Cherry Crest LogoCherry Crest Chronicler

November 7, 2017

Dear Charger Families,

This year Bellevue School District has deliberately removed homework completion from the elementary progress report.  The rationale for this decision is due to vastly different amounts of homework being assigned by teacher/grade level/school, varying homework grading practices, and differing levels of support at home.  I recognize that homework continues to be a hot topic amongst parent and educator groups as highlighted in Time Magazine’s Homework Debate and Educational Leadership’s Case For and Against Homework.

The removal of homework completion from the report card does not mean that homework may never be assigned.  Rather, teachers consider  recommendations and use professional judgment in collaboration with their school and grade level teams in determining the best home learning options for students in their classrooms.  For kindergarten, as determined by the WaKIDS Kindergarten Team, homework will NOT be assigned. Kindergarten students are encouraged to read every night and provided the monthly home school connection calendar that invites optional learning opportunities to explore at home.   In fact, every kindergarten through fifth grade student and his/her family is encouraged to read every night.  Beyond this, other forms of homework should be assigned as needed, not as a matter of policy.  If homework is assigned, it should be meaningful and not just worksheets or tasks that occupy time and drive compliance.

A popular defense of homework is that it teaches students time management skills and responsibility. Regardless of the type and quantity of homework assigned by your child’s teacher, I encourage all parents to read the following article on how to teach responsibility if there is no homework.

“Don’t let a lack of homework mean less responsibility at home. Instead, let it be an opportunity for more meaningful, authentic responsibilities.”



Dusty Steere, Principal Cherry Crest Elementary



November 9                       No Students – Teacher Conference Day  

November 10                    No School – Veterans Day 

November 14                    PTSA Meeting & Parent Education Event @ 6:30 pm   

November 16                    Spelling Bee – preliminary round

November 20                   Multi Lingual Principal Coffee @ 8:15 am – cafe 

November 21                    Vision Screening 

November 23/24             No School – Thanksgiving Holiday 

Please remember to regularly visit the Cherry Crest & PTSA websites for the most current information.

 Parent Education and PTSA meeting on Tuesday, November 14th at 6:30pm in the cafeteria.

Along with committee updates, we are excited to share information with families on using the Critical Thinking Framework to Engage your Child as Never Before.  This year Cherry Crest teachers have been learning about and applying elements of the Critical Thinking Framework to deepen student understanding and extend learning.  A cohort of Cherry Crest teachers and district staff will be on hand to lead parents through an experiential lesson so that you might similarly engage your child’s thinking at home.

Coffee & cookies will be served at 6:30pm and the meeting will start promptly at 6:45pm. We hope to see you there! Childcare is provided.

Veterans Day Assembly.  Wednesday, November 15th 

Time: 8:15-9:05 a.m. 

What: Singing of Patriotic songs, Presentation and Student Speakers; Families and Veterans are invited to attend!

We’d like to honor our veterans and invite them to be recognized at our assembly. If you know a Veteran attending and they would like to be recognized, please let us know their name, branch and years of service, rank, and the name of the family member or friend attending Cherry Crest.

We will have special reserved seating for Veterans.

RSVP to Erin Stedman or call the main office 425-456-4900

Multi Lingual Principal Coffee Monday November 20th.  At Cherry we strongly believe in building a strong Comm(unity). If you are one of our many families that speak English as a second language we invite you to join us for coffee with other families and hear from our Principal, Dusty Steere, about how we can support you at Cherry Crest.  This first meeting will focus on how important systems work to support your child, how to access a variety of services, information about our very active Parent Teacher Association (PTA) and how you can be involved. Majority of the time will be dedicated to informal question and answer session.  8:15 – 9:30 in the Cherry Crest cafeteria.

Who Pays for Public School Education in Bellevue? Taxes, Bonds & Levies, Bellevue Schools Foundation & Our PTSAs

Join us for a special presentation and learn about the ins and outs of funding education in Bellevue from Melissa deVita, District Deputy Superintendent Financial Services & Operations.  Melissa will break down the roles played by the state and local taxes such as levies & bonds, as well as where support organizations such as Bellevue Schools Foundation and Bellevue’s PTSAs fit into the funding puzzle and how this is changing in light of the recent legislative actions.

Join us for this event, co-hosted by Bellevue PTSA Council. Please register here. The event is free and open to the public, and there are four sessions to choose from:.

  • Nov.13, Sammamish High School, 7 p.m.
  • Nov. 14, WISC Rainier Room, 12-1 p.m., lunch provided by Newport Knives Culinary students
  • Nov. 16, Bellevue High School, 6:30 p.m.
  • Nov. 20, Newport High School, 7 p.m.

Traffic Safety Reminders.  As the weather gets colder and wetter, inevitably the morning traffic around Cherry Crest gets worse.  This happens because 1) more families choose to drive their child to school in foul weather and 2) loading and unloading takes longer in the rain.  I have heard about and witnessed an increase in unsafe parent driving and inappropriate verbal responses due to the increased wait. This is not okay and sets a poor example for our children who watch us very closely.

If you are running late, please DO NOT let your child out of your car outside of supervised areas.  I care much more about student safety than I do about your child being a couple of minutes late to class.

For the safety of all our children, please review and adhere to Cherry Crest pickup, dropoff and parking procedures.

Thank you for your cooperation in this important matter.

Recess clothing. Please help your child to dress appropriately for Washington recess weather….rain! While we do have a covered play area, many students feel compelled to brave the elements and run through the puddles. The main office does not have extra sets of dry clothes for wet students. In these instances, the natural consequence is that students sit through an afternoon with wet socks and shoes.  As such, thank you for sending your child to school with warm rain jackets and weather-sturdy shoes.

Time to Check the Lost and Found.   The Lost and Found is overflowing with jackets, lunchboxes and other items.  Unclaimed items will be donated to charity after Thanksgiving.  Please check the rack located beside the art room on the first floor.

Student Arrival Reminders:  To help ensure student safety in the morning before school, we have recently reviewed morning arrival expectations and, similarly, ask families to know and follow the expectations as well.

  • School doors unlock at 7:40 am
  • K-2 students should enter through the main doors and go directly to the café
  • 3-5 students should wait outside under the covered area.
    • Recognizing that the weather is getting colder, please ensure your child has a warm coat and hat.
  • The first bell rings at 7:55 signaling teachers to pick up students
  • Students arriving after 7:55 may walk to their classroom. If their teacher is not present, they should line up outside the classroom and wait for the teacher and class to return.
    • Students should not be in classrooms prior to teacher arrival.

Proactively Report Absence, Illness, Appointments: When you child know your child will miss all or part of a school day due to illness or an appointment, please contact Cherry Crest Attendance at 425-456-4902 or email When leaving a message, be sure to include your child’s first and last name and the reason for the absence.

For prearranged absences of three of more days, a prior approval form submitted to the teacher and principal must be completed one week prior to the absence. Prearranged absence forms can be picked up in the main office and accessed on our website.

Excused and Unexcused Absences from School. One of the most important things your children can do to achieve academic success is also one of the most basic: going to school every day. In fact, research has shown that it usually takes students 3 days to catch up with school work for every day they’ve missed.

Should you be making plans where your child will miss school, please know that know that Washington State Law and Bellevue School District Policy guide Cherry Crest’s response to student absences.

Absence for parental-approved activities. This category of absence will be counted as excused for purposes agreed to by the principal and the parent/guardian for a maximum of five days. Absences exceeding ten days will be counted as unexcused.

School Responsibilities Related to Unexcused Absences

One (1) or Two (2) Unexcused Absences.  After a single unexcused absence, the school is required to contact parents, which is generally done by phone or letter. After a second unexcused absence, the school is required to conference with the parent to discuss solutions to the truancy.

Five (5) Unexcused Absences If a student accumulates five unexcused absences in a month, the school may take more intense absences to end the truancy. The school may file a petition with the King County Superior Court, enter into a written truancy agreement with the family, reference the family to a School Engagement Workshop, the Community Truancy Board, or be assigned to a District level Case Manager.

Seven (7) and Ten (10) Unexcused Absences. Court action is required when a student accumulates seven absences in a month or ten in a year. The truancy law requires that school districts file a petition in Superior Court against the student, parent, or both.

By making your child’s school attendance a priority, you will be taking an important step in supporting your child’s school success, and setting a good example. Remember every day counts!

Additional information about attendance and truancy can be on the BSD website here.

Thankfulness – Our Virtue of the Month for November:  Each month we encourage families to join with us in discussing our Virtues with students. November’s Virtue is thankfulness.

Thankfulness is being grateful for what you have.  It is an attitude of gratitude for learning, loving, and being.  It is appreciating the little things which happen around you and within you every day.  It is having a sense of wonder about the beauty of this world.  It is being aware of the gifts in your life.”

Why practice it? Thankfulness brings contentment.  It helps you find the good things in whatever happens.  Without thankfulness people can become negative.  They wish things were different.  They whine and complain when they don’t have everything their own way.  They envy other people.  With thankfulness, we keep a positive outlook.  We can see the good in our lives and in whatever happens.”

How do you practice it?  Being thankful is appreciating the things you have and the people you care about.  Show your appreciation when someone does something kind for you.  Focus on the good things about your life often.  Even when things go wrong, you can be thankful if you find the lessons to be learned.  Let others give to you.  Expect the best in every situation.”

Parents play a key role in preventing and responding to bullying. If you know or suspect that your child is involved in bullying, there are several resources that may help.

  • Recognize the warning signs that your child is involved in bullying. They could be being bullied, bullying others, or witnessing bullying.  Although these signs could signal other issues, you should talk to your child if they display any sort of behavioral or emotional changes.  Many times kids won’t ask for help, so it is important to know what to look for. If your child is at immediate risk of harming himself or others, get help right away.
  • Learn what bullying is and what it is not. Understanding what bullying is is the first step in forming a plan to prevent or respond to bullying with your child. Many behaviors that look like bullying may be just as serious, but may require different response strategies.

The following websites provide information for parents on supporting a child who is being bullied and what you can do if you suspect your child is bullying others.

Debra Miller, Counselor

Puesta del Sol Elementary (Monday, Tuesday, 1st and 3rd Wednesday)

Cherry Crest Elementary (2nd and 4th Wednesday, Thursday, Friday)

Reporting Safety Concerns. Bullying and safety concerns can always be reported to any staff member at school.  The Elementary Level Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying Incident Reporting Form is available to all families in the office. Finally, Bellevue School District also utilizes an anonymous reporting tool called SafeSchools Alert through which anyone can make a verbal or written report of harassment, intimidation or bullying. Information on how to submit a report via any of these methods is available on the district website at

Cherry Crest Elementary prepares all students to become life-long learners through inquiry, collaboration, and discovery.  Each student will feel a sense of belonging in our Comm(UNITY) while learning social-emotional and academic skills to be successful in an ever-changing and diverse society.