Chalk Talk


Reading tutors needed:

Would you like to help an elementary student become a stronger reader? Learn more about the volunteer reading program from 3:30-4:30 p.m. on Sept. 23 in the Helen Haller Elementary library. For more information, call Betsy Smith, reading specialist, at 582-3248. Thanks!

- Betsy Smith, reading specialist


Congratulations go to second-grade teacher Cathy Raycraft for being recognized as a "Teacher of the Week" by the Washington State Employees Credit Union. Andrea Dietzman, a parent from her classroom last year, nominated her for the award. There were 24 recipients statewide who met in the KOMO Suite on Sept. 7 at Safeco Field at the Seattle Mariners' game. Rick Rizzs, KOMO Mariner announcer, presented $500 checks to all recipients of the recognition. Kevin Foster-Keddie, WSECU president and CEO, said, "This year more than 700 educators from around Washington state were nominated for the unique and personal contributions they are making to students and their respective communities." He also stated in his award letter, "It has been our pleasure to recognize teachers like you for your incomparable commitment to education. Your selfless dedication to teaching has not gone unnoticed! ... Thank you for everything you've done for the next generation of learners and to support your friends and neighbors." When asked about her experience at the game, Raycraft said, "It was totally awesome!"


Helen Haller staff would like to thank several groups and individuals for a great back-to-school start! Our PTO did a fantastic job of handing out Dairy Queen treats during our annual ice cream social. Several PTO parents returned early the next day to help direct students to classrooms on the first day of school. Jim and Linda Lowenstein and Janet Proebstel donated school supplies. First Federal collected and delivered a wagonload of school supplies. Others donated items and gift certificates to stock the emergency closet in the health room. The local Starbucks brought coffee and breakfast goodies to the staff room on the opening day of school. Sequim Education Foundation distributed backpacks donated by Office Depot. Teachers appreciated the classroom calendars donated by the local Pepsi company. We thank everyone for their support. What a great start to the new school year!

- Helen Haller staff

Deborah Helsell's second-grade classmates agree the beginning of the year is a great time to help children set goals for the year. After reading and discussing the classic picture book "The Little Engine That Could," the children thought about what they think they can do this year that they could not do before. They finished the sentence "This year I think I can ..." with the following responses:

Allison Van De Wege: be a better reader.

Alyssa Lowe-Little: get better at reading.

Bailey Gorr: get better at math.

Brandon Benson: be a better writer.

Brinlee Luster: learn about animals.

Caitlin Lowry: be a better writer.

Christopher Haman: get better at drawing.

David Buckley: get better at counting.

Hunter Perdue: get better at writing.

Hunter Pomeroy: get better at writing.

Isabella Fazio: get better at painting.

Jacob Streck: get better at writing.

Clay Morgan: get better at reading.

Johnnie Young: write neater.

Mariela Luster: get better at painting.

Rudy Franco: get better at writing.

Sawyer Nute: be a better reader.

Shae Zentz: read better.

Sharae Loushin: get better at reading.

Veronica Preciado: get better at reading.

Violet Saxton: be a better reader.

William Rogers: learn more about nonfiction.

Faith Pharr: read chapter books.

- Deborah Helsell, teacher

September has arrived and that means a whole new crop of kindergartners are ready to learn what school is all about. In Olivia Shea's morning kindergarten class, the 5-year-olds are busy thinking about what they will be learning in their very first year of school.

Here are their responses to the question, "What do you think you will learn in kindergarten? Bryan Vazquez said, "When we come in we will look at books;" Rebekah Parker, "We will learn how to be polite and kind to people;" Devin Watkins, "We're going to learn about looking at books and reading;" Ethan Osborn, "We will learn about bones and fossils;" Iain Fazio, "How to read a book;" Julianna Frease, "We learn how to read books and cutting;" Kate D'Amico, "We are going to learn how to read, draw and cut on the lines;" Kenzie Camp, "We're going to learn how to cut;" Madelynn Shelly, "How to be respectful, because you might get an award;" Natalie Ristick, "To know our ABCs;" Nikolas Andreyka, "We'll learn to be smart and be good and draw;" Peter Silliman, "We're going to learn about the ABCs and play with the blocks;" and Amyiah Fisher, "We will learn about reading." Sidney Johnston was just not sure about what he would be learning, and Steven Lam had no comment, while Weston Howell said, "We're gonna make new friends. I got some old ones too!!" All in all, their teacher thinks it's going to be a pretty good year.

- Olivia Shea, teacher



Patsene Dashiell, new secretary for the First Teacher program, says, "We have a wonderful room for you and your children to enjoy together. We have a large library of parenting books and videotapes for you to check out, weekly events, parenting classes, a playground outside, a playroom inside and many other resources available." The following events will take place in First Teacher in September:

• Friday, Sept. 19 - Traffic Safety School event at 10 a.m. Sequim Fire and Police Departments will be on hand to talk about tricycle safety and the proper method for wearing a helmet. Free helmets will be available while supplies last. The Happy Tymer Clowns will be on hand to brighten your day! Costco will provide refreshments. Look for the fire truck to be parked outside by the playground for this event!

• Friday, Sept. 26 - Jody Moss, director of United Way, "What are the Benefits of United Way for Parents of Young Children?"

Dashiell also says, "Bring your little ones for story time with our fabulous guest readers." Each child will receive a free book at this Monday at 10 a.m. activity. There are books for parents and children to check out as well. Reading Times at First Teacher in September will take place on:

Sept. 15 - Patti Swingle,

Sequim children's librarian

Sept. 22 - Allison Hastings, First Teacher mom

Sept. 29 - Caitlin Sundin, First Teacher mom

- Patsene Dashiell, secretary



This year's Commitment to Graduation ceremony for the class of 2012 was held Sept. 10 in the Sequim High School Performing Arts Building. At the Commitment to Graduation ceremony, freshmen students signed a certificate and a banner, pledging to graduate from high school. The banner was then hung up in the library as a silent reminder of their class goal. Speakers for the event included Lewis Bremond, a motivational speaker from National Achiever, and Sara Hankins, freshmen class president. At the conclusion of the ceremony, refreshments were served in the high school cafeteria. All were invited to attend and witness the pledges; particularly parents, friends and relatives of our freshmen at Sequim High School.

- Lora Millet, secretary

Sequim High School is pleased to offer advanced placement English literature and composition, a new course for junior students. This rigorous, college-level course provides students with the opportunity to earn college credit (with a qualifying score on the AP exam) while intensively studying classic American literature. Students will read, discuss and write literary analyses on "The Scarlet Letter," "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," "The Red Badge of Courage," "The Great Gatsby," "Their Eyes Were Watching God," "The Grapes of Wrath," "The Catcher in the Rye," "The Crucible" and "A Raisin in the Sun." Sequim High now offers AP English at the junior level and college English at the senior level, as well as honors English courses at the ninth-, 10th- and 12th-grade levels.

- Joe Younger, teacher

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