The Bell PTSA is a 501(c)(3), non-profit organization and is part of the largest volunteer, child-advocacy group in the country. The Bell PTSA has advocacy at the core of everything we do.


 

What is Bell PTSA currently advocating for? 

 

  • An equitable model for developing classroom size and staffing levels. Currently LWSD has one formula for classroom sizing, which fails to take into account key factors that impact the learning environment. A more equitable model would assess the needs of each student (e.g., IEPs, 504 plans, multilingual learners, low-income, homeless, student's with significant behavior needs, etc.) and set the classroom size and staff levels accordingly. Bell PTSA is in contact with LWSD's Director of Equity & Family Engagement as well as LWSD's School Board as we continue to advocate for change.

  • Better technology. We are advocating to ensure all student laptops/ tech devices meet industry standard (less than 3-4 years old) and perform properly (i.e., pages load in a timely fashion, the device can support the software, battery performance, etc). The Bell PTSA is in contact with LWSD's Chief Technology Officer and the LWSD School Board as we continue our advocacy efforts in this area.

  • Working to improve sustainability efforts in our schoolsLast year, the Bell PTSA relaunched our food donation and composting programs. For the 2022-23 school year, we will work with other community advocates and continue to push LWSD to prioritize climate change/sustainability work. We want to see LWSD launch these types of programs across the entire district (not just a few pilot programs being run solely by volunteers). In order for this to occur, the district needs to prioritize sustainability work, create a policy, develop a roadmap, and provide the necessary funding and resources to reduce our carbon footprint and prioritize climate change. We continue to meet with key stakeholders in our efforts to drive this change forward.

  • Working with our legislators to make policy and legislative changes. In addition to the advocacy work we are doing at the school and district level, we are also in contact with our legislators encouraging them to make policy and legislative changes that will support WSPTA's legislative priorities. Below are the issues that will serve as WSPTA's legislative platform for the next two years:
    1. Addressing the Student Mental Health Crisis
    2. Addressing Critical Gaps in Education Funding
    3. Preventing and Reducing Gun Violence and Suicide
    4. Addressing Funding, Inclusion and Supports in Special Education
    5. Building and Maintaining Safer School Facilities

 

What are some recent Bell PTSA advocacy successes?

  • An accessible and inclusive playground. A few years back, we had a student at Bell who was in a wheelchair. This student was not able to access the large playground because it was not ADA compliant. After multiple years of advocacy efforts, the Bell PTSA succeeded. The district installed a new ADA compliant playground in the summer of 2022, and they honored our request for a more inclusive play-surface (rubber tiles versus wood chips). Bell is the pilot school for the district for this new play surface. Our ultimate goal is to change the standards across the entire district.

  • Advocating for the needs of Bell students and teachers. We conducted a Q&A with Dr. Holmen, LWSD's superintendent, where we asked hard questions about lack of sufficient staffing and inclusion practices that fail to provide the needed support for the student and classroom. The presentation, meeting minutes, and a recording of the meeting can be viewed below. A number of follow-up meetings with LWSD's leadership team occured after we provided this visibility, resulting in a number of positive changes.
  • Reducing food waste in our schools.   
    • Bell PTSA worked with King County Green Schools, LWSD, and Sodexo (LWSD's contracted food service provider) to obtain all the necessary approvals needed to relaunch a food donation program at Bell (quite a bit of red tape to get through, but we are finally up and running). During each lunch period, food-collection bins are set out. The donated food is refrigerated and taken to the food bank at the end of each week.

    • Bell PTSA expressed our concerns about excessive food waste to our legislators, the school district, and to Sodexo. Sodexo recently made a simple change across the entire district (i.e., no longer REQUIRING students to take certain foods, while still meeting USDA requirements). This change has had a substantial impact. Early estimates indicate that this has resulted in 4K pieces of fruit not being wasted every day (across the district).

    • Bell PTSA relaunched our food composting program, reducing our landfill contribution by approximately 50%. 
  • Functioning laptops for students. During remote learning, we advocated for all Bell students to be issued functioning laptops. Bell PTSA spoke at a LWSD School Board meeting and reached out to the district about the sub-par laptops provided to many Bell students (many were 5+ years old). The school board and district listened to our concerns and replaced the oldest HP models and the devices with the slowest processing times. We still have work to do in this area and are continuing our advocacy efforts.

 

 

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