February/March Newsletter

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Garfield Elementary School Newsletter

February-March 2018

Garfield Cheetahs are Responsible, Respectful and Ready

Garfield Science and Engineering Expo

The Garfield Science and Engineering Expo will take place Thursday, Feb. 15. It’s time to begin thinking about your project! Here are some ideas for displays:

  • Which type/brand of fertilizer works best on bean plant?
  • Which material makes the best cooler/keeps ice from melting? 'Ship the chip challenge': Can you design a package that will protect a potato chip when it goes through the mail?
  • Can you build a car from recycled materials?
  • Build a model and design a presentation about how Mount St. Helens erupted.
  • Classes will view the displays during the day. The expo will be open to family and community from 3:05 p.m. until 4:30 p.m.

Students interested in participating at the Regional Science Fair, which takes place Saturday, March 24 at Pacific Lutheran University, must fill out a permission slip by February 15.  See your teachers for permission slips. Dress rehearsal judging will happen after school. Students need to have their own way to get home. 

Olympia Junior Programs
Garfield students have the opportunity to attend two live performances at the Washington Center for the Performing Arts:

Feb. 12 grades 4 and 5 will see “Waters of the Earth.”

Feb. 23 grades 1-3 will see “The Adventures of Bella & Harry: Let’s Visit London!”

March 19 grades 4 and 5 will see “Frindle.”

April 10 grades 1-3 will see “Mr. Popper’s Penguins.”

All performances start at 10 a.m. The cost for both performances, including bus transportation, is $12 per student. Letters with envelopes have been sent home. The envelopes are students’ permission to go. They must be filled out, signed and returned as soon as possible. Please write student’s full name on envelope. Students without signed envelopes will not be able to attend.

Calendar of Events


2 Early Release (11: 45 a.m.)

7 Walk N Roll (8:10 a.m.)

10 Kindergarten Roundup (10 a.m.) (CHS Commons)

12 Olympia Junior Programs (9:15 a.m.) (Grades 4-5)

PTA Meeting (6 p.m.)

15 Science Fair (3-4:30 p.m.)

16 Report cards go home

19-20 No School (Mid-Winter Break)

22 LifeSkills Assembly (2 p.m.)

23 Olympia Junior Programs (9:15 a.m.) (Grades 1-3)


1 Seussapalooza (6:30 p.m.)

Westside Band Festival (7:30 p.m.) (CHS)

2 Read-a-thon Begins

7 Walk N Roll (8:10 a.m.)

8 Class Picture Day

9 PTA Movie Night (6:30 p.m.)

12 Site Council Meeting (4 p.m.)

PTA Meeting (6:30 p.m.)

14 Strings Concert (7 p.m.) (CHS)

19 Olympia Junior Programs (9:15 a.m.) (Grades 4-5)

22 LifeSkills Assembly (2 p.m.)

23 Read-a-thon Ends

27-30 Conference Week (11:45 a.m. dismissal)

Book Fair

Countdown to Kindergarten

An informational event for parents and guardians who will have children in kindergarten in the 2018-2019 school year

Parents and guardians of incoming kindergartners are encouraged to attend this workshop to learn about transitioning to kindergarten in the Olympia School District.

10-11:30 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 10

Capital High School Commons

2701 Conger Ave. NW in Olympia

The event begins in the theater promptly at 10 a.m. with a welcome and presentation by Superintendent Patrick Murphy. An information fair follows in the Commons, where you can meet and greet your resident school staff and learn about:

  • Registering for kindergarten
  • Using Skyward Family Access (Student Information System)

  • Riding the bus

  • Alternative kindergarten program options

  • Before and after school child care

  • Community partner services

NOTE:  This event is primarily for adults, but children are welcome. Child care is not provided.

Lost and Found

Our bins are full! Please check our lost and found for any missing items. Please write your student’s name in his or her coat. We can return any lost coat to the correct student if their name is visible.

A Note from Our Nurse

Flu is in the area. Please keep your child home if:

  • Headache
  • Body aches

  • Cough

  • Sore throat

  • Fever (100.0 degrees F or higher)

Wash hands often, cover all coughs, get your flu vaccine. See your doctor if symptoms worsen.

MLK Inspired Dreams

by Ms. Porter's Third Grade Class

"I have a dream that no one will fight and we'll have a world of peace and love." - Olan

"I have a dream that everyone will be treated equally and be kind." - Alexis

"I have a dream that everybody will get together even though they are different." - Ayana

"I have a dream that people would stop throwing garbage on land and in the ocean!!!" - Katie

"I have a dream that people can do the same thing and things don't matter on gender and both genders will be even." - Larry

"I have a dream that every human is treated fairly, deserves peace, and so they can be free." – Vincent

Technology Fair

This year Garfield sent more than 10 students to participate in the Olympia School District Technology Fair that took place Saturday, Jan. 20 at Capital High School. Cheetahs demonstrated how they use technology in their school and in their lives. These demonstrations included creating circuit boards and using various software programs to learn new ideas or present information. We would like to thank our students and Mr. Roper for doing so such a good job.

Also that day four of our students competed in a technology challenge. The challenge was to create a "Dog Park of the Future." Students came up with a presentation that included a map and several very thoughtful and realistic ideas for their park, including a river where dogs could swim and drink, a dog-sized hamster wheel to generate electricity and current technology to help keep people and their pets connected. Garfield's team did a wonderful job and were awarded top prize among all of the elementary schools who participated.

Way to go, Cheetahs!

In case you missed it: “A Moment in Time” celebrates the history and future of Garfield Elementary School

In a special school assembly in December, Northwest artist Mauricio Robalino talked with students about the process of designing and crafting “A Moment in Time,” a large, colorful mosaic he recently installed at Garfield Elementary School.

Principal Brendon Chertok explained to students that the art was financed through the Washington Arts Commission when the school was remodeled between 2013 and 2015. Last year Chertok formed a committee to choose the artist and help shape a piece that was accessible to students, staff and the community. 

The committee selected Rubalino because his art was colorful, vibrant and accessible. Committee member Pam Yusko said they wanted a piece of art that the students would be able to touch. Chertok added that they wanted Garfield students to be able to see themselves and their community in the artwork. He said the mosaic does so by including “references to Native Americans, other diverse cultural groups, animals and the natural setting” surrounding Garfield. The kids can see themselves and their community in the artwork.

Rubalino visited Garfield more than a year ago and met with staff and community members, looking for the perfect location and inspiration for the piece. Once the location - the large entry hall in the school - had been identified, he needed a theme for the art. After visiting with many local community members, the story of the Garfield area began to emerge. It was a story of nature.

Rubalino learned that at one time, the Garfield area had been full of bears, wolves, salmon and a few people. The people had planted cherry trees, apple trees and all kinds of plants to nourish themselves. The Garfield property was once a cherry orchard, and Rubalino told the students that Garfield has “cherry energy,” which was his initial inspiration for the mosaic.

He told the children, “You are all the seeds, cherries have seeds, big trees come from the seeds, great things are going to come from all of you.”

To begin designing the mosaic, Rubalino spent several days with students at Garfield, drawing and painting. He gathered ideas from the children’s artwork and sketched and painted a rough vision of the piece. Next, he began to cut glass for the mosaic, firing them in a kiln to achieve a smooth, shiny finish. Finally, the mosaic began to take shape.

When each individual section of the mosaic was complete, Rubalino and some helpers spent two full days affixing it to the wall inside a large frame he had custom milled to hold everything together.

As the assembly came to a close, students were curious about the artwork. One student asked why the mosaic is so big. Rubalino explained that the committee wanted something dramatic and beautiful. 

The committee that helped choose the artist included Principal Chertok, Marissa Laubscher (Washington Arts Commission), Lucy Gentry (former Garfield parent and local artist), Evan Horback (Garfield parent, local artist and art teacher at Avanti High School), Bethany Orr (Garfield parent, staff member and local artist), Ashley Orr (former Garfield student), and Pam Yusko (former Garfield teacher). 

Another student asked how the glass was made. Rubalino told the students he bought beautifully colored glass, shaped it with special tools and fired it in a kiln so it would be shiny and smooth.  

Students told Rubalino that they love the colors and that they can touch and feel the artwork. They told him they also enjoy finding new things in the mosaic every day. From the bald eagle, to Mount Rainier, to the cherry tree and many salmon and colorful insects, the mosaic truly represents what is unique and special about Garfield and the natural world surrounding it.

Rubalino told the students, “I want you to enjoy your creativitywe are all artistswhat you smell, what you see, what you touch, what you feel, what you embrace, what you reject, is all a part of you, and that is what art isit expresses that for us, it makes it easy for us to understand.”

He titled the mosaic “A Moment in Time,” representing something that happened at one point and that is still happening today.