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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: https://whittierptaseattle.org/after-school-programs-at-whittier/. 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 programs@whittierptaseattle.org.

THINGS TO CONSIDER

  • 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. 

AFTER SCHOOL ACTIVITIES BEING OFFERED FOR WINTER QUARTER

MONTUESWEDTHURS
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 (courtney.k.sievers@gmail.com) or Renee Hartnett (rbishman@gmail.com) if you are interested or have any questions.

AFFINITY GROUPS:

  • LGBTQI+
  • 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: tinyurl.com/whittieraffinitygroups

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
Source: https://www.seattleschools.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/01/P223_Jan23.pdf

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 (lisa.rivera.smith@seattleschools.org 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 volunteers@whittierptaseattle.org.

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.


Reminder:

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: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/10c0e44a8a729a0fac61-spring1#/

If you need help thinking of ideas or have questions, please email Mendy at volunteers@whittierptaseattle.org.


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

We’re working to provide lunch menus on whittierptaseattle.org 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 programs@whittierptaseattle.org.

Scholarships
If you are interested in registering your child and would like to inquire about financial assistance, please email our Programs Chair, Jared, at programs@whittierptaseattle.org 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 treasurer@whittierptaseattle.org 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: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/10C0E44A8A729A0FAC61-january

Please drop off items to the office by 8am on Thursday, JAN. 19th and clearly label all items “Staff Appreciation 1/19.” Email hospitality@whittierptaseattle.org 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 (tina.lilley@gmail.com) 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 (www.pnwparented.org) 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: https://tinyurl.com/emotionallivesofteens


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 — https://seattlespecialeducationptsa.org/special-education-guide

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: https://seattlespecialeducationptsa.org/


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: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/95320282464?pwd=dVFDbVhqNEFRdzdtRzlvTHdrckFLdz09

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: https://scptsa.org/202223-reflections-gallery


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. https://bit.ly/3Hov3ly 

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: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSej9MKQKo9Ql_mF5TE0Q1Y-QizngK-ezxO-86avqfv1tKnhzw/viewform

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: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/10C0E44A8A729A0FAC61-december

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 hospitality@whittierptaseattle.org if you have any questions.

Thank you, HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

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: https://www.paypal.com/paypalme/WhittierPTASeattle

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 whittierptaseattle.org 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:

  • LGBTQI+
  • 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: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1TOKA4eEPcAi5zdhyxtfndRjBOG7oJ_Bq/view?usp=sharing


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: http://www.propslacrosse.org/

If you have any questions about our lacrosse program, please feel free to reach out to the club directly via email (propslacrosse@outlook.com) 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: https://www.instagram.com/p/ClogtSPOypE/
  • 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!

December Lunch Menu

December’s breakfast offerings are $2.25 and lunch offerings are $3.25. An a la carte menu is also available throughout the year. For more nutrition information and breakfast menus, please view menus at: https://family.titank12.com/menu/LPX5UV

DATELUNCH ENTREÉ 1LUNCH ENTREÉ 2ENTREÉ 3/VEGETABLESEASONAL FRUIT
THURS, DEC 1Beef ChiliGlazed chicken leg with Mac and cheeseChicken salad barBanana, Red Apple
FRI, DEC 2Sunflower Butter and Jelly sandwichChef’s ChoiceN/ATBD
MON, DEC 5Chicken nugget with fries and rollHummus Lunch BoxCaeser salad barOrange
TUES, DEC 6Cheese pizzaSunflower Butter and Jelly sandwichProtein salad barStrawberries
WED, DEC 7Hot dog and friesYogurt Lunch boxFiesta salad barBanana
THURS, DEC 8Chickpea Tikka Masala with riceBean and cheese quesadillaChicken salad barPear
FRI, DEC 9Beef enchiladaChef’s choiceN/ATBD
MON, DEC 12Glazed chicken leg with corn and rollGrilled cheese and tomato soupCaeser salad barApple
TUES, DEC 13Lemongrass chicken with potsticker and yakisobaChicken wings and friesProtein salad barRed grapes
WED, DEC 14BBQ chicken sandwichSunflower Butter and Jelly sandwichFiesta salad barBanana
THURS, DEC 15Cheese enchilada verdeMisir wot with Injera (Ethiopian Lentil Stew)Chicken salad barKiwi
FRI, DEC 16Hummus lunch boxChef’s ChoiceN/ATBD
DEC 20 – 31(NO SCHOOL)(NO SCHOOL)(NO SCHOOL)(NO SCHOOL)

Book Fair & Literacy Night

Whittier’s Love of Reading is Out of This World!

BOOK FAIR SHOPPING

  • 2:30 – 7:30pm in the Library
  • Provided by Phinney Books
  • % of all sales benefit the Whittier Library
  • Shop for yourself, family, or teachers!
  • Can’t make it in-person? An online shopping link will be available soon.

LITERACY NIGHT EVENTS

  • 5:30 – 7:30pm in the Cafeteria
  • Listen to teachers read aloud on-stage
  • Special Guest: Ms. Jo Simonian (Whittier’s amazing lunch lady) is an author and fiber artist; come see her work!
  • Book art & craft stations
  • Literacy game tables & more
  • Caregivers may leave children at the read aloud area to shop the book fair upstairs!

Want to help? We need volunteers! Learn more and sign-up: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/10c0e44a8a729a0fac61-book

Questions? Contact Whittier’s Librarian, Ms. Newcomb!

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: https://www.learningforjustice.org/magazine/when-trivia-isnt-trivial
  • Article about how to talk to kids about Thanksgiving: https://www.mothermag.com/how-to-talk-to-your-kids-about-thanksgiving/
  • Program to Support the Duwamish Tribe: https://www.realrentduwamish.org/
  • Cool Printable Placemat for Thanksgiving dinner: https://www.realrentduwamish.org/holiday-placemat.html

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: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/10C0E44A8A729A0FAC61-wildcats1


Thank you, Wildcats!

November Lunch Menu

October’s breakfast offerings are $2.25 and lunch offerings are $3.25. An a la carte menu is also available throughout the year. For more nutrition information and breakfast menus, please view menus at: https://family.titank12.com/menu/LPX5UV

DATELUNCH ENTREÉ 1LUNCH ENTREÉ 2ENTREÉ 3/VEGETABLESEASONAL FRUIT
TUES, NOV 1Cheese pizzaSunflower Butter and jelly sandwichProtein salad barRed seedless grapes
WED, NOV 2Hot dog and friesYogurt lunchboxFiesta salad barBanana
THURS, NOV 3Smoked turkey and sweet potato chili with a whole wheat rollBean and cheese quesadillaChicken salad barKiwi
FRI, NOV 4Beef Chile burritoChef’s choiceTBDTBD
MON, NOV 7Crispy chicken leg with corn and rollGrilled cheese and tomato soupCaeser salad barOrange
TUES, NOV 8Three cheese and broccoli cavatappiChicken wings and friesProtein salad barMelon
WED, NOV 9Hamburger with friesSunflower Butter and Jelly sandwichFiesta salad barBanana
THURS, NOV 10Smoked salmon chowderCheese enchilada verdeChicken salad barPineapple
FRI, NOV 11(NO SCHOOL)(NO SCHOOL)(NO SCHOOL)(NO SCHOOL)
MON, NOV 14Cheese pizzaChicken tenders and friesCaeser salad barFuji apple
TUES, NOV 15Hummus lunch boxChicken nugget with fries and rollProtein salad barRed seedless grapes
WED, NOV 16Korean BBQ Meatballs with riceYogurt lunchboxFiesta salad barBanana
THURS, NOV 17Crispy chicken burger with friesCheesy penne pastaChicken salad barKiwi
FRI, NOV 18Teriyaki chicken with rice and veggiesChef’s choiceTBDTBD
NOV 21 – 25(NO SCHOOL)(NO SCHOOL)(NO SCHOOL)(NO SCHOOL)
MON, NOV 28Hummus Lunch BoxChicken tenders and friesTamale with rice and beansTBD
TUES, NOV 29BBQ Chicken SandwichGrilled Cheese and Tomato SoupProtein salad barRed seedless grapes
WED, NOV 30Cheese pizzaHamburger with friesFiesta salad barBanana

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 fundraising@whittierptaseattle.org

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 fundraising@whittierptaseattle.org

Questions? Please contact fundraising@whittierptaseattle.org

THANK YOU FOR SUPPORTING WHITTIER!


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 volunteers@whittierptaseattle.org to be added to our volunteer list and connected to PTA volunteer opportunities.


Reminder:

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 kingcounty.gov/elections 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 advocacy@whittierptaseattle.org.


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! https://www.signupgenius.com/go/10C0E44A8A729A0FAC61-november

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 hospitality@whittierptaseattle.org if you have any questions. THANK YOU! 


Thank you, Wildcats!