I-Connect Logo_May 2015

Medina I-Connect 

Building connections, strengthening community

Who We Are


I-Connect is an award-winning PTA program that connects new and existing parents at our school to help build relationships, foster participation, and strengthen our school community. 

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What We Do

We connect new and existing Medina parents to build and strengthen our community. With this goal in mind, we

  • Have monthly meetings: We meet once a month to share our thoughts and experiences around topics such as education, parenting, diversity, and community.
  • Organize social events: We put together various events throughout the school year, including social events, information sessions, and lectures by professional speakers.
  • Serve as a resource: For parents who are new to the school or are English language learners, we can put you in touch with parents who can help you get connected.


If you have any questions about I-Connect, please email the 2018-2019 organizers Alicia Alibhai, Eileen Foley, Shari Kauls and Evonne Lai at i-connect@medinapta.org.


  • I-Connect Wins WA State PTA Gold 

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During the Washington State PTA Convention from April 28-30, 2017,  I-Connect (from Medina, Chinook, and Odle) won the GOLD Level Award for PTAs Taking Significant Action 2016-2017. The purpose of the award is to recognize the accomplishments of local PTAs across the state that present programs, projects, and activities that show originality, involvement, usefulness, and results. The award also highlights programs that other schools may want to replicate. The application was a joint effort between Medina, Chinook, and Odle I-Connect. Hooray!




Q: Is Medina I-Connect only for families who are new to Medina Elementary School? 

A: While we welcome all new families to Medina Elementary School, I-Connect is meant for all parents at the school who want to connect with other parents to share their thoughts and experiences.


Q: What will be discussed at the monthly meetings? 

A: Any questions or topics that may be on your mind, such as curriculum, the school system, after school activities, parenting, how to advocate for your child, etc. If you have a topic for discussion, please email i-connect@medinapta.org.


Q: What have you talked about so far this year?

A: We had a great first meeting in September as we connected new and existing parents in our school community. We introduced ourselves and had a fun activity where we shared our place of birth, which was then marked on a world map. Returning parents shared their reasons for participating in I-Connect. We discussed strategies for connecting with others in the community, and there was an opportunity for parents to ask questions to the larger group about the school and out-of-school activities. 

At our October meeting, we talked about the topic of motivation. What motivated you as a child, and what are some lessons learned with regard to what motivates your own children? These are the questions that we explored as we went around and shared our thoughts and experiences on the topic of motivation.

Dr. Aisha Simon spoke at our November meeting on the topic of executive functioning. Executive functioning skills are involved in managing impulses, regulating emotions, managing time, planning and prioritizing, and reflecting on one's experiences to adjust future behavior. The title of her talk was Tips to Helping Your Child Live a Happy and Successful Life: Understanding and Activating the Inner Executive.

At our December meeting, we discussed the topic of sibling relationships, and we talked about issues such as fighting, favoritism, and the tendency for kids to take on roles within families. We also shared our struggles and concerns as well as practical tips and strategies on how to help our children get along with one another.

We discussed the topic, "How to Talk to Your Kids about Discrimination" at our January meeting. We talked about the ways in which we are all different but also the same. We shared tips and strategies for talking to your kids about discrimination and discussed how we are parents can model the value of diversity in our own lives. We also talked about the appropriateness of intervening in cases where children are being teased, harassed, or bullied because they are perceived as being different.

At our meeting in March, we met at the home of an I-Connect member. We sat in front of a crackling fire as we brought our own topics to discuss. We talked about options for middle school, and we shared tips and ideas on summer camps and traveling with kids. We had a discussion how to have civil conversations on difficult topics such as politics and religion, and we talked about the issue of parents who want to go back to work.

We met at the home of an I-Connect organizer for our April meeting, and we discussed the topic of community. We went around the room and talked about the communities to which we belong. They were mainly communities based on a shared identity or geographic location, or they were based on shared beliefs, values, or interests. We shared ideas on how we could build community, and we talked about I-Connect and what it could be doing to strengthen the community at Medina.


Q: What did you talk about at the meetings last year?

A: Last year, we had eight meetings. At the first meeting, we welcomed new parents and reconnected with old friends. Attendees introduced themselves, and the I-Connect organizers provided insights on settling in to the school year. We discussed strategies for connecting with others in the community, including volunteer opportunities at the school, and collected feedback on future topics of discussion.

At our October meeting, we discussed the "over parenting trap" - the dilemma of raising healthy, successful adults in the age of helicopter parenting and overscheduled kids. We also talked about family rules and expectations and our efforts to instill self-sufficiency in our children. At the subsequent meeting, we discussed the book, How to Raise an Adult, by Julie Lythcott-Haims.

We shifted gears in December and focused on what makes us happy. Specifically, we discussed ways that our families find joy, connectedness, and gratitude. At our January meeting, we changed the focus from what we do for everyone else in our lives to what we do for ourselves - how we carve out "me" time and how we most enjoy spending it.

In February, we invited Dr. Steven R. Curtis, a nationally certified school psychologist, to discuss character development in children. The meeting concluded with a question and answer session. At our March meeting, we shared takeaways from Dr. Curtis' lecture and further explored our own families' approaches to character-building.

For our final meeting of the year, we mixed things up with "Bring Your Own Topic." Attendees were asked to prepare a topic that they then wrote down on a notecard and dropped into a hat. Topics were drawn at random, and we discussed as many as we had time for.


Q: What kinds of events do you have?

A: We had four events in 2016-17. In December 2016, we had a cocktail social at the home of one of the I-Connect organizers. The event was a potluck and was open to I-Connect members and their significant others. In February 2017, we had a Middle School Panel Discussion with panelists from BSD middle schools and a few private schools in the area. We had an End of the Year Brunch in May 2017 at the home of one of another I-Connect organizer. It was a nice event filled with food and good conversation to mark the end of the school year. In June 2017, we had a I-Connect Family Picnic at Medina Park. We had perfect weather, lots of good snacks, and opportunities to participate in outdoor activities like tennis, soccer, and bocce ball.

We had three events in 2015-16. In January 2016, we hosted an evening social for I-Connect members and their spouses at the home of one of our I-Connect organizers. The event was a potluck, with delicacies from around the world, along with fine wines and cocktails. I-Connect Medina and Chinook co-hosted a panel of graduating high school seniors in May 2016 from Bellevue, International, Big Picture, Interlake (GHSP), Sammamish, and Lakeside. For the 2016 Medina PTA Auction, I-Connect offered a Cosmopolitan Dinner for Ten. The cuisine was prepared by the talented chefs of I-Connect, with over 36 participants taking part in hosting the meal.



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