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 | March 2021

A Word from Council

Diane Devlyne-ThompsonDiane Devlyne-Thompson, VP of Programs
This past year has been one that we will read about in history books and question how we got through it. There were so many challenges. There are also many things we have learned that should be celebrated. Yes, celebration in a pandemic.

In the past year we have learned the true strength of our volunteer organization. That strength propelled us to rise to the action rather than sit back and “take the year off”. During the initial months of the pandemic, our Scholarship chairs quickly changed and took the program fully online. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive. We must celebrate the success and innovation used to make the Scholarship program happen.

In the fall we learned that we can still come “together” to support our Scholarship Auction. The Auction pivoted from an in-person event focused on baskets to an online event focused on experiences. It also deserves a celebration for its overwhelming success. Continue Reading

Council Award Winners 2020-2021

gold balloonsThe Lake Washington PTSA (LWPTSA) Council held its annual Founders’ Day Celebration on February 26, 2021 to celebrate the 124th anniversary of National PTA. Each year at the event, the LWPTSA Council recognizes individuals and organizations for their outstanding work on behalf of children and youth. Nine individuals were honored this year.
  • Community Service Award: Kim Miller
  • Certificate of Special Service: Timberline Middle School Counseling Team of Jackie Coons, Toby Doyle and Renee Hesky
  • Outstanding Advocate Award: Nancy Colburn
  • Outstanding Educator Award: Caroline Amundsen
  • Outstanding Educator Award: Kim Bilanko
  • Golden Acorn Award: Irene Neumann and Swarnima Aswinkumar
Read more about these amazing individuals and why they were honored. For questions please contact the Awards Committee at

2020-2021 WSPTA Reflections Finalists

Reflections 2020-2021Reflections entries from 15 LWSD students were selected as finalists in the Washington State Reflections program. Congratulations to all student artist participants!

The following seven entries were selected to advance to the National PTA Reflections program:

  • Dance (Primary): Charis Balaranjith, PEACE☮, Margaret Mead Elementary PTSA 2.8.38
  • Literature (Primary): Tvesha Joshi, Why do I matter?, Ella Baker Elementary PTSA 2.8.28
  • Photography (High School): Amelie Barga, Looking Within, Lake Washington High PTSA 2.8.95
  • Photography (Intermediate): Ella Ragoler, Shadow Leaves, Samantha Smith Elementary PTA 2.8.57
  • Visual Arts (Middle School): Aurelia Zhou, Everyone Matters to Protect the Environment, Kirkland Middle PTSA 2.8.77
  • Visual Arts (Intermediate): Nancy Chen, I matter, because…, Rose Hill Elementary PTA 2.8.50
  • Visual Arts (Primary): Quinlan Tian, I Love, Louisa May Alcott Elementary PTSA 2.8.3

See the full list of 2020-2021 Washington State PTA Reflections finalists.

Visit our 2020-2021 Reflections Virtual Showcase.

Thank you to the Council Reflections Chairs Tanya Dimpsey and Mindy Lincicome, all local Reflections chairs, and all volunteer judges who made this program possible.

Nominations For LWPTSA Council Board

The 2021 LWPTSA Council Nominating Committee is pleased to submit the following slate of nominees for the 2021-2022 Lake Washington PTSA Council Board. Elections will take place during the Council Membership meeting on April 1, 2021 at 7PM. 

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 Linpaa and Dorothea (Thea) Warner
Area VP Kirkland – Meredith Cain
Area VP Redmond – OPEN
Area VP Rose Hill – OPEN
Area VP Timberline – Stacy Hatch

Respectfully submitted,
LWPTSA Council 2021-2022 Nominating Committee: Meredith Cain, Kristen Dorwin, Chitra Ramalingam

Teen Communication Workshop

A group of teens at sunsetHigh school students are invited to an Effective Communications Workshop on Wednesday, March 24 at 6PM. Students will learn the 3 C's of communication, how to have difficult or challenging conversations and tips for communicating over social media. This workshop is free but registration is required.

LWPTSA Scholarships Available

A female student wearing a white graduation cap and gown.The Lake Washington PTSA Council is pleased to roll out its 2021 Scholarship Program! This year’s Scholarship Program will include 14 student scholarships of $1,250 each and two $500 staff scholarships. Applications for both staff and student scholarships are due by NOON on March 25, 2021. The Scholarship Program is funded by money raised at the Council’s annual Scholarship Auction, by annual donations from the 44 PTSAs in the LWSD, the LWEA, and by donations from the greater community. Send questions to Reva Ramachandran and Andrea Stoppani at

Suicide Awareness with UW's Forefront

two arms joined with the words "you are not alone"Come learn in a friendly and nurturing environment how to help your child or friend through a suicidal episode. Learn about what signs to look for, how to have important conversations with your child around this topic and how to access resources. The mission of University of Washington's Forefront is to focus on reducing suicide by empowering individuals and community to take action. All are welcome, but especially recommended for middle school parents, high school parents, and high school students. For help now, contact Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255 or Nacional de Prevención del Suicidio: 888-628-9454

Legacy of Resilience: A Holocaust Story

Daphna Robon Lake Washington PTSA Council invites parents and teens to a Holocaust remembrance talk on Monday, March 29 at 6 pm. Daphna Robon will share the story of the survival and resiliency of her parents, Imre Friedmann and Naomi Kraus. This story is sure to inspire us to appreciate our differences as well as our commonalities as people, and to never forget. Learn more about Ms. Robon. This talk is recommend for parents and high school students.

When: Monday, March 29 at 6PM
Where: Register at
Flyer: Download a flyer to share
Questions: Please email Danit Erlich, Council's VP of Family and Community Engagement (FACE)

Community Support Services Lunch & Learn Recap

Lunch and Learn logoOur March 2021 Lunch and Learn was a Community Support Services Roundtable. We are thankful to the representatives from Eastside for All (Debbie Lacy), The Arc of King County (Rachel Nemhauser & Kaley Dugger), Hopelink (Rahima Somji) and Youth Eastside Services (Mina Kirilov) for sharing about the services they offer to families in our community. If you missed the event, the presentation slides can be viewed at

Save the date for the next Lunch and Learn on April 15. See the Lunch & Learn schedule on our website. If you have any questions, please contact Yumna Green, LWPTSA Council Executive Vice President.

Great Outdoors Self-Care Session Summary

sunlight shining through trees in a forestOur March 2021 Self-Care Session focused on the great outdoors. We know that being outside can help with our mental well-being and improves our overall health in many ways. Washington Trails Association volunteer Lezlie Cox shared information on how to safely recreate outside and take advantage of the trails and hikes at our doorsteps. Read the full summary by Irene Neumann, Parent Education Co-Chair for LWPTSA Council including the WTA handout: Hiking Resources for Families.

Save the date for our April Self-Care session on Gratitude with Staci Danford on April 16 at 5pm. For questions, contact Irene Neumann or Hae Sue Park, Council's Parent Education Co-Chairs.

March Membership Meeting Recap

Thanks to all who attended our membership meeting on March 4, 2021. Here are the minutes and documents shared at the meeting. The next membership meeting will be Thursday, April 1 at 7PM. Please note this is an evening meeting. See the meeting schedule on our website. Any questions? Contact Brandi Comstock, LWPTSA Council President

Special Education Group Meeting

LWPTSA Special Education Group's next virtual meeting will be held April 20, 2021 at 7PM. Yordanos Gebreamlak, Senior Education Ombuds with the Office of the Education Ombuds, will present on the intersection of disability and race.  

Please send questions to the Special Education Group Chairs at

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 discuss how our environment affects learning, behavior, and health. Learn ways to create safer, healthier and more inclusive environments at school and at home. Save the date for this event on Wednesday, April 21 at 7pm. For further information, contact
PTA News

Power of ConnectionWSPTA Convention 2021

Save the dates for the 108th WSPTA Convention, taking place virtually from May 18-23, 2021. Details are being finalized but expect plenty of webinars, subject-area panels, coaching sessions, keynote speakers and celebration. Details will be shared on the WSPTA website.

National PTA Updates

District & Partner News
Dr. Jon Holmen

Superintendent Message

LWSD recognizes throughout the pandemic, there have been subtle and overt acts of hatred and violence towards Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities. Our AAPI communities have contributed to our diverse community in meaningful ways. We condemn the acts of violence and hatred that have been perpetrated against our Asian communities that cast a sense of fear among AAPI community. As a school district, we stand in solidarity with our Asian communities.

We are committed to creating environments for students and staff to thrive. This requires intentional actions to continually make our schools welcoming for our entire community of learners and educators. We are committed to protecting our students from fearing physical or psychological harm, hateful depictions or language of cultural heritages, where they are casted as outsiders. We will continue to work towards this goal of providing safe schools for our students and staff.

As we welcome back students and staff to our campuses over the next month, safety and well-being will be primary objectives for all of us. Being thoughtful about the lived experiences of our students during the pandemic is a critical aspect to the successful transition. Specifically, for Asian-American communities that have experienced harm or trauma over this last year; we remain committed to supporting a learning community that welcomes each student and family.

Last Friday, our Equity, Opportunity and Inclusion Department provided professional learning for our teachers. The training focused on creating welcoming and safe spaces for our students and families. Staff members were provided strategies to create classrooms that are welcoming and culturally responsive. This type of training is a significant part in ensuring our schools and classrooms are places where each of our students can feel a sense of belonging.

Today we voice our commitment to all our communities and recognize those that have suffered loss over this last year.
Dr. Jon Holmen, LWSD Superintendent

LWSD Pathway Forward Update

Learn more about Lake Washington School District's plans for return to in-person services at

Lake Washington Schools Foundation News

LWSF logo

Over 100 LWSD Staff Trained in Youth Mental Health First Aid!
We are thrilled to report that in partnership with LWSD and LWPTSA Council, we are on-track to have trained over 150 staff by the end of March so that the people who work with kids the most have the tools they need to properly address a mental health challenge or a student who is in crisis.

Be the Bridge Evening Benefit on April 29 at 7PM
You are invited to Be the Bridge! You’ll hear stories of ingenuity and determination, laugh with surprise guests, and discover how your contributions make a difference for students. Can you be a Table Captain for your school community? Please consider stepping up to be a Table Captain or partner with a friend to host a virtual table! You can learn more by emailing To register or to learn more, please visit Registration opens this week!

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

  • March 31 - Body Image & Healthy Eating
  • April 21 - Reimagining Success for Kids’ Mental Health
  • May 5 - Social Media and Mental Health

Find Your Fit Events
To register for Find Your Fit events, visit

  • The Counselor Is In! - Have any questions surrounding the college application process? Join independent college counselor Mary Pat O’Neil for a special Q&A opportunity on March 26 from 4pm-5pm.
  • Understanding What College Costs & How to Pay Less - Join independent college counselor Mary Pat O’Neil and college financial planning consultant Peg Keough on March 30 from 7pm-8pm as they discuss the cost of college, common myths about paying for college, understanding the timeline for applying to college, and more. 


Upcoming Dates
  • Mar 23, 7PM: Parent Ed Brain Boosting Workshop #1 [register]
  • Mar 24, 6PM: Effective Communication Workshop for High Schoolers [register]
  • Mar 25, NOON: Council Scholarship Application Deadline
  • Mar 25, 7PM: Suicide Awareness Parent Education Event [register]
  • Mar 29, 6PM: Legacy of Resilience: A Holocaust Story [register]
  • Mar 30, 7PM: Parent Ed Brain Boosting Workshop #2
  • Apr 1, 7PM: Council Membership Meeting
  • Apr 5-9: LWSD Spring Break
  • Apr 14, 5PM: DEI Committee Meeting
  • Apr 15, 10AM: Sustainability Committee Meeting
  • Apr 15, NOON: Lunch and Learn
  • Apr 16, 5PM: Self-Care Series #4
  • Apr 20, 10AM: Emergency Prep Committee Meeting
  • Apr 20, 7PM: Special Education Group Meeting
  • Apr 21, 7PM: Creating Healthier Indoor Environments Panel [register]
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.
Copyright © 2021 LWPTSA Council 2.8, All rights reserved.

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