Help needed preparing for Art Walk 5/14

Dear Pathfinder families! Our beloved art teachers have put a call out for volunteers to help set up the display boards after school lets out tomorrow (5/14). The display boards are heavy and can not be dragged. We’ll need some strong backs for getting the boards in place. Once the boards are up, Pam & Marci need help hanging art for the art walk, so if you aren’t a heavy lifter but want to help you are still needed. Thanks in advance Pathfinders!!


Autism Acceptance and So Much More!

504’s, IEP’s and IDK’s Oh my! Do any of these ring a bell for you when you think about your child? Roughly thirty percent of our student population are currently being served for special needs in the classroom through a 504 or an IEP. That’s right THIRTY percent. Another undocumented percentage of us fall, daily, into the IDK (I Don’t Know) when it comes to our kids with needs that fall out of the range of what would be called typically developing. That’s a large portion of our students and families that are effected by a wide range of challenges when it comes to raising and educating our children.

Because I am one of those parents, it was my pleasure to decorate the display case this month, highlighting Autism Acceptance Month. I had some wonderful conversations with folks as they passed by while I was decorating. My favorite moment though came when Willa, from the Eagle Clan, came by, observed me for a moment, cocked her head to the side and said “There are people who don’t accept autism? I don’t think we have a problem with that here at Pathfinder”.

Willa’s comment was right on the money. Pathfinder has a rich history of inclusivity in general and there is a legacy of inclusion with regard to the autism community. Over the years this tradition has evolved to include “quirky” children and parents of all types. In keeping with that tradition your PTSA is also evolving. We are excited to announce a new parent group the PSNAC, Pathfinder Special Needs Advocacy Community. While we are new in our evolution, our numbers are many and our plans great! Our general mission will be one of advocacy, information and support to parents and staff regarding the wide realm of special needs, including but not limited to autism.

You might be one of the many parents that we plan on serving if you relate to one or more of the following in your child: Sensory Issues, Self-regulation Issues, Executive Functioning Challenges, ADD, ADHD, Tourette’s, OCD, Anxiety, SPD, Hyperlexia, Selective Mutism, Social Pragmatic Communication Disorder, Diabetes, Asthma, Down Syndrome, Dyslexia, Seizure disorders, Auditory Processing, Hearing Impairment, Visual Impairment, Aspergers/Autism, Learning Disabilities, Developmental Delays, Allergies, and more.

In the months to come, PSNAC will be rolling out some exciting events that are designed to build connection among the parents of students of who have special needs as well as offer resources and opportunities for information to parents, staff and the wider Pathfinder community. For now, look for us at PTSA events or contact Odetta Owen, Autism Liaison to the PTSA board, at for more information. We look forward to building community with you.


Sharing the Gift

A long standing Pathfinder event in May is Sharing the Gift. This event gives kids and adults in the school community a chance to try something new. On three Fridays in May (1st, 8th & 15th) kids will attend a class hosted by a Pathfinder teacher, staff member, parent or community member. The classes will have the same group of kids each week and will run from 1:15 – 2:55. We are now recruiting people and want you to participate! You can have anywhere between 4-14 kids depending on what you feel comfortable with and will work for your class. The age group of kids you work with is up to you. You can team with another person and do a group class. Listed below are some classes that have worked well in the past and some class ideas. Whatever it is that you enjoy doing can be the inspiration for a class. The more classes we can offer the better this event is. Please contact Andy Darring or Jennifer Niemann if interested in teaching a self created class to a group of Pathfinder students or have

any questions. or School number: 206-252-9710

Ping Pong – Where did ping pong begin? Make and design your very own ping pong paddle. Ready? Aim, serve and have a blast!

All About Pirates – We will make pirate hats, eye patches, and hooks! We will make treasure maps, too! We will also learn lots about pirates!

Wizarding – make a wand, mix some potions, and play some games.

Puppet Making – create your own personal puppet with just an old sock. Surrender to your imagination and you are guaranteed to have a great time and a creation of your very own.

Rocket Science – We will be building Estes model rockets and then launching them on the big green field while we are chewing on sunflower seeds!

Class Ideas:

  •   Sports (basketball, kickball, soccer, baseball, jump rope, etc…)
  •   Dance, yoga, other movement activities
  •   Sewing, knitting, crafts
  •   Woodworking, construction, design
  •   Math games, board games

 Music, drama, building simple instruments


Auction Wrap Up!

Thank you to all of you who participated in our auction on Saturday March 21st! Everyone seemed to like the new venue and it was very fun night.  We raised about $51,000!!! Fantastic!

For those of you who enjoyed the photo booth provided by Holli With An I Photography, the pictures are now available for viewing and download:

A download icon rests above each image in viewing mode – they can also “heart” and “share” each of their images.


password: Shine

Have fun reliving a very festive and successful auction. Thank you again for your continued support!


Katie Guenther
Pathfinder K8 Auction Chair


8th Grade Graduation

Friday June 12th is 8th Grade graduation!! Mark your calendars!! You know the 8th graders are!! Personally, I’m grabbing my tissues…


Clean out your closet AND help raise funds for Field Day!!!

Start cleaning out those closets, because beginning Monday, April 27th, we will be kicking off a two week Value Village soft goods donation drive to raise money for Pathfinder Olympics. It’s super simple – either bring donated goods to the donation barrel in the foyer at school or drop them off to us at West Seattle Thriftway on May 9th. We can only accept soft goods at this time – shoes, clothes, accessories, and linens. Value Village will be paying us .20/pound for all our unwanted loot, and it adds up FAST! The May 9th drop off coincides with West Seattle Community Garage Sale Day. We will have a truck parked at Thriftway for the day along with a bake sale and lemonade stand. Tell all your friends and neighbors and grab their stuff too. If you have lots of stuff and need a pick-up that can also be arranged. You can email Emily Goldstein at and she’ll gladly come and give you curb-side service!



Pathfinder Olympics (Field Day) is coming Monday, June 8th!

This event is shaping up nicely again this year. It will be remarkable all-school celebration that will include a myriad of games on the field and blacktop area of the playground. In addition, we will have face painters, a photo booth, and a DJ. This exciting day will end with popsicles for all participants as well as a parade of clans. There are lots of little surprises planned for this day – our community is sure to end the school year on a high note. Please mark your calendars to send your child in appropriate attire for the event as well as consider joining us as a volunteer. Volunteers will be fed a generous lunch this year from a surprise supplier – and it’s such a great time to play with our hard-working kids and teachers!

Contact Emily Goldstein at to offer your volunteer services.


Lou’s Fun Run

Friday May 29th at 9am, Join Lou and the kids as they run a lot of laps – I think it’s 64 this year!!  – to raise money for Make a Wish Foundation! It’s always a touching event as Lou has the child he is sponsoring join us so the kids can see a tangible connection between the fundraising and who it is benefiting. Strap on your running shoes come early and help Lou set up for the big day!!



Join the Discussion about School Bell Times!

The district has scheduled a series of public discussions around start of school bell times between April 21 and May 12. Hosted by the district’s Neighbor to Neighbor program, these facilitator-lead discussions will allow you to offer your feedback for consideration by the district.

Currently, the district has identified three potential options regarding bell times, which will be the source of the discussions:

Flip of elementary and high school bell times
Extend the high school day by adding an optional seventh period then offer students the option of late arrival
Keep things as they are
The following are the scheduled discussions, open to the public.

Tuesday, April 21, 6 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. at Highpoint Neighborhood House (6400 Sylvan Way SW, Room 207)
Thursday April 30, 7 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. at Hamilton International Middle School Commons (1610 N 41st St)
Tuesday May 5, 7 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. at New Holly Neighborhood Campus Gathering Hall (7054 32nd Ave South)
Wednesday May 6, 7 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. at Garfield High School Commons (400 23rd Ave)
Tuesday May 12, 7 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. at Chief Sealth High School Commons (2600 SW Thistle St)
To learn more about on Neighbor to Neighbor, the bell time debate, or dates/times/locations for facilitator trainings please visit


Art and Music Night

Our fabulous art and music teachers have a beautiful night of a year’s worth of art and music to share with Pathfinder families Thursday May 14th 6:30-8pm. Join us in celebrating all of the students beautiful, creative work. It’s really quite awesome!

Feel free to contact art teacher Pamela Bigetal at or music teacher Victoria Melton at if you would like to help them prepare for the big night!


PTSA General Meeting

Our final PTSA meeting of the year is coming up! Tuesday May 12th at 6pm in the Cafeteria we will gather and kick it off with a potluck. Blazing trails will be open at 6:15 for kids 5-12. At 6:30 we will get to the business of electing our new officers! And voting on the budget!! As of right now we still do not have a Presidential candidate! Please feel free to contact Molly Gras-Usry at to learn more about the position and get more involved in your child’s school and community. Our Choir will be performing from 7:30-8 to wrap up our final meeting and community event of the year. Thank you Pathfinder Community for all that you do to make this a wonderful place for our kids to grow, learn and thrive!


Staff Appreciation week!

Each year we take a week to show the staff our gratefulness. This year’s Staff Appreciation Week which will take place May 4-8. Please check out the link below and sign up for a task. There are 75+ staff at Pathfinder that work long hours to keep our school humming whether they teach, tutor, keep our halls clean, answer the phones, comfort our kids when they are sick or any other number or jobs that go into making school run, they are gonna be showered with our love and appreciation!! If each parent does something small, together we can spoil them all!



School placements for 2015/16 are available

Sources say that placement information is available at Seattle School’s website. Check your child’s enrollment for the 2015/16 school year at SPS’s website.

If you’re a new Pathfinder family, WELCOME!


Assistance League Summer scholarship program for 6-11th graders





Eligibility requirements:

1. must be a student in the SPS (homeschool students with Seattle school district affiliation)

2. enrolled in grades 6-11

3. complete and submit application

visit website to download forms 


We’re getting so close!

After all the grants and matching, the Pathfinder Community has about $50,000 to raise before we can begin construction. Track our progress with this widget.


Thanks for the great food and generosity, Pecado Bueno!

The Pathfinder community had a great time last night at Pecado Bueno! They fed a lot of us last night. Great food, great company and a great cause! Thanks for your amazing generosity, Pecado Bueno!Pecado Bueno logo–over 200 served a delicious dinner and over $3000 raised! We are blown away!


The Earth Project Cookbook

The Earth Project team is seeking recipes for simple and delicious family food from our very own Pathfinder community. This is our last call-out for recipes so we can work on publishing the book in Spring!


The cookbook will include a history of our school garden and kid art in addition to 20 recipes for Fall/Winter and 20 recipes for Spring/Summer. Do you have any favorite recipes that come to mind as you read this? If there is a story or a tale to tell about your recipe, we’d love for you to share it with us.


The Cookbook Team would like recipes that highlight ingredients that come from our school garden or other Pacific Northwest grown ingredients. The more kid-friendly, the better!  If possible, include ways that your recipes can be modified for dietary restrictions. 


Please send your recipes to Karen Stone at kk.stone2(at), or there will be an envelope on the wall by the front office for you to drop off recipes, pictures, photos and any stories you want to share. The deadline is Friday, December 19th, 2014. 



Pathfinder honored for its improvements in reading and math

2014 School of DistinctionCongratulations to the Pathfinder staff and students for being named a 2014 School of Distinction! From the Center for Educational Effectiveness’ press release:

Bellevue WA – October 28, 2014 – Outstanding improvement in reading and math sustained over a five‐year period is the reason that 101 schools in Washington state received the 2014 School of Distinction (SOD) award today. The Center for Educational Effectiveness (CEE) in partnership with the Association of Educational Service Districts (AESD), the Association of Washington School Principals (AWSP), Washington Association of School Administrators (WASA), Washington State School Directors’ Association (WSSDA), and Washington State Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (WSASCD) have recognized schools in the top 5% of improvement for their levels.

The 2014 School of Distinction award winners include 54 elementary schools, 22 middle / junior high schools, 17 high schools, and 8 alternative schools. This award is the eighth annual School of Distinction award in Washington State and includes nine schools who are first‐time winners and multiple‐year winners including Mercer International Middle School (Seattle Public Schools) which is a six time winner of the SOD award. Describing the schools that are designated as School of Distinction award winners, Greg Lobdell, President of CEE noted, “These schools are from all regions of the state, all sizes of towns, with a range from 2.7% to 100% poverty and enrollment of English Language Learners as high as 40%. These schools demonstrate that significant improvement is occurring all across our diverse public schools.”


Meet Elk Clan (4/5) teacher, Talia!


Talia as a 4th grader.

Hello! My name is Talia Maas-Howard, and I’m thrilled to be joining the
Pathfinder team this year as the 4th/5th grade Elk Clan teacher. I was
born and raised in Northern California where I completed my BA in
Development Studies at UC Berkeley. I worked in various capacities in the Oakland Unified School District before moving to Seattle to pursue an
Elementary Credential and a Masters in Teaching from the University of

In my free time I enjoy gardening, playing soccer, hiking,
reading, and listening to live music. I greatly look forward to
strengthening relationships with the students, families, and staff that
make up the Pathfinder community.


Elk Clan (4/5) teacher, Talia.


Important Information about Pathfinder’s Creative Approach Application

Your Building Leadership Team (BLT) and the Pathfinder staff have agreed that this will be the year Pathfinder engages in the application process to become a Creative Approach school. THIS IS A CALL FOR PROPOSALS as to what that approach will be. The process is vigorous and our timeline is tight. However, this may be the last year that the opportunity will be made available hence the push to apply this year for the following school year. Proposals are due on October 30th at 9:00 a.m. Community involvement is crucial to the success of the application. Please see the following embedded document for additional information on Creative Approach Schools, our deadlines/process, as well as the proposal questions.

Once the proposals are turned in a very busy Creative School Committee will be assessing the applications to determine the direction of our approach. This committee will be made up of staff, PTSA Board members and other parents. Pathfinder’s deadline for submitting the application is December 19th. There will be a Town Hall to review and discuss the application prior to its submission. Date to be announced.

If you are completely (or partially) in the dark about Creative Approach schools like I was until a month ago, I am available as your BLT parent representative to answer any questions as is David. We are excited about the possibilities for Pathfinder as a Creative Approach school and although the process will be intense and rigorous, feel that it is a worthy endeavor!

–Odetta Owen, BLT and PTSA Board Member

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