Originally delivered on 2/1/2022 7:02 am

SUBJECT: February 2022 PTSA Newsletter

February 1, 2022
2021-22 School Year - Volume 16, Issue 6

February is a short but busy month for our school and district. The Spelling Bee starts next week. Kindergarten registration begins for our district, and current 5th Grade families start learning about transitioning to Middle School. Not to mention we all have a week off school for Mid-Winter Break! We also have been cleared to start having more volunteers in the building! 

Thank you to all the staff and teachers who are doing so much every day to keep our students engaged and learning. We know it takes a lot of care and dedication to be there for students and families, especially while we all continue to navigate the pandemic. We really appreciate all you do!

Win A Chance To Silly String Mr. Aguilar!

Your PTSA membership goes a long way to support Grand Ridge students. There is still time to join this year! Each 2021-22 Grand Ridge PTSA membership will earn a ticket for the drawing. The student whose ticket is drawn will win a prize for their classroom - the opportunity to Silly String Mr. Aguilar! The more PTSA members in your class by February 4, the more opportunities to win! If you have already joined this year, you are already entered!

Not sure if you're a member?Click here to check your orders from 2021-22. 

Questions?  Contact grptsa@gmail.com 

Staff Appreciation - Thank You!

Thank you to all who donated earlier this year to provide snacks for staff. We have transitioned to providing monthly appreciation events, hosted by grade levels. Thank you to Kindergarten and 1st Grade Families who so generously donated their time and money towards fun events for our staff!

2022 Levy Information

Our current levy will expire December 31, 2022. The School Board approved to have the renewal levy on the ballot in April. Ballots will be due April 26, 2022. 

This levy must pass in order to continue programs for our 2022-2023 school year and beyond (this is a 4-year levy, so it will fund programs through 2026).

What are School Levies?         

What is VIS?           

What does the Levy Pay For?

Click HERE for the slide deck from ISD that gives more detailed information on levies and what the 2022 Levy will cover.

Register to Vote: 


Nominations are open for Grand Ridge PTSA Recognition Awards

The Grand Ridge PTSA recognizes volunteers, educators and community members who go above and beyond for the sake of our kids through the Golden Acorn, Outstanding Educator, and Outstanding Advocate awards for the previous calendar year (January - December 2021). Please take a moment to recognize the extraordinary teachers, staff, volunteers and advocates in our community by submitting a nomination.

Any parent, staff, student or community member can make a confidential nomination. The Awards Committee will review all nominations and announce winners in the Spring. The committee can also recommend if any special awards should be given beyond our three annual awards.

Click here to learn more about the awards and submit your nominations.

Volunteer Opportunities!

We have gotten approval to once again have Art Docents back in the classroom!!  If you are interested in being an art docent for your child's class, or have questions about being an art docent please email grptsavolunteers@gmail.com. An art docent will work with the PTSA and your teacher to prepare and teach an art lesson once a month in your child's class. 

We are also looking for volunteers who want to help in our Grand Ridge Garden. We have been unable to work on it for the last two years and it could use some love!  We are looking for general garden volunteers who would be able to come during school hours, and also looking for volunteers who would be interested in forming a committee to rebuild parts of it.  If you are interested in either please email grptsavolunteers@gmail.com


If you are considering volunteering in the school at any point in this year, or just want the opportunity to do so in this school year, please fill out your Volunteer Application for the 2021-22 school year. The process was placed on hold earlier this year, but it is now open. The ISD HR team needs time to process applications so it is better to apply now if you have not yet been approved for this school year. That way you are all set when an opportunity arises for you!

Thank you for interest in volunteering at Grand Ridge!

Message of thanks from the Art Director

The school year’s art program, so far, has been focused on providing teachers with project guides and supplies so that our children and students can enjoy month theme-based projects in class. We have been able to showcase their work in our school windows for parents, families and friends to enjoy, rotating by class every few weeks. 

Thank you, teachers, for participating in the programming!

Thank you to all who have supported the PTSA through your membership and/or donations. Your support allows programs like this to exist for Grand Ridge!

The project in progress now is a school-wide paper quilt project. The quilt will be assembled and exhibited first at the Blakely Hall's Eco Market on March 5, 2022 for our community to view, and then will return to Grand Ridge to be on display in our school. We are excited to see this project come to life!

We also are hoping to have our art docent program back in full swing and docents in the classrooms before too long. 

All of these wonderful, creative contributions would not be possible without a rockstar group of volunteers who are consistently committed and have contributed so much time: 

  • Shivani Ahluwalia
  • Shilpi Sharma
  • Tara Sengamalay
  • Kathryn Pilapil 

I cannot thank this group enough for bringing the ideas and all of the details together to deliver to our classrooms and for all the energy they have given to ensuring that the arts remain an accessible and integral part of our students’ experiences. 

I’d also like to thank Hannah Coblentz, our amazing GRE PTSA President who has handled all of the coordination with the school administration and teachers and who has provided the space and the time for us to be able to deliver the projects. 

There’s so much more to come!

Interested in joining the art team for the 2021-22 school year?  Let us knowgrptsa@gmail.com

2021-22 Yearbook - Grizzlies: The Bear Facts!

Yearbook orders are still open. Every year we receive many requests for extras and we don't often have enough. To ensure your student(s) receive a yearbook this year, place your order here. Please note that if you've already ordered one for your student, you won't see the form available for them. Reach out to grptsa@gmail.com if you have any questions.

Attention 5th Grade Families

We have a lot of information coming your way as you prepare for the transition to middle school.

Start by helping us feature your student in our yearbook this year! 

Uploadone photo of your student as from their Kindergarten year. The password is Grizzlies1!

Have your student fill out this 5th Grade Questionnaire. The results will be used in the yearbook.

Don't forget to order a copy of your yearbook!

Next, save the dates below for parent meetings. More information will be shared on our website closer to the dates.

  • February 16 at 6:30pm (Zoom) - 5th grade Transition to Middle School Information Night for Families New to the US presented by the Cultural and Family Partnerships Team with ISD. REGISTRATION REQUIRED. Click here to learn more about this event.
  • March 3 at 7pm (Zoom) - 5th Grade Parent Panel hosted by Grand Ridge PTSA
  • March 15 at 6:30pm (Zoom) - PCMS Parent Information Night hosted by PCMS

Grad Sign information coming soon!

Student Academic Grants Available

To improve accessibility to academic support services, the Issaquah Schools Foundation is offering grants for students who need help paying for tutoring and other professional academic assistance programs. This academic grant program is available to ISD students and will be awarded up to $500 per studentThe deadline to apply is February 14. Details and application link here.

Screenwise: An Updated Perspective on Tech Use

Do you worry that your students are detached, distracted by, or addicted to their digital devices?  Devorah Heitner, PhD is the media expert to turn to for empowering advice on raising resilient and kind kids in our digital age. She advocates for mentoring, not (just) monitoring and better communication across the generations. Dr. Heitner will share strategies around educational vs recreational screen use, how parents can mentor kids on social media, texting and gaming, and give direction on how to keep up with the news without getting overwhelmed.   

Devorah Heitner addresses common fears and concerns with research-based, realistic approaches, and a developmentally focused, tech-positive mindset. She is the author of Screenwise: Helping Kids Thrive (and Survive) in Their Digital World and founder of Raising Digital Natives, a resource for schools and organizations wishing to cultivate a culture of responsible digital citizenship.  Her work has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Real Simple and Time magazine.

Wednesday, February 16 7-8:15pm

Register at parentwiser.org 

Staff Spotlights

We have so many wonderful staff at Grand Ridge. Some who are new to us this year, and some who have been with us a while. Our newsletter aims to help you get to know staff at our school.

Spotlight On: Ms. Alcine

Ms. Jeanna Simon-Alcine (or Ms. Alcine as her class calls her) has been with Grand Ridge for 3 years. She taught 3rd Grade her first year here, and has taught 1st Grade the last two years.

Tell us a little about your life before coming to Grand Ridge: I was born and raised a native of Florida/Georgia and spent most of my childhood in Jacksonville, FL. I relocated from Orlando, Florida in July 2019 where I taught for Orange County Public Schools 19 years. I began as a Kindergarten teacher for 10 years then taught 2nd , 3rd , 4th, 5th grades, and spent a few years out of the classroom as a Curriculum Resource Teacher, Reading Coach, Instructional Coach. In addition, I was an ELL Adult Education Instructor and Group Fitness Instructor teaching step aerobics, Zumba, and cardio classes at gyms. 

Favorite children's book: "Hair Love" by Matthew A. Cherry

Favorite food: Warm meals such as soup, stew, or chili served with rice

Favorite weekend activity: My family and I visit some local trails and sights, yet in Florida I spent many weekends at the beach and theme parks "in my backyard" of Orlando so I miss that.

Best thing about working at Grand Ridge: The parents, students and as well as the staff which is impeccable! I appreciate the warmth, kindness, and comfort of the school community. 

What one piece of advice would you give to Grand Ridge students? "Do unto others as would you would have them do unto you” in other words Treat others as you want to be treated.

Spotlight On: Ms. Kim

Ms. Courtney Kim is new to Grand Ridge this year and teaches 1st Grade.

Tell us a little about your life before coming to Grand Ridge: I previously taught at a private school in Northern California. Three years ago, my family and I moved from California to the Seattle area. I taught at a private school in Seattle before I came to Grand Ridge. 

Favorite children's book: "Love You Forever" by Robert Munsch

Favorite food: Salmon Sushi

Favorite weekend activity: Spending time outdoors with my family

Best thing about working at Grand Ridge: There are many reasons why I enjoy working at Grand Ridge but it’s my students and colleagues that bring me joy each day.

What one piece of advice would you give to Grand Ridge students? If I could give one piece of advice to Grand Ridge students it would be to always be in constant pursuit of knowledge; always be curious and always strive to learn more.

Reminders from the School & District
Kindergarten Registration - Due March 4

Do you have a child who will start Kindergarten in the fall? If so, please pick up your Kindergarten Registration Packet from Grand Ridge, and complete the online enrollment. Online enrollment opens on February 1 and will be open until March 4. Click here to learn more.

Please share this information with your friends and neighbors who have a child who will be 5 on or before August 31, 2022 and live within the Grand Ridge attendance area.

Make a difference – become a mentor in the Issaquah School District!

If you are looking for an impactful and fulfilling volunteer experience, the Issaquah School District needs people who can support students by meeting with them, at school, during school hours, for 30-60 minutes each week. Mentors are needed at all grade levels, at all schools in the Issaquah School District. Mostly due to the pandemic, over 100 mentors have withdrawn at a time when the need is greater than ever. There are currently over 250 students on the waiting list.

Mentoring differs from tutoring in that mentoring focuses on fostering positive, supportive relationships which help students develop skills and attitudes (such as resilience, self-advocacy, self-confidence, etc.) to promote academic achievement and success in life. Here is a youtube video that the district put together of current mentors talking about their mentoring experience.

You can learn more about the VOICE (Volunteers of Issaquah Changing Education) Mentor Program and submit an application from the Issaquah School District’s VOICE Mentor page. Because mentoring is in-person, proof of vaccination is required. Also, you must be cleared with a background check and attend a 2 hour training. Email voice@issaquah.wednet.edu if you have any questions.

Grand Ridge Resources

Just a reminder that the office has a confidential email: GrandRidgeResources@gmail.com that any student or family member is encouraged to use if they need some additional resources at a time when they don’t have additional money. Don’t hesitate to reach out if there is a need – from an outdoor jacket to supplies for school, a birthday gift to rain boots, a yearbook to Grizzly Gear. Privacy of any requests will be respected.

Is your student missing something?

The Lost & Found fills up quickly. If your student is missing something, please direct them to check the Lost & Found. The Lost & Found will also be made available at Grand Central on Wednesday afternoons for families to check. Unclaimed items are typically donated twice a year (December and June).

Emergency Weather Closures - how to be prepared

As we continue the winter weather season, it's important to be prepared for school delays or closures. One of the fastest ways to learn if ISD is on an emergency schedule is to sign up for FlashAlert. Also, it's a good time to verify your emergency contact information in Family Access.

Upcoming Events
Monday, February 7
7:00p GR PTSA Board Members meeting
Tuesday, February 8
Spelling Bee (Times vary by Grade)
Wednesday, February 9
Spelling Bee (Times vary by Grade)
Thursday, February 10
Spelling Bee (Times vary by Grade)
6:00p ISD School Board Meeting (2021-22 School Year)
Wednesday, February 16
6:30p 5th grade Transition to Middle School Information Night for Families New to the US
7:00p ParentWiser Event - Screenwise: An Updated Perspective on Tech Use
Monday, February 21
No School (Mid Winter Break)
Tuesday, February 22
No School (Mid Winter Break)
Wednesday, February 23
No School (Mid Winter Break)
Thursday, February 24
No School (Mid Winter Break)
Friday, February 25
No School (Mid Winter Break)
Stay in The Know

To receive updates in real time, go to www.facebook.com/grandridgeptsa and like or follow our page. We’re on Instagram as well so you can follow our page, grandridgeptsa. You can also visit our website, www.grandridgeptsa.org.

PTSA E-blasts are sent monthly. If you do not wish to receive them, please update your Grand Ridge PTSA account on our website.

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