Aug
2015

ISSUE
No.12

The ISSUE                
 
Welcome to the ISSUE
The Issue  is a monthly newsletter that focuses on important issues within the Seattle School District and showcases the impact our PTSA programs and members have in their communities. 

In this issue:
Thurgood"Pillars of Diversity" Installed at Thurgood Marshall Elementary School

Community celebrates the new "The Pillars of Diversity" art installation at Thurgood Marshall Elementary School.

A ceremony was held August 13 to celebrate "The Pillars of Diversity"
art installation at Thurgood Marshall Elementary School. The art was created in honor of Justice Thurgood Marshall who worked to fight racial inequality and segregation in public schools. 
Community Opportunities
 

SCPTSA In the News
KCTS 9 


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The project, made possible by the City of Seattle Department of Neighborhoods, Coyote Central's "Hit the Streets" Program and Thurgood Marshall PTA,  came together at just the right moment in light of recent events across the country in South Carolina and the one year anniversary of Ferguson. 

"The students' response to these current events as they worked  on this art installation reflected their deep understanding of issues and was truly inspiring for those involved with the project," said SCPTSA President Cassandra Johnston.  

Read more about the project and see photos of the ceremony and installation on the  Friends of Hit the Streets on MLK blog .  
CapacitySPS Still Faces Projected Growth and Building Capacity Challenges
 
When school starts next month and you feel like your school is overcrowded, you are likely not alone. Several of our schools continue to struggle with overcrowding and building capacity concerns. Currently there are about 6,000 students learning in portable classrooms and many school core facilities (lunchrooms, bathrooms, and playgrounds) are stressed.

Seattle Schools to start school year with more portable classrooms to alleviate crowded buildings.
While the District is working hard to manage our incredible recent enrollment growth, (7,000 more students in the past 7 years), the most recent (2012) BEX Tax Levy Funds overwhelming supported by Seattle taxpayers, has not been sufficient to meet the growth demand. The District is placing additional portables for this coming school year and many of the schools being renovated or expanded under the current plan are already at or over capacity. In addition to our enrollment growth, the State Legislature has mandated smaller class sizes in K-3, and promised to fund them by 2018. In order to meet our building capacity needs in the coming years, Seattle Public Schools will need more school buildings all across the city. Exactly how many, where they should be located and how they will be funded will need comprehensive and cooperative planning from schools, families, city officials and our district leadership.

What can you and your PTA do?
  • Make sure you have an advocacy/legislative liaison appointed to help your PTA advocate.
  • Share your concerns about building capacity with SCPTSA, the District and City leadership.
  • Contact Schools First to schedule a presentation at a fall PTA or community meeting for the February 2016 BTA and Operations Levy renewals at info@SchoolsFirstSeattle.org.

Interested in getting more involved? Contact Eden Mack, SCPTSA legislative chair.

BreakfastPTA Leadership Breakfast Highlights and Recap
 
On Wednesday, August 12, over 200 district, PTA and community leaders came together for the 12th Annual Seattle Council PTSA Leadership Breakfast. The event's focus was threefold: Support schools through the Schools First campaign to renew the upcoming levies, improve family engagement efforts and partner with Food for Schools, which provides weekend food assistance to students in need. 

Schools First.  In February 2016, Seattle voters will be asked to renew two critical levies that support Seattle's public schools. The Operations Levy renews every three years and represents more than 25 percent of Seattle Public Schools' annual budget. This money funds basic education programs and teacher salaries that state funds do not cover. The BTA Capital Levies renew every six years and provides funds for buildings, technology and academics and athletics projects. These funds make upgrades that have historically impacted every school in the district. A draft of levy proposals is expected this fall. To learn more about the process and the timeline visit http://bta.seattleschools.org .

Attendees organize  food donations for the 
Food for Schools  Weekend Backpack Program.
Food for Schools. Of the 52,000 students enrolled in Seattle Public Schools, approximately 20,000 qualify for free and reduced lunch, and 2,300 of those students are homeless. 
The Food for Schools program  brings together food banks, meal programs, school   administrators, and concerned parents and community members to address the needs of Seattle children experiencing weekend hunger. Currently, Food for Schools provides approximately 2,300 students weekend food backpacks; however, we know there are many more students in need of support.  To learn more and get involved, contact  SCPTSA Food Program Manager Kim Enochs or join us for the Food for Schools Backpack Summit September 21 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m at the Mt. Baker Community Center.

Family Engagement.  Research indicates that family engagement is critically important to student achievement.  This July, 200 education leaders from across the county, including 14 representative from Seattle Public Schools and SCPTSA, joined together for four days to attend Harvard's Family Engagement Institute. There, the group discussed family engagement strategies and issues that are connected to student learning, and the core beliefs of family engagement developed by Boston Public Schools. 

Seattle Council PTSA | (206) 364-7430 | president@scptsa.org | http://www.scptsa.org
P.O. 24483
Seattle, WA 98124