Watch our Special Video Message from the Blakely Staff
Watch our Special Video Message from the Blakely Staff
This Week at Blakely
4/13 - 4/17

Dear Blakely Families, 

I hope that you were able to spend some time in the sunshine this past week. I found myself feeling continually grateful that the timing of this “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” directive is occurring in the spring and not late fall or early winter! 

As you probably are aware, our Spring Break began with a Monday press conference from Governor Inslee and OSPI (Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction) Superintendent Chris Reykdal announcing that our physical school buildings will continue to be closed for the remainder of this school year. 

Although I knew in my head that this decision was highly likely, I had been holding out hope in my heart that we might, somehow, get at least a bit of time to come back together in June. The decision hit me hard. Those words being spoken made this situation feel all the more real, and solidified that we won’t be coming back together for quite some time. That reality leads to mourning and grief for so many of us, and for many different reasons. I am mourning what I thought our spring would look like together in our building. The school calendar is usually so predictable, and I am sad that we don’t get to experience those hopeful, happy, sunshine filled days of May and June that signal the light at the end of the tunnel of 180 days of hard work, connection and learning. I am sure that you are all feeling this loss as well, as is our Blakely staff. It is also important to provide time and space for our students to share their feelings about this closure. Please reach out to your child’s teacher if your child is having a particularly hard time with this situation. It is important that we continue to find ways to support one another as we work through this time of uncertainty and disappointment. 

We will jump back into our Continuous Learning journey this week, and as I said in my last update, there is no playbook for this. Our staff is working tirelessly to provide engaging and meaningful content for your child. We will continue to monitor and refine this process, and will make adjustments as needed.

We do not yet know when we will be able to gather safely together again, but we will make sure to do all that we can to support our Blakely students as they complete this school year and transition to next school year. I will continue to keep you updated every Monday, and promise again, that we will get through this together. Our Blakely community is strong, resilient and caring. We’ve got this! 

Lastly, a reminder I will be greeting during lunch time most Tuesdays and Thursdays at Ordway and would love to see you and your family-even if it is through a car window! 

Enjoy the video created by the Blakely Staff, led by Ms. Sheehan!

See you soon,

Special Video Message from the Blakely Staff


Self Care Tools to practice:

For a few weeks I’ll be sharing some ideas for a “self-care” toolkit. In my family, and yours, this time isn’t just “working and learning from home” it’s “working and learning from home during a pandemic.” What we are being asked to do now is different than homeschooling or a day spent working remotely, and practices that support our emotional health are more important than ever. For a few weeks I’ll share some ideas for how to invest in keeping ourselves, and our kids, calm and regulated. 

The week before Spring Break, I peeked in on my son, working at his chromebook, and saw his eyes glazed over and his pencil still and drooping. He only had a little bit of work left, and I was looking forward to going out for a long walk on the trails in the Grand Forest when he was done. It was tempting to urge him to push through the last few so that we could get on with our day. I was thinking, “just push through, don’t quit yet, just get these done.”  I know from past experience with him, and from trying to push through on my own brain fog, we needed to take a brain break. Here are some tips for you in creating your own brain break routines:
  • Talk together about brain breaks before you need one. Brainstorm ideas with your child (“What helps you calm down, or makes you feel better when you are frustrated?”)
  • Research shows that going outside is one of the best ways to restore focus, concentration and calm. Even just stepping outside the front door helps! 
  • Move your body! Dance to a favorite song, try yoga, anything that is fun and gets your body moving.
  • Try out ways of activating the senses (find 5 things you can see that are purple, 4 things you can hear, 3 things that have texture, 2 things that you can smell, 1 thing you can taste).  Having something to eat or drink, cuddling a soft stuffed animal, or using some scented lotion might be what’s needed. 
  • Mindful breathing calms the nervous system and gives the brain a boost of oxygen. This one minute breathing exercise is a good one to try. Responsive Classroom shared a Mindfulness moment exercise Strong as the Wind.
  • Surfing the web, checking email, and playing video games are generally not restorative for a short break. It’s best to avoid these when taking a brain break.
  • Set a timer, a break is short and restorative, not a way to avoid work. Between 1 and 5 minutes should be enough. Put your child in charge of the timer, they can learn to self manage breaks!
  • Practice brain breaks yourself. Share with your child how you notice you need a break, what you did to help yourself, and how it worked. 
My son decided to have a dance party in the kitchen for his break, and I joined him. After the song, and a drink of water, he was ready to get back to work and finished his remaining problems more easily. That 5 minutes saved our walk in the woods, and perhaps a frustrating afternoon. I hope they help in your house, too.

Please consider me a resource, if I can support your family during this time. I am available at, by text at 360-525-3594 or on my work number at 206-780-2076. I will be doing my best to follow my own self-care advice and to be available during regular school hours.

LUNCH SERVICE - Grab & Go Meals

Grab and Go Meals 

Grab & Go Meals will be distributed Monday - Thursday. On Thursdays, youth will be provided two Grab & Go Meals, one for Thursday and one for Friday. 
This is in an effort to continue adhering to the Governor's Stay Home & Stay Healthy orders, and reduces work onsite for BISD staff from five days to four. 

WHAT: Grab & Go Meal Packs (includes breakfast and lunch) 
WHEN: Mondays - Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. 
WHERE: Ordway Elementary School, 8555 Madison Ave. NE
MENU: Click Here 
Annalisa Sanchez
Leticia Blacker

Get to know our Blakely Staff....

Welcome to a new feature in our weekly email.  We thought it would be fun for families to get to know some of the incredible Blakely Staff.  This week meet Annalisa Sanchez and Leticia Blacker
Name: Annalisa Sanchez
Position:  Special Education Teacher
What is something families might not know about you?  
My family is originally from Louisiana but I have lived in six different countries. Indonesia, Nigeria, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Thailand, and the United States!
What do you enjoy doing when you are not working?
Going on walks with my family, sitting outside and soaking in any sun I can get, baking with my girls, and reading.
What do you love about working at Blakely?
I love EVERYTHING about Blakely! My students and their families, my amazing team, all the staff, and what I get to do each day. I truly feel excited and grateful heading into work each morning!

Name: Leticia Blacker
Position:  Speech Therapist
What is something families might not know about you?  
My husband hired a genealogist from Atlanta to help me find out more information about my great-grandfather who was a Spanish lawyer working in Puerto Rico. After hours of researching, we were able to locate his birth certificate in Spain and we also found out that my genealogist was a distant cousin!
What do you enjoy doing when you are not working?
I like to swim, bike, play tennis, and spend lots of time with my family.
What do you love about working at Blakely?
I love that social-emotional growth is as important as academic growth.
Nondiscrimination statementBainbridge Island School District School District does not discriminate in any programs or activities on the basis of sex, race, creed, religion, color, national origin, age, veteran or military status, sexual orientation, gender expression, gender identity, disability, or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal and provides equal access to the Boy Scouts and other designated youth groups. For questions, please contact Civil Rights Coordinator, Erin Murphy at