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A monthly newsletter from Lake Washington PTSA Council 2.8. View this email in your browser or translate to Español, 中文, 한국어, Pусский or Tiếng Việt.
Lake Washington PTSA Council 2.8 | April 2021

A Word from Council

Parent Education Co-Chairs: Irene Neumann and Hae Sue ParkIrene Neumann and Hae Sue Park, Parent Education Co-Chairs

LWPTSA Council recently joined Washington State PTA to make a commitment “in dismantling systemic and institutional racism by raising awareness through education and advocacy, working with PTA leaders and supporting our community so that all children feel safe and welcome” (LWPTSA Council Anti-Racism Statement). As Parent Education chairs we have the opportunity to provide programming that will support this important work and give parents the tools they need to help raise anti-racist children. We are so honored to be a part of this work to collectively effect meaningful change.

One of our most recent events featured legacy speaker Daphna Robon of Seattle’s Holocaust Center for Humanity. Daphna shared her moving and informative presentation “A Legacy of Resilience, A Family Holocaust Story” to an audience of roughly 100, which indicated a strong interest in this topic. Remembering victims of the Holocaust is more important than ever as it illustrates the dangers of prejudice, discrimination, and dehumanization in society. Indeed, after the presentation, the conversation quickly went to the topic of allyship and in light of the violence against Asian-Americans we have sadly seen increase over the last year.

Council’s parent education program is charged with giving parents and caregivers relevant information and helpful tools. We are pleased to announce our next event, “The Journey to Becoming a Non-Racist Family,” with Kanesha Lewin on May 11 and May 18 at 7 pm. Please register for this event here. Parents and caregivers play the biggest role in their children’s lives and we all have the opportunity and responsibility to teach them tolerance and kindness. As Bowen Yang recently articulated so well on an episode of Saturday Night Live, “charge up and do more!” Let’s charge up and do more, together.

LWPTSA Council Board 2021-2022

The following officers were elected at the April 1, 2021 membership meeting to serve for the 2021-2022 PTA year.  Thank you for your willingness to serve, and thank you to our Nominating Committee (Meredith Cain, Kristin Dorwin and Chitra Ramalingam) for the time and care you invested in recruiting these wonderful leaders!

Co-Presidents – Brandi Welke (Comstock) and Yumna Amien (Green)
Executive Vice President – Melinda Lincicome
Secretary – OPEN
Treasurer – Michelle Rocamora
Vice President of Advocacy – Michelle Obenaus
Co-Vice Presidents of FACE – Hae Sue Park and Swarnima Aswinkumar
Co-Vice Presidents of Programs – Anuraga Gowtham and Cristiane Wegmann
Area VP Evergreen – Deborah Robertson
Area VP Finn Hill – Kristen Dorwin
Area VP Inglewood – Manda Mangrai
Co-Area VPs Kamiakin – Muusa Liinpaa and Dorthea (Thea) Warner
Area VP Kirkland – Meredith Cain
Area VP Redmond – Danit Erlich
Area VP Rose Hill – OPEN
Area VP Timberline – OPEN

We will open the floor for nominations and hold elections for the positions of Secretary, Area VP Rose Hill, and Area VP Timberline for the 2021-2022 term at the May Membership meeting, which will be held virtually on May 6, 2021 at 9:45am. If you are interested or have questions about these roles, please contact Council President Brandi Comstock.

April Membership Meeting Recap

Thanks to all who attended our membership meeting on April 1, 2021. 
Here are the draft minutes and documents shared at the meeting: The next membership meeting will be Thursday, May 6 at 9:45AM. See the meeting schedule on our website. Any questions? Contact Brandi Comstock, LWPTSA Council President

You Rock: Ella Baker PTSA

child holding a rock with the words "you rock"Ella Baker PTSA was awarded LWPTSA Council’s You Rock! Award at the April 2021 membership meeting for their Partner School Program. The purpose of the program is to partner with another elementary school within the region to provide a financial grant to enrich, supplement and enhance education opportunities for all students in a school that has a greater need of resources. Learn more about their program and award.

To nominate a PTSA for a You Rock! Award contact Council Awards Chair Tanya Scharpenberg at awards@lwptsa.net.

Legacy of Resilience Talk Recap

Daphna Robon

On March 29, 2021, LWPTSA Council hosted speaker Daphna Robon as she shared the fascinating survival and resiliency story of her parents, Imre Friedmann and Naomi Kraus. The talk was attended by 105 people and at the end there was a great conversation about how to be an ‘upstander’ instead of a ‘bystander.’ The attached pdf is an excellent resource with some suggestions.

Read a summary of the presentation on our website.

Questions: Please email Danit Erlich, Council's VP of Family and Community Engagement (FACE)

Special Education Group Meeting

LWPTSA Council Special Education Group's next virtual monthly meeting will be held April 20, 2021 at 7PM. Yordanos Gebreamlak, Senior Education Ombuds of the Governor’s Office of Education Ombuds will present on the intersection of disability and race. She will discuss how the lens of disability justice can guide caregiver and student involvement, advocacy, and equity work. 
  • Topic: Equity Means Disability Justice – at the Intersection of Disability and Race
  • When: Tuesday, April 20, 2021 at 7:00PM
  • Where: Join via https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/961179397 or by phone at (571) 317-3112 with Access code 961-179-397 
Please send questions to the Special Education Group Chairs at specialeducation@lwptsa.net

Creating Healthier Indoor Environments

Creating Healthier Indoor EnvironmentsLake Washington PTSA Council's Sustainability Committee invites all to join and listen to a panel of experts from:
  • Washington State Department of Health
  • US Environmental Protection Agency
  • Lake Washington School District
Panelists will discuss how environment affects learning, behavior, and health. Learn ways to create safer, healthier and more inclusive environments at school and at home. For further information, contact sustainability@lwptsa.net

Wednesday Wellness Program

wednesday wellness logoLWPTSA Council is hosting a Wednesday Wellness series this spring for Lake Washington School District families! All are invited to join for a free virtual fitness class on Wednesdays at 6PM. We have hosted two amazing sessions on March 31 and April 14 and hope to see you at a future session.

Watch the Council Facebook page for future Wednesday Wellness events. Please send questions to Danit Erlich, Council's VP of Family and Community Engagement (FACE).

Effective PTAs and Family Engagement Roundtables

Let's TalkCouncil's PTA Engagement Grant Co-Chairs invite local PTA leaders to one of two roundtables to learn about making your PTA more effective and more responsive to member needs. Learning about the barriers to PTA involvement can help you chart a path to removing those obstacles and create an environment in which all feel welcome. This is a unique time and opportunity as students return to schools. Make sure your PTA is ready to engage your families anew! Monetary incentives included.

There are two dates for this roundtable: Send questions to Irene Neumann and Swarnima Aswinkumar, Engagement Grant Chairs, at engagementgrant@lwptsa.net

Active Intruder Drills Explained - Safety Webinar

safety warning triangleCouncil's Emergency Preparedness Committee is hosting a safety webinar about Active Intruder Drills (aka ALICE drills) conducted in our schools. Join two Certified ALICE Instructors and experts in Criminal Justice, Dr. Brooke Gialopsos and Dr. Cheryl Jonson, as they explain what ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate) is and is NOT. You'll come away understanding why this multi-option training is important and useful in schools and how to talk to kids about these drills. We will uncover the universal skills being taught through ALICE drills and how to manage our own fears of active threat situations. Parents, staff and older children are welcome to attend this webinar on Teams. Please send questions to E-Prep Committee Co-Chairs at emergency.prep@lwptsa.net.

The Journey to Becoming an Anti-Racist Family

Lewin Education and Consulting logoLWPTSA Council is hosting a two-part workshop with Kenesha Lewin on "The Journey to Becoming an Anti-Racist Family" on May 11 and 18. With a diversity centered approach, Kenesha specializes in education training, community organizing, coaching, restorative practices, and racial justice consulting. The journey is a long one and it's never too early to start the conversations of being anti-racist. As Angela Davis states: “In a racist society, it's not enough to be non-racist, we must be anti-racist.”  Please send questions to Irene Neumann and Hae Sue Park, Parent Ed Co-Chairs.

Grants Available for Local PTAs

LWPTSA Council still has several $500 parent education grants available to local PTAs. Download the application and apply today! A parent education talk or assembly is a wonderful way to engage with and provide direct value to your school community.

Here are some of the parent education and assembly grants Council has awarded this year:
  • Internet Safety for Kids with Teen Wise at Rosa Parks PTSA on May 6, 2021
  • Unity and Healing with Erin Jones at Peter Kirk PTSA on March 11, 2021
  • Stories of Differences, 2 assemblies with Gabe Murffitt at Timberline Middle PTSA on February 24, 2021
Got a question or need some parent education ideas? Contact Hae Sue Park and Irene Neumann, Council's Parent Ed Chairs.
PTA News

Power of ConnectionWSPTA Convention 2021

Registration is open now for the 108th WSPTA Convention, taking place virtually from May 18-23, 2021. 
  • Keynote speakers include: Caylin Moore, Leslie Boggs and Brooke Brown.
  • Registration is $70 for adults and $35 for students.
  • Check the schedule of events to find training and sessions of interest. Don't forget attendance counts for NEXT year's WSPTA training requirements.
  • Voting and business will be conducted at the May 22 annual meeting. Delegates will vote on four proposed amendments to the WSPTA Uniform Bylaws and electing officers for the WSPTA Board of Directors for the 2021-2023 term.
  • PTA presidents - instructions were sent on Friday, April 2 regarding submitting your voting delegates for Convention. Your voting delegates are selected according to your PTA's Standing Rules. The deadline for PTA presidents to submit voting delegates is 6:59am on Monday, May 3.
Find more details on the WSPTA website.

National PTA Updates

District & Partner News
Dr. Jon Holmen

Superintendent Message

Dr. Jon Holmen, LWSD Superintendent

Throughout the 2020-21 school year we have worked to support all our students. We are excited to welcome over 55% of our secondary students back to in-person learning on Monday, April 19. Secondary students learning in-person will attend school 4 days per week. Secondary educators will teach both in-person and remote students for the remainder of the school year. This is a new teaching method for our staff, and they spent time in professional learning and discussions during the transition week. We are so pleased that we were able to maintain schedules and teacher assignments for most of our secondary students. We believe this connection will be essential as they move into this next phase of the school year.  Our elementary students that are learning in-person will also have a shift. All elementary students will shift to a 4-day per week schedule and the school day will be extended to match with our secondary school day schedule. This is the next step in our Pathway Forward plan.

Staffing – We’re hiring!
I have heard from many parents asking, “what can I do to help?” Now is the time for you to consider a school position to support the operations of the school district. We currently have many open positions across the district and as we prepare to return more students to in-person learning, we need your help! We are currently hiring for instructional assistants (IAs), paraeducators, bus drivers and more. Please visit our Employment website and share this with your friends and family! This is truly an opportunity to help support our entire community as we transition back more students to in-person learning.

Fall Planning
Our intention is to provide in-person and full-time learning for all students in the fall. The Governor announced earlier in April that districts should prepare for full-time in-person learning for the coming school year. We are still waiting for a few additional details that will allow us to announce additional plans and accommodations for the Fall. We are excited to be planning with the intention of all students returning in September. 

LWSD Pathway Forward Update

Learn more about Lake Washington School District's plans for return to in-person services at lwsd.org/pathway-forward.

Lake Washington Schools Foundation News

LWSF logo

Register for "Be the Bridge" Evening Benefit on April 29 at 7PM
This year’s virtual event will celebrate LWSF’s fifteen years of service and will feature special celebrity guests including stand-up comedian and actor Justin Rupple and KOMO4 meteorologist Shannon O’Donnell. Register, now at bit.ly/2021BeTheBridge.

Balance in Mind Parent Chats
Register today for the spring session. Chats are held on Wednesdays at 7PM.

  • April 21 - Reimagining Success for Kids’ Mental Health
  • May 5 - Social Media and Mental Health
  • May 19 - Sexting: What Parents Need To Know
  • June 2 – Understanding Queer Kids Today

Find Your Fit Events
Join independent college counselor Mary Pat O’Neil and guest speaker Cynthia Seidel of On Course College Counseling to learn how applying to international colleges differs from applying to college in the U.S. To register for Find Your Fit events, visit www.lwsf.org/findyourfit

  • May 4 at 7PM - How to Apply to Colleges in Canada, the United Kingdom, & Europe Webinar 

Kids Coming Together Events
Kids Coming Together provides opportunities for kids grades 3-8 to make new friends and connect with their community through service events led by high school students. Learn more and to register, visit www.kidscomingtogether.org.

  • April 20 - Sammamish Animal Sanctuary
  • April 26 - Invasive Species Removal & Cleanup
Upcoming Dates
  • Apr 20, 10AM: Emergency Prep Committee Meeting
  • Apr 20, 7PM: Special Education Group Meeting [via GoToMeeting]
  • Apr 21, 6PM: Wellness Wednesday [register]
  • Apr 21, 7PM: Creating Healthier Indoor Environments Panel [register]
  • Apr 22, 9:45AM: Council Board Meeting
  • Apr 23, NOON: Effective PTAs and Family Engagement Roundtables [register]
  • Apr 26, 6PM: Effective PTAs and Family Engagement Roundtables [register]
  • Apr 27, 7PM: Safety Webinar - Active Intruder Drills Explained [register]
  • May 6, 9:45AM: Council Membership Meeting
  • May 11, 7PM: The Journey to Becoming an Anti-Racist Family [register]
  • May 12, 5PM: DEI Committee Meeting
  • May 13, 7PM: Sustainability Committee Meeting
  • May 18, 7PM: Special Education Group Meeting
  • May 18, 7PM: The Journey to Becoming an Anti-Racist Family
  • May 20, NOON: Lunch and Learn
LWPTSA Council Meeting Dates | Full LWPTSA Calendar | LWSD Calendar | WSPTA Calendar

About Us

The Lake Washington PTSA Council 2.8 (LWPTSA) serves local PTAs in the Lake Washington School District. 

Our Partners

Currents is edited by: Sarah Rock, LWPTSA Council Communications Chair.
The LWPTSA Council President is Brandi Comstock.
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