That’s one of the most personal moments we caught on video this morning as Arbor Heights Elementary School played host to José Banda – who starts work as Seattle Public Schools’ next superintendent July 1st, after the School Board voted unanimously last night to finalize his hiring. It might be a little hard to hear (with multiple camera shutters mixed in), but he’s speaking with a student about world geography, and mentioning that his son is currently working half a world away – as a teacher. Banda looked in on classrooms all over the school, as well as orchestra practice in the cafetorium, and gave short interviews to the panoply of media crews that showed up (this was his only official photo op as his Seattle visit continued today). But before the designated 10 am start time for the school tour, he was greeted by AH students:
Thanks to an AH parent for sharing that photo of Marcia Ingerslev‘s first-graders, who were dressed as farmers, since they presented the new superintendent with a plant – you saw their story here last week, as they are selling and giving away tomato plants, and will be at Roxbury Safeway this Saturday. (Watching the students, from left, are district communications director Lesley Rogers, executive director of West Seattle schools Aurora Lora; superintendent-to-be Banda; and AH principal Christy Collins; WS school-board director Marty McLaren was there for the visit too). We also took many photos, and more video, and are going through it all right now, to add more to this story later.
(And yes, the new superintendent said, the students did make sure he knows about the poor condition their building is in – rated worst in the district – the BEX IV levy currently proposes a new building for AH, but not to be completed until 2018, and the community is campaigning to have that timetable moved up before the levy plan is finalized this fall; its problems were amply explained during a BEX-related meeting at AH that we covered in April.)
ADDED 4:50 PM: More photos, ahead:
This is a different view of the scene in our video clip atop the story – while Banda spoke with a student, these are all the cameras (including ours) that surrounded them:
The teachers/students he visited were Ruben Gonzalez‘s 5th graders; then Sandy Kennewick‘s 5th graders, doing math at a 6th-grade level, as the principal explained to us, both students qualified for the district’s advanced-learning programs and others who are capable of the advanced work:
Also, Cate Simmers‘ 1st graders; Sue Wilson‘s 1st graders; and at the last stop, Daniel Hershman-Rossi was leading the student musicians in the cafetorium; coaches from the Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestra‘s innovative program were there too, and we will have a breakout story about this – and the program’s upcoming concerts around West Seattle – this evening:
The tour covered a lot of ground around the rambling main building:
A photo op with Arbor Heights and district reps as the official tour began:
From left are next year’s Arbor Heights PTA president, John Christensen, McLaren, principal Collins, Lora, and the incoming superintendent. We expect to add another video clip or two this evening.