Good morning, and welcome to the first day of school! My name is Jenna Andersen and I’ll be your PTA president for the next year. I have a son entering third grade and a daughter entering kindergarten. It’s a very exciting year for me because this is the first time both of my children have been on the exact same schedule. I will definitely be celebrating that milestone!
When the Alki PTA board met this summer to discuss our goals and ideas for the coming year we chose a simple theme to guide us. “Everyone belongs. Everyone matters.” I grew up in the middle of Washington State, but most recently lived in the Bay Area for five years. It was a very isolating experience, and we never managed to establish a community to participate in and rely on. Things got so bad at one point that I created a notice and stapled it to the tree in our front yard asking if anyone would like to be our friend. True story, and now that I’m no longer in that space I understand why that didn’t work out. Our goal is to provide you with the information and opportunities you need to make this year at Alki Elementary into whatever you want it to be for your kids and family so that no one goes around stapling notices on trees like I did.
I believe one of the best ways to start this work or community building is to work on our communication. Within the paperwork you will receive from the school next week there is a form called the FERPA form, which asks you for your communication info. Attached to that form you will find a half-sheet from the PTA which also asks you for your communication information. This might feel like duplicate work, but it’s not! The FERPA form is information for the school and district, but due to privacy laws the PTA does not have access to that information. As a parent new to the school last year, I had a hard time figuring out what was happening, where, and when. If we have a contact list with every single family on it we can not only tell you what we’re doing, we can help you connect with each other through things like the room parent program.
We know you don’t want to feel like your email inbox is being overwhelmed and so we always think carefully about how many and what type of emails we send, plus you always have the ability to opt out once you’ve seen what we’re sending out. The PTA communication form can be returned with your FERPA form in your child’s folder or at the front desk.
Our first event of the year is the Back to School BBQ, here at the school on September 13 from 5:00pm-6:30pm with our first PTA meeting directly afterward from 6:30pm-7:30pm. Childcare for kids 4 and up is provided if you RSVP using the Signup Genius link. This year we’re going to try something new and in addition to the group babysitting we’ll set up a baby and pre-k corner in our meetings so parents can participate even if they have a young child they need to bring. PTA is about supporting families and you shouldn’t ever feel like having a family keeps you from being a part of things.
It’s going to be a great year! Please feel free to reach out to say hello, offer feedback, or tell me more about your needs.