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Principal's Message December 2022

December 2022 

Dear Northwood Families, 

As we enter the final month of the calendar year, I want to take this opportunity to thank the Northwood school community for your continued partnership. You have been so welcoming as I tackle this new leadership journey and I am so appreciative of your questions, thoughts, and support. I have found so much joy in this job so far. Your children are energetic, capable, hilarious, and joyful. Thank you for modeling and supporting resilience and flexibility for your children and for supporting and connecting with teachers to find solutions to challenges. I also want to express gratitude for the dedicated educators that I have the privilege of working alongside. They are amazing humans who work hard every day. This email includes the following content: 

Welcome, Ellen Marks!! 
Ellen Marks has joined our front office team as our new administrative assistant. She is filling the role vacated by Laura Fleury’s departure. She joins us after being in the front office at Island Park. Ellen is amazing! She is calm, warm, skilled, and talented. We hit the lottery when Ellen accepted the position. Please feel free to say hello and welcome her next time you are at Northwood. 

Parenting Corner 
As a parent, I am always researching in an effort to grow and make the most positive impact on my children. Sometimes I am an A+ parent and other times I clock in at a solid B-. Reading has always been my go-to learning strategy but I know that not everyone enjoys an article. Therefore I have added both articles and videos that may be of interest to you. 

Articles/Blogs Videos (Under7 minutes each)

How to Help a Child Struggling with Anxiety

NPR 10 Tips for Parenting Anxious Kids

6 Ways to Help Children Accept Difficult Emotions

How to Help Children Calm Down

Northwood Spirit Day: 
Friday is a Northwood Spirit Day! It is COZY AND COMFY DAY!

If your student would like to participate, please have them dress COZY AND COMFY! Students can wear pajamas, sweatpants, oversized sweatshirts, fluffy socks, soft hats, etc. Please make sure that your child does not come to school in slippers due to weather and safety. Please also leave stuffed animals and blankets at home! **Reminder: Friday is a half-day. Students will be dismissed at 12:15pm.** 

Weather Makeup Day: 
As you know, schools were closed two weeks ago due to inclement weather. This missed day of school will be made up on 3/20/23, the first weather makeup day on our school calendar. Please plan on school being in session on March 20, 2023. 

Highly Capable Testing: 
The Mercer Island School District offers appropriate instructional services to meet the needs of qualified elementary school highly capable students. Some students receive these services within the general education classroom and others may qualify for a different model. 

Parent Playground 
In order to be inclusive we are changing the name to: Grown-Up Recess and Lunch. I am happy to announce that it is returning in January! Grown-Up Recess will be on the first Friday of every month. Grown-up Recess is your opportunity to eat lunch with your child(ren) and then join in at lunch recess! It is a fun opportunity to see who your child is when they are away from home during some unstructured time. Please note: Adults must eat prior to coming or plan to bring their own lunch. Adults cannot purchase school lunch. 

There will be more information coming but here are the dates: 
January 6th (Kindergarten, First, and Second Grades) 
February 3rd (Third, fourth and fifth grade) 
March 3rd (K-2nd) 
April 7th (3rd-5th)
May 5th (K-2nd) 
June 2nd (3rd-5th) 

Volunteer paperwork must be completed prior to attending. See below for links. 

Please also make sure that you have filled out this Google Form: 


Principal Coffee
Now that the first trimester is over, I feel like I am able to take a breath and put a few connection pieces in place. I will be hosting the first Principal’s Connection on December 15 from 11:00-11:45am. All parents and caregivers are invited to hop onto an informal Zoom and connect with me. Please feel free to come and listen or bring questions and noticings for us to discuss. It is an open house format so stop by via Zoom as short or as long as you are able. 

Zoom link: 

Lost and Found 
As we move toward Winter Break, please prompt your child to check the Lost and Found for any items of clothing or lunch boxes that go missing over the next few weeks. Display tables will be set out in the front vestibule the week of December 13 to display remaining lost and found items and encourage them to find their way home. Please label your child’s clothing/lunch boxes, which makes it easier for these lost items to find their way back to the right child. Any remaining items will be donated at the end of the school day on December17. Thank you! 

Black Student Union
The MIHS Black Student Union is hosting a dinner for all of the families of color that identify as black or African-American in the school district. We would like to host it on the second Thursday of February during Black History Month, this is February 9th and it will be at the high school from 6-9. Any questions, please reach out to Kelly John-Lewis ( or Erica Hill ( 

COVID-19 Policies 
We no longer require volunteers or staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19 before performing work for the District. We also no longer require volunteers to wear masks outside of healthcare settings (like our health rooms) or when providing healthcare services. Volunteers who are returning to school on days 6-10 after testing positive for COVID-19 must also wear masks. In order to remove the mask requirement, 2 negative tests on days 6 and 7 would be required. 

The District reserves authority and may require staff, volunteers and even students to wear masks if an outbreak occurs, there is a marked rise in COVID-19 cases in the school/community, or the PHSKC gives us a direct order that all staff and students are required to wear a mask. 

All of that said, we strongly encourage people to wear face coverings when in close proximity to others irrespective of their vaccination status. We also note that vaccination is still a key line of defense against COVID-19.

Please know that volunteers may be sent home by District staff if they come to school to volunteer and are exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms (e.g. clearly ill) as we do not want to risk spreading illness within our school community. This is similar to us sending a student or staff member home who is clearly sick. 

General Volunteer Reminder 
Once you are cleared to volunteer (paperwork must be submitted 48 hours prior to a classroom visit), please don’t forget to bring your ID when coming to campus. A government issued ID is required to maintain a safe and secure environment for all students and staff. 

Volunteer paperwork and instructions can be found here: 

Mindfulness and Character Trait Focus 
Our Mindfulness and Character Trait instruction continues at Northwood. Each week, students are given a mindfulness challenge to practice. Each month's challenges can be found on our Northwood website here. For the month of December, we are reviewing with students the positive character traits we have learned about and practiced so far this year: Resilience, Cooperation, and Gratitude. Please consider ways you can continue the learning at home by discussing these traits, pointing them out when you see them in family and friends, and considering situations when practicing a given trait might be worthwhile. 

Upcoming Events and Dates of Note 

● 12/15/22: Soaring Owls' Nest Celebration 

● 12/16/22: Last day of school before Winter Break - 12:15pm dismissal 

● 12/19/21 - 1/2/23: No School - Winter Break 

● 01/03/23: School Resumes 

● 01/16/23: No School - Martin Luther King, Jr. Day 

● 01/30/23: No School - Teacher Professional Learning Day 

● 01/31/23: Incoming Kindergarten Information Night @ 6pm Northwood Commons (2023-24) 

The Northwood staff wishes all of our families a safe and healthy winter break filled with happiness. In keeping with our school-wide practice, we hope each of our Northwood students, grown-ups, and siblings take time throughout this Winter Break to be present, mindful, and heartful with whatever you are doing. 


Julie Newcomer