Site Council Meeting Minutes 2020-21


November 10, 2020, 6:30 – 8:30 pm — Zoom (agenda)

Attendees

School Staff Representatives:  Alexandra Benfield, Laurie Miller, Katie Zissermann, Maria Callahan, Mim Turnbull, Tammi Mack, Tom, Kirsten Zoba, Liz Robinson, Jeanne Gleason, Bridget DuRuz, Julie Clayton 

TC Parent Group Officers:  Jessica Williams-Nguyen (Chair), Elizabeth C. Duffell (Vice-chair), Jacob Clark Blickenstaff (Treasurer), Chelsea Lin & Jennifer Pinto (Communications), Karen Wirkala (Hospitality), Jesica Avellone (Curriculum), Susan Callari (District Relations), Jennifer Schlobohm & Kathleen Phan (Fundraising), Julie Shin & Beck Weinhold (Special education)

Others: Erica Seddig, K.C. Potter De Haan, Liz Benko, J D, Jameal Samhouri, Michelle Campbell, Courtney Bell, Jana Dilley, Sharon, Stephanie Barnes, Anna Marshall, Lisa Berman, Margaret Butler, Linda Smith, Megan Tremain, Satcha Dearborn Graham, Stacey Seifert, Kelly Stumbaugh, Gina Massoni, M A, Melinda Roberts, Christie Robertson, Peter Clark, Elizabeth, Sarah McVay, Caryn Park, Kristi, Karen Natorp Anderson, Kristy Copeland, Erin MacDougall

Minutes

TCPG Chair

Jessica WN – Land acknowledgement (Coast Salish, Duwamish tribe)

Apologize for not approving Sept minutes at Oct meeting. Link in chat, also in newsletter. No comments from attendees on minutes. Both Sept & Oct minutes accepted as is. No objections. Passed with no changes. Will be uploaded to website.

Principal Staff Update

Alex (Principal) – Had 7:30am check in last week. Recorded but some people can’t open. Will work on getting it to work for everyone to see. Will be doing monthly check in, at different times. Main topics were as follows:

Professional learning: Teachers attended EL summit and will update.  Upcoming speakers on Thursday, part 2 of 3-part series. Biggest piece is facilitating listening circles. Will be launched as soon as possible, depending on professionals’ availability. Will keep community updated. Staff is very engaged and committed to this work.

Building Leadership Team (BLT) is looking at systems and decision-making in anti-racist manner.

Sallyanne H is here for student support rather than behavior interventionist on purpose. Many families having a tough time. We want to support them through social-emotional work. Will be using R.U.L.E.R cirriculum. Still using Responsive Classroom. Much of the work will be taking TC EL (expeditionary learning) and building on it with racial equity work.

Looking at data around students. And looking to move forward. Want community to engage by attending meetings. Engaging in this work is necessary, especially as a white woman. Read reviews from attendees and one comment was wanting white people to talk about how they can affect change. Our goal (all staff and admin) is how to be welcoming to all families. Approaching this as listeners. Actions speak louder than words. Community will see visible actions that go beyond words. It will take time even if it feels urgent now. Please allow space and time for this work.

Teacher Updates

Kirsten Z – 4th grade teacher. Sharing presentation that racial equity team crafted after attending EL summit. (shared presentation, but note-taker couldn’t copy it)

Racial Equity Team is made up of several teachers.

Take aways from summit:

As leaders for kids, we are architects and managers of children’s education. We are only here to hold the space. Need to find ‘cadre of the willing’ and build on that. All abilities are malleable.

We must build the community in order to impact it. Otherwise it won’t be successful.

Mentioned CREW (Kirsten unsure what it stands for) – group that meets regularly to form bonds with students. Student-driven discourse.

EL encourages us to feel like passengers. This is an intentional path. We start off racially unaware, transition to racial awareness, then racial understanding, then racial empathy, then anti-racist work.

We must do the personal work to be anti-racist so this is a safe space for all.

Thinking about how we as TC members stand on behalf of someone different from us?

Thanks to Site Council & PTA who facilitated this professional development.

Jessica WN – Asked Laurie Miller to introduce herself (sound not working, unable to hear her). Will introduce her at another meeting.

Laurie M (chat comment): I apologize for tech issues, next month I will use another computer so I can share with you. I am honored to be working with the staff, families, and students at TC.

Survey of families

Jessica WN – presenting results from beginning of year survey of families:

TCPG caregiver survey was intended to find out how TC families are doing this year. Shared in SC newsletter & FB. This is a sample of people who elected to complete it. People who choose to engage in this way. 125 responses total.

People were most concerned with social emotional needs, remote learning and academics. There is also more data that came in as open-ended responses. Still trying to code that to pull out themes. This has been passed on to administration. Questions?

SPS did surveys for students & families. Jessica WN asks Alex if should TCPG be repeating this. Was this helpful and should we do more, or has it fulfilled its purpose?

Alex – Yes, they (SPS) are doing this but we have to think about what is helpful for our community.

Stephanie B (chat comment) – what is SC going to do with this info?

J.D. (chat comment) – if we do a survey again, let’s know what action we would take with what we learn!

Jessica WN – This was meant to help us figure out what to prioritize. Such as organizing specific types of activities. Maybe room parents can use this info. Clearly, socializing for kids is important. We also wanted to find out if there was material need in the community so we could organize around that. Not sure if we got that answer because response rate not very high, and because this is biased to those who chose to respond. There probably isn’t a reason to do another one right now. Volunteers in the community are already organizing things based on their capacity. If people think differently and want to get a midway check, we can talk about that.

Jesica A – could we do smaller scale survey, like in each classroom, to find out what families need? Could be done by room parents.

Jessica WN – hoping room parents will be very connected to their classrooms.

COMMITTEE UPDATES

Special Education Committee:

Julie S – Co chair of special education committee. Giving overview of SPED at TC. Also trying to get new info into school website.

TC is a continuum school so we have an array of special ed at 3 levels of intervention.

1-      Distinct (K-2 & 3-5): For students who need the most specialized education. They are also assigned to a gen ed classroom for their grade.

2-      Access: This is the middle level. Julie’s son has been in this since K. Several kids in this program are autistic but it is not exclusively for autistic kids. These kids spend more time in their gen ed classrooms than the Distinct kids do. In the building, the upstairs Bears Lair is the access classroom. There are 10 students in program at TC.

3-      Resource program: Lowest intervention level. These kids spend most of their day in gen ed classroom but get pulled out from time to time for specialized instruction.

We also have specialized preschool (SPP+). Inclusive education for kids with special needs.

Kids at TC also receive occupational therapy, physical therapy & speech therapy.

Also have parent support groups that meet bi-monthly. Focused on supporting each other. Many programs have been curtailed but one event still happening is a middle school transition night. TC alum come to talk about their experiences.

There is also a TC PTA special ed committee. They liaise with the city-wide special ed PTSA. They are advocating for special ed families across district, communicating directly with district.

Katie Z – also clarified that preschool is not exactly part of TC.

Tom P (PreK teacher, chat comment) – It is not developmental pre-school as defined by the school district. We get money from the city but are totally SPS.

Julie S (chat comment) –  https://docs.google.com/document/d/1yzIVYs2VIObIrI5xzVuZUyeNW0O_glM4pH5PA06cn64/edit#heading=h.f56wv2pyai8v

KC Potter (chat comment) – https://seattlespecialeducationptsa.org/

After School Enrichment Committee:

Lisa B – Tried to get an online enrichment program going through 6 crickets. It was going to be free but things may have changed for them and will now it be expensive to have them manage it. So we will be saving that money instead to get an in-person program going when we are able to.

Hospitality Committee:

Karen W – Pie day for teachers & staff is Nov 20th. 12-2 parents drop off pies & 2-4 staff pick up pies. This year we can only accept store-bought. Safety guidelines are in place. Need a few more people to sign up for pies.https://www.signupgenius.com/go/60b0849afad28abf85-pieday2

Fundraising Committee:

Kathleen P – Fundraising goal is $87,500 goal. We are now at about $1600, not including matching funds. Currently 17% of goal. Hoping to reach 50% by end of month. Gifts range from $20 to several $1000’s dollars. K families are donating a lot. Thinking of this year as the rainy day, shoring up rainy day funds. This is a hard year for many. Any gift of any size goes a long way. Goal is 100% participation. Will be in the next 3 newsletters. Looking for testimonials from families who have supported us. Also reaching out to room parents. Probably at about 15% participation right now. But with room parents on board it should make a big difference.

KC Potter (chat comment) – Has Site Council considered why families are not engaging in fundraising in the last 3 years?

Jessica WN – not sure we can agree on the premise of the question. Should be looking at data when discussing this. Is there more to that question?

JD (chat comment) – Seems like there are emotions there. are we being defensive? Seems a little tone police-y.

Kathleen P – My assessment is that there used to be a big auction at TC where many people rallied around and participated but not doing that now. Often, when transitioning to a different event it takes some time to build a campaign around sheer philanthropy. Also, TC has grown dramatically in last few years. More conversation on this is welcome.

Jennifer S – This year can’t be used as a thermometer. How to measure engagement? Last year quite a few families engaged. Matching gifts were also enormous, so families were going above & beyond their own giving. Nothing we saw indicates lack of engagement. Need to be careful how we phrase that. $1 or $100 is engagement. We will look at some data and analyze that in the future.

Jessica WN – Good question and we can revisit this. We welcome anyone participating in that conversation.

Kathleen P – We need to connect people’s involvement with the impact. A lot is happening at TC because of people’s generosity. But let’s keep exploring.

Erin M (chat comment) – Would welcome better understanding the values framework that drives the fundraising approach (at some point). Maybe other families would benefit from that as well.

Stephanie B (chat comment) – I would be happy to hear more of the data or info on engagement as you pull it together as a committee.  Thanks!

Unidentified attendee (chat comment) – I don’t know if you were at Site Council meetings right before schools closed, but Doug was directly addressing this, especially in terms of how we budget. His take was that the school had grown very quickly, lacked a central event like an auction, and simply had a demographic shift, which is a good thing! But in terms of fundraising, all of that takes adjustment.

Jessica WN & others – This conversation can continue with anyone interested.

Facilities Committee:

Jana D – Looking into landscaping at TC. There are weeds. Alex & Stacey S have given guidance that we can start some small work parties of no more than 5 people with many guidelines in place & spread out. Will start putting something together to protect the valuable plants we have. Next Tue 17th, 6pm facilities meeting. Anyone can join. Will be in newsletter.

Statement from TCPG Chair:

Jessica WN – Will share some thoughts and acknowledge recent press article about events at TC in 2017-2018 school year, and then we’ll have discussion about moving into the future.

Statement – Site Council Chair, Jessica Williams-Nguyen

I’d like to acknowledge a recent press article and the superintendent’s message to our school community about events at TC in 2017-2018. A series of investigations initiated by Seattle Public Schools ultimately concluded that a Black family experienced racism at our school, including in this forum of Site Council. Although there is still a lack of shared narrative about these events in our community, we know that racism is a reality at Thornton Creek and at Site Council. This is not about an individual incident. In recent years, families of color have shared, in various ways, the negative experiences they have had here. It must be said very explicitly and clearly, I believe them. I am not here to issue judgement, but fortunately I don’t have to do that to guide my behavior today. We know that the impacts of our collective actions have created and continue to sustain an environment where people of color can feel unsafe, where they can feel othered, where they aren’t always able to participate as their full selves. That is harmful. That impact is real. It’s not okay. It never has been. As the Site Council Chair and as a member of the school leadership now, I have to say we can and must do better. 

I will readily admit that my actions and inactions, despite my best intentions, have let that dynamic stand here at Site Council. For that, I apologize. I know this to be true because people who were harmed under my watch were willing to make themselves vulnerable enough to share that with me. I will be eternally grateful to them. That opportunity to grow, to learn and change was a powerful gift. It was grace. My most sincere wish for each of us is the same one I have for our children, a place where we can be safe enough to make mistakes, challenged enough to learn from them, and supported enough to grow into our best selves. Part of that is having the resilience to listen when we are challenged. 

I have explained to the community on many occasions why I feel that the Site Council forum, where families, staff and administrators sit together, is so important to making education at TC work at its best. I continue to believe that. But I am equally willing to acknowledge this Site Council’s flaws and limitations. It too exists in and is part of a society that is fundamentally white supremacist, that prioritizes certain ways of engaging above others. It is made of the people who are in it, with all of their brilliance and their biases, their fears and their frailties. If Site Council is to remain or become again a place where open dialogue and truly shared leadership can happen, a place where parents and staff can together be part of this ship’s crew, and a place where we come together to collectively set our course into the future, then it must become an anti-racist structure where all voices can truly be welcome and heard. We must reimagine Site Council’s norms and systems, retaining the best parts and transforming the rest. We must learn or re-learn grace. We must learn more and do more and continue to take concrete actions to make this space and our school more inclusive. 

This is going to take time. And it’s going to take all of us. Since I’ve stepped up to this role, I’ve noticed a lot of people waiting. Waiting for something to happen, waiting for calm or stability, waiting for proof, waiting for me maybe or other school leaders. Whether that’s out of fear, out of anger, out of caution or fatigue, I get it. Especially right now, it’s understandable. But it’s time. 

This is a moment where we can regain some of our humanity, where we can look at ourselves and see where we have taken onboard biased and harmful norms, where we can interrogate the ways that we’ve benefited and continue to benefit from white supremacy. We know more now. We’re ready to do better. This can be a moment to put aside fear and engage with joy in building a better world right here. This can be a moment to make ourselves vulnerable to one another and try. In this year and a little bit since I’ve been doing this, that’s been really hard. That piece about vulnerability and trust has been really hard, despite what I believe are good intentions all around.

I’m as much responsible for that as anyone, but I see signs of hope. And I believe deeply in each of you. Your abilities, your intentions, your kindness, your struggle to emerge into an ever better version of yourself. The American Mestiza Latina poet, Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes, wrote, “I would like to take your hands for a moment and assure you that you are built well for these times. Despite your stints of doubt, your frustrations in arighting all that needs change right now, or even feeling you have lost the map entirely, you are not without resource. You are not alone. …One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul. Soul on deck shines like gold in dark times. …In the language of aviators and sailors, ours is to sail forward now. …When a great ship is in harbor and moored, it is safe, there can be no doubt. But… that is not what great ships are built for.”

I’m not going to use this space to recite a list of our to-do’s. There is much collective and individual work to be done, and, even within Site Council, that’s not mine to direct. Elizabeth and I are here to support this work, to participate in it, to create space. But the work is for all of us. I am here to remind you, though, that we have just begun and that this work on every level is so worth your time, and our time together. One thing to consider doing right away is to attend the parent education lecture on Thursday. TC Parent Group has organized that event in partnership with the TC-PTA to help us all learn about how white supremacy manifests in our society and in our schools. This is the second in the series, and don’t worry if you didn’t make the first one. This session will move us forward past the historical perspective that was offered last time into an exploration of the ways that white privilege and whiteness impact all students and families now, in particular Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color. I hope that you’ll join us.

I just want to leave you with this super important message. You are valued here at Site Council. You are welcome. And you are needed. You are the expert of your own heart and mind, and you know what unique contribution you bring. Whatever that is, we will be lucky to have it. You don’t owe anyone your vulnerability. Your openness. Your active listening. Your quietness. Your courage. Your passion. Your involvement. Staff or families, no one has to be here. But we’re far better when you are. We make better decisions when we make them together. That’s been a value at Thornton Creek since well before my time. And I hope you will join me in the work it will take to live that value in its fullest sense.

Several attendees in post chat comments of thanks to Jessica WN.

Jessica WN (chat comment) – chair@thorntoncreek.org (Jessica)  vicechair@thorntoncreek.org (Elizabeth)

Elizabeth D – Suggests 20 seconds of silence to let that sink in. We’re not here to recite a to-do list but we have been thinking about next steps to becoming an anti-racist organization. Some things we’ve been thinking about:

-Opportunities for parent group members to explore white supremacy in organizations. How we can disrupt it. Taking time to explore adult code of conduct with anti-racist lens. Thinking about values in our school community. Listening to various members in our community.

-Parents working to create listening spaces, in concert with what PTA & Alex are already doing. Not to duplicate but to provide many different ways to engage.

-Engaging paid facilitator is being explored.

-Want to hear more ideas from others.

Erin M – Need to take stock of current activities, what is known, what is everyone doing? We don’t know much about what each of these different groups is doing. Need to do this before moving forward so we can weave it together.

Alex – Need to work together as a community and bring pieces together. That’s important.

Erin M (chat comment) – My sense is that a dedicated meeting to start planning would be necessary. This work is complex and many layered when done well in my experience.

Erin M – This school is famous for operating differently from other schools. Lots of anti-racist work going on at other schools. Maybe look around at other schools and see what they are doing. Many schools in the district are doing this work. We may want to partner with them. Much is systems-level, policy-level work.

Jennifer S (chat comment) – On a very basic level, with cameras off, I can’t get a visual sense of the make-up of this group. Could we make ourselves vulnerable and have all cameras on as a simple start?

Stephanie B: The progression from racial unaware to anti-racist that Kirsten presented come to mind in how we frame the work.  Since each person is in a different place.  Maybe that is an important criteria to keep in mind as we put together the meetings or gatherings. 

KC P – Want to make sure PTA is included in the conversation.

Alex – Of course, KC!

JD (chat comment) – Thanks Jessica and Elizabeth for the heartfelt message. Let’s remember that some people have waited 2+ years for some acknowledgement or apology. not everyone will be ready to take immediate action.

Jessica WN – Seeing comments in chat. Some people are saying they may not be ready to talk about next steps at this point. May need time to sit with feelings. I hear that. The reason we framed this at this meeting is at the recommendation of Dr. Felder & his colleagues. He suggested we try not to talk about specific feelings. Alex, want to jump in?

Alex – Yes! We want people to share feelings, experiences, stories. There is a lot to process. We will provide spaces to process this with great facilitators. I am listening to them and that is what they are telling me. So we will have that space.

Liz B (chat comment) – Jessica mentioned that we still don’t have a shared narrative about what has happened. How can we solve that? it seems difficult to ever move forward if our history is in question. sorry for the late chime in.

Alex – Maybe this is a time to take care of ourselves? This needs to be a collective effort. How do we shape our future together? As a teacher I want to go deep. We are working on it. Our staff is working on it. There is a question in chat about how to move forward without a shared narrative. That is one of the pieces. Don’t know if it will be solved but we want to offer space for people to be heard. Jessica had a great statement about this. This is a moment to step back and think. What would make TC the best place for your child?

Jessica WN – Have good feedback for moving ahead. As Alex said we will have more discussions ahead re this. Maybe we are done for tonight. See everyone on Thursday for presentation.


December 8, 2020, 6:30 – 7:30 pm (agenda)

Attendees

School Staff Representatives:  Alexandra Benfield, Laurie Miller, Katie Zissermann, Anne Van Loen 

TC Parent Group Officers:  Jessica Williams-Nguyen (Chair), Elizabeth Duffell (Vice-chair), Jacob Clark Blickenstaff (Treasurer), Chelsea Lin & Jennifer Pinto (Communications), Karen Wirkala (Hospitality), Jesica Avellone (Curriculum), Jennifer Schlobohm & Kathleen Phan (Fundraising), Julie Shin & Beck Weinhold (Special education)

Others: Erica Seddig, K.C. Potter De Haan, Liz Benko, Jac De Haan, Courtney Bell, Stacey Seifert, Sarah McVay, Erin MacDougall, Tristan Osborn, Michele Campbell

Minutes

Jessica WN – goes over agenda

Land acknowledgment. One way to support Duwamish tribe is to donate to Real Rent Duwamish. They are not a federally recognized tribe, so your support really helps. https://www.realrentduwamish.org/

Posted November minutes

Alex – Friday I sent principal update power point. This one was at noon and the first one was at 7:30am. Next will be evening. Different times to reach a variety of people. Highlighted celebrations & positivity and work being done during virtual learning. Lots of pictures like classes in letter land & Dr. Vowel. Showing people being creative to engage and reach out to students. Talked a lot about social interactions. Staff sent examples. Someone from each grade level was there to speak to that. Also talked about class norms and encouraged families to do a family charter, especially now that everyone is at home so much. Some classes also doing virtual Winter Bazaar, donating proceeds to charity. Mentioned other examples of expeditions and community gatherings being done.

Also talked about interview and hiring process. Rocky Torres & Mike Starosky will come in January to engage the community. Brought up to them the concerns from last time that there wasn’t enough time to give community feedback. Need to figure out how parent representatives will be chosen and other details. Assuming March or April will be interview timeline. There will be a training for interviewing for other positions which is different from leadership positions. Had great turnout at speakers series. PTA & SC parent reps will be meeting for a final one in January. I am working personally w Dr. Felder. He would like to facilitate meetings with different groups. One goal is creating a collective vision to move forward. Once we have meetings with different groups, we’ll also have listening circles to repair any damage that has been done. Parents and staff will be welcome. Looking at a 12-month sequence and working on a multi-year sequence. Can’t do this overnight and must do it together. Race & Equity team is also working on scope & sequence on social justice standards. Teacher leads will be working and implementing this with staff. Will keep you updated on next steps. Spent most time highlighting how teachers are working very hard.

Katie Z – Also, Maria has been coordinating cafes for teachers to drop in and brainstorm with each other about certain things, check in, bounce ideas regarding lesson plans, etc. Getting feedback from peers. Something we do all the time in person but is harder in a remote setting. Trying to put more things in place like that in a formalized way.

Alex – Also thinking about putting together interest groups – such as Legos, etc. First figuring out schedules and finding people who have bandwidth to carry out. So other ways for students to interact that isn’t just about school. Hoping to start in January.

Chelsea L: Can parents help supervise that or just teachers?

Alex – So far looking at specialists but can also see using parents.

Chelsea L: I’m not volunteering but I did a zoom baking club with some friends’ children which was fun. We have lots of parents so if you can’t get teachers we may be able to rally some parents to lead some things.

Katie Z – Want to thank everyone for making pie day happen. So great to have something that was so normal and means a lot to teachers. Thanks to everyone who participated.

Jessica WN – Any other questions? Let’s move on to Committee updates: Fundraising, informal bike committee, communications.

Julie S – Special Ed too.

SPECIAL EDUCATION COMMITTEE

Julie S – Hoping to get former TC parents going to Eckstein, JAMS & Robert Eaglestaff to talk about experiences.

FUNDRAISING COMMITTEE

Kathleen P – 57% and over 50K donated. This has been a very generous period. Jen will share a bit about the plan to finish out in next couple weeks.

Jen S – Dec 31st is a hard stop. Will post more on facebook. Room parents are working on this also. All things considered we’re feeling really good. Just 36% of the school make up that 50K. Interesting data point. We were thinking we’d get smaller donations of $20-25. People have been very generous. More donations will keep coming in. We know the focus is on year-end gifts for teachers which is very important.

Kathleen P – Remember that donations can come in anytime in the year. The Dec 31 deadline is just because it works for tax purposes for many people. Grade band #’s will be in the chat so people can let their classes know.

Grade band breakdown:

K – 32.6%

1 – 20.0%

2 -31.3%

3 -31.6%

4 – 27.5%

5 – 32.0%

School participation – 36%

Jessica WN – Do these numbers include matches?

Kathleen P – Yes, but it’s delayed. Includes November matches but Dec will come in later.

BIKE COMMITTEE

Tristan O – Here to talk about bike racks again. Bike committee has a grant from SDOT once again. Promoting alternative routes to school rather than driving and bussing. Will be putting in more bike racks this year. Will send message requesting ideas where to put them. You may have seen a couple new ones at main entrance. Most common suggestion is near library entrance. In nice weather it gets full so we could put a 2nd one there. Any comments or suggestions, email me. Will also post on FB group. I still have to meet with SPS projects manager. Will take several months for this project. Don’t anticipate installing until spring. Will put update in newsletter.

VOLUNTEER COMMITTEE

Stacey S – Melinda has held two room parent meetings. All classes except Jeremy’s have a room parent.

The volunteer committee has been partnering with librarian Kristen to organize the Fall Book Fair through University Bookstore. Thanks to Margaret for creating beautiful art for the book fair. We are reaching out to leads from Talents Nights and the Science Fair to see if there is interest in leading again. Same for yearbook.

Karen W – What about student pictures and class pictures? Can we do zoom pictures or ask people to send in pictures of their kids for yearbook?l

Stacey – I really don’t know. You would need to talk with the office or Admin about it.

Alex – Interesting idea. Will look into what other schools are doing.

COMMUNICATIONS COMMITTEE

Chelsea L – We have been working with office on communications, especially calendar. Google calendar will be discontinued. Has been used for many years. Now we need to submit a form to Shannon & Elona and they’ll create a link that will go in the website calendar. We have to make sure parents are subscribed to the school calendar. Some families may be missing things. Some committees are waiting on updates to the website. District is going through an overhaul of the website and has put a pause on changes. So Elona can’t do that work. There is information from fundraising, volunteer, special ed, etc committees that is now inaccurate and can’t be changed. Working with Beth Anderson, Jenny pinto, Jenny sanders on a TCPG website that will be linked from the district website. It will make it easier for us to own that and make changes on it. Beth is working on resurrecting an old TC website and hopefully we’ll be able to use that. If anyone has a lot of experience or feelings on this and can help, we’d welcome that.

Alex, how are school tours going to work this year?

Alex – Haven’t heard but have gotten questions from incoming K families. Will talk to enrollment and figure it out. Don’t know how that will be yet. On my to do list. Don’t know if we’ll get an explosion of K families this year since this was such a different year.

Chelsea L – I’ve done it the past few years. This year I can stick with it. But it’s the last time!

Jessica WN – I think that’s all the updates. Any other updates let us know. Will not bring November minutes for approval because we don’t have a full quorum but they’re in the chat. If anything needs to be fixed let us know. Turning back to Chelsea to lead us in a fun activity.

Chelsea L – Jessica and I have different ideas of what fun looks like! Who loves an ice breaker? Trying to think about fun prompts to break into groups. 2 choices: Share something funny or lighthearted that you or your kids have done recently. Or, share a recipe you’ve made recently that was delicious. Put it in the chat link! Jessica will put us in small groups and we can talk about whatever strikes our fancy. Look, everyone is leaving!

Jessica WN – That’s ok! Understand!

Meeting breaks up into small groups for social chats a few minutes at a time with 3 different rotations.

Site Council Meeting


February 9, 2021, 6:30 – 8:30 pm (agenda)

Minutes

Attendees

School Staff Representatives: Laurie Miller; Benfield, Alexandra M; Calvert, Lisa;

Jenny; Katie Zissermann; Office Asst. Elem – Shannon Westermann; Piper Carling; Pouliot,  Thomas G; Tammi Mack

TC Parent Group Officers:  Jessica Williams-Nguyen; Chelsea Lin; Jenny Pinto; Jennifer Schlobohm; Kathleen Phan; Karen Wirkala; Beck Weinhold; Julie Shin; Jacob Clark Blickenstaff;

Elizabeth Duffell; Jana Dilley; Courtney Bell; Erica Seddig; Roddy Theobald; Melinda Roberts; 

Stacey Seifert

Others: Angela; Beth; Caryn Park; Christie Robertson; Debbie (Emilia’s mom); Deborah Hutchinson; Erin MacDougall; Erin Shade; Foziya H; Gina Massoni; k.c. potter de haan; Katie Zissermann; Leah Preston (Connor Preston); Liz; Margaret; Matilda; Michele Campbell; Molly Duff; nikste; Robyn Hodges (Sienna); Stephanie Barnes; Tina Watkinson; Tristan Osborn; Zack Cook

Minutes

Land acknowledgement

We are proud to acknowledge that Thornton Creek School stands on the traditional territories of the Coast Salish people, in particular the Duwamish tribe, Seattle’s first people. They are the original caretakers of these lands and waters. We pay tribute to them and honor their knowledge and traditional culture. We also acknowledge the robust Indigenous communities made up of tribal diversity that originate from around the country, and whose journeys have brought them here and to other locations by ways of forced displacement or seeking opportunities. These communities continue to strengthen our city with their heritage, resilience, and tenacity. One way to support the Duwamish tribe by donating to Real Rent Duwamish. https://www.realrentduwamish.org/

Break-out room chat

Approve Site Council meeting minutes

Jessica W. – Sent minutes out in newsletter, also linked in agenda, wanted to ask whether there are any revisions before we accept as official record of meetings.

Jessica W. – No concerns, consider minutes passed

Principal/staff updates 

Alexandra B. – Couple topics to touch on. Don’t want to spend too much time because this came out in newsletter and email. 

Principal hiring process

Alexandra B. – Clover Codd sent out email to parents and staff about process. I am the interim, so would need to apply for position. All schools with opening received the same letter. Trying to be transparent. My director is Ricardo Torres (Rocky)–I’m saying a lot of the same things as the letter–but he will be coming and soliciting opinions through school attributes survey. Some of you have done this before. Site based interview committee will interview candidates who move forward. Site president will work with BLT leader and parent leaders to identify who will serve as school members of interview team. Site-based Principal Interview Teams will consist of: one primary certificated teacher and community member (parent/guardian or community member), one intermediate certificated teacher and community member, one specialist (SPED, ELL, PE, Art, etc.), the administrative secretary or a classified representative, two central office leaders or building principals, and one to two Directors of Schools. The position is posted and then they’ll be going through candidates and hoping to interview next month (March).

Racial equity (speaker series), next steps

Alexandra B. – Strong turnout, 70 in attendance at last meeting. Even though series is completed, our work is far from over. Many who attended event filled out action plan, identified action areas, goal for this year. Just a start – pulled from everyone who attended. Want to continue using building budget for this work, plan to move into equity and healing circles. Meeting with Dr. Felder on Thursday. Will meet as committee to collaborate on design and implementation team. Excited to move forward with work. Looking at a few emails today, one talking about racial equity analysis tool. BLT is learning about how to make budget decisions using racial equity lens. 

Jacob (chat) – It is great to hear that there will be building (SPS) funding to support the equity work.

Return to in-person learning

Alexandra B. – Email sent to all parents, focused on special education intensive pathways. March 1 unlikely for Pre-K-1. Pre-K approved for outdoor pathway.

Tom P. – Got final permission on Friday, starting March 1, 4 half days, using playground area to separate pods. Will be there 8:30-12:30 each day. Those who do not choose to participate will have afternoon online program. Really exciting and want to thank all who supported us along the way, including several members of school board.

Alexandra B. – Excited to see some real little people in a few weeks. For rest of grades, negotiations with union are still underway, hoping to update schools by 2/22.

Jennifer S. (chat) – Congratulations! That’s fantastic news for PK families.

Zack C. (chat) – Thank you Tom and Sophia and all who helped make this outdoor pilot happen!

Transportation for next year

Alexandra B. – Myself and some of options principals wrote letter asking SPS to reconsider cutting option school busing services as we look to provide access to students of color and those who live further away from school. Pulled up list from last year, 25% of students were regular riders last year. They’re hearing a lot of feedback on this; the only part is that they’ve promised to maintain transportation in Options schools in equity tiers 1 and 2, TC is in tier 4.

Jessica – This issue is fundamentally an issue of funding. Federal govt has approved funding for states, state govt looking for ways to support schools, and state is recommending that if district uses federal money they can’t use state money. Federal money is to mitigate learning loss, state money should be used to mitigate changes in enrollment and transportation issues. If you care to advocate to state reps about this funding issue, you could tell them to fund both of those things. Don’t replace state assistance with federal money. Schools need money to return to school properly. That’s a fundamental issue. I’ll be working with Alex and Christina and others to get some SPS central administration reps into community to answer questions.

Alexandra B. – One of the pieces that came up in prior meetings is that some buses only had a few kids, others were packed, could we make cuts on busses with fewer riders? I’ll be curious to see more developments and will be filling you in with more information.

Prospective family tours

Alexandra B. – At the end of January we had over 125 families who RSVPed and showed up to one of two days. Majority were going to be incoming kindergarteners. I really appreciate some of you on this call who came and attended. Many staff came too out of goodness of their heart. Tours went well, parents seemed excited.

Black Lives Matter at School week

Alexandra B. – BLM at School week was last week. Shared content from district, teachers also created different activities per grade level aligned with questions. A lot was shared among staff. Also partnered with PTA who did a table event selling t shirts and masks, all went to NAACP Youth Council. Hoping at end of month to have principal check in to share pictures and provide evidence of work everyone did. Last thing – had TC alum who contacted me, in high school, working on Eagle scout project to create Little Free Library, asked if we could put in on our campus. It was very sweet to have a former student want to come and contribute. Do teachers have anything to add?

Discussion

Gina M. (comment in chat) – It would be really helpful if you could publicize the dates of the principal check-ins at least a month ahead.  I get that you are trying different times to make it accessible to people with different schedules but we need to know further ahead. And put on the school calendar. It was only on for the current month last time I looked.

Alexandra B. – Have been waiting to schedule until we know more about what times work and return to school dates.

Jessica W. – Would we expect to have an update in March about school budgeting process?

Alexandra B. – Yes, we should. Just received update that allocations will either be 2/22 or 3/1. Quite a significant difference in dates. Talking about how enrollment is not as predictive as in past and that’s messing with calculations. 

Michelle C. – Curious about BLT training and whether dates are scheduled

Alexandra B. – Yes, dates are scheduled (missed specific dates)

Michelle C. – Around principal hiring, I heard there was some kind of training that parents go through that is separate from regular staff. Anything offered like that?

Robyn H. (chat) – I feel like that was tonight…?

Alexandra B. – Training offered by my director, will be scheduled once members are identified.

Laurie Miller – Today there was training on being on an interview team for staff.

Gina M. (chat) – Also, the people giving the staff hiring training didn’t know at all what the process was for principal hiring training.

Jessica W. – Just to clarify, if you would like to be on an interview team for staff (anyone represented by SEA), you need to take hiring training offered tonight or the next one. That is different than for the principal hiring process.

Alexandra B. – For next steps, look in district letter.

Robyn H. (chat) – If we miss it tonight is there another one? For the staff hiring training?

Laurie M. – Next training for staff hiring is next Thursday. Training good for three years.

Elizabeth (chat) – https://www.seattlewea.org/member-resources/interview-hiring-training/#:~:text=Hiring%20trainings%20are%20held%20generally,session%20is%20from%204PM%20%2D%205PM. That’s the schedule of trainings and how to sign up!

Alexandra B. – Colleague has offered to do this with staff who haven’t done this in last three years

Molly Duff (chat) – any updates on opening 2nd grade and up timeline?

Alexandra B. – Unfortunately no.

Christie R. (chat) – Re: busing – are they considering busing at least free and reduced lunch to tier 3/4 option schools? Otherwise it seems inevitable that option schools will be even less equitable.

Alexandra B. – We sit pretty low on FRL counts, so it would help a few students

Gina M. (chat) – Is there planning for in person 2nd-5th in fall?

Alexandra B. – Yes, they have updated SPS website where it talks about different phases, so I would refer back to my email. Hopeful that it will be a hybrid model. But it depends a lot on the health of our community, immunizations, etc. 

Jennifer S. (chat) – Crosscut held an interview with Junaeu from 4-5pm. I *think* it was recorded. The news is not great for older grades returning.

Molly D. (chat) – i urge you to advocate to open schools, my two second graders need it

Molly D (chat) – i think the planning for opening up schools is unacceptable

Jessica W. – Not sure how to address that in this meeting, but certainly important for us to think about as school community.

Robyn H (chat) – In case you’d like to advocate for Teachers being vaccinated so they can come back to school, please get a hold of Rep. Gerry Pollet, David Frockt, Javier Valdez…. here’s the House Bill that is being sponsored: 1420, described as: “Ensuring that critical school employees receive priority for receipt of the COVID-19 vaccine.”

Tristan O. (chat) – If anyone is interested in discussing reopening plans, contact my wife Bridget Osborn: bridget.osborn@gmail.com

Committee updates

TC Parent Group Communications

Chelsea L. – Met last week with Jenny Sanders. Got into old TC Parent Group website, it’s WordPress, pretty easy to update, but last update is for auction of 2017 (?). So, we need to re-write all content on there. Just want to, in front of everyone, if any committee members want to be represented on website, don’t need everyone, but some of the stuff that used to be able to live on district site, please contact me and Jenny Pinto and I will work on getting that updated. Committees that will be represented will get template, ~100 words about what you do, going to try to make this as easy as possible. Taken so long to make this happen. Hoping to get this done in next couple weeks. Then Alex can share that in newsletter. Only thing holding me up is I was supposed to talk to Elona yesterday, didn’t happen. Lots of stuff on district site is inaccurate, not her fault, district put stop on updating things. Hopefully we’ll get that taken care of, and then updating of website will be simple. I’ll put email in chat. Thanks!

In chat – commschair@thorntoncreek.org

Music enrichment

Jessica W. – K and 1 have been exploring music opportunities to do as soon as possible so that kids can have an opportunity to sing, with Sari Breznau, paid for by TC parent group, we have $7500 allotted for music enrichment bc as you know we don’t have a music program represented aside from instrumental for upper grades. Parent group has allocated money to that. So, there’s an opportunity for K-1 (maybe PreK). Money that would be spent would be ~$2500. Sari would have singing time on Wed. mornings during morning meeting time, students would need to be muted and encouraged to sing along. Also, once monthly evening session open to all students. This is pretty well in alignment with what budget was intended for, but did want to bring to community and take questions about that. 

Jacob (chat) – Just FYI, the proposal is to spend $3000 for this.

Robyn H. (chat) – Will there be songs which TC is familiar with, like what Mary K did in the past?

KC P. (chat) – Is there still a ukulele curriculum in the 2-3 band?

Tristan O (chat) – Bridget is gathering information from staff and parents from Pathfinder who initiated a pilot for their 4th graders to be in person (outdoor I think) one day per week.

Chelsea L (chat) – Side note: I love that there are recordings of Liz singing old Mary K songs for the kinder kids on Wednesdays

Tammi M. – Sari was our music teacher when I taught at TOPS, I can say that while it may not be exactly the same songs as Mary K, but it will be largely a repertoire of peace and justice, same spirit. The pricing she gave us was for whoever is interested in joining. People will have to be muted–we sang the birthday song and it’s a cacophony–so she suggested that. She does intergenerational choir singing in her other life, loves idea of once a month sing alongs with families, thinks there will be better chance for kids to learn songs if they sing with their families. She is a wonderful singing teacher. But it’s up to the community. 

Jennifer S. (chat) – https://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=1420&Year=2021&Initiative=false

Zack C. (chat) – Maybe I’m going too far ahead but are there plans for music to be included for all grades in the fall? Music is so beneficial, especially now.

Jessica W. – Important question, can’t have it until school is doing budgeting and making decisions about a music program. I think next month will be the right time to have more of an extended convo about music in the fall. So, I’ll bring this back to music enrichment opportunity for this year. In terms of ukelele question, I have not been in touch with Neal.

Piper (chat) – I’m thrilled we might be bringing song back to our TC life.  Thank you Tammi!

Elizabeth – Likely problem with kids not having access to instruments?

Jessica W. – We could explore that, if you want to hear Neal play ukelele you can find that on internet. Whether or not that can be done this year in remote setting, I don’t know, if there’s energy we could look into it, but instruments will be a challenge. Ukelele is something that all 2nd and 3rd graders have done for many years at TC. Not doing it this year because Neal brings in instruments. Maybe someone else can speak up? 

Robyn H (chat) – Yeah, I don’t know about how you get your student involved in the Ukulele class…. is it already full?

Tammi M. (chat) – Happy to have more singing and community building in this challenging year!!

Jenny P. (chat) – My 4th grader is currently taking online lessons with Neal.

Jenny P. (chat) : oh sorry. I meant it’s a private lesson.

Jessica W. – Would personally strongly advocate for continuing relationship with Neal. Kids love him. Onto next year when things are back to normal, hope parent community will want to continue with Neal.

Alexandra B. – Want everyone thinking as we move into budget season about what has typically been done, which is bringing outside resources in, which creates inequity across grade levels. This is an example – doesn’t bring music to all students. Want to be thinking about this, will need more feedback on this. 

Lisa C. – What would music look like next year? Most signing and blowing is banned in schools. Would be shame to bring in music teacher and not be able to do any music. 

Chelsea L chat.

Robyn H. – Have been teaching online, it’s not like there’s been no music, we do recorders at home and music still can happen. It is still possible.

Jacob – Anyone is able to participate, may not be equity issue? 

Jessica W. – Will teach in morning during school hours time, but can be offered to anyone. Grades 2-5 can be advised, might be an option for them. 

Nikste (chat) – Biden has declared closed schools as a national emergency and says there should be CDC guidance by next week for re-opening. https://www.cnn.com/2021/02/08/politics/biden-schools-women-workforce-emergency/index.html

Chelsea L (chat) – ukulele for everyone! no blowing 😉

Tammi M. (chat) – Sari is happy to invite ALL grades to participate in the weekly singing-any grades and classes that are interested are welcome for the rest of this year!

Piper (chat) – I thought Sari was funded by Site Council and all are welcome?

Stacey S. (chat) – That is such good news. Thank you, Tammi.

KC P (chat) – could lesson be recorded?

Robyn H (chat) –  And what days/times? So it’s a zoom or Teams meeting? And others can come in at that time… anyone who wants to? And then you said another in the evening is possible?

Robyn H (chat) –   Has anyone talked with those who were on the committee doing it last year? I know Robin was one who did it…

Tammi M (chat) – Sure thing!  We had talked about one morning a week and then had not yet decided on the later afternoon/early evening time but were hoping to be inclusive of families who might want to participate.  The thought that it would only be once a month with families could make it more do-able for a family to commit to just attending once a month making it a priority was a thought…

Yearbook

*Note: full chat exchange pasted at bottom of section…

Jessica W. – Start conversation, some general support in parent community last time, then conversation around how it can be equitable in terms of students having photos included. And subsequent to that we had additional conversation with staff reps to ask questions. Would staff have capacity to help get photos of kids during 1-1 meeting with consent so that more or all students could be included? Some other questions have come up, just want to open up the floor so we can discuss yearbook in general and doing that this year. The effort has gotten started and needs to move relatively quickly.

Michele C. – I also had a question about the inclusion part. How do we make sure everyone has been included without putting extra burden on parents and staff? Time is limited in remote learning, everyone is at max capacity, at least I am, I just think we should weigh this decision and see if it’s worth it. And then resources in general – heard in last newsletter that it’s 27+ volunteers, a number from a couple meetings about $6-9K, wondering if that’s an equitable use of resources at a time when some families aren’t getting needs met. Are there better uses for that? Then question about unused yearbooks from last year – overorder, or not as much interest as anticipated? 

Jessica W. – Yes, questions about equity, use of resources, and unused yearbooks. Regarding unused yearbooks – in all years, yearbooks have been funded through classroom fees, but in the event that it wasn’t paid, there was money from parent group that paid rest of amount. Every child had gotten yearbook every year. Except for last year – yearbook was ordered for every child, but bc of pandemic, discussed mailing to all parents. Ultimately decided that resources (cost and staff time) were too great. Instead had several pickup times,and ~7 families asked for yearbooks to be mailed. 

Shannon – Had 70 yearbooks left. Every time we had distribution it was offered to families, everyone said they got one

Alexandra B. – Created list, highlighted name of who picked up, but still have about 70 yearbooks. 

Michele C. – One more thing – A lot of people in chat suggesting placemats, but I was one of the last people who submitted a photo, received several email reminders, finally picked it up last week (4 days ago?). 

Jessica W. – Agreed that it will be a lot of work. Did ask question of staff – in spring, didn’t have system for picking up at school, yearbooks arrived too late to be included in bags. Now teachers have a distribution system, most are picked up, maybe 1-2 aren’t. So, in this case, if we are timely we should be able to distribute and then for smaller number may be able to mail or provide resources. So, there’s the state of that. We talked last time about issue of inclusion in photos, not sure if any more thought has been had about that. Any comments?

Tina – The fifth grade team just submitted photos for a project that they’re doing, put out my room parents, asked parents to submit photo of child. Relatively easy, took some nudging, but could be relatively easy ask of parents. Hear what Michele is saying about use of money, but it’s really sad to me that 5th graders are missing out on so many TC traditions, and having a yearbook would mean a lot to them, but biased since I have a 5th grader this year.

Stacey – We did have someone who worked on this last few years, thought they could work on it this year, but circumstances change. Volunteer committee meeting to come up with solution. Email at vonunteer@thorntoncreek.org. Send us your ideas. In the meantime, we’re looking for 1-2 yearbook leads who would work on it. Send out special edition newsletter with other volunteer roles (grade band coordinator). Could reduce cost by reducing pages, so trying to gather as much information as possible to volunteer could step in to work on pictures and layout. 

Jessica W. – Important point – Volunteer effort, someone needs to step up and lead this. If that doesn’t happen, rest of convo is moot. Last point is important, thanks Michele – is putting up parent funds for this, assuming we could solve other problems about inclusion and distribution, still a good choice? I would like to invite discussion about that.

Elizabeth – Could you clarify about classroom fees in past?

Jessica W. – Yes, used to hear about classroom fees from teacher. That covered yearbook. What we talked about last time is that this doesn’t feel like the right time to ask families to buy it, should be offered to everyone, not just families with disposable income.

Jacob – In past years, no child was not provided yearbook, parent group covered for students who didn’t pay fee. Only difference is that parent group funds would be used to pay for yearbook for all students and staff. Last year paid for all of staff. It’s very difficult to tease out what fraction of school fees were for yearbook, but we may have paid for 20-30% in past, now would be paying for all of them. Like idea of providing to everybody, what if students are missing? Have to consider that if parents don’t want child in yearbook, then we have to honor that, and couldn’t make a note of that in yearbook. See no reason why students who don’t want to participate would be included. Opportunities to do that as long as parents say it’s OK to take screenshot. 

Jessica W. – Bring conversation back to resources question. Is spending money from parent budget a good thing to do? Michele was pointing to needs of families, is this the right choice?

Piper – I have a question – I don’t come to all site council meetings, I’m parent and teacher, I’m wondering what was the conversation around this? Why does site council have to pay for yearbooks? Seems like a lot of money to put towards yearbooks, and I know a lot of parents can afford it. Is there no way to make it possible for people who can pay for yearbooks to pay for yearbooks? 

Jessica W. – That is an option. I don’t know if we talked about it last time as an option. My perspective – whenever we make a financial appeal, some would like to but can’t, and they have to be faced with that every time we ask. Other thing to throw out there – at the moment, it’s not as though these dollars will be going to solve the problem of child hunger. If we want to do that, then that’s a strange way to have a yearbook conversation. We’ve had a helping hands conversation, are we going to boost up that budget a lot more? 

Tristan O. – In past years it came from class fees, always been optional, but may not have been clear to parents. And then site council picked up the rest. Piper is proposing something similar, but less streamlined and more transparent. 

Jacob – Another thing that’s changed is that class fees went from a large bill at beginning of year to a metered out small charges that go through school pay, i.e. go to district. It would be a complex operation to charge for yearbook through school pay because district would have to pay for yearbooks and then TC would need to reimburse district. Or we would have to start new system where parents pay parent group directly, but we ran into problems from district about collecting funds not through district. Simpler than to go through byzantine district system. Might be talking $2500. To me, some schools sell ads, but then yearbook is entire class where students work on this all year. Don’t want to get into that process. 

Alexandra. B. – Talking with office staff, maybe we should do survey, how large is the majority who want a yearbook? If 80% want yearbook, great. Survey could also ask parents if they’re willing to volunteer. Hate to put in so much effort if interest is low. I’m able to get this out to everyone through school messenger. Maybe put this out on Friday.

Erin – How many responses do you typically get to these surveys? 

Alexandra B. – I feel like I get a lot of responses, we could count to see the number, clearly not going to hear from everyone.

Erin – Could we do a GoFundMe type thing? Thinking an old fashioned fundraiser with thermometer, etc. 

Jessica W. – Could do that, but haven’t had as much opportunity to spend parent funds. Have been able to spend some money to help families with groceries, but still have big chunk of money that is unspent. Will do budget review in March. We could put the effort into separate fundraiser, but not sure it’s worth the effort if we have resources for it.

Erin – Just trying to address point about spending money from site council that not everyone would support.

Jessica W. – Would everyone get yearbook?

Erin – Yes, you would just get to choose to donate.

Jennifer S. – I ran fundraising committee, but barely got 60% participation, not a good idea to run another fundraiser. Every time we go down the path of helping those less fortunate. Did grocery cards, couldn’t decide how to spend helping hands funds. Hearing from parents that lots of kids appreciate this, we’re making this harder than we need to. I think we have a lot of information here to move forward with at least giving survey. Don’t need to make this too complicated, life is too complicated already.

Michele C. – Resources are time and energy. Putting survey out is time you aren’t using to do something else. There’s plenty of ways to spend money to help people in need right now. Heard at last site council meeting that need is in the thousands. There’s definitely need, and definitely time constraints on all of us. Don’t think some things that were mentioned were fair.

Kathleen – Instead of thinking either/or, could we think and? Have money allocated to site council, have money for yearbook, could do both? Sounds like people could step up to plate, I’m thinking about pitching in, don’t think we should shoot down so quickly.

Jacob – Also need to emphasize what Jessica said – we don’t have a way of putting dollars on community building that a yearbook provides. Have 5th and 3rd grader who get yearbooks and pore over them, spend several hours looking at yearbook. One thing that has been hard about this year is missing this community. Not possible to calculate dollars we lose by losing this community.

Jessica W. – Also asked husband about this, has helpful perspective, he is refugee (Vietnamese boat person), on govt assistance in childhood, Shared that he thought that yearbooks were important for him. When he went to school, had to pay for yearbooks and some years he went without but always wished he had one. 

Tina – Want to thank you for sharing that, all the things that have been shared tonight have been equally important, but need to get down to kids’ eyesight. If we sent a survey to kids every one would say they want a yearbook.

Jessica W. – Grateful to Michele for bringing up these issues, aren’t sure whether all parents are being represented, broadening conversation is a good thing, the whole conversation has been a good thing. Does the group think it’s OK to do a survey later this week (from Alex) to gauge support from community and then move forward pending volunteers and revisit budget part next time?

Kathleen – One concern is that we need to volunteers to do it. If we send out survey and then there’s no volunteers we’re stuck. Maybe put call in newsletter? 

Jessica W. – We kind of do have that since we sent out special edition newsletter recently asking for volunteers for this, and they have already gotten several people stepping up. 

Kathleen – Just want to make sure we aren’t over-promising.

Jessica W. – Putting it out there may be OK and generate more enthusiasm. Want to consider this as group decision. My understanding – survey is first step, prioritizing things we’ve talked about, thinking about budgeting part coming up as we do a full budget review. Any additional concerns?

Full chat log from this part of conversation: 

19:31:55 From  Chelsea Lin  to  Everyone : What if we did a digital yearbook?

19:32:00 From  Robyn Hodges  to  Everyone : Would it be possible for just anyone to send in one picture of their child? So, there’d be at least a record of this year? I don’t know how much it would take all that money, though…. possibly a “virtual” yearbook so it wouldn’t cost so much??? Just some ideas…

19:32:11 From  Piper  to  Everyone : Has the idea been brought up to do a screen shot of each class?  Giving every kid the opportunity to be in the picture.  It would not be the same but it would be something.  I think the kids would love to have a Year book, especially 5th graders.  I would be happy to collect screen shots of each class

19:32:31 From  Chelsea Lin  to  Everyone : I’m guessing many classes already have a full roster of photos (those who have done placemats, etc.)

19:32:34 From  nikste  to  Everyone : I second that we can re-purpose year book money for something that can be better used for our community. Thank you for mentioning that.

19:32:56 From  Stacey Seifert  to  Everyone : 27 volunteers includes one representative from each classroom, so a room parent or another volunteer to make sure all students are represented for each class.

19:33:13 From  Leah Preston  to  Everyone : I think it would be nice to have a class picture available for each class. …made up of individual shots.

19:33:37 From  Tristan Osborn (he/him)  to  Everyone : Does anyone know how many classes have a placemat? One of my twins does, one does not

19:33:50 From  Leah Preston  to  Everyone : or a screen shot, may be the most appropriate.

19:34:25 From  Tristan Osborn (he/him)  to  Everyone : Our children treasure their yearbooks. I think they would at least appreciate a class photo (or placemat of photos)

19:34:26 From  Robyn Hodges  to  Everyone : Many classes (at least my second and Kindergartener) have had a little “placemat” made by one parent compiling sent in photos from each parent, so in many cases, there might actually be a pretty easy put together solution for the committee?..

19:34:44 From  Kathleen Phan  to  Everyone : We love our yearbooks and still look at them all the time. I think they help build a sense of community. And fun to look back at the cute little kinders years from now!

19:35:30 From  k.c. potter de haan  to  Everyone : I believe a digital version creates privacy concerns for many families.

19:35:45 From  Chelsea Lin  to  Everyone : That’s a good point, K.C…. I hadn’t thought of that.

19:36:09 From  Debbie (Emilia’s mom)  to  Everyone : I think the yearbooks are especially important this year, primarily for fifth graders.

19:36:20 From  Robyn Hodges  to  Everyone : Oh, me too…. so long of a to do list..

19:36:46 From  Tammi Mack  to  Everyone : The yearbook issue also came up with Staff with some suggesting a digital version and others feeling like it would be nice to have them this year, especially for graduating 5th graders.  There was not a consensus or a final decision among staff but we did talk about it

19:36:49 From  Tristan Osborn (he/him)  to  Everyone : Yup, I think everyone procrastinates

19:38:07 From  Tammi Mack  to  Everyone : I bet some of them belong to students who left our school this year…

19:38:20 From  Robyn Hodges  to  Everyone : Would the yearbook of just the 5th graders doing their own feel sad for them to not have the rest of the school in it? I just wonder if it is most important to the 5th graders, perhaps it could be a smaller scale project with them? Others could just do their own Placemats if the class voted on it?

19:39:40 From  k.c. potter de haan  to  Everyone : One of my concerns is the omission of children – what are the impacts of a child who is erased from a class both for those children, and their classmates?

19:39:53 From  Debbie (Emilia’s mom)  to  Everyone : I would prefer to include all grades, but perhaps we could reduce the number of pages by deleting those that are normally dedicated to in-school activities. That should save money also.

19:40:47 From  Kathleen Phan  to  Everyone : I like Pipers idea about the screen shots and the love going into together mode. Thanks for offering to help with that Piper!

19:41:11 From  Melinda Roberts  to  Everyone : volunteer@thorntoncreek.org

19:41:21 From  Piper  to  Everyone : It would be so easy for me to do screen shots in together mode

19:41:59 From  Tristan Osborn (he/him)  to  Everyone : I think it is totally appropriate and reasonable to scale back the scope of any yearbook… maybe just a collection of class photos (collages or photo collections obviously)

19:42:06 From  Kathleen Phan  to  Everyone : I think the yearbooks would feel very special. Thanks for helping to organize Stacy and Melinda!!

19:42:14 From  Jennifer Schlobohm  to  Everyone : Piper’s offer of “everyone mode” would cut down on pages. Thank you Piper!

19:44:20 From  Jennifer Schlobohm  to  Everyone : If the Parent Group will cover everyone’s fees, isn’t that equitable?

19:45:35 From  Debbie (Emilia’s mom)  to  Everyone : Let’s please keep the baby pictures of 5th graders if at all possible – that is the best part!

19:46:14 From  Erin Shade  to  Everyone : could we solicit donations somehow?

19:46:58 From  Robyn Hodges  to  Everyone : If decided that it indeed is equitable, will we put out the ideas we just thought of out to the “Parenting Public” to see if we can get a Volunteer or Co-Volunteers for the project? In the Newsletter, perhaps? I feel like parents need twice as much time and reminders over a period of time since it’s just crazy pandemic time… that “to-do list” we mentioned…. If the screen shot doesn’t happen (like they’re absent) could that parent just send in their photo?

19:49:12 From  Debbie (Emilia’s mom)  to  Everyone : I like Pipers

19:49:17 From  Tina Watkinson  to  Everyone : and have parents donate for other yearbooks

19:49:21 From  Stacey Seifert  to  Everyone : Robyn, there are links for the volunteer sign ups in the Site Council newsletter, and a Special Edition newsletter that was sent over the weekend.

19:49:50 From  Debbie (Emilia’s mom)  to  Everyone : sorry – hit return to soon. I like Piper’s idea of a pay-if-you-are-able model.

19:50:14 From  Robyn Hodges  to  Everyone : I agree with Piper… can we just have a little “check” box that someone could click and it would be anonymous – so they could have that cost covered?

19:50:39 From  Leah Preston  to  Everyone : How about just copy paper and staples?

19:51:08 From  Jennifer Schlobohm  to  Everyone : Exactly that Jessica. We don’t have a plan for these dollars, and it feels like every time this comes up, we get tangled in the weeds of how to “help those less fortunate.”

19:51:58 From  Leah Preston  to  Everyone : Maybe Top Pot will sponsor. 🙂

19:52:30 From  Robyn Hodges  to  Everyone : YES! Donut two for one coupon with every copy of the Yearbook!

19:53:02 From  Leah Preston  to  Everyone : dpm

19:53:15 From  Liz  to  Everyone : other schools use school pay for yearbooks

19:53:31 From  Leah Preston  to  Everyone : don’t high schools get sponsors?

19:54:42 From  Chelsea Lin  to  Everyone : I used to print a ‘zine in college and we just stole copies from Kinkos…

19:54:59 From  Chelsea Lin  to  Everyone : (I’m kidding. Nobody over the age of 20 should do this.)

19:55:05 From  Robyn Hodges  to  Everyone : ha ha…

19:55:09 From  Leah Preston  to  Everyone : There’s no winning.

19:55:39 From  Robyn Hodges  to  Everyone : Survey would be good…. yeah… plug for the volunteer. smart.

19:56:36 From  Jacob  to  Everyone : I’m fine with a survey.

19:56:44 From  Robyn Hodges  to  Everyone : Thursday would be better… lots of families will be leaving Friday…

19:57:08 From  Robyn Hodges  to  Everyone : Oh wait… we can’t go anywhere (laughing and then crying)

19:57:10 From  Jacob  to  Everyone : Survey will reach more than the 35 people in this meeting now.

19:58:13 From  Tristan Osborn (he/him)  to  Everyone : Haha! Chelsea: my college version of myself did things I would never do today

20:00:58 From  Tina Watkinson  to  Everyone : thank you Jennifer

20:01:02 From  Karen Wirkala  to  Everyone : 5th graders would really like a yearbook this year.

20:02:24 From  Leah Preston  to  Everyone : It will be interesting to document this year. If only with each grade band and stapled copy paper.

20:02:34 From  Robyn Hodges  to  Everyone : Yes on survey as a start and perhaps revisit if there’s interest?

20:04:04 From  Elizabeth (she/her)  to  Everyone : same, jacob

20:04:07 From  Stacey Seifert  to  Everyone : We have 5 volunteers who offered to help just over the weekend (since the newsletter landed).

20:04:10 From  Tristan Osborn (he/him)  to  Everyone : <sparkle>

20:04:19 From  Jennifer Schlobohm  to  Everyone : +1 Jacob

20:04:20 From  Stacey Seifert  to  Everyone : Jacob, my middle schooler still looks at his yearbooks.

20:04:22 From  Tina Watkinson  to  Everyone : agreed

20:04:34 From  Debbie (Emilia’s mom)  to  Everyone : I agree – keep it simple. If we have the money and the volunteers, let’s do this. We can collect donations later.

20:05:08 From  Stacey Seifert  to  Everyone : meant to say, “I agree, Jacob. My middle schooler still looks at his yearbooks.  🙂

20:05:14 From  Robyn Hodges  to  Everyone : It’s a “sign of Community” isn’t it?

20:05:42 From  Tristan Osborn (he/him)  to  Everyone : Yes, I barely have time to brush my teeth these days… we should keep this as simple as possible. Forget the survey, just have a simplified version of the yearbook (costing less) and plan to get a copy to all families.

20:05:53 From  Tristan Osborn (he/him)  to  Everyone : We can always ask for donations to school pay to defray the cost

20:06:47 From  Kathleen Phan  to  Everyone : For what it’s worth my 3rd grader came in quickly and said plllleeeassse can we have yearbooks! 🙂

20:07:26 From  Tristan Osborn (he/him)  to  Everyone : my kids look at theirs regularly

20:07:28 From  Robyn Hodges  to  Everyone : Speaking of building community and having a “symbol” of that togetherness and feeling connected.. this is one example… and so is singing together. Not to open that back up, but just sayin’

20:07:30 From  Matilda  to  Everyone : Thanks everyone for your perspectives. 

20:07:41 From  k.c. potter de haan  to  Everyone : if this moves forward – please make sure each child is represented.

20:08:17 From  Tristan Osborn (he/him)  to  Everyone : Agreed… I think the volunteers who have the time to work on this should be sure to reach out and capture all families (going to their house for photos, for example)

20:08:42 From  Matilda  to  Everyone : Piper’s idea of screenshots during class time sounds most equitable

20:09:16 From  Jenny Pinto  to  Everyone : Could each kiddo make a self portrait and use those for a yearbook?

20:09:54 From  Jennifer Schlobohm  to  Everyone : Stacey says 5 people have stepped forward

20:09:58 From  Jacob  to  Everyone : Volunteers to do it is the limiting factor.

20:10:31 From  Stacey Seifert  to  Everyone : And the next newsletter will have links for the yearbook lead.

20:10:56 From  Robyn Hodges  to  Everyone : I still think the survey is a great idea… we might want to say some of the things we discussed – inclusion of everyone, possibly less of a job since less pages, idea of room parent or other volunteer sending a “screen shot” or other set of photos of each class, at a minimum… and more photos of other things “happening” at TC could be sent in to that volunteer. I think that parents might be more apt to volunteer if they don’t think it’s going to be as big a job or they won’t be the only one, or else several volunteers so they can delegate… just saying.

20:11:10 From  Piper  to  Everyone : I’m willing to be part of a yearbook team.  I cannot do the formatting.  If there were other people to join me, I can work hard on the picture gathering and maybe some artwork…

20:11:52 From  Stacey Seifert  to  Everyone : Thank you, Piper!

20:12:00 From  Kathleen Phan  to  Everyone : Thank you Piper!!

20:12:18 From  Debbie (Emilia’s mom)  to  Everyone : Please see the link to the volunteer sign-up in the special edition newsletter that just went out.

20:12:27 From  Zack Cook  to  Everyone : Thank you, Piper!

20:12:41 From  Calvert, Lisa  to  Everyone : My class donated their proceeds from our 5th grade internal winter bazaar to Black Lives Matter, the Environmental Defense Fund, and refugee assistance in Ethiopia, their chosen causes. But they will want their yearbooks badly. They missed 4th and 5th grade camp. plays, talents night (including their only chance at MCing and backstage), their only chance to visit the state Capitol, and for sure in-person 5th grade panels. If they have to make the yearbooks themselves,

Spring events

Stacey – We sent out special edition of newsletter over weekend. Talent night is a go as long as we have volunteers, late April, depends on number of submissions. Expecting two evenings, may fall within one week or two weeks. Live stream event. Small amount of funds available for audio video editor, also need two on-site tech support. And anyone who can help go through videos. Put this into special edition newsletter and next newsletter coming up, have a little bit of budget, want to source community for anyone with experience. Will need to fill out paperwork. There will be book fair April 5-9. Some form of art walk towards end of year. Field day as well, Sue and Josh will work on field day instead of athletics skills (those go to talent night). No plan for science fair; if this is important to your student, hope someone steps up to lead this. This is all info that was in special edition, you can email volunteer email list to suggest additional ideas. All volunteers need to be current with their volunteer status through the district. If anyone has questions about their status, they may direct them to Elona and Shannon in the office.

Robyn (chat) – I’d be interested in volunteering for the Talent night… but just might want to talk to the head person in charge to know more about how it would look, and be “safe”…

Jessica W. – Not hearing more comments about update from Stacey. Did you have specific questions for group?

Stacey – Don’t think so. Want everyone to know there’s no plan for science fair. Said in special edition newsletter, will also be in regular newsletter. Want community to know that if this is important to your kid, just email us and we’ll help with that. 

K. C. P. (chat) – could science projects be presented at talents night?

Stacey – When we first talked about it, could we wrap science fair and art walk into one night? Combining with talent night might be too large – sometimes ~80 acts. Would definitely be more than 2 nights. Currently trying to build in movement breaks. Worried it would get really big. 

Robyn (chat) – Are there still the K/1 night and then 2-5th Grade grouped into two different nights, (Sorry if I missed if you already said this)

Tom P. (chat) – It actually was Pre-k – 1 night

Stacey – No, didn’t miss that, depends on number of submissions. Other things that came up – if you have students in both grade ranges, would you attend both evenings, or would you need more flexibility? That’s question for community, livestream viewing, probably could not be accessed later. Do you think parents would want to sit through two nights?

Courtney – Would do it if it was in person.

Jessica W. – Haven’t asked kids if they’d be willing to do more seesaw time for that.

Stacey – Will bring this info back to Rachel and see what additional questions you have.

Jessica W. – I’ll wrap that conversation up. Would appreciate everyone’s thoughts and feedback. Appreciate Stacey and Margaret stepping up and making that happen.

Additional chat pasted below:

20:20:27 From  Robyn Hodges  to  Everyone : If you know beforehand what approximate time it is that your child is going “on” (benefits of a virtual format) then that might help things where there are two separate grades represented?

20:20:43 From  Jacob  to  Everyone : Better to do one night, I think.

20:21:29 From  Robyn Hodges  to  Everyone : There is also something called “Flipgrid” which you can have the students record themselves doing it… and then you would just watch all the submissions as you’d have time as a family…

20:21:37 From  Robyn Hodges  to  Everyone : But it’s not the livestream…

20:23:44 From  Tammi Mack  to  Everyone : If needed for yearbooks:  Safely distanced photos at classroom supply pick ups?  Or at student’s home (In doorway, from at least 6 feet away, masked) by volunteer driver dropping off learning supplies if kids cannot come to supply pick up and a photo is needed another way?

20:23:45 From  k.c. potter de haan  to  Everyone : would this be a good use of SDOT grant?

Hand Washing Stations

Alexandra B. – Forgot to bring up question about hand washing stations for outdoor pre-K

Tom P. – At this point we’re looking at one hand washing station outdoors, $150, looking at using it in the future for kinders also. District had no money allocated for outdoor program, turning to parent group for outdoor wash station. 

Jessica W. – Same as earlier proposal for two washing stations?

Tom P. – Yes the same proposal, but dropped down to one.

Jessica W. – Discretionary spending (arts and expedition funds) were going to be available for that, got question from Dorothy about whether that’s the right way to pay for it, asked if there was another way to pay for that. Could be part of next budget review. Just know that funds for that are available from parent group, question is where in budget that will come from, fine to move forward to pay for that and plan to reimbursement down the line.

Tom P. -That’s great, thank you.

Kathleen – Think she had to leave, but wanted to thank Janna for organizing landscaping parties. Has a few more coming in spring, wonderful way to get outside and get fresh air, and now that we’re going into Phase 2 can have up to 15 folks. 

Jessica W. – Still adults only?

Kathleen – Yes

Elizabeth – Kind of fun without kids though!

Tom P. – Going to start in library area next


March 9, 2021, 6:30 – 8:30 pm (agenda)

Minutes

Attendees

School Staff Representatives:  Alexandra Benfield, Laurie Miller, Alissa West, Ben Conway, Jeanne Gleason, Dorothy Jacobsen, Jenny Stewart, Josh Colwell, Katie Zisserman, Laurie Macy, Shannon Westermann, Jennifer Sclafani, Tammi Mack

TC Parent Group Officers:  Beck Weinhold, Chelsea Lin, Elizabeth Duffell, Jacob Clark Blickenstaff, Jennifer Pinto, Jesica Avellone, Jessica Williams-Nguyen, Julie Shin, Karen Wirkala, Kathleen Phan, Roddy Theobald

Others: Aarav, Anna Marshall, Bailey, Caryn, Christie Robertson, Courtney Bell, Daniel Pensak, Deborah Hutchinson, Erica Seddig, Erin MacDougall, Gina Massoni, k.c. potter de haan, Karen Foxley, Leah Kumar, Leah Preston, Lisa Berman, Liz Benko, Melinda Roberts, Michele Campbell, Mike & Melissa Alexander, Molly & Will Duff, Sarah McVay, Sarah Tien, Tina Watkinson, Stacey Seifert

Minutes

Land, labor, and justice acknowledgements

We are proud to acknowledge that Thornton Creek School stands on the traditional territories of the Coast Salish people, in particular the Duwamish tribe, Seattle’s first people. They are the original caretakers of these lands and waters. We pay tribute to them and honor their knowledge and traditional culture. We also acknowledge the robust Indigenous communities made up of tribal diversity that originate from around the country, and whose journeys have brought them here and to other locations by ways of forced displacement or seeking opportunities. These communities continue to strengthen our city with their heritage, resilience, and tenacity. One way to support the Duwamish tribe by donating to Real Rent Duwamish. https://www.realrentduwamish.org/

We also acknowledge exploited labor, racist, heterosexist, ableist, xenophobic, religious, sexist, trans-antagonistic and other oppressive violence, and the ongoing struggle for justice on this land. We reflect on the ancestors of our various peoples, nations, tribes and families; ancestors whose struggles, pain, power, privilege and strivings we hold in our very bodies. We recognize, with gratitude, all those whose sacrifice, struggle and labor make our daily freedoms possible, and challenge us to learn, work and live justly. I also refer everyone to the statement I made in the November meeting regarding the work that Site Council has to do in making justice and equity a reality here. 

Thanks to the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research from whose statement some of the above was derived. 

February Site Council minutes

Jessica W. – One of the first things I’d like to do is approve the minutes from February. Minutes were sent out to the site council newsletter. If there are any necessary edits, please let us know. I’m not seeing anything, so we will consider those minutes acceptable and passed.

Jessica W. – Do we want to take five minutes to chat? Seeing some thumbs up, some ambivalent, so let’s go for it.

Brief overview: Budget process at Thornton Creek

Jessica W. – To help make sure everyone is on the same page, I thought it might be helpful to give an overview. SEE SLIDES: OVERVIEW OF THORNTON CREEK BUDGET PROCESS. At public schools in Seattle, the school building budgeting starts in Feb and goes through April. At TC and many other schools, parents also give money, TC parent group does its budgeting process from the end of March all the way through June. The budget processes are interconnected but separate. You will hear Alex and others talk about “building budget”. This comes from our tax dollars through the state, to districts, and is then allocated to each school building. First SPS Central Office predicts fall enrollment. This is turned into staffing allocations in late February. Once principals get those staffing allocations, the principal engages with school community in March. Already had a budget meeting last night. That info is brought to Building Leadership Team (BLT), including administrators, staff members who are represented by the teachers’ union. The BLT deliberates about the allocations and creates a budget (mid-March). There are a lot of rules from the district, so not much flexibility, but still can make some choices. Process is just a couple of weeks. Approved building budget is then submitted to SPS Central Office in late March. The Building Budget Calendar slide shows the calendar. After the process happens, updated enrollment projections are available, so changes to staffing allocation are possible. And then in the fall, staffing allocations are adjusted based on actual enrollment. Sometimes buildings lose staff, sometimes they gain staff.

That’s the building budget. For the TC Parent Group budgeting, at TC parents give money to supplement the building budget. In March, the principal meets with the TC Parent Group executive board to discuss gaps in the building budget. In April, the draft budget is prepared in consultation with the school budget and Site Council. That draft is presented in the April site meeting and published in the newsletter, and then in June, the proposed budget is presented and submitted for approval in the Site Council meeting. Ideally we would achieve consensus, and then only members of the TC parent group can actually vote on that budget. In the event that we are unable to achieve consensus, the bylaw states that a majority vote of the board can pass the budget.

For context, we spend a lot of time discussing the parent group budget, but it’s a small portion of the budget that supports the school (see District-Allocated and Family Dollars Combined). So, I just wanted to say that because it’s absolutely right that we should deliberate about how parent dollars are spent, but the amount of time we spend talking about it is not proportionate to the number of dollars required for the school to operate. 

Just to circle back, we are here in early March. The school budgeting process is underway. This is going to be the opportunity during the year that we as families can make our voices heard about the building budget to the extent that SPS rules about staffing gives TC flexibility. The TC parent group budgeting process will begin early next month, when it will be shared out with the community.

I see a question about whether there is a parent on the BLT. No, there are no parent reps on the BLT, though I know they are working on that. I’ll leave a couple minutes here if anyone has questions they want to ask. (chat question about racial equity lens in budget) No, we haven’t, but it would be great if someone has a specific tool they could recommend or who could offer their expertise. (chat question about BLT) I defer that question.

Alexandra B. – That would be a good segue to my portion. We are just coming off a training with some of our staff members about how your budget reflects a commitment to racial equity and how we fund different positions in our school. So we do. Thank you Jessica for the overview of the budgeting process.

Chat from this portion of meeting:

18:35:48 From  Jessica Williams-Nguyen  to  Everyone : Tonight’s agenda: https://docs.google.com/document/d/14Nkyu045rEa8kVeonTml9RaXiFzs4lHHin9lgcDOpqw/edit

Feb minutes:

https://docs.google.com/document/u/0/d/18rLlO8l6sl_RENw-4oQF5gTVMApj15BQFX-TxcWSAHE/edit

18:35:50 From  Anna Marshall  to  Everyone : Julie Shin, I knew you were untrustworthy. 🙂

18:37:44 From  Jacob  to  Everyone : I appreciate the acknowledgement of the anniversary.

18:41:45 From  Michele Campbell  to  Everyone : yes, chat!

18:42:00 From  Elizabeth (she/her)  to  Everyone : neutral!

18:54:00 From  Christie Robertson  to  Everyone : There is also a parent on the BLT, correct?

19:00:45 From  Jacob  to  Everyone : The TCPG budget is less than 5% of the total support to the school, for those who like ##.

19:01:10 From  Chelsea Lin  to  Everyone : This is so helpful, thank you!

19:01:11 From  Erica Seddig  to  Everyone : Thanks for the very precise overview, Jessica!

19:01:22 From  Christie Robertson  to  Everyone : Thanks so much for putting this togther!

19:01:29 From  Anna Marshall  to  Everyone : Great overview, Jessica!

19:02:04 From  k.c. potter de haan (she/her)  to  Everyone : Does the TCPG use a racial equity lens or tool when planning the budget?

19:02:29 From  Christie Robertson  to  Everyone : Or does the BLT do that?

Principal/staff updates 

  • School budgeting

Alexandra B. – If you were able to come to the meeting last night, thank you! I just sent a school messenger email to everybody to fill out the survey about our budget for the next school year. Current projections are ~60 students less, really impacting our number of positions. Talked at the meeting last night about 1-5 positions being cut based on enrollment, had a really great turnout at incoming tour. I just wanted to move onto a couple pieces.

  • TC leadership search

Alexandra B. – The surveys closed at the end of February where you ranked different qualities you were looking for. Meeting with Dr. Torres next week, BLT will work with the district on next steps. That starts this week, should hear more information next week.

  • Return to in-person learning

Alexandra B. – Not privy to all information, but were excited that we were coming to some agreement about special education intensive pathways and preschool, looking at a start date on March 29. Families still have full remote option. Currently have outdoor pilot with PreK program, looking to continue that, put months of work into pilot program. SEA will continue to negotiate the return of K-1 students next. 

Laurie Miller – We have spent the past few days walking the halls. Very close to getting a certificate with a smile. HVAC systems are top line, have arrows, have six feet, have sanitation stations at all entrances, are working with transportation about where to drop off students. Students will come in through the library door, staff through the main door, Pre-K outside by main street. Have signs everywhere, building will be ready, custodians are doing an amazing job, they are on it. We will be ready. The building is coming together, labor and industry has set up classrooms so desks are right distance, we are ready.

Alexandra B. – Some questions about bargaining about other grade levels, I can’t speak to other grade levels. Worked really hard just to get to this point of Pre-K and intensive pathways. 

  • Racial equity process

Alexandra B. – Continue to work with Dr. Felder to have an equity healing circle to meet with the community, we’re figuring out the logistics of how to create that feel with such a large community, but we’re excited about that. Dr. Joseph will be a resource for us in April and May, focus on implicit bias and white privilege, working more on implementation of how to take those ideas and implement them in our building. The work will be touching on as we go on.

  • Update from Seattle Education Association (Teachers’ union)

Alexandra B. – Staff, any other updates I’ve missed? I know we had Sari and a tech snafu.

Tammi M. – I know there were a lot of people very happy to sing with Sari, had to change link at last minute because live event wouldn’t let her join the way we hoped, hopefully we’ve worked out any glitches. So far seems like a lot of happy families who were happy to sing.

Alexandra B. – Yes, I thought it went well. We quickly pivoted, sent school email with different link, nice to see a lot of people on camera. Katie, am I missing any updates?

Katie Z. – I think that’s everything.

Alexandra B. – (in response to chat question about additional engagement opportunities in principal hiring process) No, no other engagement opportunities. Every school that is hiring got the same form and survey.

Jessica W. – So, the principal survey was the community’s opportunity to give feedback on the principal hire process?

Alexandra B. – Yes, at least that I’ve heard. They said, that was the engagement.

Jessica W. – Another question about return in fall?

Alexandra B. – I wish. I feel that hybrid is what we’re starting to discuss. When we are doing classroom configurations, if we are forced to have larger class sizes when classrooms can only hold 12-13 students, these are some of the questions we have. And we don’t know what the model will look like. They continue to say that no students have to be back in person, but they are really hoping to get all of our students back in the fall, I just don’t know about what model other than hybrid.

Jessica W. – Bargaining 2-5, any SEA members?

Tammi M. – What I can say as one of the SEA reps, they released a joint statement today on SPS website that SEA and SPS are committed to coming to an agreement soon, and they are jointly targeting March 29 for special education in intensive pathways and preschool, the agreement they are working on is just about those two populations, not kindergarten, not first grade, not grades 2-5. We haven’t heard about anything else at this point. Just focusing on those two to start.

Jessica W. – Do you expect they’ll bargain for those two groups and then move onto bargaining for other groups?

Tammi M. – I would guess so, it was a positive thing that this was a jointly released statement, so that was good.

Alexandra. B. – Just to end on a positive note, I received a few family emails about K and 1, if we wanted to change our vote from remote to in person can we change our vote? I can actually go in and change your vote, and that’s a nice thing for families to know, so you don’t have to stick with your choice. So, if you want to email and say “we’ve been thinking about it”, that flexibility is a nice piece.

Chelsea L. – Do you think that will stay flexible?

Alexandra B. – Perhaps once they have to figure out staffing arrangements, but for now it’s flexible.

Katie Z. – Distinct program families did get an email to confirm their choice when we thought we were going back this week, wouldn’t be surprised if that happens again.

Alexandra. B. – Yes, we would have to review those choices.

Elizabeth – Question about budget presentation from last night. They are projecting 50 fewer students last year than we have currently, and I know we lost about 10 from projection to actual this year. Where are they getting that number? Coming from people’s actual choices?

Alexandra B. – Statisticians create those numbers.

Jessica W. – Black box to me, maybe someone in this meeting has a better idea? I’m not even sure what the inputs are.

Alexandra B. – To go on what Anna asked, there are major drops across the whole district, why some schools are losing over 8 FTEs. Actually, neighborhood schools are hit harder when I’ve looked at the numbers. It’s pretty staggering. Stacey comment – The district isn’t regularly surveying families.

Stacey S. – Last survey we received was last spring or summer.

Alexandra B. – Principal question at last meeting: are we going to survey parents again soon? Because things have changed. 

Jessica W. – Lots of volatility in these estimates, but hiring and staff movement is going to hinge on this, but we don’t know what’s going to happen. Opportune moment to advocate to state representative; School budgeting looks like this because SPS has no wiggle room in its budget, district has to run with efficiency of Fortune 500 company, legislature could provide more money during this crisis, we can advocate to legislators. 

Alexandra B. – We are reading all the results and where families are placing priorities, plan to be creative, we will make it work, we encourage you to fill it out.

Jessica W. – Would it be reasonable to paste link to survey in the chat? 

Alexandra B. – Yes

Jessica W. – In the chat there is a link to the survey about school building budget priorities. 

Alexandra B. – Have almost 50 back at this point, we’re really focused on building racial equity work as staff and safe/welcoming environment and connecting to some of our values at TC. Thank you!

JEssica W. – Question about reaching families that don’t engage in established channels?

Alexandra. B. – Everything I send to you I send to staff, so some teachers asked to re-forward and get this information to families. If you have other suggestions for how to engage beyond this, I’m more than happy to do that.

Jessica W. – Question about connection between equity framework and role of survey?

Alexandra B. – One form of engagement was open-form conversation, another was just for collecting information from families who attended, a survey is just one method when we aren’t able to gather in person. Email me if you have other suggestions or a better way to engage beyond open forums.

Jessica W. – Take a look at the survey and see what you think. Really commend you, Alex, about framing this around equity goals.

Alexandra B. – Trying not to go traditional route, heard a lot of feedback about not just saying we’re taking a racial equity lens. Michelle, K.C., if you have other suggestions please let me know.

Chat from this portion of meeting:

19:06:28 From  Anna Marshall  to  Everyone : Was that survey by the district the ONLY engagement of the family community around what we’re hoping for?

19:07:30 From  Anna Marshall  to  Everyone : What are you hearing about the fall in terms of full-time return?

19:08:36 From  Mike & Melissa Alexander  to  Everyone : What’s the bargaining plan for 2-5?

19:09:59 From  Anna Marshall  to  Everyone : Thank you for your work to prepare the building!

19:12:49 From  Elizabeth (she/her)  to  Everyone : we were singing the songs all week at our house, thank you!

19:13:40 From  Anna Marshall  to  Everyone : Other engagement opportunities for hiring process?

19:21:22 From  Anna Marshall  to  Everyone : Are our dipping enrollment numbers on par with other schools?

19:21:59 From  Jacob  to  Everyone : It hasn’t been very accurate over the last several years.

19:22:16 From  Stacey Seifert  to  Everyone : They also aren’t regularly surveying families.

19:22:36 From  jens  to  Everyone : View Ridge is losing 100

19:23:00 From  Leah Preston  to  Everyone : must be going private

19:23:46 From  Sarah McVay  to  Everyone : Families are also just moving out of SPS

19:24:26 From  Leah Preston  to  Everyone : ah. don’t have to live close to work.

19:24:52 From  Sarah McVay  to  Everyone : Yup, some folks have been made permanently remote.

19:26:08 From  Benfield, Alexandra M  to  Everyone : https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=WNEx1HRgMkiHg1Hqb23SJ2uqi8pWilFNkdSzO5K_BlhUM1dMN0VPVzQ1V05MUTMyRjJDRVNNRUs5Ry4u

19:26:39 From  k.c. potter de haan (she/her)  to  Everyone : Alex, is it worth recognizing that the data collected in the survey won’t gather data from the whole community?

19:26:46 From  Liz  to  Everyone : is any effort being made to get the survey to families that don’t engage in established communication channels?

19:28:04 From  Michele Campbell  to  Everyone : If we are focused on an Equity framework for making budget decisions can you explain what role a survey plays?

19:30:32 From  Liz  to  Everyone : thanks Alex

19:30:41 From  Michele Campbell  to  Everyone : thanks Alex!

Committee updates

  • Fundraising, Annual Appeal results

Kathleen P. – SLIDE LINK HERE. So, Jen and I from the fundraising committee want to wrap up our work from the year and national trends. Both of us are fundraisers in our profession, and we thought there were some interesting trends about how people are focusing their philanthropy. Pulled this from CASE and national leadership center. One thing they said is not to shy away from philanthropy: set goals, continue to reach out. Sometimes we worry that people won’t want to give, but we want to continue to encourage people to support places they feel connected to. National percentage of households giving has gone down, but those who are giving are giving more. Fascinating trend: those in position to give are leaning in and giving more. Also, having gone digital, there’s been a 36% increase in online giving, lots of newsletters and pushes. Finally, 25% of Americans say they will give to different organizations responding to COVID-19.

Jen – In February we hadn’t quite had all totals come in, but thanks to Jacob, we have a very strong figure of almost $71,857 which is 82% of our goal of $87,500. Matching gift total is $11,600 from companies like Microsoft. Saw participation drop, but to get to 82% gifts were higher. And not just parents; teacher, grandparents give too. Very strong turnout in very difficult year. Also surveyed as part of private school where I work: participation down, total giving up, $87,500 is half of what we would normally go for, we accumulated a good amount of money to put into parent group coffers. Thank you everyone! Probably won’t do more reports out, no plans to do more this spring, but we are calling this year good. 

Jessica W. – May inch closer to our goal by the end of the year.

Kathleen P. – Certainly don’t want to discourage anyone from giving, PayPal is up through the end of the year.

  • Yearbook

Jessica W. – I think this was in the newsletter, but wanted to report out to community. Discussed whether yearbook was good use of resources, last time came to decision to do survey of parents, and we did do that. 70% of respondents were in support of doing yearbook this year, so we did move forward with that. I’ll start with that and hand it over to Sarah Tien.

Sarah T. – I don’t know exactly what to say, I do have a full team of volunteers, so thank you. Hoping to reach out tomorrow to recruit photos and ideas. We have a shorter book contract, about half the size, not sure how flexible that is. I’ll be really careful and responsive for that. Inclusion of everyone is the #1 priority, but then creativity after that. Hoping to get some expedition work in there, have a creative team to work on that. Everyone is in a different spot, hoping teachers can help contribute to this, and I’m happy to answer questions. yearbook@thorntoncreek.org is the address.

Jessica W. – Reach out to Sarah if you want to help or have ideas. Did get actual numbers from survey – 77% of respondents said they wanted yearbook this year. We’ll talk a little more about how to pay for those books in the budget conversation later in the agenda.

  • Talent Nights

Stacey S. -Talent night will be April 23-24, probably two night event, submissions are a google form. Those are trickling in, a little slow, just got word out through room parents and special edition newsletter and site council newsletter. 2nd grade is leading the way so far. Rachel Nelson-Knecht is working out the details. This will likely be an edited video that will be viewable over a 24-48 hour period, when convenient for your family. Currently asking for volunteers. Rachel has someone for editing content, but will also need more technical support: people who can help with video submissions, if families have questions about how to create the videos, on-spot tech support for that weekend. Also needs people to review the videos. There is a sign-up genius for volunteers in the newsletters, or email volunteer@thorntoncreek.org. All volunteers need to be current on their application process. Our school is due this year for a lot of those renewals. If you have any questions, you may contact Shannon and Elona in the office.

Jessica W. – Questions in chat: stop-motion video as talent? Or to broaden that, any specific criteria?

Stacey S. – In the past, talent is something performed on stage: magic, etc. Might want to ask Rachel. 

Jessica W. – Also in chat, is athletic skills happening?

Stacey S. – Athletic Skills Night is not scheduled, as it’s too close on the calendar and similar to Talents Night. But if we had 150 kids want to share their athletic skills, then we would have to look at alternatives. Sue and Josh are not able to manage it because they are leading Field Day. Rachel Nelson-Knecht is also not able to take it on, so we would need a new volunteer lead.  Questions about Talents Night, please email talentnight@thorntoncreek.org.

Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) grant funds

Jessica W. – Tristan is not here, so let me just ask if there is anyone who can give a brief update on the status of that? Thought it was still pending, might be a change on how that will be spent, but it’s not finalized.

Michele C. – Yes, it’s not finalized, but we’re looking to spend the money in different ways, perhaps not on a bike rack, but putting the money towards COVID.

Jessica W. – One idea was signage for meal sites, etc. Thanks to everyone who is helping to re-direct that.

Chat for this portion of meeting: 

19:36:57 From  Mike & Melissa Alexander  to  Everyone : Thank you Kathleen and Jen!

19:37:13 From  Chelsea Lin  to  Everyone : Thank you both!

19:37:14 From  Jacob  to  Everyone : So appreciate your work on fundraising this year!

19:38:42 From  Jacob  to  Everyone : Monthly contributions will continue to come in, and some corporate match organizations only distribute one time per quarter.

19:38:58 From  Jacob  to  Everyone : We’re only counting $$ that we have actually received.

19:39:26 From  karenf  to  Everyone : Go Sarah!

19:39:33 From  Kathleen Phan  to  Everyone : Thank you Jacob! We can do a school year end report out.

19:39:55 From  Sharon’s iPhone  to  Everyone : Thank you Sarah!

19:39:57 From  Julie Shin  to  Everyone : Thank you Sarah!

19:41:06 From  Kathleen Phan  to  Everyone : Thank you Sarah! Much appreciated.

19:41:15 From  Jessica Williams-Nguyen  to  Everyone : yearbook@thorntoncreek.org

19:44:13 From  karenf  to  Everyone : Random question – would a stop motion video my kid made count as a Talent? We haven’t participated in years past, but that’s something he’s into.

19:45:21 From  Jessica Williams-Nguyen  to  Everyone : volunteer@thorntoncreek.org

19:45:23 From  Jesica Avellone (she/her)  to  Everyone : Is Athletic Skills night potentially happening, or should kids who want to show an athletic skill sign up for Talents Night?

19:46:51 From  karenf  to  Everyone : Thanks Stacey!

19:47:36 From  Ben Conway  to  Everyone : Missing my art house films, that sounds awesome!

19:47:45 From  karenf  to  Everyone : 🙂

19:48:10 From  karenf  to  Everyone : COVID Parkour!

19:48:14 From  Melinda Roberts  to  Everyone : talentnight@thorntoncreek.org is a good email for questions

19:48:22 From  Jessica Williams-Nguyen  to  Everyone : talentnight@thorntoncreek.org (Rachel)

Budget revision

Jessica W. – Last item on the agenda is on budget for THIS year for TC parent group. Earlier I was discussing process for next year’s budget. 

Jacob – This is one of the places where our org has some flexibility, even though we’re contributing 5% to the school, we don’t have to allocate to staffing, etc. so have some flexibility. Last fall, we weren’t sure what was happening with hourly tutors, kept that money in the budget. So, what I have to chat through at the moment, based on what we have coming in this year and what we’ve been spending, going to share my screen. SLIDES.

Just heard about annual appeal, quite successful, but not as successful as we’d budgeted. Had Scrip funding in budget, didn’t come through. Also, yearbook is a planned pass-through. So, receiving $42,950 less than expected. But on the flip side, we’d saved $50,000 on hourly tutors that hasn’t been spent. Spent $2800/$7500 allocated to music, put yearbook in budget, also allocated $4000 for “one-off requests” that teachers can request to use for rest of year. Other things; we made decision to hire accountant to support filing of taxes, committees have not been spending nearly as much money as they would typically, largest expense was parent education that TC parent group paid for entirely. In all, spent $56,150 less than budgeted. That said, we had significant planned draw on reserves, so could plan to hold this money for next year. Or if there’s a sense that we could add some of this money in to support community, we could do that. Only caution is that we need to support our non-profit status about serving community of Thornton Creek school and not food support, housing, etc.

Jessica W. – Encourage people to ask questions, we really do want folks to be able to share their opinions about whether revising the budget right now is the right step. The first step in that is to ask any clarifying questions you have. And if you have questions/comments about suggested re-doing of budget lines that Jacob talked about.

Jacob – See Christie’s comment about encountering more unexpected expenses next year. Likely yes, but see our role as responding to requests from BLT. When teachers tell us what their priorities are and we tell them our priorities, we come to an agreement about what our priorities are. Question about draw on savings: draw on savings estimated to be $150,000; might be able to reduce that by $15,000. I don’t have the exact remaining reserves after this, but my plan at the time would be to maintain at least three-quarters of annual budget so we could run a program for next year with relatively weak fundraising.

Jessica W. – In chat, reminder that interventionists are on list of FTE to cut next year, as well as point that there will be plenty of need next year.

Jacob – Discussion this year was to keep interventionists at current hours after district cut, made revision to do this back in October. Question about ukelele: my recollection is that was mostly supported by class fee or combo of class fee and parent group, in prior years spent $15,000 on vocal music and $10,000 on instrumental music. Class fees would be decision of principal and district.

Jessica W. – Understanding is that class fees will be on specific ask basis, i.e., if class wants to do specific activity they can collect class fees, as opposed to the norm in the past was to calculate this ahead of time and collect class fees at the outset of the year. Question about whether our donation to Right Now Needs Fund aligns with our organizational mission and tax-exempt status.

Jacob – This is one of those places where tax law is not my specialty, have been working with tax attorney because different kinds of non-profits have different statuses. My understanding – what is the primary purpose of your 510c3, and are you spending funds on that purpose. Not sure there’s a definite percent, it’s more that we want to be spending the lion’s share of our funds on things that our non-profit status says. I wasn’t concerned about donating to an entity that supports the school or SPS, I was getting concerned about folks advocating for rental support, housing support to individual families, felt like that got outside our purpose. As for helping hands, we donated majority of stock of gift cards, haven’t gotten another request from school.

Jessica W. – Have not gotten another request for additional gift cards, did get some questions with some families with housing insecurity if moratorium on evictions was lifted, would say that was about as far as that conversation went. I understand that’s a small number of families impacted but a large number of dollars per family to positively impact that. It’s kind of a hard one, honestly, with regards to the process to understanding the scale of need versus our ability to meet that need. Don’t know if it’s up to us as a community for us to come up with criteria for when they would approach us again.

Jacob – Don’t know the answer to how helping hands was envisioned.

Jessica W. – Pretty informal, some families who gave to parent group with the understanding that the money would be used by the school to fill these needs.

Elizabeth – Just thinking about one idea for a future appeal would be a fund that was directly restricted to that so families would know when they were giving towards that as opposed to directly contributing to their kids’ educations. 

Jacob – Would be a good idea to add restrictions for fundraising, would add some paperwork to remember that treasurer to treasurer, etc.

K.C. – Can speak to start of helping hands, which was part of scrip. Counselor would reach out with need, families could buy scrip cards to meet that need, hand them over to Christina, and she would hand them over to families in need.

Jacob – So never would have been part of TC budgeting, would have been families buying scrip cards to support other families.

Jessica W. – I do think there was a small amount in the TC bank account for helping hands.

Jacob – We will write a check for somebody and a parent will not deposit it, so sometimes money will get allocated that way.

Elizabeth – Karen, anything you’ve learned from other PTAs you’ve been talking with?

Karen – This is really tricky to do, people will come to counselors with a need, and it’s not like there’s a script to do this, so it’s a really difficult situation and I’ve heard a lot lately about trying to meet needs another way. Just because resources are there doesn’t mean it’s helpful to everybody. It’s not just us having this conversation, it’s happening at other schools, but did offer at PTA and didn’t hear back either, so I don’t think there was a big ask.

Jacob – Not hearing a lot of people advocating for new spending, and unlike the school that cannot roll over funds, we can keep money in the bank and use it next year. So, if we don’t spend $13,000 this year we will have it next year. I feel comfortable having funds for one-off requests and then I have not taken anything out of any other categories, had another $5000 for community support, could be a way to spend on local family needs, but open to hearing any other conversation.

Jessica W. – Do you want to share that again? As a non-profit, we also can’t have an unlimited amount of money in our savings, but we are nowhere near that limit.

Jacob – The place I was just talking about is the “One-off request” line, $4000. Might not get more than $1000 in requests (like hand washing station for outdoor preschool), so this net could get a little bigger if these expenses don’t get any larger.

Jessica W. – Now that the numbers are in front of you, any additional thoughts?

Kathleen P. – That extra $5000 in helping hands fund is still up for discussion?

Jacob – Yes, I haven’t taken that out, remains allocated as is. 

Elizabeth – Discussed at prior meeting that if we didn’t find another solution it would go to the right now needs fund.

Kathleen P. – Feel very strongly about spending that money this year, should we put some parameters round it?

Elizabeth – I think we said May?

Kathleen P. – One argument with schools in session now, it feels timely.

Chelsea L. – In that meeting, it came up that we were discussing an equity framework for spending this money or any money, and I know that’s something that’s important, and I don’t have any idea – surely there are people in our community and school who have more education or models that we could borrow for that. I don’t want to forget that point, but don’t know how to go about prioritizing that point. 

Michele C. – Alex was mentioning right after Site Council budget framework that BLT has a framework, and that they just did a four-part series about the racial equity analysis tool. I think that’s what they’re going to be using for the equity framework. 

Chelsea L. – Thank you for clarifying that for me, maybe once people in the building are educated on that, maybe they can fill us in.

Jessica W. – Getting towards the end, just to bring us back to that budget revision, about the $50,000 on hourly tutors, this would go to different places, some would go into reserves, any comments on that?

Ben C. – Can’t speak for BLT, but Christie Robertson posted the tool in the link.

Jessica W. – If there are no additional comments about the revision, I should make a little poll 

Dorothy – To clarify, you are asking us to vote on whether staff can come forward with requests to use those funds?

Jessica W. – I think what Jacob and I are both envisioning is things that come up for school staff that they need to finish out the year. For example, we’ve gotten a request from OT to put a hand brake on a bike for a student, didn’t have a line for that specifically, this would cover it. I’m going to ask that only members of TC Parent Group (parent/guardian of TC student) vote on this, not staff. Looks like this was unanimous, so we’ll make those changes for this budget year. Thank you for participating in this conversation, and we look forward to entering the budget conversation for next year with the parent group. Just want to say that I appreciate the conversation about using an equity tool in these conversations and would appreciate your feedback about how to make that real and not just a checkbox. I know that I and the people I’m working with want to make that a real effort, so please know that you will be welcome if you want to be in the room for those conversations.

Satcha – I didn’t attend the budget session last night, but did receive the survey. Some of the questions were so specific, didn’t feel like I had the information to answer that. Did Alex outline some of the priorities in last night’s meeting? Are the options on the survey what we’re choosing from?

Jessica W. – Worried I won’t succinctly summarize, but projected to lose two classrooms FTE, which affect both classroom teachers and specialty teachers. Don’t feel like I walked away with a good understanding of what scenarios BLT is considering, so want to open it up. 

Melissa – Maybe Alex should share her slides that went with the survey, offered some side-by-side comparisons, people would need to see all the information on those slides to respond to that survey.

Jessica W. – It’s a pretty substantial impact, I am hopeful that we will hear more about how lemons can be made from that lemonade, didn’t feel like I had a good understanding of what would be cut. One thing she did discuss last night was class sizes vs. interventionists. Interventionists are certified teachers, FTE can be used to pay for them, so there’s a direct trade-off with class size. 

Satcha – Thank you, it’s a really tough time. 

Gina M. – Concerns about why there are multiple newsletters and disconnect in communications with emails from principal with no branding, newsletter, etc. We need to find a way to simplify it. How is that serving equity?

Jessica W. – I hear what you’re saying, there are a bunch of different things going on, that feedback is really important. With all of these written communication channels, there are families in our community that aren’t getting any of these, streamlining is not related to any of them, and streamlining for people who are reading it is also important. That is very valid and helpful feedback.

Gina M. – If there’s one source of information, it’s a lot easier to help people find that information.

Jessica W. – I agree with that, I think the tool is going through a lot of changes, this will be a good time to make this work for families as best they can. Appreciate the feedback, different intricacies to think about, there will be space to make this as good as it can be. Need to work with what we have.

Gina M. – If Alex is using one system and won’t put PTA or parent group messages in her stuff, I don’t see the levers for how it will change.

Jessica W. – I can’t change it, but as a school community and Alex in the office, we can make different decisions about that. You’re welcome to reach out to Alex.

Gina M. – Got the same response 

Chelsea L. – You are not the only one with these concerns, we’ve had many meetings behind the scenes, and the bottom line is that everything is really messy right now. I think it’s valuable for Alex to hear from families this way. We get a report of who opens the newsletter, but it’s the first year we’ve done it this way and it’s a growing process, so I’m hoping it will get better. I do think we need to provide families with as much lead time as possible for events like the budget meeting last night.

Gina M. – And the singing with Sari and the whole-school meeting. In my dream, I would get one update from the school each week, so I’d know which version was current.

Jessica W. – It was a little more like that in the past, but with some changes and other issues it has become more fractured, but maybe we can get back to that.

Jennifer S. – I don’t disagree, but I have one kid at Eckstein and another at Roosevelt, and I do get separate principal and PTA emails. Sometimes there will be a message in one of the other ones, but I do receive messages from both schools on a regular basis.

K.C. – I think a separation of school-led activities and parent-led activities was a district directive. I think the decision for monthly principal updates was made by Doug before he left.

Jessica W. – I believe that was more related to finances, newsletter was not mentioned in audit that I know of. 

Gina M. – Would be good to sort this out with potential principal change.

Jessica W. – Also doesn’t help that we’re constantly planning things and they’re happening immediately, definitely a function of being pressed for time.

Gina M. – She didn’t record the presentation last night, didn’t provide slides, only 20+ people on the call, we know there are hundreds of families in our school.

Chat from this portion of meeting:

19:56:18 From  Christie Robertson  to  Everyone : I wonder if we might encounter more unexpected expenses next year.

19:57:24 From  Anna Marshall  to  Everyone : Thank you, Jacob!

19:57:55 From  Chelsea Lin  to  Everyone : Jacob, can you remind us how much money we borrowed from reserves?

19:58:20 From  jens  to  Everyone : Interventionists are on the list of FTE to be cut

19:59:01 From  Anna Marshall  to  Everyone : Based on budget discussion at school level, there will be PLENTY of need next year. Anything we can save this year, at this point, will be welcome then.

20:00:45 From  Leah Preston  to  Everyone : the current 3rd graders never got ukulele. Could they have it in 4th? How much would that cost?

20:01:27 From  Mike & Melissa Alexander  to  Everyone : Are class fees done for good?

20:01:48 From  Michele Campbell  to  Everyone : Can you explain how you were able to give to the right now needs fund with the non profit status you explained? are there percentages to keep in mind?

20:02:18 From  Michele Campbell  to  Everyone : Do we know if helping hands needs to be replenished?

20:02:27 From  Mike & Melissa Alexander  to  Everyone : thanks! we did this for expedition fees vis school pay for 4th grade

20:07:04 From  Elizabeth (she/her)  to  Everyone : was helping hands established as a separate fund originally (that parents could give directly to?)

20:07:46 From  karenf  to  Everyone : I’ve been talking to a lot of PTA’s, this is really tricky.

20:07:58 From  Michele Campbell  to  Everyone : Thanks for that info!

20:08:37 From  Tammi Mack  to  Everyone : Nova Knows the full history

20:11:08 From  karenf  to  Everyone : We would also need to also make sure the school has bandwidth / ability to manage & liaise for those needs.

20:21:34 From  Liz  to  Everyone : waiting until May isn’t a bad idea. many school communities are less active over summer and it’s unclear if meal support will be in place so ensuring that families with summer need have resources is a good idea

20:22:32 From  Christie Robertson  to  Everyone : It looks like SPS uses that tool as well https://www.seattleschools.org/departments/department_of_racial_equity_advancement__drea_/racial_equity_analysis_tool

20:23:45 From  Elizabeth (she/her)  to  Everyone : thank you!

20:23:46 From  Chelsea Lin  to  Everyone : Thanks for sharing!

20:24:00 From  k.c. potter de haan (she/her)  to  Everyone : Thanks Christie and Ben!

20:24:21 From  Elizabeth (she/her)  to  Everyone : my only comment after hearing the budget presentation last night is that next year will be hard and reserves will be useful

20:24:37 From  Gina Massoni (she/her)  to  Everyone : +1 to what Elizabeth said

20:24:54 From  Christie Robertson  to  Everyone : Agreed. I favor keeping reserves for next year.

20:25:09 From  Jacob  to  Everyone : Thank you for the link, and for the comments.

20:25:19 From  jens  to  Everyone : I too favor re-stocking the reserves

20:26:46 From  karenf  to  Everyone : Thank you Jacob for the helpful presentation & summaries!

20:26:57 From  Jacob  to  Everyone : You are welcome!

20:27:51 From  Jacob  to  Everyone : I appreciate you all making your voices heard.

20:28:39 From  Michele Campbell  to  Everyone : Thanks Jessica!

20:28:49 From  karenf  to  Everyone : Satcha’s hand is up

20:28:52 From  k.c. potter de haan (she/her)  to  Everyone : Thanks Jessica

20:30:09 From  k.c. potter de haan (she/her)  to  Everyone : There were slides – maybe she would share them?

20:30:16 From  Mike & Melissa Alexander  to  Everyone : Maybe alex should share her slides

20:30:35 From  Caryn  to  Everyone : Stephanie Barnes and I did meet and discussed the $5000. We will circle back around to the other subcommittee members about our thinking. Sorry to drop that ball for a while.

20:30:46 From  jens  to  Everyone : My interpretation is Alex just put her “best guess” priorities on the survey but let the box “other” for families to write in their own

20:31:01 From  Jacob  to  Everyone : Thanks, Caryn.

20:31:33 From  Gina Massoni (she/her)  to  Everyone : Losing 2.5 teacher FTEs, .5 librarian, .1 nurse, .5 PCP, 2.1 interventionists.

20:31:42 From  Jacob  to  Everyone : I need to sign off. Please send questions to me at treasurer@thorntoncreek.org

20:31:48 From  karenf  to  Everyone : Gina shared a good summary ^

20:32:14 From  Gina Massoni (she/her)  to  Everyone : I wish she had recorded the presentation.

20:32:28 From  Chelsea Lin  to  Everyone : She did discuss doing the presentation again…

20:33:26 From  Tammi Mack  to  Everyone : And they are FABULOUS!! (our interventionists)

20:34:03 From  Satcha Graham  to  Everyone : definitely!

20:34:06 From  Elizabeth (she/her)  to  Everyone : agree, Tammi. They make a huge difference for a lot of kids.

20:35:04 From  Kathleen Phan  to  Everyone : Thank you, Jessica! Good to ‘see’ you all.

20:35:05 From  Mike & Melissa Alexander  to  Everyone : thanks all!

20:35:10 From  Christie Robertson  to  Everyone : Thanks so much Jessica.

20:35:11 From  Satcha Graham  to  Everyone : thank you!

20:35:11 From  Anna Marshall  to  Everyone : So much gratitude for you, Jessica, and this group.

20:35:13 From  Chelsea Lin  to  Everyone : Thanks Jessica, Jacob and all of you!

20:35:16 From  Courtney Bell  to  Everyone : Thank you!!

20:35:18 From  k.c. potter de haan (she/her)  to  Everyone : Thanks Jessica!

20:35:19 From  Tammi Mack  to  Everyone : Thanks Jessica, Jacob and Everyone for all you do for our school and kiddos!

20:36:43 From  Chelsea Lin  to  Everyone : Gina, bottom line is Alex can reach everyone, but both P

20:36:54 From  Chelsea Lin  to  Everyone : TA and TCPG have to subscribe

20:36:56 From  karenf  to  Everyone : Right – parent group messages you have to opt in.

20:38:03 From  Tina Watkinson  to  Everyone : makes me think of accessibility and equity

20:38:38 From  Tammi Mack  to  Everyone : Please parents, give your kids an extra big hug from all of the teachers…we miss every one of them!!

20:38:46 From  karenf  to  Everyone : Thanks Tammi! 🙂

20:39:06 From  Kathleen Phan  to  Everyone : We miss you too Tammi!!!

20:39:16 From  Mike & Melissa Alexander  to  Everyone : And they miss their teachers tremendously! thank you teachers!

20:39:56 From  Mike & Melissa Alexander  to  Everyone : School Messenger is a District communication that Alex is following

20:40:05 From  Mike & Melissa Alexander  to  Everyone : or using I mean

20:41:15 From  karenf  to  Everyone : I think I do hear from you Gina though that families need more lead time

20:42:01 From  Chelsea Lin  to  Everyone : This is the first year we’ve done things this way, and it’s been a wonky year, so I’m hopeful it will look more functional next year

20:47:32 From  k.c. potter de haan (she/her)  to  Everyone : Thanks for the feedback Gina

20:48:45 From  karenf  to  Everyone : Good night all! Thanks!


April 20, 2021, 6:30 – 8:30 pm (agenda)

Minutes

Attendees

School Staff Representatives:  Alexandra Benfeild, Laurie Miller, Katie Zisserman, Melissa Walsh, Mim Turnbull, Josh Colwell, Maria Callahan, Kristen Eason, Jennifer Lowe, Kerri, Jeremy, Laurie Macy, Lisa Calvert

TC Parent Group Officers:  Jessica Williams-Nguyen, Elizabeth Duffell, Jacob Blickenstaff, Chelsea Lin, Jennifer Schlobohm, Beck Weinhold, Kathleen Phan, Jennifer Pinto, Jesica Avellone, Julie Shin, Karen Wirkala

Others: Liz Benko, Courtney Bell, Erica Seddig, C Pizana, Roddy Theobald, Karen Foxley, Sarah McVay, Kaori Tanaka, Lisa Berman, Anna Marshall, Jac de Haan, Christie Robertson, Stacey Seifert, Erin MacDougall, k.c. potter de haan, Lisa Berman, Margaret, Melinda Roberts, Michele Campbell, Sally, Sarah, Shannon, Sharon, Sophia, Tristan Osborn, LM

Minutes

Land acknowledgement

We are proud to acknowledge that Thornton Creek School stands on the traditional territories of the Coast Salish people, in particular the Duwamish tribe, Seattle’s first people. They are the original caretakers of these lands and waters. We pay tribute to them and honor their knowledge and traditional culture. We also acknowledge the robust Indigenous communities made up of tribal diversity that originate from around the country, and whose journeys have brought them here and to other locations by ways of forced displacement or seeking opportunities. These communities continue to strengthen our city with their heritage, resilience, and tenacity. One way to support the Duwamish tribe by donating to Real Rent Duwamish. https://www.realrentduwamish.org/

Labor and justice acknowledgement

We also acknowledge exploited labor, racist, heterosexist, ableist, xenophobic, religious, sexist, trans-antagonistic and other oppressive violence, and the ongoing struggle for justice on this land. We reflect on the ancestors of our various peoples, nations, tribes and families; ancestors whose struggles, pain, power, privilege and strivings we hold in our very bodies. We recognize, with gratitude, all those whose sacrifice, struggle and labor make our daily freedoms possible, and challenge us to learn, work and live justly. The wording of this statement comes from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

Jessica W. – Want to acknowledge that this is a particularly emotional day due to the conclusion of the trial in Minneapolis. I want to point to our statement in November about work to do. One thing to do to support people of color is to support Black Lives Matter King County, we’ll put the website in the chat. https://blacklivesseattle.org/

Chat time: Breakout rooms 

Chat from this part of meeting:

18:32:29 From  Anna Marshall  to  Everyone : Finishing dinner and then will turn camera on. 🙂

18:32:58 From  Mim Turnbull, 5th grade teacher  to  Everyone : Yes, me too!  So nice to have this sunny weather!

18:34:44 From  Elizabeth (she/her)  to  Everyone : realrentduwamish.org

18:36:14 From  Elizabeth (she/her)  to  Everyone : https://blacklivesseattle.org/

18:45:22 From  Jessica Williams-Nguyen  to  Everyone : https://docs.google.com/document/d/1CndejGOoTJYNg3y5qR796tc6fpYUGgyy9bHI8NUIET4/edit

18:45:45 From  Maria Callahan  to  Everyone : Thank you for that small time to chat. It was just lovely.

Principal/staff updates 

Alexandra B. – Before we started today, I was also watching the guilty verdict for Derek Chauvin today. There was an email sent from the Office of Public Affairs, sending out resources to support you in talking to students about this trial and the work that needs to be done. I will put out a statement or highlight some of the resources that teachers will be using with students.

Return-to-building update

Alexandra B. – Over 80% of students returned to building, 20% are still full remote. Started this journey a week before Spring Break, and now are pivoting and adjusting. We have a designated health and safety building committee; looking at protocols and tweaking to make necessary changes. Looking at traffic flow, just had one crossing guard in morning, traffic flow at crossing at 40th and 80th was bad, so staff member was assigned to that corner. Dropoff and pickup have been going well overall, 77th and 80th has been a problem when people park on opposite side of street and motion for kids to cross the street for pickup. If you can meet outside of fences, that would be great, want to make sure everyone is as safe as possible. Also waiting for six foot spacing stickers from district, but moved some lines by bus loop to make sure that students are more spaced apart.

Laurie M. – Two teachers brought students out to mark six feet apart and decorate their own spot. And inside the building now that all the dots are there, teachers are making sure students stand on a dot. Also, instead of walking in front of class, they are walking beside or behind class to make sure kids aren’t walking in clusters. Outside, we made some adjustments to create more space. We feel that is going better.

Alexandra B. – We were reviewing some of the COVID protocols, met with staff on Monday. If there is a case in a classroom, there is a COVID supervisor and contact nurse who contacts principal. Don’t disclose student’s name, just classroom. They then contact teacher, who goes through measures that have been taken, then loop back with me. We do want to make this as anonymous as possible. The letter gets sent out to parents and staff, and then the student needs to quarantine or remain at home for 10 days. The rest of the classroom can resume, but if there’s another case within 14 days, that’s when the pod would need to quarantine at home. If there’s just one case, the class can continue as normal. 

Remote learning update

Alexandra B. – Also, we received some questions about remote instruction. How is remote instruction working if teacher is teaching an in-person cohort. Can one of the teachers fill in on this?

Maria C. – I can speak to specialists. We are only teaching kids when they are home, so it’s a really good time both for kids who are in school for part of the day and for kids who are home all day to learn together. The link for those classes is on the Art/PE/Library page on Seesaw. We’d love to see your kids.

Jennifer L. – I teach 1st grade. I’m teaching in-person morning and afternoon. I’m assigning workpages on seesaw with a reading log, and math activity, and that’s their asynchronous work for my first graders. As we get more towards expedition, I’ll add more to that, but that’s the basic idea.

Laurie M. – I teach 5th grade. I teach a morning and afternoon cohort as well. We have asynchronous work, usually on a subject not covered in person. They are also doing some reading at home. We are doing a lot of math at school with that contact with each other, and they are doing some science at home. Students are expected to do things rigorously at home and at school, and it’s working really well.

Alexandra B. – As a reminder on Wednesday, there’s a 30 minute morning meeting and a 30 minute ELA time, but all PD (professional development) has been moved to that Wednesday time.

Laurie M. – There have been some issues with the attestation, I sometimes receive those late. This week the system was very slow, but I think the system is doing better now and the afternoon cohort is doing just fine. If you receive an email about technical difficulties, a return email can really help.

School budget, 2021-2022

Alexandra B. – Great to have many of you at the beginning of March at the meeting with the projected budget. Sent out a form asking the values that TC families hold dear or may want to change, then sent powerpoint via messenger to all families, and asked ELL teacher to ensure access to all families. Top priorities for staff were libraries and interventionist, top for parents were libraries, music, and interventionist. Brought those priorities back to BLT, figured out classroom situation first, then figured out discretionary funds. BLT attended session focusing on budget using equity budgeting tool. Once we figured out classroom configurations, that told us how much money we could devote towards a position. Put this towards a vote, decided to focus on the three priorities identified. Put funding towards library, some displacement in intervention, put 0.5 FTE towards music. Music is in a RIF process because middle school music is being but to 0.5, HR said hold off on the position until mid-May because of the hiring process.

Leadership update

Alexandra B. – This came out Friday before Spring Break. Gerrit Kischner has been appointed principal for 2021-22 school year. I’m still here through June 30 under my contract, I’m expecting a baby in July and did not apply for the job because I don’t know how long my leave will be. The announcement was unclear, so I’ll make that public because it was a personal decision. It was the right thing for me, we’re excited and looking forward to it. I am in contact with Gerrit the future principal, and in some of the trainings that are upcoming I’m asking if he’ll attend as well, since there’s been so much happening with Dr. Felder and others and I want him to start becoming familiar with the community. 

We also have upcoming training and also listening and healing circles. We have three dates scheduled for the circles, we’re utilizing school budget funds for this experience, and because of this we have a limit on participation: 4 site council, 4 PTA, and 4 staff. Main goal is creating a cohesive leadership team moving forward. Sent information to Jessica (site council president) and Cristina (PTA president). It’s a commitment: 3-hour sessions after school, all in May, one orientation this month. We will be studying norms and principles for how to work collaboratively. Please send your name to Jessica or Cristina by the end of this week.

Also have implicit bias training that came out of the settlement from 2017-18. Have dates coming up at the end of April and in May. I’ve been talking with Dr. Felder, hoping that all of these pieces fit together. Part of this includes a one-hour training for families, and we’re looking to schedule that. 

Hiring

Alexandra B. – Hiring for two positions, 0.5 music teacher and (?), has happened. We had staff and administration representatives on those hiring teams. We want to ensure that parent representatives are on further teams, so I have received a list from SEA of Thornton Creek community members who are trained to participate in hiring teams. Not sure if it is complete and accurate. I just need a little more time to confirm that list. Working with Anna Marshall. Training must have been completed within last 3 years. Hiring teams require one admin and three SEA members, but we want parents to be part of future hiring. 

Jacob B. – I thought the library position was not fully funded and this group was helping to support that.

Alexandra B. – Yes, we need the support from the site council to continue supporting that position.

(In response to interventionist question): Keeping four interventionists, none full-time.

Jessica W. – How many interventionist FTE did we have last year, and how many will we have next year?

Laurie M. – Maybe 2.6 this year, not sure about next year.

Alexandra B. – It’s a little piecemeal in terms of the K-3 allotment and LAP dollars, so I’ll look that up.

Alexandra B. – (in response to question about releasing surveys) Yes, plan to release it, but just haven’t had time with the hose-in-the-face of return to in-person learning.

Chat from this part of meeting:

18:48:00 From  Karen Foxley  to  Everyone : Keep meaning to send a note to you all Alex & Laurie – it’s been so joyful seeing the kids and families at the school and my boys are so happy!

18:49:01 From  Jacob Clark Blickenstaff  to  Everyone : Thank you so much to all the staff who have been making this happen for our families.

18:49:29 From  Chelsea Lin  to  Everyone : I’ve been shocked at how smooth drop off/pick up have been since day 1

18:50:46 From  Jacob Clark Blickenstaff  to  Everyone : A good lesson in measurement!

18:57:33 From  Liz  to  Everyone : I’m Liz Benko. sorry…should have listed my full name

18:58:00 From  Laurie Miller (she, her)  to  Everyone : Thanks Liz! I thought it might be you but wanted to try.

18:58:48 From  Erin MacDougall  to  Everyone : Is there a teacher that can speak to the plan/vision for remote only?

19:06:54 From  mlwalsh  to  Everyone : I am teaching two hybrid cohorts, but I am also continuing to work closely with the whole Kindergarten team, which includes two teachers teaching one remote and one hybrid cohort. In Kindergarten, we are continuing our rigorous and engaging synchronous and asynchronous remote instruction for remote only students. There is a schedule for the whole day, and students are continuing to have time and connection with their teacher and classmates. I can provide more info, Erin, if it would be helpful, but I recognize you may not be a K parent.

19:08:31 From  Chelsea Lin  to  Everyone : Congrats, Alex!

19:08:36 From  Karen Foxley  to  Everyone : Wow, congrats!

19:08:40 From  Jacob Clark Blickenstaff  to  Everyone : Congratulations!

19:08:59 From  Kathleen Phan  to  Everyone : Congratulations Alex!

19:09:24 From  Jac de Haan  to  Everyone : future dragonfly!

19:09:30 From  Sarah McVay  to  Everyone : Congrats!  On the budget, how many interventionists will we be keeping?  

19:15:48 From  Michele Campbell  to  Everyone : Alex, will you be releasing the staff and parent survey results to the community?

Committee updates

Jessica W. – Just want to mention to everyone that we will in June have an election for the people serving as leaders of the site council and TC parent group, and there will be lots of opportunity for people to step forward as a new principal comes in and make an impact on the school, so think about stepping up for those roles. If you know that’s something you’d be interested in, please contact me or one of the other chairs, especially because of the listening and healing circles next month; we really want to get people in there who will be leading next year. I will be stepping back next year, so there will be plenty of opportunity.

Yearbook

Sarah – We are very close; 5th grade has 100% student portraits, most of the “guess who” younger pictures are there. With a few more pushes, I think we’ll get there for other grades. Staff, if you want to send an updated picture I’ll use it, otherwise I can use last year’s picture. I put a little blurb in the newsletter, wanted to honor art or expedition, with the limited space I OK’ed doing a mosaic style with 3-6 pages. Everyone send a picture of something memorable for this year. They won’t be labeled and all the grades will be mixed together. One more announcement through room parents, and that will be it! If you run into something, email yearbook@thorntoncreek.org. If you got a confirmation, it’s in. If not, contact me!

Talent Night

Stacey S. – I don’t see her on here and we were just trying to connect, but we have Mim as a teacher lead on that. They postponed the date until May, so it will be happening then. 

Mim T. – I don’t have a lot of solid details, but I know that the person running the talent show is working really hard to upload the videos. If anyone out there wants to contact me and be a video liaison, because I could really use help. Feel free to reach out, sorry not to have more details, but I do need help with that. 

Jessica W. – Does that mean you need help to put the videos together?

Mim T. – Yes, I just don’t know how to do that part. See email address in chat.

Facilities (SDOT grant)

Tristan O. – This year we had originally planned to put another bike rack or two, but then we adjusted plans to put together some alternatives. SDOT was being flexible this year, so they were going to do some things with people needing PPE to do in-person learning. Not looking like that’s going to be needed, so now are shifting to put one bike rack in. Michele and others have purchased a tent for their pre-K class, and also getting some PE equipment to stay active remotely, and potentially bike helmets for students as well. Finally, we are going to have the bike fairy come back, have a ton of lights, every Friday we’ll be putting lights onto any bike locked and parked outside the school. I intend to do it right after the morning and afternoon drop offs. 

Jessica W. – There have also been some landscaping parties and everything is looking great.

Safety

Courtney B. – Erica S. and I make up safety committee. We wanted first off to thank the TC community as we’ve transitioned to in-person/hybrid model. TC staff have done incredible job with safety, parents are doing great job filling out attestations, kids are doing great job keeping distance and wearing masks. Daily attestations are good reminder of what the COVID symptoms are and what to look for: fever and cough, chills, shortness of breath, loss of taste or smell, etc. All of these are reasons to stay home from school. Also as we’re coming off Spring Break, wanted to reiterate travel guidance put out by CDC (see chat); reminder that those who are not vaccinated should be tested 3-5 days after travel and self-quarantine for full 7 days. You can opt not to test and quarantine for a full 10 days and monitor for COVID symptoms. CDC also recommends not being around people with a severe risk of illness for 14 days. Erica is going to put in link for testing. Quite a few options in area. Also just wanted to point out that the more contagious variants of COVID continue to spread across country, so everyone should continue to wear masks, gather in small groups or outside, and practice good hand hygiene. Showing dashboard of COVID cases (see chat). Two indicators are new COVID cases per 100K over past 14 days and new COVID hospitalizations over past 7 days. Target to remain in Phsae 2 is less than 200 new cases, and King County is now slightly higher (207.4). But we are hitting new hospitalization target (goal 5, status 4.6/100K). If both indicators are not met, we bump back to Phase 2. Can see trends; cases and hospitalizations have gone up over past month. Next evaluation will be May 3 for these metrics.

Laurie M. – District also has a COVID dashboard, can search by region and testing in schools.

Courtney N. – SPS dashboard in chat too. One last thing: vaccine eligibility for anyone over age of 16, Pfizer for 16-17 and Moderna for 18+. A couple links in chat about where to get those vaccines scheduled.

Hiring

Anna M. – Met earlier this year to discuss goals for this year, reached out to Alex, and noted that materials came off the website. We haven’t had a super active year beyond that; in chaos of opening schools two part-time hires were made and I don’t think there were parents on hiring committee. Touched base with Alex, believes we have one more person to hire this year, in process of sharing materials, protocols, etc. for identifying parents in equitable way and keeping with DEI policy. Going to continue to maintain list for next year and offer help where it can be of use.

Jessica W. – Are trainings finished for this year?

Anna M. – No

Alexandra B. – May 11, June 8, and June 9 are still available. 

Anna M. – We’ve also asked district to bring training specifically for TC with lots of new staff, but so far haven’t had a ton of luck communicating with district. 

Alexandra B. – I’d asked HR manager if staff who were interested but haven’t been trained if someone could come out to building to do training on implicit bias, so we’re looking at scheduling that date for interested parties. Could potentially be for both teachers and parents. 

Anna M. – I’m glad they’re responding to you!

Jessica W. – Just want to clarify for everyone listening that we are talking about hiring committees for teaching positions represented by SEA (union for teachers). Any teaching/support staff position that’s opened at TC, you can be trained to be part of the committee that’s interviewing applicants. So consider attending one of those trainings if you haven’t already. 

Anna M. – In the past the hiring committee has maintained the list of parents who have been trained. We haven’t made a call for updating the list for this year, didn’t think we’d have positions based on last budget meeting so it’s definitely out of date, but it has more people than the list you saw, Alex. Previously, SPS said that training was good for life, now training is only good for 3 years, so will need to do a big push once we are hiring.

Alexandra B. – There may also be retirements, etc., so we still need to stay on top of that list.

Anna M. – Happy to help, that’s our role, so just let us know.

Chat from this part of meeting:

19:20:13 From  Mim Turnbull, 5th grade teacher  to  Everyone : Sarah, you have been such a positive and warm force getting those photos in from our 5th grade families.  Thank you for that!

19:23:33 From  Jeremy’s iPad  to  Everyone : Hi —-!

19:24:19 From  Beck Weinhold (she/her)  to  Everyone : 🙂 Jeremy, she loves checking everybody out!

19:25:43 From  Mim Turnbull, 5th grade teacher  to  Everyone : Hey there! This is Mim. Desperately seeking video editor. mjturnbull@seattleschools.org. If you can help, send me an email.  Thanks!

19:26:51 From  sophia (she/hers)  to  Everyone : yes, on behalf of preK, thank you so much for the use of that shade tent. We really appreciate having use of it.

19:26:57 From  Jacob Clark Blickenstaff  to  Everyone : Thanks, Tristan!

19:27:31 From  Karen Foxley  to  Everyone : Great idea to include Remote crew Elizabeth!

19:27:45 From  Chelsea Lin  to  Everyone : bike fairy house calls! hahaha… Thanks, as always, Tristan.

19:27:45 From  Tristan Osborn  to  Everyone : tro1999@gmail.com

19:29:41 From  Chelsea Lin  to  Everyone : Go safety committee! This has been the single hardest year in that committee’s history, I’m sure.

19:31:19 From  Erica Seddig  to  Everyone : https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/travel-during-covid19.html

19:31:58 From  Erica Seddig  to  Everyone : https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/travel-during-covid19.html

19:32:43 From  Jennifer Schlobohm  to  Everyone : E1 parking lot at husky stadium takes walk-ups and drive-ups. easy to make appointments but not necessary. results in 12-24 hours.

19:33:52 From  Erica Seddig  to  Everyone : https://kingcounty.gov/depts/health/covid-19/data/key-indicators.aspx

19:34:52 From  Erica Seddig  to  Everyone : Testing

19:35:20 From  Erica Seddig  to  Everyone : https://kingcounty.gov/depts/health/covid-19/testing.aspx

19:36:05 From  Erin MacDougall  to  Everyone : With an added note that the county health department director can pull back a phase if needed as well (regardless of state guidance)

19:37:01 From  Jessica Williams-Nguyen  to  Everyone : https://www.seattleschools.org/resources/covid-19_dashboard

19:37:38 From  Erica Seddig  to  Everyone : Link for vaccine https://www.kingcounty.gov/depts/health/covid-19/vaccine/distribution.aspx

Another link for how to schedule vaccine shot: King County’s COVID-19 Call Center at 206-477-3977

19:38:00 From  Karen Foxley  to  Everyone : Thanks so much, Safety team!

19:38:27 From  Jacob Clark Blickenstaff  to  Everyone : Thanks Courtney.

19:42:26 From  k.c. potter de haan  to  Everyone : Here is the SEA site for training

https://www.seattlewea.org/member-resources/interview-hiring-training/

2021-2022 TCPG budget proposal preview

Jessica W. – Last thing is a preview of proposed budget for 2021-22 school year. This is the time of year where the TC group begins to create budget, will be discussed more in next meeting, and then will be approved in June meeting. 

Jacob B. – I want to re-iterate that this is the first pass at a draft budget, will have conversation this evening, intend to have time for people who want to dig in more. This was a complicated year to budget for, might be similarly complicated next year. Slides

My projection at end of budget year, we’ll have a little over $200K in bank. We’ve been spending down reserve quite substantially, have substantial commitment to keep interventionist time for this school year (decision made in October). Setting goal of $100K of fundraising for next year, a little more than we made this year, but not a stretch goal. My perspective is that we should have $100K in bank for future, spending down in rainy day situation, but reluctant to spend down all reserves. Committed to support $120K in staff positions for next year. Alex had funds to cover half of costs for librarian, so part is covering other half of librarian. And then rest of that commitment is to support interventionists.

Overview of slide 3: Will not have scrip, plan to have walkathon/moveathon and bazaar, drew about $156K on reserve this year, my personal recommended maximum for next year is $100K, my role as treasurer is to do what the group wants to do, so want it to be group decision. Scrip could also be source of income for us if parent comes forward. (In response to enrollment question). We do have enrollment projections, that affects school funding. 

Alexandra B. – Had 527 enrollment projection after 587 this year, did receive email from parent who was waitlisted, which tells me that a lot of people were hoping to come to TC. 

Jacob B. – Numbers that come in October are the ones that count. One example of where flexibility in parent group funding is valuable, we were able to help keep interventionist positions in the Fall after those numbers came in. (Slide 4) Only number committed is $120,000 for staff that’s already committed. Put money in budget for hourly tutors, that is not happening; requests didn’t come from BLT, haven’t had any requests. Classroom materials were $15K this year, budgeting for $17K next year. Community support down to $10K to keep that at 5%; concerned about having a higher number than that given our 501c3 status that the funding needs to stay at TC. Did substantially increase scholarship; this has been used for field trips, etc., that families cannot afford. Finally, for committee costs we put $5000 on training, propose sending that next year to equity/diversity committee to spend.

(Slide 5) Used to provide hourly tutoring support, could choose to add that back in. Other questions on slide. Want to open this up for discussion.

Anna M. – I’m wondering if there could be a glimmer of hope that enrollment would be up, in which case we wouldn’t have to fund so much of an interventionist.

Alexandra B. – No, it wouldn’t change it much since there was LOI to grants office. Even if there was an increase in FTE, it wouldn’t affect much. Need to be conservative at district level. There’s rarely a time when you’re going to get more than they’ve originally given you.

Jacob B. – Happy to hear from teachers about views on hourly tutors.

Alexandra B. – (in response to hourly tutors question) Anything using building dollars goes through BLT process, but it could be part of discussion. (in response to question about rising 2nd graders) No, not that I’ve seen, still three projected 2nd grade classrooms next year. In terms about hourly employees, we did hire for 19 hrs health and safety support for COVID care room; e.g., if child is experiencing symptoms. That person also helps with attestations. That is funded by SPS resources.

Cristina P. – First site council meeting in awhile, I’m PTA president, this question has to do with budget. There’s a lot going on, it wasn’t clear what commitment means, need some clarity around these issues. Lots of questions, didn’t seem like a lot of clarity around this decision, especially since we were not meeting together. I’m a little bit bothered and worried.

Jessica W. – I appreciate that question. I wanted to tell everyone in the community that, during the budgeting process that the school did, they looked at the numbers they had and found out what the gaps were. There were pretty significant gaps in the school for maintaining the integrity of the program. As in all prior years, the executive committee of TC group met with Alex to talk about those gaps, and it’s at that point that TC group can commit funds to support staff positions. At that point, BLT had not yet approved a final building budget. Alex told us that the school would not be able to fund all of interventionist FTE and half of library position. With that information, Jacob, Elizabeth, and I came up with a potential commitment of funds to cover those positions, and then presented it to voting members of board. The reason there wasn’t a community discussion is that it needed to happen in a four-day time span. We decided to propose $120K spending for staff positions with the specific positions determined at the discretion of principal, since we had no ability to influence what BLT decided to fund. We were prioritizing the integrity of the program and trusting the principal and BLT to make the decision with that. There was an email vote of the voting board members in between meetings this month regarding commitment of funds to support staffing the 2021-22 school budget and it was approved unanimously.

Jacob B. – As a note, this comes up every year since budget for school needs to be done in March and April. There is a letter of commitment that the parent group has created to give some assurance to the principal about which positions can be covered. It’s a disconnect between the district and parent group budgeting processes. This is the practice that had to exist.

Jack d. H. – Going back to Jessica’s stated intention to learn and grow, we are leaning on institutional structure where parents with money make a decision that not all parents were about to participate in.

Jessica W. – Curious about assertion that people with money were making decision.

Jack d. H. – We as a school are very lucky. We have six figures in bank. Not all schools in Seattle have that. There’s no secret that this zip code has large number of six digit incomes. There’s a fear that we’ll lose something in a school if we don’t have enough money.

Jacob B. – I agree 100% that it would be great if state funded schools sufficiently to avoid supplemental funding from parent group. Have concern that TC Parent Group would need to change our structure to send a lot of money to people outside of TC. Our tax exempt status depends on us aligning our activities with our mission, supporting TC. I do agree it’s very important to support as many students across school. The librarian feels like one of the most equitable things we can do.

Cristina P. – The part about supporting TC is a blanket statement, and in the meantime we are focusing on equity, and we didn’t do a pause with Christina Ellis, and we didn’t do a pause here. There are ways we are saying we value equity, but not in practice. Part of equity is being invited to the table, and when you do a survey you are not capturing the broader pie and what it represents. I was also in one of the meetings in which we discussed bylaws. My opinion is that this decision violated these bylaws. At a point, there were ideas that were discussed that didn’t come to fruition. Unfortunately, it looks like you threw this out the window to commit to a certain amount of money. We’re working on this, but I think this is one of the biggest mis-steps in this process. We’ve also had an audit with other things that look like this. There’s a point where we need to learn from this. We need to pause; just because it’s urgent doesn’t mean it needs to happen now. There’s a reason that the SPS and parent budget are separate; we are awash in biases, so when you purposely mis-step in such a big way, our biases are centered around adults than childrens’ needs. It’s a bigger discussion, I’ve sent an email to Alex and others, hopefully we can continue this discussion. Even in Seattle, there are ways to wait and not just rush things. When you provide a survey, you are not providing equity. It’s an ongoing conversation that I hope isn’t personalized. There are schools in our district that are trying things, and we missed the mark here.

Jennifer L. – Thank you for bringing this to our attention, it’s not your job, you don’t need to apologize for your passion.

Jacob B. – Want to speak to violation of by-laws, that is not true. Jessica and I take our roles seriously and I was at the by-law committee meetings, but if you read them carefully, we have followed how the budget process should proceed and how changes to the budget can be made. 

Jessica W. – I wrote down three key points, and I note that we have seven minutes in this meeting so can’t address everything that was brought up here. 1) Concern about whether by-laws were followed; 2) Concern about whether decision to support $120K in staff positions is centering the needs of children; 3) Concern about whether decisions are happening with people not at the table. We perhaps have time for one of these at this meeting. Any feelings from group?

Cristina P. – How many people are on executive board?

Jessica W. – Chair, vice chair, and treasurer. Voting board is 10 people, 9 this year because EDI chair is vacant. A couple have co-chairs and both voted, so it was 11 total people. 

Jacob B. – (in response to budget process question) This is first discussion. Planning to talk with people who want to dive in. Updated budget in May, vote on budget in June.

Elizabeth D. – Just to chime in quickly as someone who was part of that team. I’ve been thinking about how that decision could have been done differently. The tight turnaround was not something we had control over given district budgeting process. I felt good about giving BLT authority to spend giving that they’d gone through equity training. A concern that you have raised is that there’s no parent representation on BLT, and I feel good about their decisions, but I want to acknowledge that’s a big change that could make a big difference for that process in the future.

Cristina P. – I thought the process was that once the promise has been made, the principal doesn’t have to spend the money on that. So an incoming principal could spend the money on something totally different. The racial/equity toolkit is not intended to be a replacement for real/equitable engagement. Seattle Council PTSA is going to look at parent engagement with an equity lens, but I’m curious about what you have in store for this year.

Jessica W. – Want to comment on first point. We have committed funds to grants department, but they then pay staff and bill us on a quarterly basis. Those invoices show what positions are being paid for by the parent group.

Cristina P. – So it shows how the money was spent?

Jacob B. – Yes. We only write a check once the grants office shows us how the money was spent. 

Alexandra B. – (in response to teachers weighing in about hourly tutors) How do teachers give their feedback?

Jessica W. – Jacob will schedule meeting outside of site council meeting that can be devoted to budget. In May, we can discuss updated budget. Anyone can email us with questions/comments about the budget.

Jennifer L. – If there could be a google form that teachers could fill out, you may get a more complete picture of teachers’ perspectives. 

Jessica W. – If it’s an open ended question that’s easier, but I’ll need help otherwise.

Chelsea L. – Wanted to point out Jacob’s point about what constitutes a meaningful number of hours, was shocked that it wasn’t being considered, $20,000 gets one hour per day for kindergarteners for example. Whether or not we can fulfill the hopes, it would be good to know how that program is working for teachers (e.g., older vs. newer teachers, etc.).

Chat from this part of meeting:

19:50:39 From  Sarah McVay  to  Everyone : Do we have enrollment numbers yet for next year? Will that impact the budget?

19:53:12 From  Sarah McVay  to  Everyone : They were really low last month, but weren’t real numbers…

19:56:43 From  Kathleen Phan  to  Everyone : I think it’s safe to be conservative, but also feels like we may be able to do a bit more than this year esp adding back in walk-a-thon, etc. Looks solid.

20:00:36 From  Sarah McVay  to  Everyone : Would be good to know teachers’ views on hourly tutors…

20:02:43 From  Lisa Calvert  to  Everyone : Would it possibly add per student dollars to the building that might be able to be used for hourly tutors? If enrollment were up some?

20:03:00 From  mlwalsh  to  Everyone : I would love to have hourly tutor support back, if possible! I recognize that these are uncertain and challenging times for fundraising, and I appreciate everything that the parent group has contributed.

20:03:13 From  Stacey Seifert  to  Everyone : Did we gain more rising second graders for 2021-2022?

20:06:23 From  Lowe, Jennifer F  to  Everyone : Will there be another outlet for teachers to share their perspectives regarding hourlies or is this the only time and place?

20:06:26 From  Mim Turnbull, 5th grade teacher  to  Everyone : Hi, I would just like to say that many teachers really value the hourly tutors. We see what a difference it has made to reach our kids and get them the attention they need.  I think the staff would like this to be a consideration.

20:09:07 From  Lisa Calvert  to  Everyone : We did not discuss hourly tutors as an option. That was not on the table. It looks like there would not be a budget for it now, but I would think teachers would want to discuss. Not sure where the $$ would come from though.

20:09:39 From  Jacob Clark Blickenstaff  to  Everyone : Thanks Mim and Lisa for your thoughts.

20:23:54 From  Anna Marshall  to  Everyone : And let’s make sure we don’t end without clear ways to comment on the proposed budget.

20:24:22 From  Jacob Clark Blickenstaff  to  Everyone : This is a first draft. It is my intention to hold some budget-specific meetings in the coming weeks.

20:24:40 From  Jacob Clark Blickenstaff  to  Everyone : There will be a further draft presented at the next Site Council meeting.

20:25:30 From  Jacob Clark Blickenstaff  to  Everyone : The final version of the budget will be presented at the June meeting for approval.

20:27:59 From  Jacob Clark Blickenstaff  to  Everyone : And note on Annual Appeal: An additional $1635 has come in since the last meeting. The updated total is $73,493 which is 84% of the goal. Thanks again to all who donated, and to the Fundraising chairs.

20:29:45 From  Jacob Clark Blickenstaff  to  Everyone : We are invoiced by the district, and pay invoices during the school year. No money flows from TCPG to SPS until we are invoiced.

20:30:43 From  Karen Foxley  to  Everyone : I wonder if in future years, the discussion could happen with ballpark figures via a larger forum like the March meeting, for example if we know the ask will come in April. That makes the conversation more widely representative and more people could be invited to the table.

20:30:45 From  Jacob Clark Blickenstaff  to  Everyone : I am going to need to sign off.

20:30:50 From  Karen Foxley  to  Everyone : If it’s a yearly thing – ?

20:31:08 From  Karen Foxley  to  Everyone : Jacob thanks for your presentation & work!

20:31:17 From  Chelsea Lin  to  Everyone : Thanks, Jacob!

20:31:43 From  Lowe, Jennifer F  to  Everyone : How will teachers weigh in about hourly tutors?

20:34:17 From  Elizabeth Duffell (she/her)  to  Everyone : That’s a good idea, Karen. We could at least look at historical numbers and reflect on big changes that we want to make before the (short) school budget cycle starts.

20:34:19 From  Karen Foxley  to  Everyone : May Lisa the AA liaison could help

20:35:48 From  Lisa Berman  to  Everyone : I would be happy to help as well

20:37:22 From  Kathleen Phan  to  Everyone : Thank you Jessica!

20:37:29 From  Chelsea Lin  to  Everyone : Thanks everyone!

20:37:35 From  Mim Turnbull, 5th grade teacher  to  Everyone : Thanks Jessica!

20:37:52 From  Karen Foxley  to  Everyone : I was going to joke that we could sing happy trails!

 Close

Jessica W. – Would like to thank everyone who brought up thoughts or concerns, and if you have specific ideas about how future conversations could go, please be in touch with Elizabeth or I about how we can do this.


May 11, 2021, 6:30 – 8:30 pm (agenda)

Minutes

Attendees

School Staff Representatives:  Alexandra Benfield, Laurie Miller, Bridget DeRuz, Cindy Deshler, Emma Swanson, Katie Zisserman, Liz Robinson, Mark Fung, Shannon Westermann

TC Parent Group Officers:  Beck Weinhold, Chelsea Lin, Elizabeth Duffell, Jacob Clark Blickenstaff, Jennfier Pinto, Jesica Avellone, Jessica Williams-Nguyen, Julie Shin, Kathleen Phan

Other attendees: C Pizana, Caryn Park, Molly Duff, Elizabeth, Erica Seddig, Erin MacDougall, k.c. potter de haan, Gerrit Kischner, Matilda Luttrell, Melinda Roberts, Michele Campbell, Roddy Theobald, Stacey Seifert

Minutes

Land acknowledgement

We are proud to acknowledge that Thornton Creek School stands on the traditional territories of the Coast Salish people, in particular the Duwamish tribe, Seattle’s first people. They are the original caretakers of these lands and waters. We pay tribute to them and honor their knowledge and traditional culture. We also acknowledge the robust Indigenous communities made up of tribal diversity that originate from around the country, and whose journeys have brought them here and to other locations by ways of forced displacement or seeking opportunities. These communities continue to strengthen our city with their heritage, resilience, and tenacity. One way to support the Duwamish tribe by donating to Real Rent Duwamish. https://www.realrentduwamish.org/

Labor and justice acknowledgement

We also acknowledge exploited labor, racist, heterosexist, ableist, xenophobic, religious, sexist, trans-antagonistic and other oppressive violence, and the ongoing struggle for justice on this land. We reflect on the ancestors of our various peoples, nations, tribes and families; ancestors whose struggles, pain, power, privilege and strivings we hold in our very bodies. We recognize, with gratitude, all those whose sacrifice, struggle and labor make our daily freedoms possible, and challenge us to learn, work and live justly. The wording of this statement comes from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

Chat – Breakout rooms

Principal/staff updates

In-person update

Alexandra B. – We were just talking in our small group about how we were just in a session about in-person learning this afternoon, I see some staff who were there too, so thanks to those of you who came this evening. Do you want to speak a little to this, Laurie?

Laurie M. – It’s going really well! The kids are minding the six feet rule, keeping their own bubble, doing a great job inside. We tweaked a couple things with lunches, spread kids out and adjusted procedure. We made sure K-1 teachers could get keys, making recess much easier. Health room person Sarah has been wonderful, we haven’t had to use her much for sick kids, so she’s had a lot of projects around the school she’s helped with. We didn’t need to make any calls for afternoon attestations, getting the hang of that. Public school dashboard shows district down 12 points, both trends are good and consistent with King County website. Kids are washing hands, they have playground equipment. Recess has been fun to watch; they have to stay in their pod, but they are playing kickball, playing with their teachers, and it’s been fun to watch them outside. When we started back, everyone was face forward, but now that we know more we know that kids can turn and talk, Mark has students in circle for morning meeting, and it’s been phenomenal to watch teachers grasp this and do it so well. Thanks to everybody.

Alexandra B. – Laurie is the head of our health and safety committee, we will seek feedback on items like lines and will decide how to adjust. Katie, do you have staff updates?

Staff report

Katie Z. – I wanted to thank everyone for all the teacher appreciation week stuff, it was really wonderful, we appreciate the creativity and thoughtfulness. Also wanted to encourage you to come and see the art walk. Art teachers have done a great job posting artwork facing out from the school, you can grab a map and see all the artwork that kids have done.

Jessica W. – Where do you pick up a map for that?

Katie Z. – There is an easel at the main entrance, and in the drawer is a map.

Staffing updates

Alexandra B. – I sent out an email yesterday, but I’ll reiterate in person. We have Sue Doty retiring at the end of this school year, last year we had 2.0 allotted for PE, now 1.5 next year, Josh will continue as 1.0, and we’ve added Maddy Stevenson who does 0.5 at Olympic Hills and was seeking another 0.5 position, so we’ve offered her a Phase 1 position. I included a note about her in the newsletter to learn a little more about her. That’s the only hiring piece that has taken place. We also have Gerrit Kischner here, my interim position ends in June, we’ve been meeting with our director and he’s been trying to come to as many meetings as possible, he will come to BLT to meet leads and all staff the following week.

Gerritt K. – Thank you Alex. I am just going to take a moment to say I’m so excited for these different opportunities to listen and learn about different components of the TC community. I’m sitting in my daughter’s bedroom, we are empty nesters for the first time. My older daughter is in her fourth year at CWU and a TC alum, attended for 5th grade, then my younger daughter is at Carleton College in Minnesota. Alex and Laurie are doing a great job this school year, I’ve had the privilege to be at Genesee Hill for 13 years and follow a kindergarten cohort all the way through graduation at West Seattle and make decisions with those families in a way that’s long-term in that it’ll affect their long-term trajectory. I’m excited to bring that lens to my work at TC!

Cristina P. – Some of my concerns around hiring are that we invest in people, and the PE teacher hire was at Olympic View. I’m wondering if you knew her, Alex, since you were at Olympic View? We just had a meeting about how our staff doesn’t reflect the diversity of our district. How did she get hired?

Alexandra. B. – I was actually at Olympic Hills, it’s a common confusion. This was Phase 1 hiring, so we were obligated to interview two internal candidates, so we met with two candidates with four other people. We definitely sought to bring teachers of color into our building. When we look into additional positions, like the music position, we hope that we can get parents more involved in hiring. In this case, the team put forward Maddy Stevenson, so thank you for bringing that back up. 

This then brings me to the music position, we interviewed two people for that position as well, but the district is putting all music hiring on hold since so many middle schools have cut music positions so the district needs to make sure that all those teachers are placed first. I was excited to bring a 0.5 position, but this means we need to get creative with that position. There’s no way to have a 0.5 person serve all students on a regular rotating schedule. So that’s on hold for now, but we will hopefully know this week or Friday what happens next.

One of our other staff resigning is Debbie Kosman, who taught K for many years and has been serving as a reading interventionist. She will be leaving us at the end of this year. In general, I had to displace interventionists anyway, but some of our other intervention has been restored. 

Michele C. – My daughter was working with Debbie and she was trained in Wired for Reading, will we have other staff trained in this?

Cindy D. – I am trained in Wired for Reading. Ann is trained and some of the teachers have gone to the training, but it has been awhile.

Alexandra B. – The district is piloting a literacy screener at the beginning of the year to identify needs upfront, so that’s an added bonus to our reading and allows us to be more targeted in our interventions. Then in terms of the assistant principal, there are no updates on that, they just finished placing principals and now have AP openings, but they need to make sure that any APs that have been cut find a position. The district always has final authority on leadership positions. Finally, there are leadership positions available for PTA and TC parent group. I know we will hear more about the TC parent group positions tonight. Christina, would you like to speak about PTA positions?

Cristina P. – We (PTA) have a nominating crew of three people you can reach out to, they will be taking names and presenting at our next meeting. We are a collaborative board and work together on a lot of things and advocate for a lot of positions.

Tentative end-of-year celebration plans

Alexandra B. – Thinking about the 5th grade graduation, last year we did the drive through celebration, but at this point we have not received word about whether that can continue. Right now they are saying no, but hopefully we will find some way to do that, feel free to think through how we can celebrate our 5th graders to wrap up the year of COVID.

Implicit bias training

Alexandra B. – Staff have been taking mandatory 6 hour training with Dr. Joseph. She’ll be hosting a 90 minute session with parents on June 10, I’ll send out a formalized letter that’ll address what she’ll be speaking to. This came out of the lawsuit with our building, all staff are engaged and required to be a part of, they’ve been doing a great job assigning “critical friends” to talk about short, mid, and long-term goals. We keep on referring to listening circles, Dr. Felder and Saroeum Phoung of PointOneNorth. The goal is to create a cohesive model where we can trust each other and everyone can get on board with. I will have a principal check in at the end of this month to think through lessons learned.

TCPG Elections

Election process

Jessica W. – I wanted to talk about how this works and what positions are being elected. I should have established this with folks ahead of time, does someone want to talk about this process?

Stacey S. – All site council representative positions are now open for the 2021-22 school year. Principal Alex and the newsletter have sent out links for the election. Nominations run through June 1st, when you nominate someone it will populate a document that everyone can see. When you nominate yourself, you will be contacted to provide a short bio and statement that the community can see for the election.

Chelsea L. – You can send those to me and I can compile them.

Stacey S. – Election will open June 10th and run through June 16th, results will be tabulated and sent out through a special edition newsletter on June 17th.

Jessica W. – I wanted to clarify a few things for people who haven’t been to one of our meetings earlier this year. Just to be clear, the site council is this forum that we are in. It is comprised of representatives of TC families and staff. The representatives from families come from TC parent group, the members of which are any parent/guardian of a TC student, all of whom are eligible to serve in leadership of TC parent group. This is the time to nominate yourself to be in a leadership position, either in an executive position or to be the leader of a committee. Often positions are not contested, but members of the TC parent group can voice their opinion about who should lead this organization. 

Description of positions

Jessica W. – As chair, I’ve served for two years and will step down at the end of this year, so the chair position is open. I’d like to let you know about the different positions and let the current holder of each position speak to what they do. I’ll put the nomination form in the chat. I’ll also put the list of everyone who has nominated themselves as a volunteer. So, I’m the chair, and in that role my job is to help administer the TC parent group, which includes the funds raised by that organization from people in community, families, and staff who choose to support these programs. I also organize site council meetings; I meet with administrators, staff reps, and vice-chair and treasurer of TCPG to set the agenda 7-10 days before the meeting. 

Elizabeth D. – Essentially, the vice chair position is to help the chair and go to a lot of meetings. It’s a fun position, but I don’t expect to be in this position or the chair position next year.

Jacob B. – You’ve seen a lot of me in recent meetings because one of the jobs of the treasurer is to set the budget for the coming year. There’s also a variety of paperwork requirements, we are a non-profit so need to file 1099 every year, work with districts and our bookkeeper for payments and reimbursements to staff who use funds that we have, verify that we are being charged appropriately, looking at contracts with various vendors for pieces, and working with other members of the leadership. I do not intend to serve in this role next year, I first served as co-chair last year and served in the role this year without a co-chair, so if you’re the kind of person who wants to weigh in on how funds are spent and to improve the processes for our budget, consider stepping up to do the treasurer job. Really works best with two people.

Jessica W. – Could the communications committee tell us about that position?

Chelsea L. – I’ve been co-chair with Jennifer Pinto this year. Like all things, this year has been weird for communications, but I look forward to whoever is in this position to work with Gerritt next year. There is a committee in place for newsletter distribution, but we will need someone to manage the TCPG website, so if you have any wordpress knowledge please reach out to me, I’m hoping to tie everything up and hand this off to someone next year.

Jessica W. – Can you also speak to hospitality committee?

Chelsea L. – I did that two years ago, and it is the most happy position and a pure joy. It means coordinating teacher appreciation week, coffee for the first day of school, I baked a lot of cookies, and it’s a lot of fun and everyone loves you. 

Jessica A. – I’ve been the chair of the curriculum committee for a couple years, and I think it needs more definition. When we were a smaller school, it could be a committee that was more collaborative with staff, but now with a larger school the biggest thing the committee does is organize a “What is TC?” event for incoming parents and any family. What makes this school unique is that we all chose this school, so it gives parents and guardians an opportunity to ask anything. That usually happens in the fall. We’ve also worked with other committees to compose a one-pager to be handed out at tours. If I were to continue in this role next year, which I am not because I am moving, I’d do what I could to advocate for teacher training in whatever avenue that means (Wired for Learning, Responsive Classroom, etc.). I think that could be a good use of committee time. It might also be worth talking to parent leadership next year about the best use of this committee.

Julie S. – I’m Julie, I’m co-chair with Beck of the special education committee. We’ve been doing it for awhile. This year and in previous years, our role is promote a sense of community among special education families, and we meet with special education teacher Katie Zimmerman regularly. We get really great updates from Katie regularly about what’s going on with special education staff. In previous years when we were not remote, we had events like IEP 101 to introduce parents and families to special education where we brainstorm ways to make all school activities as inclusive as possible. Beck, do you have anything to add?

Beck. W. – The one other thing we’ve done in the last few years is advocate with the district for specific programs or things we wanted to do at TC. 

Julie S. – The special education student in our family is graduating, so we’d welcome nominations for a co-chair for this committee.

Kathleen P. – I’m the co-chair with Jen S. of the fundraising committee. We’ve done this for the past year, it’s an interesting time to step into this role. In most years, there are several fundraising events, move-a-thon, the winter bazaar, and the annual appeal. This year we focused primarily on the annual appeal; we worked on the website to make it very clear what the annual appeal supports. I do know one of the ideas for next year is to focus on the community around TC, and there’s an opportunity to get people excited about the school. I think it’s fun, but I’m in the fundraising business so I’m biased.

Jessica W. – District relations chair couldn’t be here tonight, that committee’s purview is to work with the district or school board on any issues that might connect to TC. There is also an equity/diversity/inclusion committee position that has been open this year. There are questions about how that committee can work with the PTA that is really centered around equity. That is a voting role. There are other committees that you’ll see on the ballot that aren’t voting position. 

Stacey S. – I’ve chaired the volunteer committee, we do a variety of things. We manage the website and send fliers for events, and we support event leaders as needed, when we are back in the building we will have staff coffees and manage site council elections. This committee works best with a co-chair and 2-3 committee members, then it will be an enjoyable role. I will not be in the role next year, but I’ll be happy to talk to anyone who is interested.

Erica S. – I am, along with Courtney Bell, the chair of the health and safety committee. We’ve taken it in our own direction this year, providing information to the community, providing access to SPS dashboard. Typically we would be doing emergency preparedness, but had absolutely none of that in our wheelhouse for the year, so I feel like we can’t really speak to the position since we had to make it our own thing without being in school for most of the year. 

Jessica W. – Yes, there will be plenty of opportunities to take that in your own direction, plenty of opportunity for rearrangement and defining roles. 

Roddy T. – I am the secretary this year, I’m responsible for taking notes (editor note: and also adding notes after the fact when I can’t take notes and speak at the same time) and distributing minutes to Jessica and the TC parent leadership.

Chelsea L. – I just wanted to speak a moment to Caryn’s question about turnover. It is typical for there to be turnover, but I think a lot of us have struggled this year as we’ve balanced homeschooling and everyone else in this dumpster fire, so some people who are stepping out of positions may be stepping into new positions. Most of these roles work really well with a buddy, Jennifer Pinto has been my right and left hand this year, and I’m happy to answer any additional questions.

Jessica W. – Just to emphasize the point about the pandemic year, I might not have continued into this year without the pandemic but didn’t feel good about leaving in the middle of a crisis, and others may have done the same thing last year, so this is an awesome time to step in and potentially take this in a different direction. 

Chelsea L. – We have a google drive full of documentation!

Jessica W. – I can also respond to the question in the chat about EDI committee and expand on my previous comment a bit. That committee was started 5 years ago by a parent who was extremely involved, and then it was extremely active for a year after she left, but then many of those parents moved to the TC PTA. There is a tremendous opportunity to create a place where equity is really happening in the TC parent group. People who want to step into that role could take that in a new direction, and I would encourage people who want to be involved in the parent group and who care about equity to consider that position.

I now want to put a question to the group about by-laws. They say that ballots will be available online and on paper in the office. I don’t think that makes sense this year, parents don’t go into the office, so I’d like to put forward a motion to do the election entirely online this year. But I want to open it up to comments about that.

Jesica A. – In the spirit of wanting to make this as accessible as possible, I wonder if there would be a way to request a paper ballot, maybe through their teacher?

Cristina P. – You could probably look at doing it onsite during library pickup?

Stacey S. – I wanted to mention about mailing, the problem is that we cannot send out ballots until the 10th and we don’t have control over when they arrive and come back. Cristina’s idea about the library might work, but we are a remote family, and I don’t know what the process would be for them. 

Elizabeth D. – What is the process for paper ballots when it’s not a pandemic?

Jessica W. – A ballot box in the office.

Elizabeth D. – Then paper ballots at the library pickup may be a good option.

Jessica W. – Is that still going on while kids are in the building?

Stacey S. – Yes, Thursday 3-4 by garden doors.

Jessica W. – So there would be one Thursday in that window? 

Stacey S. – Yes, the 10th.

Jessica W. – So this could be just like it was in the office. And just to clarify, there will be electronic ballots, that’s the way most people have voted the last two years, so this is a question about whether there are also paper ballots. Are there any objections to that plan? No objections, so we will plan for that.

Committee updates

Jessica W. – We are running behind, so I’d like to do the budget first, and then if there are pressing committee issues we can do those at the end.

TCPG Budget

Michele C. – I was not able to attend either of the budget meetings, one fell on the same night as the general meeting with NAACP, another fell on the night of a meeting for my daughter. I’m wondering if I can see the presentation, and I would like to weigh in.

Jacob B. – Before I move into the budget piece, I wanted to note that another $6000 has come in as part of the annual appeal, so thanks again to the fundraising chairs. Now about 90% of goal.

Presentation slides

Jacob B. – The first priority with the TC budget is to support TC students, particularly students who need the most from us. That is the lens through which we’re thinking about this. I want to emphasize too that info about next year is very incomplete, we don’t know what will happen with enrollment, we don’t know what will happen with staffing. The final decisions will be made by TC parent group, not staff, unless staff happen to be parents. Our practice and policy is that the budget can be amended in the next year; we make our best guess ahead of time, but it’s up to the next leadership to make changes. For example, we made a significant change to our budget this year to support interventionists when the budget came in this year. 

(Assumptions/Projections slide): It is wise to spend up to $210K in the coming year, I project that we will have about $200K in the bank, I’m projecting that we can raise $100K, and I think it would make sense to save close to $100K. We have committed to support $120K in staff positions next year, this is supporting the increase in the librarian position from 50% to 100%, and supporting interventionists. There is also interest from staff in hourly tutors, and there will likely be need to be scholarships to support field trips, etc. Scholarships have been used to support students whose families can not afford the classroom fees that support field trips. Michele, any questions so far?

Michele C. – No, just wanted to make sure I saw the rest of the numbers.

Jacob B. – (Projected Income slide) We’ve budgeted for annual appeal, taken scrip out because there’s no parent volunteer and some stores (e.g., PCC) have changed their policies. I’m being pretty conservative, there may be more funds available. I’m recommending $100,000 draw on savings, we could decide as a community to do something different.

(High level expenses, option 1). Goal of this option is to save some money, this includes no funding for hourly tutors. Classroom materials are about the same, I did in this budget reduce support for community outreach, kept Helping Hands and scholarships flat, cut other misc expenses. This is a bare bones option that covers staffing and not a lot else. I will make available to anyone who wants to see expenses line by line.

(High level expenses, option 2). This one puts more into community support, more into scholarships, more into committee costs. One option would be for EDI committee to decide how to spend that $5,000. 

(High level expenses, option 3) Spends a little more on scholarships.

(Summary of 3 options). Under option 1, we could probably spend more on tutors, other options less. I’m showing what percent of funds are being spent on direct student supports. And yes, thank you for the note on the community support budget, we had that money in the budget but we did not spend it. This is just a place to start; if there is a consensus on one of these options, I will build a detailed budget that will be shared in the 5/13 budget conversation. The final budget will be sent out via newsletter at least two weeks before the June site council meeting. I’m open to questions and comments.

Cristina P. – I can speak before or after Michele. The first thing I want to say is that we are in the middle of figuring out what leadership looks like in our school, this might just look like creating a welcoming environment. My concern is that there is a hole in equity in some of the decisions. We don’t want to just check the boxes. Yes, we’re learning a lot from Dr. Felder, so it makes me concerned when EDI will decide what the next series will be. A lot of times this school is like a company town where there will be one parent group and one site council making all the decisions, and in this budget presentation, it would have been more useful if you’d had a running list of things that have been mentioned in prior meetings. Things are being said and not heard and cherished in that effort. Also, it has been sort of brushed off that in one week, 11 people in this group decided how to spend over $100K. Alex did do a survey, but it was an incomplete pie of whoever had the time to fill out that survey. So I don’t think it was a fair interpretation. And now, it’s a matter of fact that a decision that was made early and barely within the lines, and I think it’s an issue that while we’re working post equity complaint and we have nothing devoted to equity in this budget. There’s a big bucket of money that’s already staked in. And then fall is going to come around and we don’t know what to expect. I have one student who’s thriving because he doesn’t receive the micro-aggressions at school, and another kid who is struggling in an online environment. So there’s going to be a lot of urgency in the fall, but we’ve already staked our claim, and now we’re going to have these reading requirements. Expedition learning is really important at our school, maybe we should save up so we can spend on these long-term goals, expedition should be free, every teacher should be trained in this. So, the hard part is that we create these false senses of urgency where we need to get this answer now, but we’re also doing too much, so I want people to think about what next year is going to look like because we’re going to work together as a team as BLT and site council and PTA, and it’s complicated. There are groups that are actively deciding not to have staff, it goes to the idea that we teach our teachers to be better teachers, and we do have kids falling through the cracks. I would like every teacher to know how to teach math and reading really well before we get into these wonderful expeditions. And it’s confusing. We have an older staff, so it’s really hard for them to get digitized when Doug was trying to get all these school dues, but then COVID happened and we had to give it back, and in my mind the school is different. The school is the BLT training, the school is knowing what’s happening district wide, the school is this group and site council and this group that has the privilege to show up and buy into this system. And we really need to get used to calling each other in and looking at the bigger picture. Not sure I hit all my points, thank you for letting me talk. 

Jessica W. – Just wanted to thank Cristina for bringing up those points and concerns. It’s a lot, so I’m not sure how I can respond to each of those points, but one point that I want to address but didn’t explain well last time is that one of the reasons we made that decision so quickly is that there were immediate consequences to not making a decision. In other words, staff would have been let go, and we would likely have lost our librarian. I don’t say that to justify it per se, but it is what we were thinking in the moment. Just wanted to offer that. Michele, I’d like to open the floor to you.

Michele C. – I also wanted to address some of the things that Cristina mentioned in terms of funding our priorities. My intent here is not to call-out, but to highlight what could be possible at TC. Even though we’ve been talking a lot about equity and inclusion this year, we still have a very small group of people making big decisions at our school using frameworks and processes that are not transparent for those who are unable to participate. BLT has made decisions on next year’s school budget, but there is very little info available on how those decisions were made. Despite multiple requests, there is no parent representation on BLT and there is no access to meeting minutes. So these are closed door meetings. Alex, I know you mentioned you would check on minutes, but I think this is something we should consider routinely doing. Parents would like to know how the Racial Equity Analysis Tool is being implemented. What does that look like? Despite multiple requests, we have yet to see the results from the staff and family budget surveys. Parents would like to know how many people received the survey and how many people replied. Alex, I know you released two questions of the survey, but I am wondering if the full results from both surveys can be released? I know this is a very tough year. I know we are being pulled in many different directions. But representation and transparency is important and we need to intentionally build in time to make this happen. So I ask you, if this is indeed a priority, what is on our plate that we can go without to make this happen? Site Council and the Thornton Creek Parent Group have also made decisions on next year’s budget in a similar way. $120k was committed to the school by a vote of 11 people. Again, the framework and process for making this decision is unclear. When asked at the last Site Council meeting if this decision could be taken back and decided by a larger group, it was noted that in the end if there is no consensus the same 11 people would be voting on it again anyway. So let me ask… is this the process we want for our school? If we want a more inclusive process, we have the power to change it. Bylaws can be changed. And let’s also ask… if we don’t change the process, who benefits? Who benefits when we don’t act and just do things like they have always been done? Thornton Creek is lucky. We have resources many schools don’t have. Some schools don’t have a parent group, let alone funds to pay for extra things. We know the pandemic has been rough. Inequities in our district have only been amplified. We know equity work at our school is just getting started. We’ve had lectures and trainings. We’ve made statements, t-shirts, artwork. But now it’s time for equity to start showing up in our budget, in meaningful and substantial ways. This year the parent group Equity Fund was 15k, next year it’s from 1 to 10k. In my opinion, we’re going the wrong direction. Why are we capping this fund at 5%? Why not 15? Why not 25? I’ve heard the argument that money spent needs to reflect the mission of the parent group. If the mission is the barrier, maybe we should consider rewriting the mission? These decisions are in our power. Let me ask again… if we choose to do nothing, who benefits? If equity is indeed a priority, we should be contributing more to our larger community. It should be significant. It should hurt a little. It should make us uncomfortable. This is when we’ll know that we’re beginning to make an impact. So let me quickly summarize. If we are truly interested in equity and inclusion, please help me advocate for these must-haves…

– Parent representation on BLT with access to BLT meeting minutes.

– Release of the full parent and staff budget survey results.

– Take back the parent group commitment of $120k and bring the decision to a larger group.

– Rewrite parent group bylaws and mission to provide more inclusion and allow for equitable contributions to our larger community. 

– And increase not decrease the parent group Equity Fund.

Jessica W. – I would like to acknowledge that we are at 8:31, which is past the end of our meeting. I will stay, there are additional conversations to be had, there is one other topic if people can stay around. One thing I would like to do is be OK with non-closure, to be respectful of others’ time. So, the meeting is officially closed, but I am here and would love to continue the conversation. Anyone who wants to stay and continue the conversation about the budget can do so.

Chat Log

18:31:38 From  Jessica Williams-Nguyen  to  Everyone : Agenda: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1wKHmIz__M67DomsHSiWwiPH2e23mUyfOcXHg5hxggTI/edit

18:37:36 From  Elizabeth C. Duffell  to  Everyone : https://www.realrentduwamish.org/

18:38:13 From  Elizabeth C. Duffell  to  Everyone : https://blacklivesseattle.org/

18:51:45 From  Jessica Williams-Nguyen  to  Everyone : Agenda: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1wKHmIz__M67DomsHSiWwiPH2e23mUyfOcXHg5hxggTI/edit

19:01:05 From  Chelsea Lin  to  Everyone : Welcome, Gerrit!

19:02:16 From  Jacob Clark Blickenstaff  to  Everyone : Welcome, Gerrit. We’re happy to have you join the Thornton Creek community.

19:04:20 From  C Pizana  to  Everyone : I had a question for Alex after Garrit

19:13:54 From  k.c. potter de haan (she/her)  to  Everyone : nominations@tc-pta.org

19:15:02 From  C Pizana  to  Everyone : also as far as music commitments that is part of a larger conversation of adding diversity there as well. we did not do that this year. I will advocate for future more diverse commitments.

19:26:51 From  Jessica Williams-Nguyen  to  Everyone : TC Parent Group Nomination form: http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?f=001QDQyJ64WPLBRBVpJcGwu5ODeC8sxd94FGaF3T0urkfBNUGo7vp9UmB0VLrnWLDzc6MXZ2_9A-BDrlV68CH5VvgviNm3dXyvIPZN0MHHwF1wn4iaZERr8C4I6523MRjdMrouVz3Zm-cmjxNNuSEvybgmaHdLV2SMo90fI-ktXRYWTvixU13gIcBEYeZOPHQYVDLD4FyqYbwbCyxsq-xoEHuhh-3V56RHCX_LIQ9zoS_LIN0spn-9jSpTfsDMDsimbqBh150i98HdxRiZgb7QwcQ==&c=31azoQ41t3-MHdP063BQydw_yxad36KMORez43gkKdvFfQYUA683wg==&ch=VUSrbF6YcNMicJFRFuc-lJsg2-q6ubHHempFo0MYJ90Mpc8LWVvaxA==&jrc=1

19:27:52 From  Jessica Williams-Nguyen  to  Everyone : Current nominees/volunteers: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Gug0IWZ1xqKJH8PolRVqAHtFMHNWP9O6x9S9Gn8lHHo/edit

19:29:45 From  Jacob Clark Blickenstaff  to  Everyone : I agree that co-Treasurers would be ideal.

19:36:34 From  Chelsea Lin  to  Everyone : I just want to offer: If you’re even a little curious about serving or chairing one of these committees, please reach out and I’ll help get you the info you need. It’s an incredibly rewarding way to meet other parents, build community, assist families, and make an impact at the school. I plan to continue in some capacity next year, I’m just still deciding what that looks like. Feel free to reach out: commschair@thorntoncreek.org

19:42:50 From  Kathleen Phan  to  Everyone : +1 for Chelsea’s sentiment!

19:45:10 From  Caryn Park  (she/her)  to  Everyone : It feels like with so few people returning to their positions  there will be a huge transition… how can there be some continuity in the process? Is this typical?

19:45:53 From  Elizabeth C. Duffell  to  Everyone : Roddy has been awesome at note-taking!

19:46:48 From  Chelsea Lin  to  Everyone : Thank you, Roddy!

19:47:06 From  Jacob Clark Blickenstaff  to  Everyone : Hi Caryn. That’s a great question. I will be happy to help out in an informal way with a new Treasurer/Co-Treasurers. I would guess that others would be able to do  that as well.

19:47:35 From  Erin MacDougall (she/her)  to  Everyone : Can anything be shared about the EDI Committee which I think was without a chair this year?

19:52:57 From  Kischner, Gerrit  to  Everyone : Thank you all! This will be a big transition year for all schools, and I’m excited to get to work with you.  Is this where I beg people to consider stepping up to these positions?

19:54:24 From  Liz Robinson (she/her)  to  Everyone : Could teachers send home paper ballots with students?

19:56:28 From  Erin MacDougall (she/her)  to  Everyone : As a remote family, we would like it to be electronic.

19:58:25 From  Liz Robinson (she/her)  to  Everyone : My understanding is that there will definitely be an electronic voting option, so the question is whether to offer paper ballots in addition.

19:58:54 From  Elizabeth C. Duffell  to  Everyone : if someone needs help getting the ballot box there or picking it up or whatever I’m happy to help

20:11:53 From  Elizabeth C. Duffell  to  Everyone : FYI: context for the $15k in community support line item from 20/21 is that we rolled over money that was budgeted in 19/20 and not spent to this year’s budget so it was extra high.

20:22:17 From  Chelsea Lin  to  Everyone : I can’t figure out how to raise my hand because I’m a dummy, but isn’t the timeline urgency coming to us from the district? I’d LOVE to not have to rush all of this, but I thought that we were pretty required to make these decisions this early…

20:23:48 From  k.c. potter de haan (she/her)  to  Everyone : Thank you for sharing Christina

20:24:35 From  Chelsea Lin  to  Everyone : And thank you, Christina. I appreciate your input so much. I would love to brainstorm how we get more people to the table in an equitable way, to give us that valuable feedback and input, in the year(s) ahead.

20:30:20 From  Jacob Clark Blickenstaff  to  Everyone : Michelle that is funding for folks outside Thornton Creek.

20:31:11 From  Kathleen Phan  to  Everyone : I believe we are also constrained by our 501c3 status. No?

20:31:42 From  Jacob Clark Blickenstaff  to  Everyone : Yes,  Kathleen. That is true.

20:31:59 From  k.c. potter de haan (she/her)  to  Everyone : Thank you Michele.

20:32:48 From  Elizabeth  to  Everyone : Thank you, Michelle for bring these points and opportunities!


June 8, 2021, 6:30 – 8:30 pm (agenda)

Minutes [DRAFT]

Attendees

School Staff Representatives:  Alexandra Benfield, Laurie Miller, Bridget DeRuz, David Swanson, Lisa Clavert, Jeanne Gleason, Jennifer Lowe, Katie Zisserman, Kirsten Zoba, Sophia Yackshaw, Tammi Mack

TC Parent Group Officers:  Beck Weinhold, Chelsea Lin, Elizabeth Duffell, Jacob Clark Blickenstaff, Jennfier Pinto, Jesica Avellone, Jessica Williams-Nguyen, Karen Wirkala, Kathleen Phan

Other attendees: Anna Marshall, Caryn Park, Courtney Bell, Emily, Erica Seddig, Erin MacDougall, Gerrit Kischner, Jana Dilley, Leah Preston, David Preston, Lisa Berman, Margaret Butler, Michele Campbell, Roddy Theobald, Sarah McVay, Sarah Tien, Shannon, Stacey Seifert, Stephanie Yoshida Barnes

Minutes

Land acknowledgement

We are proud to acknowledge that Thornton Creek School stands on the traditional territories of the Coast Salish people, in particular the Duwamish tribe, Seattle’s first people. They are the original caretakers of these lands and waters. We pay tribute to them and honor their knowledge and traditional culture. We also acknowledge the robust Indigenous communities made up of tribal diversity that originate from around the country, and whose journeys have brought them here and to other locations by ways of forced displacement or seeking opportunities. These communities continue to strengthen our city with their heritage, resilience, and tenacity. One way to support the Duwamish tribe by donating to Real Rent Duwamish. https://www.realrentduwamish.org/

Labor and justice acknowledgement

We also acknowledge exploited labor, racist, heterosexist, ableist, xenophobic, religious, sexist, trans-antagonistic and other oppressive violence, and the ongoing struggle for justice on this land. We reflect on the ancestors of our various peoples, nations, tribes and families; ancestors whose struggles, pain, power, privilege and strivings we hold in our very bodies. We recognize, with gratitude, all those whose sacrifice, struggle and labor make our daily freedoms possible, and challenge us to learn, work and live justly. The wording of this statement comes from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. One way to support, https://blacklivesseattle.org/

Break-out rooms chat

Accept draft minutes for Site Council meetings as official record

Jessica W. – The next thing on our agenda is to approve minutes for Site Council meetings. Apologies for forgetting to do this the past few meetings. A note that Michele asked that the May minutes be revised to more accurately reflect her points. Any objections to March minutes? April minutes? May minutes? We’ll now consider those passed.

Principal/staff updates

  • End of Year Updates

Alexandra B. – Good evening everyone. I just sent an email earlier today with some of the end-of-year notes. The device form wasn’t attached, so I’ll send another email later today to clarify. Can return in person or return to office. You can keep it until the last day, but if you leave early you can return early. You can also return at a different school (e.g., Eckstein). I’ll put up a schedule, and we’ll coordinate drop off as part of drive-by graduation. Can also pick up a yearbook if you haven’t already. You can bring signs, we’ll hang them up. Because there are students in the building, please bring between 12 and 2. Better if they’re generic (e.g., congrats all 5th graders), bring your own tape, make it seem as festive as possible. Karen is coordinating making paper flowers. No assigned time: come any time between 3 and 4:30, you can get certificate and flower and then continue on. Thought about doing pictures around corner at butterfly gate, some parents didn’t think it would be that crowded, Laurie do you have any thoughts?

Laurie M. – Originally thought dragonfly gate, but there may not be that many cars. My only concern is that it gets so backed up so it’s on main street, in which case we’ll start moving cars along. Don’t want to block neighborhood traffic.

Alexandra B. – This Thursday from 6-7:30 there is equity training with Dr. Joseph at UW on interrupting privilege. For parents, but similar content to what staff received. We really enjoyed time with her, made racial equity goals, people had critical friends in small groups. 

Laurie M. – Did one teacher ask if kids can attend? She said that’s fine but it’s geared towards adults. 

Alexandra B. – Fine for students to be present and in background, so you can make that choice as a family. Yearbooks have arrived, will start putting those out on Monday. Remote students will have times to pick them up on Monday or Tuesday. You can also do it when you drop off tech. Josh and Sue also planned different field day activities, students rotate around for a game with their teacher during recess. Listening and healing circles: some members on here did this with Dr. Felder, have been working on shared leadership team model. As we’re building trust and communication, we’d love to start facilitating parent participation in BLT. Just included blurb about this in emails to parents. BLT currently composed of staff, but want to have parent representation. Planning retreat, we would love for you to attend the Dr. Joseph training, big commitment (once or twice a month in afternoon); look at PD plan, budget, etc. If those areas interest you, we’d love for you to apply. Please help spread the word so we can reach all families. The goal would be to have this before the end of the school year so you can join for the retreat in June. We are really excited with the equity/healing circle work we’ve been doing, trying to bring together norms and agreements. Thank you to parents who have been participating. Finally, report cards will be sent out next week. 

Jessica W. – Question about BLT: one or two parent positions in BLT?

Alexandra B. – Still being finalized, but should be two.

Michele C. – Have you settled on process for selecting for BLT.

Alexanda B. – Will defer to Gerrit, but want to see who applies, are asking two questions about what perspective you bring and your interest in being part of the team, and then BLT will look through applications from there. Trying to be as open and broad as possible as opposed to selecting one person from site council and one from BLT. Would love to see BIPOC representative, maybe someone without role in either group, maybe a special education parent. Gerrit, anything to add?

Gerrit. K. – Thought a good first step would be for Alex, Laurie, and I to take applications and, from those, make a recommendation to the BLT for approval of our nominations. Don’t know what we’ll use to justify those choices, but it will cover all the pieces that Alex mentioned. 

  • Expedition night

Katie – The other things are that we wanted to give a shout out to the 5th grade team who are putting together the panels. Thank you so much for all the extra work you do; my favorite tradition at TC. 

Lisa C. – Usually there’s a parent team that does this, but Karen did most of it this year. Filled over 400 panelist positions. Amazing how few things went wrong today. 

Katie – There was also a question about expedition night. Julie wanted me to say that her class is having a speaker in her class tomorrow who is a UW researcher who studies crows, really excited about that. Anyone else want to say what they’re doing?

Jennifer – Also teach 1st grade, did crow expedition with Julie. Did two expeditions this year, we are family in fall, and then crows in spring. Kids have been making pop up books to share what they know. But not doing an expedition night per se. 

Jeanne – Checked in with 2nd grade and they aren’t doing anything. 3rd grade isn’t doing anything formal, but doing some hands on Coast Salish activities.

Kirsten – 4th grade this year has been doing a lot of expedition. Have been recording flip grids throughout year; four projects we captured throughout year. Most recent expedition was something made out of cardboard. Lots of fun creative stuff. Expedition night was about a week and a half ago, students browsed different flip grids. 

Lisa – For 5th grade, feeling pretty maxed with panels, but also wrapping up some projects. May find some bandwidth to do something for them to see the work that everyone has done. Won’t know what form that takes until tomorrow.

Jessica W. – Thanks to all of you! Will open floor to Gerrit to tell us a small preview for fall.

  • What to expect for Fall

Gerrit K. – This is that in between time when we’re trying to wrap up this year with our minds on the fall. This coming fall is a big unknown. All signs are for a full reopening and all intentions are for full reopening, but it’ll be huge lift. Glad we had this in-person experience, showed us we can do it, showed us the joy. Want to build on it, still with a lot of unknowns. Know two things at this point that district has given us. One, all schools will revert to 2019 bell times for start and dismissal. That’s good news. Two, transportation will be restored to 2019 service; if you got bus service in 2019, bus service is something you should be able to plan on for fall. Don’t have details for after school care, we’ve been talking about that, making in-roads, met at Genesee Hill with after school provider.

Alex B. – Office staff have been working on that, I did get something just this afternoon that was a school year agreement. There’s been a lot of incoming K families interested in kid time, looks like it’s 2:30-6, so while they’re getting to it a little later it is looking promising. 

Gerrit K. – Any sign up procedure?

Alex B. – No, still need to look into sign ups. 

Gerrit K. – Alex and I can talk about it, but we can set up some kind of email list if people want to be notified. And then we’ll be working all summer to get ready. My first steps are going to be to get to know our community and our students in particular, that’s what I’ve asked of staff this week as they’re wrapping up and pulling together report cards to pull together info on students so I can get to know the students. I’m interested in the challenge we’ve faced in terms of what students have learned, what they haven’t learned, how they’ve learned, I’m interested in seeing that through staff eyes as well as parent eyes as parents have had completely different perspective on how their child learns. So we really want to be able to put that information together. And as we’re planning big picture pieces for TC, really interested in why families have chosen TC in past, and why we want families to choose TC in future. How can we get consensus and strong mandate from district for moving into the future. I really expect from the district that we’ll get a lot more from district about what the school day looks like, probably in early August. Would love input from families about how to get to know families here. 

Chelsea L. – Normally we do a lot of welcome events at start of year. Do you know if parents will be able to be in building in the fall?

Gerrit K. – No, that’s a huge question! I expect we’ll see some initial COVID restrictions with elementary kids, don’t expect them to be vaccinated until into the fall, but we can do a lot outside.

Jessica W. – Thank you Gerrit for coming tonight and welcome to this community. Also, before we move on just want to thank the staff for all the work to make this strange learning environment work for our kids. I hope you go into the summer in a couple weeks feeling very accomplished and able to rest a bit. 

TC Parent Group budget

Jessica W. – Also, one other thing to know (not in the agenda but in newsletter) that if you looked at the minutes from last couple meetings about the conversations about the process to get to an approved budget. One thing we’ve done this year to collect this info in one place so it doesn’t get lost in transition to new leadership is that I just wrote a memo about the budget process and concerns that were raised. That I will pass off to next year’s board so they are aware of the concerns so they can act on them earlier in the school year so there is time for conversation.

Jacob B. – Sent out in newsletter all the feedback I’ve received in recent meetings and regular meetings and how they were implemented in budget. Then along with that was a copy of the draft budget that I will share now (see link above). We’ve talked through best estimates of what funds we’ll be able to spend, what we can keep in reserves, what I project is likely a reasonable goal for income. But probably the piece that people are most concerned about is that I did put $50K in for classroom assistants. Talked to Gerrit, we don’t know what next school year will look like, don’t know final numbers, best bet is to look at budget once final numbers are in come October. This is about half of what we’ve spent in the past. This is a pretty conservative budget in other places, not spending much on classroom supplies, etc., doesn’t spend more than is reasonable from reserves. Can have more if fundraising goes better. Intention for this meeting is that we’ve already had lots of conversations, this meeting offers one last chance to weigh in, and then have a chance to vote on this. 

  • Discussion

Michele C. – Just one quick question: now that you’ve added the $50K for hourly tutors, I was curious if any of those tutors or assistanst are staffed in the special education room and how that works.

Jacob B. – Don’t know answer to that question from past years, there may be staff who know answer to that? 

Katie – Can speak to that a little bit. Typically we (self-contained Special Education rooms) have not drawn from that money. We do have more adults in our classroom than other classrooms, so usually have not needed it as much as other classrooms, and more of a challenge to find someone who’s interested. There have been times when we’ve had an unexpected need and we’ve made a request to the parent group for some funds to support an extra adult, but it’s been awhile. It’s kind of nice to have some flexibility with the money that’s out there. 

Jacob B. – Perhaps we’re thinking about whether we’re using the funds to serve the students with the greatest need. One way we focus funds on the lower grades where more adults can be more helpful.

Lisa C. – I think in Resource they’ve had some access to assistants, but it’s tricky because they have to be with a cert the whole time and I suspect it would be in the classroom and I don’t think it was consistent.

Anna M. – Just wanted to thank Jacob. Can’t remember a time when it’s been harder to put together a budget. Really appreciate the thoughtfulness. 

Jacob B. – (to Jennifer’s question) In past have called out recess job separately from academic assistants. In the fall, we could potentially support a recess monitor type position. Would be great discussion to have. At this point, we don’t even know whether the district would allow these folks to be in the building. One of the challenges of this school year. This will be in the minutes, and I can add to my file. But we haven’t thought of classroom assistants and recess monitor as the same. 

Jessica W. – Any other questions about budget? 

Michele C. –  One more question. Now that we’re engaged in our shared leadership group for school and taking look at what a welcoming and safe school environment looks like, wondering if that was considered in the budget and if there are things in the budget that were added to contribute to that. The one thing I can think of is the $5K that we spent to bring in PD this year. I know that was considered one-time expense and that has been reduced to $1,500, and I’m just wondering if we’re really dedicated and looking to steer the ship in a new direction, could we consider doing that next year? One way to contribute to safe and welcoming environment is parent education.

Jacob B. – Think that’s appropriate, if parents on PTA want to suggest how to share the expenses for that event. Also, if other expenses aren’t as high we could think about doing it that way. Also, a lot of the work that funded that has been taken on by the school, which is appropriate. We are doing a lot of things to support outside the school. The priorities that have come from the majority of people who participated in this process are staff positions, library positions, etc. Think we’ve worked on this process a lot, if folks want to work on this process next year they can and see where it goes, but would appreciate if folks who bring a lot of their perspective from the PTA would bring dollars with their perspective. That’s where I am with that. 

Chelsea L. – Just wanted to chime in. I took a lot from that parent education series, there’s a lot of room to revisit this in the fall since so much is in the air. Honestly, not that $5K is a small amount of money by any means, I think there’s a way of doing this if we put our heads together and maybe right now it doesn’t have to be a line item in the budget and can table this for the fall. 

Michele C. – Thank you both. One last quick comment. Just want to voice that I’m here as a TC parent group member just like everyone else. Thank you everyone for your comments.

Elizabeth D. – That was something I wanted to say as well. Whether parents are part of the PTA or parent group, everyone should be able to participate and everyone should be involved earlier in the year. Thanks.

Stephanie Y. – I just wanted to put my voice out there as member of parent group and member of PTA that I totally see how difficult all of these decisions can be. Really glad to see how leadership groups are coming together to figure out how to work together. Thanks to folks who have made that clear, and that the goal is not to listen to the loudest and listen to every single student and every single family. Happy to see that reflected in how school makes plans. Looking forward to working with everyone next year on that.

Jessica W. – Anyone else want to chime in? Michele, I don’t know if you have an actual suggestion for a modification to the budget with your comment?

Michele C. – I would just like to see the same quality of parent and staff education we had this year continue into the future. Where to pull that money from? The first place I think of is the rainy day fund or the reserve. I know there’s a recommendation to keep $100K in there, I know it’s a recommendation, and I think that could go a long way.

Jessica W. – Erin, I know you were instrumental in organizing the speaker series this year, could you comment on appropriateness of $5K to fund this?

Erin – This year, we needed professionals to bridge some deep and long gaps, went for high-quality individuals, and they cost a lot of money. Now that we’ve laid a foundation, we could think about speakers who don’t cost as much, but we had parent education bridging to a future in this school where we can all work together. That is what has happened, needed that level of professional to get us there. It is the truth that the school will take on some of this in the future, but I think we will need to lean in as a parent community to continue engaging in this. So, it would be nice to have more than $1500, but we’d need to have conversation about what we want and what it would cost. 

Jessica W. – Trying to think of particular way to add this. Budget revisions are possible in fall and we do them, budgets need to change. But we are voting on this budget now.

Jacob B. – Big reason those events were so expensive is we had three facilitators for each of those events. It’s possible to run them with fewer. Each of those events cost $1500.

Stephanie Y. – One question or comment is that I really appreciate Erin’s concrete feedback on this. Would lean on her and others’ in the group’s experience on what real quality interventions look like. I agree we aren’t ready to give a number. But I know that Caryn just posted a comment, and I really agree, that making a commitment to continuing that process is saying that the work is important and is still important. I know we said the school is going to take care of that now, but this commitment should be reflected in the budget. Since we know $5K got us something of real quality with real participation, I’d feel comfortable putting that number again, and if we need less or more we could adjust from there. I’d propose moving it from the rainy day fund.

Jesica A. – I just wanted to mention as I’ve hearing this conversation that these committees still don’t have chairs, and we still don’t have an EDI chair, and if you’re feeling that this continued parent education is important to you, please consider taking one of those chair positions. It makes it easier to coordinate on this work and make it continue if it’s in some way formalized.

Jacob B. – Right now as this is written, there’s no way to decide how these funds are spent. Right now these are residing with the EDI committee, but without chairs or co-chairs there’s no way to allocate funds. If the will of the group is to make this item $5K, I’m fine with making that choice, but I’d very much like to see the collaboration with PTA not just to be human time but also financial. But it doesn’t feel like a complete collaboration, and it doesn’t have to be the same amount of money, but until I see the commitment coming not only in having the name of co-sponsor but also actually sponsoring with funds it doesn’t feel like a complete collaboration with me.

Jessica W. – This isn’t something to put in this budget, it’s for something for the leaders of next years’ organizations to figure out. But for this budget, what we ideally need to decide tonight for the benefit of the school and for the people coming into these positions next year, do the people in this room feel like a $5K allocation coming from the reserve fund, are we comfortable with bringing that proposal to a vote? See some thumbs up. Does anyone have a concern with that proposal?

Jacob B. – The budget as proposed with the revision to make the amount for parent education $5K instead of $1500 would be taken from an increased draw on savings. So would spend another $3500, not take anything from other items. This won’t dramatically change budget for next year. Thank you Michele for taking that back to the PTA. 

Jesica A. – Is this the entire parent education budget?

Jacob B. – This is EDI. There is not another place where parent education has appeared in the budget before. Last year was a separate line item, not under any committee. 

Jesica A. – Would it be possible to do that again?

Jacob B. – Not comfortable making this another line item. Needs to be under a committee’s budget.

Jessica W. – Strongly agree, the executive committee already a lot to do. Really needs to be someone’s responsibility. 

Michele C. – What happens if EDI chair is not filled?

Jessica W. – In that case we’ll take what we can get. It will be to next year’s leaders to decide, but if Erin is willing to step in again, my suggestion would be to still spend it. I’m again going to ask if there are any concerns. I’m typing a poll here to do that vote. 

Erin M. – It would be nice to know if PTA has plans for parent education so we are working with each other.

Jennifer – The staff leads are interested in working with PTA as well, so maybe the three groups can put our heads together.

Alex B. – Just wanted to add since TC building budget is different than all of that. This year there are race and equity dollars, next year there is will equity dollars, and that is something I’d like to continue to emphasize going into the next school year. Hope to collaborate with Gerrit to continue that work. There is no expectation that you need to fundraise around racial equity work since that is something that should be funded by our school. I do know those three people were very expensive, but we want to keep moving that forward.

Jacob B. – Showed line item for EDI committee and increased draw on savings. That would be the version of the budget we are voting to approve. 

  • Vote

Jessica W. – If there are no additional comments, I’ll open a poll so we can vote. Just a reminder that only members of the TC parent group vote on this budget decision, so only parent or guardian of current TC student. So, this budget is unanimously approved with 21 votes in favor. So, that concludes that part of the agenda. We have an approved budget for the TC parent group budget next year. Thank you to Jacob and to everyone who was involved, including those who voiced their concerns, please continue to do that. 

Committee updates

  • Yearbook

Jessica W. – Know that the yearbook is finished and delivered to the school. Thank you to Sarah and all the volunteers who made that happen.

Sarah T. – Don’t need to say anything, thank you for everyone who made that happen.

Laurie M. – Will be available for pickup on Monday.

  • Talent Night

Jessica W. – Also wanted to thank Rachel who worked on the talent night, I know it was super meaningful to kids. And now thanks to Dave for putting together the video. Do any other committee members have updates? 

Jana – Just want to thank everyone who helped pull a lot of weeds for landscaping. Looking forward to having more people at events next year, only had five at a time this year, but got a handle on the blackberries and I’m looking forward to getting everyone out next year to make our school look better.

Jessica W. – Thank you for leading that work. Really joyful to be on grounds.

Margaret – I have a question, not based on any committee, but pre COVID I had created Crayola marker recycling, looking for someone to continue with that work next year. 

Jana – If I had co-chair on facilities for inside work, that’s great. If it’s just me, outside work is pretty overwhelming, so that’s a pitch for a co-chair.

TC Parent Group officer election update

Jessica W. – People have nominated themselves, there are still open positions, if anyone wants to fill those they can. Just wanted to remind everyone that bylaws stipulate that we need to have election every year, this year no positions were competitive, but you will get an email ballot and we would love for you to vote and voice your opinion.

Stacey – Ballot will go out Thursday through a google form, will receive it sometime June 10th, will run through June 16th, results sent out through special edition newsletter on 17th. Will have paper ballots this Thursday from 2-4 PM. 

Jessica W. – Want to take an opportunity since there are no contested positions to welcome Chelsea Lin, who nominated herself as chair and is sure to win!

Chelsea L. – Just wanted to use this briefly to say a public thank you to Jessica and Elizabeth on behalf of all the chairs. You have showed such unparalleled grace and patience, and I’m really inspired by your dedication and optimism after all of this. A lot of this comes from positive changes looking forward to next year and all the work you have put in, you have full time jobs and have been home schooling your kids like all of us. And thank you to Jacob as well. I think I know everyone on this call, maybe a couple of you I’ve had a personal conversation with, I have a daughter going into 5th grade and a son going into 1st grade, interesting having a toe in the early grades and the later grades. There is an optimism in the kindergarten cohort that’s really refreshing. I laughed with some of you that I only took this because nobody else would, but I really took this on because I really care about this school and I want to pay it forward. But I can’t do it myself, and we have to do better outreach to bring in other voices, and we need to revert back to the old co-op-y TC ethos. People are scared of these roles because they have become burdensome, and we have to find a way to make this fun and engaging, and we very much need a vice chair for next year and other committees remain unchaired. If you are interested in these positions, please reach out. I’m looking forward to continuing our cautious optimism. 

Jessica W. – Thank you Chelsea, and I’m so excited for your leadership. I want to let people know what positions are still open.

Stacey: Vice chair, treasurers and finance committee, EDI (equity, diversity, and inclusivity committee) chair, curriculum chair, facilities co-chair for indoor, fundraising co-chair, grant writing chair, hospitality chair, parent education chair, hiring chair, and special education committee chair. And thanks to those of you who are continuing in TC site council. 

Jessica W. – Those are positions that are still open, the treasurer role is critical, the parent group cannot run without it. There have been process questions and content questions about the budget and how we can align it better with the school’s mission and how the school will redefine its mission, and it’s going to be an awesome opportunity to step into the leadership for that. Budgets are moral documents, and this is an opportunity to influence the moral direction of the organization. Just want to thank everyone, it has been a really meaningful experience for me, really grateful for those who have come to voice their support and deep concerns. I’ve said it before and I’ve said it again, it’s vital and that as a community we can continue to make it work well. I will leave you with what I sent out to site council, my fifth grader is the kid who dropped out of the choir but now he’s doing leadership next year, so thanks to TC and everyone. 

Chat transcript:

18:35:00 From  Jessica Williams-Nguyen  to  Everyone:

Tonight’s agenda

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1NYwW0Df-mP5iSTsXSxNHuFk7cXogaAYGZtOq1TsLEj4/edit

18:35:41 From  Jessica Williams-Nguyen  to  Everyone:

Prior meeting minutes

March: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Ur-POr00imQJP8RZA9DanxaB60qkawX-phgjdpLpVtI/edit?usp=sharing

April: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1gCUjH3NszThQsfxBIK58hLAjf3GEqm35-_d8kZCo-eo/edit?usp=sharing

May: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1jYClcFRc_d1LQ0wHzJdbVI_QAypU536srAtZ5YordSQ/edit?usp=sharing

18:37:44 From  Jessica Williams-Nguyen  to  Everyone:

https://www.realrentduwamish.org/

18:39:32 From  Jessica Williams-Nguyen  to  Everyone:

18:49:29 From  Jessica Williams-Nguyen  to  Everyone:

Prior meeting minutes

March: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Ur-POr00imQJP8RZA9DanxaB60qkawX-phgjdpLpVtI/edit?usp=sharing

April: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1gCUjH3NszThQsfxBIK58hLAjf3GEqm35-_d8kZCo-eo/edit?usp=sharing

May: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1jYClcFRc_d1LQ0wHzJdbVI_QAypU536srAtZ5YordSQ/edit?usp=sharing

18:50:24 From  Michele Campbell  to  Everyone:

Thank you Jessica for doing that last minute!

18:51:21 From  Anna Marshall  to  Everyone:

Thank you, Roddy!

18:51:39 From  Jacob Clark Blickenstaff  to  Everyone:

Big thanks to Roddy for taking such great notes!

19:02:52 From  Anna Marshall  to  Everyone:

Alex, will there be one or two parent positions on BLT?

19:06:34 From  Michele Campbell  to  Everyone:

Thank you!

19:08:13 From  Michele Campbell  to  Everyone:

Thanks Karen!

19:08:48 From  Emily  to  Everyone:

Wow. Thanks Karen and 5th grade teachers!

19:13:26 From  Stacey Seifert  to  Everyone:

Thank you to Karen, and the fifth grade teaching team!

19:15:49 From  Karen Wirkala  to  Everyone:

There was some talk about cutting bus service just to option schools? Is that not happening?

19:16:31 From  Gerrit Kischner  to  Everyone:

Correct.  My understanding is that that cut was rolled back.

19:18:23 From  Erin MacDougall  to  Everyone:

My suggestion is that families call Ravenna Eckstein Community Center asap to be added to the waitlist for Kids Time.

19:22:05 From  Jacob Clark Blickenstaff  to  Everyone:

Thank you, thank you, thank you to all the TC staff.

19:22:26 From  Emily  to  Everyone:

Yes, Thank you!

19:22:27 From  Stacey Seifert  to  Everyone:

Yes! Thank you teachers and staff!

19:22:48 From  Karen Wirkala  to  Everyone:

Thank you SO much, all staff! You have worked so very hard this year and it is extremely appreciated!

19:24:02 From  Jessica Williams-Nguyen  to  Everyone:

Memo: Prior meeting minutes

March: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Ur-POr00imQJP8RZA9DanxaB60qkawX-phgjdpLpVtI/edit?usp=sharing

April: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1gCUjH3NszThQsfxBIK58hLAjf3GEqm35-_d8kZCo-eo/edit?usp=sharing

May: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1jYClcFRc_d1LQ0wHzJdbVI_QAypU536srAtZ5YordSQ/edit?usp=sharing

19:24:43 From  Jessica Williams-Nguyen  to  Everyone:

Sorry that was wrong! Here is the memo. https://docs.google.com/document/d/1rSgsDzoN6351RoH7-YGJ4e8eVdejKzKcWh6I6FLpCq0/edit?usp=sharing

19:24:50 From  Michele Campbell  to  Everyone:

Thank you Jessica for writing a memo to incoming leaders

19:25:30 From  Bridget DuRuz  to  Everyone:

On behalf of 4th and 5th grade – we all greatly appreciate your comments and awareness of the hard work and energy my teams have put into the year. They have made every effort to make sure students have had an enriching learning experience. Thank you!

19:26:00 From  Gerrit Kischner  to  Everyone:

Thank you for the warm welcome.  Thanks to everyone for your strong work through this year.  I’m looking forward to working with you!

19:32:25 From  Jennifer (she/her)  to  Everyone:

Can the assistant funds be used for a recess monitor? That would be someone who could potentially do a job that reaches all classrooms and provides relief for teachers to prep, have time for problem solving with students during passing time, etc. With the smaller amount allocated this is an idea to help “spread the wealth”

19:35:32 From  Jessica Williams-Nguyen  to  Everyone:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1wjEUfWrbM9cxaDya0uasZW-F8u46fgOg/view

19:44:03 From  Jacob Clark Blickenstaff  to  Everyone:

Thank you, Stephanie.

19:46:00 From  Jacob Clark Blickenstaff  to  Everyone:

I can also speak to how those $$ were spent.

19:47:54 From  Caryn Park  (she/her)  to  Everyone:

A commitment to continued parent education also feels like an accountability measure that is needed to keep the momentum going.

19:48:04 From  Anna Marshall  to  Everyone:

Let’s come up with a specific proposal over the summer or next fall and then see where we are?

19:48:55 From  Jennifer  to  Everyone:

Perhaps increase from $1500 to $2500?

19:51:05 From  Erin MacDougall  to  Everyone:

I would be willing to facilitate a group of parents who would be willing to actively plan events for next year on anti-racism – it would feel essential to me that we do it collaboratively in some way with PTA.

19:51:34 From  Stacey Seifert  to  Everyone:

We do need an EDI chair or co-chairs.

19:51:49 From  Jacob Clark Blickenstaff  to  Everyone:

This money is currently in the EDI committee budget.

19:51:59 From  Chelsea Lin  to  Everyone:

And these are positions that should work critically with PTA

19:52:15 From  Jacob Clark Blickenstaff  to  Everyone:

Right now there’s no organized way to decide how to spend the funds.

19:52:41 From  Jacob Clark Blickenstaff  to  Everyone:

Thank you, Jesica.

19:54:53 From  Stephanie Yoshida Barnes (she/her)  to  Everyone:

Not all parents can contribute with dollars, but with network, contacts, skills, volunteer hours.

19:55:27 From  Elizabeth C. Duffell (she/her)  to  Everyone:

joint fundraiser? 😉

19:55:37 From  Jennifer (she/her)  to  Everyone:

Yes Stephanie!

19:55:50 From  Chelsea Lin  to  Everyone:

I was going to say the same thing, Stephanie. I don’t think the financial contribution is as valuable as being involved in the planning.

19:56:30 From  Michele Campbell  to  Everyone:

Jacob I will bring your thoughts to the PTA Board and get back to you

20:01:05 From  Michele Campbell  to  Everyone:

Sounds great Jennifer and Erin!

20:02:01 From  Jacob Clark Blickenstaff  to  Everyone:

Thank you, Alex.

20:02:20 From  Stephanie Yoshida Barnes (she/her)  to  Everyone:

Erin – absolutely, collaboration and shared leadership, with TCPG, RET, PTA and the building budget.  It only makes sense to all work together.  Thank you Alex – something we all need. 🙂

20:02:54 From  Erin MacDougall  to  Everyone:

I hope we will continue to consider the broader racial equity work as necessary- education is only one piece

20:02:56 From  Anna Marshall  to  Everyone:

Just a note that…I would rather see PTA and Site Council come together than compete with each other for fundraising.

20:03:13 From  Jesica Avellone (she/her)  to  Everyone:

Agreed, Anna.

20:03:28 From  Chelsea Lin  to  Everyone:

100%. Collaboration is the only path forward.

20:06:35 From  Jacob Clark Blickenstaff  to  Everyone:

You’re welcome.

20:07:05 From  Emily  to  Everyone:

Yes, thank you!!!

20:07:55 From  Chelsea Lin  to  Everyone:

Thank you, Sarah! It’s SO CHARMING. You guys are gonna cry.

20:08:45 From  Karen Wirkala  to  Everyone:

Thanks, Sarah! That was so much work for you!

20:08:57 From  Kathleen Phan  to  Everyone:

Thank you Sarah! We love our yearbooks. 😉

20:09:14 From  Stacey Seifert  to  Everyone:

And Dave Preston for creating the video!

20:10:55 From  Chelsea Lin  to  Everyone:

Thanks, Jana! It looks great.

20:12:20 From  Bridget DuRuz  to  Everyone:

the students love the purpose of the marker recycling

20:12:38 From  Elizabeth C. Duffell (she/her)  to  Everyone:

I’m sure we could include a blurb in the newsletter to help find a volunteer?

20:12:44 From  Kathleen Phan  to  Everyone:

Plug for fundraising co-chair as well!

20:13:16 From  Chelsea Lin  to  Everyone:

Good idea, Elizabeth. Margaret, can you email me with a blurb of the responsibilities?

20:13:54 From  Jana Dilley  to  Everyone:

Margaret, I have still been collecting my dead markers this past year and would so love to see recycling continue!

20:14:08 From  margaret  to  Everyone:

Will do Chelsea!

20:15:54 From  Erica Seddig  to  Everyone:

Yay Chelsea!!!

20:15:59 From  Elizabeth C. Duffell (she/her)  to  Everyone:

woohoo Chelsea!

20:16:06 From  Jesica Avellone (she/her)  to  Everyone:

Yay Chelsea! Thank you for stepping up!

20:16:28 From  Jennifer Pinto  to  Everyone:

Go Chelsea!

20:16:39 From  Calvert, Lisa  to  Everyone:

Yay Chelsea! From the Site Council Chair of 2005-06.

20:17:18 From  Kathleen Phan  to  Everyone:

Yay Chelsea!

20:20:37 From  Chelsea Lin  to  Everyone:

You guys are the best.

20:20:55 From  Chelsea Lin  to  Everyone:

Vice chair gets a year’s supply of cookies.

20:21:07 From  Jana Dilley  to  Everyone:

Thanks Stacey, right back at ya!

20:21:27 From  Kathleen Phan  to  Everyone:

So what’s our recruitment plan?

20:22:27 From  Emily  to  Everyone:

And goodbye to those who are leaving!!! Jesica, Stacey! You’ve given so much, and you’ll be missed!!

20:23:08 From  Jesica Avellone (she/her)  to  Everyone:

Thanks, Emily. We’ll miss TC very much.

20:23:19 From  Elizabeth C. Duffell (she/her)  to  Everyone:

THANK YOU JESSICA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

20:23:37 From  Kathleen Phan  to  Everyone:

Thank you for everything Jessica!!!! You’re amazing.

20:23:45 From  Jennifer Pinto  to  Everyone:

Thank you Jessica!

20:24:00 From  Jesica Avellone (she/her)  to  Everyone:

Jessica, you’ll be missed!

20:24:03 From  Karen Wirkala  to  Everyone:

Thank you, Jessica for being an amazingly diplomatic, eloquent, and supportive chair!

20:24:06 From  Michele Campbell  to  Everyone:

Thank you Jessica!

20:24:07 From  Emily  to  Everyone:

Thank you Jessica!!!

20:24:31 From  Erica Seddig  to  Everyone:

You’ve been an amazing leader! Thank you.

20:24:39 From  Chelsea Lin  to  Everyone:

Thank you all, truly.

20:24:57 From  Karen Wirkala  to  Everyone:

Chelsea, you will be awesome!!

20:25:10 From  Caryn Park  (she/her)  to  Everyone:

Thanks everyone for your service and heart!

20:25:18 From  Emily  to  Everyone:

Thanks all!