What is Advocacy?

Advocacy is simply expressing your interest in a specific cause and taking action to support that cause.

 

 

What is Bell PTSA advocating for this year?

 

An accessible and inclusive playground

 

Did you know Bell Elementary’s playground is not ADA compliant? We recently had a Bell student who was unable to play with her friends on the playground because she could not access it with her wheelchair. When we see injustices like this, we must act!

 

This is where we come in. The PTSA advocates for children. That is our core purpose.

 

We started working on this issue in 2019. Since then, we have contacted the school principal (Mr. Story has been so helpful!), the LWSD School Board, the superintendent of LWSD, and the executive director of support services for LWSD. The effort has paid off!

We are thrilled to announce that this summer the Lake Washington School District will update Bell’s playground! The updates will include the following:

  1. Accessibility – The district will make our playground ADA Compliant.

  2. Playground surfacing – The district will be piloting rubber play tiles at Bell. (The current LWSD standard is wood play chips – you should try rolling a wheelchair in wood chips!) The play tiles will be under the play structures.

  3. Playtoy structure will be updated – The wooden play structure has become outdated and will be replaced.

Early estimates indicate that this project will cost approximately $300K. In addition to the district's investment, the PTSA will be investing $10K into the project to fund a digging/sensory garden.

 

Functioning laptops for all students

 

We are working to ensure all students at Bell have functioning laptops. Bell PTSA spoke at a recent LWSD School Board meeting and reached out to the district about the sub-par laptops provided to many Bell students (many are 5+ years old). The school board and district listened to our concerns and provided new computers to Bell students in January of 2021 (students with the oldest HP models and slowest processing times had the option of getting a new device).  

 

 

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 working at the state level with our legislators to make policy and legislative changes that will support WSPTA's top five legislative priorities. WSPTA's top five legislative priorities are as follows:

  1. Increase Access to Nursing, Mental Health, and Social Emotional Learning Staff
  2. Support Students and Preserve Education Funding
  3. Increasing Educational Equity by Closing the Digital Divide
  4. Supports and Funding for Students with Disabilities and Their Families
  5. Prevent and Reduce Gun Violence and Suicide

 

 

How can I get involved?

 

  • Washington State's Legislative Session began on January 11, 2021 and adjourns on April 25, 2021. During a typical year, we would head to Olympia and meet with our legislators face-to-face during the legislative session. This year, all the work will be done virtually via the Focus on Advocacy Program. This is an opportunity for all community members to take action from their home via phone or computer. For those of you who are new to advocacy work, this is a wonderful way to get started. It really is as simple as contacting your legislators and sharing your story. What are you concerned about and why? What do you want to ask your legislators to do? To participate, subscribe to the WSPTA Action Network. These action alerts are quick, easy ways to communicate with your legislators on topics they are actively working on that correspond with the legislative priorities of the WSPTA. We will also provide legislative updated in our weekly newsletter, the Bulldog Blast, making it easy to take action!
  • Attend WSPTA Legislative Assembly – learn about the issues, how you can take action and network with other PTA leaders (Oct 24-25, 2020)

  • Be an informed citizen - read the newspaper; read all communications from the district, school, and PTSA; attend School Board Meetings; attend Town Halls; attend PTSA meetings; attend City Council Meetings; sign up for your legislator's newsletters, etc. 

  • If you see an injustice or are passionate about an issue, speak up. Democracy works best when citizens are informed and engaged in their communities.

  • Reach out to Bell's legislative chair at advocacy@agbellptsa.org or Bell's PTSA president at president@agbellptsa.org with any questions or suggestions.