Yesterday, I had the pleasure of reading The Zax by Dr. Seuss to some kindergartners who are eager to start their first year of school at Fairmount Park Elementary. As you may recall from the short story, a North-Going Zax and a South-Going Zax reach an impasse, neither willing to budge in the least. Ultimately, progress is made around the Zaxes as they remain stalemated.
School is closed until further notice. In this situation, if the Seattle Education Association (SEA) and Seattle Public Schools (SPS) are the Zaxes, the Fairmount Park Elementary PTA is an avenue for facilitating progress for our students until the contract negotiations are finalized. Out of respect for our diverse school community and membership, and in accordance with current Washington State PTA Resolutions (specifically, 18.6), it is important that our PTA — as an organization — presents both sides of the collective bargaining process neutrally and factually and does not spend PTA funds to support the strike, because:
“… the Washington State PTA will not support work stoppages and/or strikes which interrupt or disrupt the educational day.”
“…the Washington State PTA believes that a disruption to the educational system in the form of work stoppages and/or strikes is often detrimental to the best interest of the children and families affected by those actions. While acknowledging that more state resources must be committed to the educational process in the State of Washington, including higher salaries for educational employees.”*
So what can our vibrant and resourceful school community do to help and support all students of Fairmount Park Elementary during this teachers’ strike, ensuring the progress around them is positive and productive? The PTA has the communication tools to keep our community of students, families, and teaching professionals intact and thriving, so let’s leverage those resources to keep in touch. Here are a few suggestions for how you can be proactive during this time away from school:
- Take a lunch break TODAY AT NOON and quilt the field at Fairmount Park with picnic blankets. Bring food and games to share.
- Check www.fpepta.org and facebook.com/fpepta regularly for updates.
- Organize a study group, a play date, a book club, or a special project for students.
- Provide childcare for families who have inflexible working schedules.
- Share relevant and age-appropriate reading suggestions for coping with this transition.
- Submit your student’s information for the Student Directory — the more information we have, the easier it is to connect with one another.
- Join the PTA. Join the PTA. One more time! Join the PTA.
What are your ideas for staying connected and supporting one another before school resumes, and how can you make those ideas a reality? The Falcon Flyer will be distributed each Thursday for the duration of the strike, so please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to spread the word about a planned event or to seek support for an idea. You are encouraged to contact PTA board members at any time — all of our email addresses are listed in the welcome letter — so one of us can plug you into an appropriate committee.
While I’m certain the Zaxes would not have been at an impasse in the first place if they had attended elementary school with Ms. Breidenbach, Mrs. Pendergrass, and all of the incredibly talented teaching professionals and support team members who engage our students in social emotional learning and Positive Discipline, I am confident an agreement will be reached between SEA and SPS soon (a relative term), and we will be relishing the energy of a rich learning environment and a new school year. While we wait for that day, let’s continue communicating and strengthening our new school community, Falcons!
*Washington State PTA Resolutions are voted upon annually at either the WSPTA Legislative Assembly or at WSPTA Convention. If you would like to propose a change to the Resolutions, and are a PTA member, you can contact LegConsultant@wastatepta.org and please CC email@example.com.
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