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Hope Covid-19 Response:

For the time being this page is where you will find information on school-wide news regarding Hope School’s Covid19 response. If you have any questions about any of the information, please contact the school office managers, Shari Wallace or Tammy Shelver at

Link to the Covid-19 Protocols: HLS Pandemic Handbook 2021 (1)

COVID-19 Reminders and Testing

If your child has one minor symptom of COVID-19 for less than 24 hours, he/she may return to school without a COVID-19 test. If your child has one symptom for 24 hours or longer, or two or more symptoms, he/she needs to have a negative test prior to returning to campus. 

Hope Lutheran School has been approved to be a test site for COVID-19 rapid tests. If you would like the reassurance of having a rapid test, please fill out the permission slip going home today in the communication envelopes and return it to campus. We will then test your child if we notice a COVID-19 symptom or we think your child may be a close contact of someone who tested positive for COVID-19. Please note that if your child tests negative, we will still need a full COVID-19 test prior to a return to campus if he/she has symptoms listed above. Rapid test results are ready in 15 minutes and they are the short nasal swab tests. You may also access the permission slip here: HLS SLHS COVID Test Permission Slip

If you have questions about testing, please reach out to Mrs. O. at or call the school office at (206) 935-8500. 

First Day of School – September 1, 2021

We look forward to welcoming back students and staff September 1! We have a revised pandemic handbook explaining our protocols and how we will do school safely in the building and all in-person. Please let the school office know if you have any questions about the handbook or our safety procedures by emailing:

HLS Pandemic Handbook 2021 (1)

Pandemic Update – March 30, 2021

COVID-19 Symptom New Update: Current guidelines from the Department of Health allow a slight change in protocols for COVID-19 symptoms. Students and staff can return to school without a COVID-19 test under the following limited conditions:

  • Have ONLY ONE short-term symptom (fatigue; headache; muscle pain/body ache; sore throat; congestion/runny nose; nausea or vomiting; or diarrhea)
  • Symptom lasted less than 24 hours and is fully resolved prior to return
  • NO close contact of someone with COVID-19

At Hope, we could see this being utilized if someone has a minor temporary headache or stomachache, for example. It cannot be used if someone has more than one symptom or it lasts more than 24 hours. Feel free to follow this link for more information on screening:

Social Distancing Change: The Washington State Department of Health has accepted the social distancing change recommended from the CDC, going from six feet to three feet in schools. As shared previously, transmission rates are shown to be low in schools like Hope Lutheran who follow strict protocols to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. While the high majority of our students in preschool through 4th grade have returned to in-person learning, this also opens the door to the possibility of bringing back our hybrid students in grades 5-8. We have research to do and equipment to purchase as we determine the best steps forward in bringing back all students in a safe manner. We will have more information soon!

Travel Reminder: Based on continued directives from the Department of Health regarding quarantine after travel and on current recommendations from the CDC, Hope families who travel out of state during spring have the following options:

  • Upon return home, quarantine for 14 days
  • Upon return home, quarantine and take a COVID-19 test between days 3-5; if test is negative and there are no COVID symptoms, quarantine will end after 7 days
  • Vaccinated individuals do not need to quarantine

Pandemic/Mid-Winter Break Travel Update – 2-5-2021

Many of us are arriving at the “fatigue” stage of the pandemic, and yet we appreciate your continued focus on maintaining protocols. At Hope, we continue to see very low levels of potential COVID-19 symptoms in students, and have not had any additional positive cases. We are thankful for that! With COVID-19 rates in our area on a downward trend since Christmas, we have much to be thankful for.

As a result, we feel that we can support the current Phase 2 guidelines under the governor’s Healthy Washington – Roadmap to Recovery. As you are planning any upcoming athletics, clubs, travel, or social events, these are the guidelines we require for your student to remain in the in-person learning model:

  • Out of state travel: two week quarantine upon return home
  • In-state travel: no quarantine needed as long as protocols are followed
  • Indoor gatherings: Maximum of 5 people from outside the household; limit 2 households
  • Outdoor gatherings: Maximum of 15 people from outside the household; limit 2 households
  • Indoor recreation: low and moderate sports are okay (no tournaments)
  • Outdoor sports: low, moderate, and high risk sports are allowed (no tournaments)

If you have any additional questions, please give us a call at the school office (206) 935-8500 or email Kristen Okabayashi Thanks for all you are doing to help us remain open as a school!


January 4, 2021

Return to School Update for January 4, 2021

We were hoping to see COVID-19 spread rates for King County decreasing over the month of December, which thankfully occurred. At this point, we feel that we can safely follow our planned gradual return to school this month for our students who choose to be in person. As a reminder, the return to school dates and details are listed below:


Jan 4, 2021 Jan 5-8, 2021 Jan 11-15 Jan 19…
PS-Grade 1 No school In Person In Person In Person
Grades 2-3 No school Full Virtual In Person In Person
Grade 4 No school Full Virtual Full Virtual In Person
Grades 5-8 No school Full Virtual Full Virtual Hybrid


As we return to school, please remember that as previously stated, all in-person students must quarantine for at least 10 days prior to their return to school date. As we gradually open school up, in order to keep students and staff safe, we require that families continue to follow current state guidelines around safety protocols, which include the following:


  1. Indoor Social Gatherings with people from outside your household are prohibited unless they (a) quarantine for fourteen days prior to the social gathering; or (b) quarantine for seven (7) days prior to the social gathering and receive a negative COVID19 test result no more than 48-hours prior to the gathering.
  2. Outdoor Social Gatherings shall be limited to five (5) people from outside your household.
  3. Youth and Adult Sporting Activities: Indoor activities and all contests and games are prohibited. Outdoor activities shall be limited to intra-team practices only, with facial coverings required for all coaches, volunteers and athletes at all times.


Current state guidelines may be extended or revised by Governor Inslee as of January 11, 2021; Hope School will send out additional guidance if necessary at that point depending on what is occurring with COVID-19 protocols and spread rates around the state, the local community, and Hope School.


We hope you had a restful break and we look forward to seeing you all soon!


December 15, 2020

Hope Return-to-School Plan for January 2021

Thank you to all of our families for your care in keeping students home with any COVID-19 symptoms, opting into online learning even if in-person is an option, and not socializing outside the home. We have had a low number of people with symptoms and tests we are tracking over the past two ½ weeks since Thanksgiving. These results are encouraging!

On the other hand, with families anticipated to spend time with loved ones on Christmas, combined with continued high COVID rates, we must remain careful about our January return-to-school plan to ensure the safety of students and staff. We are concerned about exposure over the holidays, and ask that all in-person families quarantine for at least 10 days prior to their return to school date.

As we have discussed various return-to-school options as a staff, we continue to place a high priority on our youngest learners, as they struggle the most with virtual learning. Accordingly, the Hope Board of Directors has approved a January staggered return-to-school plan explained below, which will be dependent on the rates of COVID spread around the community and internally at Hope. Please note this plan could adjust if COVID rates continue to remain high. In addition, we have heard Governor Inslee may share additional pandemic details related to schools this week, so the plan could be adjusted if needed related to his guidelines.


Dec 21-Jan 1 Jan 4, 2021 Jan 5-8, 2021 Jan 11-15 Jan 19…
PS-Grade 1 Break No school In Person In Person In Person
Grades 2-3 Break No school Full Virtual In Person In Person
Grade 4 Break No school Full Virtual Full Virtual In Person
Grades 5-8 Break No school Full Virtual Full Virtual Hybrid


In order to allow 10 days of quarantining beginning on December 26, 2020, Monday, January 4 will be a no school day. This is a change from the original schedule and will not need to be made up as we have extra teaching days built into the Hope schedule already.

Beginning Tuesday, January 5, 2021, preschool, kindergarten, and grade 1 will resume in person learning, while grades 2-8 will operate in a full virtual model. We realize this could be difficult for families needing childcare but we feel the benefit of allowing additional quarantine days after Christmas is important. Teachers for grades 2-3 will share more about the school day structure for that week in their communications with families.

On Monday, January 11, 2021, grade 2 and grade 3 will transition back to the in-person model. Grades 4-8 will remain virtual. After MLK Jr. Day on Tuesday, January 19, 2021, grade 4 will transition to in-person learning and we hope to have grades 5-8 transition back to a hybrid model as well.

If you have questions, please call the school office at (206) 935-8500 or email Hope principal Kristen Okabayashi at Thank you for your ongoing support in keeping all of us healthy and safe.

December 4, 2020 Message to Parents

Pandemic Update

We previously shared that a preschool teacher was quarantining due to a positive COVID-19 test from a household member. Yesterday, this teacher also tested positive, along with the rest of the family. Fortunately she does not have any symptoms so far and the family is feeling well too; please keep them in your prayers.

As a reminder, as COVID-19 spread is high in our community this month, we require that anyone who has had an indoor social interaction with anyone outside their own household keep their child(ren) home for virtual learning this next week.

As we welcome back our 4th grade class, our preschool Orcas class, and those of you who have been learning virtual this week, we have updated our screening protocols for everyone in-person. Please be
prepared to answer the following questions in addition to the usual questions:  Did anyone in your family attend a social event at another household last week or this week so far? Did anyone in your family socialize with people outside your immediate household last week or this week so far? Did anyone in your family travel out of state in the past 14 days?  If the answers to any of the above questions are “yes”, the student will need to remain home for
virtual learning. If you have any questions, please reach out to the school office at (206) 935-8500 or Hope principal Kristen Okabayashiat .

Important Temporary Update at Hope – November 18, 2020


The recent dramatic spike in COVID-19 cases, upcoming holiday gatherings, and Governor Inslee’s recent update to COVID-19 protocols have caused us to look closely at our school learning structures.  We have carefully considered the differing needs of students who learn best in-person, the needs of working parents, the safety of our students and staff, and the role we play as a school in the larger community around us. In weighing that balance this past week, we have received input from our teachers, church leadership, and other valued community leaders associated with Hope.

At this time, we have decided it is appropriate to make a temporary update to our learning models, as follows:

  • Beginning December 1, all students in grades 4-8 will shift temporarily to a full virtual learning model. We realize this will be difficult for some families to manage but feel like this is the right decision for us as a school. We plan for students in grades 5-8 to remain in full virtual learning through December 18, 2020.
  • Beginning December 7, students in grade 4 will return to an in-person model through December 18. Alternatively, families can choose to remain virtual for the rest of December (see note below).
  • Prioritizing in-person learning for our youngest learners, students in preschool through grade 3 will remain in-person December 1 through December 18. Alternatively, we are asking families, where possible, to voluntarily keep their student home through the month of December to further reduce the potential for COVID-19 exposure in the school. If you are able to switch your child to virtual learning for December 1-18, we thank you; please let your child’s teacher know, as well as Mrs. Okabayashi at

Lastly, we want to clarify our expectations around holiday social gatherings and travel. Governors on the West Coast have now asked that anyone traveling out of state quarantine for two weeks upon returning home. In addition, Governor Inslee’s guidance from last Sunday mandates that families remain within just their households for the holidays with few exceptions, which is a change from previous recommendations. According to these changes, we have the following expectations of our students:

  • Families socializing in person with people outside their own household must choose virtual learning as their learning model for the following week
  • If traveling out of state, families must quarantine for 14 days upon return home

If you have any questions, please reach out to the school office at (206) 935-8500 or Hope principal Kristen Okabayashi at We pray for peace and health for all of us during this season. Thank you so much for your support of our school and staff; we are thankful.

Pandemic Update – October 20, 2020

COVID-19 confirmed cases are increasing in our county, state, and country. Hope School families have been extraordinarily supportive of keeping our school open, and we appreciate it! Please continue to follow safety protocols such as mask wearing, limiting group gatherings and/or remaining outside, social distancing, and remaining home if you have any COVID-19 symptoms. While we have had many students remain home with symptoms and get tested for COVID-19, we thankfully have not had any positive cases to date. Thank you, and please keep up your hard work on this.

September 28, 2020

COVID-19 Safety Reminders

Parents and guardians, we are seeing an increase in the number of students and parents who are taking COVID tests; fortunately, all the tests so far have been negative. We are also seeing an increase in the number of students and adults arriving at school without face masks.  In order to keep all of us safe and healthy, please remember to follow the following protocols:

  • Masks – everyone age 2 and older needs to be wearing a mask while approaching campus or on campus. For the safety of screeners, students, and staff, as well as your protection, please remember to mask up whether you are driving up to drop off in the car, walking up to the school at pickup, or coming into the building as a student. It may be helpful to keep a box of disposable masks in the car and a couple extra masks in each child’s backpack.
  • Socially distance – if your child is enrolled in-person at Hope, please follow protocols from the King County Department of Health regarding socially distancing. Whether you are on Hope campus or at home, please maintain six feet of distance from other people.
  • Limit gatherings – King County guidelines limit social gatherings to outside only with up to five people from outside your household per week. Please support this protocol from the Department of Health to minimize and/or eliminate social gatherings.

Thank you all for your support of these protocols. Our staff at Hope are working incredibly hard to keep our school open, and the only way we will remain open will be to all work together to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

August 11, 2020 – HLS Reopening Plan


At Hope School, we recognize that schools are a fundamental part of the infrastructure of communities. Schools play a critical role in supporting the whole child – not just with academics, but also with social/emotional needs, physical development and health, and spiritual development as well.  This past spring, the significance of high-quality and well-rounded education was not taken for granted, as schools struggled to adjust to the stunningly quick change to online education. As we have prepared to reopen school, we have had so many important factors to consider.


Please join us tonight, Tuesday, August 11 at 7:00 PM for a parent meeting via Zoom as an opportunity to ask questions about Hope’s reopening plans.


What is Hope’s reopening plan?

Hope Lutheran School plans to begin the school year on September 2nd with an in-class learning model for grades preschool through fourth grade, and a hybrid model for fifth grade through eighth grade. For more information about the in-class learning model please click this link: In-Class Learning Model Information. For more information on the hybrid learning model, please click this link: Hybrid Learning Model Information. In addition, any K-8 student may choose to enroll instead in the virtual learning model. Please note that this reopening plan could change at any point without notice depending on the spread of the virus and/or directives from government authorities or the Department of Health.

Do you have more information about virtual learning?

As mentioned in previous emails, all K-8 families have the option to choose virtual learning. Click this link for the Virtual Learning Model Information and click this link to the Virtual Learning Enrollment Form. As you read through the more detailed information on the different models, please carefully consider the needs of your specific family and how our models fit with your lifestyle. Families who choose to be at school, whether it is the in-class model or the hybrid model, should fully support measures established by health authorities to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, such as wearing masks, social distancing, and abiding by group size limits even while not at school. While we cannot guarantee no one at Hope will come down with COVID-19, we must be able to trust all who are at school to follow these protocols. Families who choose the virtual learning option for this reason or any other reason, including high risk family members, should fill out the virtual learning enrollment form linked above and return it by Monday, August 17, 2020 to Kristen Okabayashi at

How did Hope arrive at this decision of opening the school up for in-person learning?

The summer for us at Hope has been a time of research, preparation, discussion, thought, and prayer, as we determined the path forward for us as a school. We began the summer believing we could definitely open back up in the fall as a fully open, socially distanced school, along with many other schools.  We opened summer camp with full enrollment each week, and gained confidence in our ability to manage new safety protocols. However, over the course of late June and July, our local, state and national community saw an enormous shift in the spread of COVID-19, which made us more cautious as individuals and as a school trying to re-open. Protocols and guidelines for reopening have shifted and updated as more information about the virus becomes known.

What about Governor Inslee’s August 6 recommendation on schools opening?

Last week, Governor Jay Inslee shared that he recommends schools in high risk counties such as King County, as measured by COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people, begin the school year with online learning. This is a strong recommendation and the importance of it cannot be minimized. Within this guidance, however, he allows individual districts and schools to determine how they can effectively open and meet the needs of their community. We realize many families can and should choose online learning for their child, for a variety of reasons.

Why are younger grades in-person and older grades in the hybrid model?

While we considered opening up with the in-class learning model in all grades, the reason for the difference in models is due to three factors: the ability of older students to manage their work with more independence, parent confidence in leaving older students home without supervision at times, and Hope’s overall higher class sizes in the upper grades.  While we have the ability to move upper classrooms around to larger spaces, we feel the current class sizes in upper grades are higher than are safe to be together at one time. On the other hand, educational research tells us again and again of the importance of in-class learning for most students, particularly in younger grades where students’ reading skills are less developed and where students are not able to be as proficient in independent learning. For younger learners, the ability to experience education in a classroom is paramount.

What else did Hope consider for this reopening decision?

The administrative team at Hope has spent much of the summer researching best practices in reopening schools, with Mrs. Okabayashi even attending a comprehensive online pandemic coordinator class through Joffe Emergency Services. With safety protocols in place, smaller class sizes in most grades, and families who are supportive of best practices for mitigating the spread of COVID-19, we feel Hope is in a good position to consider reopening. A recent article in the Seattle Times from August 4 shows that positive test cases in West Seattle proper are trending below the county, state, and national averages, coming in at just 1.6% for the two week period measured prior to the article publishing. In addition, recent data from the Department of Health regarding the spread of the virus has been trending slightly downward (although we aware this could change at any time).

How are the three models different?

Students enrolled in the in-school learning model in grades preschool through grade 4 will participate in the full school day as usual, with safety protocols in place. Students in the virtual learning model will join in all classes via live streaming during the school day. Under the hybrid model, students in grades 5-8 will be assigned to either Group A, which will meet in class Mondays and Tuesdays, or Group B, which will meet in class Thursdays and Fridays. On the opposite days, each group will participate in learning via live streaming on their Hope-issued iPad. Students will be able to follow instruction and ask questions. On Wednesdays, students in hybrid learning will follow chapel services in the morning and then join in short instructional sessions with specialists throughout the day, in addition to completing homework assignments in core classes.

Under the hybrid model, how will I know if my child is in Group A or Group B?

Hope will send out group assignments shortly. Administration at Hope will try to balance the groups alphabetically according to last name, by gender, and by families who carpool. If you are in grades 5-8 and carpool with another family and have not shared that information with us yet, please send an email to Mrs. Wallace at as soon as possible and no later than this Friday, August 14, 2020, as we prepare to finalize group assignments. Please kindly refrain from making specific friend group requests.

Can we plan for the same model to be offered for the whole school year?

We fully realize that Hope School can and most likely will switch models between in-class learning, hybrid learning, and virtual learning throughout the school year. Regardless of which learning model Hope School follows, however, our incredible educators here will do our very best to teach our students to the best of our ability.

If I choose to enroll my child in the in-class/hybrid model for trimester 1 and then want to switch to the virtual model or vice versa, can I do that?

The short answer is “no”. Hope is not easily able to move students back and forth between models due to physical space limitations and protocols. However, exceptions will be considered for extreme situations such as illness on a case by case basis.

When will the school day begin and end?

The school day for students in each class will start and end at the same time, regardless of which model students are enrolled in. Students in Kindergarten through grade 3 will arrive for COVID-19 screening between 8:00-8:15 AM, with school beginning at 8:15 AM; the school day ends for K-3 at 2:45 PM. Students in K-3 will end their day at 11:45 on the days previously listed as a “noon dismiss”.

Students in grades 4-8 will arrive for COVID-19 screening between 8:15-8:30 AM, with school beginning at 8:30 AM; they should be picked up at 3:00 PM.

Families with multiple students arriving at different times may choose to arrive just prior to 8:15 AM, or drop-off younger students first and then return with older students.  They may also want to arrive for pickup around 3:00 PM.

Half-day preschool students will arrive between 8:30-8:45 AM and be picked up at 11:45 AM. Full day preschool students can arrive as early as 7:30 AM and be picked up no later than 5:30 PM.

Speaking of full day preschool, will Hope offer extended school care (ESC) this year?

Hope will reduce extended care hours slightly to be open from 7:30 AM until school begins at 8:00 or 8:15, and again in the afternoon when school ends until 5:30 PM. ESC will also be offered on noon dismiss days and the usual “no school” days for students who would normally be at school.

Will there be a back to school event this year?

Yes! The socially distanced back to school day for preschool will be August 28; the back to school day for K-8 students will be August 31. More information will come out shortly about these two days.

Will Hope be able to offer sports, clubs or other extracurriculars?

For the fall trimester, all sports and clubs and other extracurricular events will be cancelled. We hope this might change for subsequent trimesters.

Thank you for joining us at Hope Lutheran School this year, and please join us in lifting up our school year in prayer! Our theme this year is “United in Christ” based on the verse from Galatians 3:28, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (NIV)” As much as we may learn in varied methods and locations as we begin school, we are all still one with Christ! We are all looking forward to our school year and can’t wait to see everyone.   


In-School Safety Protocols Overview by Kristen Okabayashi, Principal

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

First, we have two reminders from last week’s newsletter on the three learning models. If you believe your student would like to opt into the virtual model for trimester 1, or under the hybrid model you carpool with another Hope family, please send Mrs. Wallace a note at

I realize many of you are eager to hear more about our health and safety procedures as we prepare to reopen, which is why we are sending out more detailed information about this important topic ahead of our general reopening plan next week. Hope’s reopening task force has carefully considered guidelines from multiple sources throughout the summer, including OSPI, the CDC, and the King County Department of Health. In addition, in the past two weeks I personally completed a 24 hour class with Joffe Emergency Services on Pandemic Coordinator Training. COVID-19 safety protocols continue to be updated every week, and will continue to evolve, as our communities work together to try to reduce transmission of the virus as much as possible. Following is an overview of Hope’s updated protocols.

Health Screening and Drop-off Procedures Students will arrive at designated screening points during their staggered arrival times between 8:00-8:45 AM. Hope staff in PPE will greet each family in the car; all members in the car age 5 and older must wear face coverings. Upon greeting, students will first have their temperature taken with an infrared thermometer. Any student with a fever of 100.4 degrees or higher will need to return home.

According to the Department of Health, each student must be checked for signs of illness each day. Staff and students with any illness must stay home. Students/families will be asked:

  1. Does your child or anyone in the household have any of the following symptoms?
      • A cough
      • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
      • A fever of 100.4°F or higher or a sense of having a fever
      • A sore throat
      • Chills
      • New loss of taste or smell
      • Muscle or body aches
      • Nausea/vomiting/diarrhea
      • Congestion/running nose – not related to seasonal allergies
      • Unusual fatigue
  1.  Has the student been in close contact with anyone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19?
  2.  Has the student had any medication to reduce a fever before coming to school?

If all the answers are “no”, student may proceed to the school entrance, use hand sanitizer, and go to class. Students arriving after 9:00 AM will need to ring the doorbell at the front office and may need to wait briefly for a staff person to assist with screening protocols.

Items from Home Items from home should be limited to a morning snack/lunch, a filled water bottle with labeled name, 1-2 extra face coverings, and school materials.

Face Coverings OSPI has mandated that all students age 5 and older wear face coverings; we are requiring preschool students to wear masks as well. At this time, there are options for face coverings including cloth masks or face shields. As mentioned previously, we encourage you to have your child practice wearing a face covering now, and practice for longer and longer periods of time so they find a covering that is comfortable and they are accustomed to wearing.

Visitors to School/Volunteer Hours In general, visitors will be extremely limited in the building as we reopen. Student paperwork should be emailed if possible, or can be dropped off at the front of the school entrance on 42nd Ave SW in the drop-off bin, or emailed if possible. The exceptional approved visitor will be required to go through screening protocols. For trimester 1, volunteer (PIP) hours will be waived, with the requirement changing to 20 hours yearly for this school year only. Volunteer hour requirements for trimesters 2 and 3 will be evaluated closer to the respective trimester start dates.

Classroom Procedures During the day, classrooms will have specific protocols to follow. These include:

  • Students are required to wash hands or use hand sanitizer at multiple points throughout the day (upon arrival to school, before and after going outside, before and after eating, after using the restroom, after blowing nose or sneezing at a minimum). School entrances and each classroom have hand sanitizer dispensers readily available.
  • Classes will remain together as cohorts throughout the day including recess times. Different groups of classes will not be combined unless student is enrolled in K-5 extended care program.
  • Students will be encouraged and reminded to allow six feet of social distancing; student desks will be arranged according to six feet social distancing protocols at all times.
  • Windows will be open to allow for fresh air in classrooms.
  • Students will eat snacks and lunches while socially distanced within the classroom, and tables will be cleaned before and after eating.
  • Students who are purchasing lunch will have it provided in individual lunch containers.
  • Cohorts will use assigned restrooms, to be shared with 1-2 other cohorts.
  • Chapel services and other large group activities such as assemblies will be live streamed or cancelled until it is safe to gather in larger groups.
  • PE classes will be held outside in the lowers playground as much as possible.
  • Music classes will not offer singing or vocals this year until it is safe to do so. 

Pick-up Procedures At pick-up, students will depart school together with their teacher to designated pickup areas at staggered pick-up times consistent with arrival times. Parents/guardians who arrive prior to the usual departure time may have to wait briefly for staff assistance.

Enhanced Cleaning and Disinfecting Procedures Tables and desks will be disinfected multiple times per day. High touch surfaces such as door handles, handrails, and restroom faucets will be disinfected multiple times per day. High touch surfaces on the playground will be cleaned daily. Classrooms will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected at the end of each day by the school’s professional cleaning service. In addition, we are currently working with a company to consider a regular electrostatic disinfection of the entire school building.

Protocol for Potential COVID-19 Symptoms at School If a student displays any symptoms listed earlier, that person will be isolated in the church nursery located off the school lobby, with supervision at a distance from the lobby. A parent or guardian will be called immediately to pick up the student, as well as siblings living in the same household, if applicable. The area will then be aired out and disinfected.

Parents/guardians of a student with potential symptoms should follow Department of Health guidelines. Family must let the school office know immediately via phone call or email if the student or other household members are diagnosed with COVID-19. If a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, the school will follow Department of Health guidance. Most likely, upon a positive test result, all members of the infected student’s class are considered a close contact and should self-quarantine for 14 days. If this is the case, students in that classroom will transition to online learning during the quarantine.

Returning to Hope after Potential or Diagnosed COVID-19 Staff and students who had signs of suspected or confirmed COVID-19 can return to camp when:

  • At least 24 hours have passed since recovery – defined as no fever without the use of medications and improvement in respiratory signs like cough and shortness of breath; AND
  • At least 10 days have passed since signs first showed up. OR
  • It has been at least 24 hours since recovery AND a health care provider provides a note that the student does not have suspected or confirmed COVID-19.

The following are links to some of the resources we have considered in our safety protocols:

As we prepare to reopen, we ask everyone’s support as we work together to reduce transmission of this virus. Everyone in our community must do our best to follow guidelines on social distancing, mask-wearing, and stay home when not feeling well. Thank you!

Learning Models Summary – update as of July 28, 2020

Following you will find more detailed information regarding the 3 learning scenarios we are carefully considering as we prepare to open up on September 2, 2020. Thank you to the re-opening task force for their time spent on research and discussion this summer! We anticipate the complete Re-Opening Hope School document will be sent out to families on August 11th. None of these decisions are easy, and we ask for your prayers as we lift this up to Him. Thank you!

Under the in-class learning and hybrid models, new safety protocols are in place. These include:

    • Face coverings required for all students and staff
    • Students required to follow social distancing guidelines (“Eagle wings”)
    • Students will be screened at drop-off for temperature checks and COVID-19 symptoms; students with a temperature 100.4 degrees or higher and/or with COVID-19 symptoms must remain home
    • Visitors to the building will be limited; school will provide a drop off location for forgotten items and/or paperwork outside the front of the school
    • School will be regularly disinfected professionally
    • Students will eat snacks and lunch in classrooms and remain with only their class for recess and specialists/electives
    • Students will be kept in classroom cohorts throughout the school day
  • Drop-off and pick-up times will be slightly staggered to minimize exposure to other classes


Option 1 – In Class Learning

Under the in-class model, all students would be in class for full-time learning, with safety protocols and social distancing in place. Some spaces that are typically shared spaces such as the Commons and the Fellowship Hall would be utilized for classes with higher numbers of students. Until the pandemic conditions change, classrooms will remain in separate cohorts at all times. Middle school teachers will rotate through middle school classrooms with masks and social distancing in place.

Option 2 – Virtual Learning

The virtual learning model will follow the basic structure of last spring’s online learning, with additional direct instruction times via live streaming. Teachers will stream live instruction from their classrooms (or homes, as necessary) in all core subject areas. A typical day will include math, literacy, history, science and/or history, PE or music, and faith/religion. Preschool through grade 2 will use Seesaw as their learning platform and grades 3-8 will use Schoology. Grading systems will remain consistent with our normal grading standards and students will be expected to attend school virtually every day. Please note there is not a discount for virtual learning, as it actually takes even more preparation than in-class learning; however, we see the importance of offering this model. All students in grades K-8 will be issued a Hope-owned iPad to easily transition to virtual learning.

In all models, students will have the full-time virtual learning model available to them. If you believe your student would like to opt into the virtual model for trimester 1, please send Mrs. Wallace a note at, stating you are interested.

Option 3 – Hybrid Learning

In the hybrid model, students will be assigned to one of two groups, either A or B. Students in Group A will attend school Mondays and Tuesdays, and attend virtual school Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. Students in Group B will attend virtual school Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays, and attend school Thursdays and Fridays. In the hybrid model, the structure on Wednesdays will be different than the other days of the week; more time will be spent on live-streamed or recorded specialist classes, completing assigned work, and small instructional groups with their teachers, while less time will be spent on live streaming of core subject areas. Under this model, students will attend school on the usual class schedule (the idea of longer days 4 days per week has been discarded due to lack of interest on the survey).

Under the hybrid model, we would most likely separate Groups A and B by last name. If your family carpools with another family at Hope and would like to be placed in the same group if possible, please send a quick email to Mrs. Wallace at, stating who you carpool with, as we proactively plan ahead.

Again, we plan to share a detailed Re-Opening Hope School plan on August 11. Based on the needs of our students and safety protocols, we may end up opening with one model in one age group, and a different model in another age group. Mrs. Okabayashi will be on vacation the week of July 27 but you are invited to join a Zoom call the evening of August 11 to ask any questions you may have about the re-opening plan. We will be in touch soon, and blessings on your summer!


July 23, 2020

Re-Opening Hope School – July 23, 2020 update by Kristen Okabayashi, Hope Principal

On Wednesday, Seattle Public Schools shared the news of Superintendent Denise Juneau’s recommendation to start schools in remote learning this fall. As noted in our June 16, 2020 newsletter, while Hope values the decisions made by SPS, we are under no obligation to follow suit. We are required to follow mandates from the governor; although, Governor Inslee’s decision to close all schools in the state this past March was the first time in recent memory that has occurred. So while the district’s decision is important, it does not directly impact us as a school.

So far, we have received over 100 survey responses from our survey regarding learning models that went out last Tuesday, July 14, with still more coming in each day! It is really helpful for our re-opening task force to hear your opinions and thoughts, so thank you. We work best in a strong partnership with you as families. So far, the highest results as measured by the most votes of “love it” were “in class learning” for grades K-2 and grades 3-5, and the hybrid learning model for middle school. These results are not surprising and match our own experience as educators – younger students in particular certainly learn best in the classroom!

To be clear, and as I mentioned in this week’s earlier newsletter, the deciding factor about which model we will use is the status of coronavirus spread in our area and how that affects student and staff safety.   I definitely feel the burden of making the best decision possible with the advice of my task force, Hope Board of Directors, healthcare experts, and peer principals of other schools. There are  no easy decisions in the current world we live in, but we will do our very best to both make a decision that carefully balances the risks and rewards of each model in choosing which way we head as a school for the first trimester. Over the summer, we have planned for all three options, and so once we make a decision, we will teach to the best of our ability.

In the next two weeks, we will send home a detailed summary of each teaching model: in class, virtual, and hybrid. As noted last Tuesday, we have put together a high quality virtual model including specialists/electives and live streaming direct instruction, and any K-8 student can choose to opt into this model for trimester 1. We will have more information for you soon.

In the meanwhile, please keep focusing on what you can personally do to keep the virus from spreading in our community – wear your mask, socially distance yourself, and stay home as much as possible! All of our choices now will impact our ability to open schools in September.

In Christ, Mrs. Okabayashi

July 14, 2020

Re-Opening Hope School – Potential Learning Models by Kristen Okabayashi, Hope Principal

Welcome to Hope School’s first newsletter of the 2020/2021 school year!

This summer, we have spent many hours researching and analyzing articles, data, recommendations, and legal requirements as we determine our plan to re-open school in the fall. One challenge is that the final goal in this instance is a bit of a moving target, as the spread of the novel coronavirus keeps changing course, and previously learned information is updated. We have been determined to re-open Hope School on September 2, according to safety protocols. With the success and joy in opening Hope Summer Camp over the past month, opening up on a larger scale in the fall has seemed well in reach.

That being said, the situation with the coronavirus has changed in recent days, including cases of the novel coronavirus increasing instead of decreasing in different parts of the country, including King County. As such, we are carefully considering next steps to ensure the safety of both students and staff. These are difficult decisions with potentially enormous consequences for all, and so I really appreciate your prayers and thoughts as we weigh our options.

The Re-Opening Task Force is currently considering three different models for the K-8 program as we prepare for the start of school and head into the first trimester of the year. Under these three models, we realize there is a strong chance we will be switching back and forth between at least two models during the course of next year depending on the state leadership and the decisions by Hope School. In addition, we are considering offering families a choice of the first two options below.  Following is a brief description of each model.

Option 1 – In Class Learning

This is the model we have been planning on up until this point. K-8 students would be in class for full-time learning, with safety protocols and social distancing in place. Some spaces that are typically shared spaces such as the Commons and the Fellowship Hall would be utilized for classes with higher numbers of students.

Option 2 – Virtual Learning

This model will share the basic structure which we set forth last spring with full-time online learning, but including daily direct instruction in all core subject areas and weekly or biweekly specialists/electives, and increased accountability for learning. Teachers will utilize in-classroom technology and equipment to facilitate learning more similar to a regular classroom than last spring’s structure.

Option 3 – Hybrid Combination A/B schedule

For this option, we are considering a creative model where students will rotate with half the class in school two days per week, and participate in virtual learning for two days per week; the other half of the class would do the opposite of this. Within this model, we are considering two alternatives. The first alternative would center around a regular length school day with the A/B schedule as described; the fifth day of the week would be at-home learning. The second alternative would center around an extended 7.5-8 hour school day four days per week on the A/B schedule, and no school on the fifth day of the week. Students would also have the full-time virtual learning model available to them.

Please carefully consider these options and think about what would best fit your particular student and family, based on how you feel currently and projecting into the first trimester of the coming school year. Then, take a moment to fill out your preferences in the short survey linked below. You will see three surveys separated by “grade bands”; if you have more than one child, feel free to complete more than one survey. We value our partnership with you and look forward to hearing your opinions.

Warmly, Kristen

Kindergarten through grade 2:

Grades 3-5:

Middle School:

Hope School Re-Opening Update

At Hope, we have put together a team to lead the school in re-opening in the fall, and we are beginning to sort through the Fall 2020 re-opening document published by OSPI late last week, along with recommendations from the CDC and the Department of Health. Our team will take the time to create a thoughtful and comprehensive re-opening plan to account for safety protocols as needed.

That being said, our plan is to be in school fulltime in all grades preschool through 8th as we begin school in the fall. The information released by OSPI supports and encourages that plan. Due to Hope’s larger physical classroom sizes relative to lower numbers of students per class, we believe we can adequately follow social distancing recommendations. It may mean we need to shift classrooms around a bit over the summer, and it will certainly mean smaller changes such as having specialists travel to classrooms and limiting the numbers of classrooms outside at recess, but we currently plan to begin school in the building as scheduled on September 2, 2020. With summer camp beginning next week, we already have the opportunity to test out and practice safety protocols.

In the documents released by OSPI last week, one surprise was the requirement that all students and staff wear face masks or coverings. I’m not fully sure that will remain as a requirement, as there is some debate about it. However, if that remains the only non-negotiable requirement, we will do our best to support it if it means we can teach in our school building again!

I have received a couple questions regarding Hope School’s relationship with Seattle Public Schools district-wide decisions. SPS is expected to release their plans for re-opening at the end of this week. While we must follow certain state-wide requirements as a school, we are under no obligation to follow SPS decisions, or any other district’s decisions.

Enrollment for the fall is looking strong, and we can’t wait to see you all soon! We do have some openings in our preschool program, so if you know of families interested, encourage them to reach out to Admissions Director Sally Heit at Please contact us in the school office with any questions or comments at (206) 935-8500 or you may reach out to me (Mrs. Okabayashi) at

Happy Graduation 2020

The past week has been full of the usual emotions that surround us on the last week of school. Despite everything that has changed over the past three months, at Hope our teachers and staff feel excitement, joy, sadness, and pride in all our students, particularly the ones we are celebrating during graduation ceremonies.

Our two preschool classes, Sea Turtles and Orcas, celebrated together via Zoom in sweet ceremonies with graduation camps and things that teachers love and miss about each student. Our kindergarten students were also celebrated on Zoom as they all competed their learning this year and are moving on to first grade!

Today, the middle school teachers Mr. Allen, Mrs. Meyer, and Mrs. Kunkel, along with admission director Sally Heit and principal Kristen Okabayashi, drove around the city to personally drop off 8th grade diplomas at each graduate’s home, in the Hope bus! It was so good to connect with each graduate and celebrate them as they prepare to move on to high school in the fall.

We have put together a complete graduation ceremony for our 8th graders, and we will watch this tonight at 7:00, the time we were previously scheduled to host our graduation ceremony. You are welcome to join in and celebrate with them as we send them off! Here is the link:

Please join us in lifting up all our preschool, kindergarten, and 8th grade graduates. Blessings to all of them!

Hope to Home Learning: Day #I’ve-completely-lost-count by Kristen Okabayashi

We did it! This third trimester has been surreal, unique, unprecedented, insert whichever extreme adjective you want to use – this trimester has been TOUGH. I am incredibly proud of our students in particular, but also our teachers and parents for leading them in this academic journey. Overall, our students made good progress in their learning despite such huge changes to their structure and environments. If you are on Facebook, you must check out Sally Heit’s Facebook Live celebration dance from this morning to appreciate how all of us feel today!

I expect to hear more from the state regarding decisions on fall schooling on Monday, June 8. We will not have a plan to share immediately on Monday, but the directives that are shared will help us form and shape our own Hope plan. From serving in the private school task force that I shared more about last week, I anticipate/hope that we will hear about private schools being able to have flexibility about opening as long as we follow safety protocols laid out by the Department of Health. I hope to allow our classrooms to permit students to learn within social distancing guidelines, and not have to limit our class sizes to an arbitrary number such as the limit of 10 which has been required for summer camp. I am positive we will have many safety protocols we will have to enforce (and that we will share with you as well), but our focus continues to be implementing at-school learning as much as possible.

In addition to COVID concerns, this past week or so has brought up other real challenges for our country as well. Some of you have requested resources and materials that you could use to share with your children regarding having discussions about race, and I am working on gathering some websites and books that you could use. I hope to finish that up next week to send out.

Congratulations to everyone on completing a school year with the best display of partnership between school and home that we can recall ever! We look forward to seeing everyone next week at the Hope Handover.

Hope Handover Reminder June 9-12, 2020

If you have not signed up for a time for the Hope Handover, please take a moment to sign up by following the link below. This is the opportunity for your student to return Hope items and pick up their bagged items from their desks and lockers. Most of the earlier times are taken but there are still many open times on Thursday and Friday of that week. Each student should sign up for a separate 15 minute time slot, with 3 spots available per 15 minute increment. For families with more than one child at Hope, each student should select a spot.

Times for the Hope Handover are:

  • Tuesday June 9 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM
  • Wednesday June 10 12:00 PM to 5:00 PM
  • Thursday June 11 12:00 PM to 5:00 PM
  • Friday June 12 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM

Sign up for a time here:



Parent’s Perspective: What if? By Heidi Gottshall, mother of Isaiah

I imagine it’s easy for most of us to list all the things we’ve been missing since the stay-home order began. Things like the regular and welcomed events that come with school-age kids, like spring sports, concerts, helping in the classroom, the annual talent show, graduations, and perhaps traveling near or far. The list is endless depending on each family’s situation.

We have two kids in college and a 7th grade son at Hope. My husband is retired so we haven’t had the work changes that many have faced. I began wondering, though, What if the pandemic didn’t happen? What if there wasn’t a stay-home order beginning mid-March 2020? What if our 21 year old daughter and 19 year old son were still going about their campus lives, work, and busy social lives?

Contemplating these questions has helped me appreciate what we would have missed:

*Coming together as a family to bring our college freshman home, with only hours to pull it off; it became a mission, “Operation Extricate Noah”, as our daughter dubbed it.

*Family meetings and emotional conversations to process and understand the reality of this world-wide crisis, a humbling experience to face our vulnerabilities and exercise our faith in a sovereign God.

*Watching our two adult kids grapple with and ultimately accept their disappointments with plans stopped in their tracks, recognizing our actions can affect others’ well-being.

*Watching our 7th grader hit the street running with transition to online school, taking complete ownership of his schedule, tasks, piano practice and down time.

*Creativity taking flight…with artistic sketching, baking, sewing (face masks!), gardening, music, creating items to sell, and learning new skills like meal preparation and skateboarding.

*Two young adults, a teenager, and Mom and Dad, piled on a queen-size bed most nights for devotions and family prayer.

*Watching our daughter make an educational and career shift, responding to God’s call to ministry, and God’s immediate answer to serve at the camp she loves during this time of uncertainty and transition.

We are a pretty close knit family, and our lives can be messy, yet if this stay-home order hadn’t happened, we would have missed this unique and radical shift—the gift of drawing on the strength of family and doing life “together”, in every sense of the word!



Welcome New Staff!

Please join us in welcoming two new (well, sort of new) faces at Hope this summer and fall! We are thrilled to welcome Ruth Gardner back to our staff as a preschool assistant in the Sea Turtles class, and Roger Davenport as our new technology director. You may recall that we previously shared about Christi Sonheim stepping away from the preschool class, and technology director Kevin Jones retiring after ten years at Hope at the end of this summer.

Ruth Gardner worked for several years in our preschool Orcas four year olds classroom, where her energy and enthusiasm was such a magnet for our young students. She took a year off this past year to work as a boat captain for Ride the Ducks and continued working at Hope as a sub but missed our little guys. She is so excited to come back in the fall. Welcome back Ruth!

Roger Davenport is a current Hope parent to Josh in fifth grade, and has been part of our community for several years. He led our LEST robotics team this past winter, and has helped a bit in various projects over the years. He has extensive experience with technology, especially with building web application, software, and coding. He will be able to spend time training with Mr. Jones this summer.

We will miss Mrs. Sonheim and Mr. Jones and wish them the best on their adventures ahead! Please pray for Mrs. Gardner and Mr. Davenport as they begin their new positions at Hope in the coming weeks.

Parent’s Perspective: In the Stillness by Chesney Schmidt, mom to Ruby and Olive

We made it!!!!! Can you even believe it! The finish line is just an arm’s length away. 74 days ago did any of us think we would be where we are today, or even that the last two months and 2 weeks would have gone the way they did??? It’s certainly has been a roller coaster of so many emotions, so many PEAKS and so many VALLEYS, but the one thing that has remained tried and true through this is our Lord God!

Our quarantine started out more on an optimistic note. We were all home, safe and healthy; I couldn’t have asked for anything more. I spent that first weekend planning our daily schedules, we baked, we played, we laughed, I mean what could go wrong if I had a plan, right?

Well, wrong. After one short week my well thought out “plan” quickly backfired right in front of my face. The emotions were running on overdrive, not only from our daughters Ruby {4th grade} and Olive (Kindergarten} but for Andy and I as well. We felt like a stranded ship lost out on the stormy seas. How were we going to keep up with the school and work and all the day to day duties? The expectations were endless. Were my children going to fall behind, would Olive be where she needs to be as she approaches 1st grade, what would happen to Ruby’s mental state, she’s a LIGHT! I thought, I can’t let this affect them, not one bit!!! All the questions, all the unknowns. I would wake up every.single.night at 1:30am on the dot, my heart racing, my mind running laps, we couldn’t maintain this way, everything felt chaotic and completely out of control.

But then, I was reminded in the stillness that I was never in control in the first place, nor will I ever be. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I know what I have control over and what I don’t. I actually like to use this analogy: that God has stenciled out this beautiful scene for me {my life} but in fact it is up to me as to what colors I choose for this beautiful piece he has so graciously and thoughtfully curated. It was up to me to choose JOY in this moment and beyond. It is up to me to accept that I was completely powerless when it comes to this entire situation that we all find ourselves in and I can only control my own actions and my own reactions but to allow myself grace, and especially my two daughters grace as well.

At that moment I knew that Olive is just where she’s supposed to be. Her reading has sky rocketed since learning remotely and I am so blessed to have this extra time with my little love. Our relationship has blossomed more than ever and I have been given an opportunity to learn with her, and see it through her eyes, and learning so much more about her in this process. For that, I am so incredibly grateful. And Ruby, well there is no light as bright as our Ruby. She is a walking and talking reminder of God’s unconditional love and light. She is an incredible gift to our family. She has played such a pivotal part in keeping the laughter alive and game nights going strong around here. She is a daily reminder that with God’s direction and His unfailing love, we will persevere!

So as we watch this school year pass us by from our rearview mirrors, we will remember that this was just a snippet of time. Many blessings to each and every one of you.


Back to School Planning by Kristen Okabayashi

Philippians 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Even as we finish up our current school year, many of our brains are jumping ahead into next year. Will we be at school? Will we be at home? What will the community around us look like? Will we have chapel? How about sports? Field trips? The questions in my mind are seemingly endless.

I do not have any definitive answers for what school will look like next year yet, but I can share with you what we have thought about and discussed as a school staff. First and foremost, we are a school that is built on relationships – students and teachers, teachers and parents, students and parents, all of us with God. Some schools place a higher value on this than others; at Hope as you know, this is way at the top of our values list. While we can and will make learning happen whether our students are at school or at home, our strong preference is to teach students in our building as much as we possibly can next year. It is not possible to guarantee that will happen as some decisions are out of our ability to control, but we will do our best to find ways to facilitate at-school learning as much as possible.

Hope has several factors that I believe will work for us in continuing school in our building, such as our smaller class sizes and our smaller school size. We thankfully have fewer opportunities for exposure because of both of these. It is possible to create socially distant classrooms because of our larger classrooms and smaller class sizes in most of our grades without making big changes.

That being said, school next year will look different than this year, without a doubt. Some of the changes we have discussed include safety protocols such as installing sanitizer and temperature check stations at the entrances of school, frequent disinfection of high touch areas, playground equipment, and desks, and limiting non-essential adult access to the building. Other logistical changes we have talked about include specialist teachers traveling to classrooms instead of students traveling to specialists’ classrooms, eliminating large group events such as chapel and the lunchroom, and staggering arrival/departure times slightly to reduce exposures to other students.

As we explore options for next year, I have had the opportunity to represent Lutheran Schools in a School Re-Opening Task Force with a few other private school principals and heads of school in our state, as part of the Washington Federation of Independent Schools. A group of us are meeting together multiple times this week and next week to create possible scenarios for next year, to present to Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal in early June. He is preparing to lay out guidance for public schools; we want to be sure the private school voice is represented as well.

Please lift up our school, along with all schools, in your prayers and thoughts as we journey along on this path of uncertainty together. We are fully committed to our students and educating them in the best manner possible.

Parent Perspective: Juggling 3+ by Amy Kopecky

Hope families all have unique quarantine challenges, don’t we? It’s so helpful to read these newsletters and be reminded of our different working/parenting/learning households and how we can learn from and support each other. In the Kopecky house, Hope youth pastor Jonathan works from home, and I work a few part-time jobs while growing our fourth baby. We have a third grader, first grader, and preschooler, so we have a loud house, and I mean LOUD—sometimes Jonathan wears noise-cancelling headphones and I hid in the laundry room last night during bedtime routines for some peace and yoga.


When Hope to Home Learning was announced, we quickly made a simple survival plan as best as we could to protect our sanity:

  1. Our weekdays have to look different from our weekends.
  2. The kids should be dressed by 9:00 for family devotions so we have an official start to the school day.
  3. Give encouragement and grace to each other.

Number three is our priority. Over these nine weeks, some things have gotten easier as we’ve learned to adjust, and others have become more challenging. But above all, we don’t want our kids to be discouraged with education or themselves. We’ve learned to put less focus on completing each assignment and more on promoting a healthy balance of learning and living together at home.

With that said, here’s a little bit about how each of our kids has coped:

Pre-School: Mrs. Figgins has led the preschoolers with phenomenal packets of activities, story time videos, and video tutorials. It’s been so much fun to watch Calum grow in his excitement for learning. But the challenge has been helping him do the activities and giving him attention when his brother and sister need a parent’s help almost constantly.

It’s helped to put each of the kids in separate common rooms with headphones so when one child turns on a video, the other two don’t get sucked in, too. It’s also helped to save Mrs. Figgins’ cool experiments like exploding volcanos and until the oldest two are done with their work so they can join in the fun.

First Grade: For the first couple of weeks, Aria faced tech challenges. She did all her writing and assignments on an iPad, but even with the purchase of a stylus it was frustrating and time-consuming and we got farther and farther behind. We did two things I wish we would have done sooner: 1) we bought a printer so most work could be done by hand, and 2) we expressed our concerns to Mrs. Alba. She gave us complete support to lighten Aria’s load which has helped immensely.

Even with these tools, I will be honest and say Jonathan and I did not expect to do as much teaching as we’ve done. We envisioned administrating, encouraging, answering a question here and there, but our reality has been much more intense, sometimes working through each problem and each answer one at a time. (We’ve had to re-learn first grade math methods, too!) We’ve learned to take breaks when necessary and that we need to respect a time limit for daily schoolwork. Home learning is very different from school learning, and we are so thankful for Mrs. Alba.

Third Grade: Elias started out strong and motivated, so the greatest challenge was submitting his work and accessing different websites. While most of those kinks have been worked out, I can tell he, like all of us, is getting distracted while missing his teachers and friends and school environment. However, he takes so much joy in the class Zoom calls, and we are thankful for Mrs. Norton’s book she reads aloud and her easy availability for questions.

A bright spot in all the “heavy lifting” schoolwork has been the art, music and PE projects. The kids love more excuses to explore the neighborhood on their bikes, and even though we have not taken on the extra Zoom opportunities for these classes, they always get excited about the art and music assignments.

Even though we wouldn’t have chosen this road, our family is discovering more about what Calum is learning in Mrs. Figgins’ class—truly living out the Fruits of the Spirit with each other. We are thankful for this once-in-a-lifetime gift to spend extra time together and we are grateful for our wonderful teachers!

Parent’s Perspective: A Leap of Faith by Nicolette Shea, parent to Declan in 7th grade

This is a longer article than we usually send out but we encourage you to read through the entire piece. – Mrs. O.

“No! No! No!”

This was my immediate thought when Mrs. Okabayashi asked me to write about homeschooling from a “parent’s perspective.” I am pretty sure I am not the right person to write that kind of thing. For starters, I write as I talk with no real regard for the rules. Second, I am doubtful that my perspective or Declan’s experience will resonate with anyone. Despite my better judgment, I decided to just take a leap of faith and see what comes of it.

When we heard the news that Hope was closing, we immediately went into panic-induced control and organize mode: Ink for the printer, supplies, a tentative schedule, and a functional workspace. When the first day of home school arrived, we assumed Declan ready—more or less.

Spoiler Alert: He was LESS ready!

Declan’s dad, Chris, and I were both working on the first day of homeschooling, so neither of us could help guide Declan. I was a little worried. I figured he’d get online, find some assignments, do some worksheets, and call it a day. That did NOT happen. At about 11 a.m., I get a call at work. My child is sobbing. My child is frustrated. My child is begging me to come home and help him: “The assignments are coming in too fast! There are too many. They are all due at specific times. The schedule you wrote doesn’t work. And… I’m hungry!!!!!”

I found someone to cover my shift at work so I could head home early. On my way, I wrote Mrs. Meyer a short, unnecessarily curt email: “What IS going on?” Then, I saw her number on my phone. Oh no, I went too far. But, as you’d expect, Mrs. Meyer was her usual, calm, kind, and understanding self (and I felt like a total jerk) when she asked, “Can I speak to Declan?” I reluctantly handed him the phone. They spoke privately for 20 or 30 minutes and when he came out of his room, he was smiling. With all the confidence in the world, he said, “Everything is going to be okay.” Whatever Mrs. Meyer said instilled confidence and made Declan feel supported. He was ready to try again the next day.

So, we started fresh. Chris and I had the next day off, and we decided to just observe how the teachers were using all of these new tools. We would fill in the gaps as needed. After all, Declan is a good student, smart and independent. We believed wholeheartedly that he could “do school” with just a little support and structure. That day, and over the next couple of weeks, we knew that the teachers and administration at Hope had already given Declan almost everything he needed for homeschooling success. I don’t mean the iPad, keyboard, passwords, Schoology, worksheets, and weekly schedules—although all of those things have been invaluable.

I’m talking about what his educators gave him before Covid-19: The incredible language of learning that exists between teachers and students when they trust and respect each other. If Mr. Allen were to tell Declan that the grass is purple, then gave him the steps to investigate and discover why the grass isn’t green, but purple, Declan is going to do it. Not because he believes that grass is purple, and not because he thinks Mr. Allen is crazy enough to humor him, but because he trusts Mr. Allen. He trusts that Mr. Allen is leading him somewhere, that somehow this is important, and by the end of this assignment he will learn something about himself and the world around him. Declan has complete faith in his school, his teachers, his peers, and himself. All he needed from us was a little support around prioritizing, organization … and another trip to Staples.

Two weeks ago, Declan sat Chris and me down. He said, “I don’t need help with school anymore. You don’t need to check Schoology, look over my assignments, e-mail my teachers with questions… I can do it on my own. I am not enjoying having parents as teachers.” I smiled, and simply said, “Fair enough kid. What do you propose? “After a bit of negotiating, we agreed on a plan that allows Declan the independence he desires. We stay informed and here for him when he needs our help, and he manages the rest.

The plea from Declan for us to “Exit: Stage Left” from his education has shown me that homeschooling, itself, will be one of the most important lessons Declan has received thus far in his educational career. In eight short weeks, my 13-year-old son has learned to pivot, to be flexible, to use technology as a tool instead of a toy, to calibrate, to implement time management, and, to prioritize his workload. Declan has learned the importance of advocating for himself, yet, at the same time, creatively finding the answers before asking for help. He became part of a community, despite being locked up in his house. He found some joy in times of stress. I believe other lessons and skills will pop up throughout Declan’s life, and he will attribute this experience.

I have learned something, too, that will stay with me forever: I have seen a small glimpse of what kind of human my son is growing into. It’s lovely and I am grateful.

Updates for the End of School Year by Kristen Okabayashi

End of School Year Timing: Thanks everyone for the feedback we received via parent surveys and emails on the end of the school year. For a variety of reasons including the need for more professional development and time to plan for our teachers as we head into next year, fatigue of students, families, and teachers, and given that the last week of school is typically a “wrap up” week with class parties, field trips, and packing up desks/lockers, our last day of official class time will be Friday, June 5, 2020. A minority of families expressed a preference for continuing academic work into the following week which I can certainly understand, but we typically finish our work during that week prior and this year there are many good reasons to end that week, for all of us. That last week of June 1-5 will include teaching time, end of year finals and final projects, and finishing up the school year strong. Some teachers will allow the following week as a “grace” period to turn in missing work, so you can encourage your child to check in with their teacher about that if applicable.

Summer Learning: Teachers are currently working on summer learning for our students. At the end of year, we will send home a summer reading book for each student in preschool through 8th grade, as well as some learning materials. Summer work is optional but will be highly encouraged to help students keep up with their learning as we prepare for next year.

End of Year Turn-In Days: Many students have textbooks, iPads, and other learning materials to turn in at the end of the school year. We are finalizing a plan where families can sign up for a specific time to come to Hope the week of June 8th and return borrowed items, in addition to picking up items left behind in desks and lockers when we ended school in mid-March. More information will come out next week regarding signing up for a time and the structure of Turn-In Days.

Hope to Home Learning with Prekindergarten! By Mairi Seraile, Pre-k teacher (Orcas)

Teaching virtual preschool was a tricky transition. I have to admit it was quite intimidating at first. Being that we are a play based Pre K program, the thought of successfully helping my students transition into Kindergarten without being in the classroom was not something I could fathom at first. However, I had to. This was my new teaching reality.

Instead of letting this overwhelm me I decided to figure out fun and interesting ways that I could incorporate both curriculums offered here at Hope. During our new Zoom classroom I conduct what we call “Fun Groups”. Tuesday we open our class with a song we sing during circle to engage some familiarity. When those who join the meeting are all settled in with me on the screen we begin our Zoophonics curriculum. The kids love meeting the new animal of the week. Then, I have them pull out their journal and we practice writing the letter associated with the animal. Wednesday is Show and Tell day! We use
this time to show special things around our houses or building projects we have worked on. We will have shining star meetings during this time as well so we don’t leave those out who did not celebrate their birthday in class. Sometimes I offer topics to get them involved with fun discussions. We showed family heirlooms in our first meeting. Thursday we focus on Scholastic News and or Identifying letters, numbers or shapes. I play short games with them that will enable me to further assess kindergarten readiness. This also includes our Hand Writing Without Tears curriculum (HWWT).

Our new classroom also includes an app called Seesaw. Students can log into our Seesaw classroom where I have assigned daily activities to keep them engaged with learning. Needless to say, I am still very connected with my students. More importantly, we will have formed a bond that will forever be special because they know that nothing can come in between the love, courage and strength that we have had to share through Christ Jesus during this challenging time.

Thank You Teachers Parade – May 7, 2020

May 6, 2020

Lessons from Grandma Pond by Kristen (Pond) Okabayashi, Principal

Over the past three months, I’ve certainly had my highs and lows in managing my emotions around COVID-19 related news and events. I know many of us have reacted in different ways at different times, sometimes over the course of 24 hours! This has been one of the most difficult life events I’ve experienced for sure. Recently though, I have been thinking a lot about the generation ahead of me, and all that they went through and witnessed over their lifetime. In particular, I’ve been considering my Grandma Pond, who was born in 1894, and passed away in 1996 at the age of 101, shortly after I was married.

Grandma Pond grew up in Libby, Montana, where her parents owned a livery and homesteaded out in the country every summer. She lived through many challenging life events, including her fiancée dying during World War I, World War I itself, the Spanish Flu pandemic, World War II, and the Great Depression. She also experienced many changes in society, such as the advent of women’s right to vote, the birth of first automobile travel and then airplane travel, the civil rights movement, and the beginnings of computers and the internet later in her life. In today’s world, we think we invented the idea of “reduce/reuse/recycle” but actually, Grandma’s generation was way ahead of us. I remember seeing Grandma wash out aluminum foil to use again for something else, finding rubber bands on all the doorknobs, rolling up newspapers to be used as “wood” for the fireplace, and flattening gift wrap paper for future gifts. My grandpa passed away relatively young, so Grandma lived alone for the last decades of her life.

My grandma had a huge impact on my life. Despite all that she lived through, or maybe because of it, she was one of the mentally strongest people I’ve ever met. She was stoic but had a joy and zest for living. She was careful in managing her money but at the same time very generous to those around her, including those in need. She went through so much loss and trauma in her life but I feel like it never defined her in any way – if anything, she appreciated and valued what she had instead of missing what she didn’t have. She was a woman of strong faith as well; she didn’t just “talk the talk” of her faith but demonstrated it daily by her love and care for others around her, including my older sister,  my younger brother, and me. I would say we had more of an eclectic faith upbringing, and Grandma was the one who taught us the Lord’s Prayer, how to have a prayer conversation with God, and brought us to church with her.

Sharing about what Grandma Pond went through is not to minimize the grief and loss that we are all feeling at times, or the economic stress that some are experiencing more than others. However, I am taking grandma’s story to heart, and I am working to demonstrate the resiliency she modeled so well for my siblings and me. We WILL get through this – parents, teachers, students, and families – and we will come out on the other end having gained confidence in ourselves and our ability to manage life’s events.

May 5, 2020

Educating your student in the classroom or at home

May 1, 2020

Running a Marathon not a Sprint by Kristen Okabayashi, Principal

Thank you to the many of you who took time to answer the online survey we sent home on Wednesday. This has been our highest response rate yet! The answers are all across the board in terms of when to end the school year, with most of you reporting that you are supportive of school ending whenever we decide to end. If you would still like to answer the survey, the links are below.  I did hear from several of you personally via email regarding the end date of school, and I really appreciate the care and trust you are placing in us as a school. I responded to those who emailed with more information on this decision making process, and so I thought I would share more with all of you.

If we do end early, we will most likely end on Friday, June 5, which will be three full days early plus the short 10:00 AM dismissal day scheduled for June 11. We would not use the full eight extra days we have available. We would like to use those three days to spend on staff training and professional development, as we gear up to possibly go back and forth between school building learning and at-home learning. As you know, we will teach our students either way, at school or at home, but we think there are additional ways that we can improve that process.

I’ve been sharing more in personal emails that as we raced to set up our online learning structure and implementation, we were working at a sprint speed. As we progress through this in realizing online learning will last throughout this school year and possibly into next year at times, we have to adjust our pace to be able to finish a marathon not a sprint. On that note, we have added some additional support for our homeroom teachers with our specialists and special guests. This next week, you will see some small adjustments to our teaching times, as our specialists Mr. Goodspeed, Mrs. Manuta, and Mr. Franklin will begin teaching some live classes and taking over some of the one on one reading times with our youngest students. Youth Pastor Jonathan Kopecky will host a middle school lunch once a week, and parent Marie Santo is also hosting a third grade social lunch once a week. It takes a team to do Hope to Hope Learning!

Have a wonderful weekend everyone, and we will share more information about the end of the school year soon.

Preschool Survey:

Kindergarten through Fifth Grade Survey:

Middle School Survey:

April 30, 2020

Parent Perspective: A Tale of Two Learners by Jen Foster, parent of Finn (7th grade) and Maya (9th grade)

Over a month into this stay at home order, three things are becoming apparent: we love where we live (Kitsap County), family dinners are an added bonus, and we miss our friends. We are taking out most of our frustration and our lack of team sports on the badminton court in the backyard. Our family is surviving as well as we can in isolation. The most valuable lesson we have learned this spring is the importance of schools. Without schools, 3 of the 4 of us have lost a huge part of our identity. As a teacher I am watching how online learning plays out with two very different learners in my own home.

My 7th grader, a Hope student, started online learning many weeks before his high school sister. He slipped into the routine fairly easily and although he goes to bed later, he gets to sleep in as his commute no longer involves a ferry. It turns out, as much as he loves the social aspect of school, he is a pretty independent learner. Being at home, he can ask his mom or sister for help when he needs it, but otherwise he knows what is expected and is able to work within his deadlines. I believe that Hope teachers sticking to a routine and holding students to deadlines is why he is able to be so successful.

The high school over here took a bit longer to get their act together- serving almost 3,000 students, the task must have seemed insurmountable. We empathize with the district, the teachers and administrators. Our high school learner is struggling. Her learning is very much dependent on being around classmates and teachers. Her work is turned in, but it is a battle. She is a social learner who relies on face time with her teachers to make learning valuable and help it “stick”. In order to learn WELL, she needs people around. I have spoken with many parents this week about this phenomenon, so I know she is not alone. So many cues are given live, in the classroom, that are lost in an online platform. Although she will make it through this, she is not thriving and will not look back on this as a positive time in her education.   This is okay, and a good lesson for her as to how great school really is.

My husband and I are also working from home- me at the kitchen table and him at a new “office” in our bedroom. Truth be told, we thought having my husband home would be hard- one more person in the house and having to be quiet from 11-8PM, but it has been okay and we are enjoying having him around more.

The takeaway here is that schools are irreplaceable. Students and teachers are feeling this in many different ways and although everyone is giving it a try- it is not optimal. Most teachers and students work best when in the same building, which is why they made this choice for their education. Until we can see each other again, stay safe and healthy and enjoy the little successes of the day.

April 29, 2020

Online Learning…… Will It Ever End?!? By Kristen Okabayashi, Principal

As I write the title of today’s article, visualize a tired toddler asking that question in a whiny voice, which is how I’m picturing it in my head. Even in my worst fears in February and early March, I never thought we would be teaching outside of the school building for the entire third trimester of this school year. As we know, Hope teachers have done a phenomenal job converting all teaching online, and the entire process has gone relatively smoothly. Still, this time has come with trauma and stress for all of us, and we need to acknowledge that.

On that note, over the past month, some of our parents have occasionally brought up the idea of ending the school year early, and we indicated we had no plans to do that. We wanted to see how well students were progressing through current curriculum before we made any decisions about ending early. Now that we are six weeks into online learning, we see that teaching is going well and the majority of students have been working hard. As a result, over the past week, Hope teachers have contemplated ending the school year a few days early. Most importantly, we are considering this because we see that students and families are stressed by the current structure, and while overall our students have risen to this new challenge of online learning, we can see the wear and tear this is taking on our families.

Another reason to consider ending early is the fact that we still have eight extra “snow” days built into our schedule, so even by finishing early we would still fulfill more than the hour requirements established by the state. While this hour requirement has actually been waived for this year, we feel it is important to fulfill it regardless of the waiver. And lastly, ending early would allow our teachers extra professional development days in June as we prepare for next year, which could continue to be a unique educational year for all schools (more about that at a later date).

As we contemplate this decision, we would value your opinions on potentially ending the school year early, and how it would affect your family. Please take a moment to take a short one question survey divided by age group: preschool, K-5, and middle school. As always, thank you for your partnership!

Preschool Survey:

Kindergarten through Fifth Grade Survey:

Middle School Survey:


Teacher Appreciation Week – May 4-7th (updated April 30th)

Show and tell your teacher how much you appreciate her or him next week! We’re super excited to celebrate our teachers and staff next week, and would love for you to join in the fun. Of course, all of these activities are optional, so do what is best for your family.

Here are the details:

May 4 – Dress up in your uniform, draw a picture and have your parent take a picture of you to email or post to Schoology. Use your own paper or print out this flyer: taw-2020-fillable-flyer

May 5 – Write a personal note to say Thank You for all your teacher is doing or maybe write about a special memory you have of them. You can also make a video of yourself and your message! Or, make your own card or print out this card and write your message. taw-2020-ty-card Email it, post it to Schoology, or mail it to the school (4456 42nd Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98116)  and we’ll make sure they get it.

May 6: Decorate a door or window. Here is one idea, #AWorldofHearts. PTH would decorate the teacher’s doors at school; now you can decorate your own door at home or a window. Maybe you create a message or picture on your door, something your teacher would like. Decorating a window would allow your neighbors to see your appreciation for your teacher, too.

You may also drop off a special homemade treat (stay safe at home by not going to the store) and drop off the treat in a clear plastic bag at the front of the school in the bin. Don’t forget to ring the bell so we can take it inside. All treats will be evenly distributed among the staff.

May 7: Thank you Parade! This is optional for both families and teachers! This is going to be a very special day for students and teachers. We’re going to say Thank You to our teachers from OUR OWN CARS! Students and parents will drive down Genesee Street, turn right or left onto 41st Avenue and enter the Lowers through what is normally the Exit to avoid traffic build up on Oregon St. You will then drive VERY slowly through the lowers where the teachers will be lined up and practicing social distancing so you can wave and say hello and thank you! Exit the lowers onto Oregon Street, and if you can take a right instead of a left to keep traffic going. See Parade route graphic.

But, we have to follow some very important rules:

  • This is an OPTIONAL activity for both families and teachers. Not all teachers will be present for the parade, but you can still celebrate the school staff. However, if your family does not feel safe to go out, please remain home with our blessing. We completely understand.Drive slowly to be safe
  • No one is allowed to get out of the car. This is very important. Traffic must keep moving and we must practice social distancing.
  • Avoid handing things out the window of the vehicles. If you have something to give to a teacher please deliver to the school before Thursday with their name on it. We’ll make sure they get it.
  • Teachers will wave and say, hello but will not be able to touch or high-five so that we can be safe.

Families can plan to drive the parade route based on the times below:

  • 9 – 9:30 AM Preschool
  • 9:30 -10:00 Elementary (K5 – 5)
  • 10 – 10:30 Middle School (6-8)

Other ways to say Thank you to Teachers:

  • Email heartfelt letters, cards and messages of appreciation
  • Create artwork, poems and video messages to celebrate your teachers
  • Send your teacher a virtual award
  • On Thursday, upload a #TBT of you and your favorite teacher and thank them using #ThankATeacher.

April 28, 2020: Sea Turtles At-Home and Online by Tammy Shelver

The transition from Hope to Home Learning has been a group effort in the Sea Turtle class. Our families have jumped fully into our new experience. They pick up activity bags from the school every Monday and often pick up their friends’ bags too and deliver them. The kids have really embraced “homework” assigned to them online at our Seesaw account. They post their creations on our class blog on a regular basis too. It’s so fun to see what they are doing at home.

At first, the social-emotional piece of the preschool experience was what was missing. The students miss seeing and interacting with their friends. We have done a number of things to help with this, and by far the best activity came from a parent. She offered to set up a scavenger hunt. Every student was to put up a shape in their window and then, starting on a specific day, all of the class could follow a map and “find” and record the shape. It was a huge success! All day long, cars pulled up to houses and the kids could wave to each other and chat through their windows. Many left encouraging and loving messages in their windows too.


As teachers, we have all poured our hearts and time into making this Home Learning experience as productive, and fulfilling, as possible. I feel blessed that our parents are so encouraging and are also willing to share their wonderful ideas with us. Given our current circumstances, we couldn’t ask for anything more!

April 24, 2020: Hope to Home Learning Updates by Kristen Okabayashi, Principal

Today, I have some general updates related to online learning:

Desk/Locker Pick-Up Some of you have asked about picking up items from desks, lockers, art, etc. Towards the end of the year once our quarantine restrictions have been eased up a bit, we will set up a schedule for families to come to the school in limited numbers, and both pick up items left behind when school ended, and also drop off school items back at school. This could include textbooks, iPads, and whatever else needs to be returned. Look for a sign up to be sent home in late May.

One on one student time Teachers have realized that it is effective to have one on one Zoom times with students, particularly in the younger grades, and many of them have adjusted their schedules to make this happen. Over the next couple of weeks, you will notice some of our specialists stepping in to help with this also, so your child may end up reading with Mr. Goodspeed or Mrs. Manuta, for example.

Social Zoom Times Some students and parents have indicated a need to spend more time together socially on Zoom, so we are looking at how we can facilitate this. Over the coming week or two, students can look for an invitation to spend time online with an adult leader playing games or just hanging out with discussion. Thank you to Mr. Goodspeed, Jonathan Kopecky, and Marie Santo for helping us out with leadership on this! For parents, we are also looking at how we can facilitate some opportunities for parents to connect socially on Zoom and share what is working or what you could use support with from other parents. Stay tuned for more information on this!

Tuition Reminder As mentioned back in mid-March, we do not plan to offer refunds on tuition beyond what we already have provided for full-day extended care students, who have been unable to receive full-day care due to current restrictions. Most of Hope’s tuition costs go directly to teacher salaries and curriculum costs, which are being fully utilized and more with the change to online learning. However, some families have been impacted adversely by the current economic climate, so if you are feeling financial hardship and could use assistance with tuition costs, please email Kristen Okabayashi directly at

Have a wonderful weekend all, and we look forward to week 6 of online learning!

April 23, 2020: Hope to Home: Thankfulness and Learning to Swim by Kristen Okabayashi, Principal

None of us at Hope want to be teaching and learning under the current circumstances. Depending on any given moment, probably most of us swing along the continuum of barely surviving to acceptance of our situation, and everything in between. That being said, today I am surprised to find myself actually feeling thankful.

We are clearly a school that is all about relationships and community. A lot of our sadness and grief have occurred because of the loss of what we “had” at our school building. So how do you re-create that environment when the school building is literally closed? Over time, I feel like together we are all figuring it out.

I’m thankful today to sit in on classroom teaching, discussion, and sharing on Zoom. I watched Mrs. Richardson teach a math lesson on estimating of decimals to her fifth grade class, using a whiteboard just as she would use a white board in the classroom, after a brief discussion on a “guilty pleasure” we’ve had during this social distancing time. I emailed several parents and other principals, and even texted a couple parents about various questions they had. I sat in with the K-2 teachers in a department planning meeting via Zoom, including the specialists, as we talked about how we could improve our students’ experience just as we normally would. One of our parents emailed to suggest a Zoom “recess” alternative, which she was also willing to host herself. Technology director Kevin Jones and I talked about how the iPad distributions are holding out, and how we can plan for the rest of this year and into the fall. One of our teachers who of course has really been missing her students texted me pictures of her delivering care bags of goodies to each of her
students’ homes. Our teachers and students and families are figuring this out together!

If regular school is like splashing in the shallow water with lifeguards surrounding you, what occurred in mid-March is like falling off a big raft, into a river rapid, without a life jacket. But, as we finish up the past five weeks, I see that we are slowly floating to the top and catching our breath. As we head into May and June, I pray that we figure out how to swim laps together and maybe even play Marco Polo!

Blessings to you.

A Parent’s Perspective by Nicole Spencer, P3 Sea Star Parent

When we got the news that schools across the state would be closed until April 27th, we were devastated. Our Preschool Sea-Star son, Archer, has loved going to school since day one! Never has he had a moment where he was sad that mom would be dropping him off. Instead, he walked proudly into class each day, made several new friends and gained the confidence any parent would hope a 4-year-old could gain.

Immediately after the announcement from the governor, I decided to reach out to Hope to inquire about a partial refund, or removing Archer from his class altogether. It broke my heart to even consider this, but with the uncertainty of the economy, I was certain this would be a cost that we could not afford anymore. Plus, I feel the most important aspect of preschool is gaining social skills, and if we wouldn’t be returning-why pay?

We decided to make the most of our limited time left with his class, and jumped head first into “home schooling” a preschooler. We picked up packets of art supplies and homework and signed into the ‘SeeSaw App’.   Waiting for us was Mrs. Figgins smiling face – ready to share a new story, craft and song. She took us to Chapel one Tuesday. We were able to meet her dog Olive during spirit week. And we began having Zoom calls with his classmates. We brought Show & Tell items and did silly dances together.  It didn’t take me long to realize that this was exactly what Archer needed to continue to grow as a student, and also what I needed to hold myself accountable and keep school refreshing and exciting.

I never did reach back out to Hope about pulling Archer out of class. Instead, we embraced this new “normal”. We have a blast uploading our assignments and original experiments to share with Mrs. Figgins. Archer looks forward to seeing his friends on our daily Zoom calls-no matter how chaotic, loud and excited everyone is (imagine a Zoom call with twelve 4-year-olds!).

I’ll be forever grateful for Mrs. Figgins’ and Mrs. Christian’s commitment to their students.  They have really embraced this new technology to take care of not only the kids-but us parents too.   I’m so happy that we chose to be present in this time of uncertainty.  It really feels wonderful that even though we are E-learning, Archer still has the opportunity to have a Preschool experience-with what truly is the most amazing teacher I have met.  Thank you Hope Lutheran-you continue to bring happiness to my family; in ways I didn’t think would be possible.

How Hope School Does Preschool at Home

April 21, 2020 Newsletter Link

April 20, 2020

June 2020 Staffing Changes by Kristen Okabayashi

We have 3 teachers and staff who will be making changes at the end of the current school year. While we wish them the best of luck moving forward, it is always difficult to say good-bye.

Technology director Kevin Jones will be retiring from Hope this summer. I interviewed him my very first week at Hope back in August 2010, so it’s tough to see him go! When he began here, we hired him to work about 10 hours per week overseeing a very basic computer lab and teaching grades 1-5 classes. Over the years, his job duties continued to expand as we added interactive white boards, new projectors, iPads for teachers, students, and classrooms, and expanded our computer lab to include a variety of technological tools including 3D printers. Mr. Jones remains very young at heart but he thinks it’s time to retire. We know he will continue to stay busy with traveling in his RV and many at-home projects, along with his important role as a grandpa. He wants you to know that it has been a privilege and an honor to be a part of your children’s lives. It has been a blessed and joyful experience for him.

Art teacher Janet Manuta is also making a change as she and her husband have started building a house on her son’s property in Arizona. Mrs. Manuta retired from public school teaching in New York five years ago and then came out to Seattle, where she worked as sub for us at Hope for a year. We loved her so much that we created an art teacher position for her, where she has served for the past four years.  She is a talented art teacher who has brought such rich and creative learning to our students! Mrs. Manuta plans to sub for us next year as they make progress on their house. She will of course continue to work on her own art projects at home; look for her pieces on display and for sale at local coffee shops and other places.

Also, preschool assistant Christi Sonheim is stepping away for her position with the Sea Turtles class. She has served in that class over the past two years since it started, and has brought a lot of energy, creativity, and fun to the class, while also being a steady force for our pre-kindergarten students. She has 3 children here at Hope and so we will continue to see her regularly, but she plans to focus on a side business as well as being a mom. She will be missed!

Blessings to all three of these talented teachers as they move on to different chapters of their lives; please join us in praying for them. We will keep you updated on staffing for the fall.

Special Message from Hope Lutheran School and Staff!

April 16, 2020

The Silver Lining – The Gill Family Experience at Home by Margaret Mead Gill – parent of two daughters, Brita in Orca Preschool and Josie in First grade

What a gift this time has been to my husband and I.  I can’t think of another time in our lives that we will have weeks and weeks at home with us all together.  I don’t pretend to know the stress and anxieties that come along with being a full time stay at home parent.  But this is about as close as I will get, and it’s the little things that I am treasuring in my heart.

Our time at home started off very stressful in mid-March, trying to “work from home” and actually be productive.  Trying to make sure the girls have what they need during the day.  Trying to be a mother, a wife, a friend, a house-keeper, going from preparing just dinner to now three meals a day plus two snacks.  Trying to figure out what school was going to look like – and to actually make sure the girls DID the work their teachers outlined for them.  I was convinced we were going to do ALL things, Scholastic kids, PBS kids, twice daily long walks and art projects.  Are you all laughing yet?  Eventually I had to tell my manager that I couldn’t do it all, and am currently working only about 10 hours per week.

Instead it’s been other things that seem to be going amazing.  ALL THE SNUGGLES.  SO MANY SNUGGLES.  I love spending the entire day with them, through all the mood swings.  I love watching them play.  I love reading books with them.  I love having the time to make a healthy dinner with all the food groups.  I love not rushing rushing between school, dinner, and whatever the evening activity is.  I love all our walks, and scooter rides, and bike rides.  I love having learned how to do Facetime with multiple parties – and the after bed time “happy hour” I’ve had with my brothers and mom.  I love that we’re acting more like a family, the girls just doing their chores with less arguments.   I love coming up with creative ways to celebrate missed birthdays and parties, and making a new “spring break” that is both relaxing and at home.  I love getting to know the wonderful kids that they are, deeper than I ever would have otherwise.  I love seeing our community come together to support one another, and I am so VERY impressed with the depth of compassion that people are showing each other – more than I ever imagined possible.

My prayer for you and yours, whatever your family situation is, that although this situation is HARD and STRESSFUL, that you’re able to find and create joy for your family, and that this time may be a gift to you as well. And that when we are ready to “return to normal” that we’re able to embrace the things we have learned while physically distancing – and that our new “normal” may be transformed into something amazing.

Message from Mrs. Okabayashi: April 15, 2020

April 15, 2020

Hope to Home Learning– Mental Health by Kristen Okabayashi, Principal

Today, I would like to circle back to the importance of mental health. COVID-19 has affected every single one of us, from anxiety over potentially getting the disease to feelings of isolation from shelter-in-place, to grief over lost hopes and dreams for the coming weeks and months. Many of us are experiencing the same symptoms as we would upon facing a loss: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. If you or your child is struggling with these emotions, it seems important to name it and also to talk about it. Coping with stress will make you, the people you care about, and your community stronger.

Stress can appear in different and overlapping ways, including:

  • Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones
  • Changes in sleep or eating patterns
  • Difficulty sleeping or concentrating
  • Worsening of chronic health problems
  • Worsening of mental health conditions
  • Increase in use of “coping” substances: alcohol, tobacco, etc.

Keep an eye out for significant symptoms of stress, depression, and/or anxiety, such as:

  • Excessive crying or irritation in younger children
  • Excessive worry or sadness
  • Unhealthy eating or sleeping habits
  • Irritability and “acting out” behaviors in teens
  • Poor school performance or avoiding schoolwork
  • Difficulty with attention and concentration
  • Avoidance of activities enjoyed in the past
  • Unexplained headaches or body pain
  • Use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs

Here are some suggestions for helping your child manage their emotions:

  • Talk with your child or teen about the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Answer questions and share facts about COVID-19 in a way that your child understands.
  • Reassure your child or teen that they are safe. Let them know it is ok if they feel upset. Share with them how you deal with your own stress so that they can learn how to cope from you.
  • Limit your family’s exposure to news coverage of the event, including social media.
  • Try to keep up with regular routines as much as possible. Create a schedule for learning activities and relaxing or fun activities.
  • Be a role model for self-care (see examples below) for your child(ren).

Here are some ways to cope with stress for children, teens, and adults:

  • Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media.
  • Take care of your body.
    • Take deep breaths, stretch, walk around the house or block.
    • Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals.
    • Exercise regularly and get plenty of sleep
    • Avoid alcohol or other substances.
  • Make time to unwind. Try to do some other, even new, activities you enjoy.
  • Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
  • Pray regularly.

If you (or your child) is really struggling with emotions around this, please reach out to your regular doctor or a mental health counselor for assistance. If needed, I have a list of counseling referrals; just send me an email at and I can email it to you.

April 10, 2020

Technology Guidelines by Kevin Jones, Technology Director and Kristen Okabayashi, Principal

Today’s newsletter article is about technology. Since our usage of technology has changed so much, we thought it would be timely to refresh our student’s memories on learning platform privacy from our School Handbook, and also establish new guidelines for using Zoom.

In addition, I’ve created three different surveys below, divided up by age group. I highly value this information so please take a moment to answer this short survey of 5-6 questions. Thank you!

Happy Easter to you all, and please join us for the Hope Church online worship experience on Sunday.

Blessings, Mrs. Okabayashi

Technology Guidelines, by Kevin Jones, Technology Director

Learning Platform Requirements Reminders

Please remember to follow these guidelines when using Schoology, Seesaw, and other tools:

  • Don’t ever share personal information about yourself or other people, such as personal email address, phone number, or physical address.
  • Unless it’s part of an assignment from your teacher, don’t share other personal information, including where your parents work, what your other family members said about something, political opinions, etc.
  • If you’re not sure if it’s OK to share something, you can always ask your teacher in a private message inside the learning platform or email. Of course, you can always ask your parents too!

Zoom Meeting Guidelines

To set up our students for success on Zoom conferencing, we’ve established the following guidelines for students. Please review these with your child.

  • Choose a quiet spot to reduce distractions for yourself and others
  • Be physically present in appropriate workspace – camera should be on if you have one, you should locate yourself at a desk/table/on top of bed (not in bed under covers)
  • Be mentally present – be fully engaged so not cooking or grooming yourself (eating a simple snack or drinking a beverage is okay)
  • Be appropriately dressed (clothing on top and bottom required – family members also if they are in view of camera)

If you have any questions on these technology topics, please reach out to Kevin Jones at or your child’s teacher.

Please click on the following links for the surveys:

Preschool Survey:

K-5 Survey:

Middle School Survey:

Virtual Spirit Days! April 14-20th


April 9, 2020

Hope to Hope Learning: Parent Perspective by Nicole White, parent of a 5th grader at Hope

I really thought we’d be the family with the posted daily schedules, the “activity hour,” and the consistent 8:30 bedtime.  Boy was I wrong! My fifth grade daughter Julie and I had oatmeal cookies for dinner last night, she and her dad Paul stay up until 10 PM playing video games (until I have to remind them I need to get up for work), meal times are fairly random, and we still shuffle devices from station to station so that we can all Zoom when and where we need to.  To be real, we also exist in various “shades” of pajamas, which we have now deemed “athleisure wear.”

I’m a Type A personality, a recovering helicopter mom, and literally… a Task Manager for my job at Seattle Lutheran High School.  And this isn’t the way I thought at-home learning would look for us, AT ALL.

And yet, when I look around, I’m noticing some really amazing things going on…with the minimal structure…  Julie has started teaching herself how to play piano!  She is also keeping her own schedule, on her room calendar (no prompting at all).  She and Paul are doing a lot of cooking, which is usually only possible on weekends.  We are getting picnic and basketball time, as a family, on “school days!”  I decided to embark on some gardening (I was upset to see zero flowers 6 hours after planting, so I’m thinking it’s not for me… but the fact I even considered it!)  Julie has even started offering to make lunch for me, when I’m with students all day.

There is something beautiful about the release of control our family is experiencing.  It’s hard, it’s a little chaotic, it’s frustrating, and it’s one of the most abrupt transitions of our lives.  But it requires all of us to stretch well beyond any comfort zone we clung to.  And that stretching is turning out to be an extremely rich platform for learning, growth, and discovery. We’ve decided to embrace the reality that nothing is “normal.”  We also aren’t really “settling into our new normal.”  There is nothing normal going on, and that is ok for us.  We don’t have the option to “be normal,” and it is liberating.

During this time, I think that however families are managing is “the right way.”  Every family has such a unique rhythm and culture.  Learning hasn’t stopped or stalled… it has diversified.


Hope to Home Learning – Important Information by Mrs. Okabayashi

Thank you to everyone who filled out the survey from the Friday prior to Spring Break. I appreciate your taking the time to give us feedback about what is working or not working. Like the past survey, it appears that in general, Hope families are adapting reasonably well to this change to online/at-home learning. I’m glad to hear it and hope that continues, particularly now that we are in this for the rest of the year. A small number of families indicated that their child is spending more time daily than we recommend on schoolwork, and so if the specific grade level was listed on that comment, I have passed that information on to the teacher so they are aware. As always, feel free to share your feedback directly with teachers.

Below are some updates on questions and comments I’ve either received personally from parents or questions that have come up from the parent survey:

PIP (volunteer) hours: Now that we know we are not returning to school in the actual building this school year, we have made the decision to waive PIP hours for the rest of the year. Many of you have already completed your volunteer hours for the year already; if not, we will not charge you for these. If possible, those of you who have not completed all your hours this year could spend extra time volunteering next year, but we do not plan to accrue those hours forward.

Grading: At this time, we do not plan to adjust our grading to become pass/fail or something else, with the possible exception of middle school electives. We feel that our students are very capable and we want to be sure they continue to be challenged in their learning and make adequate progress as they prepare to advance to the next grade level in the fall. I personally am concerned that a change to a pass/fail model could cause some of our more extrinsically motivated students to reduce their commitment to academics. That being said, we remain open to changing this still in the future if we see an overwhelming reason make a change.

Full-day Preschool Tuition: Because we are not able to offer full-day childcare to our preschool families, we will make a second adjustment to these families to credit pro-rated tuition for the remainder of the school year. We continue to offer a strong commitment to our morning preschool programs with at-home crafts and activities and enriching online learning activities plus weekly check-ins with teachers, but feel that we need to adjust the full-day portion. We hope to finish this up by early next week as a credit to each family’s SMART balance.

School Schedule: I’ve heard some discussion about public schools extending the school year for next year and other ideas to make up the hours missed from this year, since some public schools have not been able to offer a challenging learning environment. Since we have been offering rigorous online learning since almost right after the building closed and as a private school we are able to establish our own schedule, we do not need to extend our current school year or lengthen the upcoming school year. We hope to get next year’s calendar out in the coming week but our first day back at school will be September 2, 2020.

Summer Camp: Unless we hear differently between now and then, we plan to offer summer camp options as usual for preschool and K-5 students. Summer Camp director Christina Figgins is working hard on this and plans to make the registration available soon.



Hope Spirit Week – April 14th – 20th

We’ve got spirit, yes we do! Show your school spirit and show up to your Zoom class meetings all dressed up! This is totally optional, but we encourage you to participate if you can. Just use whatever you have around the house. You can email a picture to your teacher or Mrs. Heit ( and we’ll post them on our Facebook, Instagram, and website.

  • April 14: What do I want to be when I grow up?
  • April 15: Bring your pet or favorite stuffy to school!
  • April 16: Dress up as your favorite Disney or Super Hero character
  • April 17: Eagle Spirit! Dress up in Hope sweatshirts, hats, beads, or even your UNIFORM (gasp!)
  • April 20th: PJ Day!

April 6, 2020

Hope to Home Learning – Welcome Back! by Mrs. Okabayashi

Welcome back to school everyone! I hope everyone had a great week together with your family. The past month has been such a whirlwind with making the transition to online school, so I was grateful for some time for myself as I still had not really worked through my emotions that this time has brought. I also discovered some previously unknown talents, such as grooming our goldendoodle Jasmine, since the groomers are closed! I also enjoyed gathering together with extended family over Zoom, and even playing a board game online via Tabletopia with all my own kids plus two nephews.

As we head into our post-spring break time, I want to share more information about upcoming days off. As previously shared, the days for upcoming parent teacher conferences coming up this Thursday and Friday have been changed to at-home schooling days. If you would like a conference with your child’s teacher, please reach out to them via email and you can schedule a conference via Zoom. We were also scheduled to have a day off on April 13 for Easter Monday, which we will continue to have off from schooling.

Another important update for today is regarding Zoom. In the educational world, we have seen many recent articles about how to best preserve students’ privacy and security. With the explosion of schools using Zoom as a video conferencing platform, it has also increased the number of people trying to hack into it in ways that are not intended. As a result, Zoom has immediately changed the default options for accessing Zoom meetings in two ways: users need to now use a password to access a meeting, and users must remain in a meeting “waiting room” until they are approved to join a meeting by the host (in our case, the teacher). Both of these changes are good improvements. As a school, we are also sending out Zoom links privately instead of posting them on the class webpages as an additional layer of security.

As I write this newsletter, Governor Jay Inslee has just announced that all Washington State schools will be closed until the end of the school year. While not completely unexpected, this news is still stunning. It will not dramatically change the plans we have currently but I’m sure we will have more updates for you in the time to come. Blessings to you all during this Holy Week.

March 27, 2020

Day 10 – Hope to Home Learning – Spring Break edition by Mrs. O.

This morning, in our pre-COVID-19 days, our students were scheduled to have a high school choir perform from our Lutheran school in Bend, Oregon. We would then have a noon dismissal and head out for spring break. When I looked at my calendar, visualizing what our usual school day would have been, it seemed completely surreal to imagine it given our current world climate.

That being said, spring break is a good opportunity to normalize our world a bit for our kids. While many of us gave up fun spring break plans, we will still have the opportunity to spend time as families next week. I really encourage everyone to take this next week off as much as possible and just enjoy time together. Go for walks and bike rides, play games, watch movies, read together, cook, bake, talk and laugh together, and just relax!

Like you, our teachers and staff will also use this week to have some much needed down time after the past two intense weeks. We look forward to turning off our brains a bit. I imagine most of us will reflect on what has gone well, what could be improved, and what is next as we head into the month of April. As we process that information, it will be really helpful if you could take a moment to fill out the short 3 question survey linked below. Happy Spring break and we look forward to seeing you (on Zoom) soon! God’s blessing to you this week.

March 20, 2020

Day 5 – Hope to Home Learning – Encouragement Edition by Kristen Okabayashi, Principal

Hope family, this has been a hard week for all of us. On the one hand, if you look at where we were just one week ago, it is truly remarkable how far we have come together. But if you look at the other hand, it has been a tough journey. Amidst all the changes, there has been a real grief for the lives we used to have – not just the loss of being together in a school building, but also grief over the other losses we’ve all experienced. We miss our freedom, our restaurants, our connections with others, hugs, and in some cases, income as well. Please allow yourself to grieve these losses, even as we push forward despite them.

My advice to everyone this weekend is to take care of yourself. Spend time doing what brings you joy and comfort – reading, gardening, biking, exercising, taking a bubble bath, or even discovering a new hobby or one you haven’t had time for in the past. My kids are home now, and so tonight we plan to watch a movie together and make stovetop popcorn, which is something we enjoy! Tomorrow we will bring out the board games (more about that in a later newsletter).

We would love to hear how you are all doing with our conversion to at home/online learning. I’ve put together a short, 4 question survey and it would be really helpful to hear your honest feedback. Just click on this survey monkey link:

Team Hope has had a pretty incredible week and we could not do it without each other! Go Eagles!