Monday, August 28, 2017

All Families are Welcome at our School!

As we enter the new school year, we feel that it is very important to let you know that

ALL students and families are welcome at our school. 

The Happy Valley Way teaches students to be kind, be safe, be respectful, and be responsible, and part of that is making sure that everyone feels welcome at our school.

A word from the Bellingham School District, via Policy 3210, Non-Discrimination...

Bellingham Public Schools will provide equal educational opportunity and treatment for all students in all aspects of the academic and activities program without discrimination based on race, religion, creed, color, national origin, age, honorably-discharged veteran or military status, sex, sexual orientation, gender expression or identity, marital status, the presence of any sensory, mental or physical disability, or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal by a person with a disability.  The district will provide equal access to school facilities to the Boy Scouts of America and all other designated youth groups listed in Title 36 of the United States Code as a patriotic society.  District programs will be free from sexual harassment. Auxiliary aids and services will be provided to individuals with disabilities when needed for effective communication.

Friday, August 25, 2017


We believe the best way to support your child at home is by spending quality time together.  Rather than sending traditional homework home this year, we are setting expectations that your child will read, move, and play each night.  We hope that by eliminating traditional pencil and paper tasks, we will provide your family with more time to foster strong relationships, independence, responsibility, and fun.

One consistent aspect of your home routine each evening should be reading.  This could look like your child reading independently for about 20 minutes, or reading a favorite book aloud to your child.

In addition to reading, we encourage you to develop a routine for your child to help with household chores and find ways to contribute to their family and community.  This develops responsibility, respect, and a strong work ethic. 

We are spending lots of time learning about perseverance this year: what it means to be a learner, struggle through tricky problems, and stick with things that are challenging. We invite you to work on math facts nightly, which can be a  great opportunity to help your child develop these traits. Third graders are expected to know multiplication and division facts 0-12 fluently (with speed and accuracy) by the end of the year. Just about five minutes a night is perfect for practicing math facts. Flash cards are quick and easy to use!

Your student was sent home recently with a list of activities, adventures, and chores to encourage your child to move, contribute, and play at home.

Thank you very much for your support!

For more information on educational research regarding homework, you might want to read one of these articles:

NPR: "Here and Now" radio show (; Interview with Dr. Jeffrey Brosco)
"The Homework Debate" ( Magazine)
"As Homework Grows, So Do Arguments Against It" (Washington Post)
"Homework: New Study Suggests it May be an Uneccesary Evil" (Huffington Post; written by acclaimed education researcher Alfie Kohn)

Friday, August 18, 2017

Our new school!

This is our second year in our new building, and it just keeps getting better! Be on the lookout for the groovy "Happy Valley Way" signage in hallways and in the library, and a student-made guided tour of the building's mechanics, using QR codes. We are also using the amazing electronic monitors at the end of each hallway to show off student work, share inspirational quotes, and keep everyone in the loop regarding school events.

History of the new building...

The Education Specification Committee, consisting of Happy Valley principal and staff, parents, community members, and district specialists met monthly for a year and a half with NAC architects to plan for the new Happy Valley Elementary. Students wrote books giving input in the design and features they wanted to see incorporated into the new school. 

Our ground-breaking ceremony was held in June of 2015. The building took just over one year to build and was just completed. Students attended the old school which was built in 1956 while the new school was constructed on the play field. A chain link fence just on the other side of the big toy allowed students and staff to watch the construction.

All students and staff signed one of the main beams and then watched it being hosted into place. Risers sat up near the fence provided a viewing area for students to watch the progress throughout the 2015-16 school year. Classes made cookies for the crew, made thank you cards and fifth graders created a large banner signed by Happy Valley Students to show their appreciation for the hard work of the construction crew.

Key concepts for our new building

·         -Flexible space ensures our building will provide for teaching and learning into the future
·        - Shared spaced for each grade level allows opportunities for collaboration for students and staff
·         -Windows into the hall, classrooms, and spaced provide visible teaching and natural light
·         -Use of color to reflect our environment and promote bringing outdoors in and the indoors out

Building as a Teacher

·         -Window on the second floor across from the library into the mechanical room
·         -Cutout in the ceiling in the main hall
·         -Valve doors that open to see shut offs for water
·         -Fractions and angles included in halls and stairway
·        - Fish tank observation/viewing area
·         -Signage reflects local geographical features
·         -School garden with seating area for instruction
·         -Outdoor natural seating area with logs
·         -Nature trail from front to back of the building
·        - Native species chosen for landscaping and can be used for teaching

Click here to view the construction photo album.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Welcome Back to School!

Can you believe it's time to head back to school already? We are excited to be your student's 3rd grade teachers this year, and we look forward to getting to know your family better as our year progresses.

A little about us...

Mrs. Roselli: This is my 17th year teaching and I feel so lucky to be able to work and live in such an amazing city. I am originally from Vancouver, WA and studied Child Development and Elementary Education at WWU. I loved my college experience in Bellingham so much that I decided this was the place that I would like to live and work. I have been married for 12 years and have two beautiful little girls, Lexi (age 11) and Alyssa (age 8). When I am not at school I enjoy running, biking, playing with my girls, reading and sipping a good cup of coffee. I love teaching and am excited for a wonderful new school year! 

Ms. Vodopich: This is my 11th year teaching for the Bellingham School District. I was born and raised here in Bellingham; in fact, I attended Happy Valley Elementary from kindergarten through 5th grade! Before becoming a teacher, I worked primarily in environmental and science education. I received my B.A. in Environmental Studies from the University of Washington and my teaching degree from Western Washington University. When I am not at school, I enjoy reading, hiking, watching movies, doing art projects, baking, and having dance parties with Mrs. R and Ms. M-O.

Ms. Moss-Owen: This is my 15th year teaching. I graduated from WWU in 1991 with a degree in Political Science. I then worked in Social Work, Corporate Sales, and Early Childhood Education before heading back to Western for my Teaching Certificate. I am thrilled to now be in my most favorite profession! I love being a teacher!  I have four amazing children: 25-year-old twin sons and two daughters, ages 21 and 10. When I’m not working, I love family adventures, eating at my husband’s restaurant, reading, running and being silly with Mrs. R and Ms.V.  It’s going to be a great year!

This blog will keep you up-to-date with current events in the 3rd grade classrooms and in our community. There are lots of fun links for your student to use at home and during free time at school; we encourage you to explore the links together. We always like getting your feedback, so feel free to post comments! Be sure and check out the live feed for Washington State education news through the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI).