Open Discussion – Homework Policy 2017

From the Principal

Over the course of the last several months, our Instructional Leadership Team has been hard at work studying the issue of homework and crafting a policy that can make our approach to homework clear and consistently applied in every classroom. The issue of homework has received a lot of attention recently, and we started this process by doing a thorough review of the literature and research about different elementary homework practices. After reading parent comments on the Parent Conference Survey in November and aligning our current practice at different grade levels at Genesee Hill with what we read in the research, we were then able to identify the core values we wanted to craft a policy around. Our next step was to consider a number of sample policies from schools around the country so that we could think through what was practical and what the implications of our decisions at the building level would be.

The Seattle School Board requires that every school draft its own homework policy, and we have changed dramatically as a school since the simple idea of “ten minutes per grade level” was first introduced in the Eighties. We now have a strong policy draft that we are eager to introduce to families for additional comment. With your help, we will be able to ensure that the policy we approve for the next school year is one that will help build our home-school connection and will provide a coherent philosophy and expectation to support children in every classroom.

We invite you to share your comments. This is a trial run of a way to garner community input on an idea with transparent civic discourse. Our idea is that sometimes questions and concerns expressed on surveys can feel like they go into a black hole. We will commit to reviewing and getting all comments posted within 24 hours. Please take time to read the other comments posted, and I will endeavor to clarify and answer questions as needed.

The draft of the 2017 Homework Policy can be reviewed here.


Public Education in a Democratic Society – GH Equity Team Family Forum

How do we support democratic values in today’s classrooms? How does this connect to the conversations we are having (or not having) at home?

Join us for a conversation about the vital role public education has played—and continues to play—in our democracy. Free dinner and childcare provided onsite.

Date: May 4
Location: Genesee Hill Library

Dinner served at 6pm
Discussion and presentation begin at 6:30


Equity Team Family Forum – A Historical Gallery of Equity in Seattle

An evening with Anita Garcia Morales senior trainer with Class Action

  • April 6th @ Genesee Hill Library
  • Dinner served 6pm
  • Speaker begins 6:30pm
  • Questions and conversation 7:30-8pm

Free dinner and childcare provided on site.

Anita Garcia Morales grew up in a migrant farm worker family in Eastern Washington. She served Seattle Public Schools for 35 years as a classroom teacher and Equity & Race Relations Specialist who co-designed and co-facilitated racial equity trainings for all levels of district staff. Now an independent consultant, Anita continues this work with organizations looking to make systemic change. Anita is a Senior Trainer with Class Action, a non-profit whose mission is to inspire action to end classism ( She teaches in the University of Washington Seattle Teacher Residency Program and is a Positive Discipline Certified Parent and Educator Trainer. In all the circles Anita convenes, she honors the gifts and knowledge people bring, and with them, creates and maintains environments that invite taking risks, making mistakes and learning from and with each other.


Special Screening – The Mask You Live In

Join us for this upcoming event… A special screening of the documentary film, The Mask You Live In

  • Where: Genesee Hill Elementary Cafeteria
  • When: Tuesday April 18th, 7pm-9pm

Genesee Hill Elementary PTA and South Seattle College Cooperative Preschools are partnering to bring this screening to our families. The event is open to adults only (strong language and adult subject matter) and will include a 30 minute community discussion after the film.


The boy in my life is much younger than the young men in the documentary – why should I be worrying about this now? Can’t I just cross this bridge when I come to it? Yes … but. A lot of the unconscious messaging and language we and society as whole use with young boys plants seeds from a very early age that can bear fruit later in life. Educating ourselves now, when boys are in preschool and elementary school, raising our own awareness, can teach us to be present, to help our boys as they grow into young men and have to navigate these increasingly choppy waters.


This is a free event for Genesee Hill and SSC Co-op families. Reserve your spot by clicking here.

Trailer (*strong language*)

From the Producers

“The documentary follows boys and young men as they struggle to stay true to themselves while negotiating America’s narrow definition of masculinity. Pressured by the media, their peer group, and even the adults in their lives, our protagonists confront messages encouraging them to disconnect from their emotions, devalue authentic friendships, objectify and degrade women, and resolve conflicts through violence. These gender stereotypes interconnect with race, class, and circumstance, creating a maze of identity issues boys and young men must navigate to become “real” men.

Experts in neuroscience, psychology, sociology, sports, education, and media also weigh in, offering empirical evidence of the “boy crisis” and tactics to combat it.

The Mask You Live In ultimately illustrates how we, as a society, can raise a healthier generation of boys and young men.”


Next Generation Science Curriculum – Raise the Paddle!

If you were unable to attend the auction, check out this video to learn more about our proposed science curriculum.

You can also learn more about our plan by visiting this page.

If you are still looking at ways to support Genesee Hill kids, this is a tangible way you can directly help create the very best learning environment possible for our kids!





Registration for Spring Enrichment Classes and Study Club

Spring 2017 Enrichment (April 3 – June 16, 2017): Online registration for Spring enrichment classes will open on Tuesday, March 7th at 7:00 PM and close on March 12th at 5:00 PM. Class descriptions, days/times and fees are now available on the Course Descriptions page. Register here (link available March 7, 2017).

Spring 2017 Study Club (April 3 – June 26, 2017):  Online registration for the Spring session of Study Club will open on Wednesday, March 8th at 9:00 AM. Study Club will also be offered for early dismissal on May 10, during the gap week from June 19 – 23, and on June 26 (new last day of school).  Registrations will be accepted until all spots are filled. Register here (link available March 8, 2017).


3rd & 4th Grade Parents – Help Decide Your Student’s Future Math Curriculum

Seattle Public Schools is beginning the process for evaluating instructional materials for grades 6 – 8 mathematics. An adoption committee will be formed, and its work will begin in March 2017 with the goal of having new instructional materials in use during the 2018-19 school year.

Apply now to Join the Grades 6 – 8 Mathematics Instructional Materials Adoption Committee

The committee will carry out the board-approved adoption process and come to a consensus in order to make a recommendation for instructional materials based upon objective evidence gathered during the process in accordance with Seattle Public Schools Board Policy. The goal is to select an adoption committee that represents the diverse perspectives and experiences of Seattle Public schools, students and families. The committee will be comprised of teachers and principals representing a range of buildings and programs, parents/guardians, community members, and the Seattle Public Schools Adoption Committee coordinators.

Responsibilities of Family/Community Representative(s)

  • Attend ALL scheduled meetings
  • Assist in reviewing prospective materials
  • Communicate to school community
  • Serve as a representative of your school community

Tentative Committee Meeting Dates

  • Round 1: March 21, April 18, May 2, May 16, May 30 (8:30-3:30 p.m.), June 13 (8:30 a.m. to noon)
  • Round 2: November-December meeting dates (TBD) ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

For more information

To learn more about the Grade 6 – 8 Mathematics Instructional Materials Adoption Committee or apply for adoption committee membership, please visit the adoption web page at:

All applications must be received by 9:00 a.m. on March 14, 2017.

To submit your application:

Applications may be:

  • Saved and emailed to
  • Mailed to: Seattle Public Schools, Attn: Anna, Box MS-32-156, PO Box 34156, Seattle, WA 98124-1165
  • Or faxed to: 206-252-0179 – Attn: Anna Box

Thank you for your interest!

MS Math Adoption Application for FAMILY.pdf


Outreach to Neighboring School Districts for Funding Advocacy

Do you have friends outside of Seattle who care about funding for public education? Please share the following information and actions they can take to support their schools.


The budget for 2017-18 school year is upon us and we don’t have the money to pay for the status quo because local levy dollars expire this year. We’re hit hard here in Seattle – but our legislators are already supportive. School districts throughout Washington state face MILLIONS of dollars in cuts next year if we don’t immediately pass SHB 1059 to let them use levies for one more year. The legislature is working on a comprehensive package to fund education in 2018 and beyond, but it won’t happen in time to avoid layoffs for next year! SHB 1059 has already passed in the house with bipartisan support, but is stuck in the Senate Ways and Means committee. We must usher this bill through to protect our kids education for Next Year. Budgets are due now, and schools are scrambling to make up the difference. Please send the information below to your friends and family that may be impacted. Tell them we need SHB 1059 passed NOW – to fund education for next year!

Want to spread the word and build support for strong school funding?

Please post the data above on your Facebook page and share with your friends and family. Seattle is set to finalize their budget for next year in March – if we don’t have a funding mechanism in place, we will lose librarians, nurses, specialists, teachers, and assistant principals. The broader education funding debate is underway – also on a deadline, also very important – and we’d like to work on that too. However, if SHB 1059 doesn’t pass by the end of March, independent of the bigger picture, we’re left with the broader debate solution on timing that will be too late (and super disruptive) for this next school year’s budgets… and contracts… and cuts.

If you’d like to continue with assisting our effort to fully fund education in Washington for all students, please email:

Time is of the essence. Thank you!


2017 Red Carpet Gala & Auction – Cohort Packages

As we get ready for the biggest party of the year and the well-deserved celebration of our community, the Auction Committee needs your help!

Cohort packages you can get excited about

Every year, the cohorts raise money to seed a package for the live auction. This year’s packages are below, followed by their corresponding PayPal link :

  • Kinder: Great Wolf Lodge – Donate
  • 1st Grade: SIFF Red Carpet Experience – Donate
    (SIFF is the Seattle International Film Festival)
  • 2nd Grade: Seabrook Cottage – Donate
  • 3rd Grade: Vegas Weekend – Donate
  • 4th Grade: Instant Wine Cellar – Donate
  • 5th Grade: Raffle Cash Prize – Donate

Which Cohort will rally the biggest support this year?

Teachers: The Real Stars of the Show

I think everyone would agree that at the center of our success is our teachers and staff. Among the ways that we thank them for their commitment is to cover the cost of their tickets to this event. This year, money raised to support the cohort packages will also go towards covering the cost of staff tickets.

Success = Participation

If going to the auction isn’t your thing, donating toward the cohort package is a another way to contribute to our biggest fundraiser of the year. An average of $10 for each of their student will raise enough money to make a real difference for our community. If your situation allows you to help a little more, please know that your donation empowers to the PTA to make every child’s educational experience better!


The secret to our success has always been our people, but it’s not really a secret. It’s our parents, educators and everyone else who comes together to make our school great. This year, we have intentionally shifted the focus to more party, and a little less auction. We will succeed with our fundraising goal by having more people there enjoying each other’s company. Tickets are still available here: Tickets

Donate an Item to the Auction

Do you or your business or someone you know have a valuable item to contribute to the auction? We are still in need of a few more things and would love to hear from you! Please email or enter the item here: Donate an Item

Thank you!