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    April 16, 2019 Site Council Meeting
    In Attendance—
    Teachers/Staff: Jennifer Lowe, Jenny Stewart, Julie Clayton, Tammi Mack, Cindy Deshler, Mark Fung, Katie Zissermann, Liz McCormack, Maria Callahan, Jen Sclafani, Kathleen Elsenboss, Carleen Sinton, Melissa Sire, Ginny Allemann, Lori Miller        
    Administration: Jon Gasbar, Principal
    Parents: Kaori Tanaka, Chair; Elizabeth Corman, Vice Chair; Lisa Anacker, Co-Treasurer; Tim Fonken, Co-Treasurer; Chelsea Lin, KC Potter de Haan, Jessica Williams-Nguyen, Stacey Seifert, Satcha Dearborn Graham, Chandra Mullenix, Julie Shin, Jenny Cugier, Robin Belz, Jason Wynegar, Erica Seddig, Alys Wylen, Lara Sendjaja, Stephanie Barnes, David Simonton, Malia Oliver, Tanya Wilson, Kristi Straus, Julie Crosier, Tres Tracy Ballon, Rosemary Grant, Mackenzie Sasser, Anna Farr, Joyce Macek, Jameal Samhouri, Tim Carter, Mike Alexander, Julie Houser, Jim Fath, Melissa Alexander, Jesica Avellone, Colin McKenna, Jeff Groseclose, Jeanette Fiess, Mardi Brekke, Cassie Condon, Emily Mitchell, Roger Wittmann, Andrea Mann, Sharon Reitman, Elizabeth Duffell, Angela Hyland, Tristan Osborn, Christina Pizana, Lisa Berman, Jessica Knaster Wasse, Leslie Cary, Wendy Linton, Amelia McGee, Anne Arnett, Susan Callari, Jennifer Dunn, Samantha Radosevich, Laura Cooper, Anna Peterson, Joe Peterson, Emily Wong, Sara Morgan, Sonja Hanson, Armin Seidl, Brad Wilke, Tina Watkinson, Whitney Gregory, Aaron Wilson, Desiree Gale, Jen Chan, Karen Anderson, Gregory Lorenz, Sam Chen, Will Gould, Liz Benko        
    Minutes taken by: Jesica Avellone, Alys Yablon Wylen, Robin Belz
    Call to Order--Kaori Tanaka, Site Council Chair
    Welcome and recognition of attendees whose first Site Council meeting this is.
    Lots of thing people want to talk about.  Kaori may have to cut some discussions short in the interest of time.  Reminder to be open to what other people have to say and to speak from your own perspective.
    Request for correction to March meeting minutes. None received.  March Meeting minutes approved as distributed.
    Principal’s Report—Jon Gasbar
    Reminder to stick to norms tonight in order to create a positive space so we can begin to move forward.  Requesting that people be positive and start to be part of a solution.  Reiterated Kaori’s point about listening.  
    Jon has been asked to speak about certain topics.  He has brought some materials and would like to share some thoughts and perspectives.  In public meetings and in private meetings, talking about personnel is something he can’t and won’t do.  This may or may not be a change from how things have been in the past.  The dynamic between an employer and an employee is between them and not part of a public space.  
    Jon spoke about adaptive changes vs technical changes. Technical changes tend to be quick fixes (e.g. of logistical details). Adaptive changes involve hearts, minds and culture. Jon has been able to look back and reflect that some things that he may have interpreted as technical changes may have actually been adaptive changes for this community.  In addition, sometimes many technical changes combined can become an adaptive change. 
    Jon has been asked about his philosophy on supporting the school, expeditionary learning (EL), responsive classroom (RC), and other programs we have here.  He has spent last months going around to classrooms and seeing some of the most amazing teaching he’s ever seen.  Been on field trips and to camp.  Incorporating dance and music into learning, exploring, making learning meaningful, hands-on learning, collaborative learning that he has seen here are all just good teaching, whatever we call it.  Jon is 100% in support of expeditionary learning.  School district has said they are not interested in taking away expeditionary learning.  
    [Jon handed out 4 documents during his Principal’s Report: 
    *Article II Section E of the Cert Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) 2018-2019
    *Instructional Materials - Elementary (list of current curriculum SPS has adopted)
    *Curriculum Resources Expeditionary Learning Website (printout of page with 2 graphics--Labs: Four Stages Across a Module and All Block: Flexible Grouping)
    *Superintendent Procedure 2020SP Waive Use of District-Adopted Materials, approved Feb 2017 by Superintendent Larry Nyland]
    Jon has read books John left in his office about Expeditionary Learning and has looked at the EL website, as well as EL resources that Steve Chavez sends out.  On the website, there is information about curriculum and alignment to common core state standards.  There is a piece about learning modules.  When Jon was talking previously about advanced learning and intervention, he was really talking about the question of how we are reaching all students and getting them support they need.  Some of his consideration comes from his own experience and some from the EL website.  He is considering what we are doing at TC and how it aligns with EL nationally.  Part of his philosophy is, in a school this big, we need to focus on 5 big areas: 
    *EL & literacy
    *social/emotional learning & responsive classroom
    *special ed
    *racial equity work  
    Jon has created work teams of teachers for each of these 5 areas.  They have small group time to plan and then provide professional development to colleagues.  Teams have been created to make this work sustainable in the long term.
    Jon is curious about the paths of individual students.  For example, we should be aware if a student has very similar expeditions several years in a row.  Jon is asking: how are we working together vertically and horizontally?
    Creative Approach School (CAS) status—Jon acknowledged that there seems to be general concern around this topic.  Read article from 2012 or whenever CAS first came into SPS.  [Handout (listed above) from collective bargaining agreement that talks about CAS.  Also made handout (also listed above) of all curriculums that the school district has adopted.]
    ****Request was made for these resources (4 handouts) to be made available electronically.
    TC went through CAS application process in 2013. 
    Melissa Alexander has copies of TC Creative Approach application if anyone wants to see it.
    Jon was told by the central office (specifically Kyle, who is currently in charge of CAS for the district) that we currently don’t have a single waiver for any adopted materials on file.  Kyle is relatively new to this position.  Misa was in the position previously but has moved to a different department.
    Tammi (teacher) helped Kristin send in paperwork for Bridges (math curriculum) waiver last year.  
    Jon feels like there is a tie between EL and CAS, but he is being told by the district that they are not linked, not one and the same.  
    Parent comment: It is harder to do EL when you don’t have the hiring waivers that allow you to hire staff with EL interest/experience/etc. 
    Jon offered the example of the RULER social emotional program that most schools in the district have adopted.  He has been told by the district that we don’t need a RULER waiver to use Responsive Classroom instead. So not only schools designated as CAS could choose to use Responsive Classroom. 
    Question: Is all of this documented somewhere?  Since Kyle is new and might have provided misinformation, it’d be good to find documentation.
    Question: Is there a way to check on Kristin’s submission of math waiver request?  It has to be on a computer or in a filing cabinet.   
    Question: Is there a CAS renewal process?  Do we need to renew every x years?  
    Jon’s response: Renewal is scheduled for next year.  Needs to be in by May 1, 2020.
    Jon: Let’s figure this out and let’s work together on our creative approach status.  What types of waivers might we need moving forward?  Recommending collaboration around this.  Reach out to people who have this information.
    Parent question: Who has authority/responsibility to maintain CAS for school? 
    Jon’s response: Looking at CBA document, principal and SEA rep sign and date document.  
    Parent follow-up: Somebody from this building has to send it in and sign it.  Who would that be?  
    Jon’s response: Staff and administration.  
    Parent follow-up: Who is administration? 
    Jon’s response: I am.  
    Parent question: Wondering why this is a topic of conversation.  Is somebody questioning our ability or right to do responsive classroom or expeditionary learning?  
    Jon’s response: The community brought this up so I wanted to talk about what I know about it and what the plan is to maintain it. Instructional teams I was describing are working on making our social-emotional language consistent between classrooms K-5.  EL team created document about aligning EL work, going back to some norms that were created in past around what it looks like in K-2 and what it looks like in 3-5.  
    Parent comment: We appreciate knowing what steps you’re taking and what you’re being told and your update to the community about lack of waivers.  
    Parent question: I see original 2013/2014 application.  Do we know that this was ever approved?  
    Response: Yes  
    Comment: What used to be called alternative education was changed to CAS. District liked this idea because it was an answer to charter schools. 
    Parent Question: Going beyond waivers, can we have a special Site Council meeting to talk about CAS and how we can move forward collaboratively?  Can we talk about how we take this into the future?  Parents are learning this too and it would be great if we could all learn this together.  
    School grew quite a bit pretty quickly.  With so many people, there are different interpretations.  People’s understanding is at different levels.
    Question: Are we in process of renewing creative approach?  Document says joint team comes out and looks at things.  
    Maria (teacher): A team from the district has never come out as part of this process. When we decided to do CAS, it was a way to maintain our creativity and our freedom.  It wasn’t about not teaching to the standards, but a desire to use our own path to get there.  There were a bunch of things that we as a program put together and wrapped up in a bow to show the district. We gave examples and showed student work.  We want to hang on to this because we want to maintain that freedom and creativity.  That CAS stamp says that SPS recognizes this.
    Parent question: Whatever has happened in the past, are you, Jon, taking ownership of this so that it doesn’t fall off the radar and there’s a plan for reporting back to the community?  
    Jon’s response: Yes, I will continue to do that and I will give updates at the next Site Council meeting.  
    Parent comment: As we’re gathering this information, we shouldn’t be looking outward to the district.  They don’t know.  We’ll get a lot clearer picture looking inward to staff, who are a goldmine.  
    Jon’s response: Yes, but it would be wise of our community to start to build a relationship with people at the central office around things that we want to do, so that we can have conversations more easily.  Trying to find balance where we can build a relationship between TC and district.  There are some things that are very important to central office and some things that  are very important here.  Need understanding and relationships so that central office doesn’t say no to things that are important here.
    Parent comment/question: As you hear, there is a lot of passion here.  How about a task force?  Lots of parents have gotten educated on this topic, more parents are probably interested.  We’re not fighting here.  All of us want this.  
    Parent question: Is this an appropriate setting to select someone to take charge of working with you on this?  So that we don’t leave tonight with good intentions but everyone duplicating work and no one leading the way and making this happen?
    Note: Melissa Alexander has been doing lots of research and is happy to continue but needs team to help (already has some people).
    Parent question: Is there a way staff can work with you to draft things since they have history there?
    Parent question: Request for Jon to confirm that you’re committing to protecting EL, RC, CAS, and all that makes TC special and that you’ll work with teachers to this end. So we don’t have to worry that this might not happen.
    Jon’s response: Yes. I’m a little confused because I’ve always felt that way, always believed in integrating art, music, dance, field studies, and bringing in experts.  
    Parent question: Are you in touch with John Miner at all to ask questions about this?
    Jon’s response: No, but I can give him a call.
    Statement from Jon: Speaking about this community and some of the things that have impacted it, Jon wants to talk about moving forward.  Going to be reaching out to leaders within the community and staff to figure out a path for moving forward where we can work together and collaborate to get through this time right now.  It won’t happen overnight, it’s going to take every single one of us, wherever they may be in the community, but hoping we can start right now.  That is Jon’s intention and his goal and he hopes that everyone can be supportive of that.  
    Jon (continued): 100% agrees with collaboration with families and community.  Relationship needs to be positive; we need to be moving in similar directions.  Jon values families’ input and opinions.  Going to work to continue to invite families to the table for conversations about our school and our program.  Going to need families’ support with that.  Jon’s door is always open.  Enjoying meeting with families, enjoy meeting in small groups.  Willing to talk over phone if someone can’t come to school.  He usually says give me three times in three days—will always make time to meet with families.
    Action Item: Find time to hold meeting specifically about creative approach schools.  Will go in newsletter when we come up with a date.
    Treasurer’s Report--Tim Fonken
    Budget to Actuals report available.  In the interest of time, we won’t go through it in great detail tonight.  Our focus needs to be on enormous gap between what we’ve raised and what we’d planned to spend.  Small group met to pour through budget to see where we can make changes for this year.  Biggest expenses things like Mary K (with whom we have a contract that we need and want to honor).  This leaves smaller ways we can try to close the gap.  
    Number on bottom right of back page of report, $29,000, is what the small group got when we went through and eliminated gap in what we budgeted and where we are now or where we think we will be at year-end based on historical information.  This cuts the shortfall down to approximately $40,000.  The Thornton Creek Parent Group (TCPG) has savings. Proposal is to tap savings to account for rest of gap for this year.  By next month’s Site Council (SC)         meeting, we’ll need to review draft budget for next year’s budget.  Need to figure out what baseline should be.  Do we maintain status quo or set the bar lower since fundraising this year didn’t meet expectations? Treasurers don’t plan to do this in vacuum.  There are a few people who emailed Tim and are interested in next year’s budget.  Anyone else interested should reach out to Tim if interested.  Treasurers would love for this to be a team effort.  We all bring different perspectives so the more different voices, the better. reaches Tim and Lisa.  
    Note for committee chairs: Small group cut committee budgets (many committees haven’t spent a penny) in the attempt to recoup or regain as much money as possible to address funding gap.  Please let Tim know if cuts are problematic.  People are already generous with their time and the intention here is not for parents to also have to financially support committee work.  Tim intends to reach out directly to committee chairs as well.
    Parent question: How much in reserves?  
    Answer: Approximately $250K.
    Parent question: Is there a minimum we should keep in reserves?
    Tim’s answer: Bylaws may address it, but we try to spend only what we raise.  Some years we add to reserves, some years we draw from reserves.
    Staff Report--Jen Sclafani
    Jen teaching 3rd grade this year. Last year was first year at TC. This is her first staff report. There is a lot going on!  
    Report cards went out right before break.  Very common-core-standards-based report card with so many lines.  Each year the district is doing some revisions.  Jen was part of a first round group working on some revisions in speaking, listening, reading, and writing sections.  It’s great to see some movement: the group was asking questions such as, what do parents want to see, what do they need to know?  Parents will see gradual changes to the report cards over the next few years.
    April is poetry month.  Poem in your pocket day April 30.  April 23 final Book-It performance: The Odyssey Tales.  
    Lots of field trips going on right now.  Lots of hands-on, out-in-the-field learning to go along with expeditions.  
    Room 26 5th grade class performed their play about the American Revolution.  More plays to come later in April and early May.
    Wednesday professional development: EL group (Jon already talked about).  In June, will be meeting as staff and trying to get ready for next year.  Support each other in getting ready for next year’s expeditions as well as aligning with district goals.
    Bylaws Report--Chris Ledford
    We were going to vote on bylaws tonight but they’re not ready.  Good meeting shortly before spring break to receive comments on the proposed new bylaws.  That meeting was so productive (good turnout), we realized we needed to do some more revision work.  Incorporated lots of comments into drafts.  Planning to have one more meeting to talk through some of bigger issues.  Hoping to vote in May meeting.  Plan is to circulate initial version with red lines indicating changes made in subsequent draft(s).  At end of this process, there won’t be single person who has all of their thoughts/comments incorporated, but the team is doing the best they can to consider various concerns and accommodate all they can.
    First subject of relatively-balanced competing comments (quite reasonable differences of opinions): should academic assistants be allowed to serve on the SC board? Chris thinks an individual can put on different hats and you’d lose lots of potential capable, knowledgeable volunteers who’d be good SC volunteers.  
    Parent comment: Suggestion that someone could recuse themselves from budget decisions if their own salary was in question.
    Parent comment: Bylaws are for worst-case scenario. 99.999% of time we are all operating with best intention, code of conduct in mind, community building in mind.  So maybe we could codify in bylaws occasions where recusal would have to happen so that we’d be covered if someone didn’t choose to recuse themselves when they should.
    Chris: no rules are good enough that no one can get around them.  Rules won’t save us.  At certain point, we have to rely on shared values.  Can’t write charter/bylaws to address all situations.  
    Parent comment: One thing to keep in mind is that academic assistants are not a money-making operation.  
    Parent comment: Can be tricky navigating—as academic assistant, you’re considering friends and co-workers.  
    Chris: Both positions are valid. 
    Parent comment: Shouldn’t the process, if followed, take care of conflict of interest in the sense that budgets are voted on by larger group not just small number of people who might be academic assistants?  If there is feeling that process is skewed, maybe that needs to be looked at.  
    Other topics still up in the air and needing to be considered:
    *Should TCPG name be changed to TC Caregiver Group or TC Family Group?
    *Should Site Council board have term limits?  Decent case to be made for the treasurer having term limits.  Most positions are somewhat self-limiting.
    *In addition to quorum and voting requirements, should at least one vote from teacher or one vote from parent be required to pass something?
    *Should write-in candidates be allowed for Site Council elections?
    Updated drafts will be available by newsletter.
    EDI Report--Angela Hyland
    Next meeting is this Thursday, 4/18.  
    Many of you have seen Cherry Pie document posted on Facebook. Christina called and asked if she could come to the next EDI meeting to answer any questions people might have.  I view EDI as place where anyone experiencing harassment or bullying can come.  Some very vocal EDI members who would like to have restorative justice process in place before having Christina come to speak.  This Thursday, Christina Ellis and Evan Briggs will be available for Q&A to be accountable for posting Cherry Pie report.  This won’t be a restorative justice process.  After they’ve answered questions, we’d like to talk together about next steps.
    Parent question: I had a chance to read document.  What do you mean by accountable? Document had specific viewpoint and perception of events.  Know people who were quoted or described in that document.  Are they going to feel comfortable coming to EDI meeting? The document is one-sided, and I don’t mean to minimize that side of the story, but you’re talking about members of the community who can’t defend themselves.
    Response: The document, in part, was posted because the district was doing an investigation and 10 months later, an absurd amount of time, it was not completed.  As a result of the posting of the document, the district immediately concluded and published their investigation.  It’s not about putting anyone on trial.  
    Parent comment: Christina Ellis wanted to show that she was accountable.  She didn’t want to post the document and then just disappear.
    Parent question: How can you be accountable if the people on the other side of the issue can’t be involved?  How is this helpful in this format?
    Parent comment: I don’t remember there being any quotes in Cherry Pie document.  
    Response: It was full of quotes.
    Parent comment: I’ve been attending EDI meetings this year, and I’ve been a member of this community for long time. When I heard indirectly last year about allegations of racism, etc, I wanted to become involved.  Several members of small EDI committee (majority of families of color) want to hear Christina Ellis & Evan Briggs but not to the exclusion of others.  This has been really marginalizing to members of EDI who weren’t consulted on this.  My motivation was to really work on race & equity.  Given the volatility and emotionality, this hasn’t happened and I feel really angry and betrayed.  Never had an opportunity to discourse about this action as a member of the EDI committee.  Of course there is institutional racism and we all have blind spots and biases.  The voices of families of color aren’t being heard in EDI even with good intentions.  What are our goals, what model do we use?  My biggest point of dissent is in terms of how the process has gone.  Need to move beyond individual grievances at this point.  Want to focus limited time and energy on moving forward and not being held hostage to these polarizations.
    Angela’s response: I guess I just want to add this is a huge issue for our school.  It’s definitely touched all of us.  EDI is like a microcosm of the larger community.  I’m trying to center the voices of the families that have been silenced to the point where they’ve left the school.  Three families I’m personally friends with that left the school mid-year last year because of issues of bullying and harassment that they tried to bring to staff and administration but which weren’t addressed.  This is why when Christina came back and asked, I said of course. 
    Parent comment: Cherry Pie document has sent this on a certain trajectory. Christina’s request would have been seen differently if not for that document.  This is unfair for others whose voices have not been heard.  
    Parent comment: You say you want to center these voices, so you need to let this parent who feels betrayed know she was heard.
    Jon: Let’s move on before we violate our norms of behavior.
    Parent question/comment: Question about governance and getting to consensus.  One of the things that worries me about this situation is that there is a committee where there is dissension within the committee.  There doesn’t seem to be way to resolve that without the chair just making the decision.  Suggestion that things be brought to SC when there is dissension within a committee group.  Each committee is accountable to all of Site Council.
    Angela’s response: I appreciate the desire for consensus.  Can’t do equity work in consensus way.  
    Parent comment: Equity Diversity Inclusivity committee needs to be inclusive of all of its members and not pit minority groups against one another to compete about whose harm is greater.  EDI committee needs to be inclusive of all of us. 
    Parent comment: I guess I’m confused.  People are asking for it to be structured differently.  I don’t hear anyone asking for silencing of Christina, just a request for it to be structured in a way that is different.
    Jon: We need to table this and move on.  
    Parent comment: How can we move on in terms of earlier statement about bringing us all together? It’s April.  When will we have that discussion? I realize we’re out of time tonight.  This has hung over all of us for a long time.  It’s not healthy for any of us. 
    Jon: I’m hoping to reach out to leaders of various groups and get something scheduled by the end of the week.  
    Grants Committee--Tristan Osborn
    Bike to School month will be May.  Katie Chenyu and Tristan are coordinating this effort.
    Track all of kids minutes biking anywhere.  This year, they are changing the reward at end to a threshold for entire school rather than individual classrooms.  Bike Fairy---putting lights on bikes when parked at school.
    Intersection painting—goal to get grant applied for in June.  Install in August.
    Parent question: Is this in partnership with Cascade Bicycle Club?  Could we link to document about safe biking with kids (maybe Cascade Bicycle Club could provide) since lots of families start biking with kids at this time.  
    Will be looking for volunteers for the north and south bike trains--2 parents needed per train.
    Anne Arnett—Please reach out with grant requests (SC committee members whose budgets were cut perhaps).
    Julie Shin--Special Ed
    Next Monday (4/22), the director of SPED, Nicole Fitch, will be here for a meeting at 6:30pm in the library.  This is a great opportunity for families with kids in special ed.  Focus of meeting: reduction of 3 distinct classrooms (classrooms that serve students with most intense special ed needs) to 2.  Changes to distinct may affect resource/access services.  Team-based delivery.  Also great to attend if you just care about inclusion.
    Tomorrow, a panel organized by ARC of King County, will be here: adults with disabililties coming to talk about their lives and school experiences.  One panelist with down syndrome, one with autism, and one with cerebral palsy.  Well-practiced advocates. Children welcome to attend.
    May events: anxiety talk, IEP info session
    Hiring Committee--Anna Marshall
    Committee is compiling a list of people who are able to volunteer on hiring committees. Hopefully the committee has reached everyone who has been trained with a survey so that everyone gets into the committee’s database. Need to plug parents into hiring opportunities.  
    One training happened at TC recently. Trainings are happening regularly at John Stanford Center.
    Parent question: What positions are we hiring for?  
    Answer: ELL 0.4FTE, math/literacy interventionist (next Thursday/Friday interviews), admin secretary 
    Communications Committee--KC Potter de Haan
    Asked for feedback from committee on how TC Facebook page should be moderated. It is a challenge to have a volunteer position monitoring the Friends of TC Facebook group, as that person is asked to determine whose voice is valid and whose isn't.  Also, it is a forum where all voices are not represented or heard. We likely don't have time this evening to discuss fully - but we need to determine in what role SC and TCPG officers are involved in this forum.
    Teacher question: How can we make the Facebook page a forum where norms are followed?
    Parent comment: Admin is a big job and usually paid
    Site Council Vice Chair: With a school this big, we need an online community meeting place that’s not Facebook. Can anyone techy invent a safe online space?
    Decision to continue discussion at later date.
    Hospitality Committee--Chelsea Lin/Jenny Pinto
    Teacher and staff appreciation week is coming up May 6-10.  There is a sign-up sheet online.
    EDI Addendum--Satcha Dearborn Graham
    Dr. Anu Tanarath will be here for an evening event on May 1 on how to talk to kids about race and equity.
    Kaori Tanaka, Chair: Action Items
    *Meeting on EL and CAS
    *Give input on 2019-2010 TCPG budget
    *Give input on bylaws
    *Given input on Facebook moderation
    *For Jon: set a meeting on moving forward in community