Arbor Heights Elementary

Arbor Heights

Community Update — Feb. 14, 2024

Community Update • Arbor Heights • February 14, 2024

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Important Dates:

  • February 19-23: No School in observance of Presidents’ Day and Mid-winter Break
  • March 5: Islandwood Environmental 5th Grade Camp Forms and Tuition Due
  • March 8: Classroom Picture Day (Yuen Lui)
  • March 28: 2nd Grade Field Trip to the U of W Botanical Gardens 9:10-1:00

Class Picture Day Information from Yuen Lui Studio: We will photograph class group photos at Arbor Heights on Friday, March 8.

  • Students who are present at the time of their group photo will be pictured in their class group photos; students who are absent at the time of their photo will be listed as not pictured. 
  • There is no need to order at this time. Anyone who placed a portrait order will receive one 8×10 class group print as a part of that order. We will share a link to order class group prints after the after the images are processed for anyone who would like to order class group images. 

Arbor Heights’ Advanced Learning Opportunities (ALO)

Classroom Differentiation. At Arbor Heights Elementary, we have high expectations for all students, and we know that each will be challenged by the rigor and depth of our curriculum. To that end, Arbor Heights follows an inclusion model in which teachers differentiate instruction for all students. Current research shows that inclusion is generally best educational practice for all learners, including advanced learners, especially in math. An inclusion model is also consistent with the Seattle Public Schools’ Strategic Plan focus on “undoing legacies of racism in public education.” The following are various strategies we use to meet the needs of all learners, including those identified as advanced either by their teachers or district testing.

ALO Math Strategies: Arbor Heights utilizes the enVision Math 2020 curriculum, which builds conceptual understanding through a combination of problem-based and visual learning strategies. Teachers implement differentiated instruction in varied groups: whole class, small group, partners, and individual. Listed below are instructional strategies used at Arbor Heights (note that not every strategy will be used in every classroom):

  • Parallel Tasks. All students work on the same core content with tasks of different complexity.
  • Curriculum Compacting. Use assessment to determine student skill level in a core content area. Then eliminate or enhance parts of the curriculum based on instructional need.
  • Flexible Groups. Students are grouped by interest, achievement, activity preference, or specific instructional needs.
  • Math Centers and Games. Activities in small groups based on student choice or teacher designation.
  • Small Group Instruction. Teacher works with a small group of students on a targeted learning goal. 
  • Tiered Assignments. Adjusted degrees of difficulty of a question, task, or product to match student’s current readiness level.
  • Open Questions. A question framed in such a way that a variety of responses/approaches are possible. 
  • Targeted Questioning.Teacheris intentional about depth of questions asked. All students are asked questions that require critical thinking at a level that is challenging for them, and all students benefit from hearing their peers’ thinking.

ALO Reading Strategies: The strategies listed above are also adapted for use in reading instruction. We use a wide variety of reading materials from our classroom and school libraries, Collaborative Classroom Mentor texts, teacher read-aloud, and content area reading. Classroom groupings include:

  • Flexible Leveled Reading Groups (K-3).Utilizing the Collaborative Classroom curriculum, students are placed in groups by current reading level to ensure appropriate instruction and reading materials. Groups can change as students’ reading skills develop.  
  • Literature Groups (3-5). A group of students read the same book.  They ask peer questions, discuss major themes, study vocabulary, and analyze author’s purpose and style. 
  • Independent Reading. Each student will have an opportunity for self-selected reading during the school day to develop reading fluency and get in the habit of reading.
  • Support for Students in Selecting Appropriate Books. Teacher will guide students in choosing just-right books for independent reading. (Criteria include instructional level, high interest reading, and student choice.)

Teachers may also use the following differentiated approaches to support the ALO Reading Strategies above:

  • Reading Logs. Students keep a reading record to allow both student & teacher to monitor choices.
  • Independent Book Study Projects. Opportunities for students to explore a topic of interest to them.
  • Book Reports (2-5). Depth of student analysis and comprehension is appropriate to student reading level.  
  • Response to Literature. Opportunities for students to demonstrate understanding by using text to make connections and support thinking. Projects could include art, drama, writing, reports, or other presentations.
  • Extension Menus. Developed in conjunction with members of a grade level team, students choose an option from a predetermined “menu” of options (or propose an alternate option) that allows them to demonstrate and extend their learning.

 For more information about Advanced Learning Opportunities, please visit the Seattle Public Schools Department of Advanced Learning.

Homework Policy

We believe that all children K-5 benefit from a rich reading life at home. We encourage at least 20 minutes of daily reading, which can be a combination of looking at picture books, reading with an adult, reading independently, or other reading activities. 

Brain research also shows that repeated exposure to math concepts is beneficial. As a result, we want students to do some math work at home as well. That can be something the teacher sends home that matches the day’s lesson, or it can be something that a family chooses–playing go fish, counting coins, working on math facts, playing chess, talking about time, playing dice games, puzzle completion for problem-solving, etc. You can find additional ideas for supporting your mathematician at home by visiting SPS’s elementary math family support page online. Rich resources especially designed for elementary mathematicians and their families are also available online at the SPS website.

Special Projects–Sometimes a teacher will assign special projects at school that require a little prep work at home. Examples include interviewing a family member, thinking of ideas for a STEM or visual arts project, exploring garden ideas, tackling a physical education goal, etc.

How long should homework take?

  • 20 minutes of reading for K-1
  • 20 minutes of reading 2-3
  • 20 minutes of reading 4-5

Teachers at Arbor Heights want to work with families so that children and parents are enjoying learning at home, and we are open to alternate assignments. Please talk to your child’s teacher if you have questions.

Arbor Heights PTSA Information

How To Support your Children and Our Teachers ~ Ways YOU Can Support the Spring Auction

Did you know that the Arbor Heights Elementary PTSA Spring Auction is our largest fundraiser of the year? Proceeds from this event allow us to support the school, students, and staff in various ways that make Arbor Heights Elementary a fun and engaging place to learn.You can help support this year’s Spring Auction on April 20, 2024, in the following ways:

  • Attend the Spring Auction! Purchase your tickets online and dust off your cowboy boots because this year’s theme is Wild Wild West, promising a night filled with live music, fundraising, and honky tonk fun.  Can’t attend? You can still make a monetary donation without purchasing a ticket.
  • Donate! An item, an experience, wine, or a monetary donation.
  • Class Project Coordinators! Class projects are essential to the Spring Auction and getting the students involved. We are still seeking a class project coordinator(s) for the following classrooms below. If you have a child in one of these classes, please contact Heather Nordlund if you would like to volunteer. Need some project ideas or inspiration? Check out some examples from last year’s auction.
Ms. CoghillMs. McAlpin
Ms. CombsMs. Miller
Ms. CrowellMs. Nall
Ms. DayMs. Parsons
Ms. DunbarMs. Rubesch
Ms. GardinerMs. Sheed
Ms. GerhardtMs. Spiegel
Ms. GoldenMr. Tayler
Mr. GonzalezMr. Van Straten
Mr. KratzMs. West
Ms. Lortz 

Popcorn Friday

We’re on the lookout for two more enthusiastic individuals to lend a hand in bagging and distributing popcorn on February 16, 2024.  Sign up now!