Literacy Coaches


The school counseling program here at South Shore is off to another great start!  We have a variety of activities that are going on right now to support your child’s social and emotional development.  South Shore School is taking part in a Response to Intervention pilot project that has given us the opportunity to join the “School-Wide Positive Behavior Supports” program.  This program emphasizes the teaching and re-teaching of routines, procedures, and appropriate behaviors in an effort to improve students’ behavior which, in turn, will lead to greater academic success.  Teachers have been busy in classrooms teaching specific lessons designed to teach students behavior expectations for all areas in the school and providing students with lots of guidance and positive feedback about their behavior.

Another school-wide program we have in place to aid students in their social emotional development is Second Step.  This curriculum is designed to build empathy, teach problem solving skills, and give children the tools they need to manage strong feelings and avoid conflicts.  Lessons are taught weekly in classrooms and teachers provide children with opportunities to practice a particular skill throughout the week.  Class meetings are yet another strategy to improve behavior, teach skills to help children solve problems, and strengthen the sense of community within the classroom and throughout the school.  Class meetings are held weekly.  Additional meetings may occur as needed to address issues in the classroom that require a group effort in order to reach a solution.

If you have any questions about school counseling or about school wide programs to support student development, please feel free to contact me anytime at (206) 252-7586 or

~ Rachel Carrasco, School Counselor

Literacy Coaches

In Fall 2009, South Shore School added two new dedicated Literacy Coaches who work with teachers, providing valuable on-site professional development and support services.   South Shore is unique in having its own Literacy Coaches.   Within the Seattle school district, approximately 10 schools have district-funded literacy coaches on site.   However, budget cuts continue to reduce the number of district-funded positions.   So, five Seattle schools, including ours, have elected to spend part of their budget for their own on-site literacy coaches.   


Coaches provide effective professional development on a daily basis.  In the past, most professional development was accomplished by attending conferences.   Back in the classroom, teachers often struggled to gather lesson materials and to apply what they learned on their own. Literacy Coaches help teachers develop reading and writing lesson plans, identify specific goals for student instruction and practice effective delivery of lessons.  In addition, they help gather materials to support lesson plans.   Historically, teachers have been on their own to gather reference materials, handouts, and book sets to support their plans.   Literacy Coaches help gather materials, allowing teachers to focus on teaching.      

Julia Schumacher
coaches PreK through 3rd grade teachers, and Bruce Patt coaches 4th through 7th grade teachers.  Both have teaching backgrounds.   Julia has been teaching since 1990 in Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grades, and has also served as a Mentor Teacher supporting first year teachers.   She previously worked as a Literacy Coach for 3 years at Beacon Hill Elementary.    

Bruce Patt taught English at Foster High School, and then worked on the Small Schools Project.  The 2008 election inspired him to leave educational consulting and return to teaching, because he sensed it would be a monumental time for education.  He most recently worked as a Literacy Coach at Meany Middle School.   

Bruce and Julia both appreciate the opportunity to grow in their careers without following the traditional career path into administration.  And they get a great deal of satisfaction from supporting fellow teachers and helping to bring high-quality instruction to South Shore students.   

Despite their teaching backgrounds, both admit that teaching adults requires a different skill set. They use a variety of coaching methods, tailoring the approach to each teacher’s needs.   For example, they sometimes deliver a lesson in a classroom, while the teacher observes.   Other times, they observe the teacher and provide feedback.   Or, they may debrief with an individual teacher who has recently delivered a new lesson, discussing questions, what went well, what didn’t.   They sometimes meet with all the teachers from a grade level to discuss an upcoming unit.   While formulating a lesson plan, coaches bring data on building-wide trends across grades and across time, while teachers bring an intense knowledge of the classroom.   Together, they formulate an effective plan which is both tailored to an individual classroom and will achieve measurable results.   We are very fortunate to have Bruce and Julia at our school!


Please open the attached documents to learn about free and low-cost vision and dental resources.
~ Bonnie Sandahl, School Nurse

What does a school nurse do?

School nurses are trained to provide on-site services that are culturally sensitive, focused on prevention and wellness, and to be effective outreach and medical liaisons between the school, students, family, and health care providers. They act as educational catalysts by helping to promote, plan, and implement successful school-wide programs to improve learning readiness.

Each Seattle Public Schools' school nurse has completed a four-year bachelor's degree in nursing, holds a current Registered Nurse license, and is required to have a Washington State Educational Staff Associate (ESA) certificate. Many school nurses have advanced degrees and additional health education training. Seattle school nurses are also required to hold valid American Red Cross CPR and First Aid cards. Comprehensive preparation is increasingly important as more and more students are attending school with severe and/or life-threatening medical conditions (e.g. asthma, diabetes, and food allergies), injuries, or birth defects.

Besides caring for students who become injured or ill at school, school nurses also:

  • conduct state-mandated vision, hearing and scoliosis screening
  • act on direction from the Health Department to prevent communicable diseases and respond to disease outbreaks
  • develop emergency care plans for life-threatening situations such as bee stings or peanut allergies
  • conduct health assessments for students being evaluated for special education's Individual Educational Plan (IEP)
  • provide input and training to school staff regarding the needs of technologically assisted students
  • contribute to accommodation plans that allow students with substantial disabilities to have equal access to education
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