Your voice matters!
How to advocate for Students and Families within the Public School System!
You see something that you think needs changing, you want to do something, but how? Who has the power to make decisions? How can you advocate on important issues? The Public School System is complex. This list is meant to provide an overview of some of the groups you can work with when you want to make a difference.
The Parent Teacher Associations – National PTA, WSPTA, SCPTSA, & Alki PTA
If you are interested in national, regional or local advocacy for kids, PTA is a great place to get involved.
- The National Parent Teacher Association (PTA) is the national PTA and one of the oldest child advocacy organizations in the country. It sets priorities for advocacy across the country. For example, with Congress’ passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), PTA now focuses on advocacy for the effective implementation of the law. http://pta.org
- Washington State Parent Teacher Association (WSPTA) carries the national goals and sets specific initiatives for the state. For example, one of WSPTA’s goals is to advocate for measures that help close the opportunity gap in Washington State. http://wastatepta.org
- Seattle Council Parent Teacher Student Association (SCPTSA) focuses on Seattle. Three years ago SCPTSA launched a program to provide food backpacks for Seattle students facing weekend food scarcity. http://scptsa.org/
- Alki Parent Teacher Association (Alki PTA) works at the school level to create programs to connect our community. We also raise money for school programs, provide resources for teachers, and fund support staff for playground supervision and our part-time counselor position. http://alkipta.com
Seattle Public Schools (SPS) http://seattleschools.org/
In short, SPS governs and operates the public school system in Seattle. They manage all schools district-wide down to what resources will be allocated per school. SPS implements education standards, laws, and policies determined by the School Board, OSPI, State Legislature, U.S. Department of Education, and popular vote.
SPS welcomed Superintendent Denise Juneau this year, you can find her blog here: http://www.seattleschools.org/district/calendars/news/what_s_new/superintendent_blog/
SPS has an Executive Director of Schools for each region in the city. For West Seattle Schools our contact is Helen Joung: http://www.seattleschools.org/cms/One.aspx?portalId=627&pageId=18306
Seattle School Board http://seattleschools.org/cms/One.aspx?portalId=627&pageId=15426
The School Board partners with the Seattle Public Schools Superintendent in the governance of Seattle Public Schools. The Board establishes policies for governing the school district.
Alki Elementary is in School Board District 6, represented by Board Director Leslie Harris (leslie.harris
@seattleschools.org.) She holds community meetings at local libraries to hear directly issues the community is concerned about. http://www.seattleschools.org/cms/one.aspx?portalId=627&pageId=5868638
Monthly School Board meetings are open to the public, you can attend in person, watch on T.V. or online. School Board YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC07MVxpRKdDJmqwWDGYqotA.
Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI)
Superintendent Chris Reykdal – Elected position. http://www.k12.wa.us/
The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) is the primary agency charged with K-12 education for all of Washington State. The Superintendent also works with Washington State Legislature and is ultimately responsible for determining and implementing the priorities in our state’s educational system.
State legislative representatives
Article IX, Section I of the Washington State Constitution reads: “It is the paramount duty of the state to make ample provision for the education of all children residing within its borders, without distinction or preference on account of race, color, caste, or sex.”
In other words, it is the duty of the state to provide access to education. What that exactly means, what should be included, and how to pay for it is all the job of the legislature to define. Individuals can make change in our educational system by letting their voices be heard.
Alki Elementary is the 34th Legislative District. Current 34th district representatives are:
- Senator Sharon Nelson (D)
Senator Nelson is retiring this year and a new representative will be elected in November 2018. You can find candidate information here:
- Representative Eileen Cody (D)
- Representative Joe Fitzgibbon (D)
To find your representative’s contact info: http://app.leg.wa.gov/DistrictFinder/
There are also bi-partisan committees that focus on education issues. You can search for them here: http://leg.wa.gov/legislature/Pages/CommitteeListing.aspx