All posts by Genesee Hill PTA

How to get involved this legislative session

Hello Genesee Hill Families! 

The legislative session in Washington has started. We would like to take this time as a PTA to focus on advocacy for public education in our state. As families of public school students and PTA members, this is an opportunity for us to advocate for our children and children across our the State of Washington.  

How exactly can we do that though?  

Below are some concrete ways we can take action over the coming months. Many of these actions are simple, and some only take a few minutes to do.  

If you only do one thing … sign up for Action Alerts from Washington State PTA. They will send you emails that both inform you about what is happening with education legislation in this current session AND give you ways to take concrete action, such as stating your position on some proposed House and Senate bills.  

If you want to stay informed about education bills during the current legislative session… read Marie Sullivan’s  articles in the Advocacy section of the WS PTA site. Marie is the WS PTA’s Legislative Education consultant and her articles are informative and easy to understand.  

If you want to take in-person action… attend the WS PTA’s Advocacy Day in Olympia on February 20. Visitors can network and hear speakers from the WSPTA’s Advocacy Committee, the State Board of Education, OSPI, and Governor Inslee’s office. They can also take docent-led tours of the Capitol grounds and potentially meet with local legislators. If you’re interested in going, please email me at If we have enough interested people we can organize a group to go. Also, don’t forget to get your free tickets here. FYI this event is not designed for children.  

If you want to financially support education advocacy, become a PTA member… Washington State PTA is the longest-serving grassroots organization that supports children in WA state (hurrah!), and a large percentage of our GHE membership dues goes to it. If you aren’t a PTA member already, join!  

And finally… if you are interested in doing the legislative chair role for the GHE PTA, please contact me or a member of the Board. I did it from 2020- 2022 and would be happy to support you. Advocacy is the foundation of the PTA’s work, and we really need someone to step into this important role.  

Thank you!  

Victoria Brown Bhegani, Michael Brown, Lia Barros, and your PTA Board 

Black Lives Matter at School: Feb 6-10

Black Lives Matter at School is a is a movement championed by educators, students and communities throughout our nation. But did you know that it all started in Seattle in 2016? Genesee Hill is proud to uphold this week of action February 6-10 and you are invited to join!

Opportunities to Engage:

Poster Decorating Event 2/3: Please join us to kick-off Black Lives Matter at School Week by decorating the school with signs of support. Parents and their students will meet after school in the teacher’s lounge on Friday, February 3rd from 2:30-3:30 pm. Please enter the school building through the front doors where signage will direct you to the lounge. This is an opportunity to be in community with one another and elevate the week for our students. We hope you can join us!  

Poster Making at Home: For those who cannot make posters after school, take-home supplies will be available at the end of the day on Friday (2/3) in each grade’s commons area. Students may bring their artwork to the school foyer on Monday morning (2/6) to be displayed.

Virtual Living Room: Check out the updated BLM at School Week Virtual Living Room with a focus on learning around microaggressions. From fun educational resources for kids, to curated resources for adults – there’s something for everyone! Carve out some time each day to dive in with your students.

Wear BLM Gear Friday 2/10: Show your BLM pride by wearing your BLM gear or any black t-shirt to school.

Gathering for Black Families 2/10: Black families are invited to meet up at 6pm on Friday, February 10th at The Good Society. Let’s gather to support each other and our kids. Join us for food, drinks, and connection. This is an affinity event for Black students and their families in West Seattle.

Don’t let the important learning and conversations end here. Let this week serve as an opportunity to inspire ongoing conversations and learning year-round!

March 25: I Love the 80s to Death!

Join us on Saturday, March 25 from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. for our Genesee Hill spring fundraising event. We will return to pre-COVID attendance, with a totally awesome night of entertainment, mystery, and building community with adult families and friends of GHE. 

What: I Love the 80s to Death! A murder-mystery show and fundraiser to support Genesee Hill Elementary
When: Saturday, March 25, 2023, 5-10 pm
Where: Brockey Center at South Seattle Community College, 6000 16th Ave S
Tickets: Buy them here
FAQ: Browse a Q&A about the event

Plan to work with others to solve a murder mystery, enjoy cocktails, heavy apps, a dessert dash, DJ and dancing. Tickets go on sale Jan. 23 – March 3. Buy your tickets here.

This event will be an opportunity to join together and raise money for an art mural for the school (designed and created with input from the students’), a new digital sign for GHE, and the PTA general fund, including scholarships for IslandWood Camp for 5th graders.  

Social signups and teacher experiences will be available to preview on March 17, and will go live online Tuesday, March 21 to all of the Genesee Hill Community.  More details coming soon!

Questions? Please reach out to

Volunteers needed
We need more help to make this event a success!
Sign up to volunteer for the event
Sign up to provide a dessert for dessert dash

Questions? Contact us at

Save the date: Dec. 6 community conversation

Genesee Hill Families, 

These past weeks have been unexpected and hard for many in our community, and we have been hearing from several families with concerns about recent events. First and foremost, our hearts and deepest condolences are with the students, families, and community at Ingraham High School. We have provided specific links to resources about gun violence at the end of this email.

In addition to this tragic event, last week we learned of microaggressions occurring at Genesee Hill. Most of you received an email/text from Principal Dunn and your child’s teacher bringing awareness to these microaggressions and sharing resources. Following this, we also learned that Mr. Johnson, one of the few Black staff members at Genesee Hill, made a very difficult decision to resign. Many of you have reached out expressing concern that Mr. Johnson is leaving due to students and microaggressions he has experienced. He has had several students come up to him to apologize and/or ask him to stay. We want to ensure that students know that it is not their fault that he is leaving.

This situation has, however, brought to light a theme we continue to hear from our GHE community. Microaggressions based in race are harmful, are happening, and how we respond as adults matters. The GHE community believes it is important for us to address events as they occur, thus creating a community which does not shy away from conversations around race and identity, as uncomfortable as they may be at times. There is value in us talking with each other and identifying solutions to help support our community so that each student, staff, and family feels they belong.

As your PTA leadership at Genesee Hill and in support of the work already being done by our teachers and building leadership, we would like to offer ways for our community to join together in dialogue, about these pressing issues. We would like to host our first Community Wide Conversation on December 6th at 6pm (Location TBD).

This evening will be facilitated by PTA presidents Lia Barros and Michael Brown. There will be prepared questions to help guide these critical conversations, aimed to encourage the audience to express their opinions and consider new perspectives.

In addition to holding this space, we want to offer additional resources in alignment with what the school has already shared to support you in individual growth and talking with your kids about race.

  • Embrace Race – Talking Race and Kids
  • Virtual Reading Room – Virtual Books to read with your kids
  • Learning for Justice – formerly Teaching Tolerance; racial justice resources geared towards educators
  • Books: How to Raise an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi and White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo

Thank you again for taking the time to explore these resources and joining us in conversation. We look forwarding to seeing you all December 6th. Please reach out with any questions or concerns.

Lia, Michael, and your PTA Board


How to Talk to Kids About Violence  is a great resource. You know your children best.

We absolutely agree with what is said in this article, that “students are fantastic observers, but poor interpreters.” They see and hear so much, but without the space to process, they don’t know how to interpret what they are seeing or hearing.

Other helpful resources include: 

A message from our leadership

Dear Genesee Hill Families, 

Our PTA has achieved several accomplishments in the first two months of the school year, and we wanted to reach out to share what we’ve done together so far and to thank you for your continued support and participation.

In October, we have:

  • Funded DEI training for our staff
  • Co-hosted our first Parent Education Series event on kids and screens with viewing and discussion of “Screenagers Part 2”
  • Hosted our first in-person social event with the Monster Mash
  • Completed our first month of listening sessions
  • And, for our second consecutive year we have received a PTA Member Growth Award!

Thank you to everyone who completed our family and staff surveys and participated in our listening sessions. We successfully completed three in-person sessions, one for families with neurodiverse students, one for our staff members, and one for all our GHE families, hearing from a total of 126 individuals and families (which represents 24% of our community). This input has given us a deeper understanding of our collective needs, and we’ll be spending the next few months synthesizing what we learned and preparing to share the results with you. 

One message is already abundantly clear: Every one of us is looking for a community that is trusting, inclusive, and a place where each of our voices is heard and appreciated toward the common goal of supporting our children’s educational experience and academic excellence.

It is our role as your Parent Teacher Association (PTA) leadership to name the issues we are facing and make space for us to come together and find the solutions. The changes and growth required for all our members to feel a sense of belonging often involves a certain level of discomfort as we adjust to new community norms and broader inclusivity. As your PTA Board, we are committed to making the space for each of you to be heard, valued, and included when building the best community for our children. 

To this end, you can expect your PTA board to be working hard this year to have challenging and explicit conversations with the goal of supporting a strong Genesee Hill Community. Looking ahead, we will be sharing additional resources on microaggressions (thank you Genesee Staff for helping lead this work!), holding our first community conversation, resources for our neurodiverse students, designing FAQs held on our website, hosting a Kindergarten Q&A, and in January continuing our Parent Education Series.

Thank you in advance for your engagement, your time and your passion so that together we can raise strong, educated, compassionate, and resilient children.  This is your PTA; please reach out with any questions.

In partnership,
Lia Barros and Michael Brown, Co-Presidents

Top ways to get involved with the PTA

Join or renew your membership
Joining is easy and can be done online in a few steps here. Click here to join with a fee waiver. This is an easy way to stay informed and to have a voice at the table.

Join the PTA Board
Consider taking on one of our vital roles on the PTA Board. We are looking for a Vice President and an Advocacy Chair. Fore more info, email

Become an Enrichment Coordinator
Our Genesee Hill Enrichment Program provides students access to a diverse range of quality after school educational and recreational opportunities. We need two new Enrichment Coordinators in order to be able to continue to offer this program in the future. It is a paid SPS position and a beloved tradition for our students. Email

We need YOU in order to make GHE the community we want it to be. Please consider volunteering at the following:

  • PTA events (email )
  • Cohort events (email your cohort lead)
  • Volunteer to help with the Enrichment Program (email
  • In the classroom (this is dependent on each individual teacher’s needs)
  • Have a skill to offer? We would love to hear about it! 
  • Be a school or event photographer, we would love to capture our students learning, thriving, and being a part of their school

Apply for an Opportunity Grant
The GHE PTA offers up to $1,000 through the Opportunity Fund to parents, guardians, students (with an adult sponsor), or teachers to use for a one-time student-centered project, purchase, or event at Genesee Hill Elementary. We had 10 recipients last year! Please consider submitting your ideas for an Opportunity Grant today! 

Stay Informed

Attend an educational event
This year we are partnering with local elementary schools to offer a Parent Education Series. We already completed our Kids and Technology discussion on October 25th. Stay tuned for additional opportunities starting in January. Once dates are final you can find these opportunities in the PTA Newsletter, on our website, and on our PTA calendar.

There really is NO wrong way to PTA. If you have ideas or passions we would love to make those a part of our work.

Your PTA Board

Make a difference: Support our Direct Give campaign

Our direct give campaign was planned to be our primary fundraising activity for the year. We still plan to have a large community event in the spring (similar to the annual auction), but the event will have a smaller, targeted focus on fundraising this year because we have a significant amount in reserves/cash.

Please follow this link for the option of a one-time gift or to set up a monthly recurring pledge. Please also share it with family and friends who might be interested in supporting our school. Grandparents, colleagues, alumni and neighbors have all given to Genesee Hill in the past.  Remember corporate matching may also be an option for you – check with your employer.

Our goal for this campaign is to raise $25,000. That’s roughly $50/kid/year or $5/month. Please support us however you can! We’ve got this, fantastic foxes!

The Genesee Hill PTA budget funds:

The programs the PTA funds come through the generosity of this community, and every family and student at Genesee Hill benefits from them. Our school is a special place and we want to continue to support these programs at the level they are offered today. The PTA budget funds:

Thank you for your generous support!

~ Jenilee Finley & Heather Thimsen, Fundraising Chairs

Direct Give extended through Nov. 5

Did you hear it’s gratitude month? We are so grateful for your generous support of Genesee Hill Elementary School.

Our Direct Give campaign has been extended through Saturday, Nov. 5.

Give online at

We are still $9,000 short of our goal of $25,000. If you haven’t done so yet, please donate by this Saturday. This goal amount goes to the general fund to help cover expenses such as school supplies for every child @ $25/student, technology resources, education specialists, and diversity, equity and inclusion training.

*If we reach our goal by the end of the week we will be providing coffee and morning treats later this month at drop off. Stay tuned!*