Uniform policy update for 2019 school year

From our principal Ben Ostrom, here is his update to the uniform policies at the school that will take effect the start of the 2019 school year.

Background on uniforms at Louisa Boren STEM K-8

Uniform policies can provide benefits to students, families, and schools.  Uniforms were adopted at the opening of K-5 STEM because they aligned with the goals of a new school, and pointed towards a new shared identity and focus on STEM learning.  As Louisa Boren STEM K-8 has grown to include a continuum of programs and grades pre K-8th, the outcomes of our uniform policy became more complex. I encourage you to read the information below to understand the final decision regarding uniforms, the issues and discussion involved, and join us in the ongoing collaboration of community, staff, and students that makes Louisa Boren STEM K-8 great!

Summary and Decision

Questions were raised about STEM K-8’s uniform policy regarding equity, body image, identity, gender issues, race, culture, self-expression, and sensory needs. Furthermore, for many staff uniform enforcement negatively affected student relationships and efforts to create a welcoming environment. After student and family input, and a staff vote, STEM K-8 will not have a required uniform next year.  We will follow the standard SPS Dress Code.  Students are welcome to wear uniform attire; staff will not communicate or enforce uniform expectations.  Our school identity is based on exploring shared values, building rigorous STEM skills, and constructing Project Based Learning experiences. STEM K-8’s diverse community will continue to find ways to create shared identity, belonging, and school spirit without the conformity of uniforms.


STEM K-8 staff spent the last two months of the school year examining the school uniform policy. Students, staff and families were surveyed (results are displayed below).  STEM K-8’s uniform policy was discussed by the Building Leadership Team, at staff meetings, and PTA meetings. A summary of key issues:

  • Staff, students, and families raised concerns about uniform policy implications for youth wrestling with equity, body image, identity, gender, race, culture, self-expression, and sometimes sensory needs. Examples include:
    • communication with challenging students focused on uniform compliance rather than connection;
    • time spent addressing uniforms detracting from instruction or building relationships;
    • uniforms represent “uniformity” and dominant cultural values regarding “professional” or “acceptable;”
    • students with different body types finding STEM uniforms uncomfortable physically and emotionally;
    • girls feeling uniform enforcement represents gender bias;
    • uniform enforcement disproportionately affecting struggling students;
    • a wide variety of challenges lead to inconsistent enforcement;
    • the benefits associated with the STEM’s adoption of uniforms–supporting an academic learning environment, equity, shared identity, and safety—are less clear in middle school grades; and more.
  • The school board has been addressing broader dress code policy issues.  A school board action report on 6/24/19 connected to the proposed new SPS Dress Code stated, “School dress codes have a long history in our society and are often over-reaching and biased against the female gender. With this policy, it was the hope to eliminate unnecessary notions regarding such things as clothing length and subjective views of appropriate school attire.”
  • STEM K-8’s uniform surveys asked multiple questions about our uniform policy.  In the end the basic question was whether STEM K-8 should change our uniform policy.

Questionnaire results:

Question: STEM K-8  should continue to require uniforms.

Strongly Agree Agree Neutral Disagree Strongly


Grade 3-8 Students 13/202 or 6% 2/202 or 1% 18/202 or 9% 23/202 or 11% 146/202 or 72%
Families 112/293 or 38% 70/293 or 24% 28/293 or 10% 41/293 or 14% 42/293 or 14%
Staff 6/47 or 13% 9/47 or 19% 6/47 or 13% 16/47 or 34% 10/47 or  21%

As displayed in the table, clear divisions regarding uniforms emerged among survey respondents.  83% of 3rd-8th grade students oppose a uniform policy, with 72% strongly disagreeing with uniform requirements.  On the other hand, 62% of families support uniforms with 38% strongly agreeing. Amongst staff, 55% were opposed to a uniform policy, with 21% strongly disagreeing. Only 32% of staff supported a uniform policy.

For a uniform policy to be effective, a strong majority of staff and families need to support it.  At STEM K-8, most staff and students are opposed to uniforms, while a majority of families support them.  One reason for the discrepancy are negative outcomes staff and students experience from uniform enforcement, and the equity issues raised.  When those concerns were discussed during PTA meetings, families present understood more clearly the complexity of uniform issues.

Under the new SPS Dress Code scheduled for an adoption vote July 10, implementation guidelines exempt uniform policies adopted with feedback from students and families and a 2/3 staff vote.  During the final months of school, staff participated in multiple uniform discussions, input was solicited from families and students, and two PTA meetings discussed uniforms.  In the formal STEM K-8’s staff vote, 36% supported continuing uniforms, 48% were opposed, and 17% were neutral.  While a 2/3 majority is the baseline for staff approval, only slightly more than 1/3 of staff voted for uniforms.


Ben Ostrom

STEM K-8 Principal

Permanent link to this article: http://stemk8pta.org/2019/07/03/uniform-policy-update-for-2019-school-year/

Juneteenth Celebration & Talent Show

Juneteenth Celebration and Talent Show

Wednesday, June 12th

5-6 Talent Show
6-7:30 Juneteenth Festivities
6:30-7:30 2 on 2 Basketball Tournament
-Buffalo Soldiers with museum, soldiers and horses
-Mokojumbies (stilt walkers)
-Detective Cookie Chess
-Info tables

For the Talent Show/Juneteenth Celebration bring food to share.

If you can, please volunteer to help set-up, supervise, or clean-up on the link below: 


Any questions:  email LBSTEMK8BSU@gmail.com

Permanent link to this article: http://stemk8pta.org/2019/06/06/juneteenth-celebration-talent-show/

Get Your Dance Shoes Ready! GGLOW OWLS Family Dance Party

Join us on 5/31, from 5:30-7:30pm.

Thanks to those who purchased the new 2019 GGLOW OWLS t-shirt. The campaign has ended and shirts will be shipped soon. Two GGLOW OWLS designs are available on our school’s Cafe Press account. GGLOW OWLS Family Dance Party is also an opportunity to raise money for the purchase of more LGBTQIA books for our library and classrooms. If you purchased a t-shirt during our campaign, that was one way to contribute to our book fund! Other ways include bringing cash or checks the night of the party or choosing a book or two off this list:


If you’d like to find out more about volunteering at our party on 5/31, please email Shawna Murphy, GGLOW OWLS PTA Chair at southernstreetkids@yahoo.com


Permanent link to this article: http://stemk8pta.org/2019/05/20/get-your-dance-shoes-ready/

Join the PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports) Group

colorful owl

The PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports) Community Committee at STEM is looking for parents/guardians to join our team.

Every third Wednesday of the month
4pm in Mr. Des’s room

We cover a variety of topics including:
– How we use Hoot Outs at school
– What our All in 4 STEM expectations are and how we teach them
– Implementing The RULER Approach
– How we make the playground feel safer
& and other topics that address school safety, inclusion, etc.

We would really love and need parent/guardian input!

If you are interested in learning more or would like to join, please contact our school counselor Danielle Blechert at dnblechert@seattleschools.org or (206) 252-8509.

Permanent link to this article: http://stemk8pta.org/2019/05/17/join-the-pbis-positive-behavioral-interventions-supports-group/

Louisa Boren Playground Painting and Clean-up Day

Playground painting and Clean-up

We need your help! Because of a Small Sparks grant that was funded though City of Seattle, our school and community will be installing a buddy bench and cleaning up the school blacktop. Please join us for a blacktop painting and clean-up party on June 15th, from 9:30AM-1:30PM.

If you can’t donate time but would still like to help, we are also in need of these supplies:

  • Painters’ tape
  • Paint Brushes
  • Paint rags
  • Rollers
    Roller covers
  • Roller extenders
  • Paint Trays
  • Snacks and drinks for volunteers

Please RSVP at http://evite.me/NGzf11NcJY

Buddy Bench Community Celebration

June 20th


Louisa Boren STEM K-8 Play Area

Our school was awarded a Small Sparks grant though the City of Seattle for the installation of a buddy bench and for painting the blacktop. Come by, sit on our buddy bench, and celebrate with community members the improvements of our outdoor space. There will be crafts, some summer treats, and new friends to be made.

If you would like to help with organizing the community celebration, or setup, please contact Adrienne Ollerenshaw: amollerensha@seattleschools.org

Permanent link to this article: http://stemk8pta.org/2019/05/17/louisa-boren-playground-painting-and-clean-up-day/

Pi Night!

Permanent link to this article: http://stemk8pta.org/2019/03/04/pi-night/

“Classic Seattle” STEM Auction

The Best and the Worst
of Seattle & the PNW

Saturday, March 23
The Hall at Fauntleroy



Why does STEM have an Auction?

The Louisa Boren STEM K-8 PTA supports basics like classroom supplies, all school assemblies, library books, gym equipment, field trips and the “extras” like Project Based Learning supplies, scholarships for before & after school clubs, technology equipment, PTA community events like multicultural night, back to school bash, and Pi day.

What IS the Auction?

The auction is our major fundraising event of the year. Our hope is that guests (adults 21+ only) feel inspired to donate at the event in support of the STEM community and we depend on the countless hours of volunteer time to pull the event off, and the community at large to donate thousands of dollars in items to the auction itself for us to auction off.

The auction is broken into two blocks: a silent auction; with silent auction tables, games and mingling, and live auction; with dinner and a live auction with classroom art and larger package / higher ticket items.

What will be different this year? SPRING FLING!

The live auction has classroom art pieces that volunteers, teachers, and students create to sell at the auction. This Spring we will have a second event at Boren called “Spring Fling” open to the entire school community (kids too!) where families have the option to see the pieces created and get replicas of the live art pieces. More details coming soon on this event once it takes shape.

Tickets – Paper tickets OR online!


We couldn’t pull this off without volunteers! Please contact Robin: auction@stemk8pta.org if you can’t make it to an auction meeting and still want to volunteer!  

Upcoming Auction Committee meetings are: 7-8 pm at Uptown Espresso – Delridge.

Jan 9, Jan 31, Feb 27, March 13, March 20

Dessert Dash

We need 25 donated desserts. Purchased desserts are welcome. Each dessert must serve 8-10. To donate a dessert, send an email to auction@stemk8pta.org.

Sponsorship Opportunities

Sponsorship is another great way to support the auction! Levels range from $250 to $2,500 and include a variety of great benefits. Contact auction@stemk8pta.org for information on becoming a sponsor or in-kind donor or sign up here.


Donate new item here.


Our auctions are themed! This year we are going best & worst of Seattle – coffee, mermaid, the sound, JP Patches, the gum wall, a mountain, Birkenstocks with socks, grunge, hipster, dresses or jeans – costumes welcome or “come as you are”.

After Party

Circa – post Auction. Because it will be raining after all and no one will want to go home yet anyway.



Contact Robin: auction@stemk8pta.org



Don’t want to buy Tickets online? Hard copy order forms will be sent home in kid mail OR CLICK HERE to download a form.

Permanent link to this article: http://stemk8pta.org/2019/01/07/classic-seattle-stem-auction/

STEM K-8 School Tours for Prospective Students

STEM K-8 is hosting school tours in January and February. These tours are open to any families of children entering kindergarten through 8th grade. We host separate elementary and middle school tours to address the specific questions and concerns of each group.

Open Houses

STEM will also host Open Houses for elementary and middle school families. No reservations are necessary to attend an Open House.

  • Middle School Open House will take place on Thursday, January 31 from 6:00–7:00 pm
  • Elementary Open House will take place on Thursday, February 7 from 6:00–7:00 pm

Elementary School Tours

For families of prospective elementary (K-5) students, tours are conducted from 9:00–10:30 am on the following dates:

  • January 22
  • January 25
  • January 29
  • February 1
  • February 7

Reserve your spot on one of these tours.

Middle School Tours

For families of prospective middle school (6-8) students, tours are conducted from 10:15–11:45 am on the following dates:

  • January 29
  • February 1

Reserve your spot on one of these tours.

Permanent link to this article: http://stemk8pta.org/2018/12/10/stem-k-8-school-tours-for-prospective-students/

6th Annual Book Fair Blizzard is a Big Success!

Thank you to everyone who came to our Book Fair Blizzard!

We raised a grand total of…


in Scholastic Dollars, which will be used to buy new books for classroom libraries and the STEM K-8 Library. Scholastic Dollars also pay for all sorts of library items including headphones, bean bags, comfy chairs, rugs, and bookcases.

The proceeds from our eight Book Fairs – six Book Fair Blizzards and two spring Book Fairs (Story Laboratory and Book Fair Fiesta) have enabled us to buy lots of new books for our school!

All for Books Raised $290! 

And a BIG THANK YOU to everyone who donated pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters and dollars to our All for Books campaign!

Permanent link to this article: http://stemk8pta.org/2018/12/07/17967/

Book Fair Blizzard (December 4, 5 & 6)

All purchases benefit Classroom Libraries and the STEM K-8 Library

Two Book Fairs in One!

Ever wondered why our annual Book Fair Blizzard has SO MANY BOOKS? It’s because it’s actually two book fairs – an Elementary Fair (including PreK) and a Middle School Fair. While Scholastic has a book fair option for K-8 schools, it doesn’t give middle-schoolers much choice in books – so we bring in a middle school book fair too!

It’s a blizzard of books for everyone!

Tuesday, December 4th
3:25pm to 8:30pm

Wednesday, December 5th
8:00am to 10:00am & 2:10pm to 7:00pm

Thursday, December 6th
8:00am to 10:00am

Visit our online Book Fair: CLICK HERE (Open Nov. 26th through Dec. 9th)

Here you’ll find an even bigger selection of books pre-school through adult. You can also send wish-lists and e-cards to family and friends.

Book Fairs App makes finding the right book a snap!

Permanent link to this article: http://stemk8pta.org/2018/11/17/book-fair-blizzard-december-4-5-6/

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