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Child Advocate

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May 2009 Issue 9, Volume 17

96th Annual WSPTA Convention

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Convention photos

Convention Highlights Awards--Top

individual awards went to Connie and Dennis Gerlitz, who received the Outstanding Service Award for 20082009. Representative Ruth Kagi received the Friend of Children Award. Washington State PTA President received the highly coveted President’s Outstanding Service Award for the National PTA. Finally, receiving the Washington State PTA Outstanding Local Unit of the Year award was Arrowhead PTA.

Bylaw Amendments & Resolutions

Contents Outstanding Local Unit of the Year


Randy Dorn: Working Together to Accomplish More


Scott Allen: First Male Elected as WSPTA President


Jan Harp Domene: “Be PTA Proud”


Elaine Lundberg: Gets Delegates Laughing


Susan Johnson: Making Every Child’s Potential a Reality 7 8

PTA Men Essays

The Child Advocate is published online every month from September through June by the Washington State PTA, 2003 65th Avenue West, Tacoma, WA 98466-6215, (253) 565-2153. Contributors are welcome. Call the State PTA office for guidelines. Whenever PTA is used it also refers to PTSA. PTA is a registered trademark of the National Congress of Parents and Teachers. Laura Bay, Washington State PTA President Bill Williams, Washington State PTA Executive Director Karen Fisker-Andersen, Editor

Child Advocate


a Washington State PTA parent involvement publication

Washington State PTA

WSPTA Vision, Mission and Goals

were all approved as printed in convention registration materials. These changes include an increase in the WSPTA membership service fee beginning in the fall of 2009 to $5.25 per member, and increasing twentyfive (25) cents per member for 2010-11 and 2011-12. The change in the membership service fee that local units forward to WSPTA was recommended because the state association’s revenues have not kept pace with the cost of providing services—for example since 1997 those fees have increased 16% (from $4.00 to 4.75 per member) yet the cost of living over the same time period has increased by a much higher rate. Another significant bylaw amendment allows local units and councils to include in their standing rules provisions for electronic or mail voting for officers. Guidance for those units and councils that may be interested in pursuing these options will be available on our website in the next few weeks.


“Making every child’s potential a reality.”


PTA is: ■ A powerful voice for all children, ■ A relevant resource for families and communities, and ■ A strong advocate for the education and well-being of every child. The Washington State PTA accomplishes the mission of PTA by

■ Speaking on behalf of children and youth in the schools, in the community, and before governmental bodies and other organizations that make decisions affecting children; ■ Supporting parents* in developing skills to raise, protect and advocate for their children; and ■ Encouraging parent* and community involvement. * Parent may include adults who play an important role in a child’s family life since other adults (grandparents, aunts, uncles, or guardians) may carry the primary responsibility for a child’s health, welfare, education and safety.

2003 65th Avenue West

Phone: (253) 565-2153 or 1-800-562-3804

Tacoma, WA 98466-6215

Fax: (253) 565-7753

Website: Email:

Outstanding Local Unit of the Year 2008-2009 Arrowhead PTA, Kenmore

A rrowhead PTA, who recently celebrated their 50th anniversary as a PTA, is this year’s Outstanding Local Unit of the Year. They will represent PTAs from Washington State at the National PTA Convention in Fort Lauderdale in June. To help new students at their school, Arrowhead PTA developed a new event this year to welcome these families to their school. For the New Family Night program, they mailed hand-crafted invitations to the new families, with the event including a dinner donated by a local restaurant, and information and testimonials from current PTA members. This resulted in a 100% membership from this event, which was followed by an all-school ice cream social. They also hosted a special Kindergarten Playdate to help the kindergartners get to know each other on the playground on the day of the Kindergarten Orientation. Students were provided with popsicles and balloons at this event, and parents were provided with a personal welcome to the school and information about the school and its activities. Arrowhead PTA reached out to all of the students and families at their school. This consisted of providing therapeutic horseback riding for

special needs students, and a very successful bilingual communications effort. Publications including “A History of PTA’ and information on carbon monoxide poisoning from the Department of Health were published in Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese, Spanish and English and were provided to their ELL teachers to distribute.

National PTA Reflections Award Recipients

N ational PTA announced that eleven Reflections Award recipients from Washington State have been selected for national recognition. They are Award of Excellence winners Varenya Shrikant, Primary Dance Choreography, Stevenson PTA, Bellevue; Jeannette Yu, Middle/Junior Literature, Northwood Middle PTSA, Renton; William Zhang, Intermediate Musical Composition, Bellevue Children’s Academy PTA, Bellevue; Jason Wang, Senior Musical Composition, Newport High PTSA, Bellevue; Brian Burgess, Senior Photography, Skyline High PTSA, Sammamish; Maki Nakano, Intermediate Visual Arts, Melvin G. Syre PTA, Shoreline; and Gabriel Handson, Middle/Junior Visual Arts, Sequoia Campus/Homeschool Alt. PTSA, Everett. These award recipients receive a certificate, silver-plated Reflections medallion and a $200 cash prize. Awards of Merit recipients are Anna Ritchie, Middle/Junior Dance Choreography, Maywood Hills PTSA, Bothell; Lucas Holtgeerts, Middle/Junior Film Production, Anacortes Middle PTSA, Anacortes; Allison Knowles, Intermediate Literature, Fruitland PTA, Puyallup; and Gabrielle Brooks, Intermediate Photography, Emma L. Carson PTA, Puyallup. These students will receive a certificate and silver-plated Reflections medallion.

The Child Advocate, May 2009

They embarked on a number of campaigns to enhance student learning. The PTA sponsored after-school enrichment classes including foreign language, art, science, chess club, drama club and Missoula Children’s Theater. Evening classes were provided to parents as well, including the Parenting with Love and Logic workshop, and a class on Internet Safety. They also hosted a breakfast for students being tutored for the WASL, purchased a rock climbing wall for their gym to keep kids active on rainy days, and spent approximately $21,900 (60% of their budget) on classroom supplies and school programs. This PTA also sponsored a talent show, art auction, pancake breakfast, Dads-N-Donuts, author visits, field trips, Reflections, science fair, coffee socials, art walk, Grandparent Night, dance instruction and a school dance.


Working Together to Accomplish More Randy Dorn, Washington State Superintendent of Public Instruction Delivers Keynote Presentation .


andy Dorn, Washington State Superintendent of Public Instruction, spoke to PTA delegates in General Voting Session 1 on May 1st. In his remarks, he expressed his respect for the PTA and the importance of working together. “I like to build coalitions to empower others to stand up and have a voice. It’s what we are going to do together,” Dorn said. He outlined five things he plans to work on while he is the State Superintendent. They are: * Fully fund education. He said this is important so the levies can truly go for the extras for all kids. He explained that the basic education system today doesn’t include funding technology. It is funded through levies, not by the state. Clearly for students in the 21st century, technology education should be considered a basic, not an extra. * Improve our assessment system. Dorn said he would like to see a shorter assessment system that is hooked up to technology so students, parents and teachers can better monitor progress. * Dramatically decrease achievement gap and dropout rate. Right now there is a 29% dropout rate. For African American males the dropout


rate is 52%, for Native Americans the dropout rate is close to 50%, and for Latinos the dropout rate is 56%. Clearly, this needs to be addressed. * Expand career and technical education opportunities. He would like to see an education system that captures different kinds of learning and used the example of cell phones to illustrate his point. He pointed out that older people might learn to use their cell phones by reading an instruction manual, but teens today learn to use them by asking their friends, and by experimenting with them. “Teens are natives to technology and adults immigrants to technology,” he explained. Our education system needs to capture this kind of learning. *

Expand early learning.

He remarked how similar his list is to the PTA list of priority issues. “We have studied education funding enough,” Dorn said. “We know the prototypical school that needs to be funded in the 21st century--all day kindergarten, Core 24, redefinition of basic education that was established in the 1970’s, how many instruction hours we need, highly capable programs, early learning programs, and a new transportation formula.” Dorn also expressed the need for government to reset itself. “Education needs to be on the front burner. We need to make a commitment that education is first. If we are going to solve our economic problems, we need to educate our children so all children have an equal chance.” Finally he concluded that poverty cannot be ignored. If a student falls behind, it’s going to take more time and resources to help that child catch up than if our system worked harder to address the factors that affect children who are living in poverty to keep them from falling behind in the first place.

a Washington State PTA parent involvement magazine

Officer Election Results...

Scott Allen

First Male Elected as Washington State PTA President

F or the first time in its 104 year history, the Washington State PTA has elected a man to its highest office. Scott Allen of Bellevue, was elected for a two-year term as Washington State PTA President at the association’s annual convention at the Seattle Airport Doubletree Hotel. Allen served the Washington State PTA as vice president in 2007-2009, legislative director in 2005-2007, and has participated on a number of State PTA task forces and committees. “I will work to strengthen our networks and improve our communication, providing greater opportunities for us to engage our members, which is vital to our organization’s success,” Allen said. “Only by working together as partners, using the strength of our association, will we make a positive difference in the lives of children.” He will take office on June 1st. At the local level, Allen served his school community as president of Newport High PTSA in 2006-2007, treasurer of Bellevue PTA Council in 2004-2005, and co-president of Fall City Elementary PTA in 20022003. He also served as a presenter for the PTA and the Law workshop, as well as other leadership workshops at the Washington State PTA Convention, Leadership Conference, and Legislative Assembly. In addition to his service to the Washington State PTA, Allen is a certified USA Swimming official, is involved with Junior Achievement Program in local elementary schools, and is employed at Univar USA Inc, as a senior systems analyst. In addition to Allen, other Washington State PTA officers elected this include: Dori Tate of Puyallup, Vice President; Novella Fraser of Federal Way, Secretary; Jeanette Muck of Vancouve, Legislative Director; and Karen Albers of Richland, Membership Director.

NPTA President Urges Delegates to “Be PTA Proud!” Jconvention an Harp Domene, National PTA President, addressed delegates in General Voting Session 2 on May 1st. Her remarks focused on all the incredible things PTA has done for children and families over the years in this state and nation. “Everything we accomplish for children affects the future of this nation,” Domene said. Over the past 33 years, her involvement in PTA has affected her life and the lives of the many children she has served. “We do remarkable things in this organization,” Domene said. “Don’t anyone say to you, ‘Are you still involved in PTA?’ Or PTA, don’t you just do fundraisers?‘“

The Child Advocate, May 2009

She encouraged delegates to stand up and tell people exactly what PTA has done for children in the past 112 years of it’s existence in this nation. She urged all PTA members to be the spokespeople for PTA, and be “PTA proud.” “We are too PTA polite,” Domene remarked. “We do all these remarkable things in PTA, but we are too shy to boast. Everyone takes us for granted because we’ve been around for 112 years.” She explained that members need to know why they believe in the mission of this organization, they need to be proud of the work they do in PTA because PTA makes a substantial difference in the lives of children across this nation.


Humor Therapist Gets Delegates Laughing

Elaine Lundberg

E laine Lundberg, humor therapist, was the keynote speaker at General Voting Session 4 on May 2nd. She entertained and drew laughter from the delegates as she delivered an important message about stress management and the importance of laughter as a means for achieving personal wellness. Lundberg defined that state in which people are so stressed out that nothing seems funny as “humorroids.” She then proceeded to describe some exercises to help delegates heal their humorroids by producing “hearty belly laughter.” Although she explained that laughter doesn’t cure depression or heal your body, it does help in stressful situations by the release of endorphins in your brain, making you feel better. Not only is laughter important for relieving stress, it also is a good


aerobic exercise. “Twenty hearty ‘ha has’ in a row that make your stomach move and with a smile on your face—whether or not they are real laughs or not--gives you the same cardio vascular workout as three minutes on a rowing machine,” she said. “One-hundred ‘ha has’ is the same as ten minutes on a rowing machine or fifteen minutes on a stationary bike.” She encouraged delegates to laugh aloud hard from 400-500 times a day, which is the same average of a four-year-old. In contrast, grownups normally only laugh aloud from 10-12 times a day. “Tighten up or lighten up,” she said. Finally, Lundberg encouraged delegates to find fun, playful things in their lives “Look for the laughter. Don’t watch the news before you go to bed. Take a news break, watch something funny on TV instead,” she concluded.

a Washington State PTA parent involvement magazine

Making Every Child’s Potential a Reality

Susan Johnson, Washington State Teacher of the Year Sandusan Johnson, a language arts teacher in Cle Elem, Washington State’s Teacher of the Year, delivered the keynote presentation at the 3rd General Voting Session on May 2nd. She spoke of the many complexities of creating an environment that educates, engages and nurtures students, while preparing them to be literate, analytical and compassionate members of society. Johnson related how her classroom approach comes from her knowledge in the content area, the latest information on teaching and learning, from our state standards, but in addition, she explained that she grounds her practice in helping students recognize the divine essence in each person. In fact, she pointed out that she strives for the same thing that PTA does--to make every child’s potential a reality. “We know in this era of high stakes testing, and No Child Left Behind federal mandates, we hear stories of districts that eliminate recess, that eliminate the arts, that eliminate electives in order to raise test scores. However, as we shift our primary focus on test scores, we fail our calling as educators and as an education system,” Johnson related. Students should always be at the center of the education system. She

The Child Advocate, May 2009

explained that classroom settings should be designed to result in high standards, but most importantly, to address student needs. She discussed the need for students to share their lives through their own voices, their discussions, essays, memoirs, and letters. “Democracy is fragile,” Johnson said. “There are too many negative role models. Our students hear talk show hosts slay insults across the airways, they witness business executives squandering the hopes of the less fortunate, they hear the media sensationalize trivia that distracts us from important issues at a critical time. Yet in spite of these negative influences, the students rise to a higher standard. They know what they do and what they say matters.” To be successful citizens of our democracy, Johnson suggested that the students need to “see their co-worker as a colleague, not a competitor; to see their teacher as model, not mere authority, to see their enemy as human, not object.” She explained that students need to learn that their choices impact the lives of the people around them--their families, communities and in this nation and world. Johnson concluded her remarks by urging the PTA, as parents and advocates for children, to encourage our students that everyone matters. “Our democracy needs everyone to be literate, analytical, compassionate citizens so it can flourish with their contributions.”


PTA Men Essay Contest

Grand Prize Winners

Risha Goel Kindergarten, Canyon Creek Elem. Bothell, WA “My Dad” Today, I am going to write about the role model in my life which is my dad. I love my dad. His name is Ashwani.

Derek Martin 11th Grade, International Com. School Kirkland, WA

He works in AT&T. His first job in the morning is to drop me off to the bus stop. Then he goes to his office and works all day. I think he needs a vacation. I always tell him to take us to Disney land, CA but he wants me to be 7 years old and my sister to be 4 years old.

“Influential Grandpa” When asked about an influential male role model in a person’s life, for many people the thought of their father jumps into their minds. While it may be unfortunate that this is not the case for myself, I feel lucky to have a grandpa who, by many subtle qualities, is able to fill the void set aside for a strong role model in my life. There are many traits which can make a good model great. One of the most prominent would be the ability of the role model to make others whom they influence feel good about themselves by making them feel important and that they care about the individual and are not just complying to what is expected of them. There are several others, such as the actions of the role model which rub off on the individual influenced by them. The ability to make someone feel important and of value is a trait of a strong role model. Someone who has this effect will be genuinely interested in the thoughts, feelings, hobbies, and activities of the other. Being able to be interested in the other person’s activities really shows the individual their importance and value in the eye of the role model. In the case of my grandpa and myself, I can tell that there is a genuine desire for aiding me in becoming the best person I can, as he will help me with my hobbies and interests when he is able, or even just ask about them, even though the activities I enjoy are not necessarily something he would choose for himself. I know that he sees the value of helping others in something they enjoy. A great example of this is that I really enjoy designing, building and flying remote controlled model airplanes, and he will always help me out when I have questions, oftentimes prompting me to figure out the answers myself by asking leading questions. He has a background in aerospace engineering and is able to provide a wealth of information and advice. Even though model aeronautics is not one of his specific interests, he always asks how the hobby is going, encourages me to continue with it, and is glad to hear about my successes. One of the fun things that we like to do together is to go out boating in the San Juan Islands. Both while we are preparing to leave and are out on the water he teaches me about anything and everything related to what is going on, whether it be mapping out a course on marine charts and using the latitude and longitude to calculate distances and times, or checking tidal currents to ensure the most efficient route. Whenever we are working on something together, I have fun and learn a lot. There are many other, much more subtle aspects of a great role model which are gradually projected on the one being influenced. From how someone interacts with the waitress at a restaurant to other members of their family, the behaviors see and observed, perhaps subconsciously, but to some extent nevertheless. He shows a lot of compassion and empathy towards others. For instance, he talks with respect and compassion with my dad, who due to alcoholism and depression has not been able to be a positive father figure to me. My grandpa has tried to help my dad, and is there to offer support and guidance in a compassionate manner, even though he disagrees with his behavior. It would be easier to give up on someone and shut them out of your life, but he has shown me that it is better to continue to be a positive presence in the hope that you can somehow make a difference. I feel very fortunate to have my grandpa in my life. He has positively influenced my life more than he probably realizes.

Robbie Sandbeck 4th Grade Little Cedars Elem. Snohomish, WA “Dad you are a blessing from above” My name is Robbie Marcelino Sandbeck; I am almost 10 years old. I am a 4th grader at Little Cedars Elementary School. I would like to share some of the wonderful moments my dad and I have shared. My dad has been there for me since birth. He was the first person to hold me within minutes after my arrival into this world. He named me after my grandparents. One was born in Iowa and the other was born in the Caribbean. I didn’t think I was going to have a good life with this guy, when my mother told me it took him one hour to change my first diaper. He must have loved me very much because he learned quickly. Dad said I walked at nine months old and that’s when dad and I started exploring the world from above and below. My father had a lot of patience. He would always read to me and I loved to fall sleep with the sound of his voice. It helped me feel safe during some scary nights. Mom always says, I was blessed with a good father, she is right. My dad taught me how to ride my bike and once I learned I was not slowing down, I was fast, so fast that I ran my bike into dad’s new truck. He was upset but he sat me down and we talked about it. I had to slow down. Dad is good, understanding and loving but I also know when he means serious business. I play baseball, Taekwondo and I am in Boy Scouts. He is involved in all my activities. I don’t know how he does it but dad is always there. He works a lot of hours as a supervisor. He was excited when I got my black belt in Taekwondo last year. When I play baseball he cheers for me “Go Robbie” he is so proud of me but he doesn’t know, I am so proud of him for cheering for me. We built our first Pinewood Derby together and we did a good job. I was so happy because we didn’t have to change anything. When my dad comes home from work and before I go to bed, I say “bless you dad” and he says May God bless you Robbie. It’s a cultural thing that children do in the Caribbean where my mom is from, it shows respect to parents. I enjoyed talking to my dad, we talk about anything and he always says to me if something is on your mind let me know so we can work it out. I trust my dad; he is my hero and an excellent role model. He’s my “buddy.” I appreciate so much everything you are doing for me and my sister. I have watched you teach my sister how to ride her bike and it reminded me when you taught me. He has always been there for us. He says he enjoys being with me because I am his favorite “buddy.” My sister is his princess but I’m glad he’s my buddy, we have more fun. We had our first talk about drugs when I turned 8 and dad told me he had never touched drugs and that he didn’t want me to ever get involved with anything like that because it’s harmful for our bodies. I promised my dad I would never try drugs and that I would let him know immediately if anyone tried to get me involved in it. When I grow up I want to be like my dad, good, honest & dedicated. I am so proud of him. May God always bless my dad because he is a true blessing. My dad is my hero and I am proud to be his son. I love my dad; he is my “buddy.”

Outdoor activities that I love to do with my dad are swimming, running, ice skating, hanging upside down from the monkey bars, climbing up the wall and roller skating. Funny thing about my dad is he knows only 2 steps about ice skating that I taught him. My mom takes me to piano class every Friday but at home I practice with my dad. He doesn’t know piano but he still trys to practice with me. He loves to watch me play. He bought a 88 key piano last year for x-mas he also bought a race track. I adore him. He teaches me new words and their meanings with a game that I call Brain Power Game. He taught me 26 US states WA, OR, CA, ID, NV, AZ, MT, WY, CO, NM, ND, SD, NE, KS, OK, TX, MN, IA, MO, AR, LA, MI, WI, IL. My dad is a good teacher. He taught me how to play these things: Monopoly, Sudoku, Uno, Rocket Monds. Whenever I need to cut a page from the book he helps me. I love my dad so so much. Oops. I forgot to write that I did potty in my dad’s lap when I was a 1 month old baby and then he had to clean me and wash all the tub. I wrote this poem for my dad. “My dad is in east of the west, He rides in the west of the best He lives in the nest of the best My dad is the best.” I love him and I cannot live without him.

Kaitlin Costello 7th Grade Gateway Middle School Everett, WA “PTA Men: Partners in Making a Difference” Who can be a better role model than my dad? My father has been a tremendous influence on me. Throughout my life, my Dad has been a major part of my education, my dreams, and my future. From my very first day at school, my dad would insist that I follow the instructions given by my teachers and that I should always do my best, no matter what. In addition, my dad glued our motto to my brain that “you go to school for one reason and that reason is to learn.” Every day my father encourages me to strive for the stars and surpass higher standards. He portrays climbing the tallest tree and jumping for the moon to reach that substantial goal I can continuously aim for until that particular goal is completed. Likewise, my father has me set the bar for excellence, and as I reach that bar, he encourages me to set it higher. We call this the ladder of challenge. My dad is building a strong foundation for me. I am fortunate to have my dad who continuously provides me with a warm household to live in, delicious food to eat, clothes for the next day, and more than enough love and comfort. My dad makes my life easier through his dedication and example. By leaving for work each day before six o’clock in the morning, he arranges to join us for supper and share the events of our day. He is very interested in my activities, school projects, and accomplishments. Then he heads upstairs to work tirelessly for many more hours long after I have gone to sleep. In addition to his work, my dad still squeezes in time to spend with me and to listen to my concerns and hopes. Also, my dad teaches me about computer software, researching information, and the proper way to use the internet. For example, this past Christmas I wanted a kitten of my own. For weeks, my Dad helped me research a range of cats I preferred, took me to visit local shelters and homes and have interviews with the kittens’ caretakers, and had me arrange and attend a veterinary appointment to learn the cost and proper care of a kitten. Finally, when I had narrowed my choices to two special kittens, he drove me to those locations. I knew quickly which kitten would be the best one for me, and now Mick, my Bengal kitten, brings joy and delight to us daily. From the time I was two-and-a-half years old, my dad encouraged me to raise the bar and reach for my dreams whether it be dancing or basketball. He drove me to countless dance classes, attended meetings, and volunteered in the hectic, thrilling preparations of recitals for almost ten years. When I was totally exhausted, he taught me balance and how to enjoy my dreams more and not be driven by them. When I expressed interest in basketball, he didn’t force me to join a team. Instead, he bought me a basketball goal. My dad and I shoot hoops and play one-on-one for as long as we can, or until our arms become tired. Dancing remains as an enjoyable segment of my day, and the rhythm of the music inspires me. I am so grateful that my dad is supportive in whatever my dreams happen to be! All my life, my father has been an outstanding role model. I am forever thankful for his pushing me further into loving to learn, to realize the importance of having dreams, and to be true to myself! Of the many important male role models in my life, my dad shines above the rest as he lifts me up to touch the stars!

The Child Advocate - May  

Outstanding Local Unit of the Year Randy Dorn: Working Together to Accomplish More Scott Allen: First Male Elected as WSPTA President Jan Ha...

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