Two weeks after the Seattle School Board voted to close the Cooper Elementary program while moving Pathfinder K-8 into the Cooper building on Pigeon Point, the reality of looming transition is settling in for hundreds of families. Last night we reported a Pathfinder update, including the start of meetings for its design team. That process apparently has not started yet for Cooper, according to this open letter to the community from Molly Usry of the Cooper PTSA:
To Concerned Community Members –
Now that we have had nearly two weeks to digest the School Board’s vote to discontinue the Cooper Program we are all trying to figure out what is next. Lawsuit? Help with the transition? Stay in denial that the Seattle School Board could vote yes for such a blatantly racist and classist recommendation?
I am personally choosing to focus on putting pressure on the District to provide for the kids whose lives they are disrupting. We need to anticipate that these kids are going to be going through the grieving process of losing their school and being separated from their friends. With this in mind we need to demand from the District that they provide us with extra counseling support for our students. They have created this mess, now they better be ready to supply us with extra resources to be able to continue to teach, parent and have the kids learning to the best of their ability through these trying times.
During a meeting with (school board member) Harium Martin-Morris yesterday, Harium mentioned he wants all the kids being displaced by the School Board’s vote to be tracked closely for at least the next 2 years with quarterly reports brought fourth on each students academic performance. I not only think this is a brilliant idea but I also think the District has a responsibility to be paying very close attention to the effects of their recommendations and votes on our children. The district should be designing a system for tracking the thousand of kids that have just been displaced immediately.
I also want to bring to everyone’s attention that design teams need to be implemented at Arbor Heights, Gatewood and Highland Park, the schools where Cooper’s kids will be assigned. It was my understanding yesterday at the meeting that design teams have not been formed at those schools. This shows a complete lack of regard for our kids when I am well aware of the fact that design teams for other schools like Pathfinder have already been meeting and planning. Please don’t let our Cooper kids fall through the cracks.
Everyone please write to our district, board and representative members to put pressure on them to ensure success for our kids during this trying time.
Molly Gras-Usry, Cooper PTSA Vice President
Board contact info is here; West Seattle rep Steve Sundquist‘s next community gathering is at 9 am next Wednesday at Coffee to a Tea in The Junction. One more note: We received e-mail today from someone else saying there’s a meeting at Cooper for the school’s families at 5:30 tonight, but have not yet been able to officially confirm that. Tonight also is the next school board meeting; no closure-related items are on the official agenda, but they might come up in the regular update from Superintendent Dr. Maria Goodloe-Johnson that always begins the meeting after about an hour of public comment. 3:15 PM UPDATE: The district has confirmed tonight’s meeting at Cooper but stresses it is ONLY for parents/guardians.
6:19 PM UPDATE: According to the “superintendent’s update” that is posted online as part of tonight’s School Board agenda, a Cooper design team has been formed and met today – here’s an excerpt from the presentation (see it here in its entirety) that is to be made at tonight’s board meeting:
Teams from the discontinuing programs or schools met this afternoon (Weds)
○ Cooper, Meany, TT Minor, Summit and AAA
□ These teams are working on addressing four needs:
1. Enrollment questions and issuesincluding an outreach plan to help affected families
understand their school and program options; and planning for and supporting visits
to primary receiving schools for affected families
2. Emotional support to the school community
3. End of year celebrationsto recognize that school community (these celebrations will
also be supported for Van Asselt, Genesee Hill, Mann and SBOC @ Old Hay as
4. Document and archiveschool and program artifacts and school records.