Special Education at Sand Point Elementary

The goal of our Special Education department is to help each student achieve his or her academic and social potential through inclusion. Inclusion is supporting students in the general education classroom to the fullest extent, while still addressing the student’s specific learning needs. Inclusion practice values academic diversity, while providing all students an authentic sense of community and belonging. We work with teachers and staff to provide Specially Designed Instruction (SDI) in academic, behavioral, and/or social areas through Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) for students with special needs.

Special Education Teachers:
Matt Kanaly
Special Education Instructional Assistants:

English Language Learning at Sand Point Elementary

This year the Sand Point community includes approximately 85 English Language Learners (ELL students) with 15 different first languages. Three Bilingual Instructional Assistants (IAs) and two ELD teachers provide English and academic support to these students and assistance to their families. Our office/classroom is located in room 110.

Bilingual IAs:
Spanish: Ariadna Aguirre de Alvarado
Tigrinya / Amharic: Haile Wubneh
ELD Teachers:
Michelle Merklin

Our primary goal is to help ELL students succeed in Reading, Writing, Math, Science and Social Studies while they develop proficiency in academic English. Students receive most of this academic language support in the context of their homeroom classes. Some individuals and small groups may be pulled out for short periods of supplemental instruction. This additional support is determined by the academic needs of students and is aligned to mainstream content objectives. Instruction includes reading and writing skills as well as academic vocabulary and oral classroom participation (speaking) skills.

The ELD team also helps families who do not speak English to understand Sand Point School and Seattle School District communication and policies by providing interpreters for important meetings and translations of important school communication. Please contact us if you need help!

Academic Support at Sand Point Elementary

Our goal at Sand Point is to have all students functioning at or above Washington State grade level standards in reading and math.  Occasionally, students need a little extra help to reach these standards.  Our program of academic support includes many different resources:  America Reads tutors, University of Washington Pipeline tutors, community volunteers, and certificated teacher interventions.  Students who are identified either by their classroom teacher, by their parents, or by periodic assessments (MSP, MAP, classroom based assessments) as struggling or needing additional help in reading or math can participate in additional tutoring in the classroom, 1-1 support in the hallways, or small group instruction either in an inclusion (in the classroom) setting or in a pull-out program (outside the classroom) in available teaching space. 

Homework support is also available Tuesday - Friday at the “Catch-Up Café” in the hallway outside of Office A. Bilingual IA’s, Academic Support teachers, and volunteers work with students before school (9-9:30) or during lunchtime to complete class assignments and/or homework.  Catch-Up Café is available to Sand Point students as requested by either the student or by his/her teacher to support completion of classwork and homework thoroughly and accurately.

If you have concerns about your child's academic progress or you believe interventions are necessary for him/her to succeed at Sand Point, please contact Donna Guise, our Academic Support Coordinator for grades 2-5, at or Kristen Cater, our Academic Support Coordinator for grades K-1 at Although email is preferable (and not interrupt student instruction time), Donna and Kristen can also be reached before school at 206.252-4648.

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