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The Wildchat: 11/15/2022

November 15, 2022

Fall Fundraising Final Update: Great Job, Wildcats!

Congratulations, Wildcats! We’ve wrapped up our Fall Fundraising with an amazing $75,885.43 raised through Annual Give and Move-a-thon contributions, reaching 84% of our $90,000 fundraising goal. We’re optimistic that our upcoming Spring Fling Auction and Block Party fundraiser in May will help us reach this year’s total fundraising needs to support the PTA’s budget.

If you contributed and are eligible for Employer Matching–it’s not too late! Let us know if an Employer Match is coming our way so we can include it in our budget.

THANK YOU to our Whittier families and community for participating in our Fall fundraising this year. We’re also excited to congratulate Anne Miller (Mr. Keener’s class) for winning two Seahawks tickets thanks to their participation in Annual Give! For families expecting Annual Give thank you gifts, the Fundraising team is planning to distribute gifts (and donation receipts) the week of 12/12; please stay tuned for details.

Thank you again to our community for your support through our Fall Fundraising campaign; Wildcats are great because of YOU!

What’s Coming Up

Responding to Last Week’s Local School Gun Violence Incident

After last week’s tragedy at Ingraham, many are reeling that gun violence can happen so close to home. The PTA is working to engage with a local non-profit to learn more about how we can support efforts to end gun violence. In the meantime, SPS Coordinated School Health and Staff Wellness (EAP) are available to help our community process this tragic incident. Below are some resources to help families.

Upcoming Holiday Gifting

As we approach the upcoming holiday season, staff and teacher gifting plans generally come up. Participation is always voluntary. If you’d like to be sure you hear about gifting plans, here’s how they’re organized this year at Whittier:

  • Room Reps: Your class Room Rep is the primary way teacher gifts will be organized. Not sure how to hear from your Room Rep? Join your classroom on Konstella and you’ll see your “Room Lead” (Konstella for Room Rep). Click on your Room Lead’s name to message them and make sure they have your contact information.
  • Additional Staff List: Room Reps will provide a list of additional (non-homeroom) staff at Whittier. Families can choose to submit gifts for distribution by the front office.
  • Helping Hands Drive: Details will be distributed soon about how our PTA Outreach team will organize a gift card drive to support Whittier families in need.

Buddy Bench: What the EDI Committee is thinking about this week!

Why are there pronouns in our email signatures & in our zoom names? You may have noticed something new at the bottom of emails coming from us: Little notes listing our personal pronouns.

  • She/her/hers/ella
  • He/him/his/él
  • They/them/theirs/elle
  • Ze/Hir/Hirs

These are just a few examples; there are many different personal pronouns in use today. Whittier staff now list their personal pronouns in their email signatures. Why?

Whittier actively welcomes our transgender and non-binary co-workers, young people, volunteers, and community members. Sharing our personal pronouns affirms our belief that every individual has the right to define their own identity. Putting our personal pronouns in our email signatures is an easy way to let recipients know we honor those definitions—and want to know their personal pronouns, too!

This is another small step in Whittier ’s value of inclusivity. Using names our scholars choose for themselves is not new in Whittier or SPS. At Whittier, everyone is welcome.

Including your personal pronouns in introductions and emails is just one way we can make the world—and Whittier —a more friendly place for trans and non-binary people.

As you discuss Thanksgiving with your children, we hope you’ll reflect and use these resources to guide them to a more comprehensive understanding. It’s critical to address the truth and violence surrounding the day while also ensuring your students feel safe and prepared. It’s also critical to uplift the voices of Indigenous people, many of whom mourn the day and the pain that accompanies it.

Children’s Books for Decolonizing History and Sharing Indigenous Perspectives:

  • When the Shadbush Blooms—Written by Carla Messinger (Turtle Clan Lenape) and illustrated by David Kanietakeron Fadden (Wolf Clan Mohawk)
  • We Are Still Here!: Native American Truths Everyone Should Know and We Are Grateful Written by Traci Sorell (Cherokee)
  • A Day with Yayah—Written and illustrated by Julie Flett (Cree-Métis)
  • Native Americans in History: A History Book for Kids—Written by Jimmy Beason (Eagle Clan Osage) and Ancestor Approved: Intertribal Stories for Kids—Edited by Cynthia Leitich Smith (Muskogee Creek) (geared for older elementary students, but good for building background knowledge) Thanksgiving
  • Thanku: Poems of Gratitude, Edited by Miranda Paul, illustrated by Marlena Myles
  • Article about Thanksgiving from a Native Teacher’s Perspective:
  • Article about how to talk to kids about Thanksgiving:
  • Program to Support the Duwamish Tribe:
  • Cool Printable Placemat for Thanksgiving dinner:

The PTA budget for this event covers the facility and up to 45 Wildcat skate rentals (any caregiver, friend, family member, or Wildcat can join with an $11 skate rental). Please sign up to reserve a complimentary skate rental for your Wildcat by 11/21:

Thank you, Wildcats!

Learn More: What Does the PTA Fund?

If you’re new to understanding the complex funding structure of education (and SPS and Washington State public schools in particular), you may be confused about the PTA’s role in “essential staff and services” at Whittier. Learn more about the role PTA funds play in Whittier’s annual operations and budgets:

  • Whittier is the 16th largest elementary school but its discrete budget is ranked 40th out of 63 SPS elementary schools. Whittier PTA helps cover funding gaps.
  • SPS reduced Whittier’s nurse allocation to 1.5 days per week this year (from 2 full days that we extended with additional funds last year). Whittier staff voted to use 32% of their school discretionary budget (intended for supplies like paper and activities like field trips) to increase Nurse Marissa’s time another .5 days. Whittier will ask the PTA to help cover discretionary needs this year when they run out of these funds.
  • Whittier PTA funds and organizes family events and resources, including community events, EDI work, family support services, scholarships, and safety equipment and activities.
  • SPS funds about 70% of our current Specialist (PE, Performing Arts, Art) schedule. Without additional PTA funding, Wildcats would see Specialists 3-4 days per week instead of daily. Whittier PTA’s flexible staffing grant covers .5 Specialist FTE to ensure this happens, regardless of SPS’ funding.
  • Whittier receives 25% of its total Reading Intervention budget from outside sources. As a Tier 4 school, we’re ineligible for most SPS or Seattle Levy funding for literacy support beyond our .5 Librarian FTE. PTA Funds allow our Wildcats to work with the incredible Ms. Trilby. Principal Watters uses the PTA’s flexible staffing grant to efficiently spread funding and add the remaining 75% of budget needed to ensure Wildcats receive the learning support they need.
  • Whittier is still missing crucial supports for our Wildcats. Our current .5 FTE Social Worker assignment means students don’t have social worker assistance available most school days. We are allocated but won’t be assigned a .5 Assistant Principal by SPS, leaving Whittier without a necessary staff member to support special education work, supervision, teacher and staff support needs, and more. PTA offers funding grants to solve year-specific needs to help support our school’s needs in-the-moment.

For an amazing overview from Principal Watters of how Whittier’s budgets and funding are structured, both year over year and in comparison to other SPS schools, we encourage you to watch this recording of last week’s Community Meeting (skip to 12:08 – 35:53). Want to support Whittier PTA’s fundraising efforts this year?

  • Learn more about Annual Give, including our Thank You Gifts
  • Give donations TODAY (you’ll receive a tax receipt for your tax deductible donation after the campaign ends)
  • If you’ve already donated, learn more about Employer Matching to see how you can amplify your donation. (If you’ve completed an Employer Match, please email us if you haven’t already so we can count it towards our fundraising goal!)
  • Want to go above and beyond? If you know a local business that may be interested in a sponsorship opportunity, please contact

The Wildchat: 11/1/22

November 1, 2022

ANNUAL GIVE DRIVE EXTENDED: Help Us Reach our Fall Fundraising Goal!

Thank you, Wildcats for contributing to our Fall Fundraising campaign this year! With both Move-a-thon and Annual Give, we’ve raised over $70,000 towards our $90,000 Fall Fundraising goal. We’re extending our Annual Give Drive through 11/14 and hope to increase family participation to get closer to our goal.

The Whittier PTA has two fundraising periods raise almost 89% of our annual operating budget’s planned $146,350 income: Fall Fundraising’s Move-a-thon + Annual Give raise 62% and Spring Fling aiming to raise 27%.

Whittier PTA’s planned expenses this year clock in at $166,118 (almost $20,000 more than the income we’ll raise this year through fundraising). Without the support of our community, we may not be able to fund things to the same levels we have in the past.  Your dollars are CRUCIAL to helping support:

  • School assemblies – The PTA supports a number of these throughout the year (Black Lives Matter, Reptile Man, TapRoot Theater to name a few)
  • Curriculum supports – The PTA funds a number of applications used in the classroom including IXL Math, Razz Kids and various literacy materials etc
  • Staffing – A hot button for many, but the simple truth is that without PTA funding our kids would not have access to a specialist (PE, Music or Art) every single day or Ms. Trilby when they need her support
  • Equity, diversity and inclusion – All of our EDI efforts are 100% PTA funded- Community building events

Want to better understand how the PTA contributes to Whittier? Donations of all sizes help Whittier PTA provide essential staff and services to our Wildcats. Want to support Whittier PTA’s fundraising efforts this year?

  • Learn more about Annual Give, including our Thank You Gifts and our $250/student Fall fundraising goal
  • Give donations TODAY (you’ll receive a tax receipt for your tax deductible donation after the campaign ends)
  • If you’ve already donated, learn more about Employer Matching to see how you can amplify your donation. (If you’ve completed an Employer Match, please email us if you haven’t already so we can count it towards our fundraising goal!)
  • Want to go above and beyond? If you know a local business that may be interested in a sponsorship opportunity, please contact

Questions? Please contact


Thank You for Joining us at Fall Festival! And THANK YOU to our amazing volunteers!

Thank you to our Whittier families, staff, teachers, and community for joining us to celebrate at our Fall Festival! We were so excited to see our Wildcats spending time together, showing off their creative costumes, and laughing with new and old friends.

An ENORMOUS THANK YOU to the incredible volunteers that made this event happen:

  • Chairs:  Jess Twardzick, TIna Lilley, Melissa Ivancevich and Laura Zingg-Wadsack
  • Special thanks:  Principal Waters and Ms. Leming, Custodian Austin, Mr. Pule, Ms. Steph and Ms. Julia
  • Day of volunteers:  Isaac Osborn, Anjean Vanden Bosch, Jon Overman, Rachel Sidles, Ashley Sullivan,  Matthew Sullivan,  Katie Kreiger,  Jared Cortes,  Sandy Hawley,  Angie Lundstedt,  Jeannie Choi,  Amber Campbell,  Joni Larson, Claudia Gustafson, Lauren Carey, Maddie Tehrani, Kai Herndon-Farnam, Toby Ross, Emma and Avery Kocher, Devon Wiggins, Sijae Byun, Chad Robertson, Travis Elley, Ben Peterson, Courtney Sievers, Leah Lansberry Austin, Emily Schweiger, Lauren and Kyle Zerbey, Kate and WIll Scales, Larishna Catuncan, Matt Reeve, Malaika Hinshaw, Bree Callahan, Cole Herber,  Joel Bendickso,  Rebecca Grandi,  Annika Hoogestraa, Katherine Roll, Kellie Pecoraro 
  • Cake Walk donations:  Melissa Ivancevich, Bryana Patmon, Kim Kocher, Brie Gardner, JoAnn McKimpson, Katherine Abraham, Anna Smith, Michelle Nemeth, Emily Geyer, Nina Rohlich, Leah Lansberry Austin, Tamara Cunitz, Megan Wildenradt, Annika Hoogestraat, Lori Tanzen-Hoy, Laura Zingg-Wadsack, Larishna Catuncan

Want to help with more PTA events and activities? We need volunteers! Please contact to be added to our volunteer list and connected to PTA volunteer opportunities.


No School on Friday, 11/11 (Veteran’s Day)

Help Ms. Jo’s Fight for a Sensible, Low-Sugar Breakfast!

Ms. Jo, a part of SPS’ Culinary Services team, services Wildcats a la carte and entrees options established by the SPS Culinary Services central team. When she realized the chocolate milk included in this year’s breakfast included 11 grams of added sugar, she decided to discontinue offering the beverage during breakfast. Unfortunately, this sensible sentiment is not shared by the Culinary Services team; Ms. Jo has been advised she may face disciplinary action if she doesn’t continue serving chocolate milk during the breakfast meal service. She testified at last week’s school board meeting to raise awareness of this issue, but we need to help support both Ms. Jo and healthier breakfast food options for our Wildcats.

We’re asking our Wildcat families to email our school board director (Lisa Rivera Smith), SPS Culinary Services, and use the SPS Let’s Talk Form to ask they support Jo-Nell Simonian’s, Whittier Elementary Kitchen Manager, choice to eliminate chocolate milk from the a la carte breakfast meal this year.

Buddy Bench: What the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Committee is thinking about

Here are some links to content around Latinx Heritage Month and Dia De Los Muertos Events in the community!

NEW Advocacy Priorities for 2022-2024 – Let’s Make Our Voices Heard

Our PTA Advocacy Chairs, Megan Wildenradt and Emily Barbee, were able to attend the WSPTA Legislative Assembly this past weekend. After 9 house of debate, the top 5 WSPTA 2022-2024 Legislative Priorities are as follows:

From the school board, to city council, and the state legislature – work is happening that affects all of us and your voice is needed. We will continue to share information about what is happening that affects children, families, and the school community. View the details of the legislative priorities on the WSPTA website under Focus Areas/Advocacy.

In the meantime, here are two things you can do TODAY:

  1. VOTE – drop or postmark your ballot by November 8th! Visit for more information. 
  2. Preventing and reducing gun violence and suicide was voted on unanimously by delegates. Find out how candidates measure up for supporting legislation that reduces gun violence by entering your address here.

Want to learn more about PTA advocacy efforts? Contact

November Staff Appreciation – by 4th Grade Families

We are so THANKFUL for our staff!  Each month a different grade provides goodies for Staff Appreciation. 4th Grade families are up for November – and we are setting up a hearty autumn lunch, to power the staff though conferences and fill their hearts (and stomachs) before break.

Sign up here!

Please drop off items to the office by 12pm on Wednesday, Nov. 16th. Let the office know if your items need to be refrigerated. Please clearly label all items “Staff Appreciation for 11/17.”  Email if you have any questions. THANK YOU! 

Thank you, Wildcats!

Whittier PTA Announces 2022 Reflections Art Contest

Does your Wildcat enjoy art, music and dance or have an interest in writing, producing films and taking photos? Then join us and have fun unleashing your inner artist with PTA Reflections, a national arts recognition program.

Reflections is a national arts contest. All students are invited to reflect on this year’s theme, Show Your Voice. Students create an original piece of art to express themselves and the theme. The works will be judged for prizes and awards. At Whittier, pieces will be displayed in the spring.

Students submit work in one of six areas. Each area has specific guidelines and a submission form. Forms can be found online at Look for flyers and announcements through all of Whittier’s communication channels. Turn in completed submissions to the front office or upload to by Thursday, November 10th.

Interested in judging submissions from Whittier students? Sign up here!

Find more info at Whittier’s Parent Coordinator is Laura Zingg-Wadsack,

More from the National PTA Reflections Council
The Reflections Program is a National PTA and Washington State PTA cultural arts competition. The purpose of this program is to provide an opportunity for students to use their creative talents by expressing themselves through their own original works.
Six art areas:

  • Literature – works of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, prose, drama, short stories and lyrics
  • Music Composition – original musical composition, with or without words
  • Photography — color or black and white, including techniques: photo-gram, retouched, montage, sandwich and multiple exposure
  • Visual Arts — drawing, painting in tempera, oil, acrylic, watercolor, and t-shirt paints, computer generated art, two-dimensional collage, printmaking, needlework, and leather tooling
  • Film/Video — original works, with or without sound, of animation, narrative, documentary, experimental or music video/film
  • Choreography/Dance — originally choreographed dance composition

Participation is organized by student age and grade levels. Student works are critiqued against others in the same grade division. This allows recognition and judging of artworks by appropriate developmental age and skill levels. Grade divisions:

  • Primary: Preschool – Grade 2
  • Intermediate: Grades 3 – 5
  • Middle/Junior: Grades 6 – 8
  • Senior: Grades 9 – 12


Each year, 1,000 student submissions are reviewed at the national level by arts and education experts. Our judges look for personal interpretations on the program theme that best exemplify creativity and technical skill.

Outstanding Interpretation Awards — 1 per arts category and special artist division

  • An expense-paid trip for student honoree and one adult to showcase work at the National Reflections Celebration
  • $800 Young Artist Scholarship
  • Gold medal and certificate
  • Recognition in the traveling art exhibit and online gallery
  • $200 Outstanding Local PTA Award

Awards of Excellence — 3 per division of each arts category and 1 special artist of each arts area

  • $200 Young Artist Scholarship
  • Silver medal and certificate
  • Recognition in the traveling art exhibit and online gallery

The Wildchat: 10/18/22

Annual Give is Taking Off!

We’ve just closed Annual Give’s second week–and we’ve raised over $16,000 so far, bringing our Fall Fundraising total to $39,000 (or 43% of our $90,000 goal). We’re aiming to raise $250 per student through direct donations before 10/28 (and to amplify those donations through Employer Matching when possible). As a 501(c)3 donation, all Annual Give Drive donations are tax-deductible.

And as a thank you, our Fundraising team has coordinated a collection of eco-friendly and, when possible, locally sourced thank you gifts at four donation tiers:

A pair of swedish dish cloths, Wildcat MIIR tumbler, Kavu fleece-lined outdoor blanket are part of our thank you gift collection!

Why should you consider donating to the Whittier PTA? In addition to organizing and funding events and services that benefit the entire Whittier community, the Whittier PTA also plays a key role in funding essential staff and services through flexible staffing grants, funding requests, and other discretionary funding. For an amazing overview from Principal Watters of how Whittier’s budgets and funding are structured, both year over year and in comparison to other SPS schools, we encourage you to watch this recording of last week’s Community Meeting (skip to 12:08 – 35:53).

Have you donated in the past and set-up recurring donations? Please contact and we’ll help transition you to our new payment platform.

Learn more about our Annual Give Drive and donate. Donations of all sizes support funding for essential services, staff, and programs. Thank you for supporting Whittier!

Thank You for Making Move-a-thon a Success, Wildcats!

A HUGE thank you to our Move-a-thon Chair, Katie Lyden, and all our Move-a-thon volunteers who helped make Move-a-thon happen this year. We are thrilled our Whittier community was able to participate in so many ways:

  • As volunteers
  • As scholars running, skipping, and hopping down the track
  • As supportive students, cheering others classes on
  • As donors pledging funds

Thanks to our amazing community, we were able to raise over $22,000 towards our $90,000 Fall Fundraising goal, or almost 25% of our total goal! Didn’t get a chance to donate? Please join our fundraising effort with our Annual Give.

Reminder: Volunteers Needed!

We’re seeking volunteers for two important upcoming events:

Want to help the Vaccine Clinic but aren’t free to volunteer? Help us gather supplies by purchasing items from our Wish List and, if your student is participating, please submit insurance information here.

Tips for selecting culturally sensitive Halloween costumes

Whether you’re putting the finishing touches on an epic homemade creation or scouring the aisles of Target for ideas, Halloween season brings up important questions and discussion around costumes that could be offensive.  Check out these helpful tips for selecting costumes this year. 

Are you Registered to Vote?

The midterms are coming up on November 8th! YOUR voice matters. Visit the link below by 10/31 to register online!

Call for Entries! Reflections Art Contest

Does your Wildcat enjoy art, music and dance or have an interest in writing, producing films and taking photos? Then join us and have fun unleashing your inner artist with PTA Reflections! Find more information and submissions guidelines here. Contact Laura Zingg-Wadsack at for any questions/more info. Submissions are due 11/4.

For inspiration, visit the Reflections virtual art gallery and learn more about prizes and scholarships. 

Interested in volunteering to judge final submissions? Sign up here!

Update: Revised SPS ’22-23 School Year Calendar Finalized

On Wednesday, October 12, the School Board approved the following additions to the current school calendar:

  • February 2: Regular School Day (formerly “Day Between Semesters,” No School)
  • June 26: Regular School Day (formerly one-hour early dismissal, last day of school)
  • June 27 – 29: Regular School Day
  • June 30: Last Day of School (One-hour early dismissal)
  • July 3, 5, and 6: Potential Snow Make-up Dates

Principal Watters has confirmed that planned events, like 5th Grade graduation celebrations and field day, will not be changed to reflect this change. If you have a question about this revised calendar, please contact Principal Watters.

Taproot Theatre Comes to Whittier!

Whittier welcomed Taproot Theatre to present “Allies from Outer Space” on Thursday, October 13. Across two assemblies, Taproot was able to share a message of acceptance with our Wildcats. Special thanks to the PTA for helping make this experience happen.

Fall is in the air on Friday, October 28 from 4:30-7pm on the Whittier blacktop. We’re calling this “Fall Festival” because it’s taking a bit of a departure from Fall Carnivals in the past. Like past years, all community members (including graduated Wildcats) are welcomed. Unlike past years, there will be less emphasis on traditional, carnival-style games. Instead, the focus will be on activities, spending time with friends, music, food, and dancing.

  • No tickets necessary–just show up and join in on the fun! All children must be supervised by their grown-up during the event.
  • Games and activities including pumpkin decorating, apple toss, face painting, candy corn toss, pumpkin run, cake walk, and photo booth.
  • Move inside after dark for the Monster Mash DJ’d by our very own Ms. Steph!
  • Food available for sale: Corn dog combo meals, popcorn, and cotton candy.
  • Costumes are welcome (but not required!). Wear weather appropriate gear! Most of the event is outdoors.

Questions? Contact event co-chairs Jess Twardzik ( and Tina Lilley ( 

Thank you, Wildcats!

Upcoming Vaccine Clinic at Whittier!

The clinic will be held on Wednesday, October 19 between 8:30am – 1pm. We will be giving flu shots and hopefully the new, pediatric bivalent COVID booster (as long as it is released in time). Children are eligible for the booster as long as it has been 2 months since their last booster and they have had both of their initial doses of the vaccine. (We may be able to provide more adult COVID vaccines depending on demand. Individuals who are interested should reach out to Nurse Marissa for more info).

To participate, students must be registered! Register here:

To make this clinic a success, we’re seeking volunteers and supplies! Volunteers must have completed their SPS volunteer application.

For more info, visit or contact Nurse Marissa.

The Wildchat: 10/4/22

Fall Fundraising Takes Off!

This week we start racing down the runway to reach our $90,000 Fall Fundraising goal! If you feel like you’re encountering turbulence with the details, here’s what you need to know:

  • Pints for Purpose (10/5): Chat with friends (and make some new ones) at this social event with a fundraising bent at Wheelie Pop Brewing. Pop by anytime between 3-10pm and Wheelie Pop will donate $1 per pint to the Whittier PTA.
  • Annual Give (10/5-10/28): Traditionally our biggest fundraiser of the year, this fundraiser acts family and community members to directly donate funds to support the Whittier PTA’s annual budget. Receive thank you gifts at certain donation levels and don’t forget to accelerate your donation by using any employer match opportunities. Look for a flyer in your scholar’s Takehome folder with more information!
  • Move-a-thon (10/7): This fun event during the school day asks Wildcat scholars to walk, jog, run, unicycle, or move any way they’d like around the school blacktop. Family, friends, and community can sponsor Wildcat scholars with per lap or flat donations to help the Whittier PTA fund essential staff and services this year. All students participate, regardless of donation, and we’re seeking volunteers to help make the event a success. Be sure to set-up your Wildcat’s donation page and share it today! Donations can be collected through 10/14. If you’d like to submit a cash or check donation, grab an envelope from the Front Office. (Psst – Want to add your Wildcat’s photo to their donation page? Check your email for a confirmation from 99 Pledges–a link to edit your page is included.)

We’re aiming to raise $250 per student through Annual Give and Move-a-thon to reach our Fall Fundraising goals and ensure our operating budget for this year. Learn more about the PTA and what we fund.

Embrace and Engage in Diversity Learning at Home

Are your children ready to be part of the global community? Want to help the kids in your life embrace diversity and learn to welcome everyone? True inclusion is a lifelong process. Here’s how to get started.

  1. Investigate your own biases and privileges. Getting acquainted with our personal blind spots is the first step to helping the kids in our lives grow up with wider eyes. If you catch yourself acting out of ignorance, fear, prejudice or unacknowledged privilege in front of younger people (or they point it out for you!), apologize and talk about what you’re can do to learn and change.  
  1. Get curious! Create opportunities for kids to interact with many different kinds of people. Intentionally cultivate friends from different cultures. Offer to share one of your own traditions; ask if they can share one with you. Visit museums, galleries and restaurants with cross-cultural perspectives. Seek out diverse neighborhoods, schools, organizations and youth programs. We will help publicize family friendly events around Seattle.
  1. Keep it simple! Tailor conversations to kids’ age and ability. Listen to what the child is actually asking and give simple, straight-forward answers. You may have a whole presentation on cerebral palsy ready, but they may only want to know how their friend is going to get her wheelchair up your front steps for their play date. If they need more detail than you can give, you can offer to help them find more complex answers from books, experts or knowledgable friends. Which brings us to…
  1. Be open to not knowing. Kids can ask hard (and blunt) questions! It’s ok to say you don’t know an answer and offer to find out together. Or to ask for some time to think before answering. Or to come back later and say you didn’t like how you answered a question and you want to try again. Model an open mind and a growth mindset, which leads to…
  1. Seek out multicultural media. Want the kids in your life to more about other people, cultures, and ways of living? Check your media influences: Whose stories are you seeking out? If you put your playlist on shuffle, are there tracks from lots of different perspectives or only people with backgrounds similar to yours? Diversify the books, movies, podcasts, shows, and music you share with kids so they are exposed to different stories, artists and ways of viewing the world.
  2. Talk about differences and similarities. And celebrate both! Make it a game to brainstorm a connection for every distinction.
  1. Get cultured! Encourage the kids in your life to learn about their own heritage(s). Ask questions, aid their explorations, support their journeys of self-discovery. Respecting their own cultures can lead to respecting others’. Kids who are confident of themselves and their stories don’t need to exclude or put down others.
  1. Stop it! Intervene when you see prejudice, discrimination and unkindness happening. It sends a clear message to kids: Intolerance will not be tolerated.

It’s Walk & Wheel Month!

Don’t forget to join Mr. Pule in our Walk & Wheel Month-long Challenge! Be sure to fill out your calendar for every day you choose to avoid your car and walk, bike, bus, unicycle, park/walk to school! Be sure to turn in your calendar by 11/4/22!

Fall Carnival is back!

Get your Wildcats ready for the return of FALL CARNIVAL!

A dedicated group of volunteers has been working since this summer to help make this year’s Fall Carnival a fun, community gathering event. And we need YOUR help to make this event a reality!

We’re seeking volunteers to help leading up to, setting up, during, and cleaning up the event. For day-of event volunteer opportunities, please sign-up here:

Questions? Contact event co-chairs Jess Twardzik ( and Tina Lilley ( 

Want to donate supplies? Click here for the vaccine clinic’s Amazon Wishlist!

Calling All 5th Grade Families!

Let’s thank the Whittier staff with a fall-themed breakfast spread. Each month a different grade will provide goodies for Staff Appreciation. 5th Grade families are up first this year.

Here is the link to the Sign Up Genius to help us put together a lovely morning –

Please drop off items to the office by 12pm on Wednesday, Oct. 19th. – look for a Staff Appreciation collection box. Let the office know if your items need to be refrigerated. Email if you have any questions. THANK YOU!

From the Community: Ballard’s Oldest Cub Scout Pack Now Recruiting

Cub Scout Pack 100, operating since 1938 and chartered by Ballard’s Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, is now recruiting K-5 boys, girls, and parents for 2022-2023. Become a Cub Scout now!

All boys and girls from K-5 are invited to join Pack 100 and begin their quest to build the world’s fastest Pinewood Derby car, to have fun outside, to participate in service opportunities, and to earn special recognitions and awards.

Cub Scouting means “doing.” Everything in Cub Scouting is designed to have the Cub Scouts participating in fun activities used to achieve the aims of Scouting—character development, leadership development, citizenship training, and personal fitness. When asked what she enjoys about scouting, one of our 1st grade Cub Scouts said “I love to go on adventures and be in nature!”

For more information, visit, or send an email to

Thank you, Wildcats!

’22-23 Specialist Schedule

At Whittier, students rotate which Specialist they visit every two days (AA/BB/CC). Classes visit the same Specialist class two days in a row before rotating to the next. Holidays are skipped over (resuming wherever classes left off in the rotation) so no classroom misses specialist instruction. Classes start the school year rotation with the Specialists below. If you’re looking for more specific direction on where your classroom is in their rotation, teachers often provide Specialist schedules to their classroom families.

When preparing for your rotations, please be sure students have gym shoes for their PE rotation and masks for Performing Arts (for singing).

TIMEA (PE)B (Art)C (Performing Arts)
(Wed: 8-8:35am)
Childers (5th)Keener (5th)Provence (5th)
(Wed: 8:40-9:15am)
Shellenberger (1st)Hansen (1st)Worotikan (1st)
(Wed: 9:20-9:55am)
FocusOgle (4th)Richmond (4th)
(Wed: 10-10:35am)
DiTullio (K)O’Leary (K)O’Rourke (K)
(Wed: 11:50am-12:25pm)
Baldi (3rd)Peterson (3rd)Paul (3rd)
(Wed: 12:30-1:05pm)
Parekh (2nd)Leming (2nd)Mayo (2nd)
(This rotation began on Wednesday, September 14, 2022).

Join the Whittier PTA for Pints for Purpose

Join the Whittier PTA for tasty drinks while supporting Whittier! Between 3-10pm on Wednesday, October 5, Wheelie Pop Brewing will donate $1 per pint or tasting tray purchased at their brewery (1110 NW 50th Street) to the Whittier PTA. Wheelie Pop has indoor and outdoor seating, is family friendly, and they’ll have Burger Planet on-site (and Trailbend next door) if you want to grab food while you’re there. Let’s come together and celebrate as a community!

The Wildchat: 9/20/22

Welcome Back, Wildcats!

Important To Dos for New & Returning Wildcats

  • Create your Paypams account to pay for lunch, if needed. (You’ll need a Student ID number to set-up an account; you can find your student’s ID number on The Source. Learn more about meals at Whittier this year.)
  • Breakfast and lunch menus will be posted regularly here. Check out September’s menu and this year’s a la carte menu.
  • Lost items? Lost & Found rack can be found outside the gym doors daily (for students). Parents can also check out the rack on Fridays at pick-up (sometimes outside the main entrance).
  • Class Communication – In addition to emails from teachers, each class has 1-2 Room Reps to help share class news and info. Want to become a Room Rep? Email with your name and classroom teacher to sign-up or learn more.
  • Join Konstella and/or make sure your child has been added to their classroom. Yes, yes sign-up or login to this platform that’s basically announcements/event info/family directory. Use default notification settings so all important announcements, news, messages, and events are emailed to you (so you can avoid logging in, if that’s your style). And visit the “Calendar” page to subscribe so all event information is connected to your native Calendar system. Then you can just check in if you want to reference the digital family directory or social forums. Learn more about Konstella, including step by step instructions for adding them to their classroom.
  • Become an approved SPS volunteer (if you’re not already) so you’re ready to volunteer during school hours. If you’ve been an approved SPS volunteer in the past, you’re usually approved for two years. Sign into the SPS volunteer portal to see your current status and contact Monica with any questions.
  • Look for emails from teachers with links to Amazon Wish Lists for helpful items to support your classroom or shop these Wish Lists to support Nurse Marissa and the Front Office.

Fall’s Main Events

(Want to automatically add these events to your digital calendar? Subscribe on Konstella or our website.)

We Need Volunteers!

Our incredible work can’t be accomplished without Whittier volunteers. We have several key PTA positions and committees seeking volunteers in order to make this year’s planned events and support schedule a reality, including:

  • Co-President
  • Vice President
  • Programs Chair
  • Communications Co-Chair
  • Reflections Art Contest Chair
  • Classroom/Room Reps (2 per class)
  • Reflections committee members
  • Fall Carnival committee members
  • Membership committee members

Volunteering can span any level of commitment or skill set; we have all kinds of positions available. If you’ve submitted a volunteer interest survey in the past, please contact us to let us know you’re still interested and, if so, what kind of volunteer position or commitment you’re looking for. WE NEED YOU, WILDCATS!

Renew Your PTA Membership (or Join for the First Time!)

All PTA members have to renew their memberships at the beginning of each school year! PTA members can vote during board meetings which impacts PTA budgets, priorities, and more. Learn more about membership and renewals. Questions? Contact

Announcing Our Fall Fundraising Drives: Annual Give & Move-a-thon

It’s time to kick off another year of FUNdraising! The Whittier PTA aims to raise $130,000 this year to support its operating budget that provides essential staff and services, community events, and more for the Whittier community. As a registered 501(c)3 non-profit, the Whittier PTA aims to only raise what’s needed to fund its budgeted commitments, including flexible staffing grants we commit to the prior school year.

This year, fundraising is split into two main funding periods: Fall (Annual Give, Move-a-thon), where we’ll aim to raise $90,000, and Spring (Spring Fling Block Party & Auction) with a $40,000 fundraising goal. Annual Give is an opportunity for families to directly donate while Move-a-thon’s per lap donations are easily made on behalf of families by their supportive community.

Annual Give, kicking off 10/5 alongside our Pints for Purpose event, is an opportunity for each family to give donations of any size to help support your Whittier community. Help meet our $250 per student Fall Fundraising goal through online donations and employer matching. Families can receive thank you gifts for their donations. Learn more about Annual Give, thank you gifts, and make donations on our Annual Give page.

We know there are a lot of opportunities to give your family might be considering this Fall. Learn more about what the PTA funds and why you might want to choose the Whittier PTA for your gifting. If you’d like to have a voice in the PTA’s budget priorities, please join us and attend upcoming PTA board meetings to make your voice heard. We’d love to have you!

What does the Whittier PTA do?

Through fundraising and the help of parent volunteers, the PTA provides school grants, outreach, organizes special events and activities, hosts parent education events, plans and coordinates teacher appreciation activities, and supports enrichment opportunities for all students. This means our scholars have more time with specialists, our community can be more connected, and we can support the needs of our students and community in ways we couldn’t otherwise. The Whittier PTA is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit (Federal ID #91-1479413).

Your contributions fund many programs and services THIS YEAR:

  • Essential Staff Positions & Support (60%)
    • Time with Key Support Staff and Specialists
    • Professional Development
    • Staff Appreciation
  • Enrichment (23%)
    • Grade-Level Curriculum Enrichment
    • Library Books and Supplies
    • Guest Artists and Authors
    • Funding Proposals
    • Reflections Art Contest
    • Global Reading Challenge
  • Family Events and Resources (13%)
    • Community Engagement
    • Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion Committee 
    • Scholarships
    • Family Communications Platform
    • Family Support Services
    • Safety
  • Operations Costs (4%)
    • Insurance
    • Bank and Licensing Fees
    • General Supplies and Printing
    • Accounting Software

Teachers’ Lounge Makeover

A million thanks and kudos to the F.A.C.E. (Family and Community Engagement) committee for their incredible work to makeover the Teacher’s Lounge to benefit our teachers and staff.

The PTA hospitality team extends special thanks to: Cindy, Rebecca and Monica, Mr. Chris and the custodial team, Lisa Rivera Smith, Elliot S, Tina L, Kellie P, Jess Twardzik, Jess Templeton, Melinda N, Julie O., Ron S., Peter A., Will G., and Laura Z. Extra shout-out/thank you to this project’s leads: Courtney Sievers, Kathleen Donahoe, Leah Lansberry-Austin, Emily Grosse, and Kate Scher.

Paws Up for a Cooler Fence!

After months of planning and ordering and hours of pushing, hammering, and installing, both the 13th and 14th Ave NW fences have been beautified! We hope families enjoy the colorful cup design as much as we do!

Special thanks to Tina Lilley, Jess Twardzik, Megan Wildenradt, Kate Scher, and others who contributed to this project.

Curious about the cups?

“Undoing Racism and Teaching Equity to Our Children”

On Tuesday evening September 13th the Whittier PTA attending a training led by Families of Color Seattle (FOCS) entitled, “Undoing Racism and Teaching Equity to Our Children.”

The training focused on the history of systemic racism and discussed how it affects our lives today. Participants had a chance to learn, discuss and reflect on race, systemic racism, privilege, and how our own upbringings have shaped our views around racism. The Whittier PTA will continue to learn about and discuss the topic of racial inequity and how it shows up in our community, continue to work to address specific goals that pertain to this topic, and hope to offer more workshops and trainings for the community this school year. Some takeaways we’d like to share from this training:

Want to get involved? Contact our EDI (Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion) Committee!

How Communication Works at Whittier

Whether you’re a seasoned Whittier veteran or a new family navigating the wheres, how’s, and what’s of school communication channels, it can be challenging. Here’s a summary of where to get updates and how to make sure you’re subscribed in the right spots.


Whittier families, students, teachers, and staff stay connected and build community through a network of communication channels:

  • Whittier Elementary Website – evergreen info and official school calendar
  • Whittier PTA Website – upcoming events, announcements, meal menus, and more
  • Texts from the Front Office – time-sensitive announcements and reminders
  • Emails from Principal Watters – generally on Mondays, these are important sources of official school info and happenings
  • Wildchat Newsletter – emailed every other Tuesday, this newsletter wraps up SPS, Whittier official, PTA, and community info
  • Takehome Tuesday/KidMail flyers – paper flyers placed in take-home folders occasionally
  • Konstella – online community forum (see “Primer” article for more)
  • Whittier PTA Instagram/Facebook – this info overlaps with Konstella content, but can be helpful as a place for reminders (if you need them)
  • Grade-level Facebook Groups – informal community discussions specific to your Whittier student’s grade level
  • Updates from the Nurse Marissa – website with evergreen and health-related updates specific to our school nurse and community


  • Email and/or text messages – Teachers will identify their preferred communication method, but some use email and experiment with a new platform allowing them to text directly
  • The Source – SPS’ platform to share student attendance, assessment scores, Elementary Progress Reports, Schoology Access Codes and other information.
  • Schoology – a place for teacher’s to share and receive assignments and communicate about classwork


  • Emails, phone calls, and text messages – all caregivers of registered students receive emails (generally from and phone calls/texts using contact info provided at registration
  • SPS social media – urgent and not-so-urgent news is offered on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook
  • SPS website – evergreen district-wide info, including information about school meal accounts
  • Covid-19 updates – SPS is currently updating its dashboard platform, but says it will be available soon
  • District School Board Directors can be great sources of news and information. Ours is Lisa Rivera Smith and another useful member to follow is Vivian Song Maritz.

What is this thing? A Konstella Primer

Konstella is the platform we use to create classroom-specific forums, an opt-in digital family directory, an events calendar, and circulate announcements to the Whittier community. It’s available on desktop or a mobile app, which you can choose to visit never (and sign up for email notifications and subscribe to our calendar) or whenever. If you’re new to Konstella (or signed up for it years ago and haven’t used it since), here are some basics:

  • Classrooms: When you sign-up for Konstella, you’re asked to join a classroom. If you’ve signed up in the past, you’ll need to add your child to their classroom this year. Once you’re part of a Classroom, you can message other families in your classroom. This might be where your Classroom Reps message you about volunteer opportunities, teacher gifts, and other stuff.
  • Calendar: This is updated to contain the most current event set for the year. It’s linked to the PTA Google Calendar, so if you subscribe to either calendar, you won’t miss out on anything.
  • Announcements: Both event listings and general announcements will show up on your “Feed.” When you sign-up, you can choose to have these announcements sent to your inbox so you don’t have to login to see what you’ve missed.
  • Directory: Search for a specific user or browse family info by classrooms. This is the info you’ve allowed to be visible when you signed up for Konstella (and can always be modified in your settings).

Want more help? Check out our full Konstella guide.

Whittier Community Events & Happenings

Have an event or activity you’d like included in an upcoming Wildchat? Submit requests for future PTA communications or contact

Thank You, Wildcats!