How does the PTA use your donation?


Are you curious about what the PTA did with the donations from last year?  Take a look at these slides:

 Please remember this is a public school and the funds from the district and state are not great.  We need help from every family to provide the best experience possible – please consider your son, daughter, niece, nephew, grandson, granddaughter, neighbor, friend and donate anything you can.  We won’t ask again when this drive is over (well, until the Auction and next year).

Permanent link to this article: http://k5stempta.org/2014/10/28/how-does-the-pta-use-your-donation/


Box Tops Fall Deadline Approaches


The Box Tops for Education (BTFE)  program is an easy way to help the PTA raise funds! You can find the pink Box Tops logo on cereals, yogurt, T-shirts, plastic bags, paper products, folders and many other items. Each Box Tops logo is worth .10 cents and can add up to thousands of dollars per year.

The PTA collects Box Tops year round and submits these collections to BTFE twice yearly. The fall deadline is Monday, November 3. Please clip and send any Box Tops to school with your child or drop them off in the Box Tops basket in the school office before the 11/3 deadline.



Permanent link to this article: http://k5stempta.org/2014/10/28/box-tops-fall-deadline-approaches/


2014 STEM Pumpkin Chunkin’ – this Saturday


Please join us on Saturday, Nov. 1st to put those leftover Halloween pumpkins to good use by destroying them! Come see engineering and science in action as we catapult, drop, and roll our way to pumpkin destruction. Does a pumpkin’s size affect how far it is thrown by the catapult? Is there a difference in ease of destruction when a pumpkin is carved v. whole? How high on a ladder do you need to go to get a good “splat!”? These questions and many more may be answered!

Here are the details:

Saturday, November 1st
1:00pm – 2:30pm
Boren Playfields

This is a Bring-Your-Own-Pumpkin event. So, grab them off of your porch, offer to compost them for your neighbors, or go buy more at after-Halloween bargain rates! Big ones, small ones, bring them all! Bring some to share!



Permanent link to this article: http://k5stempta.org/2014/10/27/2014-stem-pumpkin-chunkin-this-saturday/


Direct Give Goal #4: Community


We are near the end of of our Direct Give campaign and are far from our goal of $50,000. Our teachers have a big year planned, and our PTA wants to sponsor as many resources and community events as possible, but we need your help to make it happen.donate-button-md

This school has been a community effort since day one, and if you are reading this, you are part of our community. Our goals for our students and our school are lofty: we want to provide each child with an engaging, rich and rigorous education that prepares them for a lifelong love of learning. We want to build a caring community where each child is able to participate to her or his fullest. The dollars the PTA spends on Community go toward enrichment scholarships, assemblies and guest speakers, safety equipment and disaster planning, playground resources and special events such as Pi Day and our Back to School Bashes.

How much does it cost to give our school a boost? Take a look at some of the items on our wish list this year to get a sense of just some of the costs hope to cover this year.

Guided Reading Libraries $1500 per classroom (over $20k for whole school)
Each classroom needs to have a substantial collection of fiction and non-fiction books for students at every level. We need sets of books for students to use in small groups.

Reading Assessments $300 (we need at least two)
In order for each student to be introduced to reading material at his or her level, teachers need to do regular reading assessments. The Fountas Pinnell system used by our teachers allows them to find just the right book level for each student, but we don’t have enough of the assessment kits to provide each teacher with regular access to them.

Community Speakers and Demonstrations $500-1000 each
We want to make learning come alive to our students, and we believe that seeing and hearing from specialists and professionals. We want to bring excellent presentations from individuals and groups into our school for assemblies or community events.

treeEmergency Kits $250
In the event of an emergency, it is important that every classroom has a grab-and-go kit that contains basic supplies to care for a group of students out of the building. These packs have first aid supplies, snacks, rain protection and more.
In addition to these kits, we also have potable water in each classroom in the event of a short-term situation, and we are working toward building a comprehensive disaster kit that would contain food rations and sanitation supplies for our whole school for 24-72 hours.

Microscopes $150 each (we need 15 more)
Last year we were able to purchase 15 microscopes for our lab with Direct Give funds. It is wonderful to be able to provide our students access to high-quality tools, but our teachers have told us they could do much more if we had a microscope available for each student, rather than requiring students to share as they do now.

Professional Development in Project Based Learning (PBL) $1500 per teacher (over $20k for all-staff training)
Creating a STEM-focused PBL curriculum requires a lot of hard work from our teachers, and in order for their projects to come together as a whole school year after year, they need to have a common set of skills and practices. Sending a teacher to a PBL training will have a tremendous benefit to each child at STEM. More teacher confidence in PBL means more hands-on learning, more art, and more field experience, meeting the needs of each child at her or his level.

Playground Equipment $350 twice a year
Our kids love to kick balls, jump ropes, and draw with chalk. They play as hard as they work, and just as pencils are worn to stubs, ropes are jumped to shreds.

Safety Patrol Vests and Flags $300
STEM staff member Hayward Coleman has done an excellent job training our 4th and 5th graders in the fine art of safety patrol. These students give up their recesses and take time before and after school to assist staff in making sure that all of our students move safely through and around our campus.

Permanent link to this article: http://k5stempta.org/2014/10/27/direct-give-goal-4-community/


Help Win $1000 for K-5 Stem!


Labels for Education (LFE), a program that offers art, athletic, and academic merchandise to schools, will be giving $1000 each to 1,000 lucky schools through its Grand Stand for Schools sweepstakes!

You can help K-5 STEM qualify for entry by collecting and turning in Labels for Education UPC barcodes or beverage/sauce caps from now until 12/31/2014. Look for barcodes/ caps from these specific products:

  • Dannon Danimals Smoothies
  • Prego Italian sauces
  • SpaghettiOs MicrOs 

The more codes/caps we enter from these featured products, the better our chance of being a $1000 winner! Please drop off your barcodes/caps in the Labels for Education box inside the office or place them in an envelope marked “Labels for Education” and return them to your child’s teacher. Deadline for entry into the Grand Stand for Schools sweepstakes is 12/31/2014.

Do you have LFE barcodes and caps from other products? Never fear!  We collect them year-round and every point is redeemable.  To learn more about how you can spot and collect LFE barcodes and caps, please visit the LFE page.


Permanent link to this article: http://k5stempta.org/2014/10/22/help-win-1000-for-k-5-stem/


Pumpkin Chunkin’ 2014 – VOLUNTEERS NEEDED


With only two weeks left before our 2nd Annual STEM Pumpkin Chunkin’ event, we are still in desperate need of volunteers. In order to make this incredibly fun, unique event happen, we need people to help set-up, supervise, tear down, and clean up.

In addition to the actual Pumpkin Chunkin’ (and rolling, and dropping, and balancing), we also need volunteers to help upgrade and reset our catapults from last year. We call this part, Construction for Destruction! We need people power and power tools.

Both the pre-event construction and actual event volunteer spots are up on Sign Up Genius:

Without volunteers, we may have to cancel this year’s event. Sign up now!

Not sure exactly what Pumpkin Chunkin’ is? Watch our video from last year, when lots of STEM families (and teachers) braved high winds and power outages for our First Annual Pumpkin Chunkin’.


Permanent link to this article: http://k5stempta.org/2014/10/20/pumpkin-chunkin-2014-volunteers-needed/


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/

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