Sept. 2023 PTSA Meeting: ‘Single Lunch’ in Jeopardy

Apple and pear
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UPDATE (Sept. 21): The two-lunch schedule has been averted. More info.

ORIGINAL POST: Garfield is still hoping to retain a single daily lunch period despite a District concern that the number of students to be served violates the labor contract covering food-service workers, Assistant Principal Ida Acton told Tuesday night’s online PTSA Board Meeting.

[Also, the Board voted to add $78,000 in 2023-24 spending for purposes including an initiative to better support students who are not on track to graduate. See below.]

Ms. Acton said Garfield administration believes that a single lunch is the best way to support student clubs and socializing. Culinary Services staff at Garfield are said to support a single lunch, and students are upset by the possible change.

The other Seattle high schools of Garfield’s 1,500-plus-student size are not facing a switch to two lunch periods. The difference appears to be the greater volume of meals served at GHS. (There is no charge for breakfast and lunch at Garfield because of the proportion of students eligible for free meals: about 41 percent in 2022-23, which is higher than at the other largest high schools.)

People wishing to comment to District officials can email Director of School Operations P-12 Tyler Hamilton, District 5 School Board member Michelle Sarju, and use this “Contact the Superintendent” form.

Ms. Acton also answered questions about:

Campus safety — Monthly meetings to ensure collaboration on safety issues are bringing together representatives of police, Seattle Parks & Recreation, community organizations, Garfield parents and others.

Staffing — GHS is seeking an additional Spanish teacher. Hires have occurred for a new college/career teacher and a 504 Accommodations coordinator. (Counselors are the temporary liaisons for 504 and related Special Education services.) Revised staffing is being used to reduce the size of several math classes. A planned part-time Robotics position will not be filled. A search for a permanent orchestra teacher will occur, but the current substitute is a teacher well-experienced with Garfield and Washington Middle School. Ms. Acton did not have information on the search for an interim person to fill the position of former Assistant Principal Regina Carr.

World Languages status — Japanese has been dropped because student requests did not justify a full-time position, and GHS was unable to hire a teacher for both that language and other courses.

In other portions of the meeting:

New Athletics/Activities Director Tiffany Bigham discussed goals to:

    1. Better support and retain coaches and other sports mentors, in part through a better onboarding process that more appropriately compensates new coaches for their time.
    2. Meet teams’ needs for transportation to games and meets.

Ms. Bigham also is in the process of rebooting the student government (“ASB”), for which elections need to be held in the coming weeks. She has planned grade-level assemblies that will be tailored by which year students are in, and is working toward “a true One Garfield.”

PTSA Board appointments
The Officers voted to appoint the following to the Board as chairs or co-chairs of committees: Jennifer Marquardt (Events), Cliff Meyer (Communications), Katrina Hawking and Samantha Steinwinder (Annual Fund), Anne Phyfe Palmer and Krista Hudson (Grad Night), Mary Murray (Finance) and Bill Brewster (Building Leadership Team).

Your role
The PTSA is still seeking Co-Presidents, and co-chairs for Spring Fundraiser, Family Support, Race and Equity, and several other rewarding and interesting roles. Learn more!

Budget Overview and 2023-24 Revisions
Outgoing Co-Treasurer Mary Murray reviewed the 2022-23 final numbers, noting that the PTSA income exceeded its $251,000 goal while spending was $222,000, less than planned. Budget documents are available on the PTSA website.

New Co-Treasurer Parry Schmeichel reviewed the following additions to the 2023-24 approved budget, which were later unanimously approved by the PTSA Board:

    • $25,000 – Volunteer Coordinator (part time) to be hired by GHS
    • $5,000 – Campus Safety (volunteer trainings and other expenses to be determined)
    • $3,150 – Teacher and staff monthly awards program devised by GHS administration
    • $45,000 – Staffing to support students at risk of not graduating

Grade-level events
Interim President Kayla Epting said the PTSA will be confirming grade-level representatives to help organize events in early October to bring together families.

Staff Appreciation
Events Chair Jennifer Marquardt noted the first event occurred late last month, as the PTSA paid for a luncheon and gift cards to welcome back staff and teachers.