Saturday, December 16, 2017

Saturday Open Thread

From Soup for Teachers:

Super-duper proud of my wonderful PTA for voting to donate 6% of our annual budget to a PTA or school community with less resources than us. Humbled and inspired by the Concord community, and so grateful to be a part of it.
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Last batch of gift cards are ready to go out. We were able to give $5175 worth of Safeway gift cards to Louisa Boren STEM K-8 and Roxhill Elementary School students in need, split between Thanksgiving and Winter Breaks! Thank you to everyone who donated! I never imagined #NoHungryKids would have been this successful! 

Parents working for other parents so that we have better schools and successful students.

Skype a Scientist is a free program that connects classrooms (and other groups) with scientists for 30-60 min. Q&A sessions about the scientist's work or life as a scientist! We are now enrolling the Spring 2018 semester so please tell your scientist friends, k-12 teachers, and leaders of community groups that may want to skype with a scientist in 2018! Check it out at 

Knitting and math - good stuff from a mathematician  

What's on your mind?


Anonymous said...

While I think it is awesome to see PTA's donating money to other schools in an effort to create an more equitable school system across the system, I think the schools that really need to step up are the ones that have a lot of $$$$. I believe I saw somewhere that Concord's 6% donation that their PTA approved equals about $600. It is extremely generous of Concord to do this and to be a model that hopefully other schools follow. But, what really needs to happen is schools like Thornton Creek (didn't they just raise recently almost 200K in their annual appeal alone) or Laurelhurst (whose PTA and neighborhood foundation raised over $100K + in two days earlier in the school year so they could save a teacher that the district was going to cut) donate a percent of their PTA revenue to one of the many schools that don't have the financial resources.

--Share Funds

Anonymous said...

I see that option enrollment is coming up. Does anyone have any thoughts on the Montessori programs offered at Bagley, Graham Hill or the mixed model at Leschi? We are considering these for our child for next year. Are there any advantages to the Montessori program model than to the "contemporary" program offered at Bagley and Graham Hill? Pros/cons? Is it worth using an option on in order to get in? Thanks.


Frazzzled Parent said...

Seattle could save a ton of money by just having PTSAs pay for all human services in the city. There is no reason for tech bros and people with $100,000 cars and corporations to help provide food to the hungry and shelter to the homeless, because the parents of young children and teenagers can do it. We can do it! We can actually cover a lot of the city's transportation needs, too, since we're already taking kids all over the place.

Preventing starvation is always the right thing to do. But are PTSAs the best organizations to accomplish this? No.

Anonymous said...

My student (now in high school) attended Bagley Montessori. It was a good match for us, but it's not a good match for all students. Montessori means a lot of independent work and my impression was that some students really liked that, while others needed something different. For my student, it was more flexible than a regular (called "contemporary" at Bagley) classroom might have been. Montessori also uses special materials (like math items, though this may have changed some since our time). Sometimes it seems like a lot of quiet, independent work that doesn't fit super active kids. Look at the philosophy, teachers and classrooms before you ask for it. Montessori teachers have extra training to become certified in Montessori methods, for what its worth. And some things vary a lot by teacher, too. Can't offer any insight about Leshi or Graham Hill. Good luck!
Former Bagley

Anonymous said...

I get the sentiments of both Share Funds and Frazzzled Parent, but to the latter, I say tread carefully - you're making the classic Seattle mistake of "divide and complain" instead of "come together." Increasing numbers of "tech bros" with "$100,000 cars" ARE parents. Perhaps they're some of the parents contributing to the larger PTSA amounts of some of these schools. In which case, your point and that of Share Funds lines up, no? Perhaps it's good to work on developing a positive culture with corporations and those who work for them, rather than make back-handed remarks, no? If you've ever been in SLU on one of the days where they've got events going on for the children of employees you'd see the streets are absolutely loaded with kids of all ages.

-Pragmtic Xennial

Frazzzled Parent said...

Students housed at Aurora Commons attend both Laurelhurst and Thornton Creek. There are students being raised by single parents. Students whose parents are recent immigrants. Students who have experienced trauma. Etc. My snark was rude, but my point is real. The social supports that residents of Seattle need cannot be sufficiently met by many of the parents even at relatively wealthy-PTSA schools. Hunger and homelessness are issues for the mayor, for the city, for all taxpayers, for all employers, for all citizens, for charities, for businesses to tackle together. Absolutely there's a place for parents of young children who can afford to, to donate time or money or both to these causes. But families whose children attend private schools and Seattle residents who don't have children and people whose children are grown and govt. agencies and charities and religious organizations and fraternal organizations and so on and so forth should ALSO be helping. The idea that PTSAs and booster clubs be billed as a line item for social welfare costs is offensive. It is asking parents of children and teens to pay a tax that should be paid by the entire society. Add it to property tax and I have no problem with it. Actually, I'm adamantly in favor of it then.

Anonymous said...

Frazzzled Parent- Here's what the 17-18 PTA Budget looks like at Thornton Creek. All schools could benefit from enrichments like these- in particular the academic assistants in the classrooms and a counselor. But many SPS schools do not have the ability to fundraise to this extent. PTA funds wouldn't be used to pay for human services but for the same things that schools like these are using funds for. It shocks me that the district allowed Laurelhurst to save a teacher cut because the PTA was able to raise funds in 2 days- where's the equity in that? All schools could benefit from smaller class sizes or classes with academic assistants, but it seems only the ones that have PTA's with money can take advantage of this. My school had to to take a staff cut just to keep a counselor and our free and reduced lunch population is almost 70%.

Academic assistants $94k
Counselor $54k
Choral and instrumental music $49k
Site Council admin $21k
3rd/4th/5th grade literacy support $13k
Scholarship $12k
Expedition support $12k
Library/art/PE $6.5k
Other $15k
Total budget $276.5k

-Share Funds

Anonymous said...

If your school is 70% FRL, the classes sizes should already be much smaller than Thornton Creek or Laurelhurst, and has some other supports. Poor kids at those schools could also use a counselor or family support worker, but in SPS they can only have one if Ptas chip in to pay for it if they are at a lower frl school. SPS is underfunding wealthier schools, and the needy kids in them, in order to try to better fund more highly impacted schools. It's not perfect, but it would be worse to disallow these ptas to help their own communities.


Anonymous said...

I'm torn on the redistribution of PTSA money.

On the face of it it sounds fair and just, but I think it will only stoke the resentment already displayed against high dollar schools.

Schools without their own PTSA money will no doubt get used to the largesse and if it dries up or diminishes, it may get ugly.

just sayin'

Melissa Westbrook said...

Just Sayin', there is some irony in your words. Ingraham's principal, Martin Floe, does not allow for the PTA to buy staff positions because it's so much pressure on the PTA to fully fund a position and, as you point out, what if they can't?

The amount of funding for schools with low to no fundraising dollars could certainly be erratic from year to year. That's okay for one-off things like supplies but not for funding enrichment programs.

Anonymous said...

Knitting and math? How about knitting and particle physics?