School Vision and Philosophy

About Our School

Through teaching and practicing our core values, our school community will challenge stereotypes and promote social justice in a diverse world.  We will foster outstanding academic achievement through integrated, collaborative learning.  In our international education program, students will celebrate their own identity as they investigate the world, recognize different perspectives and communicate effectively across cultures so they are empowered to take action.

The McDonald Way: We are Safe. We are Kind. We are Responsible.We are Respectful.

McDonald International Family Handbook

McDonald International Core values. Every month we focus on a new value in the classroom and at our Monday morning all-student assemblies:

Respect (Nov): We treat others as we want to be treated
Responsibility (Dec): We are accountable for our choices, actions and words
Justice (Jan): We work for equal rights, freedom from bias, and fair treatment for all
Empathy (Feb): We understand and enter into another’s feelings
Courage (Mar): We have the strength to do the right thing
Honesty (Apr): We are truthful members of our community
Perseverance (May): We are determined to keep working and trying even when things feel hard
Cultural Competence (embedded in our global perspective/social studies and other work within the school): We seek to understand, appreciate, and effectively communicate with people across cultures

Our Vision

Our vision is to engage all students in partnership with family and community to become informed, compassionate, global citizens.

McDonald International Immersion Model

McDonald International School is a language immersion school offering a curriculum infused with global awareness and cultural competence at every grade level. McDonald students spend half their day learing literacy and social studies subjects in English, and half their day learning math, science, and literacy in their immersion language (either Japanese or Spanish).

Students will have either an AM or PM language schedule, switching classes during the day so that the immersion side and English side have an equal number of instructional minutes. Half-way through the year some classes will "flip", so classes that had language immersion (math, science & literacy) in the morning and English (reading, writing, and social studies) in the afternoon, will now have English (reading, writing, and social studies)  in the morning and language immersion (math, science & literacy) in the afternoon for the rest of the year. If your child's teacher is planning to "flip" half-way though the year, you will be notified.

Igniting passions in a place where all children learn, belong and thrive:

  • Strong academics -- embracing best learning practices

  • A community school where all are welcome

  • Nurturing social and emotional growth

  • Infusing the global perspective and building cultural competency

Strong Academics

We, at McDonald, are committed to hiring highly qualified staff and providing an environment that not only supports each child's individual learning needs but also encourages that child's academic success. In order to help ensure that we are providing the best resources and programs available, we are committed to actively considering the latest research on innovative programs and best learning practices. Our school's curriculum will include the following engaging programs: 

Balanced Literacy

(The Teacher's College Balanced Literacy Program adapted for use by the Seattle School District for 2016-17.  A new literacy curriculum is currently under review by the school district and will be rolled out for the 2017-2018 school year.)

A successful literacy program has several components; these components in varying combinations result in reading, writing, and thinking skills. For more details, please go to the Teacher's College Website.   At McDonald International, we teach the following:

Reading Workshop – The Reading Workshop consists of mini-lessons on reading strategies, time for practice of those strategies in the form of partner reading and independent reading, and conferencing with the teacher who can offer immediate feedback.

In the mini-lessons, there are three approaches:

  • Strategy Groups are where we teach a reading strategy to a group who is reading at different levels and abilities. They apply the strategy (e.g. prediction) to different books gauged to their level.

  • Guided Reading Groups are where we teach a small group, who is reading at similar levels, a reading skill that is targeted to their ability. For some readers, we might have them use context or words they know to figure out a new vocabulary word in the middle of a paragraph. For other readers, we might challenge them to infer meaning from passages in a text.

  • Individual conferencing is where we work with each child offering a lesson that is just right for him/her at that point in time.

Writing Workshop – The writing workshop consists of mini-lessons on writing strategies, independent writing time, and 1:1 conferencing to offer feedback and guidance.  Similar to the Reading Workshop, We teach a mini lesson to the whole class.  As they write, we move through the room and conference a few minutes with each child.  These conferences are very simple and take a few minutes.  The goal is to guide them to improve their writing based on what they are ready for in terms of ability.

Word Study (sometimes known as phonics) –  This component is the decoding of the language or how to sound out the words to read and write.  This can come in the form of sight words and within word pattern work like long vowels and silent e combination sounds.

Interactive Read-a-loud – This critical but short piece of a balanced literacy program are the times when we read a high interest book and ask inference, prediction, connections to self, etc. questions during the reading.  The goal is to foster comprehension.  It doesn’t work if a child can read but has no understanding of what s/he is reading.  The read-a-loud also models fluency so the learner can hear what words should sound like when read with expression.

Shared Reading – These are the times when the whole class reads texts like poems, chants and morning messages together.  Again, this fosters fluency in that everyone is practicing at the same time so they can hear each other speak.  We try to regularly introduce rich words (e.g. independence, peace, robust) to expose them to difficult concepts and to enrich their vocabulary.


We follow the Seattle Public School (SPS) District Science Curriculum after translating the material into Spanish and Japanese.  For details, please go to the SPS Science Webpage.

Math in Focus

McDonald International teaches to the Common Core and State Standards in math using Math in Focus and other resources.  The math team uses the Spanish version of Math in Focus in our Spanish Immersion classes.  Our Japanese immersion staff adapted a math curriculum similar to Math in Focus, but adapted from a number of Japanese sources and translated from English Math curricula.  For more information on MIF, please go directly to the Math in Focus Website.

Infusing the Global Perspective

The Seattle School District identified cultural competency and global perspectives as components of McDonald's instructional offerings. In support of this goal we will explore opportunities to incorporate the global perspective into our programs and activities. Staff will have on-going professional development classes throughout the year focusing on reading, writing, math, and science – in addition to workshops focused on becoming an International School.

Nurturing Social and Emotional Development

We will use programs such as Second Step and Positive Discipline to help nurture and support each student's individual social and emotional growth, as well as teach kids life skills, with respect and dignity.

In 2014 we also implemented the RULER approach. RULER is a social emotional learning approach developed by the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. RULER is an acronym that refers to how we can be aware of our emotions and make efforts to work towards feeling how we want to feel. The RULER approach helps us learn skills to Recognize, Understand, Label, Express, and Regulate our emotions.  

MTSS and SIT for Academic and Social-Emotional Needs

Multi-Tiered Systems of Supports (MTSS) and the Student Intervention Team (SIT) Process is how we identify and support students who aren’t meeting learning goals through the standard curriculum. We can provide this support in the classroom and/or with additional in-school MTSS and Special Education support staff at the school. With these additional staff hires for in-school support, we've built a robust and effective way to provide support for students who need intervention in math, literacy, and social emotional learning. 

Parents/guardians are always welcome to share concerns about your students and the best place to start is with your classroom teacher. You can email your teacher to start a conversation about any concerns you have about your student. You can also request a SIT meeting as a formal first step to see if your child needs more support. We're continually improving our systems to support our students and Principle Goldberg is always happy to speak with parents/guardians about this topic – please don’t hesitate to contact her with questions. 

The MTSS approach is a Seattle Public Schools focus throughout the district and addresses both academic and social-emotional needs of students. There are three “Tiers” of support. 

  • Tier One is the standard curriculum that all kids get and is generally found to meet the needs of about 80% of students. Usually there are about 20% of students who need additional support beyond the standard offerings in academic and social-emotional curriculum.

  • For about 15% of those 20% of kids, Tier Two strategic interventions may be what they need to succeed and grow along with their peers. These supports and interventions may happen in the classroom or outside of the classroom.

  • Tier Three provides intensive interventions for the remaining 5% (approximately) of students who aren’t responding to the Tier 2 strategies. For the most part, Tier Three supports are provided to students through Special Education services here at our school.

In the past few years we've been refining existing systems and developing new ones to help support students’ academic and social-emotional needs more effectively. We've evolved in how we use formative assessments (including student self-assessment) to keep track of student achievement and growth and help students keep track of their own growth.

2016-2017 school year: This year we're very pleased that we have funding for a full-time interventionist.  Nate Weinstein (Mr. Nate) is funded with a combination of Washington State Learning Assistant Program (LAP) grant funds, district, and PTA funds. He supports students in the areas of reading, writing, math and behavior. Mr. Nate works with students who do not qualify for special education. He either pushes into the general education classroom or pulls students out for a period of time to work with him in a small group or one-on-one. Mr. Nate also coordinates our Student Intervention Team (SIT)and works closely with our School Psychologist, Hema Thomas to support our students. We're very fortunate to be able to develop such a robust and flexible system of supports for our students.


Visit the official school website hosted by SPS for more information on McDonald academics, staff, services, updates from teachers, and more.