PTSA Handbook


Dear Parents and Guardians,

The Parent/Teacher/Student Association is an important part of JSIS and your child’s elementary school experience. The efforts of the PTSA and the funds raised for the PTSA go toward enriching the classrooms and curriculum to the benefit of all students. One of the primary goals of the PTSA is to assist in the academic achievement of all JSIS students by supporting the goals of teachers and administrative staff.

This handbook outlines the PTSA-supported activities and events that usually take place at JSIS over the course of the school year including: Fundraising, Curriculum Enhancement, Community Building, Communications, and Sustainability Efforts. Please review this guide and think of which activities or endeavors you would be willing to volunteer your time to support. The PTSA is comprised of volunteers, and relies on your participation to give our children and families the best experience possible. This is your school -make it what you want it to be!



The mission of the JSIS PTSA is to support the staff and families of the school community to ensure the success of JSIS’s vision. We strive to promote a culturally diverse and academically excellent community of life-long learners.


PTSA raises funds to support the JSIS staff and students.
These funds support supplemental art lessons in every classroom, classroom supplies new books for the library, gym equipment, playground upkeep, and much more! The PTSA dedicates the majority of our budget directly to the classrooms.

PTSA organizes activities and events to build our community.
Events such as Fiesta Latina and Japan Night help bring us together as a cohesive community of parents, kids, and staff.

PTSA helps ensure that communication lines are open.
The PTSA tries to keep parents abreast of news from the school, the district, and the community. We organize a group of amazing room representatives, manage email communications, run the JSIS website, and organize four annual PTSA general meetings to keep parents informed about school & education issues.

Annual PTSA Membership

Support the school and our kids by becoming a member of the JSIS PTSA! You can become a member here . The membership fee ($35) supports programs and services offered by the JSIS PTSA as well as work done on the local, state, and national levels for public schools. If your family would like to request a scholarship to cover the cost of your membership please email

Meeting Schedule
The PTSA Board members meet monthly, to discuss ideas, vote on expenditures, update on progress, etc. The PTSA also sponsors four General Meetings, open to all, that explore various topics of interest to the community. Dates and topics will be announced via the website and all school e-mails.

Volunteering: Take the “Just 5 Hours” Pledge!
Part of the success of JSIS is your involvement. All of our amazing activities and programs depend on the generosity of families donating their time and enthusiasm. There are many ways to contribute and make a difference at our school including volunteering in class, fundraising, or assisting at school events; we’d love to help you get involved in a way that works for you, your schedule, and your interests. If every family commits Just 5 Hours to help out with school programs, we can maintain our great programs. Please take the 5 Hour Involvement Pledge by filling out the form that will be sent home with your student during the first weeks of school.


This all-school event happens early in the school year and is the most successful fundraiser for JSIS PTSA. Students get donations or per-mile pledges based on the number of miles traveled by foot or wheels along a portion of the Burke Gilman trail by Gasworks Park. Everyone who participates receives a Move-A-Thon t-shirt, students are entered in a raffle for a new bike, and the classroom that raises the most money wins a pizza party.

Prepaid Cards
The prepaid card program raises over $12,000 per year for the PTSA. The PTSA purchases the cards at a discount of up to 16% from retailers and they are sold at face value to you for use essentially as cash. QFC, Fred Meyer, Amazon, Starbuck’s and many others are available for sale every Friday morning during coffee hour or on-line the first Friday of each month. AmazonSmile The school will earn 0.5% of the price of eligible purchases.  To sign-up, go to  Under Or pick your own charitable organization: on the right-hand side at the bottom enter John Stanford International School PTSA 6 15 195 and hit Search.  The city is listed as Tacoma, WA.  Pass this on to friends and family who can do the same!

JSIS Spirit Wear & Product Sales
When you purchase JSIS logo clothing and other products, you are supporting the school and advertising our program wherever you go. Don’t miss your opportunity to show your JSIS pride!

Book Fairs
JSIS hosts Book Fairs several times per year to raise funds to support our library. Book fairs are held during Monster Mash, La Fiesta Latina, and Japan Night. A portion of the sale proceeds are donated to JSIS and sustain our Library program for all students.

Annual fundraising for Immersion Program

The JSIS annual direct ask takes place in spring in order to fund Instructional Assistants (IAs) and interns for our immersion classrooms. The PTSA oversees the campaign and all money raised goes directly to funding classroom assistants. This fundraiser is essential to the success of our immersion program, and dedicated volunteers are always welcome!

Curriculum Enhancement

JSIS Arts Program
JSIS students have opportunities to explore art in various forms thanks to the PTSA, parents, and staff. As an international school, students create art around a topic from class or the school’s preselected continent of focus. Here are the ways your PTSA supports enhanced arts at JSIS:

  • Visual Arts: A professional visiting teaching artist funded by the PTSA works with JSIS teachers to develop an art curriculum. Students create visual art pieces based on the art concepts they learn or by using a specific style from a world region or well-known artist.
  • Ceramics: JSIS is very lucky to have its own kiln! Students create multidimensional ceramic pieces from start to finish. They start with raw clay and continue through to final glazing and firing. Past projects have included cultural masks, animals, and architectural pieces.
  • Poetry Aloud: Classes take turns presenting works of poetry (or their own creations!) in English, Spanish, or Japanese, which they recite to the school during morning announcements.
  • Artist in Residence Programs: JSIS strives to host an artist in residence every year, funded by the PTSA. A professional artist visits the school and works closely with the teachers and students on a project, native dance, or music instruction. The program culminates in a student performance open to families.
  • Reflections: An optional PTSA sponsored art program held at various schools throughout the country. Students submit their original works in visual arts, literature, and photography -to name a few categories. Each student is recognized for his/her effort.
  • Art Supplies: The PTSA funds a robust art supply closet for use by the JSIS staff and the visiting visual artists, so that teachers don’t have to use their personal funds.

Teacher Grants and Stipends
JSIS PTSA budgets a stipend for teachers ($100 per teacher) to use for curriculum enhancement or additional supplies. The Board also provides a larger grant with a total budget of $2000 per grade band (K-1, 2-3, 4-5) that teachers can use for expenses related to special projects, a special workshop, or a visit from an outside performer/educator. Additionally, the PTSA provides some funding for staff professional development including teacher training/workshops that support the school’s mission statement.

Library Support

The Library is funded primarily through the PTSA; we sponsor several book fairs each year.

After School Activities
We work closely with vendors, the school district, and JSIS staff to offer a variety of extracurricular activities that further the artistic, academic, and physical development of our children. Past offerings have included theater, chess, piano, martial arts, sewing, drawing, and much more!

Science Fair
The Science Fair introduces fifth grade students to the scientific method in a fun and noncompetitive way. With support from volunteer mentors, student teams formulate & test a hypothesis through observation and experimentation. A great way for students to get excited about science!

Community Building

First Day Donuts
The PTSA welcomes all parents/guardians to complimentary donuts and coffee in the cafeteria after the first day’s school bell rings. Siblings welcome!

Friday Coffee Hour
The PTSA hosts a “Coffee Hour” each Friday morning after the school bell rings to give parents a chance to socialize, chat with PTSA Board members, and purchase prepaid cards. Join us for coffee and treats. Siblings welcome!

Monster Mash
This annual Halloween party happens on a Saturday evening before Halloween. Join us for treats, games, music, and monster mashing. Costumes are encouraged for all ages! Admission fee supports PTSA.

Ice Skating Party
Every December, parent volunteers coordinate a private ice skating party on a Saturday morning at the Seattle Center’s Fisher Pavilion. A small fee is collected per skater.

Japan Night
This all-school event celebrates Japanese culture through performances, activity tables, information booths, as well as food and drink. Past events have included Taiko Drumming, Aikido and Kendo demonstrations, and Japanese storytelling. Funds raised support the student trip to Japan.

Fiesta Latina
This all-school event celebrates Latina culture through performances, activity tables, information booths, as well as food and drink. Past events have included Zumba lessons, traditional dance troupes, and fabulous student performances. Funds raised support JSIS’s sister school in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

Staff Appreciation Week
For a full week in the spring, we honor the JSIS staff and show our appreciation for their hard work. With help from parents and students, we provide snacks and lunch, notes of thanks, and raffle prizes donated by parents and local businesses. We’ve had espresso carts, smoothies, massages, and more! Each class also finds ways to show appreciation to specific teachers.

End-of-Year Ice Cream Social
This is a fun get-together that takes place on the playground near the end of the school year. Come and eat ice cream and celebrate the end of another fabulous school year, while welcoming the next year’s incoming families.

Family Support Programs
The PTSA collects donations to help fund scholarships and other requests from families in need, for things such as Picture Day, field trip fees, PTSA events, etc. Throughout the year we collect donations for the clothing bank at school; the extra clothes and shoes are provided to children who may need a change of clothes during school due to a spill or personal accident. In December, the Giving Tree program provides donations of toys and prepaid cards to families in need.


All School E-News
All school e-mails are sent out on Mondays and Thursdays to communicate upcoming school events, volunteer needs, important reminders, communications from the principal, and other news to inform the school community.

Room Reps & Weekly E-mail
Every class at JSIS has one or two parents who have volunteered to be “Room Reps” for their class. Room Reps facilitate classroom-related communication through weekly class emails targeting classroom needs, activities, volunteer opportunities, teacher letters, etc.

Student Directory
Each year the PTSA publishes a directory that lists students by classrooms with all or some of the following information: parents’/guardians’ names, email addresses, home addresses, and phone numbers. The directory also contains a staff list and other helpful information you’ll want to keep at your fingertips. It’s a great resource!

JSIS Website
The JSIS website is hosted by the school district and managed by PTSA volunteers. The address is You will find more detailed school & PTSA information and important links there.


Recycling and Food Waste Composting
JSIS students sort compost/recycling/garbage during lunch periods and in classrooms. We ask that visitors and volunteers do the same on our campus. Thanks for your help!

Reducing Waste
JSIS PTSA strives to use reusable service ware whenever possible, to reduce the need for disposable food service items.

Washington Green School Certification
The Washington Green Schools program provides resources and tools to involve students, teachers, and community members in assessing and taking action to increase resource conservation and waste reduction in schools. JSIS has achieved Gold Level certification.

Bike to School Month
Along with recognizing Bike-to-School Day, the PTSA runs a special month-long program to encourage biking (or scootering) to school and on weekends. Students keep track of their total time and earn prizes for participation. A couple of group rides to school are organized during the month, as well.

Landscaping – Native Plants & Integrated Pest Management
In past years, JSIS families have helped plant and maintain the existing native plant garden north of the kindergarten playground, rebuilt soil with compost (both from Cedar Grove and our own worm bins), spread mulch, weeded, and watered over the summer. Parental support is critical to ensure our school grounds are maintained and free of pesticides and herbicides.

Worm Bins
The recycling/composting volunteers collect “Food for Worms”: veggies, fruits, grains (no meat or dairy) to feed the worms in the worm bins. JSIS classes take part in care and study of the worm bins as part of their science curriculum.

Community Re-Use and Recycling programs
We have ongoing recycling and re-use programs for surplus cell phones, laptops, printer cartridges, shoes, and socks. JSIS PTSA receives income from the cell phone, laptop, and cartridge recycling programs. Gently used shoes and new socks are donated to Redeeming Soles. Donation bins are near the 42nd street entrance or, for laptops, in the JSIS office.

Do you have ideas, feedback, or a passion for curriculum enhancement, community building, fundraising, communications, or sustainability efforts? We would love your help! 
Please contact a PTSA Board member and let’s do it!