Seattle Music Partners: “Community Night” Concert, this Wednesday 12/6, 6-7:30pm!

This Wednesday, December 6, all families are welcome to join Seattle Music Partners in the Lowell cafeteria as all four SMP elementary schools (Leschi, Lowell, Madrona, and Bailey Gatzert) come together to play in their first concert of the year!

The elementary school band and orchestra will each play a couple of songs, accompanied by students in the Middle School Music Project.

(From SMP: “Students should bring their instrument and sheet music, and wear their new SMP t-shirt. If you are able, please bring a potluck dish to share.” Send questions to Meaghan at meaghan.leferink@gmail.com.)

Dragon Tales: Lowell needs you!

[This post is a copy of the Dragon Tales newsletter sent 11/26. Sign up on this page to receive Dragon Tales in email.]

Dear Lowell PTA members and parents,

We need help.

We want Lowell to be as strong as it can be. Other PTAs in the Seattle area have dozens of active volunteers, boards of 12 to 15 people, and many parents taking leadership roles in membership, community outreach, fundraising, before- and after-school enrichment, legislative advocacy, facilities planning, teacher support/classroom coordinators, and technology.

This involvement has a huge impact on the success and well-being of students and teachers at those schools.

The Partners at Lowell School PTA has few volunteers and a board of just nine individuals, working really hard to provide basic support for things like school events, food pantry and office volunteers, dine-outs, rug cleaning, teacher classroom grants, communications, and more. Our PTA has also been advocating with the district regarding the bus situation and other ways we can help our teachers in the classroom, plus fielding inquiries from our neighboring PTAs regarding partnerships.

We’re all excited to help Lowell grow and thrive, but a small group can only do so much. We know we don’t have the resources of other schools, but we definitely need as much as help as we can get!

There are so many opportunities for people in our Lowell community to take on a leadership role. Some of them are below, but you might also have ideas of your own.

Just reply to this email to find out more about getting involved.

Board Participation Grant

The PTA wants to make sure that any parent at Lowell who wants to serve on the board and advocate for families and students has that opportunity. That’s why we started the Board Participation Grant this year, for parents who want to help on the board and take on a leadership role, but who could not otherwise because of financial constraints.

Grant funds can cover costs for childcare or transportation, for example. We can also accommodate remote participation via Skype. If you are interested or have questions about this program, please reply to this email.

Chair and Leadership Positions

Volunteers for any of the following positions can also serve on the PTA board, but it is not a requirement. If you’re interested and want to learn more, just reply to this email.

Annual PTA Auction Chair and Committee. The annual PTA auction has traditionally been our biggest fundraiser of the year, and it urgently needs a chairperson. In previous years, we’ve raised almost a third of our budget from this one event. It is a moderate-sized event, but super fun, and takes a very organized and passionate chair (and/or committee of friends) to pull it off. Experienced auction volunteers from other PTAs would be able to provide advice and guidance if needed.

Individual Event Coordinators. This is a great opportunity if you’re new to Lowell or PTAs in general and want to try coordinating on a smaller scale. We need volunteers to help run a number of small events in the spring. This can be a “Dine-Out” for Lowell event, the annual move-a-thon student fundraiser, running an outreach booth at Pride, or other at-school socials.

Membership and Outreach. A vital membership base is so crucial to Lowell’s success. If you have any interest in recruiting members or leaders, and/or reaching out to communities at our school who have difficulty participating for whatever reason, we would love to have your help.

Your area of expertise. If your area of expertise is education/enrichment programs, volunteer coordination, legal advocacy, technology, or working with other PTAs or community groups, we can use your help. Please reply to this email.

Continue reading “Dragon Tales: Lowell needs you!”

We ♥ Witness!

A big thank-you to Gregg and the whole Witness crew for a packed house and a fun night! We are hugely thankful for you donating 50% of your proceeds from the night.

Many of us will be back soon, to order all the things we didn’t get to last night. (It’s hard to choose betwen shrimp & grits and fried chicken & waffles….)

How to give testimony at the Seattle Public Schools board meeting

SPS has a page with instructions for attending and giving testimony at board meetings, but parent Liza Rankin has some additional pro tips, especially on reserving a Wednesday spot on the Monday before:

I usually type up a quick email ahead of time and then right at 8:01 hit send. If you send it before 8 they won’t count it. I find emailing boardagenda@seattleschools.org easier than calling in. You have to include name, phone, email address. My email is something like: 

“I would like to request speaking time for the board meeting on ________. My topic is ______.

Thanks,
Name
phone
email address”

You can have people reserve times who might not want to speak themselves, just to get the slots, but the catch is that to give your time to someone else, you must be present at the meeting. So say you signed up to speak but were giving your time to me, we’d both need to be there in person and go up to the podium together, and you’d say into the mic “I cede my time to Liza Rankin” and then I could speak. No one can speak twice, so if I was also signed up myself, that wouldn’t work. Testimony is scheduled to begin at 5:30pm and the list of speakers gets posted online by 5pm the night before the meeting.

You cannot discuss personnel in testimony, so they’ll stop you if you say “person xyz wasn’t helpful” or “our prinicpal xyz” but you can say “we were not consulted or given any notice about these changes from district or building administration” or similar. Even though each person only gets 2 minutes to talk, you can print out additional info for the board and bring it with you.

The next board meeting is this coming Wednesday, 11/15, at 4:15, so that means requests to testify need to be sent at 8am this Monday. This is a good venue for all sorts of parent concerns, from the situation with our buses to just how problems relate to negative experiences for kids.

Health Fair this Saturday (11/11) at Leschi Elementary

Just a heads-up to our community that Leschi Elementary is hosting a health fair on Saturday November 11, 2017, from 10:00 am – 3:00 pm, with dental screenings for kids and free flu shots for all.

If you are uninsured, Public Health Navigators can enroll or re-enroll you into health insurance, and if you are eligible for ORCA Lift (new discount Metro bus fare), you can get a $10.00 pre-loaded card.

If you have any questions, contact Jennifer Marquardt, 206-423-2781.

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Dragon Tales: “Dine Out” at Witness next Tuesday, Islandwood donations

[This post is a copy of the Dragon Tales newsletter sent 11/7. Sign up on this page to receive Dragon Tales in email.]

A busy start to fall!

There’s a lot going on at Lowell. Read on for updates about next Tuesday’s “Dine Out” night at Witness, Islandwood donations, and Lowell volunteer opportunities

As always, follow us on Facebook and at www.lowellelementary.org—and if you ever have school-related news or events to share, email lowellparents@gmail.com.

Witness “Dine Out” next Tuesday, 11/14, 5–10pm

Gregg Holcomb and the kind folks at Witness want to support our students by hosting a “Dine Out” fund-raiser, with 50% of the proceeds going to Lowell!

Please share the Witness “Dine Out” event on Facebook with family and friends—and RSVP, to encourage other folks to come out and join us!

We’re so thankful that another great Seattle restaurant and community partner has offered to share their proceeds for a night. If you’ve never been, you are in for a treat. Witness is a “Southern-influenced craft cocktail bar with Southern-inspired dishes,” on Broadway between Republican and Harrison. (And if you *have* been to Witness, you don’t need any more encouragement to come next Tuesday!)

As one Zagat reviewer said, “This place is five stars alone just for the chicken and waffles. WOW.”

Help out our Islandwood campers

As you may have seen on the blog, Islandwood is coming up fast! Our fifth-graders will be gone most of next week, exploring the 250-acre Islandwood campus and honing their scientific and problem-solving skills.

Even if you are not a fifth-grade parent, you can support our campers by donating a pillow, a blanket or sleeping bag, or a set of basic toiletries. Ms. Laura says we could probably use about five each of those, contact her if you can help or if you have any questions about the trip. (If you have any connection to a business that might be able to help, email lowellparents@gmail.com and we can try to help make that happen.)

Calling all volunteers!

As many of you know, we have a lot of opportunities for parents and community members to pitch in and help out at Lowell.

We are very happy to announce that Rob Lightner, a former SPS parent (his stepdaughter started college last year), has offered to pitch in as our temporary volunteer coordinator. Rob is great, and he’s run volunteer programs for the NW AIDS Foundation and 826 Seattle.

If you want to volunteer—or you know someone or some business or organization that would like to help out—please send them to lowellvolunteering@gmail.com. You can also see a list of some of Lowell’s current volunteer needs on the PTA blog.

Continue reading “Dragon Tales: “Dine Out” at Witness next Tuesday, Islandwood donations”

Islandwood is next week! November 13–16

It’s going to be a little quieter around school next week when our fifth-graders take off for Islandwood, a 250-acre outdoor learning center on Bainbridge Island. This extraordinary program is offered to elementary school students throughout the Puget Sound region.

This is not just a camping trip, as the Islandwood team reminded us at a recent parent-info night: Islandwood is school, and the work our students do there is completely integrated with the Lowell fifth-grade curriculum. Our fifth-graders will have the chance to learn about a variety of science topics, develop a sense of environmental stewardship, connect with and learn about the wildlife of our diverse bioregion, and work together to solve problems as they learn.

Our fifth-grade classes from Lowell are heading to Islandwood November 13-16! Even if you are not a fifth-grade parent, you can support our campers by donating a pillow, a blanket or sleeping bag, or a set of basic toiletries. (We could probably use five each of those.) Contact Ms. Laura if you can help—especially if you have any connection to a business that might be able to help—or if you missed the info night and have questions about the upcoming trip.