Somerset Families,

One year ago, today, BSD students experienced their first day of remote learning.  Students were sent home with limited materials and had basic training on how to use Teams.  Teachers were given one week to plan, organize and prepare for what has now been termed asynchronous learning.  Daily our Somerset students logged in to learn from pre-recorded lesson or PowerPoints.  Flipgrid was a new and exciting way for our students to connect with one another.  We ended the 2019-2020 school year as a virtually connected community with a strong commitment to students and families to power through the unknowns and support social and academic learning in the best ways we knew how.  A year later all of our students have a laptop or I-Pad provided by the district.  Our kindergarten students use the Team’s platform with ease and our intermediate students have adapted and creatively found ways to socialize.  We have acclimated to new daily routines and safety protocols.  This month, vaccines are readily available to our educators, which adds another layer to our many mitigations in place to reduce the risk of transmitting Covid 19 in our buildings and we have k-2 hybrid students back in-person for half day sessions.

Just today, Governor Inslee declared that ALL K-6 students must be offered in person instruction by April 5 and ALL K-12 by April 19th at least 2 days per week (can be partial days) and at least 30% of the amount of time they received in person pre-pandemic with efforts to exceed that minimum and to maximize the use of space and time.  This aligns perfectly with Somerset’s Expansion for in person learning for hybrid third through fifth graders announced earlier this week in my Wednesday communication.

Early next week, third through fifth grade teachers will be sending home a visual schedule for what the return to in-person learning looks like each week for March and April.  As you help your child prepare for returning to school, please practice wearing a mask and building their stamina to keep it on for longer periods of time.  Discuss and practice polite ways to physically distance.  Listen to your child’s questions and fears, validate their feelings.  Please reach out to our counselor with any questions or concerns you have about your child’s social emotional health.

As we prepare to get our hybrid students back in the school building, we hosted a “New to Somerset” orientation for 18 third-fifth grade students who have never attended in-person at our school.  Ms. Schuyler, school counselor, provided a tour of the inside and outside of the building to help these new superstars feel a stronger sense of belonging and more prepared for their first day in the building.  Did you know we have had 30+ new students move to our community and enroll at Somerset?

Remember to spring forward this weekend and set your clocks one hour ahead.  I am looking forward to the additional hours of sun in the evenings ahead.

In partnership!

Cathy Elder

Cathy Elder
Interim Principal
Somerset Elementary

Please save the date, register, and mark your calendars for March 24th!  PTSA will host a Parenthood Development: How to Talk to Kids about Race and Racism.  See below for more info and link Somerset Strong

StarHeart Somerset Elementary Important Information

Principal Birthday lunches – 12:30-1:00

Cupcake Birthday

March Birthday lunch celebration will be on March 24th at 12:30.   Students with a March birthday will receive a Teams invite through their student email accounts from Ruth Embaye, our office manager on the day prior.  If you don’t receive an invitation, please reach out to and she will send the link.  Each session includes an opportunity for students to share something exciting about birthdays, a quick art project and a short story.  It is a highlight for us to share this time celebrating students.  Please note we have moved the birthday lunch celebrations to Wednesday to ensure all students, both virtual and hybrid can attend.

March Spirit Day-sponsored and advertised by Somerset Student Council

Sports DaySports Day

BSD Family Engagement Survey

Your voice is important to us!  Please complete.

As of today, 211 surveys have been completed for Somerset (33% of our student population) which is more than last week.  I am asking, if you have not completed it, please dig back in your email, and find the link sent from Panorama Education Team on February 23rd.  My goal is for at least a 60% of our families complete the survey before March 30th.  Your feedback provides our school team direction in planning.  It allows us to know what is working well and how we can improve.  Below is a chart with our school-wide strategies for this school year in the areas of family engagement.

2020-21 Somerset Strategies for Family Engagement

Families feel informed Families feel supported Families feel empowered
  • Weekly Somerset Strong News
  • ELL Facilitator host information session for new immigrant families
  • Family Math Night: December grade level event to teach engaging math games to build fluency and problem-solving strategies.
  • Use “Talking Points” ap and “Language Line” to create enhanced opportunities for two-way communication
  • Teachers consistently use “Big 3” on MS Teams; announcements, assignments, calendar
  • Curriculum Night with parent response survey
  • Fall 1:1 conference
  • Progress Reports 2x/year
  • Somerset Website, updated weekly
  • Our strong PTSA partnership provides us with the opportunity to collaboratively support all subgroups through curriculum enhancement and instructional support grants.
  • Monthly Principal Connects provide two-way communication for families to express questions and needs
  • Bi-monthly counselor newsletter providing key strategies for supporting the SEL of students during the pandemic.
  • Camp Kindness, weekly family participation with focus on Virtues building.
  • Guidance Team meetings for families and staff to work together to support individual student needs.


  • Family Math Night allowing families to learn strategies for engaging with math in a fun way
  • Use technology, “Talking Points” to create enhanced opportunities for two-way communication
  • PTSA Parenthood Development
  • Invitation to Talk about Race with resources provided by Racial, Equity and Inclusion Team


PTSA March Events

Talk about RaceCloverParenthood Development: March 24th 6-7pm

How to Talk to children about Race and Racism



Families who attend will have a chance to win books shared in the presentation for your home libraries.

Please join us for our Parenthood Development talk with Somerset parent Jamie Cho on how to talk with your children about race and racism.

This conversation will center race and how to talk with children and answer their questions about racial differences and racism. Children’s understanding of racial categories develops early and are influenced by the narratives offered by the adults in their lives. It is vital that adults are having conversations with children as they try to make sense of what they are observing in their family, neighborhoods, schools, and communities. Through these conversations, families have the power to raise a generation of critical thinkers who strive for social justice and equity.

Jamie Cho is a parent educator at two cooperative preschools through Seattle Central College and Bellevue College. She holds a Ph.D. in special education from U.C. Berkeley and her research has focused on cultural beliefs around parenting. Jamie has worked previously as an early interventionist with young children with autism spectrum disorders as well as served as an educational researcher at UCLA and teacher educator at California State Universities.

Please register:

5th grade Information for Welcome Incoming Tyee Families and Students!

We are excited that you will be starting your middle school journey at Tyee.  Our Tyee counselors will be visiting your class the weeks of 3/8 & 3/15 to answer any questions about registration for next year.  Please take the opportunity to review the following PowerPoint materials together and submit any questions you may have on the Forms survey (see link below) before we visit your class.  Counselors will review the questions you submitted and answer them when they visit.

Please note that your student’s online registration for classes is due on March 19th.

Upcoming Important Dates

Mar 19            School Day-Make up day from January 25th.
Mar 24           March Birthday with Principals
Parenthood Development Talk 6-7 pm
4th Grade In-Person Learning begins
Mar 26           School Spirit Day-Sport’s Day
Mar 29           3rd Grade In-Person Learning begins
Mar 31           Picture Retake Day
Apr 5              5th grade In-Person Learning begins
Apr 12-16       Spring Break, no school
Apr 19-23      BSD quarantine week, all students remote
For more information and important dates please follow this link to our Somerset PTSA:  Link to Somerset PTSA


Bellevue School District Important Information

The March 23 IEP 101 Parent Workshop This event is part of the BSD and Special Needs PTA’s Family Resource Series. The Bellevue Special Needs PTA and BSD’s Special Education Department are partnering to host this parent-focused workshop navigating the IEP process.