Glossary

August Email

As August nears you can look forward to receiving an email notification that the Back to School Portal is available. The portal contains tasks to complete before the first day of school, final details about Middle School Orientation, the Back-to-School picnic, and other important fall dates. It will also provide instructions on how to view the class rosters and teacher assignments. 

Board Annual Community Gathering

On behalf of the St. Thomas School Board of Trustees, you are personally invited to attend our Annual Community Gathering with the STS Board of Trustees to be held in January in the Commons. Topics will include the introduction of Trustees, the role of the board as aligned with the role of the Head of School, school finances, how our kids perform on test scores relative to other highly selective national schools, and some of the Board objectives and recent accomplishments. For your convenience, child care is available, and the evening begins with casual conversation over refreshments, including wine and cheese.

Links from the last Community Gathering

Appendix, including information on Board members, financials, graduates, and standardized test scores

CampFair

CampFair is hosted in the spring in partnership with ParentMap. St. Thomas School provides a venue for a wide variety of summer camps and experience for children entering Preschool through High School the following school year. CampFair connects families to wonderful summer opportunities and is open to the public, free of charge. This is the perfect opportunity for families to meet with directors, teachers, and representatives from summer camps and activities including outdoor activities, wilderness adventures, sports, drama, art, science, foreign language, music, dance, gymnastics, academic enrichment, horseback riding, and much more!

Chapel

One of St. Thomas School’s distinguishing characteristics is the Chapel program. Chapel, a community gathering that takes place on a daily basis, serves many purposes. While STS is non-sectarian, Chapel is rooted in the form and ethos of St. Thomas School’s heritage. The Chapel program reflects the School’s earliest beginnings as a parish school, and celebrates its ongoing relationship with St. Thomas Church. Chapel is part of the School’s commitment to ethics and character development.

CTP4

STS administers the CTP 4 to Grades 1-7.

In addition to the utility of the data gathered from this test, this standardized test is an important exercise in teaching our students test-taking skills.

This test is published and administered by the same non-profit organization, ERB, which also administers the ISEE (Independent School Entrance Exam) and is developed by the same research group (Educational Testing Service) as the well-known SAT and a wide variety of entrance exams to graduate schools. Thus, our students are learning to take tests using an instrument similar in format and design to the tests that most will be taking throughout their academic careers.

Families can support their students' best efforts by remembering the following points:

  • Ensure that children get early bedtimes and lots of rest during this testing week. Reduce extra-curricular or stressful activities when possible. Please ensure your child has a nutritious breakfast each day, drinks lots of water, and brings a healthy snack.
  • Avoid focusing on the test at home, either before or after, thus reducing potential anxiety over student performance.
  • All students will be given practice tests to familiarize them with testing procedures and the kind of content experienced in each of the sub-tests. Watch out for information in your children’s classroom eNews on when the practice tests will occur as some of these will be experienced the week before regular testing begins.
  • The school will NOT administer make-up tests for students who miss tests for any reason. Scores will simply not be reported for the sub-tests missed.
  • Students with Educational Accommodation Plans may have slightly different arrangements as agreed upon by the classroom teacher and Learning and Literary Specialist, Diana Vaniotis. Ms. Vaniotis or Ms. Fisher may be available for students who need extra time or a special place to take the test.
  • Some recent research has shown that writing about how you feel about a test can reduce anxiety and improve performance. Similar research has indicated that thinking about and writing about areas of life in which you experience success before testing can also boost test performance.
  • Scores will be sent home as soon as possible after they are received by STS. Sometimes this happens at the end of the school year. However, please remember that STS has no control over the time-frame within which ERB processes testing results and sends them to the School. These usually arrive home mid-summer.

Early Learning Center (ELC)

The Early Learning Center includes Preschool (age 2 1/2 through 4), PreKindergarten (age 4-5), and Kindergarten (age 5-6). As an integral part of the entire St. Thomas School program, the Early Learning Center provides a solid foundation for the elementary years. Curricular threads, strategies, and learning dispositions are established in these early years and are woven throughout the entire school. Not only is the Early Learning Center integrated into the greater STS learning community, it also embraces a unique and distinct series of grade levels that capture the magic and wonder of early childhood.

Enrichment

Enrichment is the optional afternoon program for children enrolled in 3-Day, 5-Day, and PreKindergarten classes that provides an opportunity to elaborate on the morning learning experience, work in smaller groups, and interact with multi-aged groups, teachers and specialists.

Afternoon Enrichment begins at noon and concludes at 3:20 p.m. with the end of the regular school day. Each day provides for a shared lunch experience, outside play time, quiet rest, and almost two hours of dedicated activity time for research, guided play, and exploration. Classroom teachers offer enrichment activities such as cooking, gardening, block construction, and art. Specialists from a variety of disciplines also share their talents as part of the Enrichment experience. A rotating schedule will allow all children to interact with the specialist as well as the classroom teachers. Depending on the number of children enrolled, most children will experience specialists on a bi-weekly basis. All of the Enrichment activities result in an opportunity for children to deepen their school learning experience.

A sample schedule:

Monday

Spanish or Physical Education

Tuesday

Movement, Music & Drama

Wednesday

Library & Media

Friday

Physical Education

Parents select which of their child’s regularly scheduled school days he/she will attend Enrichment. Many children stay every afternoon creating a full day program; others stay two or three afternoons based on their readiness and their family’s schedule.

Parents enroll their child(ren) in Enrichment through their admissions contract and the number of days per week are contracted for the entire school year. Open enrollment occurs until September 30. Beginning in October the selected days of the week are contracted for the remainder of the school year.

At the onset of the second and third trimester, changes to the selected days can occur and additional days can be added (if space is available). However the total number of contracted days cannot be reduced. Once the trimester begins, no changes can be made. Space is limited, so plan changes/enrollment early!

If a family no longer wants their child to attend Enrichment, or a specific day, the family can choose according, however no billing/contractual changes will be made after September 30.

Making changes to your schedule is easy through the website.

Elementary Center

Grades 1-4. This is a powerful time of transition and change for our students. Most enter here still learning to read and write. They will leave the elementary years as dynamic readers, researchers, and lovers of reading and literature, and they will leave as versatile, prolific authors with an acute sense of the beauty and structure of language.

Extended Day

St. Thomas School provides a variety of Extended Day activities for those students who arrive before school begins or who remain at school in the afternoon. Extended Day is a relatively unstructured time when students can engage in open-ended activities such as board games, art, block-building, and great conversation. Students are also provided a quiet place to complete homework or work on individual projects. One of the greatest benefits of Extended Day is the opportunity to interact with peers from across the various grade levels. Students in 3/5-Day Preschool through Eighth Grade are welcome to attend.

Advance Notice

For licensing purposes and for planning activities, please contact Extended Day Coordinator Dave Gifford via email or phone at (425) 454-5880 at least 24 hours in advance that your child will be attending the afternoon Extended Day or Falcon's Ledge program.

Fees

The daily charge for Morning Extended Day care is $8.00. The charge for morning Extended Day will be assessed for students arriving any time between 7:30 and 8:05 a.m. Any student through 6th Grade arriving at St. Thomas School before 8:05 a.m. will be required to check into Morning Extended Day. (7th and 8th Graders are not required to check into Morning Extended Day)

The fee for Afternoon Extended Day care is $12.50/hour, rounded up to the quarter hour. Any student not picked up by 3:30 p.m. after school will be required to check into Afternoon Extended Day/Falcon's Ledge. The minimum daily charge for Afternoon Extended Day will be one hour ($12.50) for any stay up to 60 minutes. Following the first hour, charges incur at 15 minute intervals. A late fee of $15.00 per each 10-minute period will be charged (per child) if students are not picked up by Extended Day’s 6:00 p.m.closing time.

Charges will accumulate monthly and be reflected on the electronic statement posted each month. Students will be denied Extended Day privileges if their account becomes more than 60 days past due.

Morning Extended Day

Morning Extended Day is 7:30-8:05 a.m. and is held in the Specialist Plaza.

Afternoon Extended Day

Afternoon Extended Day begins at 3:20 p.m. and closes at 6:00 p.m. Early Learning Center students (3/5-Day through Kindergarten) may attend Extended Day in the ELC Plaza or in the Specialist Plaza until 4:30 p.m., and then will join students of all grades in the Specialist Plaza. Elementary Center students (Grades 1-4) will attend Extended Day in the Specialist Plaza. Middle School students will be checked into Extended Day in the Specialist Plaza after 4:30 p.m. Actual time (rounded to the nearest quarter hour) will be billed for students who come to Extended Day at 4:30.ply in this instance.

 

Falcon Day

All Middle School students and faculty will be challenging themselves and each other with special outdoor activities. Ms. Fisher has organized an exciting day!

Date: The first or second day of school

Time: 9:00 a.m. (leaving after Chapel) – 3:00 p.m.

Where: Bellevue Challenge Course, Bellevue.

What is happening: The whole day will be filled with physical and team challenges. We will be doing this rain or shine!

Who will be there: Middle School students, teachers, and staff

Attire: Free dress - wear clothes that can get dirty (please ensure you wear closed-toe shoes). Check the weather and dress accordingly for rain or shine, dressing in layers will be best.

What to bring: A water bottle and sunscreen.

Falcon's Ledge

This after-school club is offered to St. Thomas Middle School students each day from 3:20-4:30 p.m. free of charge. The special club setting allows students to do: homework, research/project work, digital storytelling/movie-making, quiet socializing, and even play strategy games.

Fall Social

IslandWood

Each year, during the second week of school, 5th Grade students participate in an adventure at IslandWood Environmental Education Center on Bainbridge Island for a journey filled with scientific exploration and team-building challenges.

Jimmi Falcon

The School mascot.

Master Class

Our 7th and 8th Graders experience specially designed Middle School Master Classes, reflecting the young adolescent’s need to exercise choice. These classes offer our students a unique experience of expertise in a chosen field. They will be given by an expert teacher either from within STS faculty or from the external community. Classes will be offered in a variety of subject areas such as but not limited to art, music, science, math, technology, social studies, literature, writing, and drama. What is unique about the STS experience as these classes go beyond the traditional elective domain of just the arts, as we know our students have a variety of passions that need challenging and extending. Our electives program will grow as our school grows. Each Master Class runs for one trimester, and can see 7th and 8th Grade students mixed together.

Middle School (MS)

Grades 5-8. This is an extraordinarily important part of the STS journey as our students leave childhood and become the young men and women of the future. Students leave St. Thomas School prepared for the adventure of life and armed with self-confidence, a sense of autonomy, the ability to think critically and creatively, and with core values that give life depth and purpose.

Middle School Orientation

All Middle Schoolers need to attend an Orientation kicking off a brand new year. You will be served a special lunch catered by our dining program, so no need to bring your own!

Date: The week before school starts

Where: Start in your Advisory room, we will be moving throughout the Middle School during Orientation.

What is happening: You will be able to meet your teachers, receive your schedule, find your locker, socialize with friends, and plunge into the world of technology training. Reminder, lunch is provided by the School.

Who will be there: Middle School students, faculty, and staff.

What to bring: In order to take home your school issued tablet, you must bring your backpack with a protected section.

Attire: Free dress

New Family Ice Cream Social

This evening is designed to celebrate your entrance into the St. Thomas School community. Bring your whole family for ice cream with the Head of School and meet some of our mentor families. This is a good time to connect with other new families and meet a few current families.

New Parent Evening

During this evening we will familiarize you with life at St. Thomas School. You will have an opportunity to meet a member of our Board of Trustees, the Parents’ Association President, and members of the administration. This is a good time to ask lots of questions as well as meet and connect with other new parents. This evening is for parents only; children should not attend. If you are not able to attend the orientation, pertinent information will be sent to you.

Special Programs

At St. Thomas School, learning does not end with the school day. Special Programs are meant to enrich a student's life by offering different and unique opportunities to collaborate, learn, and grow outside of the classroom. Extra-curricular classes and co-curricular clubs complete the educational experience before and after school.

STS News

The STS News is a weekly email, delivered on Fridays during the school year, that contains essential information about the school. Sections include Special Programs, Athletics, and Division-specific items. Please review the News each week, care is taken that only the most essential items are included.

Summer Activities

During the summer it is important to keep young minds stimulated. We encourage students to read or be read to everyday. For grades 1-8 the teachers at St. Thomas School have composed information on summer activities that should be completed before school begins in the fall. Families with children in those grades receive an email containing that summer homework information. If you did not receive the email, please contact the school office. If you have questions specific to the homework, please email the teachers directly.

Summer Play Dates

During the summer current parents will contact you by email about play dates and events for your grade level. These events are designed to help students and families connect with one another before school begins in September. Many times the events are held at a park or other public places and may sometimes be held at someone’s home. Your child will receive, they have not already have recently received a box in the mail that contained a St. Thomas School t-shirt. Have you child wear the t-shirt to summer events so that current families can easily recognize your child if you are meeting at the park or other public places. You will receive a school roster after school begins in September. Until then, we have attached a spreadsheet with contact information for all new families. Contact information for current families can be found on the website in the Parent Portal

Uniforms

Students in grades Preschool through PreKindergarten are not required to wear a uniform. Students in Kindergarten through 8th Grade are required to wear the school uniform. School uniform information can be found in the Dress Code section of the Parent Handbook. If you have additional questions about the uniform don’t hesitate to ask your mentor family or other families you meet during the summer. You can also call the school with questions. The school’s uniform closet on campus has gently used uniforms for sale at a discounted rate. You are welcome to stop by the school during school hours to purchase items from the closet.