Cherry Crest Chronicler

November 2, 2020

Dear Charger Families,

This weekend saw the end of Daylight Savings Time and the beginning of a new month.  Along with the traditional Thanksgiving holiday, November is also host to American Indian and Alaskan Native Heritage Month.

In addition to academics, as a school this year, we are focused on recognizing and celebrating the rich racial and cultural diversity within our Comm(Unity).  In bimonthly virtual assemblies and classroom lessons, students have already learned about the Hispanic and Filipino cultures, often hearing directly from students themselves.  Last Wednesday, Julio Canimo (a senior at Bellelvue’s International School) shared rich artifacts and stories from his family’s Filipino background.  (Students loved seeing an intricate designed sheer dress shirt made from pineapples!)   Our emphasis on identity, culture and race is connected to social emotional learning standards (self awareness & social awareness – providing a relational foundation for students and teachers to build upon.  This self and social awareness also creates a culturally responsive entry point for teachers to deliver reading, writing and math instruction in a relevant and meaningful manner.

Parents are encouraged to discuss with your child what they are learning about the cultural and racial diversity in our school and community.  Our assembly planning team put together a classroom and home follow up activity complete with family interview questions that are wonderful conversation starters in your home or with family.


Dusty Steere, Principal Cherry Crest Elementary


November 3                     Election Day (don’t forget to vote)
November 10                   PTSA General Membership Meeting @ 6:45 Teams Link
November 10                   PTSA Virtual Grade Level Family Connect Meetings @ 7:15 Teams Link
November 11                    No School – Veterans Day
November 13                   Principal Chat @ 8:30 am Join Microsoft Teams Meeting
November 17                    PTSA Virtual event: Online Safety in the age of COVID (details below)
November 23-25             Elementary Conferencing Dates (no live afternoon instruction)
November 25                   Readathon Kickoff
November 25 – 29           Cherry Crest Read-a-thon
November 26/27            No School – Thanksgiving Holiday

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

Updated Cherry Crest Remote Learning Guidelines. We have revised our school’s Remote Learning Guidelines from last spring to reflect changes to policies, procedures, and best practices for 2020-2021. This document covers the following:

A. Supporting Our Students’ Remote Learning

    1. Tips for Remote Learning for Families
    2. Attendance Procedures and Requirements
    3. Message from Cherry Crest Resource Room
    4. Parent Support of Online Behavioral Expectations for Our Students and Online Safety
    5. Microsoft Teams Meeting Time with Students
    6. Online Behavioral Expectations for Our Students
    7. Student Guidelines for Chats and Direct Calls with Microsoft Teams
    8. Accessing Digital Information

B. Staff and Parent Connections

    1. Best Ways to Communicate with Staff
    2. Addressing Questions and Resolving Concerns
    3. Confidentiality and Professional Boundaries

C. Student Communication Guide for Elementary Students

In particular, we ask you to review section C with your student in order to support us in monitoring student use of chat and online communications on Teams. Thanks for your support and partnership!

Veteran’s Day Assembly and Flipgrid.   In recognition of Veterans Day, Cherry Crest will honor and celebrate veterans from around the world on November 4th at 9:40 am.  If you have a Veteran in your family, please share with us a photo or drawing on Flipgrid.  You can hold a printed photo or add a photo digitally while briefly telling us who you are and who are the Veterans in your family.  You are also invited to share with us what this day means to you.  You will have up to 3 minutes to record on Flipgrid. While our assembly is November 4th you have until Wednesday, November 11th to participate. We can’t wait to learn more about you and/or your family members who serve or have served.

Photos, videos, and stories can be shared here:

Please join us at our Cherry Crest PTSA General Membership meeting, Tuesday November 10th, via Microsoft Teams. We like all families and community members to participate and you don’t need to be a PTSA member to attend

This meeting will start early and be very short, covering only the updated Standing Rules and a few announcements. We are doing this to make time for our first of the year community building event “Grade Level Family Connect”.

Join remotely – Teams Link

6:45-7:15 General Membership Meeting

7:15 Grade Level Family Connect

Grade-specific meetings in Microsoft Teams will be hosted by a grade-level PTSA volunteer. You’ll have the opportunity to meet with other families, learn how to navigate the Cherry Crest community, connect to arrange virtual playdates and more. This event will be held on Tuesday, November 10th from 7:15-8:00pm immediately following the PTSA general meeting. Please join the PTSA Teams Meeting by 7:15 where we’ll have grade-level meeting links available. Families with students in multiple grades are encouraged to move between meetings to expand their family networks!

Questions? email

Principal Chat on Friday 11/13 @ 8:30 am.  Cherry Crest families are invited to attend monthly virtual meetings hosted by Principal Dusty Steere and PTSA presidents Britt Heath & Deepa Panchepakesan.  All chats will be hosted online via Microsoft Teams and will include information from the principal as well as ample time for questions and comments. Use this form to submit a question or topic for the next Principal Chat.
Chats are scheduled on the following Fridays from 8:30 – 9:30 am:  Nov 13; Dec 11; Jan 15, Feb 12, March 19, Apr 26, May 28

Join Microsoft Teams Meeting

PTSA Sponsored Parent Education Event.  Join your fellow Cherry Crest Community November 17th at 7 pm for a virtual presentation of “Optimizing Online Safety: Safety for Parents in the World of COVID” presented by Savvy Parents Safe Kids. This 90-minute parenting workshop focuses on what to expect, what you can do and how to help your child navigate the online world. During this talk we address: ​

  • Why basic safety is as applicable online as in person;
  • How to empower our children with boundaries;
  • How to identify the risks for children on the internet and how to reduce them;
  • How to adjust our rules and restrictions as our children grow;
  • The “Cyber 7” rules of internet safety;
  • And much, much more!

Presentation will be on Zoom and limited to the first 100 registrants. To sign-up, please visit the following link This program is coordinated by Cherry Crest PTSA and made possible through your generous donations throughout the year.

The Meals2Go program, offered by our Nutrition Services team, is designed to provide a FREE breakfast and lunch option for families to access for their children.  Families have two options to access meals on school days: Grab and Go Meals OR Pre-Order Meals.  Additional information and order forms are available on the BSD website

Specialist Spotlight- from your students’ art, music, library and P.E. teachers. In a ‘normal’ in-person school year specialists see students for a 40 minute period of instruction time.  This allows for teaching and independent work time for all students. During remote learning specialists see students for 20 minutes, 1x/week.  Because of that, specialists are also providing 20 minutes of independent student work each week, to equal 40 minutes of learning.  This student work can come in the form of:  an assignment through Teams (found in a student’s Assignment ‘backpack’), as links/attachments in an Announcement in their Specialist General channel in Teams or perhaps as a document in OneNote.  Each specialist has communicated with specific grade levels/classes how they will consistently provide this asynchronous (independent) work.  If you ever have a question about how to find the work, are having difficulty with a link or learning platform (e.g. Nearpod or Flipgrid) or how to turn the work in, please do not hesitate to email that specific art, P.E., music, or library specialist teacher. Ask your student or classroom teacher if you are unsure who it is.  Specialists are happy and ready to help!

Linked below is pdf clicksheet including many helpful tutorials included for the main BSD educational websites and platforms (e.g. Microsoft Teams, Lexia, etc.)  Student Technology Tutorial Clicksheet

Math Challenge. We are excited to introduce a bi-weekly Math challenge open to all students grade K-5! The first challenge will be posted here: on Oct 23rd, with a completion date of Nov 4th. Solutions will be posted on Nov 6th.

There is a calendar posted on the same link for future challenge dates. We are asking parents and students to self-grade these challenges and track completion. Participation certificates will be awarded to those who complete at least 10 challenges. After the last challenge is published in May, you will receive instructions on how to report participation. For any questions reach out to:

Families Travelling Outside Bellevue. If you are planning on traveling outside of Bellevue and plan to continue to participate in remote learning, you must contact  Washington State’s OSPI (Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction) has mandated strict rules on who can and cannot continue to access online classes when they are out of their school’s attendance boundaries.  Please email before you make any travel plans!

A Reminder about Pre-Arranged Absences. With the holidays approaching, we’d like to remind you that Bellevue School District allows each student 5 pre-arranged absences (PRA) per year.  You may use these one at a time, or all at once.  These are excused absences that you can use for a travel day, a sport or dance competition or a longer trip.  If your child will be missing 3 or more days, we ask that you submit a pre-arranged absence form at least 2 weeks prior to your trip.  If your child will only be missing one or two days, please email

Annual Family Engagement Report. Thank you to all of the Bellevue School District families who participated in our Family Engagement Survey during the winter of 2019! The results of this survey helped the district establish a starting point for future engagement with our families. Every BSD school has a School Improvement Plan and is incorporating key strategies and targets for family engagement into their 2020-21 plan.

During the survey, families asked for more information about student learning, consistent updates, more opportunities to be active partners and more. Read more about the survey results, the annual targets and goals that have been established, and the next steps for Family Engagement in the 2019-20 Annual Family Engagement Report. The district will also be collaborating with families to develop strategies and goals to increase engagement, especially for families who have been furthest from educational justice. Read the 2019-20 Annual Family Engagement Report

Family Connections Welcome Form. If your student qualifies for free and reduced lunch or if your family is facing financial hardship, you can apply to programs offered by our community partners. If you are interested, please complete the online form for each BSD student so that your family can be added to the appropriate community program list.  Please select your home school when completing this form.  Note: Being on a program list does not guarantee participation as these programs are funded and managed by our community partners (Bellevue LifeSpring, Backpack Meals, Jubilee REACH, Assistance League of the Eastside, Eastside Baby Corner, Congregation for Kids and more!).   Please complete the form in this link:  

Panorama Student Survey.  In early November, we will be doing the Panorama student perception survey to collect information on school climate and to provide teachers with feedback from students. The survey is run through Panorama Education ( and is given to all students in grades 3-12 in the district. This is the seventh year we are doing the survey.

The purpose of the survey is to help increase student voice in our district. It gives us an indication of where our strengths are and where we can do better. Here is some additional information about the survey:

  • The survey is confidential. Staff will not see how an individual student answers a survey.
  • It takes students about 15-20 minutes to complete the survey.
  • Students fill out a section on school climate, and then fill out a teacher survey for their teacher.
  • The survey will be given in class between November 2 and 6.
  • Results will be out in mid-November. Teacher-level reports are only be available to the individual teachers themselves. Principals and district staff will receive summary data for schools and the district as a whole.

If you have any questions about the survey, please contact Naomi Calvo, Director of Research, Evaluation & Assessment, at or (425) 456-4274.

Ready, Set…Read!  The Read-a-thon is the first major Cherry Crest PTSA fundraiser of the 2020-21 school year. It is a fun school-wide event that encourages students to use the reading skills they develop in the classroom in a way that helps to raise funds to support important PTSA-sponsored programs and General School Assistants during virtual learning (providing instruction in small groups to facilitating virtual recess to providing social/emotional learning to technology support to classroom management!!).

Students gather sponsors to pledge money, read from November 25th – 29th (over the Thanksgiving break), and earn prizes.  More information about Read-a-thon will be shared over the next few weeks.

Important Dates:
November 21 – Read a thon t-shirt distribution (every student gets a free shirt! More details to come)
November 25 – PJ party to kick-off the Read-a-thon
November 25 – 29 – Read! Read! Read!
December 4 – Reading minutes and donations due
December 9 – Winners announced

Advanced Learning Identification. The BSD Advanced Learning Department is now accepting testing applications to determine students in need of advanced learning opportunities. Applications for advanced learning testing for students in grades 1 through 4 and 6 through 11 are available online. District families interested in applying for testing should submit an application before the November 30, 2020 deadline. Parents of BSD Kindergarten and 5th grade students do not need to apply, as these students will be considered for advanced learning services through the Kindergarten and 5th grade screening processes. Learn more about Advanced Learning on our website.

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.