Skip To ContentSkip To Content

    Basic Information About Whittier


    Our Family Handbook (PDF) contains important and helpful information about Whittier Elementary, including more detailed information about the topics below.


    Attendance is a parent and student responsibility. Please contact the school office by telephone, email, or written notice when your child will be late or absent.

    If your child is not in class when daily attendance is recorded, and you have not provided notification about the absence, you will be notified and your student will be marked with an unexcused absence. 

    After 10 late arrivals (tardies), a letter will go home alerting the family and offering support to assist with on-time arrival at school. After seven unexcused absences in a month's time or ten unexcused absences during the school year, your child will be eligible for a petition with Seattle Public Schools Truancy Office.

    For more detailed attendance policy information, including an overview of excused and unexcused absences and tardies, please read Whittier's Attendance Policy and/or review the Whittier Family Handbook

    Release of Students During the School Day
    Please provide advance notification to the school if your student must be dismissed before the end of the school day. In general, students will be released only to the persons designated by the parent/guardian on the student’s emergency contact forms. If your child is being released to someone who is not listed on their emergency contact form, please send a signed note to the main office. Children being picked up before 2:25pm (or 1:10pm on Wednesdays) will be dismissed ONLY from the front office (not from the classroom) after being signed out by a responsible adult.

    Bell Schedule

    School Hours (M, T, TH, F):  7:55 a.m. - 2:25 p.m.
    Early Release Wednesday*: 7:55 a.m. - 1:10 p.m.
    *Except on the very first day of school.


    Meal Information

    Whittier's cafeteria offers breakfast and lunch. Checkout News from the Lunchroom 2018-2019.

    Breakfast and lunch menus are planned by Seattle Public Schools. Visit the Nutrition Services page on the SPS website for access to school meal calendars and resources. In addition to the entrees, a full salad bar is always available — full of fresh veggies (local, if possible).

    Children may purchase meals on a daily basis, or may pre-pay by check (payable to Nutrition Services) or credit card through PayPams, an online and phone payment system (convenience fee is "$1.95 per student transaction"). Breakfast is $2.00, lunch is $3.00, and milk is $0.50 (prices subject to change). Students are issued a lunchroom ID number that tracks purchases electronically. When balances are low, Ms. Jo will send a message home with your child; if you use PayPams, you can check balances online and receive low balance reminders. Schools are not permitted to extend credit to students.

    Questions about food service at Whittier, including the federally-funded free and reduced-price lunch program, should be directed to our Lunchroom Manager, Ms. Jo-Nell Simonian; she can be reached at 206-252-1687 or (or stop by the lunchroom). 

    Whittier provides paper bags for hot lunch students who would like to take appropriate foods back to class or home for a snack later in the day. If sending lunch from home, please practice opening difficult containers and packaged food times with your child.

    Please review these cafeteria rules with your child:

    • Be responsible for cleaning your area.
    • Dispose of compost, recycling, and garbage in the appropriate containers.
    • Return trays gently to the cafeteria counter.
    • Use inside voices and appropriate table manners.
    • Remain at your table until excused by a cafeteria supervisor.
    • Do not share food.

    Specialist Schedules: What are A, B, and C Days? 

    In addition to homeroom and math studies, Whittier’s curriculum includes three "Specialist" (or "PCP") classes: Physical Education, Art, and Performing Arts. These classes are scheduled on a two-day rotation (e.g., one cycle = two days of PE, two days of Performing Arts, two days of Art, repeat). To keep track of this schedule, days are labeled A, B, or C.  

    2018-2019 A/B/C PCP Specialists Classroom


    Recess provides children an opportunity to take a break from their work, enjoy fresh air, and socialize with friends. We believe students benefit from time outdoors, so outside recess is held even in mild conditions (e.g., light rain); an "indoor" recess is held in the case of hard rain. Please provide your child with appropriate clothing for wet and cold conditions.

    Whittier has created a list of Recess Rules to help ensure safety on the playground. Please review these rules with your child.

    Before and After School

    Morning Drop-off
    In the morning, children wait on the playground until the bell rings at 7:55am. At the bell, each classroom lines up in a specific location and waits for their teacher to lead them into the building. If it is raining during drop-off, students in grades Kindergarten through 2nd will meet their teachers in the cafeteria; students in grades 3rd through 5th will meet their teachers outside under the covered area.

    Afternoon Pick-up
    Upon dismissal, students leave the building at designated exits. In order to reduce congestion in the halls, adults are asked to wait outside to meet their children on the playground. If your child rides the bus, see the Bus Transportation information below. 

    Children must be accompanied by an adult inside and outside the building after school hours. The doors to the building are locked at 4:00 p.m. 

    Playground Supervision
    Before-school playground supervision begins at 7:35 a.m. (School starts at 7:55 a.m.) Students should not enter the school building before 7:55 a.m. unless they are participating in before-school activities or going to the cafeteria for breakfast. 

    Students are dismissed for the day at 2:25 p.m. everyday except for Wednesday, when there is early dismissal at 1:10 p.m. There is no Whittier staff supervision after school hours; children on the playground after school hours must be accompanied by an adult. Please refer to the Recess Rules to respect our playground and help our students stay safe.


    Student health services are designed to help children be ready to learn. Whittier’s School Nurse, Ms. Joan McDonagh, is at Whittier three days a week (Tuesday, Thursday and Friday). First aid is routinely provided for minor injuries. In case of serious injury or illness, parents are notified immediately. Vision and hearing screening is provided to every student each fall. Nurse Joan can be reached at 206-252-1697.

    When To Stay Home
    To help you determine if your child is too sick to go to school, click here.

    Whenever possible, we encourage medication doses to be scheduled during non-school hours. For those students who need medication during school hours, please click here (scroll down to "Medication at School") to read the Washington State law requirements and complete the "Authorization for Medications to be Taken at School" form (PDF).


    The Whittier Safety Committee meets monthly and is comprised of staff and a parent representative. Each meeting includes a discussion of important safety topics, such as improving our drills and reviewing supplies for emergency preparedness. 

    For more information on earthquake safety, visit:

    For ideas about preparing for earthquakes and other natural disasters, visit:
    City of Seattle Emergency Management

    Emergency Comfort Kits

    To be more prepared for an unforeseen emergency, we seek to to have an Emergency Comfort Kit at school for every student. Kits should contain items necessary to cover basic needs, such as warmth, nourishment, personal hygiene, and emotional support. We ask families to provide these materials if possible — please see this list to help you gather your items. Kits should be turned in to the student's teacher.