Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Meeting Minutes March 23, 2006

Arbor Heights PTSA
General Meeting Minutes
March 23, 2006

The regular meeting of the Arbor Heights PTSA was called to order at 7:04 p.m. on March 23, 2006 in the school cafeteria by President Joe Sharp.

PTSA President Welcome – Joe Sharp:
Joe thanked Ben Ibale for being here to talk about Flight program.

There are two more general PTSA meetings before elections.

The minutes for the February meeting are approved as amended. The minutes are on the PTSA blog (

Arbor Heights Principal Report - Dr. Coram (5 min):
WASL - It is WASL time. The tests will be administrated the week after spring break. If kids are absent, there will be “make up” days. If the child doesn’t complete the test or the makeup, they will count against the final count.

Learning for Life – anti bullying program. The PTA typically donates $500 towards this program.

March 30, there is a fund raising breakfast. Dr. Coram will attend.

Tullys Coffee House - April 18 will be the next Tully’s coffee house. There will be one more in May. Hopefully the kindergarteners will be able to participate at this time.

Raj Manhas at West Seattle Tullys - The school superintendent, Raj Manhas, will be talking at Tullys on April 21st. Instrumental music will play there.

On April 25 at 3:45 our staff will go to the Roxhill lunchroom to meet Karla regarding Chief Academic. Dr. Coram will check if parents can attend.

Bilinqual dinner - On May 4th, 6-7:30 there will be a bilingual dinner - Mr Gandalphi (bi-lingual).

Popcorn count – Mr Wilkie’s class wins the popcorn party for the class.

PTSA Treasurer Report – Curt Knox (5 min):
We hit all our numbers. We are getting additional cash donations and matching. We are doing fine. Target money is going directly to the Self Help fund.

We still collect receipts from Thriftway or Metropolitan Market (1%).

Bingo Night (under community outreach), just under $600 was raised and around $300 was spent. This was a successful event.

Upcoming Events / Fundraising / Art Auction – Cori Roed (5 min):
Barnes and Noble – book sales
Escript (1% back) - $130 came in. Reminder to register your Safeway club card either online (, by phone or on the form (Cori has the form).
Art auction (April 20th). They can use additional volunteers.
Plant sale – April 7th. Compost being donated (already bagged). The 5th graders can help distribute to purchasers.

Elected and Volunteer positions (5 min):
The PTSA President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer are all the elected positions. If you want to run, start thinking about it now. Cori will be stepping down from the Fundraising Chair position, so we will need a new Fundraising Chair. The current board members are willing to run another year, but if others are interested, prepare to run.

Play Court Bird Abatement (5 min):
The pigeons were trapped. The finches are still a problem and two new pigeons have moved in. Joe will contact Richard Staut at the school district to find out what else is being done.

Addition: Joe followed up and learned that the school district has hired “Bird Busters” to handle the bird problem.

Street Improvement Project (5 min):
The Seattle Transportation Department has a two phase proposal for installing a curb along SW 104th street, from the school up to the stop sign and from the school down to 35th. The PTSA will consider donating $2,000 towards the effort (will need to be voted on). The neighbors are in favor of this improvement. Signatures were collected at the meeting.

Addition: Seattle Transportation's Pedestrian Program works to improve pedestrian safety and to encourage more walking by providing the facilities needed to walk comfortably.

New Business (5 min):
High school tutors – Could something be set up for after school? Dr. Coram will check with high schools and Kristin Moe will find out how large the need is. Kristin will put a notice in the bulletin (call Kristin Moe if interested).

Who would like to pilot a “fee based” after school chess program?

New Math Series - Sometime in May, a meeting will be held at Arbor Heights to talk about the new math series being proposed. Child care will be available (paid by PTSA).

Spanish languages – We have someone interested to start teaching Spanish in the spring. More to come.

Flight Program – Ben Ibale (15 min)
New Horizons for Learning – Research from this project being used to create the Flight program. Schools with family involvement outshine schools with non-family involvement. An Involved community fosters a healthy school.

The flight program will apply to Sealth, Denny and all the associated elementary schools.

1. Parent engagement – Home visits; open ended conversations asking questions like aspirations for children. Teacher training Aug 21 & 22; Aug 23 – Sept 30 home visits; most will occur before school starts.

2. Curriculum – Academic freedom to develop programs. Working with other teachers to share best practices.

3. Professional Learning Communities – Respecting community in the building. Dialogs with teaching peers.

Rainier Beach has started this program already (Flight 1). It has been beneficial to both the parents and the teachers. There are different cultures. It helps to learn about kids by understanding their families.

The home visit will be with one School staff person, not necessarily the child’s teacher. Each staff person will have 8 – 10 home visits assigned. The home visit will hopefully develop a relationship between the family and the school. Also, hopefully the home visit will encourage increased involvement with the school community.

This isn’t a WASL driven program. It came from the teacher’s union and the school district. It provides some RIF protection.

Questions and Answers:
Q. Teachers need to spend ¼ of their summer doing this. Is this fair?

Q. Mandated at this school – does this school really need it?

Q. Why spend money on a program like this (that may not be needed) when the school district is looking at closing schools?

Q. Can’t we put the money into something more important like a full time librarian?

Q. We have a very strong community. Why do we need this?
A. Each school is different. Perhaps use an “opening event” in lieu of the home visits.

Q. What do teachers think of this program?
A. David Wilkie – likes many of the ideas, but not all. He doesn’t like how the teachers are being told they have to do this program. Teachers will want to do more, in order to touch base with their students.

Q. Why will teachers have to leave if they don’t want to participate?
A. When starting this program, the schools were selected based on a set of criteria. There was a meeting where the School board, the teacher’s union and teachers discussed the challenges the schools face. More money will be going to the schools (mostly from grants). The “CERT”s survey did not include any info on flight. A draft was sent out to all teachers and then passed at a ratification meeting (representatives attending from each school).

Q. Two of the three pieces make sense. So the mandate for teachers visiting parents is the primary issue with us.

Q. Is there someone in the district who we can call or email to get these questions answered?
A. There are two people – Pat Sander ( and Ben Ibale (

Q. How will parents be informed? Will the school district communicate with all parents via a mailing?

Q. We, the parents, would like to have an opportunity to talk. Can that happen?

Q. If the teachers make up a plan, what is the chance that it will be turned down? Can we focus on the new parents?

Q. Are the home visits required?

A. There is a March 28 meeting where they are talking about how this program will work.

There are two committees – the BLT (building leadership team) which has “a parent” and the Flight committee which is led by Ms Van Dyke.

The regular meeting of the Arbor Heights PTSA wrapped up at 8:30 p.m.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

PTSA Meeting April 27

Agenda for meeting:
Opening Remarks – Joe (5 min)
Principal Report / Popcorn Party Attendance - Dr. Coram (5 min)
Finance – Curt (5 min)
Fundraising and Upcoming Events – Cori (5 min)
Project Idea List (vote on projects at May meeting); Reminder of PTSA Elections in May – Joe (5 min)
Play Court Bird Abatement – Joe (5 min)
Street Improvement Project – Cori (5 min) - Can we get the parent who is actually instrumental in making this happen to talk?
Barnes and Noble Fund raiser – Mary Kenny (5 min)
New Business - Joe (5 min)
Schools First – ??? (5 min)
Learning for Life - Michael Morrison (20 - 30 min)

Meeting Minutes February 16, 2006

Arbor Heights PTSA
General Meeting Minutes
February 16, 2006

Opening/Minutes Approval:
President Joe Sharp called to order the general meeting of the Arbor Heights PTSA at 7:05 p.m., February 16, 2006 in the school cafeteria. Anna George moved to pass the January minutes and Benita Buchanan seconded the motion. The minutes were approved.

Arbor Heights Principal Report-Dr. Coram:
Today was the 100th day of school. The next coffee house reading at Tully’s will be on Feb 28th from 6:30-7:30. There will be two more in April and May.

The last day of Kindergarten tours did very well and parents were impressed with the writing curriculum. They were also very happy about the coffee house readings and Monday Morning meetings.

We will receive the budget allotment predicting next year’s enrollment on Friday. Many schools may have lower enrollment district wide due to the fact that more families are moving out of the district.

Macy’s downtown will host a luncheon to recognize students for their hard work and effort in school.

Flight schools: The Seattle District is working to bring together High schools, middle schools and elementary schools (Sealth, Denny, Arbor Heights, etc…) to build a community of teachers and parents. Staff members will do home visits to parents to help bridge the gap between family and schools. Some concern was expressed over the district mandating home visits. Arbor Heights is working to conform this to fit our own community. A union representative will come out soon to speak and answer questions.

Classroom attendance was taken and Ms. Long's classroom with get the popcorn party.

PTSA Treasurer Report: Joe Sharp (speaking for Curt Knox): Doing Fine!

PTSA Fundraising: Friday March 3rd is Arbor Heights Bingo at 6:30.

Art Auction is April 20th. April PTSA meeting will be April 27th. The question was brought up in regards to when the deadline is for donating art to the auction.

Plant sale is coming up in March through April.

Absence False Alarms: This has happened a few times and has been brought up in staff meetings. If a student comes late to the classroom, the student needs to go to the office to get a late pass. The teacher must be asked to make sure that the student is not there. If this happens again, make sure to talk to Dr. Coram.

Play Court and Street improvement: Dr. Coram has talked to Fred Stevens at the district regarding the play court. A company called Bird Busters will be putting bird screening up to keep the birds from nesting and landing.

Street improvement: This is not a line item on our budget. The board will propose a budget change to mandate $1500 for the use of placing barriers in the street. A vote to place this in the budget as a line item was taken and the vote passed unanimously.

New Business: Dr. Coram spoke about the problem of students going home with other students after school with out the permission or knowledge of the parents. A student went home with another person with out the permission of the other parent and this caused a panic. For a few hours, a mom did not know where her child was. Dr. Coram stressed how important good communication between parents and the school regarding this issue. An announcement will be placed in the bulletin.

No I/pods or game boys should be brought to school because of problems with kids being robbed.

Lost and found, could there be a better place for this? Can we use some of the clothes in lost and found for our emergency kit?

Emergency containers may need new water and food.

Grassy knoll will need mulch.

Closing: The general meeting of the Arbor Heights PTSA wrapped up at 8:30.
8:30 Meeting Adjourned-Joe Sharp.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Art Auction coming on April 20!

The Sacred Mask
Originally uploaded by mahlness.
A sample of some of the incredible student artwork for sale:

"The Sacred Mask" - One of five group sculptures, made by the third graders in Room 12.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Student Newsletter Podcast!

Hi Arbor Heights Parents,
The first podcast edition (March, 2006) of the Jr. Seahawk Newsletter is now online! The "oldest continuously published elementary school student newspaper on the Internet", this newsletter has been online at since 1994. Click on the icon below to listen. If you'd like to read along, visit the school web site to print/read it in pdf format. - Mr. Ahlness

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Plant Sale!

The Arbor Heights Elementary School 4th Annual Plant sale is under way! Here are links to supplemental order forms. These are pdf forms, so you need to have Acrobat Reader set up on your computer to view them. You can download Acrobat Reader for free here:

Here are the supplemental forms (each about 500k):

For the color brochure, stop by the school office. The sale runs March 17 - April 7, 2006.