Back to School Night

The kids are back in school and should be settling in with their homework routine, fall activities, getting to know their teacher and classmates and hopefully filling you in a bit on their day!

With the start of school, I have found several articles to get me in the back to school mindset too. As a parent of two high school students, I found the article posted on Grown and Flown about communication and expectations for your high school student and teachers to be very timely. I find myself relating to so many articles posted on Grown and Flown and I subscribe to their inbox delivery.

https://grownandflown.com/help-kid-high-school-teacher-shows/

Also, with Back to School Nights on everyone’s schedule over the next few weeks, the article from The Washington Post outlines the 7 questions parents need to ask on back to school night. This is a great read and worth saving to revisit each year prior to attending your child’s back to school event.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/parenting/wp/2018/08/29/7-questions-you-need-to-ask-on-back-to-school-night/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.8eb9c42607e5

#

Your child's social skills in kindergarten are more important than their academics

 

I love when someone else publishes an article that works perfect for my blog. I have attached the link to an excellent read from Amanda Morgan and published on the blog - Motherly.  

While early education creates an important foundation for academic skills, many parents would be surprised to know that social skills are actually far more predictive of outcomes into adulthood than early academics.

https://www.mother.ly/your-childs-social-skills-in-kindergarten-are-more-important-than-their-academics

 

 

Meet the Global Families of Puget Sound

I love this article from ParentMap magazine written by Jiaying Grygiel. A big part of my business is working with new families relocating the Seattle area from other cities in the U.S and several of my client families are relocating to the U.S. as expats with plans to return to their home country.  An interesting and welcoming read.

http://www.parentmap.com/article/seattle-population-international-city-growth?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_content=READ%20MORE&utm_campaign=Digital-Edition-9-1-17

 

Parent Teacher Conference Tips

Just read this excellent article from the New York Times on parent teacher conferences and how to get the most out of your conference.  Perfect timing with the areas public and independent schools all in first quarter conference mode.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/07/well/family/5-lessons-from-a-diplomat-for-bridging-the-parent-teacher-divide.html

 

Housing in Seattle - Seattle Times Price Map

The Seattle Times just published another article about housing costs in the Seattle market.

I have attached the link and especially found the interactive pricing map informative. With the average home price in Seattle and the suburbs continuing to grow at a record pace, this article points out neighborhood by neighborhood where the AVERAGE price of a home or in some neighborhoods a building lot is $1 million dollars and more.

Seattle housing is in the news a lot lately due to having one of the highest increases in housing costs in the country with record yearly growth and limited inventory. In certain areas, a  large number of homes are also sold to foreign investors placing all cash offers to purchase.  Currently, 40% of all homes in the Seattle area are listed for $1 million dollars or more.  The median time a home is on the market is 7 day with 62% of all listed homes exceeding the asking price.

Housing continues to be the number one concern of my client families especially when pairing with their desired public school district and specific school.  I partner with several realtors to assist their clients with school information to help the family not only find the right fit school, but right fit house within their budget.  Unfortunately, more and more I see families having to give a bit on their desired commute time to meet their school and housing goals.

http://www.seattletimes.com/business/real-estate/million-dollar-homes-on-the-rise-in-seattle-and-the-eastside-how-many-in-your-neighborhood/

#

 

 

Seattle Mama Doc Podcast

I love podcasts and now enjoy getting stuck in Seattle traffic as it allows me more time to stay current on all my subscriptions.  I just recently discovered the Mama Doc Podcast - a parenting and health podcast hosted by a local Seattle mom and doctor.  Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson is also the Executive Director of Digital Health for Seattle Children’s Hospital and a news reporter for NBC KING5 in Seattle.  You can find this free podcast on ITunes and subscribe to its bimonthly feed. 

Great topics from teens and e-cigarettes to information about the recent mumps outbreak around several communities to advice on screen time for kids of all ages.  These podcasts vary in time from 5-15 minutes with two of her longer and highly rated episodes on ADHD - offering parenting tips and how to recognize ADHD signs in children. 

Do you have a favorite podcast?  What about one about Seattle? I'd love to hear about it and add to my podcast list.   

 

Racial diversity and Seattle area schools

Racially diverse schools and communities are top of mind for many of my client families moving from outside of the Seattle area.  Many families are coming from international schools, large metropolitan areas (like Boston, NYC) and have questions about Seattle area public schools with regards to race and family income. 

I find many families unfamiliar with Seattle view it as a very homogeneous city and are surprised when they see how diverse many of the schools are with regard to race and income.  I also assist families coming from smaller school districts and city suburbs and their children have not been in a racially diverse school and they have questions about how schools in the Seattle area "look and feel" compared to their current district. 

Seattle no longer buses students outside of their neighborhood schools and schools reflect the population of the neighborhood. The Eastside (Bellevue, Issaquah, Kirkland) never bussed outside of area and their schools racial make up has changed along with the changing population following the tech industry. 

Recently, The Seattle Times published this very informative article about race and our public schools andincluded an interactive tool to view your school or target school and look up the diversity index score for any school in King or Snohomish County.

http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/data/west-seattles-sanislo-elementary-most-racially-diverse-public-school-in-the-state/?utm_source=referral&utm_medium=mobile-app&utm_campaign=ios

I am available to discuss these statistics and specific schools assisting you in finding the right fit schools for your children. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Understanding Standardized Testing

I am asked on a regular basis by families relocating to Washington State to explain required testing for our public schools to meet the State Common Core standards and also graduation requirements. Part of my service includes putting together informational documents for my clients comparing their current testing schedule with the requirements for Washington State.

With the recent demise of the No Child Left Behind Law and its replacement with the Every Student Succeed Act (signed into Federal law by President Obama in December 2015), it is not only confusing for current families to understand the requirements, but nearly impossible for families new to the U.S. education system. 

Standardized testing is a topic that divides teachers, administrators, government agencies and families and one that is hard for me to keep my opinion to myself.  Lucky for me, ParentMap Magazine just published an excellent article about Washington State standardized testing rules. 

https://www.parentmap.com/article/washington-state-standardized-testing-rules

From all my time visiting schools and speaking with parents, I know that many students in the lower elementary school grades opted out of testing last year.  It is only in the extreme cases like with Nathan Hale and Garfield High School that the numbers are released.  It is hard to get a clear picture of families opting out in the elementary years, as the students still attend school to avoid being marked absent, but spend the time in the library or a supervised study period. 

For families moving from within the United States public school system, the amount of testing in Washington State does not differ dramatically from other States. For families coming to the area from outside of the United States, it can be quite perplexing as it differs dramatically from the graduation and leveling testing requirements in countries such as Britain, Singapore, China, Germany and Australia.   

I'll do my best to answer your specific questions about testing and graduation requirements - whether you are joining the U.S. school system for a few years and returning to your home country to complete your child's education or if you are planning to have your children graduate from an U.S. high school and apply for university.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Preschool Primer - Parentmap Magazine

I have been busy working on updating my directory for preschools.  I attended ParentMap Magazine's preschool fair for the east side area (Bellevue, Issaquah, Redmond) this past week and will be attending the Seattle fair next weekend.  I love seeing familiar faces working the school booths and I also enjoy meeting the new teachers and owners to learn about their programs.  ParentMap is expecting over 1600 people to visit their four fairs this year - that is a lot of families looking for preschool! 

There are so many great preschools in the area with a program to fit every family and budget.  The problem may lie in this fact - so many choices and it is hard to narrow down the right school for your child.  Popular preschool programs start their registration process and accept deposits in the winter prior to the Fall start, at times making it difficult for families moving to the area to find a program in their new neighborhood.

I am consistently touring preschools, evaluating new programs and adding additional schools to my resource list.  I love helping families find the right preschool for their child and spending time observing in a preschool class is always a highlight of my day. 

Along with sponsoring the preschool fairs, ParentMap magazine published an excellent article explaining the different preschool teaching methods.  A great read and I am always happy to review in additional detail too. 

https://www.parentmap.com/article/preschool-primer-how-different-styles-and-methods-of-preschool-compare

 

 

Techie Seattle Fuels Competitive Home Buying

Redfin, the Seattle-based real estate brokerage company, just released a list of the 30 most competitive neighborhoods in which to buy a home in tech-centric states. These neighborhoods are in Seattle, San Francisco, Boston and Portland, Oregon.  According to the December 29th, 2015 article in GeekWire - the Seattle area is now home to 13 out of the 30 most competitive neighborhoods for home buying with multiple bid situations and limited inventory.   Check out the last column in their chart -  ratio of all cash offers nearing 50% in certain Seattle area communities.

On the Eastside of Lake Washington, all the neighborhoods can be found within commutable distance to Microsoft, Nintendo and Google's offices.  The Lake Washington School District (LWSD) serves these neighborhoods - with the exception of Newport falling into the Bellevue School District and highly regarded Newport High School. LWSD is the fastest growing school district in the state - going from the 5th largest to the 3rd in just one year.  The LWSD district is hoping to pass a school bond measure next election, as all have failed over the past 5 years.  School facilities have not kept up with demand and several schools have severe overcrowding and are in need of upgrades. 

For the Seattle city neighborhoods, the majority on the list fall within the Northwest boundaries of the city and feed into the well regarded and more urban Roosevelt High School and Ballard High School.  Again, the district is feeling the squeeze with school overcrowding and rethinking boundaries with more families of school age children moving into Seattle neighborhoods.

For families with children, it continues to be important to look at schools, district management and potential boundary adjustments as an important part of your housing decision. 

http://www.geekwire.com/2015/219699/