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    Greetings Lafayette Community,

    My name is Susan Follmer.  I am a retired principal who has had a very satisfying career in education.  I have been a teacher, counselor, district administrator, school board member and school administrator in many local districts, and the International School of Monagas in Maturin, Venezuela.  I retired from Washington Middle School in 2018 and have been enjoying the good life of traveling (pre-Covid), reading, pickleball and sending news articles to my three grown children (just like my mother did.)  As I love the work in schools and seeing systems function at peak capacity I said yes, to coming to Lafayette for the next month.  I have so much admiration for parents who have weathered this rugged terrain of virtual learning.  I know the burden on families has never been greater. The good news is there is an end in sight (see the reopening Q/A below).

    Creating a strong and regular communication loop is something I know we both want; to that end I will commit to a semi-monthly newsletter.  This first edition (this one) will be sent via School Messenger and also be posted on the website.  Kathy Johnson has also posted the January 2021 Newsletter on the website.  We will work to consolidate these into timely messages every other week. If you have a burning question or just want to say “Hi” please respond via email:

    This edition addresses these topics: Reopening Q/A and District Questionnaire about Returning to School Q/A.  If you have questions on these topics don’t ask me (way too complicated for me) but please email:  

    Education is a Together Endeavor.  I look forward to partnering with you in this challenging time. 


    Susan Gustafson Follmer

    Acting Principal

    Lafayette Elementary School

    Seattle Public Schools

    Lafayette Office: (206) 252-9500

    Personal Cell: (206) 715-0550


    Reopening Q/A

    In-person Learning

    Who will be my child's teacher?

    If your child's teacher changes, the new teacher will be an educator from your child's school.

    Staffing consistency is a priority, but we are working to match the number of students who want to return in person with the number of staff who can return to teach in person.

    Will after school programs or additional childcare be offered?

    We have dedicated childcare at some school sites that will be maintained. We will work to bring back additional childcare operations in our buildings. An increase will need to be evaluated on a case by case basis for each school building and provider.

    We are working to balance space availability and ensure health and safety protocols can be met.

    What are the start and end bell times?

    We are working to keep bell times for in-person instruction aligned with start times for remote learning, but we have to assess the impacts for transportation. There may be some changes, based on in-person enrollment and transportation needs. As soon as we have information, we will share it with families.

    What will drop-off/pick-up look like?

    There are protocols for how drop-off/pick-up will take place to help guide staff and families on this process at school sites. Daily health screening, social distancing, and wearing face coverings are critical to this process.

    Are vaccines required for students or staff?

    Staff are not currently required to get the COVID-19 vaccine. The Washington Department of Health is creating the phased distribution plan. SPS leadership is advocating for educators, school leaders, and frontline school staff to be prioritized in the vaccination rollout.

    There are currently two COVID-19 vaccines that have been authorized for emergency use by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA). The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is authorized for emergency use in individuals 18 years and older and the Pfizer- BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is authorized for emergency use in individuals 16 years and older.

    Are students required to wear masks?

    Yes. All students must wear a cloth face covering or acceptable alternative at school. Specific exceptions may apply based on age, development, or disability.

    Will people be required to isolate/quarantine after mid-winter break travel?

    We encourage families to follow health guidelines and limit gatherings or travel.

    We will follow the current guidance regarding travel by the Governor’s Office.

    What if COVID-19 cases worsen?

    Health professionals have provided research to support in-person learning for our youngest learners. The steps we are taking, including the use of small cohorts, will help mitigate the transmission of COVID-19 within our schools during in-person instruction. We will continue to work with our local public health care agency to guide decisions regarding in-person services for our students.

    Will remote learning continue to be synchronous?

    Yes, the remote instruction option will remain in the same format as it currently is, though in some instances a child's teacher may change to another educator from your child's school.

    How many days a week will in-person instruction be provided?

    We will provide the maximum in-person instructional time possible. The number of in person days is dependent on how many students and teachers return. We must meet a 1 to 15 teacher-student ratio, or less, in classrooms to adhere to health and safety guidelines.

    How large will in-person classes be this spring?

    • Kindergarten and first grade classrooms will support up to a 1:15 teacher-student ratio.
    • Preschool will operate in small subgroups with a maximum group size of 6-10 students.
    • Special Education preschool programming will operate at a 1:4 teacher-student ratio.
    • Intensive Service Pathway classes (SEL, Moderate Intensive, Focus, Distinct, and Medically Fragile) will meet the cohort ratio of 1:15 or less.

    Will classrooms of students interact during the school day?

    All classroom cohorts will stay together throughout the day.

    What will classrooms look like?

    Schools and classrooms will look different than past years. Furniture from classrooms has been removed or rearranged to accommodate six feet between each student. We know comfort for our learners is a priority. While activities like circle time and a comfy reading corner aren't possible during the pandemic, we are committed to making sure our classrooms remain joyful and engaging.

    Will preschool through 12th grade students enrolled in Intensive Service Pathways be served at their school?

    Yes. Preschool-12th grade students who are enrolled in an Intensive Service Pathway (SEL, Moderate Intensive, Focus, Distinct, and Medically Fragile) services will be served at their current school.

    Will my child's teacher change?

    Students who return to in-person learning will remain enrolled in their current school, but their teacher may change. Students who remain in remote learning may also have a different teacher. Shifts in staffing will depend on how many families choose in-person and how many families select to remain remote for the 2020-21 school year. Staffing will also depend on the number of teaching staff who request remote working accommodations. We will prioritize staffing consistency as much as possible.

    Where will lunch be eaten?

    In order to reduce interaction between groups of students (classroom cohort), lunch will be eaten in the classroom.

    What adjustments are being made to classrooms and buildings to support health and safety?

    Classrooms across all elementary and K-8 schools are in the process of being re-designed so that all student desks are facing in the same direction and separated by a minimum of six feet between each desk. Ten feet in the front of the classroom is designated for the teacher.

    • Working with five architectural firms, SPS facilities has organized elementary and K-8 schools into "cohort zones" with separate entrances/exits and bathroom facilities to reduce physical interaction between different groups of students.
    • Plexiglass barriers have been installed in the school offices and in some specialized classrooms to support students who may not be able to wear a mask. Central office staff is working directly with school leaders to ensure traffic patterns, signage, cohort zones, and individual classroom designs all meet the needs of our unique school communities.

    How will specialist/PCP classes be managed safely?

    Specialist classes (i.e., art, music, physical education) structures are still being determined and will need to be discussed with the Seattle Education Association and the Principals' Association of Seattle Schools. Students will remain in a classroom cohort of 1:15 all day.

    How will recess be managed and structured?

    Planning for recess is currently underway. Outdoor access and physical movement are important for learning. While we don’t yet have the details of how recess will be structured, students will be kept in their classroom cohort.

    There are many more questions and answers on the website:


    District Questionnaire about Returning to School Q/A

    How long is the Intent to Return to In-Person decision good for?

    The 2020-21 academic year.

    Can I change my decision after March 1?

    The decision a family makes by January 13 (read more about the return to in-person learning survey) will continue through the end of the 2020-21 school year.

    Will there be an appeal process?

    There will be an appeal process for families who have a change in circumstances after January 13. Criteria and a review process are under development. Information will be shared once complete.

    What if I change my mind before March 1?

    January 13 is the deadline so staff can begin to finalize logistics and schedules. If you have completed the survey but change your mind prior to January 13, please retake the survey before the closing date.

    What if I don't respond?

    If we do not hear from your family, the default will be to continue in remote learning. Principals and other school staff will be reaching out to every family we do not receive a survey response from.

    If my child has an IEP, are they automatically enrolled for in-person learning starting on March 1?

    No. Families with students enrolled in an Intensive Service Pathways need to select the in-person model or remote model by completing the Intent to Return In-Person Survey. If no selection is made, the student will complete the year remotely.

    Upcoming Dates:  See Website


    Lafayette Community & English Language Learner Families,

    English Language Learners (ELL):

    With reading intervention starting, there will be some schedule changes to the ELL students’ schedules. This will be updated on their calendars and communicated to families.

    First and fourth grade peer social groups began in December and continued now to this new year. These groups are comprised of English learners and their peers. We are looking for adult volunteers to facilitate these groups so they can meet more often. Here are the steps for volunteering at Lafayette E.S. Please contact me if you are interested.


    If your student has been asked to join a reading group, but the times do not work with your schedule, consider requesting a Headsprout account. Headsprout is an online learn-how-read program under the Learning A-Z umbrella. We already have some students engaged in this application. It is research-proven and student approved. For this to be effective, students need to complete an episode a day, every school day.

    Linda Nakagawa is our school librarian and has curbside library book pickup when covid cases are not as high. She is very resourceful and responsive.


    Pinning: If your student doesn’t already know how to do this, pinning the speaker (the teacher) is very helpful for students to focus. This article also has how to fit to frame to see the full picture.

    Traci Hogrefe


    ELL Teacher, Interventionist, & Education Technologist 
    Tuesday, Wednesday, & Thursday (8:00 am - 3:30 pm) 

    Book an appointment

    graphic image of a librarian sitting on top of a big pile of books

    Save the Date!  Curb Side Library

    Our next curb side pick-up is scheduled for Thursday, January 21st from 3:30-6:00 PM.  Books will be available from the main door. Don’t forget to bring your child’s old books in exchange for the new ones.

    Global Reading Update

    Fourth & Fifth grade students interested in competing in the GRC Quiz Bowl can sign up at the January 21st Curb Side Day.  Students should also check out competition books and pick up practice quiz questions from Ms. Nakagawa at the checkout table.  If there are enough teams the Quiz Bowl has been scheduled for Thursday, March 25th.

    Virtual Tutoring powered by

    Live tutors are ready to help with remote learning and academic coaching every  day from 2-10 p.m. Log in with your library card or library link number and PIN to request a tutor.

    Visit to find out how to log in with your student ID number. 

    Tutors can help you with any school subject including:

    • Math
    • Writing
    • Science
    • History
    • AP ClassesCollege Essay Writing

    How It Works: Classroom 
    Connecting with expert tutors for on-demand, 1:1 help.

    Tutoring information

    How it works: classroom.  Connecting with expert tutors for on-demand, 1:1 help  The expert tutors at can help you work through a tough homework problem, improve your writing skills, study for a test, review a difficult concept and so much more!   

    1. Get Started: 

    1. Go to
    2. Enter your library card/pin or Library Link number/pin 
    3. Click on "GET A TUTOR NOW" to get connected for your on-demand, 1:1 learning session.  

    2. Get the right tutor:  
    Fill in the quick pre-session questionnaire. Using this information, we will match you with the first available tutor best qualified to assist you.  

    3. Communicate 
    You can use our chat box or an audio connection to either instant message or speak with your tutor once in the online classroom. You and the tutor may also use the interactive whiteboard to share work and ideas. All activity in the classroom is recoreded for review and quality control.

    4. Share a file:
    You can share many types of files wiht your tutor in the classroom. Upload an essay, your lab report, a PowerPoint presentation and more. You  and your tutor will be able to view the file together in the classroom.

    Ms. Nakagawa



    Hello Lafayette community!

    In music, we have been working on a variety of musical ideas. Recently, we have been traveling the world to different countries to learn about the culture and the music from the area. We have traveled to India, Philippines, Japan, and Mongolia so far and had a great time learning about the different styles of music and instruments. Stepping into the month of January, we are transitioning into a new area of music. We are learning and discussing musical terms that affect the speed of a piece of music, building on our rhythmic practices with new symbols, and diving into the messages and ideas by Martin Luther King Jr. and how we can connect his ideas to music. 

    If you have any questions, please email me at

    Thank you for all your help and support!

    -Mr. Payne


    primary school art

    Dear Lafayette Artists

    Happy 2021! It has been great to see the students and to get back to making art!  I have been impressed by the renewed energy and enthusiasm of the students.  Before break, Mr. Payne and I started to collaborate by featuring both a Music and Visual Art lesson from various cultures from around the world.  So far, we have traveled to India, the Philippines, Japan and Mongolia.  In Art, students have worked on drawing patterns, landscapes and animals.  I look forward to more traveling and exploration of art from around the world! 

    For art the week of January 19-22, if you are missing art on the 18th, we will complete this project on January 25th; please have a brown paper grocery bag and a pair of scissors.  We will be making a sculpture with the bag based off sculptor John Grade’s Tree sculpture that hangs in the foyer of SAM.

    Thank you,

    Mrs. Bajaj


    counselor's corner


    Hello Lafayette Families!

      I hope everyone was able to have a restful winter break.  I also hope your child/family enjoyed participating in this year’s Kindness Challenge.  I would love to hear how it went – drop me a line if you’d like to share:  As we start 2021, I will be focusing my lessons onpracticing skills that help us be successful learners. We will be covering listening, focusing, and setting goals/intentions. It’s always good to have a refresher on these important skills, especially after a long break from school.

    Here’s a FREE Online Parenting Event next week from LOVE AND LOGIC… I plan to check it out!  If you’re a parent trying to manage your kids at home during this pandemic, or trying to strike a balance between your own job and your life while providing the increased support your kids need during these stressful times, Love and Logic and the Amen Clinics are hosting a FREE special live event to help you do just that. Register here today. It’s called “Parenting During Uncertain Times” and it’s happening LIVE Tuesday, January 12th, 5 PM PST. The live event will provide solutions to current challenges facing families including:


    Parenting in the age of Covid

    • Helping kids stay motivated in virtual schools
    • Dealing with challenging behaviors

    Parenting in the age of Covid

    • Helping kids with anxiety, depression, worry and stress
    • Helping kids stay motivated in virtual school

    I also want to take this opportunity to remind everyone that I am available to meet with students and families.  I know it’s not quite the same as when I could pop into your child’s classroom and chat with them in the hall, recess, lunch or my office, BUT I am still available virtually.  You or your child can send me an email or a message through Seesaw if you would like to meet. You can also click on the book an appointment link below and it will let you book an appointment directly to my calendar.   I am available for individual check-ins with kids or parents, meetings with families, and I am also available to connect with kids during their lunch time.  These are challenging times; many kids/people are feeling isolated.  Please reach out if your child or family needs support.


    Kenna Hart, School Counselor at Lafayette


    Monday, Tuesday and every other Wednesday

    Book an appointment

    School Nurse

    Greetings Lafayette families! 

    My wishes for you all during these challenging times include good health, finding joy, peace, and…… (drum roll please😊) a good night’s sleep!  

    When we are under stress, one of the first challenges we may find is difficulty getting a good amount of quality sleep.  A good night’s sleep helps makes school and work easier.  It helps us with focus, memory, alertness and staying positive.  Our body needs sleep to fight off illnesses, to heal. 

    Some strategies for a good night’s sleep include:

    • Make sure your bedroom is dark, cool and quiet
    • Go to bed at the same time each night.Your body gets used to a schedule and will be ready for sleep
    • Avoid caffeine, especially in the afternoon and evening
    • Exercise during the day
    • Avoid big meals before bedtime.A warm glass of milk or a small healthy snack is OK
    • Follow a bedtime routine.Do the same relaxing things before bed each night, like taking a warm bath, reading a book or listening to quiet music.

    There will be more information about sleep in the next newsletter.  Take good care everyone.  Mask up, wash hands frequently, social distance and follow current Covid-19 guidance.

    Nurse Julie

    Voicemail: 206-252-9507, Email:


    virtual open house


    & OPEN HOUSE  

    Event #1 Thursday, February 4 @ 5:30 pm

    Microsoft Teams meeting

    Join on your computer or mobile app

    Click here to join the meeting

    Or call in (audio only)

    +1 206-800-4125,,405850553#   United States, Seattle

    Phone Conference ID: 405 850 553#

    Find a local number | Reset PIN    


    Event #2 Thursday, February 11th @ 5:30 pm

    Microsoft Teams meeting

    Join on your computer or mobile app

    Click here to join the meeting

    Or call in (audio only)

    +1 206-800-4125,,423932196#   United States, Seattle

    Phone Conference ID: 423 932 196#

    Find a local number | Reset PIN

    Learn More | Help | Meeting options

    The following link will take you to our school tour





    upcoming events

    January 18: Martin Luther King Jr. Day - No School

    January 21: Materials Distribution to Student 3:30 pm -6:00 pm

    January 28: Day Between Semesters - No School

    February 4: Virtual Open House 5:30 pm

    February 11: Virtual Open House 5:30 pm

    February 15-19: Mid Winter Break - No School