MEETING HIGHLIGHTS 2021-22

Shorewood PTSA 6.12.105

November 6, 2021 

Meeting summary 

 

The Shorewood HIgh School (SWHS) Board of Directors held its first Saturday morning meeting on November 6, covering a range of topics and welcoming community members, including SW ASB student Cameron Bell and Principal Bill Dunbar. 


PTSA Racial Equity Learning - Debbie Olhoeft and Marion Mohrlok

The SWHS PTSA board has committed to deepening our learning with racial equity so that we, as a body representing parents, can: 1) contribute to the District's and school's commitment with creating a culture of inclusion and belonging in a more informed, enlightened way; 2) be allies to our school's families of color; 3) create structures and a culture within the PTSA where folks can feel like they belong. 

 

Before the group members began their work, we agreed to the following norms with respect to communication:  stay on race, speak your truth, experience discomfort, expect and accept non-closure.  The group also acknowledged the additional norm of casting no judgments upon members for having shared their personal opinions.  

 

We watched an 11-minute video entitled “Dear White Parents.” Afterwards, the group was divided into breakout rooms to further discuss reactions and takeaways from the video.  The video pointed out that “65% of White adults said their parents rarely or never spoke to them about racism.”  Racism tends to be a more consistent and vital topic among families of color due to disparate societal treatment and other challenges - it can mean a matter of “life or death.”  The group spoke about the importance of all parents and caregivers talking about racism (and what it means to be anti-racist) with their children – by asking questions about what they know and engaging with them regularly.  

 

ASB report - Cameron Bell, ASB representative  

Recap of October:

  • SBA makeup exams for juniors

  • Senior class event “Fill the (Goodwill) Truck” - next event in May

  • Mascot committee:  A team of 20 members was selected from more than 110 applications; regular meetings to occur during Tuesday lunch periods with a goal of securing a mascot decision by winter break

  • Senior class meeting: Jostens caps and gowns orders in progress

  • Healthy Youth Surveys completed by sophomores and seniors

  • Movies in the school gym during lunch every day; coloring contests for Halloween

  • Volleyball nets provided by a local organization (plus a regular focus to keep outdoor engagement going into spring)

 

What’s ahead in November and beyond:

  • Apple Cup “Dawgs and Cats” animal food drive (November 15-19)

  • Veterans Day recognition (including 60 minutes of active learning) – writing to senior citizens who are also veterans and watching reflection videos

  • Upcoming school play during week of November 8 highlighting a mix of songs from different shows (donations accepted with limited seating)

  • Thanksgiving project to recognize staff (SW leadership class to coordinate note-writing efforts to teachers)

  • Interact Club’s coat drive in December

  • January 8 – Junior class hosting a “night-in” fundraiser (movies, games, basketball/volleyball in the gym, cotton candy, etc.)

 

Principal’s Report - Bill Dunbar

  • End of first quarter on Friday 11/5

  • Acknowledged that both staff and students are working out re-entry/re-engagement issues

  • COVID case situation is good so far at SW; credits adults and kids in the community with “doing the right thing” 

  • Recognized a number of achievements by SW sports teams (swimming, tennis, cross country, soccer team, etc.)

  • Mascot selection update:  received over 153 submissions for mascot ideas; goal is to identify the top 5 or fewer to run an election; students will vote and the committee will make a recommendation to the district

 

Other PTSA business: 

  • The Shoreline PTA Council will no longer host the annual holiday food basket and teen gift card drive; however, a number of community partners are discussing a plan for the distribution of toys and gift cards; details will be forthcoming.

  • Monthly financials and an update on our insurance were provided.

  • “Pass the Hat” fundraiser status:  approximately $5000 raised to date which is lower progress than previous years at this time.

  • DEI/FACE (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion/Family and Community Engagement)  communications:  The board reviewed and approved four SWHS PTSA Board of Directors’ public statements of support and solidarity with respect to families of color and LGBTQIA+ community members.  These messages align with the focus of WSPTA and its affiliates. These will be sent to Superintendent Reyes and the Shoreline School Board; the district’s athletic director and Shorewood’s athletic director; the district’s Race and Equity team; and for general distribution on the SW PTSA website, Facebook and other social media channels.

  • Staff grants review – The board reviewed two staff grants:

    • $3000 for graphing calculators (estimated cost of $100 each):  The board agrees to match $100 for every used but functional calculator AND every $100 in cash donations that are received from the community up to a limit of $1,500.

  • PENDING: $800 AP World History books for the library (36 total books):  the board has additional questions regarding this grant

 

The SW PTSA is also funding additional staff grants that were not discussed during the meeting:

World Language:  $180 for apps to support instruction

Science:  $773 for calculators

Special Education:  $80 for items to help with communication

 

Many thanks to Principal Dunbar, Ms. Bell, and the community members who joined us on Saturday.   


Next meeting:  Board of Directors - Wednesday, December 1 at 7:00 p.m. via Zoom - ALL ARE WELCOME!

_________________________

 

Highlights from the October 6 general membership meeting:

Updates from ASB student representative, Cameron Bell, and ASB advisor, Britt Harris

  • Homecoming - an estimated 800 students participated in the Homecoming assembly

  • Recognized SW PTSA and SW Boosters for their participation and support

  • October 11 Student Council meeting to include a visit from Superintendent Reyes

  • Standardized testing schoolwide (SBA and PSAT) on October 13

  • Apple Cup Dog vs. Cat (Dawg vs. Cougar) food drives to be held in November

Update from Principal Dunbar:

Retiring the Thunderbird:  The Washington Legislature passed HB 1356 in April 2021 which prohibits inappropriate use of Native American names, symbols, or images as public school mascots, logos, or team names. During its October 5 regular meeting, the Shoreline School Board voted to retire the Thunderbird as the Shorewood mascot. The district had also consulted with the Tulalip and Snoqualmie tribes.  A new mascot will be decided by December 31, 2021.  Because the district doesn’t yet maintain a policy for the selection of school mascots, a second reading of a new policy will be offered at the next school board meeting on October 19.  Principal Dunbar expects a committee composed of representative members of the community to consider at least two mascot nominees.  

COVID-19 and school safety update:  School lunches at SW have increased by 40% due to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) free lunch program.  Students have been able to use the school building’s first floor during lunch periods (hallways, gym, bleachers, etc.).  Additionally, Principal Dunbar is the COVID coordinator for the school.  Parent Square communications and the district COVID dashboard were discussed.  Also, ten outdoor tents (10’ x 20’) will arrive on October 13; these will provide an additional 2000 square feet of space.  The school has been working with the fire department so that these tents can be secured and remain up overnight.  There will be no outdoor heating.

 

PTSA Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) focus:  

Our new DEI/FACE (Family and Community Engagement) co-chairs, Debbie Olhoeft and Marion Mohrlok, will guide the SW PTSA Board of Directors in its initiative to broaden diversity and inclusion in our PTSA membership, leadership and its activities. To set the foundation for this work, the board reviewed and discussed the National PTA’s Local Leader Guidance for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion on September 29.  The board is assessing its current progress in four areas (membership, programs, advocacy, governance/leadership) based upon a four-step scale that ranges from “beginning” to “advanced.” Its self-assessed report card is as follows:

Membership – the SW PTSA is at a “beginning” stage

  • Our PTSA membership is not representative of the school’s demographics (see below).

  • We have not determined the demographics of our membership but it probably doesn't match the student body

  • Actions:  Change weeknight meetings to Saturday mornings once per quarter; include student voices and participation; research adding a question about race to our membership form.

Programs – the SW PTSA is at an “emerging” stage

  • Budgets are a good way for PTAs to measure progress and to put its goals into action and ours has stayed the same for the last four years.  It should be evolving.

  • Created staff grants and student club grants focused on equity

  • Actions:  Learn what SW families and students need (review our fall survey results); continue staff grants towards equity and support of student clubs; continue partnership with multi-culturally owned local businesses

Advocacy – the SW PTSA is at an “emerging” stage

  • We are becoming less “color blind”

  • We believe that diverse representation is important; we desire to push past any discomfort to discuss issues of difference and diversity in policy and advocacy issues; we are centering equity in our goals this year

  • Donated funds to the Family Advocate last year to help relieve income inequality

  • Actions:  Continue support based upon identified community needs through our family advocates; increase training & build awareness across the board of directors and with our members throughout the year at monthly meetings and events; consider the impact on equity from any proposed policy changes such as later start times; reach out to community partners who are already doing the work successfully, such as Natural Leaders, and learn from them (ie. let’s not work in a silo)

Governance and Leadership - the SW PTSA is at an “emerging” stage

  • How do we avoid recycling the same people as PTA leaders?

  • Actions:  Focus on diversifying membership which may, in turn, diversify leadership; promote leadership opportunities in advance; learn of ways that we can make PTA roles easier (e.g. breaking down the scope of tasks - or eliminating tasks, if possible - of certain roles/positions)

Demographics of the SW student body

Principal Dunbar shared the following:

  • Female 48%

  • Male 51%

  • American Indian/Alaskan Native .4% (less than 10 students)

  • Asian 15.5%

  • Black/African-American 7.8%

  • Hispanic/Latino 14%

  • Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander .9%

  • Two or More Races 10.4%

  • White 48%

LEND US A HAND!

Do you have a certain skill or interest that you’d like to share with your friendly SW PTSA??  Want to connect with other folks in the SW community but not sure how? Challenged with time and energy but still want to help in some way? 

We have opportunities for YOU to make a difference and to become a part of our team!  

  • PTSA newsletter editor:  This is a great fit for someone who likes to work with written content and information.  We will help with providing the content.

  • Staff appreciation team:  Kaija Dalan is our energetic staff appreciation chair this year but she can use extra support!  A fun opportunity for those who like to organize events so that we recognize our dedicated SW staff throughout the school year.

  • Parent education:  For those folks who like to plan and organize events or are into logistical things.  We need help with bringing informative speaker programs to our community.

  • Nominating committee:  Three openings for our nominating committee to assist with identifying candidates for the 2022-23 executive positions - you won’t be working alone with this one! This opportunity aligns directly with our diversity and inclusion goals.  Become a part of this important work!

Want to learn more?  Contact Shannon McMaster, PTSA President, at:  president@shorewoodptsa.org.