Water Water Everywhere!

March Madness of a different variety – Middle School Social Studies with Mr. Tower

Middle School students at King County’s South Water Treatment Facility

This semester in Social Studies we are exploring Pacific Northwest History.  All of us are very fortunate to live in such a beautiful part of the country that has an abundance of natural resources.  Your students have been learning about the different regions of our varied geography.  We are surrounded by mountains, trees and lakes. Our proximity to the Pacific Ocean tends to cause quite a bit of precipitation in the lowlands but it’s all of that darn rain that helps keep the plant and animal life thriving!

Noah taking in the sights, sounds and (bad) smells of the water treatment plant.

To learn more about our community and the most important natural resource in the world (water) we took a short two-mile drive to our local water treatment plant.  Kelly, our wonderful tour guide, showed us exactly what happens to all the organic waste, chemicals and trash that go down the various drains in our homes.  It is a long journey through the treatment plant before the water can safely be pumped back out into the Puget Sound.  We had a great time learning about this complex process and now have a better appreciation for the 50-80 gallons of water that we individually use on a daily basis. 

Kirin exploring the final stages of water treatment before it is pumped back out to the Puget Sound.

Currently, we are learning about Pacific Northwest Native Americans as well as the Lewis and Clark expedition.  There are more field trips and lots of fun left to be had this year.  Let’s all hope for some sun!


Going Global in Mrs. Arntzen’s Class

Going Global

This has been a fantastic week! First, I would like to thank the PTO and my parents for the teacher appreciation gifts. I am most grateful! Next, I would like to point out that there are merely six weeks left of school! In that time we will be wrapping up our academic concepts, doing some spiral review of what we have learned throughout the school year, and taking some more fun field trips and sunshine breaks to refresh our brains and bodies for learning!

Upcoming Events:

Seattle Aquarium-Thursday, May 25th –9:00 am- 1:30 pm /Reptile Man 2:15-3:30

No School-Memorial Weekend- Friday, May 26th -29th

Save the Dates

Donuts for Dad- Thursday, June 8th

Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium – Tuesday, June 13th –9:00 am- 2:00pm

Field Day- Friday, June 16th- 10:00am – 12:00pm


  • Recently, your child has been working on the sounds of the following vowel pairs: oi/oy and ow/ou. They are doing pretty well distinguishing the sounds in their writing. Last week, your children learned how to sound out words with 3-letter blends with words beginning w/ str, spl, spr, scr. This week we will be working on silent consonants.


    • Subject/verb agreement
    • Quotation Marks/dialog and the use of speech bubbles to show conversations
    • Using commas to separate dates and words in a sentence


  • Writing letters to friends and family with commas at the greeting and closing
  • Writing sentences to include quotation marks
  • Writing comic strips to demonstrate dialog and speech between two characters


      • Decoding two-syllable words
      • Character, setting, plot
      • Reading comprehension


          • Pennies, nickels, Dimes and Quarters (and some bills)

    We have had a lot of fun with this unit! In addition to worksheet practice, your children have had the opportunity to “shop” for groceries using their coins, interact with money via the Smart Board and sing songs related to coins and the counting of them.
    Social Studies

    Me and my place in this world

          • This week, we wrapped up our unit called Me and My Place in this World. The finale was creating a model of the earth complete with the continents (see above pic). 


  • Science
          • Our recent trip to the Pacific Science Center was really fun! A huge thank you to the family volunteers who came along to help out. We took a few breaks to let children run in the sunny field after lunch and before we went home. Due to the popularity of this unit, our next course of study will be Me and My Place in Space. We will study the planets and their proximity to the earth.

    “If you trust play, you will not have to control your child’s development as much. Play will raise the child in ways you can never imagine.” ~ Vince Gowmon

Terracotta Warriors of the First Empire

Late in April, the Third, Fourth and Fifth graders ventured beyond Tukwila on a field trip to the Pacific Science Center and ended up on the opposite side of the globe. They had the rare opportunity to view the ancient terracotta warriors from China. This amazing adventure started with an Imax movie about the dig sites and how the first emperor of Qin united the ancient countries that ultimately became China. The students had a great time in the exhibit looking at all the different artifacts from China that include: warriors, horses, bronze animals and other bronze weapons from the era. These artifacts are over 2,000 years old and provided our students with a glimpse into ancient history.

Winter Chess Championship

Strategy and finesse

In January, one of Academy Schools’ own joined a slew of other student chess aficionados at the Washington State High School Individual Championship at Lakeside Upper School in Seattle for two days of rigorous timed (Double Swiss) play. Jack gave it his all, played 10 games over two days, and earned 12th place in the Individual Championship Section Reserve category.

Everyone at Academy Schools is so proud of Jack! He proved his skill and determination – and represented his school well. Congratulations, Jack!

Washington State High School Individual Championship for Chess, January 2017

Laura Arntzen Joins the Board of PEAB

About a month ago, a request was sent out by Highline College expressing interest in a private school educator representative who would be willing to actively participate as a board member for the Professional Educators Advisory Board. Academy Schools recommended Mrs. Arntzen for this role as a representative of our school. Laura is passionate about private education and is excited to be a representative.

The board is comprised of educators from several surrounding districts and is made up of private school, public school and administrative personnel. According to Sharon Ricci, the Membership and Outreach Manager at the WA Federation of Independent Schools, the board members’ influence over the future of education training, strengthening relations with fellow educators in our region and act as a representative for Private Schools by providing valuable perspective to Highline College.  Typically, PEABs meet three times per year and representatives are asked to serve 2 or 3 year terms.

The board was created to provide valuable input on a brand new program at Highline that, if approved, is set to launch in the fall of 2017. According to Ms. Ricci, the group will be asked to advise on a wide range of concepts related to Early Childhood and Elementary Education, Special Education, Early Childhood Special Education, English as a Second Language, and Bi-Lingual Education. Mrs. Artnzen’s experience in these areas will serve the board well. We look forward to sharing more details of this highly collaborative program as it develops.

Academy Schools is extremely proud that Mrs. Arntzen has agreed to represent our school and serve as a voice for all independent schools in the region. Congratulations to Mrs. Arntzen!


2017 Prudential Spirit of Community Award Runner-Up, Ethan C.

Ethan is named one of the top runners-up in The 2017 Prudential Spirit of Community Awards in Washington state.

Academy Schools is honored to announce that 10th Grade student, Ethan, has been named a top runner-up in The 2017 Prudential Spirit of Community Awards in the state of Washington. Ethan will receive an engraved bronze Distinguished Finalist medallion in the weeks ahead to commemorate this prestigious award.

Ethan received this letter from Congressman David G. Reichert

The Prudential Spirit of Community Award honors young people for their outstanding acts of volunteerism. Ethan rightfully earned this award for the many years he has actively supported deployed members of our Armed Services by sending care packages overseas. In addition, he regularly volunteers at the Northwest Harvest distribution center in Kent, the location of the school’s recent Empty Bowl event.

The President’s Volunteer Service Award for 2016

Ethan’s remarkable community involvement has also earned him the President’s Volunteer Service Award! Academy Schools is proud of Ethan’s accomplishments and joins Prudential Financial, the National Association of Secondary School Principals, and the Obama White House in congratulating Ethan for these great honors. Academy Schools looks forward to welcoming a Prudential representative very shortly for the presentation of Ethan’s bronze medallion as a Distinguished Finalist. Kudos to Ethan!

The letter Ethan, as a recipient of the President’s Volunteer Service Award, received from President Obama

Academy Schools Partners with Northwest Harvest – To Date, 12,377 Meals Provided

Academy Schools partners with Northwest Harvest

Academy Schools is pleased to announce the success of its Empty Bowl event held at Northwest Harvest on Thursday, January 19th, 2017. Donations continue to roll in, as does food collection (canned and dry non-perishable foods) as part of a community-wide, on-going service project. Through the Empty Bowl event alone, Academy Schools has provided over 12,377 meals (based on Northwest Harvest’s 22 cents per meal calculation).

Beautiful ceramic bowls thrown by members of our Academy Schools family

Students, families, teachers all had the opportunity to throw bowls, thanks to Academy Schools’ master potter and College & Career Counselor, Bruce McIntyre. They were glazed, fired and available to purchase for a mere $15 each, with all proceeds going to Northwest Harvest.

Thank you to Pike Place Chowder and Renton Safeway for the delicious soup and bread


Guests on the evening of January 19th shared a meal of soup and bread, generously donated by Pike Place Chowder and Safeway Store #1563 in Renton. A raffle was held, thanks to the thoughtful donation of a huge gift basket from Continental Mills, raising an additional $215 for Northwest Harvest! The purpose of an Empty Bowl event is to help bring awareness about the impact of hunger on our communities, locally and globally. The handmade ceramic bowls are taken home as a reminder that every day, there are empty bowls around the globe – and each of us has the power to do something to reduce the pain of hunger.

Take a bowl home as a reminder that every day, there are empty bowls around the globe.

Academy Schools would also like to thank Seattle Pottery Supply for their vital part in the creation of dozens of magnificent ceramic bowls! Thank you to all who attended and participated in some way to make this event so very successful. Academy Schools understands that success requires strategic partnerships and looks forward to seeing this event grow in the years to come.


Geography News from Middle School

Post by Kevin Tower
Last semester, our middle school students went on a field trip to learn about Washington State History and Culture at the Burke Museum.  Our tour guide, Morrow Wood, led us through Native American culture and even gave us some hands on experience with tribal tools and costumes/ornaments used in special ceremonies! 

At the Burke

Next, each student designed their own Native American inspired mask.  Finally, we all participated in a scavenger hunt that took us on a journey through time.  We learned that Washington was once almost entirely underwater before the age of dinosaurs! 

We ended the day with some fun by going the UW Student Union Building Bowling Alley!  With six lanes, we all had plenty of chances to chase after that elusive strike. 

“My favorite part of the day was bowling,” ~ Annika

Both groups of Middle School students are unique, friendly, curious, and always engaged with their learning.  The past few months at Academy Schools have great for all of us and I know that 2017 will be even better as we transition out of Geography into Washington State History.  Thank you for raising such great children.  I feel privileged to spend time with each of them and help as they prepare to transition into High School.

March Madness

Field Trip Notes from Mr. Tower

Academy Schools felt strangely empty the last week in March after our high school students (and several middle school students as well) left for their big trip to Washington D.C.

Of course, the middle school kids who remained behind knew all about the excursion to our nation’s capital and they wanted to do some outdoor exploring of their own, especially with all the glorious sunshine we were getting!

On the Friday before spring break we all piled into the Academy Schools van and headed to the University of Washington to enjoy the cherry blossoms and visit the best college campus in the country (biased opinion from a UW grad).  Once we arrived, the middle school students were broken into two teams who would be participating in a scavenger hunt.  Each team was given a map of the campus and a set of clues that would lead them around to various important buildings and features.  At each destination they had to provide proof of arrival with a group photo..

Team 1 - standing outside the Husky Union Building

Team 1 – standing outside the Husky Union Building

Fortunately, the weather remained perfect because we all logged several miles as each time worked their way clue-by-clue to the final destination, Drumheller Fountain.

Team 2 - enjoying a break at the finish line

Team 2 – enjoying a break at the finish line

After some much needed rest we hopped back into the van and made our way to Gas Works Park.  There we enjoyed the splendid view of Lake Union while we ate our lunches in the sun.

Before returning to the school, we introduced the students to the ancient and exhilarating sport of bocce ball. In this game, pairs of students compete to throw different colored balls at a smaller white ball, which is thrown and becomes the target.  Whichever players get closest to the target win points for their team.  While Dr. Boomhower and I won the first game by a narrow margin, the students quickly learned the technique and soon their skills had surpassed that of the teachers! 

Bocce Ball Competition

Bocce Ball Competition

Taking our middle school students to the University of Washington campus was a great opportunity for them to begin looking forward to what college might look, feel, and sound like…wherever they may end up.  At the same time, it was great seeing them have fun with the scavenger hunt and bocce ball.  Childhood is short and it is important that our students enjoy our time together, playing and exploring the way all kids should.

Special thank you to Nathaniel’s mom, Chris Withers, for joining us as a chaperone.  Parents are always welcome to join us on any field trips!

On a Space Mission in Room 11

A message from Mrs. Arntzen dated April 14, 2016Space ship

Hello Parents!

It’s been a great week back to school! If you can believe it, we have roughly eight more short weeks left of the school year! The time is flying! If you haven’t thought about summer camp for your child, we have a great five week, theme-based program lined up! Please take a look at the information available on our website.

Important Dates:

  • No School-Tomorrow 4/15
  • Field Trip– Oxbow Farms – Thursday, 4/21
  • Auction– Saturday, 4/23

Language Arts

This week, I tested all four boys on their fluency and I was very impressed with the results! I will email you a note with their scores. Currently, we are working on the following skills:

  • Beginning blends
  • Verbs
  • Past tense verbs
  • Weekly spelling list w/test
  • Sustained silent reading
  • Whole group reading
  • Comprehension

Math (Across Levels)

  • Partner addition
  • More than, less than
  • Double- digit subtraction and borrowing
  • Measurement (inches)


We have officially blasted off into outer space as we learn about the solar system. We are answering questions like: How does Earth rotate? What is the Sun like? What causes day and night? What causes the seasons?

Social Studies

We are exploring the wonderful world of maps! We each got to take a turn looking at the Google Earth view of our homes. It was very cool and the boys were excited about it as we zoomed in and out from the outer space view! They are also learning how to read a map, use a compass rose and how to examine and pick out continents and oceans on a map.

The power of observation

The power of observation

“Children will learn to explore when they are given the opportunity to do so and not given a reason why they cannot.”