(Ribboncutting video added over originally posted photo, as CSIHS PTSA president Amy Daly-Donovan and Friends of Sealth president Debbie Taylor call up participants)
ORIGINAL 10:21 AM REPORT: “It’s a great day!” enthused Seattle Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Maria Goodloe-Johnson moments ago, right after a ribboncutting celebration outside the renovated Chief Sealth International High School. Mayor Mike McGinn is here as are dozens of other dignitaries, plus students including the band (McGinn told them “You guys rocked it!”) and cheer squad (video of both added below).
11:12 AM UPDATE: Adding video, and more photos. Four Chief Sealth student leaders welcoming the crowd in four languages:
That’s student-body president Ressie Brown with the English version, junior class president Cecilia Silva in Chinese, student-body vice president Abubakar Dhubow in Somali, and student-body secretary Yesenia Barajas in Spanish. Sealth Principal John Boyd was joined by his soon-to-be-campus-sharing counterpart, Denny International Middle School Principal Jeff Clark (who didn’t wear his famous Denny Dolphins bright-blue suit, but was sporting blue shoes):
Clark confirms that his school will make their move right after this school year ends, so that summer classes and programs can be held in the new facility. More to come; speeches and performances wrapped up inside the Galleria just after 10:30.
Tours followed, though the visitors were reminded that it’s a working day for teachers and staff, with classes starting tomorrow. Read on for the official district announcement:
Students, families, school staff, community members and elected officials gathered at Chief Sealth International High School in West Seattle today to celebrate the ribbon-cutting of the renovated building.
Originally built in 1957, Chief Sealth’s remodel reflects the seven characteristics associated with high-achieving schools: a learner-centered and personalized environment, and spaces that support collaboration, safety, aesthetics, community connections and program adaptability. The building also supports SPS’ commitment to ensuring a high-quality school and an excellent education for every student.
Dignitaries attending the event included Cecile Hanson, Chairperson of the Duwamish Tribe, who offered a blessing of the building to honor the building’s namesake, Chief Sealth, and Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn.
Speaking to students, staff and families at the ceremony, Superintendent Maria L. Goodloe-Johnson, Ph.D. emphasized the connection between Sealth’s diverse student body and the renovation effort, which supports the school’s designation as an International High School. “Major building projects like this one, which will enhance learning and benefit students and families for years to come, would not be possible without the outstanding support of both the Sealth community and Seattle voters,” said Superintendent Goodloe-Johnson. “I am pleased to be here with you today to celebrate the academic support that this new building will provide in achieving excellence for all students.”
Steve Sundquist, School Board Director for District VI, which includes Chief Sealth International High School, thanked Seattle voters for making the project possible. “We have a terrific new facility that supports completion of the district’s first international school pathway from Concord Elementary to Denny Middle to Chief Sealth,” Director Sundquist said. “By finishing this project on time and on budget, it is a win for voters and our community. We also look forward to the completion next year of the new Denny International Middle School, now under construction on this campus, which will foster collaborative learning opportunities between these two International schools.”
The 230,000-square-foot Sealth building includes all newly remodeled classrooms and significant technology upgrades to enhance teaching and learning, a career center, computer labs in the library, classrooms equipped for students with special needs, music labs and music classrooms, and science rooms for the “Project Lead the Way” program (a pre-engineering program) for high school and middle school students. The facility also features the new galleria/commons for learning, collaboration, dining and community use and includes student services, a health center, large display areas and a new kitchen. In addition, a new performing arts auditorium will seat 900 and is available for community use.
The school’s International high school designation is defined by a global perspective in courses, world language for all students, international artist-in-residence and partnerships with local and global organizations. This includes Spanish, Japanese and Mandarin Chinese courses, exchange programs to both Guatemala and China, and international recognition as a certified International Baccalaureate (IB) World School. In addition, the school is home to the Confucius Education Institute, which is located in its own classroom and provides educational resources, web support and materials related to Chinese language and culture.
“We‘re thrilled to be moving back into our permanent state-of-the-art building that will serve generations of Chief Sealth International students,” said Sealth Principal John Boyd, “and we look forward to next year, when we will be welcoming our Denny International Middle School colleagues. It is also fitting that the Duwamish Tribe is present here today to honor of our building’s namesake by blessing the building,” Boyd added.
Sustainability features are integral to Sealth’s environment: re-use of the existing structure, walls and salvageable building elements to reduce environmental impact; natural ventilation and skylights in the commons and most classrooms (including ceiling fans); energy-efficient heating and lighting systems (with occupancy sensors) throughout the school, which significantly reduce consumption and carbon emissions; individual heating/ventilation units in each classroom with user controls and carbon dioxide sensors and drought tolerant landscaping.
Sealth International High School is one of seven major building projects made possible by the 2007 voter-approved Building Excellence III capital bond. Other projects funded by the bond include Denny International Middle School, Hamilton International Middle School (which celebrates its opening on September 2), Nathan Hale High School (several phases of the project are complete), South Shore school (opened fall 2009), Rainier Beach High School and Ingraham High School. The bond also funds infrastructure and technology projects that benefit schools all across the district.