Dave Watson – Guest Speaker

Thank you for joining us, everyone! Dave Watson has been working with our faculty and administration to better understand issues surround Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and this was our opportunity as a community to hear directly from him. This won’t be the last opportunity we have, though, to challenge ourselves to be more inclusive and have a positive effect on communities traditionally left out of the conversation. Below, please find additional resources to continue your own conversations and stay tuned for our next speaker, Jessica Sinarski!

Book Recommendations

I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made For Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown

So You Want To Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo

Me & White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, Become a Good Ancestor by Layla Saad

How To Be An Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi

Stamped by Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds

Stamped For Kids adapted by Sonja Cherry Paul

Social Justice Parenting by Dr. Traci Baxley (to be released on October 19)

Podcast Recommendations

Good Ancestor Podcast with Layla Saad
An interview series with change-makers & culture-shapers exploring what it means to be a good ancestor. Hosted by globally respected speaker, anti-racism educator, and New York Times bestselling author of Me and White Supremacy, Layla F. Saad.

First Name Basis with Jasmine Bradshaw
As parents, we all want to teach our kids to be inclusive, but how? Join Jasmine Bradshaw each week as she gives you the tools and practical strategies that you need to talk to your children about race, religion, and culture. If you are a parent who values inclusion and wants to teach your children how to truly love those who are different from them, this podcast is for you!

Seeing White
A fourteen-part documentary series exploring whiteness in America—where it came from, what it means, and how it works.

In August of 1619, a ship carrying more than 20 enslaved Africans arrived in the English colony of Virginia. America was not yet America, but this was the moment it began. No aspect of the country that would be formed here has been untouched by the 250 years of slavery that followed. On the 400th anniversary of this fateful moment, this is the full story.

PA Meeting – 10/1/21

Thanks for coming, everyone! We’ll see you again very soon when Dave Watson, our first Guest Speaker, hosts a discussion with us on Wednesday, October 6th, at 7pm. Please remind your grades and we’ll have a Zoom link for you very zoon! He’s actually continuing his work with our faculty later today, and they’ve had nothing but the highest praise for how he continues to challenge and motivate them. Here are some time stamps from the meeting:

0:54 – Parking. Bernadette and Pablo really need us to get the word out: Drive more safely, park more kindly.
5:07 – PA Roles Discussion. Chris Sourov handling Hospitality mentorship. New Auction Liaisons should feel free to reach out to Lauren Exnicios for guidance. Room Parents, please feel free to use some version of this email template for your communications. Don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions!
17:10 – Scrip is being Discontinued.
19:36 – Managing, keeping track of Donations for grade-level Teacher, Staff, and Parish Appreciation. Here’s an example of a disclaimer we like to use in our communications regarding Teacher Appreciation Donations:

We are gathering funds to gift teachers and staff throughout the year. All funds collected from both [X] grade classes will cover: 1) Teacher and support staff Christmas gifts, 2) Teacher Appreciation Day gifts in February, 3) an event in [ASSIGNED MONTH] honoring the full staff, and 4) End of the year teacher gifts. The suggested donation is a one-time donation of $X. But, please remember that we are a Fair Share school. Donations are voluntary and any amount you can contribute is very much appreciated.  

26:52 – Please be mindful of Fair Share in all communications.
30:32 – Advice on gift-giving for your grade’s month to show Appreciation to all Teachers, Staff, and Parish Staff. Don’t forget Specialists and XDC!
43:04 – We welcome you to schedule monthly check-in’s and community events within your grades. Regular meetings are especially helpful for younger grades.
47:16 – On our first Guest Speaker, Dave Watson, October 6th at 7pm.
52:35 – Pablo on Dave Watson.
54:27 – Setting up regular grade-level community events.

Welcome Back Town Hall and PA Meeting – 9/16/21

5:29 – Town Hall begins
8:13 – Strategic Goals, Academic Progress
11:21 – Accreditation, a large emphasis for Administration in 2021
15:55 – Covid Update – Keep community safe, keep sick kids home, get tested
18:58 – Jog-a-Thon
20:53 – Traffic pattern for Drop-Off and Pick-Up
24:26 – Q/A, Covid
25:36 – Q/A, Accreditation
30:41 – Q/A, School Directory, Preschool Drop-Off, Scouting
33:03 – Q/A, How can parents best support teachers this year
34:20 – PA Meeting begins
Meeting Schedule:
Friday, October 1st, 8:45am
Thursday, November 4th, 5pm
Friday, December 3rd, 8:45am
36:53 – Announcing our lineup of Speakers for 2021
Dave Watson, Seattle Education Administrator previous Law Enforcement Officer, who helps organizations holistically approach Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Jessica Sinarski, Licensed Counsellor and Advocate for Children’s Mental Health, will focus on Parenting and Children’s Anxiety through Covid
Traci Baxley, An Early Childhood and Development Specialist, Coaching Social Justice for Parents, book releasing in October: Social Justice Parenting
41:03 – PA Roles explained
41:56 – What is a PA Rep
44:43 – What is a Room Parent
46:20 – What is an Auction Liaison
49:37 – What is a Hospitality Chair
54:10 – Other Opportunities to Volunteer, some PA Q/A

PA Meeting – 5/6/21

Hi everyone, Thanks for the truly great discussion last Thursday. Sara and I spoke for a long time afterwards, and some of the notes that follow were produced as a result of that offline conversation. For the meeting recording, go here: https://youtu.be/l8KOMLAHKOs.

– Hospitality Chairs, we’re closing in on the end of the year, and this is typically when we thank our faculty and staff one last time, through Scrip, similar to Christmas.
– Everyone on our school’s staff from our maintenance personnel to our PE teachers has worked tirelessly to safely keep our children in school, and this is an invitation for your grade’s PA/Hospitality team to gift those that you can, one last time.
– A link to our Online Scrip Purchasing Tool will be sent in the next week and orders will be due by May 28th.
– Please direct questions to Chris Sourov, Mr_and_Mrs_So@hotmail.com.
– She’s the best.
– Enjoy the last week of school and happy Graduation!
– If you have any further feedback regarding PA, please don’t hesitate to email us, and we’ll schedule some time to talk.
– With the cancelation of our June meeting, we unfortunately won’t get a tearful goodbye speech from Tricia. Simply put, though: St. John is better because of her, and she will be sorely missed by anyone who has had the benefit of working with her. I couldn’t have asked for a better partner to teach me the ropes and weather the storm that was 2020.
– Thank you for your feedback regarding our meeting time for next year. We won’t make a decision soon regarding this, but it’s important to see how people are feeling right now. We’ll ask again closer to September.
– Responses were mixed and participants hope to be as involved as their work and family responsibilities permit.
– We have to stay flexible to the limitations Covid might project on us.
– If we are capable of having in-person meetings, perhaps there can still be a CSPAN-like live Zoom component?
– If we can, a request was made that we continue recording meetings.
– We’re doing this a little differently this year. For now, we would love to know if you’re interested in signing up for PA for ’21-’22. In the summer, we’ll contact you and your grade’s team, to give you the opportunity to discuss how you’d like to divy up roles.
– This broad initial approach should help new parents feel more welcome to ask questions, contribute, and carve out a role that works best for them.
– We will send a follow-up Sign Up by the end of summer to give you the opportunity to solidify your roles.
– Helping new families navigate life at St. John is fun and rewarding.
Thank you for weathering a pandemic with us, everyone. Your hard work helped our teachers get through some really tough times. The work still continues to keep each other safe, and to remind our staff that we are so grateful for them, but for what it’s worth, I think you’re a truly special group of volunteers. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

PA Meeting – 3/4/21

This month, coming off an applications cycle in which we saw close to 200 new families applying to come to St. John School, we focused on admissions. Jonna Skokan, our Admissions and Development Director, was in attendance and so was our Vice Principal, Paul Kelley. Here are some time stamps to help you skim through:

St. John Welcome Committee
Showing Thanks to PE Staff
Appreciation Webpage

Education Night: Domestic Violence, New Beginnings

This was our first Parent Education Night of ’20-’21, featuring Rachelle Nesta, the Director of Development for New Beginnings. Thank you to the group of moms who helped put this together. As discussed in the video, domestic violence is one of the few problems we can sizably prevent by simply talking about it within our communities. Hopefully in the future, we’ll be able to partner with an organization like New Beginnings to meaningfully help survivors of domestic violence too.


PA Meeting – 12/3/20

As always, thank you all for your thoughtfulness and dedication. We surprisingly covered a lot of ground at this meeting, despite all the uncertainty surrounding us. If you want to skip through topics, the time stamps below go from beginning to end.

Recent response to Covid exposure at St. John
Covid notes from Principal O’Leary after meeting with county officials
Holiday travel, community considerations
Auction update from Lauren Exnicios
Scrip update from Tricia
Check-in with Hospitality and Appreciation Project
Considerations when gifting outside of Hospitality
Unbound Christmas giving
Continued discussion for Appreciation Project, creative measures

St. John administration, faculty and staff are so very grateful for our community.  Your partnership, generosity and support inspire us, especially during these uncertain times – thank you.

During the holidays, families may want to show teachers their appreciation outside of or in addition to class gifts and scrip.*  To keep our community safe and healthy, we ask that, at this time, you follow these guidelines:

Drop Off:  Cards and/or gifts may be dropped off in the Parish vestibule on the following days (look for a box marked “Faculty and Staff”):

        • Monday, 12/14, 10-2pm
        • Wednesday, 12/16, 10-2pm
        • Thursday, 12/17, 10-2pm

If you would prefer to mail a card, please address it to your teacher, c/o St. John School, 120 N. 79th St., Seattle, WA 98103

  • On-Campus Learners may deliver cards and/or gifts directly to teachers.Homemade Baked Goods:  While we love your cooking, the school kindly asks, for this holiday, that you do not gift homemade baked goods.  Though there is currently no evidence to support the transmission of COVID-19 through food, to minimize risks, we cannot accept food made in private kitchens at this time.
  • Historically most grades have gifted Scrip credit as Christmas gifts to faculty and staff.  The hospitality chair(s) typically coordinate and collect donations from parents to create a larger pool of funds, which is distributed to faculty and staff as Scrip gift.  If you are unsure if your grade is doing this, please check with your room parent.

PA Meeting – 11/5/20

This was our third PA meeting of ’20-’21, and this was a special one. We were fortunate to have Mrs. Abby Mansfield and Ms. Chloe Shaw in attendance to discuss Social Justice. As you can see in the video above, it was an uplifting and informative conversation. Normal PA business follows. Please accept this recording in lieu of our classic meeting notes.

Some links:
Antiracism Resources

Please skip to 43:21 for our discussion regarding our ongoing Monthly Recognition of faculty, specialists, and staff.

A quick update from Principal O’Leary on our school’s reaction to the rising Covid numbers is at 1:01:15.

This wasn’t covered during the meeting, but we were asked to remind everyone about Traffic Safety.

If you have any questions or feedback, please email Tricia or me. Thank you all for your continued and bountiful support.

K-2 Return Quick Guide

Sign Up for SchoolMessenger Text Messaging service
Opt-in to receive text messages from the school, including emergency notifications.

Health Screening QR
Answer and submit the Health Screening questions every day.  Upon completion, follow the instructions on the confirmation page.

How to Add the Health Screening Survey to Your Phone Like an App

Principal’s Letter – 9/24/20
“Please do not send your children to school if they have runny noses, sore throats, congestion, or any one of the symptoms on the list.  Students who stay home because they have symptoms can still access instruction through our remote learning channels.  If your children have runny noses or teary eyes due to allergies, we will need a note from your pediatrician; otherwise, we will send them home.”

If a Member of Your Family is Ill
King County’s checklist regarding your child’s ability to return to school following exposure to Covid-19 or presenting with cold or flu-like symptoms.

St. John School’s Reopening Plan

King County Covid Response Toolkit

K-2 Town Hall – 9/17/20
Time-stamped discussion about returning to school and continued remote learning for families who opt out of in-person learning.