The Bear Creek School

Dear Parents,


I hope you are enjoying this beautiful summer. I am praying for each of your families and anticipating a wonderful school year together. As I stepped back onto campus after some time away with family and friends, I felt a deep sense of gratitude to be part of a community at Bear Creek where we do our very best to help students grow into the individuals God intends. It is a joy to partner together with you. Thank you for the privilege of working with your child(ren) this year!


Below are updates and details that may help your family prepare for the upcoming school year.


School Uniforms: Partnering with parents and setting the expectations for following uniform guidelines is easiest in Lower School. If you have a question about whether clothing adheres to our uniform guidelines, please check the graphical guides (see School Uniforms) or review the Family Handbook (log in on MyBC/Parents), also feel free to ask a teacher or Division Assistant Cady Reimer.


Tuesdays are dress uniform days:

  • Boys in DENNIS Uniform brand pants and sweater with logo
  • Girls in DENNIS Uniform brand Christopher plaid and sweater with logo

Throughout the year there are special dress days. These will be highlighted in teacher newsletters.


As you are purchasing uniform items, please note: GAP has come out with "school girl knit jeans and Ponte pant" sold under its "uniform" category. These pants do not comply with Bear Creek's uniform guidelines. All girls and boys casual uniform pants should be DENNIS brand or a similar style twill/chino with slash pockets (no denim, brads, or patch pockets). Boys dress uniform pants must be DENNIS brand.


The Summer Reading Program in the Bear Creek Libraries will wrap up on Wednesday, August 22. Students who have met the summer AR point goals will be notified by Mrs. Kadeg during the first week of school and will have a free dress day on Friday, September 7.


Class lists will be posted on Wednesday, August 29 at 10:00 a.m. on the Summer Resources tab on the MyBC/Parents page of the school website.


The first day of school is Tuesday, September 4, and it is a dress uniform day. Classroom doors will open at 8:15 a.m., 10 minutes earlier than usual.


During the first week of school, September 4-7, all kindergarten students will be dismissed at 11:40 a.m. You will receive more detailed information from your child's teacher. Please plan on picking up students at the classroom or by car in the loop labeled K (see pick-up route map below).


Lower School celebrates Chapel on Tuesdays beginning September 11; it's a dress uniform day each week. See School Uniforms page for more details.


The regular school day runs from 8:40 a.m. to 3:25 p.m. with pre-care starting in the Main Commons at 7:45 a.m. Prior to 8:25 a.m. when the classrooms open, all students (including those arriving on the bus) should go to the Commons where they will be supervised rather than wait in the hallways. See morning drop-off route map.


For safety purposes, we will limit the number of unlocked doors at the Redmond Campus Main Building each morning to the following (see drop-off map for entrance numbers):

  • main entrance (1)
  • north entrance (4)
  • loop entrance (3)

We will continue to have administrators welcoming students and monitoring our building. Thank you for helping us by directing folks to these three doors if they are waiting by another door. All exterior doors will lock at 8:45 a.m. If you arrive after 8:45 a.m., please go to the main entrance and use the electronic buzzer to enter and check in.


After School Pick-up: Lower School is dismissed officially at 3:25 p.m. Students will pack up and start dismissal preparation at 3:15 p.m. Parents are welcome to park and come in to check students out with their teachers or may drive through the pick-up lane. Students will exit from the door at the end of the K-1 hallway where cars will queue, and teachers will assist students into cars (see pick-up route map). You will receive a dashboard pick-up card at Cookies at the Creek or during the first week of school to help us identify cars and move the process through as quickly as possible. Students participating in Bear Creek Plus after school programs will be dismissed directly to their classes at the end of the school day. Lower School students who ride the bus home from school with their older siblings (in grades 5-12) will be escorted to the main entrance by a teacher where they will board the bus.


Lower School Recess

  • See the Lower School Daily Schedule on MyBC/Parents for recess times/grade-level groupings.
  • Students in grades 3 and 4 have one recess a day on Owens Field with the large field, Gaga Pits, and lots of open space. Our PTF gifted students with a new surface at Owens Field for four square play. This will be installed mid-August. Thank you PTF and students for your work raising funds at Walk-a-thon last year! All other Lower School recesses for Lower School are held on Redmond Campus playground.
  • First and third recess are 15 minutes in length, and the recess following lunch is 20 minutes in length.
  • Three short whistles are blown indicating the last three minutes of recess and a chance to use the restroom prior to returning to class.
  • Classroom Assistants supervise from designated zones for safety and student support.
  • As a way to support your child, you may wish to go over this additional information about recess with your child prior to the beginning of school.

Lunch: Students in Lower School are welcome to bring lunch from home or purchase it at school each day. Students place their orders for school lunches at the beginning of each day in the classroom, so their food is ready when they come through the lunch line. If students are late to school, they let the front desk staff know if they are purchasing lunch and place an order before heading to class. From 7:45 a.m. to 8:25 a.m., during pre-care before school, students may also purchase breakfast items available in our kitchen to eat before entering the classroom. Please see the lunch menu and items for sale (see Lunch tab on MyBC/Parents) to discuss your family preferences for purchasing.


Academic Terms: This school year the Lower School will move to three grading periods/terms from four quarters. Teachers will continue to conference with parents twice a year, once after the first term at the end of November and again after the second term at the end of March, with a grade report issued at the end of each term. Teachers will also continue to assess students and connect with parents in a variety of ways throughout the school year. School-wide, Preschool and Lower School (grades P3-4) will now divide the academic year into three terms, while Early Middle School, Middle School, and Upper School (grades 5-12) will divide the academic year into two semesters. Our yearly planner details conference days for each division.


Lower School math classes are held each morning from 8:55 a.m. to 9:55 a.m. beginning Monday, September 10. Returning students and most new students have already been assessed. We are committed to a best math fit for each of our students, and teachers continue to assess throughout the school year.


2018-2019 Lower School Faculty: It is an honor to work alongside such an amazing group of teachers. Each of our teachers brings his/her passion, skills, and calling to our community. God, once again, has faithfully called a great teaching team together for Lower School this year. We are praying that each student's class placement will honor the Lord and support and bless each child.

  • Kindergarten: Mrs. Joelle Beke, Mrs. Pam Erickson, Mrs. Jenny Shimada
  • Grade 1: Miss Julie Holmquist, Miss Amy Larson, Mrs. Renee Matson
  • Grade 2: Mrs. Lisa Hysom, Mrs. Cindy London, Mrs. Jamie O'Leary
  • Grade 3: Mrs. Carolyn Ersek, Miss Margaret Harrison, Mrs. Jessica Sankey
  • Grade 4: Mr. Brian Hollis, Mrs. Sarah Webb, Mrs. Lena Whitlock
  • Library: Mrs. Dianna Kadeg
  • Specialists: Miss Jena Luplow – Physical Education (grades 3-4), Mrs. Debra Maurer – Music, Mrs. Denise Peeler – Language (grade 1-4), Mrs. Jacky Schnarre – Math and Lab Science (grades 3-4), Mrs. Jennifer Sinclair – Art (grades K-2), Mrs. Anuja Singh – Computer Programming (grades 1-4), Miss Maxine Tu – (grades 3-4), Mrs. Michele Wyner – Math and Physical Education (grades K-2), and Mrs. Kelly Vick – Lab Science (grades K-2).

I'm thrilled to introduce new members of our Lower School teaching team. Please join me in giving them a great Bear Creek welcome.

  • Mrs. Joelle Beke will be teaching kindergarten. She has her bachelor's degree from Pepperdine University in Malibu, CA and taught for three years at Bywood Elementary School in Upper Darby, PA and for one year at Aloha-Huber Park School in Beaverton, OR. She and her husband moved to Washington in July for his job at a law firm in Seattle. Mrs. Beke enjoys traveling, playing volleyball, and chasing her energetic puppy when he steals her shoes.
  • Miss Julie Holmquist will be teaching grade 1. She has her B.A. from The Master's College in Santa Clarita, CA, and taught for six years at Temecula Preparatory School in Winchester, CA. She just moved back to the Redmond area this summer to be closer to family. Miss Holmquist enjoys spending time with her nieces and nephews, traveling, and reading.
  • Miss Jena Luplow is not new to The Bear Creek School but joining the Lower School teaching team. Miss Luplow is a certified teacher and has worked at Bear Creek as a division assistant, a math teacher, director of our Bear Creek Plus program, and attendance coordinator. She will be joining our Physical Education Department and teaching P.E. to our students in grades 3 and 4 this year.
  • Mrs. Jennifer Sinclair will be teaching art to our students in kindergarten through second grade. She has her Bachelor of Education from University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada. Mrs. Sinclair loves to make Japanese kirie (a form of art made from layers of cut paper), work in her garden, travel, and practice Brazilian jujitsu.
  • Miss Maxine Tu will be teaching art to our students in grades 3-8. She has her Master of Arts in teaching. She speaks three languages: Chinese (fluent), English (fluent), Korean (conversational). Outside of school, Miss Tu loves taking her journal out for a hike, writing handwritten letters to family and friends abroad, reading books on theology, and cooking yummy Asian cuisine.
  • Mrs. Sarah Webb will be teaching grade 4. She has her master's in education from Houston Baptist University and taught for three years at Trinity Classical School in Houston, TX. She just moved back to the Redmond area this summer to be closer to family. Mrs. Webb enjoys playing soccer, skateboarding, and hiking. She loves to be outdoors enjoying God's Creation as much as possible with her husband and their dog, Olive.

Students benefit when they know what they are responsible for and the expectations others have for them. This family conversation starter (requires Microsoft Word) may bring clarity and help your child think about ways he or she would like to grow this school year. Note: Not every child will be independent at each task listed, and there is a big difference between a student in grade 4 and a student in kindergarten. Use this if it you think it might be helpful.


Join us in your child(ren)'s classroom(s) for the Back-to-School Cookies at the Creek on Thursday, August 30 from 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Students and families can get reacquainted, meet and welcome new students and families, meet the teachers, and visit the classrooms. Students may also drop off their school supplies.


You are invited and encouraged to attend Parents 'n Pastries, our annual first day of school celebration for parents of all Lower School and Early Middle School students. Headmaster Patrick Carruth and V.P. for Academic Affairs Karen Blankenbeckler will join me and Jenn McDonough in presenting the vision and goals for the year. Come early or stay late to tour the kitchen, meet parent group representatives, shop at the Grizzly Gear Shop, talk with our school nurse, discover the parent resources available in our school, and more.

  • 8:00  a.m. Latte cart and pastries in the Main Commons
  • 8:45 a.m. Program begins.
  • 9:30 a.m. Program concludes. Parents invited to stay for another coffee, mingle with friends, and peruse the community fair.

Mark your calendars for these other events and check the website's School Calendar for:

  • Preparing for a Successful School Year on Friday, September 7
  • Fall Tailgate and BBQ on Saturday, September 8 (RSVP)
  • Parenting Your Athlete on Tuesday, September 11 (Reserve Your Seat)
  • Lower School Curriculum Night on Thursday, September 19 at 6:00 p.m. Parents say this is one of their favorite events of the entire school year. Please join us!

The 2018-2019 edition of the Family Handbook has been published and is accessible when you log in on MyBC/Parents. Please consult this most recent edition for all updated policies and guidelines, including uniform guidelines. Many questions can be answered with resources on the school website (school calendar, uniforms, school supplies, libraries, etc.).


Vidigami is our digital photo collecting and sharing site for the school community. You may access your Vidigami account directly from the MyBC/Parents page on the school website and privately and securely share photos from the 2018-2019 school year.


Don't forget to order your child's memory book online!


Our Lower School Division Assistant is Cady Reimer. You can reach her at and 425-898-1720 ext. 116.

With joy in anticipation of a great year,

Kristen Gephart
425-898-1720 ext. 115


© 2018 The Bear Creek School

Invested in students. Intentional in outcome.

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