Java with Jim

Warmup your cup of coffee and hear the latest news and events from Blackwell.  This morning gathering is designed specifically for parents to hear directly from Mr. Eaton about what's happening here at Elizabeth Blackwell.  Mr. Eaton will also be available to field questions about our school, remote learning, the district, and the state of education in Washington.

It's also a great time to virtually meet other parents and hear from the PTSA.  We will be meeting quarterly at 9:30 A.M.  Our fist Java with Jim will be on Wednesday, Sept. 30th.  Join the meeting via Teams...links will be published in our weekly newsletter.

Month Information Presented Questions & Answers


Please click here to view the information presented by Mr. Eaton



Q:  Since we have not received any notifications from Blackwell regarding positive COVID cases at school, does that mean there aren’t any?

A: Yes!  Fortunately we have not had a positive case yet at Blackwell.  In the event that we do, parents of any close contacts, would of course be informed right away and we have a robust response if it does.  The protocols we have in place are working.  Added after the meeting: Our district provides a Health and Safety Dashboard that is updated every week.  This shows COVID case numbers at each site.


Q:  How many students have opted in to the outdoor eating option?

A:  38-40 kids have opted in for that.  There are roughly 12-15 per lunch, so our front covered area is working well for that number of students.  Should that number increase, we have a large tent set up out back to handle more.


Q: With the option to attend online school, how have the Blackwell numbers changed?

A:  Two years ago, we were at roughly 550 students.  We are now at 460.  Those students are either in online school, home schooled or going to private school.


Q: Did Blackwell used to offer after school activities?

A: Yes, prior to COVID, we had several programs offered through our PTSA such as drama, basketball, running club, robotics, art, etc.  Unfortunately, we are not yet ready to bring these options back as we don’t want to be mixing students.  We are able to currently offer Math and Chess Club, both of which are virtual.  Our PTSA is eager to return to offering enrichment once we are able to allow these activities back.


Q: Are volunteers allowed in the building now?

A:  Yes, the district has made a modification to the rules, allowing for fully vaccinated and approved volunteers in the buildings.  Our teachers will be looking at how to best utilize volunteers to meet their needs.  Vaccination status must be verified in a couple different ways, including showing proof in the Blackwell Office prior to volunteering.


Q: What can we do to help staff?

A:  The best thing you can do is just show appreciation.  Staff are all working hard in unusual circumstances, and knowing they are appreciated by families makes a difference.


Q: Do teachers use microphones in class?

A: Yes, each classroom is equipped with an audio enhancement system.  It has a microphones and presentation speaker. It is integrated into our classroom technology footprint. Several speakers are in each classroom.


Q: Not a question, but just a comment that it’s nice to see the principal out front in the mornings!

A: He can’t be out every day, but he strives to!

december  Please click here for Mr. Eaton's presentation.

Q:  What are the protocols for intruders?

A:  We spend time every year discussing and practicing what to do in the event of an intruder or some other unexpected disruption.  We use the ALICE principles (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate).  ALICE gives staff tools to use to make their best judgment in any given situation.  We try to be as proactive as possible.  Our exterior doors are always locked and require staff to let visitors in.  Classroom doors can be locked from either side.  Students who are outside of their normal space (i.e. in the bathroom) are taught to go to the very nearest classroom if possible, or potentially hide if necessary.  Many “what if” scenarios are discussed.  Students are taught to listen carefully to teachers or staff during an emergency and follow directions without questioning.


Q: Will we know how many students may come back in the 2nd semester and will we have space for them all?

A: We do have space in all our classrooms for incoming students.  We already know of 28 Blackwell students in our district online school that may return.  We are unsure how many may come back to us from homeschooling or private school.  If we have a situation where we would go over, we work with our District Leadership Team to address staffing.  We take any students who are living within our boundary, so would make any adjustments necessary to accommodate them.


Q:  How is the substitute situation?

A:  We had a good response to our call for emergency subs and are in a much better spot now than last month.  We hope that once all the new subs are in place, we won’t have to cancel specialists as often.

march  Please click here for Mr. Eaton's presentation. No attendees today.
june  Please click here for Mr. Eaton's presentation

Q: Do parents get a chance to see the SBA scores for their student?

A:  Yes, all states use some type of standardized test to measure themselves again the Common Core standards.  Since our testing is done online, results will be made available through Family Access, likely later this month.


Q: Will there be field trips next year?

A:  Yes, typically we do and we anticipate being able to again next year.  It's up to individual teachers to plan them.  It's a great way to get some real world learning.