Lawton Elementary School



A message from Principal Manza

Dear Lawton Families, Staff, and Community Members,

It is with great pride and excitement that I am writing this letter to you as the newly appointed Interim Principal at Lawton Elementary School.  The opportunity to learn and lead at Lawton was an offer that I welcomed.   My wife Merrill, our eighteen month old daughter Penelope and I cannot wait to become Lawton Dolphins!

I am starting my eleventh year in education, and my fundamental goal has not changed since the first day I stepped into the classroom as a teacher.  I want to have a lasting positive impact on the lives of students.  As teachers and building leaders we have a profound responsibility to educate children from a holistic approach including reading and writing, math and science, health and fitness, the arts, and social-emotional development.  I look forward to learning from the Lawton staff and leading the educators to continue improving student learning for all students in every classroom every day.  In addition, I anticipate working side by side with families and community members to provide the best elementary experience a student can have, enabling our students to leave Lawton highly prepared for middle school and beyond.

I grew up in a family of teachers, and I knew that I would eventually follow in the footsteps of my parents.  My father taught at the elementary and middle school grade levels for twenty years.  Furthermore, my mother just retired after thirty-nine years in education fulfilling the role of a teacher, administrator, and finally a professor.  This upbringing helped me understand at an early age how important an excellent education is for students, families, and a community.

At the family and community level, it is crucial to build rich and inclusive relationships. I am currently working with our PTA president Carrie Wheeler to ensure a smooth transition and set up time for me to meet the students and families of Lawton Elementary.  I look forward to my first opportunity to meet families at “Popsicles in the Park” on Monday, August 18th.   The communication between families, the community, and the building principal is critical, and I will be sure to provide open lines of communication that are positive and transparent.

At the classroom level, clear learning targets and objectives are crucial in establishing a framework for successful academic programs. Students need to know what they are learning and perhaps more importantly why they are learning specific content.  School leadership must establish clear learning targets and objectives by aligning them with the Common Core State Standards.  Moreover, effective intervention strategies need to be in place for students who are struggling and for students who need a greater challenge. This can be done by effective use of professional development days and consistent monitoring of teaching and learning.  I look forward to working with the staff to enrich instruction and learning.

I want to thank Dr. Gerrans for his leadership and dedication to Lawton Elementary.  I am excited about the opportunity to serve the students, staff, and community of Lawton Elementary School.  I am committed to developing positive and lasting relationships. I will work toward supporting an instructional program and school climate that continue to result in high academic achievement of all students.  I look forward to working with you and the children.



Dorian Manza

Lawton PTA welcomes Mr. Manza!

Many people have reached out to the PTA leadership regarding the change in leadership.  Dr. Gerrans has provided consistent leadership at Lawton for the past three years. He has worked hard to provide stability at Lawton after inconsistent leadership in the 3 years prior to his tenure. We have shared our thanks and gratitude for his dedication to our school.  We wish him the best at Salmon Bay and know he will bring stability and high expectations to his new school home through his leadership.

While the timing of the transition is difficult, Lawton is a great school with a strong community. We look forward to welcoming Mr. Manza into our thriving and energetic school family. The Lawton staff is already working with Mr. Manza and he is enthusiastic and excited about being a part of the Lawton community.
Mr. Manza has reached out to the PTA board about creating opportunities to meet the broader Lawton community. Mr. Manza will be available to meet families this month at the popsicles in the park.  We have two scheduled in the next 2 weeks.  Typically these events are for new families and incoming kindergarteners, however, Mr. Manza asked that these events be opened up to the entire Lawton community.  Please join us on the Lawton playground to meet Mr. Manza, enjoys a few last moments of summer, and see old school friends.  The two popsicles in the park are scheduled:

  • Monday August 18th at Noon
  • Wednesday August 27th at 6:30pm
There will also be two opportunities in the first month of school to meet Mr. Manza and help him to get to know Lawton. The Back to School Bash for the whole family is scheduled for Friday September 12th. In addition, the PTA will host a fall PTA general membership meeting for parents and teachers on Thursday October 2nd. Both events will be in the evening. We hope many of you can join us on both occasions.
Welcome Mr. Manza to the Lawton family!  
Looking forward to another great year!  
Carrie Wheeler and Kathryn Ficarra
Lawton PTA Co-Presidents

Leadership change message from the Superintendent

Dear Lawton Elementary community,

Today I’m announcing a leadership change at Lawton. Your principal, Dr. Neil Gerrans, has been appointed to serve as the principal of Salmon Bay K-8. I know asking a principal to leave a building right before the school year is difficult for staff and families. However, I believe this decision is in the best interest of all of our students.

I am pleased we are able to announce that Dorian Manza will serve as your Interim Principal. Mr. Manza comes to Lawton Elementary from Whitman Middle School, where he served as Assistant Principal. He starts immediately and will be working with staff this month to make sure we are ready for our first day of school.

At Whitman, Mr. Manza led building-wide professional development in positive discipline and school safety and collaborated with the Building Leadership Team to develop annual school improvement plans. Before joining Whitman, he was the Dean of Students at Alderwood Middle School, where he started his career in education teaching history, health and fitness.

Mr. Manza has a Bachelor’s degree from Washington State University and his Master’s in Education and principal certification from City University. He said he is eager to meet students and collaborate with both staff and families to ensure student success.

As is our practice with an interim appointment, Sarah Pritchett, Executive Director of Schools for the Central Region, will work with the Lawton community in deciding if the position will become a full appointment or if we will go through a formal interview process. That engagement process will take place this winter.

Thank you for the high expectations that you set for every student, and for all that you do. And please join me in welcoming Mr. Manza to Lawton!



Dr. Larry Nyland

Interim Superintendent

Seattle Public Schools

Kindergarten Jump Start Starting Next Week!

Kindergarten Jump Start is starting on August 18 – August 22, from 9-12 noon each day. Drop off and pick up will be under the covered area of the Lawton playground. We will provide a healthy snack for the students each day. We are excited to meet our incoming Kindergartners!

Supply List 2014

Click here for the supply list for the 2014 school year.

2014-2015 Tentative PTA Enrichment Offerings

Hello all ~

We hope you are having an enjoyable summer and getting that extra vitamin D that so many of us in the Northwest need!
We have been receiving many emails asking if we had a list of classes yet. After receiving the final confirmation for one of our new classes, we have the list to share…click here.
This list is tentative and changes can still be made (but mostly likely won’t) :o)
Thank you!Cheryl Parks & Lisa Blau
PTA Enrichment Co-Coordinators
Lawton Elementary
Seattle School District
206-252-2142“Health and Achievement Go Hand in Hand”

School Board approves 2014-15 Academic Calendar

The Seattle School Board Wednesday night approved the District’s academic calendar, which includes elimination of the week-long mid-winter break for the 2014-15 academic year.

The mid-winter break will be reduced from a full Monday-Friday to four days over Presidents Day weekend – including the Monday, Feb. 16 for Presidents Day, which is already a holiday and a non-school day, and Tuesday, Feb. 17 following Presidents Day.

As a result of the shorter mid-winter break, the last day of school in 2014-15 will be earlier – Monday, June 15, 2015, assuming no snow make-up days. The yearly academic calendar is negotiated by teams from Seattle Public Schools and the Seattle Education Association.

The full calendar, with specific dates for staff, can be found at

Key dates for 2014-15, which were announced in February, include:

·         Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2014: First day of school for students

·         Nov. 11: Veterans Day

·         Nov. 27-28:     Thanksgiving holiday

·         Dec. 22, 2014-Jan. 2, 2015: Winter break

·         Jan. 19, 2015: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

·         Feb. 16, 2015: President’s Day

·         Feb. 17, 2015: One day off, as part of shortened Mid-Winter break

·         April 13-17, 2015: Spring Break

·         May 25, 2015: Memorial Day

·         Monday, June 15, 2015: Last day of school for students

·         June 16, 17, 2015: Snow makeup days (if needed)

A reminder, the last day of school for students this year is Thursday, June 19.

Staff Appreciation Week – Thank you!

Staff Appreciation Week in the lounge was a success! Everyone was happy and it was terrific seeing our amazing Lawton Staff enjoying themselves.

We would like to thank Bryn Bunich, Malia Hardin, Elizabeth Hester, Cathy Simpson, Corrie Ebel, Christine Legere, Alice Shepard, Laura Van Horne, Helen Prescott, Rebecca Price, and Tracy Pozil for their generous contributions. We couldn’t have done it without you!


Michelle Fescoe, Stacey Spencer and Courtney Fescoe.

Staff Appreciation Co-Chairs

PTA Budget Planning – Your input requested!

Dear Lawton Community,

Every Spring the PTA board begins the process of drafting a budget for the coming school year. This budget is discussed with school leadership then presented to the general membership at the April meeting; this year the meeting is on Thursday April 24th.

This past year the Lawton Elementary PTA had an annual budget of $143,750. Sources of funds were the Direct Drive ($125,000), the Spring Social ($25,000), and other passive fundraising activities ($4,850). Less expenses ($11,100) yields $143,750.

In planning for 2014-15 we have a few fundraising options and we would like to poll our membership about preferences:

·      Direct Drive ONLY; this may not raise the projected $145,000 for 2014-15 and could force us to make potentially significant cuts to the budget. ($125,000 is the most we’ve ever raised.)

·      Auction ONLY; while we had success in the past with auctions grossing up to $140,000+, we tend to capture an average of $0.75 for each dollar raised (~$110,000), again leaving us short of our projected budget of $145,000.  Auctions also require a committee of interested volunteers.

·      Hybrid Direct Drive/Auction; we could lower the Direct Drive goal and have a downsized auction in the Spring, hoping together both events would raise $145,000.

Over the past two years we have run Direct Drive campaigns, which have raised approximately 85% of our budget. We completed fundraising with the Spring Gala and other means. However, people have been voting with their feet and attendance at the Spring Gala has dropped nearly 50%. Several people have mentioned that they miss having an auction, miss socializing with their friends, and miss the chance to bid on items they might not otherwise have a chance to buy elsewhere. There are others who clearly prefer the Direct Drive to the auction and would prefer to only have a direct drive. The preference is so closely split, with 52% of respondents last school year reporting they prefer a Direct Drive, leaving 48% who don’t. It’s hard to get much closer than that.

With that, we are asking you how you would prefer to engage next year with the Lawton Elementary PTA in its fundraising approach. We are also gauging interest in helping plan and execute an auction, should we have one next year. This process would need to start this Spring, so time is of the essence!

Please take this brief survey and let us know your preference.  The survey will be open through Monday, March 31st.  And as always, thank you for your support of Lawton.


Anson Fatland and Carrie Wheeler, Lawton Elementary Co-Presidents

Kindergarten – Jumpstart, August 18 – 22

This summer, Lawton will again be offering Jumpstart for our incoming Kindergarten students. This year we will be offering Jump Start: August 18-22 in the mornings.

Last summer we were one of 33 schools participating with overwhelmingly positive results from parents and students.  Students felt more connected to their schools, parents and guardians were able to begin to form relationships with school personnel, and teachers were able to model school behaviors that inspired children to start school with joy and excitement.

If your student will be joining Lawton for Kindergarten, we hope you are able to join us for this week in August.

Click here for flyer page 1

Click here for flyer page 2

The PTA Board Needs You!

The PTA Board is seeking several volunteers to fill key positions for the 2014-2016 school years.  Open positions include: Co-President, Vice President, Cashier, Communications – Newsletter, Communications – Website/Facebook and Recording Secretary.  Please click HERE to view job descriptions.  The PTA Board meets once per month and time commitment varies throughout the year.  Board members are elected at the last general PTA meeting of the year for two-year terms.  If you are interested or have questions, please contact Kelly Esterberg.

Watercolor class – start date change to March 26

The after school watercolor class will start March 26th versus March 19th and will end on May 7th. Please contact Carol McKinney with any questions.

Seattle Public Schools Seeks Feedback on Proposed Elementary Math Instructional Materials

The Seattle Public Schools elementary math adoption committee work has reached a critical stage.  In looking to partner with parents and community to find the best possible math program for Seattle Public School students for the 2014-15 school year and beyond, the committee invites you to provide your thoughts and opinions.

Click HERE for more details.


Lawton Gala Tickets – Buy NOW!!!

Hello Lawton Families!

It is time to get your tickets for the Lawton Gala!  Click HERE for flyer.

We are excited to celebrate the year with the community and we hope everyone can join us at the Gala this year on March 22nd at the Daybreak Star in Discovery Park. It will be a fun night of socializing DISCO style, eating and drinking, and of course opportunities to buy raffle tickets for gift baskets, beautiful pictures of your child, classroom art, parking spots, and some new and exciting additions (shhhhhh but rumor is there might be an opportunity to be PE teacher or the librarian for the day).  What kid does not want to take over for Mrs. Parks and Mrs. Kohler!

You can purchase your tickets and drink tickets ($5 each) online.  Drink tickets will also be available at the door.

Purchase your tickets at:

Mindfulness in K-12 Education, Brody LaRock, AP at John Hay

Where:  Coe Auditorium

Date/Time:  March 18, 6:30 – 8pm

- What is mindfulness, what mindfulness is not.  Current research in neuroscience, clinical interventions, k-12 education.


Dyslexia: the Movie – March 27

Dyslexia: the Movie is an engaging documentary that weaves vintage classroom footage, celebrity interviews and the comedic touch of dyslexic director Harvey Hubbell V into an engrossingly entertaining film on a serious subject.

It’s a great event for families encountering all types of reading/writing/learning challenges.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Coe Elementary Lunchroom

  • Opening Remarks 6:15
  • Film Begins 6:30
  • Panel 8:00

The screening of the documentary will be followed by a panel of distinguished experts who will speak about local resources for parents and students, the latest research in the field of intervention, and ways for parents to advocate for their children. The panel will answer questions.

Click HERE for flyer

Lawton Gala Tickets – March 22nd

Hello Lawton Families!

It is time to get your tickets for the Lawton Gala!  Click HERE for flyer.

We are excited to celebrate the year with the community and we hope everyone can join us at the Gala this year on March 22nd at the Daybreak Star in Discovery Park. It will be a fun night of socializing DISCO style, eating and drinking, and of course opportunities to buy raffle tickets for gift baskets, beautiful pictures of your child, classroom art, parking spots, and some new and exciting additions (shhhhhh but rumor is there might be an opportunity to be PE teacher or the librarian for the day).  What kid does not want to take over for Mrs. Parks and Mrs. Kohler!

You can purchase your tickets and drink tickets ($5 each) online.  Drink tickets will also be available at the door.

Purchase your tickets at:

Workshop dates announced for Large Projects Fund applicants

Neighborhood Matching Fund supports neighborhood groups for community-building projects

 SEATTLE – The Neighborhood Matching Fund, a program of Seattle Department of Neighborhoods, is hosting six workshops for those interested in applying to the Large Projects Fund this May. The Large Projects Fund provides awards of up to $100,000 in matching funds to neighborhood groups for community-building projects. Attendance at one of the six workshops offered is required in order to submit a Large Projects Fund application.

The mandatory workshop will provide an overview of the Neighborhood Matching Fund, the qualities of a good project, and the application process. Neighborhood and community groups interested in the fund are invited to attend. Workshop dates and locations are as follows:

Thursday, February 20, 6 – 8 p.m.

Phinney Neighborhood Center, 6532 Phinney Ave North

Tuesday, February 25, 6 – 8 p.m.

Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, 4408 Delridge Way Southwest

Thursday, March 20, 6 – 8 p.m.

El Centro de la Raza, 2524 16th Avenue South

Tuesday, March 25th, 6 – 8 p.m.

Northgate Community Center, 10510 5th Ave Northeast

Tuesday, April 8, 6 – 8 p.m.  

NewHolly Gathering Hall, 7054 32nd Ave South

Thursday, April 10, 6 – 8.p.m.

Miller community Center, 330 19th Ave East


To learn more visit For additional information or to request an interpreter (one week prior to preferred workshop), applicants can call 206.233.0093 or The deadline for the Large Projects Fund is May 5, 2014.

The Neighborhood Matching Fund (NMF) Program awards matching funds for projects initiated, planned, and implemented by community members. Its goal is to build stronger and healthier neighborhoods through community involvement and engagement. Every award is matched by a neighborhood’s contribution of volunteer labor, donated materials, in-kind professional services, or cash.

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