October 1, 2018

Dear Hollywood Hill families,

As you have been reading in my other updates, we are well on our way to have an outstanding year. The PTA’s fall social was filled with lots of opportunities to see what is going on in our community. I loved being there with my youngest son, Mason.

If you have a 4th or 5th grader, you have probably already received the results from last year’s Smarter Balanced Assessment. We were pleased with the growth of most of our students, but the results are still not what we hope for across the board. Based on that we continue to redouble efforts to provide a quality education for each student. We will be working in the coming weeks on how we can do that in our classrooms, specifically in math. If you haven’t seen our results, you can access them on the OSPI website.

As you know we have a district strategic plan that drives all of our work.  While state assessments are just one element that allows us to see our progress, they are an important data piece so we can make adjustments. Teachers assess students regularly to adjust what they are teaching. We spend time on our early release Wednesdays to work together to determine the best next steps for students. It is invaluable to us to have that planning and collaborating time.

In addition to knowing where students are in their learning, it is just as important to us that students know where they are headed. We continue to work with them to help reflect on how they are learning as well as on what more they want to learn. School is a place to actively learn and we are working to engage each student so that they are ready for their own future.

Our earliest learners began here this week so you may see families that you don’t know on campus, please make sure you introduce yourself so we can continue to grow our Hollywood Hill community. We are so glad they are all here!

On a personal note, my oldest son has been accepted to attend Arizona State University NEXT fall. I cannot believe that he could possibly be old enough for all this. It reminds me to treasure every day and in that makes me really value you and your child. Being a parent is my favorite role and I’m happy to work alongside each of you as you raise your babies!

Have a great October!
Denise Waters


September 19, 2018

Dear families,

So here we are in our 2nd full week and we are doing so well! Students know the building and classroom expectations and as I travel around to classrooms, I’m noticing students ready to learn, smiling and participating. Great things to see!

I was so happy to see so many of you at Curriculum Night—we loved having over 80 parents join us for the middle session where we were able to introduce so many of the other teachers that support our students besides the classroom teachers including music, PE, library, special education, English language teachers and some of our Building and Classroom Support members. Please check out the website if you were unable to attend for those Curriculum Night presentations to see what was gone over in the middle session and in your child’s classroom. And when you have a moment—check out our new video—we love our district!

I promised you that I would keep you up to date on our work this year at Hollywood Hill so I want to start by sharing this video with you about vulnerability. While it might seem strange that teachers that are so experienced are working on things like this—it is important to know that with each new group of students, we must establish connections and to do that work, we must be open to vulnerability. We believe that we can learn as much from our students as they can learn from us, but it starts with realizing that we are all human in this work together! So here is a short video on vulnerability by Brene Brown.

In our back to school message, I talked about our commitments and I want to go back to those as well.

Four of them come from Glenn Singleton’s work:

1. Stay engaged​: Staying engaged means “remaining morally, emotionally, intellectually, and socially involved in the dialogue” (p.59)

2. Experience discomfort​: This norm acknowledges that discomfort is inevitable, especially, in dialogue about race, and that participants make a commitment to bring issues into the open. It is not talking about these issues that create divisiveness. The divisiveness already exists in the society and in our schools. It is through dialogue, even when uncomfortable, the healing and change begin.

3. Speak your truth​: This means being open about thoughts and feelings and not just saying what you think others want to hear. And speaking for yourself, not representing someone else’s opinions to make yours stronger.

4. Expect and accept non-­closure​: This agreement asks participants to “hang out in uncertainty” and not rush to quick solutions.

5. Maintain a learner stance and remain open to new thinking is pretty self-explanatory.

6. Refrain from pivoting to other -isms. If we are talking about the impact of race, stay on race. If we are talking about parent involvement, stay on parent involvement. If we are talking about vulnerability, stay in vulnerability.


Additionally, with the start of any school year there are details that might be new or different so I want to share some information with all of you.

All volunteers must have up to date paperwork on file in the office, please check with Ms. Robb if it has been more than a year since you have updated your paperwork. Additionally, we will have volunteer training after the first PTA meeting of the year on October 9 at 6pm and again on October 11 at 9:30am. If you cannot attend one of those training sessions, please talk with the teacher that you will be volunteering with to get a time for training. We want all volunteers to be trained.

We do have some students with allergies in our building so we want to remind everyone that we cannot guarantee a nut free or allergen free environment but we can take precautions to reduce the risks. Please remind your student that if they bring tree nuts, peanut butter, or shellfish to school for lunch that they need to be sure not to share and to wash their hands after eating. The teachers ensure that all desks are washed each day.

Our PBIS (Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports) program is going so well. We are fortunate to have Mrs. Gray spending time each day on the program thanks to a grant from the PTA. All teachers are giving out star tickets and when a student earns 20 they can trade it for a bracelet or other in class recognition. Look for those bracelets to be coming home—a true sign of being safe, respectful and responsible.

As the weather turns, please make sure your student comes with jackets and shoes appropriate for the rain. We go outside for recess every day! Please also remind your student that they should avoid trying to get extra wet in puddles, downspouts or overrunning gutters! We remind them but your help would be appreciated as well.

We have noticed more and more cars in the bus lane. Please know that the back exit is a one way—exit only. If you need to park in the back lot, you must get there prior to when we have bus traffic. Please do not drive up by the building from 8:50-9:25 or from 3:40-4:00 (2:10-2:50 on Wednesdays). And never drive from the back to the front—that is the wrong way. ECEAP starts Monday so be extra careful when you are driving to look out for our youngest learners!

Thank you for being an active member of our school community. Remember to register for your PTA membership and join us this Friday for the Fall Social.

I’ll continue to share about our journey with you, look for some data and next steps in my next update!

Very sincerely,
Denise Waters, Principal
Hollywood Hill Elementary

June 2018