Cherry Crest LogoCherry Crest Chronicler

October 1, 2018

Hello Charger Families,

On the first day of school, someone captured Assistant Principal Substitute Brenda Naish and me jumping for joy as we welcomed students into school.  The sign in the background calls out our goal and mission of being united as one Comm(Unity) where each and every student (and family) feel a sense of belonging.  At times, this can be challenging given our large size (650 students), dual programs (Neighborhood and Advanced Learning), commuter population (Advanced Learning students live within boundaries of 5 northern elementary schools) and changing demographics.

In light of this, I believe it is critical that we invest in building relationships with one another.  Knowing and understanding those around us increases empathy and enhances our own learning experience.  As a school, we have spent time and energy getting to know our students and, reciprocally, providing opportunity for students to know us.  Not only is this done by teachers within their classroom, but also with and by staff across the school.  As an extension of this, I am including the photos and roles of our outstanding instructional assistants and paraeducators.  These staff provide valuable support and learning opportunities for students in the classroom and, most importantly, during lunch and recess.  These less structured times during the day provide critical opportunities for students to practice invaluable social emotional and problem solving skills that will serve them in ways far beyond that of academics alone. I encourage families to study the photos and names below, to ask your child about these staff and to greet them by name when you next visit school.

Durgalakshmi Ganapthy
Ms. Durga
Eric Shyu
Mr. Eric

Michele Loewke

Ms. Michele

Korynna Hesketh
Mrs. H
Sarah Levinson
Ms. L
Kris Tarpley
Mr. T
Candi Magialardi
Mrs. M
Gayle Staker
Miss Gayle
Bhawana Bhandaru
Mrs. B
Jami Visaya
Mrs. Visaya


Dusty Steere, Principal Cherry Crest Elementary


October 8                             ELL Coffee @ 8:15 am
October 9                             4th/5th Robotics Club Registration & Parent Meeting @ 3:45 pm
October 10                           Walkathon donation deadline
October 12                           Professional Learning Day, No Students
October 12                           All School Ice Skating Party @ SnoKing Arena
October 15                           Principal Chat @ 8:15 am
October 26                           Picture Retake Day 

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

Getting to School. With just one entrance and exit to our school, pickup and drop off at Cherry Crest can be frustrating.  As such, we strongly encourage eligible students to utilize BSD transportation.  Find your bus route on the BSD transportation page here.

If you choose to drop off or pick up your child from school, please review and follow the Cherry Crest Pick Up and Drop Off procedures.

Counselor’s Corner.  In support of our “Student Well Being” priority, BSD has provided full time counselors in all elementary schools this year.  Here is a brief letter of introduction from Cherry Crest counselor Marissa Krauskopf: 

 I was born and raised in South Florida earning my Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Southeastern University in Lakeland, FL and my Master’s degree in School Counseling from Palm Beach Atlantic University in West Palm Beach, FL.  I was a school counselor in Texas for a few years before moving out to Washington with my husband and our two dogs in 2016.  We love spending time outside hiking, kayaking, and snowboarding, as well as, enjoy traveling to see new places. My husband and I are very excited as we are currently expecting our first child this upcoming January.

As the school counselor at Cherry Crest, my role is to help support all students in a variety of ways. Since I am new to Cherry Crest I am working on getting to know students.

A few ways that I am getting to know students is by:

  • Going out and spending time at recess,
  • Inviting small groups of students to my office for a fun lunch of games, and
  • Teaching lessons in the classroom.

Later this year I will be offering small groups that have a focused topic, those groups will need a signed permission slip. I also help students problem solve if a conflict arises between students. 

Bellevue School District has made the well-being of students a priority, and part of that is having a full-time counselor at Cherry Crest. Research shows that when children have positive adult(s) in their life, they are more resilient and have higher self-esteem. I am looking forward to becoming a positive person in your child’s life.

Walkathon Donations deadline – Oct 10. I hope you all enjoyed the Walk-A-thon and Family Carnival last Friday. The weather was perfect and such a great opportunity to bring families together for our first comm(UNITY) event and fundraiser. Many kids worked hard to reach their lap goals  to support our school.

While the walking has stopped, the PTSA is still taking donations until Oct 10th.  During the Award Ceremony on October 15th,  we will recognize students and grades for their laps and for top fundraisers.  Donations can be made

Thank you for supporting all the wonderful PTSA sponsored events and activities at our school that help build our comm(UNITY) and enhance your students education.

ELL Coffee Monday October 8th 8:15 – 9:30 am.  Families of students receiving English Language Learner (ELL) services are invited to join Alicia Feuling and Principal Dusty Steere for a morning breakfast regarding the ELL Program at Cherry Crest. Our aim is to build community among families and to clarify what services your child receives as a part of the program.  We will provide coffee, tea, and bagels.

Principal Chat Monday October 15th  8:15 – 9:30 am.  Make plans to join Principal Dusty Steere for the first of his four scheduled principal chats this year to learn more the school district’s new vision and mission statements and how they shape our work with students at Cherry Crest.  Beyond this, Dusty is happy to answer any questions you might have.  He’s also interested in hearing from parents about topics or questions you would like to see addressed at future Principal Chats. Please share your ideas in this brief  survey.   Principal Chat refreshments generously provided by the Cherry Crest PTSA.

Cherry Crest 4th/5th grade Robotics Club Registration.   The 2018/19 Cherry Crest Robotics Club has opened registration (link below) and will hold a parent informational meeting on Tuesday October 9th at 3:45 pm at Cherry Crest Elementary.  Prepare for blast off, break out of your earthly constraints and go INTO ORBITSM.  

First Lego League (FLL) challenges kids to think like scientists and engineers. The 2018/2019 FLL season will transport your team into space, where you’ll explore, challenge, and innovate in the vast expanse of space.  Teams will build, test, and program an autonomous robot using LEGO MINDSTORMS to solve a set of missions in the Robot Game. They will also choose and solve a real-world question in the Project. Throughout their experience, teams will operate under FLL’s signature set of Core Values.

The Cherry Crest Robotics Club will provide your team with one Robotics Set, and coaching. Cost is $150 per student. Please register and come to the parent meeting and find out more details. Registration

All School Ice Skating Party.   On Friday, October 12, 2018, when school is closed for a professional development day, Cherry Crest PTSA is hosting an all school ice skating party at the Kirkland Sno-King (aka Kingsgate Ice Arena). All Cherry Crest students, siblings, and parents are invited to attend. Ice skating will be from 9:15 to 11:15 a.m. and instructors will be on the ice to assist beginners. Click here for more information.

Volunteering at CHERRY CREST. Family involvement is a critical aspect of our school success!  If you are not currently a volunteer in our school community, we invite you to find a way to get involved.  The research overwhelmingly demonstrates that parent involvement in their children’s education is positively related to academic achievement.  The research also shows that the earlier in a child’s education that the parent/caretaker gets involved, the more powerful the effects will be.  In addition, your child will be excited to see you active in the school house and it is just plain fun to spend time with children.  There are many ways to get involved.  If you need ideas for where you could start your volunteering journey, contact your child’ s teacher and/or speak with Susie Nakamura in the main office.  If you haven’t volunteered before, it will be necessary to complete a BSD Volunteer application online here.

Cherry Crest to again participate in Bellevue School Pool.  Recognizing how getting to and from school can be, Cherry Crest is once again participating in School Pool – a collaboration between King County Metro, the City of Bellevue, and TransManage which strives to reduce the congestion associated with pick-up and drop-off traffic at schools like ours.

SchoolPool encourages our students to carpool with other families, walk or ride their bikes to school, or take the bus. We hope that you’ll support your student in trying a new way of getting to school. You can get involved by starting a ‘walking school bus’, in which a parent walks with a group of students for a portion or the entire distance to school; or a ‘bike train’, in which students ride with a parent all or part of the way to school. If you’re interested in finding a carpool, SchoolPool has resources available including Pogo and

During the months of October and May all students will receive a paper calendar and are asked to write down any walking, biking, carpooling or bus trips they take to or from school. For each calendar that is turned into the office at the end of the month our school will earn money for PTSA projects, and each student who tracks their trips will earn a prize/entry into a drawing for a grand prize (use prize for elementary schools).

If you have any questions about the program please reach out to Brenda Naish (Assistant Principal Substitute) or the Bellevue SchoolPool team at

Thank you for helping our school!

Get to know our Alicia Feuling:  Cherry Crest’s new English Language Learner (ELL) Facilitator. 

I was born and raised in Chicago before moving to Indiana to pursue a degree in TESOL Education (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) with a minor in World Languages. After graduation, I worked at an international school in Wuhan, China teaching 2nd/3rd grade, leading the ELL department and supporting teachers in language acquisition instruction while concurrently earning my post-graduate degree in TESOL from Bethel University.  I am new to the Pacific Northwest, love exploring the outdoors, hiking, yoga, and spending time with friends at the Sound.

As the ELL Facilitator at Cherry Crest, my role is to support our multilingual students in direct and indirect ways. My role includes communicating student language proficiencies to teachers, planning and collaborating to encourage structures in the classroom that support language learning and working directly with language learners. My philosophy is that all students are language learners and all teachers are language teachers.

Bellevue prioritizes equity of our diverse student population. It is my privilege to support our multilingual students both in their language learning journeys and in their identities as multilingual individuals.

Advanced Learning Program Testing. Applications for students testing for Advanced Learning services in grades 1 – 11 are available online beginning September 1, 2018 and the application deadline is October 31, 2018 at 4:30 PMAny parent whose child lives within the Bellevue School District service area can apply for their child to test. Parents of BSD Kindergarten students do not need to apply as all Kindergarten students are automatically assessed for services at their home school.  To learn more about Advanced Learning or apply for winter testing, please visit

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.