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The Wildchat: 1/31/2023

January 31, 2023

After School Programming is returning to Whittier Elementary this February! Register February 3rd!

Registration for all clubs will go live Friday, February 3rd at 3pm; registration information will be available here when registration opens: Spots will be given on a first-come, first-served basis, so please be sure to mark your calendars! If you are interested in financial assistance, have questions, or would like to be a volunteer hero, please contact Jared at


  • Prices range from $50 – $230 depending on the club
  • Spots are limited, so be sure to ask to be on the waitlist if classes are full.
  • The Whittier PTA only coordinates building reservations and hosts registration links for these independent enrichment providers. Please note: Whittier Elementary and Seattle Public Schools are not affiliated with or connected to the Whittier PTA Programs offerings or these individual program vendors. The enrichment providers will be managing registrations and schedules independently for each program. 


Wildcat Players Musical (4-5) with Miss Steph – Cast A (2:25-4pm from 2/13-6/9)*Gamer Group (K-2) with Mr. Buck
(2:25-4pm from 2/28-4/25)
Ultimate Frisbee with the WUF Gang (Disc NW) (2:15pm-4:15pm for 1-1.5 hours, exact timing TBD from 3/1 – 5/20) at Loyal Heights Playfield**Gamer Group (3-5) with Mr. Buck
(2:25-4pm from 3/1-4/27)
Spanish Immersion with Jump on Languages
(2:25-4pm from 2/27-4/24)
Wildcat Players Musical (4-5) with Miss Steph – Cast B (2:25-4pm from 2/13-6/9)*

*Whittier Wildcat Players Musical audition sign-ups will be on a sheet outside Ms. Steph’s classroom starting January 30th. Auditions will be held on February 6th and 7th. 

**Transportation assistance not available. Offsite activities are independent and are not subject to Whittier PTA, or Whittier Elementary guidelines and standards. Please contact Disc NW directly for any information regarding their program.

Questions? Contact Jared, Whittier PTA Programs Chair.

Spring Fling Committee Needs You!

The 2023 Spring Fling committee is seeking additional volunteers to help with the planning of the event on Saturday, May 20th! Open roles include an event MC, someone to help with food and beverage, as well as just general committee members to help out with other tasks. No prior experience necessary, we can help walk you through the details of what needs to happen. We have a fun and dedicated committee and would love to have you join us! Current committee meeting schedule is as follows:

  • Thurs Feb 9th – Zoom meeting
  • Thurs March 9th – In person meeting
  • Thurs April 6th – Zoom meeting
  • Tues May 2nd – In person meeting

Additional committee work to happen in between these meetings. Please reach out to Co-Chairs Courtney Sievers ( or Renee Hartnett ( if you are interested or have any questions.


  • Neurodivergent
  • Multiracial/ Multicultural
  • Create a group for a community not yet listed!

Affinity Groups play a vital role in ensuring an inclusive school environment where all are valued, included, and empowered to succeed.

Piloted last year, we are expanding the affinity groups offered based on community feedback.

If you’re interested to join an affinity group or learn more, please complete this form:

Part of the Equity Diversity and Inclusion Committee’s goal of making Whittier a community where all children and families are supported to be their authentic selves.

Understanding SPS: Budgets, School Enrollment, and Fiscal Policy

If you haven’t heard, Seattle Public Schools is facing an impending budget crisis. SPS is predicting a $127.3 million dollar budget deficit for the 2023-2024 school year (compared to this year’s $10 million dollar projected deficit). While there’s discussion of using rainy day funds to improve the shortfall and some potential legislative wins (that could infuse $37.8MM into budgets next year), short-term solutions and small legislative gains don’t address the continued deficit projections for the years ahead.

During their third budget work session of the school year, the SPS School Board reviewed their initial budget balancing concepts. While budget plans for next school year won’t be confirmed until July 6, current plans primarily include reducing Central Office spending next year by $20-$36MM and reducing school-level spending by between $9-$11MM. What’s school-level spending? This budget work session first identifies cuts to “Cert Core” staffing (or 0.5 FTE allocated to schools with significant enrollment for an additional counselor, librarian, nurse, or teacher), increasing sizes of K-3 classrooms, reducing school discretionary funds and Assistant Principal support, and another $1.9MM in “school programmatic changes.”

Remember–Whittier’s current budget from SPS doesn’t fully fund the staff and services needed for our Wildcat scholars, including literacy support, a full Specialist schedule, adequate nursing and social worker staffing, sustainable teacher discretionary funds, and more (in fact, we weren’t assigned the allocated part-time Assistant Principal this year due to “budget”). Whittier PTA, through generous community fundraising, fills this gap–and it’s likely that SPS’ “school-level” reductions slated for next year will mean an even bigger gap to fill.

Washington State funding, representing roughly 60% of SPS’ total funding, uses enrollment for its allocations. The downsides to enrollment-based funding is that it neither considers the minimum cost of running a school of any size or in higher costs areas (the facility’s costs, essential staff required for the facility and by law, etc) nor does it help schools or districts find funds to “bounce back” from declining enrollment.

When examining SPS’ own school line-up in our broader North-end area, the challenges of this model become obvious. (With a few exceptions) schools featured in the chart below are all Tier 4 schools per SPS’ own weighted funding model and should have similar per student spending. However, the minimum cost of running a school drives up the per student funding dramatically, meaning schools with more enrollment (like Whittier) have to help more students with fewer dollars to spend on each one compared to their under-enrolled counterparts.

SchoolJanuary 2023 Enrollment2023 Budget AllocationPer-studentTier
McGilvra220$2.5 millon$11K4
Montlake181$2.5 millon$13K4
Northgate189$3.0 million$15.8K3
Sand Point161$3.2 million$19.8K4
Stevens169$2.7 million$15.9K4
Sanislo179$3.1 million$17K4
Viewlands 273$3.7 million$13K4
Licton Springs K896$2.7 million$28K4
Sugiyma HS31$1.1 million$35KN/A
Queen Anne Elem202$2.4 million$11.8K4
John Hay276$4.0 million$14.5K4
Cedar Park 202$2.3 million$11.3K4
Madrona K5215$2.8 million$13K4
Sacajewea202$3.6 million$17.8K4
Decatur208$2.1 million$10K4
Middle College HS53$2.1 million$39KN/A
Whittier363$4.1 million$11K4

While not considered for next year’s budget, the School Board’s budget work session did address the idea of school consolidation for the ’24-25 school year. They discussed a “system of well-resourced schools” and identified its process to begin work on school consolidation would begin “next fall” (although no specifics were provided during the work session).

Should SPS consider proposals to combine schools? If they’re considering combining under-enrolled schools, like Licton Springs K-8, with surrounding neighborhood schools (like Adams, Whittier, and Whitman), they wouldn’t be alone. While these conversations aren’t popular, proposals to examine opportunities for low-enrolled schools are happening nearby–Bellevue School District recently heard proposals to combine neighborhood schools with higher enrollment than some SPS schools. However, SPS appears to be going in the opposite direction: Northgate Elementary construction continues to provide space for 650 students, but the school’s current enrollment is only 189. Similarly, Montlake Elementary’s planned $64.8 million dollar construction project (still in its permitting phase) is planned to provide space for 500 students despite the school’s current enrollment of 181 and Stevens Elementary that sits 0.4 miles away with an enrollment of 169.

Whittier faces an enrollment challenge for next year–SPS’ current budget model requires Whittier enrollment to increase by 25 net students or we’ll face increased staffing challenges next year. Our School Board and District leaders face big decisions ahead; as a community, it’s vital we share our voice if we have an opinion on how SPS faces this budget reality. Share your voice by contacting our School Board Director, Lisa Rivera Smith ( or 206-475-1817), provide feedback to SPS directly using the Let’s Talk tool, and attend and provide testimony at School Board meetings and budget work sessions. Key meeting dates to make an impact:

Want to learn more? 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). You can also contact Principal Watters with questions or join the conversation at our next PTA meeting.

Want to Join the PTA?

We’re recruiting the PTA’s board for the 2023-2024 school year! There are roles available across skills sets and time commitments. Help support Whittier in a real way! To learn more, contact

Can’t volunteer but still want to support the PTA? Become a member!

Advocacy In Action

The 2023 Legislative Session is in its 4th week where more than 1,000 bills have already been introduced.  These bills cover critical issues including reducing gun violence and increasing access to special education.  To follow the latest news, check out the WSPTA Blog for timely updates and bill tracking.  Other ways to stay informed and get involved include:

What the EDI Committee is thinking about this week!

Introducing….a new school-wide resource aimed at embedding EDI principles into the classroom year round! Rebellious Read Alouds by Vera Ahiyya.

Whittier staff are thrilled to be using the book Rebellious Read Alouds this year! It’s a compilation of picture book read alouds that are organized by different themes:

  • Our Names Are Important
  • Our Features Are Important
  • Our Disabilities Are Important
  • Our Families Are Important
  • Our Foods Are Important
  • Our Traditions Are Important
  • Our Identities Are Important
  • Our Histories Are Important
  • Our Actions Are Important

Within each theme, there are 5-6 picture books included that help teachers and students explore deeper conversations in age-appropriate and meaningful ways. These picture books feature characters that are diverse in many ways, and the texts are written and illustrated by people from traditionally marginalized groups. The books are a jumping off point for classrooms to learn, connect, and embrace the world we live in through rich conversations centered around these themes.


Friday, February 2 is a REGULAR school day
(revision from earlier school calendars)

Help Whittier Build a Diverse Library Collection!

In order to continue building our collection of diverse books as well as those titles and series that our students love, we are partnering with Bound to Stay Bound Books in the “Support Our Library” program. Please consider donating a book to our library collection. You even have the option to add a donor plate and donate a book in honor of a child’s birthday, special occasion, or a staff member! All books will be shipped to our school processed and ready to be added to the shelves! The program will go through the end of May. Email Ms. Newcomb if you have any questions. This link will take you directly to the Whittier book wishlist. Thank you in advance for supporting our library!

Volunteer to be a Classroom Bucket Coordinator!

As part of our Spring Fling fundraising, each class puts together a themed gift bucket to be auctioned off in the silent auction. Themes can be anything…think cooking supplies, picnic fun, wine tasting and accessories, pet related themes, family game night, self care or spa day, sports themes, backyard BBQ and more! 

Your job as the class volunteer is to pick a theme and solicit donations from your class to fill the bucket with fun items. You can collect items and/or money that you use to purchase items. The end result should be a fun bucket full of cool goods that someone will be dying to bid on to raise money for our Wildcats!

We need one volunteer per class to collect and deliver items and deliver by May 1, 2023. If you don’t feel like you are the person to make it all look put together, attractive and auction-ready don’t worry! We’ll help put it together for you! Sign up here:

If you need help thinking of ideas or have questions, please email Mendy at

Note: Due to a district change in menu distribution, school lunch menus are currently unavailable.

We’re working to provide lunch menus on as soon as possible.

Thank you, Wildcats!

The Wildchat: 1/17/2023

January 17, 2023

Whittier Community Summary

  • Covid Update: Please help us minimize the spread of Covid at Whitter by monitoring scholars for symptoms and testing at home, keeping scholars home if they are exhibiting symptoms or not feeling well, and practicing good hand hygiene and wear a mask if you’ve been exposed. Please contact Nurse Marissa if you or your scholar tests positive.
  • 2023-2024 Enrollment Planning: SPS budget and enrollment planning starts in January. As part of Whittier’s planning, it would be helpful to learn about family’s plans for next year. Please take a moment to complete one survey for each scholar in your household. Also, if you know anyone planning to enroll at SPS or Whittier next year, recommend they register today.
  • Whitman Incoming Student Open House for 5th Grade Families: Tuesday, January 31 from 5:45-7:00pm at Whitman Middle School.

Upcoming Events

Whittier PTA’s After-School Programs Seeking Volunteers!

The Whittier PTA is excited to announce that After School Enrichment Programs are returning to Whittier! Please keep watch in the next couple of weeks for registration dates, and if you are able, please sign up for one of our volunteer positions below. Your help would be much appreciated. 

Volunteer Positions Yet To Be Filled

  • Programs Assistant (1-2 hr/week): Assist Programs Chair with administrative work, correspond with vendors and families, alternate for club representatives in an emergency
  • Class Representative (Once weekly between 2:25-3:00 PM on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, or Friday): Meet students on the black top immediately after school, take attendance and hand out snacks, take them to their classroom at 2:55 PM (These positions need to be filled before we can set a Programs start date)

To learn more or volunteer, please contact

If you are interested in registering your child and would like to inquire about financial assistance, please email our Programs Chair, Jared, at to learn about our scholarship opportunities.

Seeking Budget Committee Volunteers!

Have you ever wondered how the Whittier PTA budget is put together? Now is your chance! Starting in the February/March timeframe, a committee will convene to develop the 2023-24 PTA budget. No finance experience required, just a willingness to help. Time commitment is between 4-6 hours. Please email for more information or if you are interested in signing up.

January’s Staff Appreciation: Hosted by 2nd Grade!

LET’S STOCK THE LOUNGE! Each month a different grade provides goodies for Staff Appreciation. 2nd Grade families are up for January – and we are stocking the lounge with snacks, treats and beverages to keep our staff FUELED for the New Year. Sign up here:

Please drop off items to the office by 8am on Thursday, JAN. 19th and clearly label all items “Staff Appreciation 1/19.” Email if you have any questions. Thank you!

Volunteer Needed: Ballard Food Bank Runner

We are seeking a volunteer to pick up food bags from the Ballard Food Bank and take them to the Front Office each Thursday between 8-10am. This role involves driving to the Food Bank, picking up the needed bags (as directed by the Front Office) and deliver to them to the Front Office for distribution. Please contact Tina ( if you’d like to know more or to sign-up!

PNW Parent Ed Presents The Emotional Lives of Teenagers: Raising Connected, Capable, & Compassionate Teens: a talk w/ Dr. Lisa Damour

Join PNW Parent Education ( for a FREE online presentation titled “The Emotional Lives of Teenagers: Raising Connected, Capable and Compassionate Adolescents” with Dr. Lisa Damour, New York Times bestselling author of Untangled and Under Pressure. Tuesday, January 24, 2023 at 12:00 pm. Register via eventbrite:

Seattle Special Education PTSA presents “Getting Results: A Guide to Special Education in Seattle Public Schools”

 Seattle Special Education PTSA published Getting to Results: A Guide to Special Education in Seattle Public Schools —

Written by PTSA volunteers and available in 10 languages, the Guide is an effort to demystify the special education system for families. To learn more about the guide and the Seattle Special Education PTSA, please visit:

Reflections Art Contest Update

Congratulations to all of the students who participated in this year’s Reflections Arts program! This year’s theme was “Show Your Voice” and Whittier had 11 entries in three categories. We are thrilled to announce that fourth-grader Vivienne Robertson’s film, “The Bob Movie” will advance to the Washington State PTSA Reflections competition this spring! Student artwork will be on display at Whittier this spring and student finalists will be honored during a Seattle council PTSA virtual meeting on Thursday, 1/19 at 7:30 p.m! Students will be recognized at 7:30 p.m., but are welcome to join the meeting earlier if they’d like. Zoom info here:

Congrats to Whittier filmmaker, Vivienne Robertson for advancing to the state round, and to all Wildcat artists for sharing your voice! You can view an online gallery of all student submissions here:

Thank you, Wildcats!

The Wildchat: 12/13/2022

December 13, 2022

End of 2022 Reminders

  • Between 12/12-12/16, check the Lost & Found (on racks in the main hallway) and find those hats, gloves, scarves, and lunchboxes (!) that have gotten away!
  • 3rd grade’s Staff Appreciation is on 12/15; please drop-off donations before 8am!
  • 12/15 is Ms. Jo Day! Please bring notes of appreciation to say farewell to Ms. Jo!
  • 12/16 is early dismissal (at 1:25pm)
  • After School Programs survey closes on 12/17
  • During the break, join Konstella (if you haven’t already), join your Wildcat’s classroom, and add the PTA events calendar (through Konstella or Google Calendar) so you’re in the know when school resumes
  • School resumes on 1/3/2023
  • January’s PTA Board Meeting is on Tuesday, Jan 10
  • January’s PTA Town Hall Meeting is on Tuesday, Jan 17

Next Steps: Addressing and Combatting Gun Violence in Schools

Our community was deeply saddened and scared by the recent gun violence happening within our local schools. The Whittier PTA wanted to reach out to our Whittier community to help then understand what they can do to support safety around firearms and support Moms Demand Action/ Everytown for Gun Safety. At next month’s Town Hall, guest speakers from the Be SMART campaign will lead a conversation about kids, guns, and safety and is designed to help parents and other adults prevent child gun deaths and injuries – whether they own guns or not.

Thank You, Ms. Jo!

Our AMAZING Ms. Jo is retiring from her position in our cafeteria and her last day is next Friday, December 16. She has served the Whittier community for several years and touched the lives of so many of our scholars, families and staff. To honor her incredible work and commitment to children, food justice and creating a warm and welcoming space for everyone, we will celebrate Ms. Jo Day this Thursday, December 15! We would like to invite scholars and families to write notes of thanks and appreciation to Ms. Jo.   

Additionally, we have set up a custom donation page in partnership with the Ballard Food Bank to honor Ms. Jo’s strong belief that all people deserve access to safe and healthy food. Ms. Jo is a model to all of us for what it means to fight for food justice. If you would like to contribute to our celebration of Ms. Jo, donations can be made directly to the Ballard Food Bank using this link. 

Thank you for being such a special part of the Whittier community, Ms. Jo!

After School Programs Survey

Hello Wildcat Families! We have great news! After School Enrichment Programs will be returning to Whittier! Your PTA is busily getting everything in order, but before vendors are secured, we wanted to give you the opportunity to let us know what programs would best fit your needs. Please take a moment to take this survey and choose two clubs that you would be most interested in:

The survey will close on Saturday December 17th.

Although we cannot guarantee that all vendors will be available, we will do our best to offer clubs that most closely fit everyone’s preferences. Price and frequency have yet to be determined.

Calling All 3rd Grade Families!

Cookies, Cookies and MORE Cookies!  Each month a different grade provides goodies for Staff Appreciation. 3rd Grade families are up for December – and we are setting up a festive cookie buffet. SIGN UP HERE:

Please drop off items to the office by 8am on Thursday, Dec. 15th. Please clearly label all items “Staff Appreciation 12/15.” It would be helpful to label the cookie variety, especially if GF/V/DF.  Email if you have any questions.


Have a gift card to submit for the Helping Hands Drive? Drop it off at the Front Office tomorrow morning and we’ll work to get it included in our holiday distribution.

Short on time? You can also make a last-minute donation via PayPal:

What the EDI Committee is thinking about this week!

Advocacy and Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at Whittier

Advocacy: Our goal is to bring you timely opportunities to support policies that improve the quality of our children’s health, welfare, safety, and education. We want to make it super easy for you to advocate for EVERY child and make our voices heard collectively.  Want to get started?

  1. Sign up for action alerts for up-to-date info on the priorities below!
  2. Join us for our PTA Town Hall on Tuesday, January 17th at 7PM – we’ll be joined by Moms Demand Action for a Be SMART conversation about kids, guns, and safety.

Did you know Whittier’s PTA has an Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee (EDI)? 

What is it? A group to take action on making our school community a more equitable and inclusive place!  

When and where do we meet? We meet every other month over Zoom. The next meeting is on Wednesday, December 14th at 7pm!   Visit to join a meeting. 

Why get involved? If not YOU, then WHO? Our students deserve to learn in the most inclusive environment possible and be a part of a community working for equity.  

Who can join? Any caregiver of a Whittier student-no experience necessary! 

EDI Committee GOALS for this year:  

  1. Whittier is Committed to being an anti-racist community. 
  2. Whittier is a community where ALL children and families are supported to be their authentic selves 
  3. All families know the system well enough to navigate and advocate for their children’s needs.

Want to make an impact in the community? Consider supporting these businesses and organizations this holiday season!

Affinity Groups

Affinity Groups:

  • Neurodivergent
  • Multiracial/Multicultural
  • Create a group for a community not yet listed!

Play a vital role in ensuring an inclusive school environment where all are valued, included, and empowered to succeed.Piloted last year, we are expanding the affinity groups offered based on community feedback. Help us get these started by completing this 1 minute survey.

Reflections Art Contest Update

Congratulations to all of the students who participated in this year’s Reflections Arts program! This year’s theme was “Show Your Voice” and Whittier had 11 entries in three categories. We are thrilled to announce that fourth-grader Vivienne Robertson’s film, “The Bob Movie” will advance to the Washington State PTSA Reflections competition this spring! Keep an eye out in January for a link to an online gallery of all student submissions. Student artwork will be on display at Whittier this spring. Congratulations, Vivienne! And huge round of applause for all of our young artists for sharing your courageous creativity! Read more about this year’s entries from Whittier students here:

Spring Lacrosse Registration is open!

Props Lacrosse is open to all grades 3-8 in the Ballard/ Ingraham/ Nathan Hale catchment zones for recreational lacrosse for the Spring 2023 Season. We welcome all players but adhere to the boys’ rules & equipment. We are a volunteer run rec-program that is committed to being a supportive environment for all our boys. Our emphasis is on good sportsmanship, effort and fun. All new and returning players are welcome. No prior experience necessary, regardless of age. We offer financial aid for the program which can include dues/ uniform and loaner equipment for first time players. We are committed to making sure any boys who want to play with us have the opportunity.

Lacrosse is one of the fastest growing sports in America, and Seattle. It is a great sport from a young age, physical contact is limited to age-appropriate levels throughout the program. The sport involves running, agility and hand-eye coordination. It’s very exciting to watch and play! Practices start in February and are twice a week at Whitman Middle School or Loyal Heights Playfield. Games begin in March on Saturdays. Registration is open until practices begin. For more information, please visit the club page:

If you have any questions about our lacrosse program, please feel free to reach out to the club directly via email ( or inquire in the ‘contact’ page on our website.

Holiday Happenings

For Wildcats wanting to get into the festive spirit:

  • Ms. Julia and her band Warren Dunes are throwing a holiday party that is free and all ages at the West Seattle Easy Street Record store (4559 California Ave SW) on December 23rd at 5pm!! The Night Before Christmas will be read aloud, Christmas music, and other fun things! Learn more:
  • Check out the Gingerbread Village at the Sheraton Grand
  • Make an evening trek to the WildLanterns at Woodland Park Zoo
  • Visit the Festival of Trees at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel through December 30

Have a great winter break, Wildcats!

Guess What’s Back? (Back Again)

SPS is re-introducing a transportation proposal for 2023-2024 that includes the possibility of changing to a 3-tiered bell schedule at the next School Board meeting (tomorrow, 12/14) during its Transportation Work Session (page 5 and 26). If you’re new to the district, last April SPS proposed changing the current district school start and end times from its current 2-tiered system to a 3-tiered system, with some elementary schools starting at 7:30am, some elementary and middle schools starting at 8:30am, and high schools starting at 9:30am. It was abandoned last year after public comment against the change. If you want to share your voice about this change, you can contact your School Board Director, SPS directly using the “Let’s Talk” feature, or sign up to provide public testimony at tomorrow’s School Board meeting.

Thank you, Wildcats!

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!

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!

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!

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!

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!

The Wildchat: 6/14/22

Whittier Celebrates Pride Month!

In a jam-packed month, Whittier families may feel like their focus is being pulled in many directions. But during this month, we also celebrate LGBTQIA2+ Pride and our diverse Whittier community, alongside SPS. LGTBQIA2+ is an acronym for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and/or Questioning, Intersex, Asexual, Two-Spirit, and other affirmative ways in which people choose to self-identify.At Whittier, our celebration takes on many forms. From teacher-led discussions and projects, ensuring LGTBQIA2+ representation in our library through our student-led book drive, establishing gender neutral bathrooms and safe spaces in our school, and even Principal Watters’ glorious collection of Pride shirts she’s wearing every day this month. Want to continue the conversation at home? SPS has created a collection of K-5 gender books, lessons, and videos have been posted to the SPS Health Education webpage. Earlier this month, SPS raised rainbow and transgender flags outside the SPS Central Office to kickoff their Pride celebration. SPS will also be participate in the Pride Parade later this month. Join the Seattle Public Schools contingent as students, staff, and families march together with pride alongside our school bus float. The parade starts at 11 a.m. on Sunday, June 26. SPS will be in the staging on 4th Avenue prior to the start time.   Come early to make posters, hand out candy, and enjoy the cheering crowd. The parade route moves north along 4th Avenue between Union and the Seattle Center, where the party continues with a family-friendly festival including music, booths, food and fun! For more information about these events, contact Lisa at We are so proud of our Whittier community and appreciate the opportunity to celebrate every Whittier scholar as they are. Go Wildcats!

Thank you, Wildcats!

Thank you to our Whittier community for your energy, investment, and effort to make the 2021-2022 an amazing success. We are SO proud of what we accomplished together this year, including:

  • Raising over $76,000 during our Annual Give fundraiser, over $83,000 at our Spring Fling block party fundraiser, and nearly $21,000 with our Move-a-thon FUNdraiser, for a total of almost $180,000 funds raised this school year to support our students, staff, family, and community. INCREDIBLE job, Wildcats.
  • Hosting eight First Fun Friday events to allow families to connect and celebrate safely together
  • Monthly staff appreciation hosted by each grade coordinated by PTA Hospitality and supported by our Whittier families and week-long teacher appreciation celebration coordinated by PTA Hospitality
  • Supporting the Massive Monkees residency and Specialist support
  • Funding five administrative and community funding proposals to serve our community, including Safety Patrol gear, groundskeeping supplies, and playground equipment
  • Organizing community engagement and family support, like Helping Hands and the Winter Sock Drive
  • Supporting school and student-led community efforts, including Whittier’s recent booster clinic, Kindergarten virtual tours, and March’s Prides of March community giving
  • Created, sold, and distributed Spirit Gear
  • We received the Bronze, Silver, and Gold awards for membership growth this year from the WA State PTSA
  • Providing Covid-related updates, summaries, and communication so families could feel safer and access vaccines and tests easier
  • Creating a printed school directory for families to connect over the summer
  • Installing a buddy bench and new playground equipment in collaboration with 2020’s Fifth Grade class
  • Publishing 18 Wildchats, Konstella announcements, Konstella calendar, and social media announcements to ensure families feel informed and connected
  • Hosting 10 PTA Board meetings and 4 Community meetings
  • Engaging in advocacy to connect our community with local stakeholders (Representatives Noel Frame and Liz Berry, SPS & SCPTSA Leaders, Schools First, North End FACE & Advocacy Chairs), driving support for this year’s levy proposals and directing bell time proposal feedback

We’re excited (and a little exhausted) but we can’t wait to make next year even better. The PTA is still seeking Whittier community members to join us in essential board positions next year. Many hands make light work; reach out to Leah, next year’s PTA President, for more information on open positions or to become part of our board.

Collect Your Lost & Found Items!This is the FINAL week to collect any Lost & Found items from Whittier! Look for the Lost & Found rack outside the main entrance at pick-up every day this week. Any items not collected by 6/17 will be donated. Thank you!

Needed: Caregiver Rep for Whittier BLT

Whittier’s Building Leadership Team (BLT) is seeking a parent/caregiver representative. This volunteer position is a two year commitment and the BLT meets for an hour and a half in the afternoon on the first Monday each month throughout the school year to discuss curriculum, building strategy, budget, and other school wide topics. The BLT is made up of  two parent representatives, the principal, an administrative representative, representatives from the different grade levels teachers, a representative from the Specialists and a learning interventionist representative.Please direct questions and interest to the current parent reps: 

Interested to volunteer but not sure if the BLT role is right for you? Reach out to to learn about more volunteer opportunities!

Move-a-thon 2022: By The Numbers

Enjoy these Wildcat stats from the Move-a-Thon:

  • # of participating students: 350+
  • # of laps completed: 4112+
  • # of miles covered: 515+
  • $ raised at the Move-a-Thon for Whittier PTA to put to work in the 2022-23 school year: nearly $21,000

AMAZING! Thank you to our Wildcat community! Questions? Contact

Celebrating Our Fifth Graders

This year’s fifth grade class is filled with special scholars and young leaders destined to change the world. We are grateful for the way they’ve lead their Whittier peers throughout this year, including cheering them on during our first assemblies, supporting others during this year’s Booster clinic, and sharing their voices and concerns during PTA Board Meetings. 

This week’s celebration of our fifth graders includes today’s Adventure Day and a Promotion Ceremony for fifth graders and their parents on Thursday, June 16, during the school day. During this promotion ceremony, fifth grade families will have the opportunity to take photos at our our new photo booth, created for this fifth grade’s promotion.

Thank you to our fifth grade families for their service, Wildcat spirit, and stewardship throughout your tenure at Whittier. We know you won’t go far and you’ll always be welcomed in the Whittier community (after all, you’ll all still be Wildcats at Whitman!). Best of luck to our fifth grade Wildcats!

Buddy Bench Installed!

We are so excited to complete our final playground improvement of the year. Donated by the Fifth Grade class of 2020 (and tirelessly coordinated by PTA President Tina), this Buddy Bench will be a great space for Whittier friends to connect for years to come. Go Wildcats!

The Work Continues: Continuing the Fight Against Gun Violence

We thank the incredible teachers, staff and leadership at Whittier for their steadfast dedication to making our school a safe and joyful space for our kids every single day. 

As we continue to grapple with the recent devastating acts of violence, we feel called to ACTION.  Gun violence is a public health crisis. It impacts each of us but it’s important to remember that it does not impact us equally. Read more about how gun violence impacts communities in Washington.

We CAN fight against this. Please take less than 1 minute (YES, really!) to complete these 3 quick and meaningful actions TODAY.

  1. Contact your LEGISLATORS: Text BOLD to 644-33. Our legislators are getting increased feedback from people all across our state and their opinions vary greatly. We need to be LOUD and we need to email and call our legislators on a regular basis. Get started by texting BOLD.
  2. Sign up as an advocate: To stay informed on ongoing advocacy efforts and continue to learn more about the complexities of gun violence, sign up as an advocate. The Alliance for Gun Responsibility is on the frontlines of this work here in Washington and is a great place to start. Learn more here
  3. DONATE: Every dollar counts to fight gun violence. The more funds advocacy organizations can raise, the more progress we will see and the more pressure we will put on congress. Give today.

Eager for more information? Montlake Elementary has put an amazing comprehensive list together of many more ways you can learn and get involved over the summer. Questions? Ideas? Contact

Library Books Now Overdue!

Have you found a wayward Whittier library book in your house? Please send it with your Wildcat or drop it at the Front Office for collection. They were due last week!

Booster Clinic Success!

An ENORMOUS THANK YOU to Nurse Marissa, Dr. Chanelle Roberts and the Docere Center for Natural Medicine, caregiver volunteers, Principal Watters, Whittier teachers and staff, and our Wildcat students for making our Booster/Vaccine clinic a success! In four hours we were able to boost or vaccinate 189 Whittier students. It was amazing to see Wildcats support one another with cheers, helpful gestures (like sharing a stuffed animal), and kind words. We are so proud of everyone’s hard work to help keep our community safe!

Looking for vaccine or booster clinics? SPS is hosting a couple more this year! Learn more.

Yearbooks Are Arriving!

2021-2022 Yearbooks are arriving! 5th graders will receive theirs early (during their adventure day). Other grades should expect their yearbooks to be distributed on Thursday or Friday. 

Whittier Playground WILL be open this summer!

Enjoy and please help us caretake this space when you’re there!

Family Directory Distribution

Your Whittier Family Directory is coming home soon! Thanks to our amazing volunteers, especially Amy Bryan and Todd Simonson, for putting this together. Be sure to use this amazing resource this summer!

Next Year’s Class Assignments

Returning to Whittier? Expect to receive information about next year’s class assignments on Wednesday, August 31. Have a great summer!

Psst! Want a sneak preview of next year’s event and school calendar? It’s already up on Konstella!

Know a Family Considering Whittier? Register today!

Do you know a neighborhood family considering Whittier? Encourage them to register today! Teacher and classroom assignments are being made early this summer, so future Whittier families shouldn’t delay in registering (even if they’re still deciding between Whittier and another school). 

Note: If you’re new to the Whittier community or Seattle Public Schools, there’s no need to re-register. Unless you’ve chosen to transfer district schools, your child will automatically continue at Whittier (or their next school) next year.

Don’t Miss Whittier Updates This Summer!

The school year is out, but our community is still organizing, connecting, and planning! Stay connected to friends, events, and updates:

  • Join Konstella. Once classroom assignments are released, we’ll update our Konstella classrooms so families can connect with one another. And next year’s calendar is already up! Don’t forget–Konstella has a digital directory so you can find family contact information over the summer (or message them directly). We also use Konstella to make any important announcements and updates.
  • Join your grade-level FB group (scroll down for links for each group) for opportunities to informally connect with other Whittier families in your grade.
  • Follow Whittier PTA on Instagram or Facebook. We broadcast updates here, too, so you won’t miss a thing.

Thank you, Wildcats!