Haller Lake General Meeting 2017-03-02

[These notes are my paraphrase and condensation of what was said.  Please don’t hold anybody to what I may remember them as saying!]

President Rob Laing called the meeting to order at 7:22.

Rob mentioned game nights; next up is March 18.

Rick Barrett, our long-time land-use chairman is retiring from the board. It’s an important position, with all the changes we experience in the neighborhood. Are you interested in taking over the job? Contact us if you are! Rob recognized Rick for his research, gathering the troops, and various victories. Shawn: Getting the incinerator shut down at Northwest Hospital was huge. Randy: Rick helped with issues around the flooding at the Putz Golf Range. Rick: The flooding stopped the city from putting the new jail there; they hadn’t realized it was a wet land. Shawn: He stopped the bus barn, and much more. Rob presented him the club’s inspiration award for 2017. The plaque has “Haller Lake Improvement Club” on it. Rick: It’s many years since he brought forward the idea of changing the name from “Haller Lake Improvement Club” to “Haller Lake Community Club”.  Rob also presented Rick with a certificate of appreciation.

Rob has mentioned in previous meetings that the club was working on changing the bylaws. Well, now we have the proposed new ones! According to the bylaws, we have to go over the changes in a meeting one month before voting on them. Rob gave a summary of the bylaws changes. [You can see the old bylaws, the new bylaws with change-tracking from the old (in MS Word), and the bylaws as they are proposed to stand at http://www.hallerlakecommunityclub.org/about/club-governing-documents/].

If you’re new to the club, we ask you to consider joining us!

We need a nominating committee.  We have (as required by the bylaws), our Senior and Second Managing Trustees Naeem Dowidar and Jason Broad.  As volunteers, we have Randy Harkness and Marita Neimann.  We need one more!  Can you do that?

Rob introduced the two special guests: Katie Pearl and Dedy Fauntleroy, the current and incoming Principals of Northgate Elementary.

Rob is an alumnus of the school.  Rob was there when they opened and attended for six years.  Many club members are alumni or have or had children there.

Katie has been principal for the last three years.  She’s decided to pursue other professional options within Seattle Public Schools.  We in Haller Lake owe her a great deal of thanks for what she’s done.  [APPLAUSE].  Thanks for being so communicative; it helps us help.

The new principal is Dedy Fauntleroy, starting fall of 2017.  She has outstanding credentials.  She’s planning principal for Cedar Park Elementary.  She was principal at John Stanford International School in Wallingford.  You can see that school from the freeway.  Experience at the international school is a great background for Haller Lake’s school.  Her background of serving mixed communities will serve us well.

Katie (K): Thanked us for our support throughout the years.  She will be the assistant principal at Robert Eaglestaff Elementary.  Since she gave us a prepared presentation last year, she opened with questions from the floor.

Q: What is the percentage of homeless?
K: 27%

Q: Is there also a program for the behaviorally disturbed?
K: We have special needs, but as inclusion.
Dedy (D): It works very well.
K: Her background is in special ed., working with kids with disturbed behavior.  The two new teachers hired for that are having great success; the best she’s seen.

Q: What will we see as a transition?
D: If we do our jobs right, we won’t notice much in transition.  D’s background is in ELL (English Language Learning).  Looking forward to working with the Bilingual Orientation Center and meet the needs of English Language Learners.
K: There was a strong call to build a positive sense of community when she started.  Then a strong move into intervention with the kids.  Not just the kids below grade level, but growth for everybody, whether you’re below or above grade level.  What D. can add is supporting all staff in supporting the needs of ELLs.  Why are Northgate’s scores the way they are?  Because of the big ELL program, but they all make progress.

Q: Do you have fewer Hispanic kids than 3 years ago?  At one point, it was the majority.
K: It’s comparable.

Q: He just moved in down the street.  He has two girls, 3 and 1.5.  Elementary school is on the horizon.  He doesn’t know much except awkwardly phrased challenges.  He wants to know a bit more about the school to see whether it’s a good choice for his family.
K: One clarifying question: What specific issues?
Q: Scores, the homeless population, just gossip.
K: She concentrates on growth, but that’s not published on the OSPI report [from the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction].  Students learning English obviously won’t do well on standardized tests in English.  Last year it was about 13% homeless; now it’s about 27%.  She thinks that’s a beautiful thing.  The kids don’t choose their situation; they are beautiful individuals.  This will not be like Evergreen school ever.  We are a very diverse, welcoming school.
D: One reason she’s moving here is because Cedar Park is changing from a community school to an option school.  D. wants the diverse population.  For her kid in public school, she doesn’t care about test scores.  Does she have a good relationship with the teachers?  Does she belong?

Q: What is an option school?
D: If you don’t go to your neighborhood school, you can get into them.

Q: What is Cedar Park’s theme?
D: Expeditionary learning.

Q: Why do we have some schools which are STEM schools and others that don’t have a focus on science and music?  Mentions Hazel Wolfe.
D: Any school can be a STEM school; but all teach math and science.  Neighborhood schools can make that a special focus (like John Roberts).

Q: Will Northgate focus on music?
D: That’s not in the works, but it could be with parental work.
Q: Is that like a PTO involvement?
D: Yes, it takes a parent who knows grants and how to drive the process.

Q1: As a parent of a current kindergartner, her daughter meets the goals K. mentioned.  She feels the community and is growing.  She loves the diversity.  Mrs. Moulder [her teacher] is fantastic.  You can’t tell which kids are homeless or have a learning challenge.  They’re just a great group of people.  There are always challenges, but she wants to be involved in changes.  Do look at the option schools, but we’re not in a geo-zone for them, so it’s not likely you’ll get in.  Tour Northgate, come to a PTO meeting.  Too often, people shy away from the school based on numbers.  Elementary school is about so much more.  They have a concept of “filling your bucket”, i.e. emotionally growing and learning to be empathetic.  Too many people opt to go private and not give the school a chance.

Q: When our children went to Northgate, they had 600 or so students.  How many are there now?
K: 324, counting HeadStart.

Q: Are the class sizes going up at Northgate?
K: Not significantly.  She’s doing the numbers now.  Her faculty has a strong belief in smaller classes in the primary grades.  That means a possibility of larger classes and splits in the intermediate grades, but they’re using levy and intervention funds to fund pull-out groups.

Q: What’s the difference between option schools and neighborhood?
D: Option schools tend to be a lot less diverse.  Probably because there’s a barrier to getting in, so only the parents with time and expertise manage it.  D. loves diversity; loves ELL.

Q2: Is your [Q1’s] daughter picking up Spanish in class?
Q1: Yes, a bit, and talks about languages her mom never heard of.

Q2: When Q2’s kids were young, there was a similar issue about Sacagawea.  You have to get involved, and that worked great for her.

Q3: Like D. described, Q3 was a speech therapist in northern Virginia.  She “pupil placed” her daughter in the school Q3 taught at.  Her daughter loved it and grew up respectful of other cultures and other students.  She worked in the school and it was very special.  If parents get involved, that makes the biggest difference.

Q: Please expand on the community involvement.  Is there more you’d like to see from the community?
K: There’s been significant community involvement from the Haller Lake community as well as the PTO.  Three years ago, there wasn’t an active PTSA.  With a diverse community, the PTSA can represent some groups and deter others from signing their names and paying dues.  It can be intimidating.  Nearly nothing is translated [into the languages of the parents].  It was very offputting to a large portion of the community.  Now there is a PTO which is growing quickly.  It could still benefit from more diversity.  The dedication and the growth so far is reflective of that involvement and teachers partnering with parents and listening.  The staff reflects on how to represent the children when you don’t relate to them.  You are the representative of the child.  It’s esp. important in a community with a lot of students with high needs.  They also partner with other organizations like local churches.  The harvest festival is supported by community groups.  Communication can improve.  There will be prizes at the Dr. Seuss literacy movie night [tomorrow] where they promote the PTO.

D: One thing she learned from planning at Cedar Park was how to bring a community.  She partners with Seattle Housing Authority, Lake City Library, and various other organizations. They cross promote activities.  There’s a newsletter that goes around to the community providers.  The school can be a locus for the community.

Q: Does Northgate have the resources it needs from Seattle Public Schools (SPS)?
D: No school has the resources it needs from the state.
Q: What can we as an organization do to help you get the resources?
D: The state is where the work has to be.  SPS is doing the best they can with the money they have.  Seattle’s state reps. are doing what they should be, but other reps. are blocking that.

Q: What was the levy you mentioned?
A: Seattle education levy.  3-year.  It ends next year.  Money was applied directly to Northgate.  If you want to give back, there are small ways, e.g. donating copy paper.  The 2nd year, they lost a $100K grant (they stopped providing); having a group that was savy with grant writing would be a big help.  Either you have husge fundraising through the PTO (but their community doesn’t have money) or grant writing.

Q: Do you specifically encourage of learning from other cultures for the families.
K: They do family events.  April 6. is Intl. night.  Each student does a cultural representation of theymselves.  Country or family culture.  Kids love it every time.  They have changed and grown.  It’s a pot luck with food from everywhere.  There’s cultural dancing.  A fashion show.  The posters line the walls.  The kids take their parents on a culture tour, with passports to be checked in each room.

Q: An advantage of sending kids to SPS is making them not be snobs!

Respectfully submitted by Ethan Bradford, HLCC secretary.

Rick Barrett getting a certificate of appreciation and the inspiration award from Rob Laing

Katie Pearl and Dedy Fauntleroy talking to the HLCC