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    Frequently Asked Questions about Magnolia Elementary 

    (posted 4/19/19)

    Will there be 5th graders at Magnolia Elementary next year?

    Yes! We just had our first neighborhood 5th grader opt in, which has allowed us to move our wait list for 5th grade. The school board grandfathered MES neighborhood 5th grade students and their siblings to stay at Lawton and Blaine. If any of these students fill out a school choice form between now and May 31st, they will be assigned to MES.

    (posted 4/15/19) 

    Will there be ELL services at Magnolia?

    Yes! We are so excited about Natalie Pret, our newly hired ELL teacher. Natalie is a native Spanish speaker who is currently serving students receiving ELL services at Roxhill Elementary.

    Will Magnolia have an on-site before and after school child care?
    Yes! Our child care selection committee is currently going through a formal selection process with SPS and the City of Seattle to select an on-site child care provider. We will be completing our selection process by the end of April. Once identified, the provider will be communicating registration information directly with MES families. It is possible that this provider will also be able to run our after-school enrichment classes for all MES students.

    If a MES neighborhood family filled out a choice form to stay at their current school because they did not know what services Magnolia Elementary would have (ELL, Special Ed, on-site child care) can they opt back in? How?
    Yes. Neighborhood students are guaranteed a seat. If they fill out a choice form with the enrollment office, they will be assigned to MES.

    Where will the Magnolia Elementary teachers come from?   
    In November, a Magnolia Elementary hiring committee hired four classroom teachers and a Special Education teacher to serve on the Magnolia Lead Team. In January, the Lead Team hired a Librarian, an Administrative Secretary and a PE teacher. In April, the Lead Team hired 8 classroom teachers, an Art teacher, an Access teacher, a .4 ELL teacher, a .2 Intervention teacher, 3 Special Education instructional assistants, an .5 office assistant. As a staff, we are SO excited to meet our students and their families! Our new hires are providing bios soon. Check them out on our profile page www.seattleschools/magnolia.

    What grades will the teachers you have hired will be teaching?
    Our enrollment may increase between now and May 31st, which is the deadline for neighborhood families who are assigned to other schools to turn in choice forms to attend Magnolia. Because of this, we will not make our final class configurations and teaching assignments until early June.

    Will visual art be part of the curriculum and will there be an art teacher? 
    Will there be music classes and a dedicated music teacher? 

    Music and Art teachers are called specialist teachers and are currently funded in schools based on a ratio of 0.5 Specialist Teacher per 4 classrooms. When Magnolia is full (with 24 classrooms) we will have 3 specialist teachers who will teach PE, Music and Art. Classroom spaces are being built for all of these important classes. Next year, we are projected to have 13 classrooms. This enrollment has allowed us to hire a PE teacher and an Art teacher. Students will get to learn from each of these specialists during the year. As our student population grows, we will be able to add a Music teacher to our staff and provide this instruction for our students.

    Will there be 5th graders at Magnolia Elementary next year?
    Currently, no neighborhood 5th graders have been assigned to MES, as the school board grandfathered these students and their siblings to stay at Lawton and Blaine. If any of these students fill out a school choice form between now and May 31st, they will be assigned to MES and we will have 5th graders.

    Has the PTA been set up? Will there be a fund-raising effort before the fall of 2019 to fund programs for the students in the 2019-2020 school year? 
    The MES PTA has been established and is getting ready to take on all the PTA responsibilities like fundraising and community building etc. You can connect with the Magnolia PTA on the MES Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/2203878073066058/


    (posted 2/12/19)

    Will there be instrumental music for 4th and 5th graders?
    The district will provide us with an Elementary Instrumental Music (EIM) teacher a half a day a week. This program gives intermediate students the opportunity to start learning an instrument. Priority is given to 5th grade students, but for our first year we anticipate that our 4th grade students will also have access to this learning.

    Are there any plans for a drive up drop off and/or pickup?
    The physical location of Magnolia Elementary presents some dense neighborhood challenges that we will all need to navigate. We will be creating specific drop off and pick up plans that will help us navigate these challenges while prioritizing the safety of our students. We are currently looking for family members interested in joining a work group to start this planning with school staff. If you are interested in participating, please send your name to Principal Cryan Leary (ktcryan@seattleschools.org).

    Do you have an idea of what the typical class size will be? 
    The class sizes for all Seattle Public Schools are based on district teacher funding ratios, which are set in the spring by the district and depend on the projected budget for the upcoming year. (For more information about this year’s funding ratios, see School Funding Models on the SPS website.) Magnolia's K - 4th grade classes will be considered full when the teacher funding ratio is met. We are anticipating that our 5th grade student numbers may be lower because no 5th grade students will be assigned. However, because our teacher funding will be determined using this ratio, this will not result in a smaller 5th grade class size. If we do have a small number of 5th graders, we will need to consider options for split classes.

    If you do not live in the Magnolia Elementary boundary but want to opt in, will busing be available?
    Because Magnolia is an assignment school, it is not clear yet whether seats will be available for students living outside of the boundaries to opt in to. Families interested in opting in can fill out a choice form during open enrollment, but may or may not receive this assignment. If you are assigned to Magnolia but do not live in the boundary, you will not be eligible to receive district transportation.

    What will Magnolia Elementary bell times be?
    We will be on the SPS elementary bell schedule, starting at 7:55 am and ending at 2:25 pm.


    (posted 1/23/19)

    Will students who are currently attending an option school but live within the Magnolia Elementary boundaries be assigned to Magnolia Elementary? 
    No. Students who live in the Magnolia boundary and currently attend an option school will not be assigned to Magnolia Elementary. If they want to attend Magnolia Elementary, families need to fill out a choice form during open enrollment and they will be guaranteed a seat. Seattle Public Schools Open Enrollment is from February 4th – 15th.

    Can students who live in the boundaries and have been grandfathered to stay at Lawton or Blaine (rising 5th graders or siblings) make a choice to attend Magnolia Elementary?
    Yes. If students living in the Magnolia Elementary boundary who have been grandfathered to stay at Lawton or Blaine want to attend Magnolia Elementary, families need to fill out a choice form during open enrollment and they will be guaranteed a seat. Seattle Public Schools Open Enrollment is from February 4th – 15th.

    What will Magnolia Elementary’s Advanced Learning Opportunities look like?
    We are in the process of developing a program that is differentiated in all areas to meet the academic and social learning needs of all of our learners. Our goal is to deliver strong, standards-aligned academic instruction using engaging and relevant instructional strategies (such as Project-Based Learning) that will deepen the academic and social and emotional learning skills and concepts we teach. 

    We want to provide all of our students interested in stretching their academic content knowledge with opportunities to do so while also helping them deepen their conceptual understanding and confidently apply their content knowledge in real-world situations.

    Will my student have access to Algebra in 8th grade?
    We aware of the 8th grade Algebra access concerns. Our goal is to set up a math program at Magnolia Elementary that will provide all of our 5th graders with the rational number content they need to enter 6th grade prepared for Algebra in 8th grade, regardless of what middle school they attend.

    We are asking the district for permission to purchase a Math curriculum that will allow us to provide students with assessment-based individualized learning paths for skills acquisition. In addition to this self-paced skills instruction, students will learn the mathematical practice standards and will spend time engaging with their peers in collaborative, project-based learning opportunities to apply and deepen their understanding of these skills and standards. 

    What is the building Phase 2 plan?
    Magnolia Elementary School Phase 2 is an extension of the new classroom wing to the north which will add six classrooms, three on each floor. Original funding for the school modernization did not include these classrooms because of the uncertainty of K-3 class size reduction and its implementation at Seattle Public Schools at the time. In anticipation of its implementation, Capital Projects and Planning applied for a Distressed Schools Grant from Washington State to fund construction of the additional classrooms. Capital Projects and Planning made every effort to coordinate with the State to receive the Distressed Schools Grant funding so that there would only be one project constructed under one phase. Unfortunately, the State of Washington did not approve our funding request until January of 2018. The second phase is literally all about the timing of the grant approval. 

    We are grateful to have received a grant of $4,300,000 as it places Magnolia Elementary School much closer to the quantity of K-5 general education classrooms identified in our elementary educational specifications dated May 31, 2016 for 500 student schools. See attached link: Elementary School Educational Specifications (2016)  for our elementary school educational specifications.  We can now provide 24 of the requested 25 general education classrooms. It should be further noted that we are providing more Special Education classrooms at Magnolia Elementary School than identified in the elementary educational specifications after consultation with our Special Education Department staff who have revised their program offerings due to the requirement to fulfill a federal program obligation.
    Phase 2 is currently in the design phase. Bidding is scheduled to occur in the fall 2019 with construction commencing in January 2020. The project is to be completed for move-in during winter break in December 2020. The school will remain occupied during construction.


    (posted 1/10/19)

    What will the Magnolia Elementary boundaries be?
    The Seattle Public Schools School Board approved Magnolia boundaries on January 9th. For the most updated boundaries information, please visit the Magnolia Elementary Boundaries website.

    Where will the Magnolia Elementary teachers come from? 
    In November, a Magnolia Elementary hiring committee hired five teachers to serve on the Magnolia Lead Team. To meet our Lead Team, visit our Staff Bio page. Lead Team teachers will continue teaching in their current schools this year while also co-creating plans for Magnolia Elementary with Principal Cryan Leary.

    Currently, the Lead Team is interviewing applicants to fill our Librarian, Administrative Secretary and PE Teacher positions. We look forward to introducing these new staff members to you soon!

    After these initial staff positions are filled, staff will be hired following the hiring procedures that all Seattle Public Schools follow. In late February, after boundary decisions are made and open enrollment closes, Magnolia will receive a budget and staffing allocation based on our projected enrollment. All open staff positions will be posted during the district’s first phase of hiring. During this stage, only internal candidates currently holding a similar SPS position will be eligible to apply. Because the students coming to Magnolia will be coming from Lawton and Blaine, we anticipate that candidates from both schools will apply for our open positions along with candidates from other schools. We will make hiring decisions that we feel will best meet the needs of our students. If we have positions that are still open after the first internal phase of hiring is over, we will be able to post our positions externally and consider candidates not currently employed by SPS.

    If you would like to participate as a Magnolia family member on one of our Interview Teams, please send your name to Principal Cryan Leary (ktcryan@seattleschools.org). If you have not had the Interview Training provided by Seattle Public Schools and the Seattle Education Association, you will need to do so before being invited to participate.

    Will parents have opportunities to give input to the planning of Magnolia Elementary?
    Yes! Our goal is to provide a welcoming environment for all families. A part of that is providing family members with meaningful opportunities to be involved, give input and provide feedback. We will be developing more detailed plans and calendars for how this involvement will look next year. For now, here are a few ways you can get involved:

    Information Night - Attend our first community gathering on February 5th at 6:30pm in the Blaine K-8 Cafeteria. We will introduce staff hired to date, share the work that our Lead Team is doing, walk through the timelines for Phase 1 and Phase 2 building renovations and introduce the parent leaders working to establish our PTA.

    Building Leadership Team - In early spring, the Lead Team will work with the PTA to identify two family members to serve on our first Building Leadership Team (BLT). If you are interested in being considered for this role, please send your name to Principal Cryan Leary (ktcryan@seattleschools.org).

    Before and After School Care Selection Committee - A Magnolia Before and After School Care Selection Committee, made up of staff and family members, will be working with the district and city to select an organization to provide this service at Magnolia Elementary. If you would like to be considered for this committee, please send your name to Principal Cryan Leary (ktcryan@seattleschools.org).

    Arts Grant Selection Committee - The Washington State Arts Commission (ArtsWA) Board approved a public art project for Magnolia Elementary School. ArtsWA’s Art in Public Places program will work directly with a school committee to envision a project for the school, select an artist, and see the final artwork through from design to installation. We are looking for a Magnolia student, community member or parent and a professional artist to join this committee. If you would like to be considered, please send your name to Principal Cryan Leary (ktcryan@seattleschools.org).

    Student Safety Committee - As we move into our new building and navigate Phase 2 of our building renovations, we will need to proactively work as adults to implement safe drop off, pick up and recess safety plans. If you are interested in being considered for this committee, please send your name to Principal Cryan Leary (ktcryan@seattleschools.org).

    When a PTA is started, will there be a fund-raising effort before the fall of 2019 to fund programs for the students in the 2019-2020 school year?
    The Lawton and Blaine PTA leaders have been discussing how they can formally support the start of Magnolia's PTA and have plans for some "seed funding" fundraising this year. Two Magnolia Elementary parents are also working with the state PTA organization to officially set up a Magnolia Elementary PTA. They will be introduced at our February 5th Information Night and provided with time to share the work they are doing and recruit other family members interested in getting involved.

    Will there be after-school classes for the students (at a cost to the parents) generated and sponsored by the PTA?  If so, will they be up and running for the fall of 2019?
    We hope so! Having these programs in place requires dedicated volunteers willing to plan and run them. If you are interested in leading this work, please send your name to Principal Cryan Leary (ktcryan@seattleschools.org).

    Will there be a third party before and after school care program associated with the school (for parents who work full time)?
    We are working with SPS and the City of Seattle to set up onsite before and after school care at Magnolia Elementary. We are looking for family members to serve on the selection committee. We will also be gathering a list of families who would like to use this service at our first information night on February 5th.

    Will visual art be part of the curriculum and will there be an art teacher?
    Will there be music classes and a dedicated music teacher?

    Music and Art teachers are called specialist teachers and are currently funded in schools based on a ratio of 0.5 Specialist Teacher per 4 classrooms.* When Magnolia is full (with 24 classrooms) we will have 3 specialist teachers who will teach PE, Music and Art. Classroom spaces are being built for all of these important classes. The number of specialist teachers we receive next year will depend on the number of students assigned / the number of classrooms we will have. If we have only 8 classrooms, we will hire a PE teacher and find other ways to integrate art and music into classroom learning. If we have more than 8 classes, our Lead Team will make specialist hiring decisions with feedback from the community.

    Will there be an Assistant Principal?
    Assistant Principals (APs) are funded in schools based on the number of teachers at the school. Currently, schools with more than 23 teachers receive a half-time AP, and schools with more than 27 teachers receive a full time Assistant Principal.* Magnolia's AP status will be determined by how many teachers we start with, which will be determined by our student enrollment.

    Will the Librarian be full time or half-time?
    Librarians are currently funded in schools based on student population. Currently schools are given a half-time librarian for up to 600 students, and a full-time librarian for over 600 students*. Magnolia's librarian status will be determined each year by our student enrollment. *Current funding formulas are subject to change each school year as they are dependent on state and levy funding.

    Will there be a 'walk-to-math' program at Magnolia for the students coming from this program at Lawton?
    Magnolia Elementary will not be a designated Advanced Learning (previously called Spectrum) site. Students currently in choice Spectrum seats at Lawton will be grandfathered to stay at Lawton. Going forward, all schools are expected to offer advanced learning opportunities within neighborhood programs. Our goal at Magnolia is to provide students interested in stretching their academic content knowledge beyond their grade level with opportunities to do so while also helping them deepen their conceptual understanding and confidently apply their content knowledge in real-world situations. We will do this by providing students with assessment-based individualized learning paths for skills acquisition along with collaborative, project-based opportunities to deepen and apply these learned skills.

    Will the students have access to computers?
    The district has confirmed that Magnolia Elementary will receive 1 iPad for every K – 2 student and 1 laptop for every 3 – 5 student. Teachers will be weaving the state’s new technology standards into our school-wide curriculum map and integrating the use of innovative technology into our instruction.

    Will the school incorporate project-based learning?
    Our intent is to open Magnolia Elementary as a learning community grounded in belonging, inclusivity and diverse perspectives. Our goal will be to: 

    • Intentionally teach the social and emotional competencies our students need to be significant, contributing members of their communities using positive discipline curriculum and classroom leadership strategies. 
    • Deliver strong, standards aligned academic instruction through an engaging real-world/project-based lens, allowing our students to become creative, curious, collaborative and compassionate critical thinkers ready to make positive contributions that lead us to a more just and fair world.

    Magnolia Elementary will use engaging and relevant instructional strategies to deepen the academic and social and emotional learning skills and concepts we teach. The degree of PBL implementation that will happen our first year will be determined by the skill levels and experience of the founding staff we hire. We do not anticipate diving in to a full project-based learning program our first year, but we do expect grade level teaching teams to present their students with engaging project-based learning content.