Author Archives: wabella

End of Year Letter from Ms. Hanson

Dear John Hay Family,

What a pleasure it has been to serve as your principal this year!  As you know, this June represents the conclusion of my first year as the principal at John Hay.  And, what a year it’s been!  

The 2010/11 school year has had its share of challenges!  We began the year with unprecedented overcrowding at 2nd and 5th grades.  A classroom filled with 35 very tall 5th grade students is quite a sight to behold!  Our 2nd and 5th grade teachers rose to the occasion and performed beautifully until we resolved the issue with the addition of a 2/3 split and another 5th grade classroom.  As a state and a district, we faced a dire budget season that demanded creative solutions to underfunding.    This year also ushered in some changes for this year and into the next.   Teachers and administration came together to evaluate our practice of looping and collaborated in the decision to phase out the k/1 loop beginning in the fall[i] in order to best meet the needs of our students.  Our full to capacity school made it necessary to make room for instructional space in the art room; moving art to the classroom and bringing a conclusion to the Spanish program [ii].   Art was then replaced as a PCP class with drama to begin in the fall[iii]

As fall moved forward into winter, we continued to enroll more and more new students to our school and worked to welcome and embrace these new members of the John Hay family.  We packed the house for curriculum night, and came together for other Parent Education Nights around analyzing and understanding our school data, exploring curriculum in a Parent Workshop, an evening was set aside to focus on Advanced Learning  as well as Internet Safety and bullying awareness.  These new Parent Education Nights will continue next year with a repeat of the Internet Safety night, a data night, and a new information night specifically designed with our kindergarten families in mind.

We shared some amazing community-building events this year including our first Bingo Night, the Sock Hop, the Science Fair as well as another awesome spring Auction and Fall Move-at-thon.  I’ve had some time to reflect on my Move-a-Thon costume and just have to wonder what, exactly, I was thinking!  We introduced the first-ever John Hay Players, a new school song, and monthly assemblies that truly rocked the house.  Monthly spirit days had kids dressed for school in western gear, PJs, mustaches, grade level colors, and a variety of sports attire.  Who could ever say school isn’t fun!

Our students spent time listening and learning about cyber and school bullying this year as we presented a full bullying awareness and response campaign to help educate and support students around the dangers and harm bullying can cause.  Our students were respectful and reflective, giving us good feedback around recess conduct as well as behind-the-back conduct that has the potential to negatively impact our student community.  I was very impressed and pleased with the ways in which our third through fifth grade students rose up and responded to the lessons around bullying. 

In March, we sent our 5th graders off on an amazing week of science and nature exploration to Camp Islandwood, trips were made to the zoo, to the Seattle Children’s Theater, to the International District and to other destinations that make classroom learning real!    Writing celebrations began around November and have been going all year! 

We welcomed four new teachers to our roster this year – Ms. Ross, Ms. Landa, Ms. Crosser and Ms. Nolte – all of whom will be continuing with us next year.  Conversely, this June marks the last teaching year for two of our beloved teachers, Mr. Reed and Ms. Delaney.  Both have decided to retire and move on to other things.  In addition, we say farewell to Ms. Badger as she begins a study leave and to Seniorita Monica Alperovich as the Spanish program draws to a close. 

Thinking of these who come and who are going causes me to pause and think about how truly blessed we are at Hay to have the teaching corps we do.  While none of us are perfect, we all care deeply for the work to be done and students in our care.  The complexities around style and approach make us a diverse and colorful group to be celebrated and thanked.  I have appreciated the countless hours, the ingenuity, diligence and creativity that has really made this year great for our students.

In mid-August parents will hear from me regarding classroom configurations (as of today, our classes are still not confirmed at the district level), the status of our enrollment numbers, any news from the district that impacts Hay, as well as important details around upcoming Partners news and information, and also what you’ll need to know for the start of another school year.

And what should be said to our John Hay kids?  Thank you, boys and girls, for your commitment to improvement and growth.  Thank you for taking care of each other and for trying so hard in your studies and your activities.  Thank you for respecting your teachers and bringing your best to school every day.  Thank you for sharing your parents with us – for without their support of you and this school, we simply wouldn’t be the amazing John Hay that we’re known to be.    Remember the great year this has been and keep reading, reading, reading this summer!  I’ll miss your smiling faces in the hallway and your bright and cheerful voices saying “Hi Ms. Hanson!”  And, as you have time – keep thinking and singing the John Hay Song:

You’re a John Hay Star

Reaching for the High Bar

Gonna’ make a difference in the world some day,

So keep a smile on your face

Show respect and grace

And do your very best all over this place!

Have a wonderful summer! 

Your principal,

 Ms.  Kari Hanson


[i] See the April Hay News for details and rationale

[ii] See the June Hay News for details and rationale

[iii] See the May Hay news for details

1 Hour Early Dismissal on Tuesday, June 21


Students will be dimissed at 2:30 PM on the last school day of school on Tuesday, June 21st.

Field Day Reminders

Field Day is tomorrow, Friday, June 16th!

Volunteers please meet at the gym by 11:45 AM.

Don’t forget to have your student wear sunscreen tomorrow!

Students will eat lunch early:

11:00-11:30     K/1 Lunch & Recess

11:15 -11:45     2/3 Lunch & Recess

11:30-12:00     4/5 Lunch & Recess

12:10 PM students leave for Big Howe for Field Day activities

2:10 PM head back to John Hay


Fun @ the Sock Hop!

The 3rd annual Sock Hop was lots of fun and raised approximately $4,000 for our sister school in Afghanistan.   Thank you to John Hay students, parent volunteers and the Public Stewardship Committe for their time and efforts.

 This event would not be possible without the help of our extraordinary volunteers!  They decorated and organized, cooked hotdogs, popped popcorn, painted faces, served food and drinks, ran the cupcake walk, played music, sold tickets and glow sticks, counted money and cleaned up – WOW!  

Stay tuned for more on our Journey with an Afghan School project.

Lunchroom Special June 17th

It feels like summer in the lunchroom.  Children are restless and anxious for summertime play.  On Friday, June 17th we will be offering a Special Field Day BBQ Menu and Special Schedule

Hot Dogs & Hamburgers & Veggie Burgers

Baked Beans

Cole Slaw


Cookie for dessert

Parents join your kids for lunch on Field Day June 17th.  We’ll be eating outdoors if the weather permits.  First lunch will be at 11:00

 Christine George

Lunchroom Manager

Robotics will be coming to John Hay in 2011-2012!

I am happy to let you know that next year we will be bringing a new after school program to John Hay!  It is a robotics program that Coe Elementary has titled Coebotics.    This is an excellent program that Coe has been doing and that John Hay will be starting next year.  Our school will  have two teams in the fall, a FLL team which will be ages 9-14 and a jrFLL which will be for ages 6-9.  If you think you might be interested in providing this opportunity for your student I would encourage you to attend an informational meeting tomorrow night at Coe Elementary.  Please read below for more information on the meeting.  If you have any questions please contact Sara Mirabueno at 252-2100.

 While there is little you need to do before school starts, there are some helpful things we have learned in the past two years, which if taken care of now, will allow you to hit the ground running in September and prepare for the competition season in WA State. 

So therefore, I’m glad to hold an informal meeting on Wednesday June 8th at 7:00 PM at the Coe Elementary School home of the CoeBotics teams and talk to you about how we are organized, what we have learned and answer any questions you may have.  You should feel free to bring whom ever you like, other parents, teachers etc, other schools or organizations who may be interested in starting etc.  Feel free to forward this open invitation to whomever it may help.


Coe Elementary School
2424 7th Avenue West,
Seattle, WA 98119-2513

 Date and Time:  Wednesday June 8th,  7:00PM – 8:30PM

Please send an email letting us know how many of you maybe coming to: 

Hope to see many of you, and looking forward to the next season!

Willem Scholten, CoeBotics Coach

John Hay News 2011

Dear John Hay Family Member,

 June has arrived!  While we are still awaiting more sunshine, the energy level inside the building has definitely increased as students and staff eagerly prepare for the close of another wonderful school year. 

While you may be aware, our auction this year completed another cycle of funding that provides for a variety of core programs to serve and benefit our students.  A couple of weeks ago, the Partner Board met to discuss and vote on which programs would be funded next year.  The conversation, as always, revolved around prioritizing those programs that demonstrate the most tangible success for all students.  Our reading support programs, an enhanced tutoring program that will now include tutoring at the kindergarten level, Pathways Enrichment for 4th and 5th grade, as well as various programs to support the learning community were approved with little to no change, and thus the continued commitment to providing innovative interventions and support of academic growth and achievement remains a high priority for our school and students.

As our population has changed, and as we move toward other changes highlighted last month around bringing Drama and music under district-funded sources (see the May Hay News), the conversation turned to decisions around Art and Spanish.  As you know, our Art program has been displaced from the art room due to our growing population.  I am pleased to announce that we will continue to provide art classes to all students, K-5 with an Artist in Residence model.  The program will provide art on a weekly to bi-weekly basis between October and May.  Hay has implemented a program similar to this in the past with rave reviews and enormous success.    

Unfortunately, given the limits of time that can responsibly be devoted to supplemental programs, and the limits around available funds, there was a price to be paid.  Our Spanish program will no longer be funded beginning next year.  While a very difficult decision to make, the reasoning behind the choosing of art over Spanish provided by teachers to the Partner Board was helpful and important in the making of this decision.  Some of the feedback from teachers includes evidence seen over the past couple of years that indicates if a child enters John Hay during the school year, or enters mid-way through his/her elementary experience, he/she has great difficulty connecting with Spanish instruction as there is no history of instruction upon which to scaffold.  With art, the scaffold is not needed, as art meets every child where he or she is, and brings with it a strong opportunity for expression and a sense of personal success. 

We have been very proud to offer Spanish over the past few years.  We have embraced the multi-cultural emphasis that our very capable Spanish teacher, Seniorita Monica has brought to our students.  We value the critical thinking opportunities that learning a language can provide.  And while we can no longer offer Spanish at Hay, we are committed to looking at other means by which we can model the value of a multi-cultural experience at school that works within our budgetary constraints.  First, language courses will continue to be offered through our before and after school programs.  And, the most popular idea amongst staff is to invest in an annual multi-cultural fair where individual students and families share and celebrate personal histories and cultural experiences.  We envision a multi-cultural emphasis, school-wide, that celebrates our growing diversity and allows students to share traditions, foods, and histories special to their own unique family.  Obviously, this worthwhile direction requires much less funding and will continue to allow us to prioritize an authentic multi-cultural experience for our students here at Hay.  Look for more information around this idea to formulate in the months to come.

Change is difficult.  It shakes delicate balances and ushers in a sense of uncertainty as we move from the predictable to the new.  But, change characterizes the season we are in as we continue to move with the transition of becoming a reference area school.  Our first year is successfully behind us, and changes have been weathered with not just tolerance, but with excitement about what may come and how to innovatively and creatively think and plan in new and different ways.  Even in light of changes, John Hay continues to be an amazing public school.  It upholds the practices and principles known to be in place for the most highly effective schools, nation-wide.  And it will continue to do so.  Thus, we will pursue our mission with focus, clarity and wisdom around what we know as our first and most important role – to TEACH.

Our Mission:

It is John Hay’s mission to…

Train our children to care for others

Engage learners through effective and innovative teaching

Actively involve and educate our families

Collaborate with others to improve effectiveness, and

Hold our students, teachers and families accountable as we

…develop caring learners who are actively growing and achieving.

 As always, should you have questions  please don’t hesitate to call on me.  I am always happy to clarify and explain the decisions made that impact the Hay learning community.

Kari Hanson, Principal