th grade: Whittier Elementary Class of 2017
6th grade: Whittier Elementary Class of 2016
Daily Schedule & Classroom Assignments
During the 2016-17 school year, Whittier’s school day will begin at 7:55 am and end at 2:05 pm. The school day schedule and classroom assignments are dependent on information from Seattle Public Schools, including enrollment figures that often fluctuate through the Spring and Summer. Details will be communicated as they are finalized. To receive school information and updates as they become available, please check the "News" section of this website, join your class Facebook page, and/or provide us with your email address and we will add you to our distribution list.
Drop Off & Pick Up
In the morning, children wait on the playground for the first bell to ring and then join their class in the designated line. Line locations will be communicated over the summer. We suggest that you walk your child to the designated line to meet his or her teacher on the first day of school. Your child’s teacher will escort the students into the building each day. Please note that K-2 students should report to the cafeteria on rainy days; grade 3-5 students should remain outside under the covered area UNLESS they have before school recreation or another activity.
For pick up, please wait on the playground until your child exits the building. If your child rides the bus, staff members will escort her or him to the bus. Staff members will have each student’s bus information and will help him or her learn the bus routine. Please send a note with your child if there is a change in dismissal plans.
For children bringing lunch from home, we encourage parents to pack nutritious foods in easy-to-open containers. If your child will be purchasing breakfast and/or lunch at school, there are a variety of convenient ways to pay for school meals. Checks and cash are accepted by the lunchroom manager, either as a pre-paid deposit to a student account or for purchasing individual meals and drinks. Please make checks payable to Nutrition Services. Parents can also pay for meals online or by phone using PayPams.
Kindergartners have three recesses each day. Students in grades 1-5 have two recesses each day.
Lost & Found
We encourage all families to label their kids’ outerwear, lunch boxes, and water bottles with a last name or identifying sticker. If your child loses an item at school, there is a rack for lost & found items located in the school lobby by the doors to the playground. If you don’t find your item right away, check back – it may take several days for items to show up.
Before & After-School Childcare
There are several popular options for before & after-school childcare providing transportation to and/or from Whittier. There are also occasional before- and after-school programs offered at Whittier.
Students who live within the Whittier attendance area but outside the designated walk boundaries are eligible for district transportation. District transportation is not provided for students who, by parent/student choice, have enrolled in a school other than their assigned school. Questions regarding school buses should be directed to the Transportation Department at 206-252-0900.
There are many opportunities to get involved at Whittier. Each teacher uses classroom volunteers differently. Many of the classroom volunteer opportunities begin in October or November, and will be coordinated by your child’s teacher. If you are interested in learning about volunteer opportunities beyond your child’s classroom, please contact the Whittier PTA Volunteer Coordinators at firstname.lastname@example.org. Whittier also makes regular calls for volunteers through the WildChat newsletter, and this website.
All volunteers must complete required forms, available in the office and on this website, and be approved by the district before they begin any volunteer work at the school.
Advanced Curriculum Opportunities
Seattle Public Schools offers several services and programs for students who meet eligibility requirements for an advanced curriculum. Please visit the district website to learn more about the available programs—there are strict testing deadlines and enrollment policies to follow. More information about testing and programs can be found online (SeattleSchools.org > Students > Academics > Advance Learning).
2016 Back-to-School Events
Save the dates for two back-to-school events.
Fill Us In: complete paperwork, make payments, receive teacher assignments, and join classmates on the playground on Wednesday, Aug. 31, from 2:30 pm – 6:30 pm (2:30 pm – 3:30 pm NEW FAMILIES ONLY).
Whittier Wildcat Welcome: new students are invited to this annual event on Tuesday, Sept. 6 (time TBA). Kindergartners meet teachers and visit the classroom; older students have a Q&A and a school tour with staff. More details will be available soon — please watch for updates on this website, your class's Facebook page, and/or provide us with your email address for event updates.
Additional Summer and Fall Events
Summer Playground Play Dates
New families are invited to join veteran Whittier parents and students to learn more about Whittier.
Saturdays – 10:30 am to 12:00 pm, August 13, 20, & 27
Wednesdays – 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm, August 17, 24, & 31
Additional Important Dates
Sept. 7 – 16 School Supply Drive (to benefit our sister school Bailey Gatzert)
Sept. 12 First Day Jitters (new parent coffee/tea offered in the cafeteria after drop-off)
Sept. 16 Back-to-School Potluck and Family Movie Night
Oct. 24 – 28 Food Drive (to benefit Ballard Food Bank)
Oct. 28 Fall Carnival
The Wildchat is the Whittier PTA's weekly newsletter during the school year, emailed to all group recipients on Thursdays, as well as special event reminders on an as-needed basis.
To join the email list, please click here: Join WildChat Email List