Video: Arbor Heights hosts superintendent-to-be José Banda

May 17, 2012 at 12:18 pm | In Arbor Heights, West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | 9 Comments

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.

9 Comments

  1. Why the hats? Just curious

    Comment by dbsea — 1:00 pm May 17, 2012 #

  2. That class grew plants for the annual school plant sale – that’s what I conclude (not having a child in Mrs I’s class)

    Comment by AH Parent — 4:09 pm May 17, 2012 #

  3. lil’ farmers

    Comment by dbwsea — 4:22 pm May 17, 2012 #

  4. All’s great except for the fact that Aurora Lora is marginally competent for the high salary she collects.

    Welcome Mr. Banda, looking forward to your steps to continually improve our district.

    Comment by Band geek's mom — 5:03 pm May 17, 2012 #

  5. To answer the questions about my student’s attire, years ago I had students whose parents did not have access to laundry facilities. Asking these children to spend time in the garden meant that they migh get their only pair of pants dirty. I didn’t want to cause problems for parents and I didn’t want to see children hold back from an authentic experience like gardening. So I bought overalls. Next came the hats. Because we couldn’t put sunscreen on them we used the hats to mitigate the sun damage. Finally, we started, about 12 years ago, to do a pioneer unit. We ended the unit with a “Day in the 1880′s”. A friend of mine, a retired Seattle School District teacher named Marilyn Miller sewed all of the bonnets and prongs so we could have three classes participate at one time. So there you have it. Twenty-two of the cutest, smartest, sweetest little farmers you will ever see!

    Comment by Marcia Ingerslev — 6:46 pm May 17, 2012 #

  6. Auto correct changed aprons to prongs…hopefully you all understood the sentence.

    Comment by Marcia Ingerslev — 6:50 pm May 17, 2012 #

  7. No local media coverage on the news tonight but as always the WSB covers a story well. Thank you!!!

    Comment by Hmmmm — 11:36 pm May 17, 2012 #

  8. I was very impressed with what I saw in Mr. Banda during the school tour yesterday. He had a warm smile, welcoming and calming presence and showed a genuine interest in the students he met and interacted. It was an exciting day for the Arbor Heights Community to welcome him to Seattle!

    Comment by AH Parent 2 — 3:56 pm May 18, 2012 #

  9. The pic of the lil’ farmers is the cutest! Buying overalls for your student’s use is a lot of out-of-pocket money! What a thoughtful teacher!

    Comment by ttt — 11:47 pm May 18, 2012 #

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