VEPTSA Narrative

Viewlands Elementary Parent Teacher Student Association (VEPTSA) supports Viewlands Elementary School through fundraising, volunteerism, programs, and events. We share Viewlands Elementary School’s vision to ensure that every child is known, safe, inspired, challenged, and empowered. Our mission is to help Viewlands Elementary foster a safe, caring learning environment that embraces all cultures, address students’ social, emotional, physical, and intellectual needs, and provide educational opportunities that will help students develop their academic and creative potential.

Viewlands Elementary School re-opened, September 2011, after a four year closure.  The school offers PreK-5th grade education, with a current enrollment of 280 students, of 15 classrooms.  Enrollment is anticipated to grow to 400 students in the coming years.   Viewlands is a Title 1 school with free and reduce lunch for more than 65% of the students.  Our diverse student body represents a wide range of cultures, with approximately 17 different native languages spoken.  The school’s Bilingual Orientation Center (BOC), composed of 2 classrooms, receives and supports students who are newcomers to our country.  After students graduate from the BOC, they enter their neighborhood school (grade level) classroom.  Among the other 13 classrooms, we currently have 74 English Language Learner (ELL) students.

One of the things that make Viewlands special is the school’s unique location, adjacent to Carkeek Park, which provides a wonderful opportunity to emphasize and integrate environmental science and stewardship in our community and curriculum. VEPTSA wishes to build a strong connection with the Park and provide environmental and outdoors enrichment opportunities for students.

In addition, VEPTSA will work to celebrate and unite our culturally diverse community for the overall success of the students, form partnerships with other educational and civic organizations, and seek additional funding sources from outside our school community.  Whenever possible, VEPTSA will apply for grant money for specific projects for the welfare of all young learners at Viewlands Elementary.

Part IV:  Narrative Description (past, present, planned)

Assemblies:  VEPTSA believes that students can learn a great deal from some ‘less traditional’ lessons.  Many of those take the form of assemblies, where a guest speaker or group enters the school building to perform or explain their craft.  Assemblies offer a greater number of children the opportunity to participate, and can be less disruptive than a group traveling throughout the building to share with classes individually.  When we have the funds to do so, we will grant up to our budgeted limit, for assemblies, for designated times throughout the school year.  Ideally, a minimum of one assembly in the fall, winter, and spring.  For individual speakers or groups, we anticipate granting approximately $600 in a calender year.  Assemblies will be agreed upon based on their relevance to students at all grade levels.  Some topics might include health, safety, caring for the environment, arts, athletics, science & cultural appreciation.

Auction:  VEPTSA anticipates having an auction annually, to increase funds to our operating budget, primarily to assist in funding our “Enrichment Programs”.  Please see narrative description on Enrichment Programs.  The location for the auction is yet to be determined.  We will have items and services donated to sell at the auction.  Please see Part VIII, line 3a for  raffle details.  Please see Part VIII, line 4a for additional auction fundraising details.

Bingo:  Bingo will be a fundraiser for VEPTSA, at our Carnival, Winterfest or similar community event, up to twice a year, held at the school.  The workers are not compensated.  Bingo will be run by VEPTSA volunteers.  We will look to offer Bingo during our next fiscal year (7/1/13-6/30/14).  Please see Part VIII, line 3a for complete description.

Box Tops:  VEPTSA supports the on-going collection of Box Tops and Soup Labels for educational purposes, all throughout the year.  We recruit volunteers to collect and submit Box Top label collections.  We pay for the shipping of the collections & photo copies to advertise the program.  We anticipate this will cost $50 a year, and bring approximately $1,000 each  year. VEPTSA will handle the funds received and grant back to the school through “Requests”  to serve the greatest number of students, collaborating with the goals of the school.   For example, a kiln for the art program, additional P.E. and playground equipment and classroom wish-list items.  It will be a tangible way to see how the funds directly benefit students in their classrooms and school-wide purchases (described further under “School Need”) that will enrich their education.  Please see narrative description on “Requests” for further details.

Cake Walks:  Cake Walks will occur once or twice a year, during the Fall/Spring Carnival, Winterfest or similar community event to fund raise for VEPTSA.  Please see Part VIII, line 3a.

Classroom & School Need Grants: VEPTSA will grant back to each classroom a certain portion of our fundraising proceeds to enrich the classroom environment and support learning for all students every October.  The amount will fluctuate depending on the funds available of VEPTSA.  We will grant approximately $100 per year, per classroom, potentially up to $500 per classroom as funding increases.  Box Tops for Education is one of the funding sources for this.  Additional  funding will come from fundraising, as described under fundraising in this narrative. The cost this year, with 15 classrooms at $50 each, is $750. When a “School Need” is presented (which could include, but is not limited to the following:  classroom computer software programs, supplemental curriculum, field trips, science camp, equipment & materials used by the majority of students for educational purposes, additional staffing for the school; such as a counselor, playground supervisor, instructional assistants within classrooms, etc.) each will be decided upon by the Board of Directors per “request” basis.  We will not pay for employees rather we will grant necessary funds to the school, as needed and by request basis.

Community Safety On-going & Disaster Preparedness:  A minimum of twice a year, we will invite guest speakers and volunteers in the community on this subject to provide education and training to support our community to be prepared, in the event of a disaster and other related safety measures to improve safety for students at school.  For Community Safety On-going, we have been awarded $1K Safe Routes to School grant to improve safety measures for students coming and going from school (see attached from Seattle Department of Transportation).  We will address safety concerns as best we can and empower students with additional education and skills to be “safe”, possibly in an assembly presentation.  For Disaster Preparedness, this may include safety nights, home-bound distribution programs, first aid training, learning about safety disaster drills and reaching out to other local community organizations including churches, adult living centers, community centers.  We have considered having disaster kits available for purchase.  We estimate the cost of this program to be $10 per family per year.  We anticipate using both local and federal grants to fund the majority of this  program.  VEPTSA will assist through funds raised, according to need.

Community Garden: In the future, we would like to create a “All Nations” community garden on public grounds, potentially on the backside of the school play field, that families in our school and surrounding community can grow food from their home country, throughout the year.  Most of the activity around the garden will take place in the spring and summer, with our climate, when funding & approval has been granted.  The community garden supports both the ethnic diversity of our school and provides a location where people can grow food for their families.  Many families in our community do not have a place to grow food.  The gardening process is experimental learning, educational and teaches students responsibility tending to the garden.  A community garden also supports a shared activity for families to meet and support each other even though they are from diverse cultural backgrounds.  The estimated cost to create the garden is $10K to $25K and $1K-$2K to maintain and support this space each year.  We will seek local and federal grants to support this program.

Community Survey: To address the needs of our community, we have a survey available through our website (www.viewlands.org) and facebook page. The anonymous survey asks priorities of community events and student enrichment programs as well as how often these should occur. This survey has aided VEPTSA in focusing our goals to fill the needs and priorities of the community.  We will through out the year interview families that do not have access to computers or who are not literate. There is no cost for the survey.

Enrichment Programs:  Enrichment programs enhance the student’s educational experience by providing an educational experience or opportunity not already offered to students at the school or providing additional educational resources for students.  It will be run by the VEPTSA.  These opportunities will be posted as a one time event, structured educational series or on-going.  It occurs at the school or other convenient place for the majority of students to participate.  VEPTSA will grant money for independent contractors (allocated under professional fees, Part IX, Part A, Line 22) where and as needed to provide enrichment classes or on-going educational enrichment.  Our current enrichment programs are a Russian Language Class, Gardening and Green Team.  The current cost is minimal at this time, with volunteers offering their time with no compensation.  We expect student enrichment to be a major focus for us in the years ahead as our organization grows in terms of leaders, resources and funding.  We will seek grants, community partnerships, and hold an auction to fund enrichment services.  We have partnerships with Carkeek Park Advisory Council, Seattle Parks and Recreation, Seattle Audubon Society, Seattle Tilth, Creative Kids, and other community organizations.  We project the cost of our enrichment activities to be $25K in five years.

Family Nights:  VEPTSA believes that parental support of students is vital to their success in school.  We encourage family participation throughout the school year at various planned VEPTSA events.  We do not charge participants for anything (admission, activities, food, products, etc.) at our Family Nights.  Whenever possible we will encourage families to bring their own dishware to eat from; to be low impact on our environment and encourage recycling at all events.  In addition, VEPTSA, we will advertise Family Nights on the school’s reader board, by classroom morning announcements, email, website and facebook, to minimize the use of paper to advertise.  We will keep cost for advertising minimal at $100 mainly for signs & fliers to welcome participation each year.  VEPTSA will purchase food, paper products and eating utensils for a least 2 family nights each year, costing approximately $600.  Potentially, VEPTSA will consider doing more family nights with food as funding is available and if it meets a great need for families in our community.  In addition, for future Family Night events, we would like to purchase a popcorn machine and/or other similar items (estimate $200 each year  for this type of purchase) to better serve all participants.

  • Family Reading Night will be offered 4 times throughout the school year, every other month (potentially October, December, February & April).  It is an evening when families gather in the school gym to enjoy literature brought from home.  Children read to parents, parents read to children, students read to students and volunteer guest readers may read to the audience at large.  We feel that taking time to read with children is a very powerful message about our commitment to literacy.

  • Family Game Night will be offered three times throughout the school year (potentially November, January & May) an evening when families gather in the school gym to enjoy educational games.  Children and parents cooperate and play games with volunteers at each station or table.  Game nights will vary, gross motor family games outside in May, bring your own board games to play in the cafeteria in January and invite Blue Highway Games to host a free game night once a year, in November, to set up math-related or other academic games that are fun for students and use math skills to play.  Blue Highway Games has games available for sale at this event and will give 20% of the proceeds back to the school. (www.bluehighwaygames.com, see School Game Nights)

  • Family Potlucks are held several times throughout the year.  Families meet at the school playground or the gym depending on the weather.  These are relaxing events where parents and children are able to connect and enjoy a meal together.  Families are invited to bring a food dish to share at the Potluck, of their choosing, but not required.  At these potlucks, we may consider having a theme “Foods from around the world” or host a “Talent Show” of our students talent.

  • Family Barbecue Night is the first Friday each June.  Current Viewlands families & new families joining our school in the fall, will gather for an outdoor BBQ dinner.  The cost to VEPTSA is approximately $500 for food related costs.  Some low-key games are led by volunteers to warmly welcome & engage individuals to participate in fun activities.  We will consider adding larger games or activities (such as inflatable giant slide) as funding is available and agreed upon by the Board.  This is a celebration of families working together all year to make our school environment supportive to children and welcoming the students/families joining us in the fall.

Food and Basic Need Assistance Program: We will provide take home food, clothing, school supplies and other basic necessities for children in need, to come to school prepared to learn. Beginning in February, 2013, we will provide 10 students (HIP packs) a food supply for the weekend, through Hunger Intervention Program (HIP).  HIP is a local organization that is able to expand their services to our students because of funding available HIP received.  In the spring,  HIP will provide up to 20 students through the end of the year.  This program happens through VEPTSA student & parent volunteers, helping assemble HIP packs monthly and transporting the HIP packs to the school weekly for confidential distribution.  VEPTSA will seek grant funds to continue offering this program on-going (estimated to cost $6K for 40 students over one school year), to meet the hunger need of our students.

We will not provide monetary assistance to our families. We will offer these programs with community partners and to families that are self identified as needing help. This program is an as-needed, year round program, kept confidential working with the school nurse or designated faculty member.  This will be managed from the school or other local community location.  Funding will be through grant solicitation and individual designated donations.

We have considered hosting an in-kind donation (Charity Drive) event for school supplies, clothing,  rain boots &  rain coats for walks to Carkeek Park.  In November, 2012, VEPTSA organized  a school-wide Food Drive to meet a food need among our school body.  Every food item was donated by the community and volunteers offered their time to organize the event from start to finish.  We will continue to host a yearly Food Drive to meet the needs of students and their families at our school.   VEPTSA organized a Food Drive November 1-14, 2012 in partnership with local organizations and each classroom to bring in food items.  Please see Press Release attachment from Hunger Intervention Program.

Fundraising:  VEPTSA will raise funds to carry out the activities of our organization.  We do not wish to burden families with repeated fundraising requests.  We see applying for grants as a great way to bring additional resources toward the educational enrichment of Viewlands students.  Fundraisers will be decided by VEPTSA Board of Directors each year and will consider feedback presented by our members and the families we serve.  We anticipate choosing a minimum of two fundraisers each year, held at a particular time and place.  We will seek grant funding whenever possible.  We hope to generate $5K to $38K each year, over the next three years.  VEPTSA expects our fundraising dollars will increase over time, through grants and fundraising efforts.  We will avoid fundraisers where students or families are asked to sell a product.  Please see Part VIII, Line 4a for additional fundraising program descriptions.  Fundraising ideas, aside from grants, that have come to us for consideration include:

  • Read-a-thon:  where students ask for pledges per book read or a one time donation.

  • Move-a-thon:  where students ask for pledges per lap or a one time donation

  • Donation campaign: VEPTSA asks the school community & local organizations to make a donation.

  • Scrips programs (and e-scrips)- VEPTSA sells gift cards that earn for our organization when used.

  • Additional fundraisers may include auctions, popcorn or bake sales, and a fall or spring carnival, including raffles, cakewalks, or bingo.

  • Box Tops, School Yearbook sales and Spirit Wear sales

Grant Writing:  VEPTSA members, with experience and interest in grant writing, will meet quarterly throughout the school year to work together in applying for grant funding.  Grant writers volunteer their time without compensation in all aspects of applying for grants and implementing grant dollars awarded, to benefit students safety, health, welfare and education at Viewlands.  Please see “Safe Routes to School” grant proposal awarded January 2013 of $1K.  Also, see “Neighborhood Matching  Fund” grant proposal currently in the works, if awarded, the amount is for $25K.

Grounds & Site Improvements:  VEPTSA will organize ground clean-up days, for 4 hours on a Saturday, in August &/or September, in the fall, and again in March &/or April, in the spring, to help maintain welcoming school grounds.  Adult & student volunteers will offer their time and efforts to weed, prune and clean up the school grounds with no compensation.  Broadview Garden Club donated $200 this year, in which we used $70 to funds the purchase of hand shovels and 400 daffodil/tulip bulbs for students to learn measurements and experiential learning through planting during the school day.  We will involve students, parents and other community volunteers in the future, with similar opportunities to cross classroom learning with the outdoors and maintain a welcoming school grounds.  This includes potential site-development improvement possibilities, to support outdoor classroom learning opportunities for all students.  This program will be funded through grants and fundraising endeavors.  Please see details attached describing the “Neighborhood Matching Fund” grant proposal, we are applying for March 2013.

Leadership Education:  VEPTSA participates in training provided by the Washington State PTA, offered to our Board members, committee chair members and future leaders.  We will pay for the training based on donations from our general fund, within our budgeted amount.  We plan to send delegates (voting and visiting) to the annual Washington State PTA Convention each spring.  This PTSA would like to send voting delegates to our Washington State PTA Legislative Assembly and other available trainings, for discussion and greater understanding of issues pertaining to the mission of our PTSA.  Cost: $300

Parent Engagement: We will extend our enrichment to the whole family by providing English as a second language for LEP (Limited English Proficiency), student curriculum training (Math, Reading, Science, Low-Tide Field Trip Volunteer Education, etc.) to better help parents and care givers the necessary support to continue education with students when volunteering at school and parenting in the home. May 2012, VEPTSA provided a childhood development class, benefiting many in their parenting role.  This parent engagement class was funded entirely by the Alderian Society of $600.  The future yearly cost for parent engagement events, classes and trainings we estimate will be $800 to $5K, to be funded by individual donors, an annual auction or other fundraisers.

Recognition:  VEPTSA recognizes students, volunteers, faculty & classroom achievements of those in our community, for their inspiration and hard work.  These are individuals we see making a difference in our community and impacting the welfare of students.  We will recognize Viewlands Teachers (in May, during teacher appreciation week) and for other school staff & volunteers (in June, at the end of the year BBQ).  For classroom achievements, periodically throughout the year, with a pizza lunch for the classroom, provided by VEPTSA.  The total cost is projected to be approximately $500-$800 per year.

  • Teacher Appreciation- VEPTSA will provide lunch for teachers mid-week, and morning refreshments the first day of week.  Parent volunteers will set up food (purchased by VEPTSA, within $100) in the staff lounge for teachers to enjoy.  Cost to the VEPTSA will be less depending on the number of parents donating a food item.

  • Community Partners- who have donated time, dollars or resources will receive thank you notes and documentation for their contributions as they occur.  Accounted for in  administrative expense.

In the future:

  • 5th Grade Graduation- will assist with recognition/celebration, $50

  • Student Recognition- with small tokens of appreciation, estimated $50

  • Teacher Recognition- with small tokens of appreciation, estimated $50

  • Classroom Achievement-$150 for the year, for Pizza Parties or something similar

  • Volunteer Recognition- $50 for flowers to distribute, cupcakes, etc.

  • Neighbor Appreciation on May Day- Flower Distribution, $50, to give flowers to our neighbors around the school.  We will solicit donations from local businesses to support this program.  Once our community garden is established we will grow flowers for this annual tradition.

Reflections:  In the future, VEPTSA, will participate in the National PTA’s Reflections Art Program to encourage students to express their ideas creatively through art.  Each year a new theme is chosen (at a national level), and students are challenged to interpret that theme in a number of artistic forms.  Our local unit will communicate the program to students, collect submissions, judge and sponsor entries to the State level for further competition. The cost is minimal, $30, which includes the photocopies of the rules and entry forms yearly to have available.  We will consider hosting an Art Night, in the school gym or art room, where the theme is introduced and students can begin working on their ideas and entries, with volunteers available to answer questions.  Entries are collected by the VEPTSA and then picked-up by the Seattle Council for submission.  There is no cost for shipping entries.

Requests:  Viewlands Elementary faculty, students and/or parent/guardian of a Viewland student, may at any time request funds for a specific purpose & need of the school or request  for student sponsorship (see details on “Student Sponsorship” in narrative below).  This may be a school-related or VEPTSA activity or service, field trip, gym equipment, playground equipment, art materials or additional resource for the classroom or school.  VEPTSA Board of Directors will review the written request and determine if the VEPTSA will grant and support the request based on the need and the number of children it will serve.  The request must be educational in nature, relevant to our VEPTSA mission of embracing diversity, encouraging environmental stewardship, enriching each student’s education and nurturing a lifetime curiosity and love of learning.  Requests do not come along very often and there is no way to predict their nature of frequency.  We do require the request be in writing.  Please find “VEPTSA Application for Funds Request” included for reference.  Requests will not specifically benefit any one individual but a group of individuals to meet a need at the school.  Requested funds will range anywhere from $10-$5K and up.  Requests are funded by available Box Top Dollars earned and VEPTSA fundraising activities.

School Garden & Cooking Class: VEPTSA has built a school garden with the “Action for Healthy Kids” grant (total of $2K to be spent this year).  The School Garden will be used by students for experiential curriculum learning throughout the school year (fall, winter, spring) and will be maintained by VEPTSA in the coming years for students to understand where food comes from.  A cooking class will be offered, using foods from the garden.  The garden will be  maintained by VEPTSA students, parent & community volunteers.  We will grant approximately $200-$800 each year for the school garden maintenance and cooking class opportunities for students.

Specific Day Snack Needs:   VEPTSA will grant money for food purchases to create a welcoming environment for students, parents and teachers, regularly throughout the school year.  Whenever possible, we will solicit food donations from local businesses for fresh produce (Lenny’s Produce) and other food items (at local grocery stores; QFC, Safeway, Fred Meyer) we are needing for school-wide events, to offset the cost and build partnerships with our local community.   Anticipated cost ranges from $1,000-$1,500 per year.

  • Back to School refreshments are a way for VEPTSA to welcome back the students, parents and teachers the first day of school.  We set up a table with healthy morning snacks and water, and greet hundreds of students and parents, giving warm smiles, words of encouragement, with volunteers available to help new students and parents find their way and get over ‘first day jitters’.  Cost: $200

  • Testing snacks will be purchased three times per year (fall, winter and spring) to have available for students on test days to boost their mood on a stressful day.  Testing snack recommendations include granola bars, apple slices, orange wedges, carrots, high protein yogurt, string cheese, water & gum (because research shows the sucking motion and chewing motion help engage the brain).  Cost: $600-$800

  • At educational and community meetings, for parent & family enrichment, held in the library, portable, classroom or gym.  This also includes VEPTSA general meetings which are held three times per year.  VEPTSA will grant an estimated $100 per meeting, for food, supplies and/or childcare.

School Spirit Wear:  VEPTSA supports a sense of community among staff and students.  We plan to sell T-shirts or other spirit wear once a year, for all ages, in the fall.  The school community is encouraged to wear them on designated days throughout the year to build school spirit.  We will aim to keep the price of spirit wear items as close to cost as possible in planning this sale.  There is no obligation on the part of students or families to participate.  The cost for 300 shirts at $12 each is $3,600.

Student Sponsorship: We believe that every child should have equal access to enrichment programs, VEPTSA sponsored activities, or other school related activities (field trips, 5th grade camp, rental of musical equipment, etc.) If a child or their family can not afford to participate, VEPTSA will grant funds as available and on a requested basis.  Each year, our budget will have a line item for student sponsorship funds.  The amount may vary each year, as we discover the true need in this category and have supporting funds to provide this service.  Please see “VEPTSA Application for Funds Request” with an area on the application for an adult to complete, on behalf of a student’s need for sponsorship.

Yearbook:  VEPTSA is working with a yearbook vendor, Lifetouch, to design a school yearbook for sale to students and their families in the spring.  The books provide class and individual photos of students and staff.  Purchase of yearbooks is optional for all students.  The cost this year per yearbook is $9.15.  VEPTSA parent volunteers will assemble the yearbook, receive all presale order forms and handle the distribution.  We estimate selling 170 yearbooks at $12 each, estimating sales $2,040.  The cost is $1,555 to purchase 170 yearbooks.  VEPTSA revenue of $485.