All posts by Genesee Hill PTA

May GHE PTA Newsletter

May the 4th be with you as you dig into the latest edition of the Genesee Hill PTA Newsletter! From community member shout outs, to Teacher Appreciation Week, to an exclusive interview with Access Staff Member extraordinaire, Craig Garretson – this edition highlights many treasured members of our school community. Also, get the meaty details on upcoming events including a dine out opportunity at Lady Jaye, a weeding event with the Dandelion Initiative, and the Move-A-Thon. There’s even a community question on the CHAMPSS program and an overview of some pertinent bills that were passed this legislative season.

We also have a page on our site to house the Newsletter archive. If you have a topic that you would like to see spotlighted in an upcoming newsletter, or have a question you’d like to have addressed, please reach out to


May 23 Dine Out at Lady Jaye

Our May Dine-Out event will feature Lady Jaye in Alaska Junction on Sunday May 23, from 2 – 7:30 PM.  Genesee Hill will receive 20% of all sales on this day. This includes takeout orders, dine in, gift cards, drinks and the Lady Jaye special Take and Bake. Lady Jaye makes everything super easy with their excellent online ordering system.

Their seating reservations opened on May 1st!   Make sure you book your spot early.   The times and availability are limited and they do have to turn people away. Click here to reserve a table and here to see the menu and order some of their delicious items!

Key Details for May’s Dine out

  • Event Date and Time- May 23rd 2pm-7:30pm.  This includes walk-ins and pickups.  They STRONGLY recommend placing all orders and reservations online. All orders need to be made by 7:30 pm.
  • They have limited seating. Tables can be reserved here starting May 1st. Patio reservations (6 outdoor tables) availability: 2pm, 3:30pm, 5:30pm and 7:30pm.
  • Take and Bake Option – There will only be 50 of these items available for pick up on May 23rd.  Order here starting May 10th.  There will be two options.  Both options feed up to 4 people for $60.00
    1. Braised brisket over roasted garlic mac & cheese topped with buttermilk biscuit breadcrumbs
    2. Three cheese roasted garlic mac & cheese with smoked Vashon Island tofu burnt ends
  • Lady Jaye has a lovely list of to-go cocktails.  The pricing varies from $25-35 and each is equivalent to 3-4 drinks.
  • The Lady Jaye General Store has tasty items for your kitchen such as their house rubs, local raw honeycomb, and farm-made caramel sauce. Add a couple onto your take-out order!
  • Gift cards can be purchased that day and 20% will go to the school.

We hope you’ll support our school and a local business while enjoying this delectable food. Invite all your friends too!


Staff Appreciation Week

Staff Appreciation Week is May 3-7. There are many ways we can show our appreciation to the amazing teachers and school staff who have worked hard – and creatively! – to teach and support our students during this school year.  Read below or check out the flyer for details.

We love our teachers a Latte! Staff can stop by Hotwire coffee any day this week for a drink of their choice. How You Can Help: donate any amount via PayPal ( or Venmo (@Dawn-Franklin-6) 

Sign up here to help shower our staff with gifts of gratitude.  Deliver gifts to the school between Monday, May 3rd and 10am on Thursday, May 6th.

Teaching is a work of heart! How You Can Help: click here to head over to our Jamboard to have your student leave a heart filled note to our staff 

Let’s sing out our praises for our amazing staff. Snap a photo of your student with a note of thanks to be included in our video to staff. Send photos to Noirin at by Wednesday May 5. Click here for photo ideas (video edited for student privacy). 


April GHE PTA Newsletter

From the school schedule to the weather – there is plenty of change happening this week! Amid all the action, your Genesee Hill PTA Newsletter is here to serve as your reliable source for the latest happenings in our school community. This April edition includes volunteer appreciation, a spotlight on the budget, an important budget advocacy tool, an interview with GH’s resident problem-solver, Dana Cochran, and so much more! Use the “Download Document” button above to access the newsletter, find a quiet moment in this busy week, and enjoy this delightful read.

We also have a page on our site to house the Newsletter archive. If you have a topic that you would like to see spotlighted in an upcoming newsletter, or have a question you’d like to have addressed, please reach out to


Concerns Over Next Year’s SPS School Budget Cuts

By: Victoria Bhegani, Legislative Chair, GH PTA Board 

On Monday, March 15, Genesee Hill Elementary staff voted to reject the school budget for 2021/22 on the grounds that the allocations from SPS were insufficient. In this proposed budget, the school will lose five FTE (full-time employment) positions in the coming school year. While the school staff did not disagree with how our principal, Gerrit Kischner, had drawn up the budget based on these cuts, they disagreed with the cuts themselves, particularly in light of the current pandemic. Knowing that the pandemic will still be with us when schools open- perhaps for full time in-person instruction in the fall- the staff questioned how cutting 5 FTE positions would affect the health, safety, and academic success of its returning students. The vote to reject the budget is a protest vote with no obvious remediation that could happen, but in taking this action, the staff at Genesee Hill Elementary school took a stand against the inequity of such an extreme budgetary cut at this time. Their decision was supported by our school administrators and the Genesee Elementary PTA Board. 

After the meeting, fourth grade teacher Mick Phelps wrote a letter to the Seattle School Board on behalf of the Genesee Hill Elementary staff. It explains how the current 2021-22 Genesee Hill Elementary school budget does not support students’ physical safety, provide adequate social and emotional supports for students, or equitably address the disparity of students’ remote learning experiences. At the end of the letter, the staff’s key ask is that the budget be amended and that SPS return its previous funding in order to support essential staff functions. Under the current budget, Genesee Hill Elementary, a school of roughly 600 students, will, among other staff cuts, have its nurse go from a 0.6 FTE to a 0.4 FTE, its office support staff, who perform the role of nurse when the nurse is not there, go from 2.0 FTE to 1.0 FTE, its librarian go from 1.0 FTE to 0.5 FTE, and its academic interventionists, who often support the learning needs of the school’s most vulnerable students, go from 3.4 FTE to 1.2 FTE. 

To support our staff’s advocacy, members of the Genesee PTA board sent the letter to the Seattle School Board directors and to the West Seattle Blog for publication. When asked why our PTA leadership took this action, board co-president Michelle Comazzetto said, “Sharing the letter with the West Seattle community will bring more awareness around school funding, and the difficult choices that school leadership has to make because schools are still not properly funded.  We think that the PTA needs to advocate for our staff and teachers, and because they have reached out to us to help them amplify their voices, we would like to help them with this call to action.”

Genesee Hill Elementary is not the only school in Seattle facing budget cuts next year. Neighboring West Seattle schools like Alki Elementary, Gatewood Elementary, and Madison Middle School are also in similar budget straits. In the face of growing awareness about the negative effects the pandemic has had on our children’s mental health and widespread concern that it has widened the learning gap between students- exacerbating already existent racial and socioeconomic disparities- the budgetary situation of public schools in Seattle is troubling. Is this the best we can do for our students and staff after a worldwide pandemic that has radically disrupted children’s lives, leaving many of them more isolated, lonely, and less connected to schools than they were a year ago? 

If you would like to advocate for Seattle Public Schools to have better funded budgets for next year, contact school district leaders. Personal emails are helpful but also please feel free to copy and paste this form below. 

Seattle School Board President Chandra Hampson

Superintendent Denise Juneau 

SPS Chief Financial Officer JoLynn Berge 

  1. SPS should restore 2021-2022 school budgets and when doing so its first priority should be to protect core staff positions (school administrators, counselors, nurses). Core staff supports the successful operation of schools and their roles do not change vis-à-vis student enrollment.
  2. SPS needs to be transparent and accountable about how it is using and plans to use the pandemic recovery money it receives from the state and the federal government. 


Dear __________, 

As Genesee Hill Elementary families, we are gravely concerned about the cuts our and other SPS schools face in their current 2021-22 school budgets. In this time of pandemic, we worry over student and staff safety in school buildings, students’ mental health, and a widening learning gap that exacerbates already existent racial and socioeconomic disparities between students. In this challenging landscape the bleak budgetary outlook for many schools is troubling. That our schools can face these challenges this fall while having their staff winnowed away seems like an impossible ask. Surely our school district can do better for its students and staff and allocate schools with the resources they need to make the next school year a successful one. 

In light of the above reasons, we ask that you take action to restore 2021-2022 SPS school budget allocations and when doing so, prioritize core staff positions (school administrators, counselors, nurses). We also ask that this school district be transparent and accountable about how it uses the pandemic recovery money it receives from the state and federal government. 




Stories of Genesee Hill

During the legislative season PTAs are being asked to collect and tell the stories that are unfolding at our schools. We are especially interested in stories that show how the issues we voted on in the WSPTA Legislative Assembly shape things on the ground. Then Victoria Bhegani, our Legislative Chair, will share these stories with our legislators and out to the Genesee community. First we collected stories about how families and teachers at Genesee Hill are experiencing remote learning. See all the responses here!

Stories of Genesee Hill: Health Supports

In the second installment of Stories of Genesee Hill, we’re collecting stories about how students access medical and mental health supports through school. Like with the last installment, we’d love to hear about challenges, successes or anything else you’d like to share. We will share these responses with legislators and our school community in the hope that this will raise awareness and encourage policymakers to pass legislation that promotes better access to health supports for children across our state.


March GHE PTA Newsletter

Great news! With February being a short month, your wait for the next newsletter is already over. This March edition includes an exclusive interview with the talented Ms. Bronson, a spotlight on PTA Board Nominations detailing how you can help shape the future of the PTA Board, important advocacy initiatives, as well as regular updates for fun community events and happenings. Enjoy!

We also have a new page on our site to house the Newsletter archive. If you have a topic that you would like to see spotlighted in an upcoming newsletter, or have a question you’d like to have addressed, please reach out to


Direct Give Raffle Prizes

When we were brainstorming Direct Give for this school year we were hesitant to approach local businesses because we know many of them have had a financially devastating year due to COVID.  We decided to go for it – but approached them with a different strategy then in years past.  Specifically we:

  • Sought out smaller donation increments. For example, instead of requesting a larger $100 donation, we requested four $25 vouchers with minimum order amount or gift cards. This will hopefully bring more families into their business where they would likely end up spending additional money.
  • Committed to market their business to our school community.  We love being able to highlight local businesses that continue to keep making our West Seattle community so special.

With all that said, we ended up with a tremendous response from our business community.  We hope that you will support these businesses the same way that these businesses are supporting our community. 

Here is the full list of received donations:

A special thank you goes to Neil Strohbusch and Jodi Lansky for doing all of the procurement for these items!


SPS 2021-22 School Year Calendar Approved

September 1 First day of school for 1st – 12th grade students

September 6 Labor Day (no school)

September 7 First day of school for kindergarten, all preschool students

October 8 State In-service Day (no school)

November 11 Veterans Day (no school)

November 22 – 24 Elementary conference days (no school for elementary and K-8 students; varies by school)

November 25 – 26 Thanksgiving break (no school) Thanksgiving and Native American Heritage Day

December 17 1-hour early dismissal (winter break)

December 20, 2021 – January 2, 2022 Winter break (no school)

January 17 Martin Luther King Jr. Day (no school)

January 27 Day Between Semesters (no school)

February 21 – 25 Mid-winter break including Presidents Day (no school)

April 11 – 15 Spring break (no school)

May 30 Memorial Day (no school)

June 17, 2022 Last day of school (1-hour early dismissal)

Learn more here.


Membership Matchup

We’re competing with Alki Elementary to see who can sign up the most new PTA members from Jan. 19 to Feb. 28 (at a 2-to-1 ratio since Genesee has twice as many students).

Remember that memberships need to be renewed each year, so check to make sure yours is current. Spread the word and encourage all your friends to join too! Lastly, scholarships to cover the $15 membership fee are available, just email Rallying together we can secure our community bragging rights and support critical PTA initiatives. 

In honor of the Matchup, our Legislative Chair, Victoria Bhegani, wrote this fun poem!  So get inspired, show your support, and join here today!


There once was a school called Genesee,

that was built on a hill near a very tall tree.

It’s a school that has moxy,

and foxes that are foxy.

It is a wonder to see.


Now Genesee- this awesome school-

is in a race that’s pretty cool.

We need to fill our PTA

with new members without delay.

For on the last of February,

they’ll all be counted, each and every.


Alki school will count theirs too.

And then, when all the counting’s through,

a clear winner will be decided

and poetry will be recited

by the losing school, and so-

if YOU don’t want our fox to go

down to Alki in this state

join the PTA- it’s not too late!


(Also PTA is tops-

and thanks for being

a fantastic fox!)