New Year, New Bell Time & Updates - January 2, 2018

Dear McDonald International Families,

Welcome back to school. I hope you had a wonderful and safe holiday with your family and friends!

I have some important news to share. In December, a joint agreement was reached between Seattle Public Schools and Seattle Education Association.  This agreement affected schools district wide and addressed the 30 minutes of teacher time before the start of the school day.  Beginning today (January 2, 2017) our new bell schedule will be:

  • 7:25 Staff arrive
  • 7:25-7:55 30 minutes for teacher planning, meetings
  • 7:55 First bell, teachers pick up students
  • 8:00 Tardy bell
  • Playground supervision will continue to begin at 7:40. Buses will arrive at their normal time.

We are beginning to plan for the next school year. On Monday, January 8, we will have a Kindergarten School Tour from 8:05-9:30AM.  We will also have a tour that evening from 6:30-7:30 PM. We will represent our school at the SPS Option School Fair held on Saturday, January 20, from 10-2 at Mercer Middle School.  Please share this important information with your friends who are interested in enrolling in Kindergarten at McDonald International School. Additional information about enrollment for next school year can be found on the Seattle Public Schools website.

For our school community project this year we will be having a canned food drive.  The staff has chosen to work with the Hunger Intervention Program (HIP) as a community partner. The Healthy HIP Pack Program provides vital weekend food support to children at risk of hunger when they are out of school.  HIP collaborates with Seattle schools and community partners to make the HIP Pack Program possible. In the 2014–2015 school year, more than 5,000 HIP Packs provided over 34,000 vital weekend food meals for Seattle children.

  • We will have a kick-off assembly for our food drive on January 5 from 12:30-12:55 in the gym.
  • Dates of canned food drive: January 8-January 26
  • Packing Party Week: January 29-Febuary 2. McDonald teachers will be able to sign-up for slots where students will pack the food in bags that will go to students in other schools. 

Our International Committee is also busy planning our MLK Jr. Assembly and Birthday March which will be held on January 12.  They are planning a special celebration including an assembly, sharing “What Can One Little Person Do?”, music, and singing. They have received a parade permit and have been busy distributing flyers to neighborhood homes and businesses.   You will be hearing more about this celebration in the next two weeks.

On December 14, we had a special surprise assembly for one of our teachers.  Jennifer Morris was honored by Symetra and the Seattle Seahawks as a “Symetra Hero in the Classroom”!  Congratulations Jennifer! This is the press release from Symetra:

BELLEVUE, Wash.— (Dec. 14, 2017)—Symetra and the Seattle Seahawks honored McDonald International School teacher Jennifer Morris as a “Symetra Hero in the Classroom” on Dec. 14, 2017 during a surprise presentation. Morris is a third-grade instructor in math, science and social studies at the K–5 dual language school, located in Seattle’s Wallingford neighborhood. 

“Jennifer Morris is an amazing teacher who works hard every day to make a real difference in children’s lives,” said Kate Koester, the parent of a former student. “Ms. Morris finds way to connect students to real issues impacting the community. For a social studies project around food insecurity in Seattle, she brought her students’ classroom learning to life by organizing a trip to a local farm where the children harvested spinach to donate to a local food bank.” Koester nominated Morris for the Symetra Heroes in the Classroom® award. 

“Ms. Morris shares her Mexican culture and encourages her students to share and learn more about their own backgrounds. Students made family trees in Spanish showing where their families had come from. The connections she helps her students make between their personal histories and the larger world is one of the many attributes she brings to teaching that sets her apart,” said Koester. 

Morris is one of 16 K–12 teachers across the Puget Sound area that will be honored for educational excellence in the Symetra Heroes in the Classroom® program during the 2017 NFL season. More than 240 teachers around the region have been celebrated since the program’s inception in 2006. 

Teachers are recognized in front of their students and peers at surprise in-school presentations, and they receive a $2,000 donation from Symetra for classroom books and supplies. In addition, they receive tickets to a Seahawks home game and are acknowledged during an on-field presentation at CenturyLink Field. 

Teachers may be nominated by their principal, district staff, student or student’s parent. The winners are selected based on their ability to make a real difference in students' lives; to go above and beyond in their day-to-day responsibilities; and to help students build life skills. 

More information about Symetra Heroes in the Classroom® is available at  

About Symetra:  Symetra Financial Corporation is a diversified financial services company based in Bellevue, Washington. In business since 1957, Symetra provides employee benefits, annuities and life insurance through a national network of benefit consultants, financial institutions, and independent agents and advisors. For more information, visit

I am looking forward to working closely with staff, students, and families in the coming months. There are a lot of special events that are being planned at McDonald International School.  Please feel free to contact me if you have questions or concerns.

Kathy Jolly, Interim Principal 

Back to: Principal's Letter


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