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Below are some Frequently Asked Questions about Thurgood Marshall Elementary (TM) and its PTA. Last update: 7/1/2018.

This page is maintained by the PTA; occasionally, information below will not reflect a recent change made by the school or District. If you have school- and District-related questions not answered below, options include contacting the school (206-252-2800) or consulting  For questions about PTA programs, please contact us at


This is the PTA website. Does the school offer its own online information resources? The TM official website has not always been fully updated in recent years (because of lack of staff/volunteer time), but it normally will include a handbook, staff email list, academics information and more resources. Staff and volunteers collaborate to make the go-to place for a school calendar, archive of school newsletters and other information.

What are the start/dismissal times? In 2018-19, bell times for standard weekdays except Wednesday are 8:55 a.m. and 3:25 p.m. On Wednesdays (except the first day of school in September) dismissal is at 2:10 p.m., to provide professional development and meeting time for teachers. The District calendar has further information on vacation periods, etc.

Where can I park at drop-off and pick-up? You can find street parking on MLK Way or in the school lot. Please DO NOT park in front of the school or in the drop-off lanes.

Who do I contact regarding bus transportation? The SPS Transportation Department is at 206-252-0900 or transdept@seattleschools.orgFor a one-time change (after-school playdate, for example), students may bring a note from home with the bus route and stop where they are to be dropped off.

How do I contact the Main Office? Call the school at 206-252-2800. Location: 2401 S. Irving St., Seattle, WA 98144

Where is the Calendar of Events? Online at You can subscribe to it, so that your home computer or smartphone’s calendar software will automatically include TM events, school vacations and holidays, etc.

Where is the school lunch calendar? Find it via the SPS Nutrition Services web page.

Is there before- and after-care at school? The YMCA operates a child-care facility on the Thurgood Marshall campus to provide care for students before and after school. Their website provides more details, rates and contact information.

What is the Enrichment Program? The PTA-operated Enrichment Program provides after- and before-school classes at Thurgood Marshall. There are three sessions, Fall, Winter and Spring. Families who qualify for Free/Reduced Price Lunch pay 10 percent of the listed price for one class per student per session. Learn more:

Does anything happen at Thurgood Marshall during the summer? Yes, TM students (incoming as well as current) may check out books from the TM Library every Tuesday (4-7 pm) through late August, and get a free frozen treat! The PTA schedules summer playdates on the playground on some of those Tuesdays. Incoming kindergartners are welcomed for “Jump Start” during a week in late August. (In 2018, Aug. 20-24.)

Can I tour Thurgood Marshall? Sure, but only during scheduled tours led by PTA volunteers. These are held in the winter and spring. Dates/times are set in the late fall; no RSVP is required. Most tours also include an information session with the Principal. The PTA also offers a list of parents who have volunteered to answer questions via email.


How do I get involved at school? It’s easy, thanks to a welcoming set of staff members, and groups such as the PTA and Bullpup Parents Group! The PTA coordinates many volunteer opportunities (see and classroom teachers often seek help independently. SPS requires all volunteers in the school to submit a background check form. (Details at Other involvement is possible through the PTA (read more here) and Bullpup Parents (see below).

How do I contact the PTA? Email:

Can I attend PTA meetings? Do I need to join the PTA first? General Meetings, featuring special guest speakers, occur 4 times per year, and are open to everyone. Membership is encouraged but not required. Recent topics have included guest speakers on educational equity, the “birds and the bees,” the “positive discipline” approach to raising children, and technology use at TM. Also, Principal Katie May usually offers news and takes questions. Read about past meetings on the Minutes page.

How do I join the PTA? Online registration or a downloadable form are  available. Modest annual dues are charged. See the Membership page.

What is the Bullpup Parents GroupBullpup Parents Group is an informal, online and in-person social group with the purpose of sharing ideas, thoughts, and issues pertaining to our children’s school experience. No signup is needed to “become” a Bullpup Parent because all TM parents and guardians are “members” automatically. An easy way to participate and keep track of events is to join the private Bullpup Parents’ Facebook page. (Moderator approval will be required.)

What is the Building Leadership Team (BLT)? The BLT is tasked with collaborative work in the areas of academic achievement, school budget and professional development. Members include the school Principal, staff representatives and parent representatives.

How does the school fundraise? We do not hold an auction or school sales, but ask individuals to donate funds and time. Go to our Annual Giving Fund web pages to learn more about our primary source of support for crucial staff and program needs at our school. TM also benefits through programs at retailers such as

What are Equity Action Teams? The demographics at Thurgood Marshall widely differ between the students in the HCC program (which draws students from a wide geographic area) and in the Scholars (General Education) program (which draws from nearby neighborhoods). In 2014-15, Thurgood Marshall staff began examining issues of educational equity and inclusion for all students that are or might be served at the school. Since 2015-16, parents have joined staff in creating small “Equity Action Teams” to work on specific issues, such as the initiative to blend all students for Social Studies.


Which academic programs are housed at Thurgood Marshall? We host three elementary-age programs: Scholars (known until 2017 as General Education); Highly Capable Cohort, (known until 2014-15 as APP – Accelerated Progress Program; students are referred to as Accelerated Curriculum Scholars starting in 2017-18); and the PEACE Academy. Fuller information on specific programs and academic policies is available on the SPS website.

  • What is Scholars? Most Grade K-5 students in the Seattle School District are taught in “General Education” classrooms in elementary schools that draw from the surrounding neighborhoods. In 2017 Thurgood Marshall renamed these “Scholars” classrooms. While there are Districtwide curricula prescribed in core subjects such as Math and Science, teachers are asked to challenge each student at his or her appropriate level. See the District’s Academics web page for current information.
    Note: Thurgood Marshall several years ago obtained a waiver to use enVision Math instead of the District’s current curriculum, Math in Focus.
  • What is the HCC program? The Highly Capable Cohort Program serves students who are academically highly gifted, as defined by the Seattle School District through testing and other criteria. At Thurgood Marshall, HCC students (referred to as “Accelerated Curriculum Scholars” starting in 2017-18) are taught advanced versions of core subjects except Social Studies in “self-contained” classrooms, although all TM programs come together for assemblies and some other parts of the school day. See
  • What is the PEACE Academy? The PEACE Academy is the Preschool and Elementary Autism Center for Education, a Special Education Program based on educating students with disabilities in the least restrictive environment. Each student has access to an appropriate learning environment and an opportunity for education with non-disabled students to the maximum extent appropriate at his or her chosen school or at a site as close as possible to his or her neighborhood school. In addition to serving up  K-5 students, PEACE also has a pre-school classroom.

How do I enroll my child in HCC? Admission is determined by the District and requires eligibility testing and a short application involving parents and a teacher. The deadline for Seattle residents to apply for the required testing is in early fall the year before the student would enroll in HCC. (For example, the 2019-20 school-year deadline: Sept. 24, 2018.) Families moving to Seattle after the deadline have a later option.

Starting with 2018-19 school year, the eligibility process dates were expanded so that families could apply starting in May two years before intended enrollment year. In recent years, the District has also provided an initial Advanced Learning screening to all 2nd-graders at schools serving significant numbers of lower-income families. See for explanations, procedures and forms.

What is ELL? The English Language Learners program assists students whose primary home language is not English.  Bilingual services include English language programs, bilingual instructional assistants who support students with limited English proficiency, and assistance with referrals to health care, employment, and legal services.

When may a student participate in TM’s Instrumental Music Program? Our Instrumental Music Program is offered to 4th- and 5th-grade students. Classes meet once a week during the regular school day. It is the responsibility of the parents/guardians to provide the music book and supplies. All students in Grades 2-5 have the option to participate in choral singing program, which meets before school.

What types of educational technology are used at Thurgood Marshall? This varies by teacher and grade level. The school has a computer lab and iPad carts, and WiFi and wired Internet connections. Some classes use software and apps in conjunction with learning and projects, or go online for resources. Districtwide testing is often conducted on computers and tablets. A 2015 PTA-funded study and 2016 report by a parent/staff Technology Committee offered ideas on further opportunities, and a Districtwide purchase of new equipment added significantly to technology at TM in 2017.


The PTA runs a vibrant before- and after-school Enrichment Program.

In addition, several clubs engage students in interests such as chess, Ultimate and running. The PTA also supports a choir (Grades 2-5) that meets weekly in the morning throughout the year.


What does the School Counselor do? The Counselor provides a wide range of academic and social support, available to all Thurgood Marshall students. More details here. See below for RULER and the Conflict Mediator program.

What is RULER? Thurgood Marshall and many other schools use this curriculum to teach children about managing emotions. Principal Katie May explains more in this November 2015 post. You may also read an overview by its developers at Yale University.

What are Conflict Mediators? The Conflict Mediator and Recess Mentor program is an opportunity for interested 4th- and 5th-graders to use their leadership and communication skills to help younger students solve problems and enjoy appropriate play at school. All Conflict Mediators go through a required week-long training, facilitated and overseen by the school Counselor. The basis of the program was developed by the CRU Institute (Conflict Resolution Unlimited), and has been tweaked to fit the needs of our school.

Once their training is complete, students have the opportunity to choose between two roles: Conflict Mediator or Recess Mentor. Conflict Mediators primarily work in groups of two to find, intervene, and help solve playground problems. Recess Mentors also work in pairs, but their role is preventive in nature. Their main goal is to help facilitate games with younger students, model appropriate play, and step in early when scuffles arise. Mediators and Mentors meet several times throughout the year for whole-group training refreshers, and to address any problems they may need assistance with while on duty. If your student is interested in joining, encourage him/her to apply starting in October. We only have one training a year, so be sure to get involved early!

What is R.E.A.L.? In fall 2014, Principal Katie May instituted a schoolwide focus on four behavioral and academic elements:

  • Resilient
  • Empathetic
  • Accountable
  • Lifelong learner

Learn more at

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