Meeting Minutes - October 2, 2018

DRAFT Friends of Hawthorne (FOH) Meeting Minutes*

October 2, 2018
6:00-7:30 PM, Hawthorne Cafeteria
Notes: Cherish Jackson
*Draft minutes will be presented for official approval at FOH’s next meeting.

Attendees: Behnosh Najafi, Co-President | Marita Grunfeld, Co-President |Angela Bell-Austin, Vice President | Cherish Jackson, Secretary | Maureen Merrill, Co-Treasurer | Jessica Emerson, Co-Treasurer


Behnosh and Marita started the meeting and welcomed all attendees.  Marita discussed goals such as family engagement and better ways to inform families of what’s happening at the school. An FOH packet went home with the kids that has information about volunteer opportunities and how to sign up.


Setting the Vision of the Year and Overview of the Meeting Calendar:

Marita discussed upcoming events such as the groundbreaking of the playground project, Nov 1st Dia de los Muertos and Math Night. These events are to take place before the next FOH meeting and will also be updated on the website.  The Join Friends of Hawthorne membership form can also be completed with the purpose of sending out communications. Communications will be sent out in ways like the FOH listserv, our e-newsletter, our classroom contact with our room rep program.  For those interested in being a member of the WA state PTA there’s a part at the bottom of the form when you can pay $10 to be a part of the larger WA state PTA as well.


Vote on Standing Rules:

Molly Laster explained requirements that FOH has to fulfill as part of the WA state PTA.  There are rules that are in their bylaws and also posted on their website.  On top of that, we have our own standing rules that cover the identification of our organization, management of funds, the way we elect officers, and dues collection.  FOH used to be part of the Alliance for Education but is now a stand-alone nonprofit.  We no longer elect members at large and have adopted new systems for document management. 


Molly moved to vote on the standing rules.

Brit Porter seconded.

Motion passed unanimously.


Hawthorne Family Support Worker:

Ms. Aquinetta Williams introduced herself to the audience and discussed in detail her role at the school.  Ms. Williams carries a case load of 35 students in Hawthorne that are in a homeless status or in need.  She monitors these students on a daily basis, keep track of their attendance, homework, and their stability in their home life and also stays in constant communication with their parents.  In addition to that, she arranges Friday food bags for students in need and extra food on the weekends.  We still have many homeless families here at Hawthorne who need extra clothing and help to find shelter.  With the help of FOH funds, she is able to help pay for electricity, water, help put first deposits down. Ms. Williams is able to guide those who are looking for resources.  Last year, she hosted a workshop for parents called “The Genius of Black Children.”  A survey was taken and feedback was given that families wanted more sessions.  Not necessarily about African American children but just more sessions.  There is another work shop called “Strengthening Families Program for Parents” which she is gauging interest on. She is looking for 7-12 families that are able to participate in 4 sessions being held twice a month.  The clinical director form SE Youth and Family Services has agreed to come and work with us. Please contact Ms. Williams if you are interested.


Question from the audience: “Could you say a little bit about what it covers?”


AW:  It’s an education program that brings parents and their children together in a learning environment, strengthening the entire family.  A Hawthorne parent, Anthony Austin who works in SEYFS and one of his employees puts on this session.  We can try to get it into the FOH website so that you can more information about it.


Question from audience: “For parents that want to support homeless families more actively, are there other ways, without exposing who people are.. What are the channels that we can go through the school that you would recommend?”


AW:  Due to weather changes we have students that need winter coats and hats.  I could use maybe 1 or 2 hours during the week to help size kids for coats.  I have families who will be shopping at JC Penney $100 so a coat donated will be very helpful so that their funds aren’t taken up.  Every Friday, I could use a person for an hour to help with Friday food.  AW will send out other options for contributing.  Please feel free to contact me. 


Overview of the Budget:

Jessica Emerson reported that last year, we raised 205K to be used this year. Much of the funds were raised from the auction and several other fundraisers. In August the board recommended to fully fund our tier 1 and tier 2 requests.  These include classroom supplies, school activities, STEAM focus, after school activities, and administrative expenses.  There are tier 3 projects that were requested That will be put on hold to accommodate any pressing needs throughout the year. Around December or January, we’ll be revisiting some of those requests.  For classroom supplies, we spent $11,974 total and have currently collected $9,575.  Much of the expenses we’ve paid this year so far have been around classroom supplies.


Project Lead Updates:

·       Playground Grant:

Peter Schumacher presented an update about the playground project.  Outdoor play space has been designed with the help of the community and our kids.  The conceptual master plan has a creative play space, 25 new trees for more green space, and making the school more welcoming by opening up and entrance on 39th Ave.  Construction team to be hired to start this coming summer.  There will be four work parties over the year.  Oct 20th will be the first day – Arbor day to plant 25 trees.  We’ll need help organizing STEAM activities for students to tie the whole project together.   In addition, there is a need for help with fundraising and outreach to non-profits just for additional funding.

·       Hawthorne Auction:

Josie Clark discussed the auction.  Josie and Angela and will be co-chairing the auction this year.  There is a budget of about 150K per year that was spent on the school.  Last year, about a third of that came from the auction.  The auction will be held on March 9th.   Help is needed for decorations, photography at the event, graphics for posters and program, advertising and ticket sales.  Also, there’s always a need for procurement assistance but there is already have a lead for this.  Ara reported on procurement and stated the need for finding liaisons for businesses.  They have a small team of three volunteers but we need 2-3 more volunteers to help with coordination.  Ara asked that everyone think of a business that you frequent in the community and maybe become the point of contact for that business.

·       Walk-A-Thon:

 Shannyn Lee.  The event will be on Oct 19th - Every kid gets a chance to participate in raising school spirit and money.  Every child goes out to ask for donations and sometimes puts in money from their own piggy banks.  Packets will be going home with the kids tomorrow with pledge envelopes and instructions.  There is a need for volunteers the day of the event to help kids walk safely down to the playfield. Help with things like general organization of the day as well as refreshments, coffee and lunch for volunteers.  If you have an in’s on any local businesses who wants to donate coffee or sandwiches please let Shannyn know.

·       Legislative Advocacy:

Katie Berman & Emily Gaggia are the project leads.  Katie mentioned that their role is to keep us informed on city and state level educational issues but also bring issues from our school/district back to the legislative advocates. No current needs at the moment but recruitment is pending.  Voter registration plug- please make sure that your voter registration is updated by Monday. 

·       Room Reps Program:

Hannah Justus stated that we have a room rep for every classroom!  If you are a parent that wants to connect with a room rep contact Hannah.

·       Garden:

Behnosh reported that the complete playground redesign does not include the garden. She’d like to have more volunteers to maintain or garden.

·       Disney In Schools:

Brit Porter reported on Disney Musicals in schools.  Last year the school launched this program There were 6 parent volunteers a few teachers last year for the Aladdin musical.  This is an opportunity for our 3rd-5th graders. There is a grade limitation due to the amount of reading required and also a certain level of confidence to be on stage. It was a lot of fun; the kids did an incredible rendition of Aladdin.  This year’s musical will be The Lion King.  Information will be coming home with the kids in a few weeks.  Our needs will be during the Spring, specifically help with costumes and set building.  Show time will be during the day time at a student assembly and evening shows for parents and family/community members. Assistance during the day of the show is needed such as corralling kids backstage and face painting. The show is expected to happen in March.

·       Teacher Appreciation:

Angela Bell-Austin has spearheaded this program for the past 3 years. Need someone to help give /donate their time and skills to provide support or organize acts that show how much we appreciate our Hawthorne teachers.

·       PTA Nominations:

Molly Laster reported that we will need to find our FOH officers next April.  Need someone to recruit people.

·       School Supplies:

Telle Zeiler presented on how the PTA provided all school supplies for classrooms this year so that parents no longer need to shop for it themselves.  There are 3 parts to this: we need 6 people, one per grade to communicate with teachers on what supplies they will be needing starting in April.  Secondly, in early June two volunteers are needed for sourcing and research on retailers.  Lastly, 4th week of August, 10 people are needed to come in and sort items to the classrooms.  An opportunity to be the new project lead to oversee this process is available.  Brit and Telle can be reached at

·       5th Grade Graduation:

Marita Grunfeld is asking for someone to take over the organizing of the graduation this school year.   We ordered donuts in blue and gold.  We need someone to order donuts!

·       Book Fair:

LaQuita Hester:  If you have day time availability, you can help kids pick out book and we also need a cashier to run the register.

·       End of Year Dance:

Maya Arias & Angela Bell-Austin have helped organize the dance for the past 2 years.  Angela is looking for a volunteer to take on her portion of the task, eventually.  The dance has popcorn, ice cream, and of course, music!  Music and fun!  The dance is in June.

·       Etc. Arts Core:

An organization here in Seattle that does a lot of work in the community around art.  We did art backpacks.  Kids take the back packs home so that they can do arts projects.   They did after school workshops and artists from the community came and helped do the workshop.  They show the kids how to make kites, small dolls.  They were after school and provide snacks. Need help with backpacks, get supplies for them and need more parent volunteers.  It’s once a month in the spring and doesn’t take a lot of time to volunteer for. 

·       Fundraising:

Molly Laster discussed PCC cards that people can purchase.  Each time you shop at PCC, you can recharge the card and 5% of the money goes to FOH.  Co-Treasurer Jessica Emerson has the cards to give out after the meeting.  Molly asked the audience that she needs a volunteer to take over the program.

·       Back to School BBQ:

Moose reported on the BBQ which is held on the 1st Friday of the start of school.  He needs someone to take it over.  There is a checklist of tasks and shopping and day of arrangements with kitchen staff.

·       E-Newsletter: 

Jenny Lloyd and co-curator Kat reported on needing subscribers and material for the newsletter and urges everyone to subscribe by going to the FOH website or FOH Facebook group.  Project leads are encouraged to reach out to Jenny and Kat so that they can post any volunteer needs that they may have or any events that need to be publicized.  The newsletter will come from  Contact to reach Jenny and Kat.

·       FOH Website: 

Wayne Rennick, updates the website so please contact him for any content that you’d like posted or if you notice any outdated material. Wayne wants to welcome anyone who wants to anyone wants to assist.

Closing comments:

Marita mentioned that the new superintendent will be visiting on Thursday as part of her talking tour.  She’d also like to highlight that Hawthorne is the only school in the state to win the Parent Engagement award 4 years in a row from John Hopkins University.  Marita thanked everyone for their support. Launch requires that children need to be 3 years or older and potty-trained.  The turn-out was more that was expected tonight but unfortunately not enough pizza was ordered.  This was a learning opportunity and adjustments will be made in the future to best accommodate our attendees.   FOH focuses on a “Legacy Building Mindset” which best describes the effort that has taken place in growing our community, by trying to make things better than you left it so that we can best support our children.


Meeting adjourned.