Direct Give Goal #3: Arts, Engineering and INSPIRATION



Last year our Direct Give and auction raised almost $100,000. Our community made it clear that the arts are a critical part of our children’s education, so we looked for ways to support enhanced arts instruction in our school. Our dollars paid not only for art supplies, but for an upcoming staff training with Arts Impact, a local organization that provides training for teachers on integrating the arts into Project Based Learning. This year, we will continue to support the visual arts by purchasing supplies beyond the usual crayons and construction paper, and we will also work with Marie Nelson, our new performing arts teacher, to find ways to support music and theater in our school.We are three weeks in to our Direct Give campaign, and we have only made it one quarter of the way to our goal of $50,000. If our goals seem lofty far away, let us turn to accomplishments for a bit of inspiration.

  • 2014DGFlowerWhen Seattle Public Schools (SPS) opened STEM in 2012, they set a budget for 55 students. We opened our doors on day one with nearly 260.
  • When SPS considered moving our school to a new, smaller site, we suggested that letting us stay at Boren and becoming a K-8 might be a better idea. They agreed to make Boren our home as we roll towards a middle school program.
  • When we began our first real fundraiser last year, our Direct Give seemed to be failing. Our goal of $50,000 was nowhere near met with only a week to go. We ended up making our goal thanks to the efforts and contributions of our community (and the generous matching donations of their employers). We raised the same amount again at our first auction.
  • When we began last school year, we had an empty lab and few art supplies, and a long list of materials requested by teachers. Today we have an incredible resource room in our science lab, and our teachers have access to quality art materials. In coming months, they will also be getting training in integration of arts with Project Based Learning.
  • When our teachers needed resources last year, they hesitated in asking for support. Now they know that the PTA is ready and able to support their goals through material resources and professional development.

Together we can meet our goals again, and we can continue to say YES to supporting our teachers and students.

Thank you for your support of our students, staff and community.


Thanks to contributions to last year’s Direct Give, STEM, our teachers have access to tools and materials that aren’t found in every school. From paints with quality brushes to supplies for print making and collage, our supply room is stocked with inspiring ways to integrate the arts into Project Based Learning.


As a STEM school, we were lucky to be provided with a science lab, but it turned out to be an empty room. Last year we began to fill it with quality tools, from microscopes and magnifying loupes to thermometers and pulleys.


Now our students can mix, dissect, observe, measure and build with real instruments and tools that are not available in most elementary schools.

Permanent link to this article: http://k5stempta.org/2014/10/20/direct-give-goal-3-arts-engineering-and-inspiration/


Direct Give Goal #2: Project Based Learning


Support Project Based Learning at STEM


What is Project Based Learning?

Imagine a day spent learning all about one thing. Stretch that day to a week–or a month. You look closely at it. You read about it. You write reports on it and stories inspired by it. You build models of it, study the science it. You create art about it. You have conversations about it, imagine how you could could improve it. You calculate about it (whether it’s addition, measurements, ratios, or costs). You teach your friends what you know about it. At the end of a month or two, you know the subject well, and your reading, writing, math, science, engineering, art and presentation skills have all been actively linked and engaged.

Project Based Learning (PBL) is a method of instruction that integrates diverse subjects into a long-term project. Instead of learning each subject separately, with PBL, students work on many subjects as they relate to the current class project. PBL engages students through active, hands-on learning, and it helps students to understand the connections between subject areas that might otherwise seem disconnected. When STEM was started, the Design Team decided that PBL would be the best approach for this school because it would provide more opportunities to make STEM subjects come alive for our students and give them applied knowledge. PBL emphasizes projects and presentations, encouraging students to share their knowledge and to become members of an engaged learning community.

A recent piece on KQED took a look at PBL in the sciences and found strong evidence in favor of this hands-on approach.

What does it mean to fund PBL?

Project Based Learning isn’t a kit you can buy: it’s an approach that educators take to engage their students, and it requires more work than handing out workbooks and assigning chapters in a textbook. In order to create projects that meet standards and integrate as many subjects as possible, teachers need to know how to plan a project and how to guide it along as students respond to and shape it. Although all of our teachers joined STEM with enthusiasm about innovation in education, not everyone has experience with PBL. For our whole school to engage in rigorous, lively PBL, all of our teachers need some common ground. If we can support PBL through ongoing professional development for our teachers, we can help ensure that every class has exciting projects going on at all times. We want to be able to send our staff to workshops and trainings that will connect them to other inspired educators and provide them with a common language for building projects for all of our students.

We also want to be able to purchase the tools and resources teachers might request for their projects. After last year’s Direct Give, we were able to outfit our STEM science lab with a tremendous array of resources that are not usually available in elementary schools, but our teachers always think bigger, and we want to be able to say YES to their dreams.


For more information about Project Based Learning, visit the Buck Institute, one of several organizations promoting this approach in education. Note: STEM may not use the Buck Institute for trainings, but they remain a good source of information about the concepts of PBL.

Permanent link to this article: http://k5stempta.org/2014/10/13/direct-give-goal-2-project-based-learning/


EScrip Enrollment Deadline


K5 STEM Parents and Friends,

November 1 is the deadline for Escrip RENEWAL. To ENROLL or RENEW you will need your name, Safeway card number, email address, phone number and street address. If you don’t have your Safeway card number you can call 1-877-Safeway for their customer service office and they will help you find your Safeway card number. You can then call Escrip at 1-800-931-6258 and they can help you enroll. (Group ID #500043528).

Safeway gives 1% back to the K-5 STEM PTA. A family that spends $650 per month will contribute $78 per year.

Thriftway also gives 1% back; just deposit your receipts in the main office.

Thank you for supporting K-5 STEM!


Permanent link to this article: http://k5stempta.org/2014/10/12/escrip-enrollment-deadline/


Direct Give: Did you know?


Why do we do a Direct Give anyway? Why does it make sense for STEM? Watch this and find out… and please consider giving towards our goal of $50k to support our kids and teachers.


Permanent link to this article: http://k5stempta.org/2014/10/10/direct-give-did-you-know/


Direct Give Update!



We are one week into the Direct Give and so far have raised $2500!

No cookie dough, no wrapping paper, no magazine sales by you or your kids- just a tax free donation to support our wonderful school.

These funds support each and every child at STEM. Please spread the word to friends and family who will support STEM- and don’t forget to include asking your employer if they will do matching funds!

Our goal of $50,000 will be far reaching in the area’s of literacy, tech/science/engineering support, safety, community events and more! Donate Today!


Permanent link to this article: http://k5stempta.org/2014/10/08/direct-give-update/


RSVP Today for the STEM Social!


Please join us for the first STEM Social! Parents, guardians, friends, STEM community all welcome!

Who:     STEM community (adults only/babes in arms).
What:   Join us for light refreshments (beer, wine, soda & coffee & light appetizers). YMCA has a parents night out that night or share a babysitter. $5 suggested donation per person
Where: TAF Bethaday Community Learning Space, 605 SW 108th Street, Seattle, WA 98146
When:   Saturday, October 11th, 7:00 – 9:00+/- pm


1)  Online Here

2)  Email to Robin


3)  Write check for $5 to K-5 STEM PTA and leave in the STEM Social mailbox by Thursday, October 9th at 10:00 a.m.



Permanent link to this article: http://k5stempta.org/2014/10/06/rsvp-today-for-the-stem-social/


Direct Give Goal #1: Supporting Literacy



Our teachers are working hard to introduce all of our students to the STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), but without literacy skills, students cannot access many of the tools they need to excel in these areas. Literacy is not just the ability to read and write. True literacy includes critical thinking, active inquiry, and reasonable and creative response. Supporting students in achieving true literacy requires diverse tools and resources, from phonics programs, reading assessment tools, quality fiction and non-fiction texts, and access to online resources.

Despite the profound importance of literacy, the district does not fund these resources. While we were provided with some books when we opened two years ago, all of the books that we have added to the school library since have been paid for by PTA donations and book fairs, and it has fallen on teachers to develop their classroom libraries, which can take years.

Our principal, Ben Ostrom, and our librarian, Mary Bannister, are eager to offer more to our students. They have requested sets of guided reading books, for small reading groups, to be shared among the teachers. They also want to make sure that all of our classroom libraries are adequate to the needs of our students, with leveled libraries and quality informational texts. There are also several online subscriptions that would provide access to a large selection of nonfiction texts to all students.

Library Books Tornadoes

We want our students to be surrounded by inspiring and informative books every day. We want to ensure the access of all students to a great classroom library, even if their teacher is new.

Please submit your donation now.  The impact of your donation will be far-reaching.  Supporting the literacy of our STEM community will allow each child to go further in years to come.

For more information and to see all the Direct Give Goals click here.

Donate Now

Permanent link to this article: http://k5stempta.org/2014/10/06/direct-give-goal-1-supporting-literacy/


“Feather The Nest” Direct Give Campaign is Live



Feather The NestOur Fall Fundraising Event is a Direct Give

The Direct Give is our first fundraiser of the year and your first opportunity to help STEM students and staff get the resources they need for an enriched school year.
State and local funding is inadequate to support the vision of our school and provide the level of services we want for all of our students. The PTA works for school improvements by advocating locally and nationally, but our voices do not provide the dollars we need, so we ask for support from you, our community. We chose a Direct Give so that each dollar you spend goes directly to the school. We do not ask our students and families to sell products or gather pledges. Each donation is tax deductible, and many employers will match donations, increasing your gift to our community.


View more information about the PTA’s goals and where your generous donations go.

Permanent link to this article: http://k5stempta.org/2014/10/01/feather-the-nest-direct-give-campaign-is-live/


You’re Invited to the STEM Social……


martiniSTEM Social


Who:        STEM parents (adults only/babes in arms).

What:       Join us for light refreshments (beer, wine, soda & coffee & light appetizers).  YMCA has a parents night out that night or share a babysitter.  $5 suggested donation per person

Where:    TAF Bethaday Community Learning Space, 605 SW 108th Street, Seattle, WA 98146 - Get Directions

When:     Saturday, October 11th, 7:00 – 9:00 pm


  • Price: $5.00 Quantity:

Permanent link to this article: http://k5stempta.org/2014/09/29/youre-invited-to-the-stem-social/


Math in Focus – Parent University, Oct 9th



Struggling to help with the math homework?

Want to learn more about the Singapore Math and the Math in Focus curriculum?

Seattle Public Schools is providing an opportunity for families to learn more about Math in Focus directly from the company.   Math in Focus trainers will provide a “Parent University.”  They will share the framework for the Singapore approach to math and provide strategies families may use at home to support students in their learning.

When:  Thursday, Oct. 9, 6:30 – 8 p.m

Where:  West Seattle High School Auditorium

Permanent link to this article: http://k5stempta.org/2014/09/29/math-in-focus-parent-university-oct-9th/

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