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MARK YOUR CALENDARS 
  • Feb 3–7 - Tutu’s Pantry food donations: Kindergarten & 3rd Grade

  • Feb 4 – First Budget Committee meeting, 6:30 - 8pm, location TBD

  • Feb 8 – PTA Playdate (new); Miller Community Center playground 1:30-2:30; SNACKS!

  • Feb 11 – PTA Coffee Chat, Stevens drop off area 7:55-8:25; COFFEE!

  • Feb 12 – Jump-a-thon* 8:30 - 10:30am in the Stevens Gym

  • Feb 17-21 – Mid-Winter break, school closed

  • Feb 28 – Deadline to submit requests for 2020-2021 PTA funding via Budget Proposal Form, available here.

  • Mar 5 – Race & Equity Book Club discussion on You Failed Us:  Students of color talk Seattle Schools by Azure Savage, 6-8pm, 12th Ave Arts building

HAPPENINGS IN THE COMMUNITY
  • Feb 4 - Special Education Resource Fair @ 6:30pm, Robert Eagle Staff Middle School
  • Feb 11 - Meany Middle School panel discussion with PTA, parents, and students
JUMP-A-THON
Mrs. Goubert and Mr. Peters, the Stevens physical education instructors, have kicked off the New Year working with our children on their jump-roping skills. On Wednesday, February 12th (8:30-10:30am) students will put their skills to the test in our annual JUMP-A-THON. Each student will collect pledges for the number of times they can jump rope in ONE MINUTE. This event emphasizes the importance of physical fitness and gives the children an opportunity to raise money for their school. Last year our students raised over $10,000! Jump-A-Thon money goes directly to support our three Book-It Theater performances. Look for the bright green flyer in backpacks this week for more info on how it all works. Email Ana Gabriel for more information or to volunteer (it is super fun!)
JOIN THE BUDGET COMMITTEE
Do you care deeply about the learning and experiences of our Stevens students, and our larger Stevens Community? Join our PTA Budget Committee, and help us shape what programs, services, events and activities we fund next year with our PTA budget. Budget Committee members will help us articulate our values, support community members in creating proposals, and review requests for funding. NOTE: You DO NOT need to be a “numbers” person to be on this committee -- we want anyone who is interested in shaping what next year will look like.  The Committee meets 6 times on the following dates: Feb 4, Mar 3, Mar 17, Apr 7, April 21, and May 5. Attendance at all meetings is not mandatory, but encouraged. Email our Treasury Team to learn more. ** Note: our first meeting is Feb 4, this coming Tuesday at TBD from 6-8pm need to confirm - we hope you can join!
SUBMIT A BUDGET PROPOSAL TO FUND A PROGRAM OR EVENT!
Do you have an idea for a new program or community building event at Stevens? Do you love an existing program, and want to see it continue? This year we are trying to increase participation and transparency in our budget process, and are asking community members share ideas. Submitting a proposal is quick and easy, and if you need help, reach out to the Budget Committee - they are here to make this process easy! Look for the Budget Proposal Form on our website.
ANNUAL AUCTION

Save the Date!  Saturday, April 4th is the annual Stevens Auction, a chance to "Come as you Are" (we’re going Back to the 90’s) and party with Stevens parents.  Tickets will go on sale in early February.

The auction is a Stevens favorite: a night out for parents & caregivers, teachers and staff to mix and mingle, wine and dine, and bid on auction items, experiences and services. It's our biggest fundraiser of the year -- but really, it's just an excuse to have an adults only Stevens community party.

Donate an Item Today! We rely on donated auction items and experiences from Stevens families and the local community. If you have an item to donate or experience to offer, or know someone in the area who might, please complete the procurement form now!

If you are able to help with the auction, we’d love your support. We need helpers to make a playlist, create a live auction script, help with communication, procurement and more! Please email the Auction Team today!

CLASS ART PROJECT FOR ANNUAL AUCTION

Jennifer Campbell is helping to organize the classroom art projects for the PTA auction, set for April 4th, 90s-themed.  Are you interested in volunteering in Ms Martine's class to put our class project together? Jenn can help with generating ideas, logistics and supplies, as much or as little as you would want/need.  You would coordinate with Ms. Martine to schedule days/times to come in and do the project w/ the class, and recruit helpers as needed. Jenn recommends pairing up with another parent to collaborate on the project. Other teachers might also appreciate help, so let us know if you'd like to help out in your child's classroom.  Examples of previous projects include:

  • posters (each child does art work and all are photographed and made into a poster)
  • hand-print collaborative piece
  • Framed individual drawing
  • shrinky-dink lamps or other types of collage pieces
  • painted ukuleles

Please email Jenn Campbell if you have any questions or would like to help out.

JANUARY PTA MEETING UPDATE: EDUCATION FUNDING & EQUITY

In our January 21st PTA meeting, we dove into a complex and important topic: equity in school funding. This topic is important for our PTA right now, as we are grappling with whether or not we should continue to use PTA funds to pay for teacher positions. This conversation was prompted by our national and regional PTA partners (WSPTSA) who are encouraging all local PTAs to stop funding teaching positions and instead, advocate to the state legislature to amply fund education per our state constitution. In addition to advocacy, this is also about equity: WSPTSA  feels when rich schools fund additional teachers they increase the difference in education that poor and rich schools provide. Ultimately it is our decision whether or not to fund teacher positions; we do not have to follow the Washington State PTA's suggestion. 

 At our January PTA meeting, we described the PTA budget process, and asked what information people need to make budget decisions. We discussed how in the recent past (this year included) the PTA has paid for an additional teacher and instructional assistant(s) to reduce class sizes and be able to give special support and teaching to individual students and small groups. We also talked about how Seattle Public Schools (SPS) funds our school. This is very complex, but to simply: in February, SPS estimates how many students will attend each school.  From this, they decide how many teachers each school will have. Schools where more than 40% of the students qualify for free or reduced lunch get additional state funding. Stevens is just below that number; if we had eight more families qualify for free or reduced lunch, we would get additional state funds. In October, SPS counts how many students are at each school and adds or removes teachers if there are more or less students than expected. If our PTA funds a teacher position, that teacher is counted toward the number of teachers we have. So while funding our own teacher provides stability and allows us to retain our great teachers, we are essentially picking up the bill, so to speak, for a position that SPS should pay for. 

How does our Stevens community feel about all this? We took a quick poll at the end of our January meeting: of the 34 members attending, 22 of them fill out “exit tickets”; here’s a summary of what they said: 

  • Soliciting teacher and staff perspective is very important!

  • It will be important to create specific alternatives for PTA resources besides funding teacher positions, both in terms of dollars and time

  • We need clear, simplified information regarding how the District funds our school, and a strategy to ensure long-term stabilization for both student enrollment and staffing;

  • For the Quick Poll Question: “On a scale of 1-10, if you had to decide today, where would you fall?”

    • 65% chose “5 - I think we need to find a middle-ground, funding some basic education (teacher positions) while also advocating for State and District change;

    • 24% chose “10 - I feel strongly that we should stop funding some basic education, and shift our focus to advocating the State/District to fund education;

    • 14% wrote in answers between 7 and 9, commenting that we should stop funding teacher positions overtime, slowly, to ease the “shock” to our classrooms;

    • 5% chose “0 - I really can’t say, I need more information;

    • 0% chose “1 - I feel strongly that we should continue to fund teacher positions if/when the need exists.

 How we use our PTA funds will continue to be a conversation this year, and we’d love to hear your ideas! 

  • Anyone who wants to can be on the PTA budget committee to help review proposals (see above);

  • Any PTA member is also invited to submit a proposal for funding - the form and information is on our website; the deadline to submit a proposal is February 28, 2020.  Email our Treasury Team if you need help or have questions;

  • Help shape the conversation by providing information to include in our “voters pamphlet” which we will share with the community to help guide our budget decision in May.  Email Ian Todd for more information.

  • Come to the PTA meetings!  We will continue this conversation and review draft budget ideas at the March 24 meeting and vote on a final budget at the May 26 meeting.  

  • In addition, you can give your ideas, opinions, or questions to the PTA.  You can email board@stevenspta.org, talk to any PTA member, attend PTA coffee and play dates and share your thoughts then, or write a letter to the PTA and give it to Heather in the front office.

RACIAL EQUITY TEAM NEWS

In December our book club book was How to be an Anti-racist by Ibram X. Kendi -- we had a lively discussion. If you missed it, and would like to check it out, you can find a copy in the school office. Our next book club selection will showcase another local author -- this time a Garfield Highschool student! You Failed Us:  Students of color talk Seattle Schools by Azure Savage which tells a students’ perspective of the HCC (Highly Capable Cohort) program. You can find locations that sell their book if you put in your zip code here. We will also be getting some copies of the book to put in the main office to borrow. Our book club discussion will be Thursday March 5th, 6p-8p - at the 12th Ave Arts building located at 12th & Pine (1620 12th Ave 2nd floor Pike/Pine Room), Seattle,WA 98122. Email the Racial Equity Team to RSVP for this discussion, and/or to join the Race & Equity Team email list for events, resources, and updates.  

If you are wanting something you can listen to on the move, we recommend The New York Times' 1619 Project podcast for some re-telling of our history by Nikole Hannah-Jones.

THANK YOU! AN UPDATE ON FUNDRAISING

Tree Sale
We want to send out a HUGE THANK YOU to all our amazing, hard-working volunteers who helped pull off our third biggest fundraiser of the year -- we truly could not do this without each and every one of you! 

  • The Tree Sale took in $44,410 in one weekend! Some of those funds were earmarked for Tutu’s pantry and Annual Fund, so our actual sale of greens and trees amounted to $38, 246. Our expenses include the cost of the trees ($17K) and marketing and credit card fees (~$1,800); which makes our income for Stevens PTA $25,467! 
  • We sold 340 trees (only 5 trees went unsold), 200 wreaths, and hundreds of feet of garland! Our prices were up 6% to keep pace with wholesale cost increases, and we saw the exact same 6% increase in average transaction; so the price increase did not seem to affect what customers were purchasing.  
  • Our total revenue was down 5% from last year. This is a bit disappointing, but our enrollment is also down this year, and the late Thanksgiving date could have also impacted our sales. Our planning team is looking into how to pick this up next year.

Annual Fund

Thank you to each and every family who added their support to the PTA's Annual Fund Drive this season. As of this newsletter, we have raised $73,000 - 66% of our goal of $110,000 with participation from current families, alumni, & neighbors. 73 Stevens families have participated...Have you?

Funds directly underwrite important classroom services like support for split classes, math, and reading; classroom supplies for all; scholarships, Tutu's Pantry, and race and equity initiatives; and of course beloved all-school events like the Carnival. 

It’s never too late to give! We are grateful for whatever amount you can give, as gifts of all sizes truly make a difference. We hope you will consider donating an amount that is meaningful to your family. Thank you again for your support of the Annual Fund! Collectively, all gifts make a big impact on all of our Stevens students.


Tutus Pantry, Winter Wishes, Craft & Bake Sale 

Thanks to all who donated food, money, baked goods, crafts and who made purchases at the tree sale. The team effort was enough to fully fund our Winter Wishes program, which supports Stevens families who need help with food and gifts through the holiday season! We raised a total of $2,310 dollars at the craft and bake sale! As always, we still need food donations coming in to keep the pantry supplied! All are welcome to help pack bags Friday mornings at 8am with Tricia. 

JOIN THE PTA

Just a reminder, we would like everyone who wants to join the PTA to do so. This is not about raising money through memberships (in fact, we only receive $1 of each $10 member fee) -- this is about hearing your voice, and getting you and your family involved in our school community.  There is a free membership available, and membership is always free for teachers and staff. If you would like to join, please fill out one of the orange forms near the front door of Stevens and return it to Heather Pollard at the front desk.

GIVE US THE SCOOP
If you have ideas or suggestions for content you would like to see on the website or in the monthly Stevens Scoop, give the Communications Team a shout.
Copyright © 2019 Stevens Elementary PTA, All rights reserved.

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Stevens PTA · Stevens Elementary · 1242 18th Ave E · Seattle, WA 98112 · USA

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