Back to School Ice Cream Social

This is a new twist on the old Back To School BBQ.  Still a chance to meet teachers and see friends as we gear up for the new year, but with popsicles instead of hotdogs.  Paparepas food truck will be there to serve Venezuelan empenadas if you’d like to purchase dinner (peruse their menu here).  You are also welcome to bring along a picnic dinner for your family.  We hope to see you there!


Final PTSA Meeting of the Year

Pathfinder K-9 School PTSAPlease join the Pathfinder PTSA for its final meeting of the year. It will be held on Thursday, June 6 in the Pathfinder HUB, just before the Spring Concert and Art Walk. We will be voting on officers and budget for 2019-2020.

We will also have some light dinner items on hand, so it’s a great chance to grab a bite before the concert. The line-up of events are:

5:00-5:30pm:  Dinner
5:30-6:00: Meeting — Votes on 2019-2020 Officers and Budget
6:30pm: Concert Begins

The proposed slate of officers are:

President: Susan Elderkin
Vice President: Holly Rikhof
Co-Treasurers: Jennifer Girou & Serai Batolein
Secretary: Danielle Heckert

The slate of officers and the proposed budget are hanging on the PTSA bulletin board in the hallway across from the main office.


Pathfinder PTSA Needs YOU Next Year

Next school year the Pathfinder PTSA is planning new family fun events, more parent education and better communications with families. And to make this all happen, we need YOU!

We are currently seeking volunteers for a number of PTSA board positions and events. They range in scope, focus area, and time commitment, so you really can find something that fits your schedule and interests. If you are ready to take the next step and help us launch some exciting new initiatives, please email PTSA President Susan Elderkin at She can send you additional information and talk with you about each of these positions and events.

Open PTSA Board Positions:

  • Co-Treasurer: Do you have accounting, budget or other financial experience? We have one returning Treasurer, but need a second to share the duties. This is an elected Executive Board position.
  • Vice President Communications & Fundraising: This is one of two new VP positions on the Executive Board, and one that we expect will help us communicate better with you next year. This VP will allow us to develop and manage communications and fundraising plans that will meet the PTSA’s goals and budget.
  • Vice President Events & Education: This VP position will help us create and carry out our new events and family education work next year. They will work closely with the chairs of each program and develop a plan to better connect families with each other, the school and important resources.
  • Secretary: This position is a great way to get involved at Pathfinder and perfect for a newer parent. The Secretary position is mandatory for all non-profits and is an elected member of the Executive Committee – so we have to have one. Is it you?
  • After School Program Coordinator: Do you value the after-school classes and want to see this kid-centered enrichment program thrive? Consider taking on this critical role next year, as we MUST have a coordinator to have the program. Maureen Clark in the front office can tell you all about it!
  • Community Events Chair: We’ve heard from you that you would love the PTSA to host more family fun events, and we’ve put together a schedule of new and improved events every month or two, starting with a revamped Back-to-School event. And you don’t have to do them all! This position helps with the development, recruitment, and oversight of the events.
  • Communications Chair: We know we can communicate better with families, especially people who are new to Pathfinder. The Chair will lead a team that will help the PTSA with communicating streamlined, transparent, accurate and welcoming information to the Pathfinder community, utilizing a variety of communications tools.
  • Family Education Chair: This is a new position that will revolve around providing information and scheduling speakers on a number of issues that impact our kids and families. It is a perfect position for a working parent.
  • Race & Equity Liaison: The school has developed a Race & Equity Team, and we are looking for a parent volunteer to sit on both the school team and the PTSA board, acting as a liaison between the two and helping to bring forth new initiatives and activities that will make Pathfinder a more inclusive and welcoming school.
  • Hospitality Chair: Put smiles on people’s faces, from the staff to new Pathfinder families. Manage the PTSA volunteer list, lead a new Pathfinder 101 night in September, oversee Staff Appreciation Week and help PTSA events with volunteers and treats.
  • Membership Chair: Help promote PTSA membership and manage our database of members. It has the highest profile in the fall, where we will have tables at our events, and then it is mostly behind the scenes management.

We Need a Lead for These Fall 2019 Events:

  • Direct Give Lead: This is a very straight-forward fundraiser that brings in $25,000 – $30,000 over 2½ weeks in October. It comes with an excellent template, guidance from past leads, and needs less than a month of solid attention… then you’re done! No past fundraising experience necessary.
  • Revamped Back-to-School Event Lead: We’d like to freshen up Pathfinder’s Back-to-School event and try something new. Do you have ideas and would like to help lead this annual tradition?

It takes a village to make the magic happen, and as you can see from this list of needs, we absolutely and totally welcome and encourage new folks to join the Pathfinder PTSA Board or help lead our events. You are the future of our school. Please contact Pathfinder President Susan Elderkin ( for any additional information. We have job descriptions for all of these positions that spell out the duties more fully. THANK YOU!!!

Author Kate T. Parker visiting Wednesday, April 3rd

Our Pathfinder K-8 library is hosting an author visit with Kate T. Parker on Wednesday, April 3rd from 1:10-2:10 pm. Strong is the New Pretty was phenomenal and her new book, Heart of a Boy is just as powerful. Parents and community members are welcome! Look for a book pre-order form from your child’s teacher.

About the book:
The Heart of a Boy is a deeply felt celebration of boyhood as it’s etched in the faces and bodies of dozens of boys, ages 5 to 18. There’s the pensive look of a skateboarder caught in a moment between rides. The years of dedication in a ballet dancer’s poise. The love of a younger brother hugging his older brother. The unself-conscious joy of a goofy grin with a missing tooth. The casual intimacy of two friends at a lemonade stand. The shyness of a lone boy and his model boat. The intensity in a football huddle. There are guitarists, fencers, wrestlers, star-gazers, a pilot—it’s the world of our sons, in all their amazing variety and difference.

“Kate T. Parker’s incredible Strong Is the New Pretty helped us reimagine girlhood as silly, messy, spirited, an d fun. Now she turns her perceptive lens on the other sex to expand our definition of what it means to be a boy . . . and presents so mething desperately needed in our well-meaning cultural convers ation about boys—she shows us their enormous, wonderful hearts.”—Michael Ian Black

“Silly, serious, nerdy, athletic, creative, bold—the adjectives describing boys could go on for pages. But if boys are to grow up to be admirable men, the one thing they must be is kind. Kate T. Parker’s book helps clear the way for a time when everyone understands that.” — R. J. Palacio

“Every parent who picks up t his book will be grateful for the impact it will have on their family.” —Gary Vaynerchuk

Thanks to You, Pathfinder Auction Sets Record!

Kelly Riggle-Hower was the recipient of this year’s Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way award.

Thanks to you, last Saturday’s Pathfinder PTSA Auction was our most successful yet! We grossed a record-setting $97,400 during the evening, which, after expenses, will provide more than $70,000 for PTSA-funded programs like our garden, tutors, specialists, community events and teacher funds.

The success of the auction reflects the generosity and commitment of the Pathfinder community and beyond, the dedication of our staff, the hard work of many volunteers, and the shared goal to raise inquisitive and caring children. Each of these must be in balance to pull of a night like this.

Fund-a-Need: The Future of Pathfinder’s Expeditions

A perfect example is this year’s Fund-a-Need. The paddle raise portion of the auction targeted the heart and soul of what makes learning at Pathfinder unique—our Expeditions. And during the Fund-a-Need, the Pathfinder community invested in its future by donating an astounding $14,000. Thank you so much!

Thank You 97,400 Times Over

When you start counting up all the people to thank, reaches into the hundreds! So THANK YOU to everyone who made the night a smashing success, including, but not limited to:

  • Our auction donors: Thanks to dozens of businesses and individuals, we auctioned off more than 170 items in the silent and live parts of the night.
  • The kids, staff and volunteers that made class art happen: The art was beautiful this year, and the results speak to how awesome it was, as it raised $14,600.
  • Pathfinder’s wonderful and supportive staff: For making it your mission to inspire our children and supporting the PTSA.
  • David & Lisa: For their always wildly entertaining, over-the-top performances at the auction, and for single-handedly raising more than $7,000 in drinks and live auction items. Their personal and professional commitments to Pathfinder’s PTSA are so valued and important.
  • All of the auction participants this year: Wow, just Wow! $97,400?!! Thank you for stepping it up big time! As a school, Pathfinder is facing budget cuts next year, and these dollars will help plug some of the holes.
  • Our many, many auction volunteers: This event couldn’t be pulled off without many, many people who worked tirelessly to attend to all of the myriad details (Until you’re in the thick of auction planning, you cannot imagine the details!!). This was truly a team effort, but we must single out Auction Chair Holly Rikhof for her extraordinary leadership and vision. Thank you!

Special thanks to the 2019 auction volunteers!

Group Events Still Available for Sale

Group Events are just getting underway, and there are still events that have space. Kid events include the middle school pool party, Capture the Flag, a sensory-friendly Pacific Science Center trip, Pops and Ponytails, and a kids’ cooking class.  Adult events include wine tasting, golfing, and planning summer hikes. Click here to sign up today!

Will Your Workplace Match Your Donation?

If you donated to this year’s Fund-a-Need, your donation is tax deductible and could be eligible for a company match from your workplace. Learn more about this from your HR department and from our Matching Gift Information page.  Please contact the PTSA treasurer, Jennifer Girou, with questions at

Donating to Another School

We are aware of how fortunate Pathfinder is to have a community that can raise so much on a single night and how there is a marked imbalance among West Seattle schools. Last year we passed along some specially-earmarked Fund-a-Need donations to Concord International School in South Park. This spring, we are planning to do a Dine-Out night for another school.

What we really need to do is develop a thoughtful and sustainable approach to giving to other schools. Is this something that you are passionate about? If so, please contact Pathfinder PTSA President Susan Elderkin at before the end of March 2019, to be a part of a small team that can help create a future plan.  Thank you!!

Please Join Us for a BeSmart Gun Safety Presentation on March 19

Please join the Pathfinder PTSA at a BeSmart Gun Safety presentation on Tuesday, March 19 at 6:30pm in the Pathfinder library.

Led by Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, the BeSmart campaign focuses on the importance of conversation, responsible gun storage and community awareness. The local BeSmart coordinator is none other than Freddie Campbell, a Pathfinder parent. And Tuesday’s presentation will be led by Pathfinder’s own Heidi Jaye.

The presentation and discussion should take about an hour. Because of the sensitive topic, we ask that no children attend.

Moms Demand Action encourages parents and all adults to “Be SMART” and take these simple steps to help prevent shootings by children:

  • Secure all guns in your home and vehicles
  • Model responsible behavior around guns
  • Ask about the presence of unsecured guns in other homes
  • Recognize the signs of suicide and depression
  • Tell your peers to be SMART

We look forward to your participation in this important topic!

Register Now for Pathfinder K-8 PTSA After School Program Spring 2019 Session


Spring 2019 Session Registration Now Open

Sign up here >>

Registration closes March 29.

• Classes begin the week of April 22 and end Monday, June 10.
• Session runs for 7 weeks rather than the usual 8.
• No class Monday, May 27 due to Memorial Day.
• Makeup days, if needed, would be Tuesday, June 11 through Monday, June 17.
• Scholarships are available for every class

For more information  and class descriptions go to the website, or stop by the Pathfinder K-8 front desk for a paper catalog.

Comments or questions? We want to know! Please e-mail us:

Coordinator needed for 2019-2020

It’s a job that is great for parents at our school who don’t have a full time job. It’s takes between 5-20 hours per week depending on the time of year, and between sessions there is minimal or no work to do. It pays $1200 per session and there are three sessions.

See Maureen Clark at the front desk if you are interested or contact her at

The 2019 Auction is almost here!!

We’re counting the days until the 2019 Auction!!  Class art is being finalized, prom dresses are waiting for corsages….ready for a night of fun??!!

If you haven’t bought your tickets yet, there are still a few left and we hope you’ll join us!  The Pathfinder Auction is always a great party — and this year, there’s even more as the festivities continue with dancing after the live auction!  Last day to purchase a ticket is this Friday, March 1st so that we can give a final number to the caterers.  BUY YOUR TICKETS NOW!

We can always use more volunteers!  Volunteers are needed day & evening on auction day.  Evening volunteers will receive a volunteer meal and bidder number to join in the silent & live auctions (help out at the auction and you don’t need to buy a ticket!). SIGN UP TO VOLUNTEER!

And we’ve extended the deadline to submit that fabulous someone for the Pathfinder “Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way” award.  Each year the Pathfinder community honors a teacher, staff member or adult volunteer from the Pathfinder community who does an outstanding job of helping our children learn and develop, and does so in the spirit of Pathfinder.  Pathfinder is full of great candidates! To nominate someone deserving, please submit their name and a brief explanation of why you think they should be honored using the APPLICATION HERE.  Deadline for application is Monday, March 4th.

Valentine’s Day Family Meet-up – All Welcome!

When:    Thursday, February 14th from 5:30-8PM
Where:  Ounces Taproom & Beer Garden @ 3809 Delridge Way SW (Just down the hill from the school.)

Show your Pathfinder spirit and join other Pathfinder families at this fun Valentine’s Day meet-up! Stop by for a drink, a bite from the food truck and a Valentine’s Day cookie for the kiddos. Ten lucky winners will also get treated to a drink of their choice provided by Lisa Clayton and the Pathfinder PTSA!

Parents, Kids, Everyone Welcome!

Wreath Fundraiser Raises $12,000 for Camping

The tally of wreath tags is complete and the total is in! After expenses, this year we raised $12,042 for Pathfinder’s camping and outdoor education program. That was 483 wreaths made and sold over five weeks, the  result of the hard work and dedication of our collective Pathfinder village. Thank you to everyone — and there are scores of you — who made and sold wreaths!

How did wreath funds compare to last year?

The Blue Herons try out fishing from the dock at Beacon Rock State Park on a spring camping trip.

One of the exciting results is that we raised $1,100 more than last year. We believe that is due to three factors:

  1. The quality of the wreaths was better. Our new wreath video made a big difference!
  2. For the first time, we offered a credit card option at the Farmers Markets and events.
  3. We got started earlier, allowing us to sell $500 of wreaths at Elders Lunch.

How are wreath funds allocated?

The cost of camping for all kids will be less this year because of everyone’s hard work. Every wreath sale defrays the cost of camping.

But there is also a participation factor. Classrooms and grade bands with the most participation will see the lowest camping costs (and for a couple of classrooms, it is likely to be free). The wreath sales are allocated as follows: 40% of the price of a wreath goes to the maker’s classroom; 40% of the sales price goes to the seller; 10% is reserved for people who collect greens, make bows and clean the workshop; and 10% goes towards expenses.

Generally, wreath funds go to individual classrooms in K/1, and are pooled and divided among the grade bands of 2/3, 4/5 and each middle school year.

Which class raised the most funds this year?

Drumroll, please! In what must be a first, the Seal Class, a Kindergarten classroom with just 16 students, raised an astounding $1,744. How did they do it? They got involved. One new parent tried making a wreath,  found she LOVED it, and made and sold 40 wreaths! Another new parent organized the Farmers Markets. A third made dozens of bows. And their enthusiasm helped get other parents involved.

The Top Ten:

  1. Seal (K): $1,744
  2. Blue Heron (4/5th): $1,279
  3. Elk (4/5th): $991
  4. Kingfisher (4/5th): $832
  5. Coyote (7th): $767
  6. Bat (1st): $751
  7. Eagle (4/5th): $733
  8. Frog (2/3rd): $664
  9. Bear (7th): $498
  10. Salmon (K): $492

Great work, everyone! We will see you next year in the wreath workshop for more creative fun that benefits our kids’ experiences at Pathfinder.