Future Farmers of America…

Middle School students recently took a field trip to Carnation Farms so they could experience firsthand what farming looks like and how much the process has developed since the days of our ancestors.

Students were able to sample food from the garden, pick a pumpkin to take home, meet several chickens, and even go on a tractor ride!  We all had a blast.

Report by: Mr. Tower

A Message from Grant

A message from Grant…which says it all!

The Essential Field Trip

With several field trips on the Academy Schools calendar this month, it is a reminder of the known and unknown value these adventures bring to the students. One member of academia relates, “Field trips provide students with a window to the real world that they don’t get in the classroom, and they can help students understand real-world applications of seemingly abstract topics in math and science.” ~ Jason Koebler

“For a seed to achieve its greatest expression, it must come completely undone. The shell cracks, its insides come out and everything changes. To someone who doesn’t understand growth, it would look like complete destruction.” ~ Cynthia Occelli

Hello world! The students of Academy Schools are out and about!




Strategies for Success

From the Autism Parent Support Group of Kennewick and our own Mrs. Lawrence, Academy Schools is pleased to share the following:

Working with families and educators for over two decades has taught me some important lessons about what it means to provide meaningful intervention to students with autism spectrum disorder. It is easy to get caught up in the moment-to-moment challenges and lose perspective on what we are trying to accomplish. Too often we employ strategies that address an immediate problem, without figuring out how to address the challenges over the long-term.

Here are some important concepts every parent and educator should consider when working with children with autism:

Allow for Processing. Autism at it’s core is an information processing disorder. This impacts a person’s ability to take in, make sense of, and respond to information.  It is essential to remember the importance of slowing down in order to speed up!  When we give a child time to process directions, demands, questions, etc., we can help support their learning and improve their overall processing.

Behavior is Communication.  Behavior of a child with autism can make little sense to us at times and can even appear irrational. However,  ALL behavior is rational if we can see the world from the child’s eyes.  When we listen, observe, and investigate in order to understand the function of the behavior, we can make sense of it and see the world the way the child does. Be careful not to make the mistake of jumping in to change the behavior before understanding it.

Relationships are Essential.   We learn and grow through our relationships with others. Behavioral and emotional self-regulation begins with being able to regulate with others.  This is just as important, if not more important to their future success. Children with autism need to not just learn about social skills, but have opportunities to apply them and experiences to reflect on and learn from.

Communication is a Powerful Tool.  Speaking and communicating are two very different things. The ways in which we use verbal and nonverbal communication has a significant impact on our students’ communication development and thinking.  We need to work on reducing demands (questions, direct prompts, requests, etc.) and communicate more in an inviting manner by increasing our nonverbal communication, sharing our experiences, and using primarily indirect mindful prompts. Making this change will help promote dynamic thinking, problem solving, and reduce the likelihood of an oppositional response.

Promoting Thinking, and Problem Solving.  The most important outcome of the learning process is to teach students to think. We need to create daily opportunities for students to think about and flexibly respond to what is happening around them.  Many people unknowingly overcompensate for the child with autism by doing the thinking for them.  We must slow down and allow kids to appraise, process, and focus more on the problems and less on the solutions.

Look for Obstacles.  Everyone has obstacles and challenges that impact their ability to function at their best. The responsibility for identifying and resolving behavior obstacles and challenges lies much more with adults than it does with children. When a child is acting out, behaving inappropriately or not as expected, it is tempting to blame the child.  Often people expect the child to meet their expectations instead of changing their expectations to match the child.  Instead ask yourself based on the child’s sensory, cognitive, social, and emotional vulnerabilities, could the expectations and demands be changed to better match the child’s current skills? Are there accommodations and modifications that can be made? Even the smallest thing can be a demand for a child.

Families as Partners.  Parents are the primary players in the growth and development of their children. Professionals and families must be more than a team for the purpose of completing required paperwork. A working relationship based on trust and mutual respect is required for students to reach their highest potential.

Teaching or raising a child with autism while rewarding, is not an easy task. I hope these concepts and strategies help the back to school transition be a successful one.  If you are in need of more guidance, support or training, give us a call, we are here to help!

Your Annual Fund Dollars at Work!

Just this month, faculty members from Academy Schools have been ‘out and about’, attending conferences and workshops.

An article on evolllution.com states, “The National Staff Development Council (2007) created a set of nine standards that all professional development should follow. They include content knowledge and quality teaching, research-basis, collaboration, diverse learning needs, student learning environments, family involvement, evaluation, data-driven design, and teacher learning.” https://evolllution.com/opinions/why-professional-development-for-teachers-is-critical/

Above and beyond the Clock Hours needed to keep teaching certificates current and meet state requirements, professional development is vital, providing teachers with support and knowledge to promote student motivation and understanding, to implement learning standards across the curriculum, and to introduce new strategies and ideas to engage all learners. Academy Schools is committed in supporting and empowering its teachers with opportunities to grow professionally and personally.

Here are just some of the books our teachers are reading this summer…

UDL Now!: A Teacher’s Guide to Applying Universal Design for Learning in Today’s Classrooms by Katie Novak

Belonging and Becoming: The Power of Social and Emotional Learning in High Schools by Barbara Cervone

Asperger Syndrome and the Elementary School Experience: Practical Solutions for Academic & Social Difficulties by Susan Thompson Moore

While students are unwinding and enjoying their summer routines, members of Academy Schools’ teaching team are busy! Ms. Dunne recently spent two days in Tacoma attending workshops on The Daily 5, a well-regarded framework that supports literacy and aids students in developing life habits in reading and writing. Also in this series was an intensive introduction to The Literacy CAFÉ System, a strategic program that promotes the core components for successful reading. To top it off, there was a math component.

Mrs. Maria, Mrs. Arntzen and Ms. St. John spent a week at the Staff Development for Educators (SDE) National Conference where they were immersed in research-based approaches to student-centered environments, practical applications for learning, as well as the science of learning, with a whole lot of social, emotional and cognitive development added in. The outcome from these five days of intensive professional development will strengthen all areas of learning in Lower School, and throughout the entire school, as they share what they have learned during valuable staff meetings.

The important point to make is that Academy Schools couldn’t provide this essential support of our teachers without your Annual Fund contributions. Thank you for making these outreach opportunities possible! We’ll report on more about teachers as learners in the weeks ahead!

Jump for Joy – It’s June!

From Mrs. Artnzen’s classroom

Hello Parents,

We are in the home stretch! We only have a couple days left of school! This has been an amazing school year filled with so many great moments!! More than I could even list! With this last days of school, we will be completing final assessments, participating in spiral review of concepts learned and playing some fun games connected to skills and concepts attained throughout the school year. This has been an incredible year and I am so fortunate to have had the opportunity to teach your little ones. ~Mrs. Arntzen


·         Money

·         Measurement using simple and standard tools

·         Telling time on a digital and analog clock

·         Double digit addition and subtraction


·         Silent Consonants

·         Spiral Review


·         Two-syllable words          

·         Compound Words

·         Conjunctions (or, and)



Your children have definitely increased their reading stamina and almost all of the students are choosing chapter books to read.  Fluency, comprehension and reading levels have increased for all and I am very excited to see where the next levels will take them in their reading journey. The Magic Treehouse series is a favorite in our class!

Seattle Aquarium


We recently took a trip to the Seattle Aquarium where the children got to see first-hand some of the things that we have been talking about in class. They had a great time and there was even enough time to head to Alki where they quickly rolled up their pant legs and explored the low tide!

Social Studies

We are wrapping up the last few pages of our map books and I have been excited to see that your children have learned to use a map key, a compass rose and are quickly learning to read directions when it comes to maps.

Alki Exploration


Rockin’ the Stage


On the stage at the 2017 Northwest Folklife Festival

Academy Schools’ very own music teacher, Wes Waddell, performed on the Green Stage at the Northwest Folklife Festival over Memorial Day Weekend. Those who were lucky to see him said “he’ a great performer!” Yes, indeed. Mr. Waddell is the music man! And Academy Schools is so fortunate to have Mr. Waddell, a valued member of the Bushwick Book Club of Seattle, as music teacher extraordinaire!

Principal for the Day!

On Friday, May 12th, there was a new Principal at Academy Schools!

Father and son, a memorable moment!

The POD (military speak for Plan of the Day) was fully orchestrated by the new Principal at Academy Schools, Master Scoville, including free dress for all (no coupons required).

Christopher led the all-school assembly, initiated the pledge, chose the patriotic song (sung with aplomb by Christopher’s father, Michael), and made announcements.

Principal Scoville had very specific instructions regarding academics…including Literacy for all grades, with a choice of grammar or read a book/short story, math for one hour (teacher’s choice), “cool” science experiments, and computers for grades 3, 4 and 5. At morning recess, elbow tag was permitted, but without jabs or heavy elbows, please! There was pizza lunch for the whole school. And, following lunch, students were served popsicles as they headed outdoors for mid-day recess and PE.

By mid-afternoon, everyone was ready for some outstanding Show & Tell. Once again, Principal Scoville brought his A-game to Academy Schools! Master Rowe from ATA , Seattle Martial Arts and Leadership Academy, came and spoke about his program which teaches discipline, respect, confidence and leadership…all admirable virtues, plus flexibility.

The day ended with an afternoon movie and popcorn in the atrium. Thank you, Principal Scoville, for a memorable day!

All Hands On! NatureBridge!

Middle School Notes from NatureBridge, May 2017

Favorite Part:    

“Nature Bridge Itself!  I like the location, staff, activities…basically everything.” – Logan 

“I liked the people at Nature Bridge.” – Armaan 

“The people and Nature Bridge and my friends.” – Kesha 

“Getting to know my classmates better.” – Benji 

“Learning more individually by doing stuff.” – Mirah    

“I really enjoyed the canoe ride.” – Jack 

“My favorite part of Nature Bridge was when I went to the beach (tide pools).  And the hiking trails.” – Alex M.     

“My favorite part was the canoe ride.” – Annika

“My favorite part of the trip was hiking on rocks.” – Gurveer 

“My favorite part was canoeing.” – Chris     

“I liked everything!” – Kirin and Noah     

“My favorite part was hearing our group’s echo off the mountains.” – Sarah     

Favorite Part:

“The cabin was very noisy.” – Shang 

“The fact that I was allergic to most of the food.” – Mirah 

“Slipping on the rocks at the beach.” – Jack 

“My least favorite part was leaving.” – Kirin     

*Lots of students said that they didn’t have a least favorite part! ~ Thank you, Mr. T.!

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!