• January 2020

    Posted by Rebecca Goertzel on 1/1/2020 8:00:00 AM

    January 2020


    Welcome to the new year of 2020. As we think about our vision for 2020, we are integrating learning about the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. into our studies these next couple weeks. We came back to school thinking about how we care for ourselves, our classmates, our school and our environment. What is our vision for the future and how can we help make the world a better place?


    As we learn about our world, we also learn about ourselves. Some special programs at Chautauqua help students explore their own interests and learn more about our natural world. 


    I’ll highlight three special programs here at Chautauqua: 


    1. Clubs for 4th and 5th grades: Each trimester students choose from a variety of clubs to take part in on regular start Thursdays, during the school day. Our specialist teachers lead the clubs and get to share their expertise. This trimester students are taking part in sewing, clay, pond and garden, xylophones, painting and hip hop. 
    2. Vashon Artist in Schools: We host an amazing variety of artist workshops here at school every year, thanks to our collaboration with the Vashon Center for the Arts. This year we will be participating in ceramic butterflies (K), basketry (2nd and multi-age), puppet making, sculpture, and collage (3rd), salsa dancing (3rd & 4th), Stop-motion film and birds of Vashon (4th), copper bowls and watershed activities (5th), and circus arts (PE)
    3. Salmon Project: Our fifth grade is working with the Vashon Nature Center to continue and expand our salmon hatchery project. We raise the salmon here at school and they are released at Shinglemill creek annually. 


    Our school is amazing! We also have after school choir, Math is Cool, math club, a Green Team, and 5th grade leadership. 


    Thanks for being a part of what makes our school great! 


    Rebecca Goertzel

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  • December 2019

    Posted by Rebecca Goertzel on 12/1/2019 8:00:00 AM

    December 2019


    It is such a joy to walk the halls of Chautauqua Elementary, stopping in classrooms to see the amazing learning happening each and every day. Just last Wednesday before we headed off to Thanksgiving break, each class was full of gratitude, interesting projects and students supporting one another. Students sharing their ideas in partner shares and making personal connections with their learning is a part of what we do each day. Special projects, like mask making, ceramics, robotics, garden work and creating books and stories are part of what makes us special. 


    What’s new in December? 

    We are expanding our community volunteer program. We have a training coming up for parents and community members who want to volunteer in our before or during school reading program. On12/5... Diane Brenno/"Grammy" and Jen Salisbury will be doing two information sessions for seniors interested in volunteering to read with students. The sessions will be from 9:30-10:00 and 3:00-3:30. Please email jsalisbury@vashonsd.org if you are interested in attending. 


    Monthly meeting with the principal: The Round Table with Rebecca topic this month will be school safety. We will gather parent input and share our school systems in place for school safety and training. Friday, Dec. 6th at 2:45pm. 


    Good news to share: 

    We received 16 P.I.E. grants! We love our community Partners in Education and appreciate your support. Among the grants included are: anti-bias education books, science theme books, preschool and kindergarten literacy materials, STEAM buddy beach naturalist supplies, MOHAI museum trunks, Young Author’s Day theater, new robotics materials, math mysteries, and a frisbee and 4 square unit. 


    You can see by the grants the range of wonderful that happens in our school. Thank you for being a part of what we do. We love your kids! 


    Happy December, 

    Rebecca Goertzel

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  • November 2019

    Posted by Rebecca Goertzel on 11/1/2019 8:00:00 AM

    November 2019


    Reading volunteers needed. Round Tables with the Principal. Fabulous fall!


    It’s been a wonderful October at Chautauqua. We pressed apples for cider, celebrated with families at our Harvest Festival, explored our garden and our woods, enjoyed Halloween and focused on learning, learning, learning - reading, writing, math, science and social emotional learning. We are in full swing in all areas. To see what we are up to, like our Chautauqua Facebook Page for more photos and check out Chautauqua Shines on our school website. 


    Our reading and math support groups are up and running and our students are accessing great literature. We have been able to continue to increase our classroom libraries, with fiction and non-fiction reading at multiple levels. Thanks to the schools foundation for providing our new curriculum materials and PIE is supporting our school library as well. 


    As a part of our reading program, we are hoping to expand our volunteer network. We are working with both parents and community volunteers and we are looking for more readers!


    *Monthly on the first Friday at 2:45pm, I meet with parents to talk about our school and get parent input. This month we are gathering input on safety and technology. Let me know if you have areas of interest for a monthly focus. 


    Reading volunteer opportunity


    Our Reading Intervention team is looking for help! We are looking for a committed team of volunteers to help out in the following ways:


    Before school tutoring


     Every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesdays from 8:30-9:05 in Room 101


    • Using a scripted curriculum, volunteers will work with one child for the duration of the school year. We have a group of about 7 families starting with us this fall are are looking to expand this program.

    During School tutoring


    Volunteers work weekly with children (3-4 kids per volunteer), mainly Thursdays, but could be other days as defined by classroom teachers. 


      • Volunteers will listen to a child read for about 10-15 minutes. Each volunteer will have a book box in room 101 with a folder for each student that they are working with. 


    There will be an information session and training provided December 5th. Volunteers will be able to start with kids the week of December 9th. If you would like to sign up to this opportunity, please drop into the office and put your name down on the sign up sheet and fill out our volunteer background check. Please feel free to email our Reading Intervention teacher Jennifer Salisbury for more details (jsalisbury@vashonsd.org).


    Our book fair and conferences are next week! And then it’s Veteran’s Day on Monday. We love meeting with parents, but will miss our students! Please keep reading at home!


    Take care, 

    Rebecca Goertzel, Principal

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  • October 2019

    Posted by Rebecca Goertzel on 10/1/2019 8:00:00 AM

    Welcome October 2019!

    September at Chautauqua was amazing!


    It has been great to see our students back at school, learning and playing together. They quickly got back in the swing of things and showed us what great learners they are. In September we gathered data to make sure we know reading and math levels for each student and are able to differentiate to meet their needs. Our new reading program has a strong focus on independent reading and leveled reading groups in the younger grades, with high quality literature at all grade levels.


    This Friday is my first Round Table with Rebecca. It’s at 2:45pm on Friday. This month we will talk about our goals and the focus for the year. It’s a chance to ask and answer any questions you may have about school, curriculum, planning, etc and let me know future topics of interest. 


    We’ve been getting started with our science and theme units. One thing that makes Chautauqua special is our dedication to science, thematic study and the arts. Our students take a deep dive into a variety of topics. 

    • Kindergarten is learning about seasonal fun - apples and weather watching
    • First grade will begin a unit on spiders and plant and animal super powers.
    • Second grade and the blend will learn about water erosion and then begin their owl unit. 
    • Amy Bogaard is working with K-3 in garden/forest time, supporting our science units. 
    • Multi-age is busy studying space and completing a science unit called “The Spinning Sky.”
    • Third grade is working on plant life cycles and will begin animal survival soon. 
    • Fourth grade is studying Washington geography and will learn about native peoples of the region. In science they are learning about the Rock Cycle and the earth’s processes. 
    • Fifth grade will be learning about our early colonies and routes of exploration. They have new social studies textbooks! In science they are learning about chemical reactions and the properties of matter. 


    What’s coming up? 


    Harvest Festival is Coming! October 10th 6-8pm. Join us for one of our favorite family events of the year! 


    Friday, October 11th is a teacher training day, and there is no school. Our morning focus will be math instruction and number talks and the afternoon we will focus on literacy instruction and reading groups in our grade level teams. We appreciate this time together. Vashon Kids does provide a camp that day if you are looking for child care. 


    Parent conferences are coming. Please make sure that you sign up for a conference time. Conferences an important time for parents to connect with their teacher and learn about their child’s progress. Please make sure you are available during the conference days.


    Teachers will not be able to reschedule conferences for other days outside of the conference window. Phone conferences are available if needed. Let’s go for 100% attendance!


    Note that this year we are transitioning to semester report cards. Conferences will be the mid point check-ins for parents between semesters. We have data and school work to share with you. 


    We look forward to seeing you and value your time. 


    Rebecca Goertzel and Jon Hodgson

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  • September 2019

    Posted by Rebecca Goertzel on 9/3/2019 8:00:00 AM

    September 2019


    It’s been a great start to the year! We have enjoyed getting to know your students and seeing their growth over the summer. Thanks to all the parents reading with your students in the summer months! This week, we will end the week the week with our annual tradition of our sweet Pinwheels for Peace assembly. Join us at 2:45 to see us raise a pinwheel for peace here and abroad. 


    Pinwheels for Peace: We will hold handmade pinwheels to the air, sing a song about peace and begin to wrap our SOLE ball. We’ll be outside if the weather permits. 


    New this year? 

    • In addition to four new Spanish interns, three new classroom teachers and a new assistant principal.
    • We have continued to update and improve our curricular programs. We are in year two of our literacy adoption and updating our science program. We are seeing the results in our students as they begin the year with great learning behaviors and improved reading and writing skills. 
    • Amy Bogaard is working in the garden and forest with grades K-3, and with clubs for grades 4-5. We have open garden times at recess on Tuesdays. 
    • We will have Kindergarten Forest times weekly. 
    • Our Counseling support team will be teaching Second Step in all classes again. This year  Lisa Miller, Lance Morgan, and Kristina Miller will each teach a quarter in each classroom, so they are able to build connections within each grade level. We will also support small support groups and lunch groups. 


    Semester grading:

    In order to align with K-12 grading windows, we are moving to semester grading. At fall and spring conferences you will receive information about how your children are doing in their classes. Mid-way through the year (in January) and at the end of the year (in June) you’ll get a full report card. 


    Curriculum Night is coming next week! (September 25th)


    Childcare in the cafeteria (Donations to our Spanish intern program. $5/child, $10/family)


    6:00-6:25   CES Cafeteria – New Parent Introduction to Chautauqua. If you are new to Chautauqua, please join us in the cafeteria. Learn about our programs and community partners. 

    6:00-6:25 Returning families visit specialists, reading support and SpEd. Community Tables in the Orca Pod at the entrance

    Second step, Green team/Science Education, PE, FACE (formerly PTSA), sports organizations, VSF, PIE, VAIS, Neighborcare

    6:30-7:10 Classroom Visits– Round 1 (visit your child’s classroom)

    7:15 – 7:45  Classroom Visits– Round 2 (or visit specialists if you only have one child)

    7:45-8:00 Another opportunity to visit Specialists -Music, Spanish, Art, Library


    Outdoor Clothing Requirements

    Please keep in mind that students will participate in outdoor recess daily and in all types of weather so we ask that you consider the frequent Western Washington potential for rain and chilly winds when you dress your child for school. Remind your child to bring their coat to recess and please put your child’s name inside all coats.Young children should have spare clothes in their backpack. Teachers of young students may write student names in coats unless the parent indicates they would not like the name written in the coat.


    Late Start Options

    I’d like to let you know about three options for childcare on late start Thursdays. (Please note, ECEAP preschool still has regular hours (9:05am-3:35pm) on Thursdays when K-5 has a late start.)


    Late Start Arts: Vashon Center for the arts has programs for students in grades K-5 on late start Thursdays. They can take the bus directly from there to school. Drop off at the VCA at 8:30am.



    Vashon Kids: Vashon Youth and Family Services has before and after school programs at Chautauqua. This also includes drop in care and a late start program on our school campus, starting at 6:30am.



    Vashon Wilderness Program: Students ages 5-8 can take part in Coyote Kids, a wilderness program in our very own woods. Drop off at Chautauqua at 9am.



    Thanks for being part of the Chautauqua Family! We hope you’ve had a great start to the year. 

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  • November 2018 Message

    Posted by Rebecca Goertzel on 11/5/2018

    Amazing Chautauqua!

    It has been a wonderful fall here at Chautauqua. Our students have been happily engaged in their classroom projects, hands on mathematics and literacy studies. We have seen our walls decorated with wonderful art projects, writing and science explorations. Our kindergarten students are getting into the forests weekly, and Amy Bogaard continues to introduce classes to environmental science in our forests and gardens. We have developed a K-5 science curriculum that meets modern STEM standards, which means that students are exploring and understanding scientific phenomena - and it’s super fun.


    This is our first year implementing our new literacy curriculum and I have seen more enthusiastic, focused writers than ever. Students are enjoying the wonderful selection of diverse literature that is part of our reading and writing curriculum and our leveled reading groups are under way in grades K-2. Students think, reflect and collaborate, expanding their vocabulary and understanding. It’s been a joy to watch their growth.


    We have been celebrating cultures and diversity in our specialist classes and in the library. September was Hispanic heritage month, October was disabilities month and Tara Brenno, our art teacher, highlighted some amazing artists with disabilities. We also celebrated Dia de los Muertos (A Latin American Ancestor celebration) and Halloween and in November we will celebrate Native Americans and our Veterans.


    Thank you to all our families that volunteer at school. We love to have you here. If you’re interested in talking about our programs and have an impact on the big picture at Chautauqua, come to a Roundtable with Rebecca on the 3rd Tuesday of the month at 2:45pm. We will look at the literacy curriculum the upcoming gathering and talk about recruiting more parent volunteers for PTSA on Nov. 20th.


    Want to hear more about science?


    Here is our Fall 2018 Science Update
    At Chautauqua, students often engage in Mystery Science. Each lesson starts by posing a question commonly asked by kids, like "Do plants eat dirt?" Then a series of short videos prompts and guides a class discussion, followed by an hands-on activity. Lessons cover a wide range of topics, including light and sound, biodiversity, engineering, and the water cycle.


    Snapshot: For example, this fall, 2nd graders completed an Earth Science Unit where they learned that maps show how the Earth changes over time.


    Students made maps of Vashon that showed landmarks, their homes, bodies of water and landforms. As a culminating project students read The Three Bears of the PNW and created maps, complete with a key and compass rose, of the bear’s journey.


    In 3rd grade students participated in a Life Science Unit where they learned to identify patterns and develop models demonstrating understanding that plants and animals have unique and diverse life cycles, yet all include birth, growth, reproduction and death. Students manipulated the environment in which a plant grew to see how the plant changed. They also observed the life cycle of mealworms, which metamorphosize into darkling beetles.


    Thank you for your involvement in our school and your support of our students.


    Nov 7th is our final day for Sister Schools Donations.


    With care,
    Rebecca Goertzel

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