Meeting Minutes - December 11, 2018

DRAFT Friends of Hawthorne (FOH) Meeting Minutes*

December 11, 2018
6:00-7:30 PM, Hawthorne Cafeteria
Notes: Kat Henolson (filling in for Secretary 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; Maureen Merrill, Co-Treasurer; Jessica Emerson, Co-Treasurer; Kat Henolson; others

Welcome by Co-President Marita Grunfeld. Exciting to see large number of attendees (21 total).

Budget update:

Jessica Emerson reported that the Walkathon raised $17,000. This is comparable to last year. A request was made for two volunteers to do a financial review of the PTA books. Volunteers need to be non-board members for an internal audit. Rachel and Darla volunteered.

Maureen Merrill reported that it’s time for mid-year spending request (teachers and parents). They are trying to formalize the process. A form will go out to teachers by email. Parents can talk to treasurer ( They will review the request with the PTA and the school administration. Requests can be for clubs, activities, events, or emerging needs. They can be grade specific, but not classroom specific. 5000 set aside at the start of the year for mid-year request.

Tier 1 and Tier 2 of the budget have been fully funded; tier 3 is not. We have $23,114 left after fully funding Tier 1 and 2, which is not enough to fully fund Tier 3.  Maureen Merrill proposed allocating the remaining money for the following Tier 3 items: $3000 more for library books (annual need), $200 for teacher appreciation, $8000 for the playground,  $8000 for after school buses. There is a remainder of $3915. Tier 3 items not being funded: 562 tech supplies (headphones), 1000 academic support, 500 principals emergency fund, 1500 disney in school, 500 day of service. This is a “living budget,” which means we can make changes throughout the year. Rachael Caravalho moved to vote on Tier 3 budget allocation. Angela Schumacher seconded. Non-opposed. There was an additional request to make the budget public.

Open Discussion:

Jamie Hernandez-Cruz had a question about the loss of the computer lab. He is concerned about children going to middle school without necessary technical skills. Marita explained that Mr. Lee, the computer teacher, retired. Ms. Scott wanted to fill that position with technical/art teacher, but that wasn’t feasible at the time. The district (or school?)  fills music, art, PE, and library positions first.

A large discussion was had regarding ways to bring technology skills in the classroom or after-school programs. Marita and Behnosh will talk to Ms. Scott. This is a concern of the teachers, as well as parents.  Several suggestions were made: Workshops integrating art and technology. Create after school program. Possibly ask high school students to volunteer. Coding for Kids (Angela Bell-Austin can pass on the information to after school committee). Parent volunteers.

Questions raised were: Are the computers out of date? Can a program be added to the computers for use with free-choice? Is there a way to do take home computer (concern about equity)? What are the expectations in middle school? Should the programs be focused on skill practice or practical application?

Teacher Appreciation:

Angela Bell-Austin recapped Teacher Appreciation from last year. There was an espresso cart, breakfast, treats, and a restaurant donated lunch.

Jamie Hernandez-Cruz would like to join the committee along with other Latino families. They would like to do a special treat based on Dia del Maestro, which is celebrated in Mexico on May 15.


Questions from attendees: where are the books coming from? Are there donation organizations that can help? Can we ask for book donations from Hawthorne families?

Librarian Jeanne Campbell, does approval, and is open to parent suggestions. Belleamie (kindergarten parent) offered to help.

Ms. Campbell is also organizing a maker space in the library. It will involve engineering tech and the arts. She is asking for donations of craft materials.


Angela Schumacher: Auction is March 9. PTA is encouraging auction attendees to bring groups of people to the auction. They can buy a table at a discount and be a table host (up to 8 people). The committee is also considering grouping auction attendees by grade level to encourage building connections. The PTA would like to bring in more new families.

Details for the auction: Jack's BBQ is catering. All the money raised goes back to school.

Volunteers needed: Help with acquisitions. Committee is requesting items like big sporting event tickets, a landscape architect (to combine with home repair), and vacation rentals. Day-of needs are: set-up, bartending, establish relationship with local businesses (move to making a yearly request instead of each time fundraising comes up), and data input. Rachael Caravalho brought Disney tickets that Hawthorne was rewarded for parent volunteers- 20 one day passes for Disneyland. Suggested to put 8 toward auction. Bria (kindergarten parent) has offered to photograph the auction.


Pete Schumacher: The playground is currently in phase 1. We have received three grants for construction- $100,000 from the Department of Neighborhoods, $50,000 from Seattle Public Schools, and $20,000 from The Nature Conservancy. We had 170 volunteers come out for the work party in October. Now they are in the permitting process, and going to bid for contractor. The playground has ⅔ of the funding needed for what we want to do in first year. Need funding for: getting water to the garden, building stairs to 39th, picnic tables, and a center tree. The plan for January is planning STEAM activities for spring, organizing a second work party (plant 8 more trees), reaching out more to the community, and coordinating with teachers (need volunteer). Pete is hoping to get into a staff meeting to work with teachers/staff.

After School Programming:

Ailene, Percy, Bria: After school programs will hopefully fill the hole left by Powerful

Schools (a program with the YMCA that was discontinued). The committee is looking at the model Thurgood Marshall has used for their program. The committee has met with Ms. Scott. The goal is to have a pilot program in the Spring 2019 with classes three days a week initially.

The program will be organized by trimester. There is potential to expand the classes to more than three days a week. Families will receive a paper form with options, and there will be an website interface as well.

Equity is a consideration for each step. The goal is for every student to have the opportunity to do at least one class. The committee will ask vendors to offer unpaid spots. Maybe PTA can help provide scholarships. In theory, 3 out of every 4 spots will be paid for by parents, and 1 out of 4 will be by scholarship. Sign up will be first come first served, but online sign up will not take all the spots. Paper sign up and online sign up will have equal opportunity.

The committee needs volunteers to help with organizing students during the program (check them in, helping them find their group, etc). Volunteers are needed to find vendors. Potential vendors/classes are: LEGO robotics, Pacific Science Center, Sponge, Skate Like A Girl. They are open to parent and teacher led classes. If you have a skill to share, please contact the committee.

Family Toolkit Series 2019:

Family Toolkit Series 2019 will be the last Tuesday of every month.

Meeting adjourned.