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    Welcome to Kindergarten at Whittier

    Kindergarten is the time to lay the building blocks for an enriching and productive experience as a student at Whittier and beyond. Our teachers work hard to cultivate a happy and safe learning community that inspires enthusiasm, curiosity, and excitement for every Kindergarten student.

    The information below provides a brief overview of the Kindergarten program at Whittier. Please be advised that details may change if we receive new information from Seattle Public Schools.

    Back to School Information

    • 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 5, 6 or 7, 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 10. The first day of school for all other grades will be Wednesday, September 5.

    • 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.

    • For back to school information as updates are made available, please consider joining the 2018-19 Kindergarten class Facebook page by searching “Whittier Elementary Class of 2024”. You are encouraged to send questions or concerns to the Outreach Coordinators at—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, which may be challenging (especially for working parents). 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, and paperwork and payments can be returned once classes are underway.

    General Information

    • Kindergarten students spend the fall learning routines (e.g., morning meeting, weather, class helper jobs, calendar, class snack) and understanding what is expected of them as members of their new class and school community.

    • Kindergarten teachers spend a lot of time working with their students to develop a sense of community by talking about, and demonstrating, concepts like respect, kindness, honesty and acceptance. They have regular class meetings where they learn to talk about feelings and practice conflict resolution skills.

    • Kindergarteners have three recesses (morning, lunch and afternoon). They eat lunch together in the cafeteria.

    • Kindergarteners attend library on a regular basis during which time they hear a story, practice browsing and check out a book. They also have PE, Performing Arts and Art, which they attend on an alternating basis.

    • Choice time is a chance for Kindergarteners to delve deeper into subject areas that are of particular interest to them and practice self-direction.

    • Each Kindergarten classroom has a computer area and a class library.


    More information for new Families

    The information below is intended to provide useful information to new families at Whittier. Please be advised that details may change if we receive new information from Seattle Public Schools or childcare providers.

    Communication – There are several venues for information regarding Whittier news and events, including the Whittier website, grade-level Facebook pages, 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. During the school year, the PTA emails a weekly newsletter, the WildChat, to subscribing parents on Wednesdays. You can join the WildChat email list from the Whittier homepage. Please also 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

    Daily Schedule & Classroom Assignments – Seattle Public Schools has finalized bell schedules for the 2018-19 school year. Whittier’s school day will begin at 7:55am and end at 2:25pm. In addition, the 2018-19 district calendar includes a weekly early release on Wednesdays, when students will be released 75 minutes early, at 1:10pm in support of teacher collaboration and instructional planning. 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 visit the Whittier 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 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; 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 them 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.

    Lunch – 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.

    Recess – Kindergarteners have three recesses each day. Students in first through fifth grades 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: -Whittier Kids (onsite) -Ballard Boys & Girls Club -Illumination Learning Studio -Washington Karate Association -Kids U (YMCA program held at the Phinney Center)

    Transportation – 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.

    Volunteer Opportunities – 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 Coordinator at Whittier also makes regular calls for volunteers through the WildChat newsletter and the school website. All volunteers must complete required forms, available in the office and on the school 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 and eligibility testing—the student referral window is currently open and there are strict testing deadlines and enrollment policies to follow. More information about testing and programs can be found at: > Students > Advanced Learning.

    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. 29, 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 Friday, Sept. 7. Kindergartners meet teachers and visit the classroom; older students have Q&A and a school tour with staff. Please visit the Whittier website, join your class Facebook page, and/or provide us with your email address for event updates.

    2018 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 12, 19 & 26 and Wednesdays – 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm – August 16, 23 & 30 

    Important Dates

    -Sept. 5 – 14 School Supply Drive (to benefit our sister school Bailey Gatzert)

    -Sept. 14 Back-to-School Potluck and Family Movie Night
    -Oct. 26 Fall Carnival

    Read more about Kindergarten at Seattle Public Schools.

    Make sure your child is registered!