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    News from Principal Pearson: October 8, 2018
    Posted on 10/16/2018

    Dear Montlake families,

    I hope you’ve been able to get outside to enjoy the beautiful fall weather these past few weeks and are feeling ready to start pulling out those rain jackets and insulated layers for your child’s time out on the playground!

    As the weather turns colder and the rains descend, I’ve been thinking about what a wonderful time of year this is to help instill in a child the lifelong pleasure of reading a book with a hot beverage or the sheer delight that comes along with picking out a pumpkin or kicking around a pile of newly-fallen leaves. As the parent of three teenagers who are often quite busy these days, my hope for you is that you’ll find ways to spend as much time as you can with these and other simple pleasures while your children are still young and enjoy spending time with you.

    As I’ve been out in classrooms these past few weeks I’ve noticed that teachers are continuing to firm up their routines and procedures as they gear up for the learning that will happen throughout the school year, and everyone has been working with “community circles” as they continue to build strong classroom communities.

    We’ve made some adjustments in the lunchroom which have helped things feel much calmer and more pleasant than ever before, and staff who have been here a long time are noticing that students are staying longer and eating more of their lunches as a result. During this Friday’s early release day we’ll be talking about ways we can build these same types of school-wide expectations into other areas around the school in the hopes of creating a safer and ever more pleasant learning environment for our students and the adults who serve them.

    I’d like to share a bit of what I’ve learned about the history of what was happening on this land before the building we now know as Montlake was built in 1924. Before Seattle’s early white settlers (including the Boren sisters) arrived, many Duwamish and Coastal Salish families had been using this strip of land as a portage to carry their canoes as they travelled from Lake Union to Lake Washington and back, during which time they encountered not only an abundance of salmon in the lakes themselves, but also deer, bears, and cougars roaming the forests along the way. Many of the settlers in this area were concerned about the safety of their children making the trek through the thick brush and deep woods up to Stevens Elementary which had been built in 1906, and as a result the original “Portage” School was built here as a satellite to Stevens in 1914. The name “Portage” was used because of the connection to the Indigenous people who lived here at the time. If you’re interested in learning more about those early days in the history of Seattle’s Public Schools, please click here for more information from History Link, where you can also see photos of the original portable buildings that were built in this location. Thanks for all you do to ensure that your child arrives at school ready to learn as much as they possibly can each day, and for your continued support at home.

    We appreciate each of you and hope you have a nice long weekend!

    Julie Pearson

    Be Safe, Be Kind, Be Fair, Take Responsibility