‘It’s exciting’: K-5 STEM at Boren opening day, with Superintendent Banda on hand

(With principal Dr. Shannon McKinney, student Hajo got ready to help cut the ribbon. Photos by Nick Adams for WSB)
9:17 AM: We’re at West Seattle’s brand-new public school, K-5 STEM at Boren, which starts classes in about 15 minutes.

(Superintendent Banda with Xavier Nguyen and parents Mat and Tia)
Seattle Public Schools Superintendent José Banda is here, as is the regional Executive Director of Schools Carmela Dellino

… and dozens of excited parents and students already milling around on the south side of the campus, which has been closed the past two years (since serving as Chief Sealth International High School‘s temporary home). The phrase “It’s exciting” has resounded multiple times through the crowd.

From curriculum decisions to enrollment to hiring to building renovations, K-5 STEM at Boren has been “built” in just seven and a half months; as part of a “short-term capacity management plan,” the School Board voted January 25th to create it.

More on the superintendent’s visit and K-5 STEM’s first day, coming up.

1:08 PM UPDATE: Added photos from WSB contributing photojournalist Nick Adams (including images substituted above for the cameraphone photos previously included):

K-5 STEM is West Seattle’s only public school requiring uniforms. While teachers and students started getting to know each other and their new school, mingling continued in a room near the entrance:

The first PTA meeting, as noted in comments, is September 19th, 7 pm. (added) PTA president Heidi Alessi spoke during this morning’s first-ever assembly, too:

ADDED 8:50 PM: As promised, several more photos from the historic first day – click ahead:

With dice in her hands, Dr. McKinney talked to her new school about community:

Picture-taking was the order of the day – to capture its moments forever:

The details of the day went all the way down to the red ribbon:

And the moments between parents and children – like Kate Godman and second-grader Thomas:

We asked two parents to stop quickly for posed photos – Robin Graham was on the design committee that worked for months to pave the way for everything that began today:

And Anne Higuera from Ventana Construction (WSB sponsor) had only found out last Friday that her son had moved off the waitlist and onto the official list:

In the end, and this beginning, it’s all about the students and their future:

With the hoopla and history of today over, the learning’s in the spotlight tomorrow – and beyond.

29 Replies to "'It's exciting': K-5 STEM at Boren opening day, with Superintendent Banda on hand"

  • Jen September 5, 2012 (10:48 am)

    The school is looking great. The kids are all excited. I just dropped off my daughter with her teacher Mrs. Cook. I love how cute all the kiddos look in their uniforms. I wan’t sure about the uniform idea at first but it makes getting ready for school a snap.

    • WSB September 5, 2012 (11:11 am)

      It was great energy with all that excitement, the sunshine, the superintendent’s visit, etc., and we’ll add a bunch more photos later!

  • Heidi A September 5, 2012 (11:10 am)

    We did it! This is going to be an awesome school!

  • bsmomma September 5, 2012 (11:26 am)

    All the kids looked adorable!! Absolutely adore our daughters teacher. We are sooooo excited for a fresh new school year!

  • Nick September 5, 2012 (11:33 am)

    wish I could have got my son in there but the lack of before and after school care options kept us out

  • invested parent September 5, 2012 (11:54 am)

    Was a great first morning! Thanks to all the staff and parent volunteers that helped everyone get started. Looking forward to a great school year! @Nick, there IS before and after school care with the school bus picking up and dropping off at Blazing Trails @Pathfinder. Super easy. Maybe next year. Thank you WSB for great coverage!

  • wsmama3 September 5, 2012 (12:02 pm)

    Excited is right!
    Thanks to the STEM community for making it easy for all the kids and parents.

    Looking forward to the first PTA meeting – Sept 19 at Boren from 7-8:15.

  • evergreen September 5, 2012 (1:03 pm)

    My son’s teacher is fantastic. Energetic, enthusiastic, smart, and with a great sense of humor. He told us, “we are going to rewrite the way elementary education is done”. STEM threaded throughout the curriculum, lots of hands-on and project based learning, team teaching and multi-grade interaction for differentiated learning, an environment that encourages inquiry and original ideas, peer teaching, student independence, room to roam and space to think. Lots of school diversity in race, economics, gender, and family structure. Science and Mac labs. Stellar Principal and staff, and highly invested parents. A library stocked with STEM and literary books. My son’s last school banned toys, while this one uses Star Wars and Transformers to meet the kids at their own level. My child is incredibly lucky to attend this school.

  • wsdad September 5, 2012 (1:11 pm)

    I am excited to be involved in this school!

  • bsmomma September 5, 2012 (1:32 pm)

    All the community centers have before/after school care and the busses transport!

  • Nanda September 5, 2012 (2:14 pm)

    Uniform! That’s awesome, I wish my kids had to wear uniform, too. Congratulations on the school everyone.

  • karyn September 5, 2012 (5:51 pm)

    Adorable pic of my o-so-serious daughter in the 4th frame there :) I’m so excited for this school, I LOVE the uniforms. O, btw- my kids are going to the Y’s after school program. Got picked up/dropped off there today no problemo.

  • mom4borenstem September 5, 2012 (8:34 pm)

    Indeed a great day, and a huge thanks to all that put so many hours and tons of energy into this school and community! My son (a kindergarten kiddo) came home and asked, ‘Will I be able to go back every day? It was AWESOME!’..seriously. He loved it!

  • Debbie September 5, 2012 (9:20 pm)

    Dr. McKinney was actually holding a necklace of magnets as she explained the “S” in STEM. Cell phone, Transformer robot and sphere explained the other letters.

    • WSB September 5, 2012 (10:18 pm)

      Thank you, Debbie! I will amend the copy. – TR

  • Mark September 5, 2012 (10:32 pm)

    No playground equipment for these kids except for adult basketball hoops. (No balls, by the way.) What is a kindergartner going to do with a regulation hoop. Bring on the slides and swings and a bike rack, please. Oh, and how about a real name for the school.

  • Brontosaurus September 5, 2012 (10:38 pm)

    As my son was falling asleep tonight, he said “Mommy, we learned all about engines today…”

    Engines in kindergarten on the first day – I love this school!

  • Erin September 5, 2012 (10:48 pm)

    Have been following from afar in Wisconsin (sister has kiddos that are part of your school). So proud of you all and happy that all went off smoothly! Btw…I told her she’d LOVE the uniforms:)

  • wsmama3 September 5, 2012 (10:59 pm)

    Playground equipment and 2 playgrounds are still on the way.
    The name is being decided with help from the kids. Give us a little time – perfection takes time! :)

  • Heidi A September 5, 2012 (11:04 pm)

    Mark – the two playground play structures are in the process of being installed, we are waiting on the district to remove some portables. Kids played tag and had to use their imaginations today at recess. A real name is also in the works, we wanted the kids to be involved and then it has to be officially adopted by the School Board.

  • Mark September 5, 2012 (11:40 pm)

    Heidi – I think the process of being installed means they have been ordered. I don’t see any installation only process. My son said a teacher told him it would be two months. Just in time for the process of winter. They let our kids down in this department.
    Also, I know the process for getting a name approved by the school board can take a year or two to clear.
    Can we get a bike rack and a school zone speed limit, please.

  • Irish Gillian September 6, 2012 (12:11 pm)

    Uniform?? Well, now I’m definitely interested! Just kidding – the STEM curriculum and design is what really interests me, but the uniform is an added attraction. Congrats everyone, and good luck for a great school year.

  • DelridgeDad September 6, 2012 (1:22 pm)

    Soooooooo excited about this school and the huge show of support from the parents. Proud I am.

  • wsmama3 September 6, 2012 (4:12 pm)

    Mark – by all means – get on making that all happen! We are well aware of the issues – parents can help make this all work.
    SDOT for the school zone lights / markers.
    Find a grant or get on SPS to install a bike rack.
    The name will take 1-2 years to clear – but isn’t it cool that they are letting the kids help with that process?
    As for the playground – kids today had a bunch of equipment and when I was there I didn’t see a single kid who wasn’t playing or running hard. Yes it’s a bummer they were not in on time for school to start but we can’t make it go any faster.
    Like I said- if you want it done bring it to the table and get it done!

    • WSB September 6, 2012 (5:09 pm)

      I believe the parents involved in the Yahoo! group for the school already know this but Brian Dougherty is your guy at SDOT regarding the flashing lights. Someone contacted us claiming Delridge was not a school zone at all in the Boren area and SDOT debunked that pretty quickly – it is posted with signs, and has been for years. If there is a belief that lights would be better, BD is the contact – brian.dougherty@seattle.gov
      Flashing beacons/Safe Routes to School info

  • Jawat September 6, 2012 (7:15 pm)

    The fact that there are no flashing lights on Delridge is very concerning. When I dropped my daughter off this morning, people driving by were going much faster than 20 mph, and seemed oblivious to it being a school zone, and I did not see any police cruisers waiting to ticket them. These are elementary school children, not high school students like when Chief Sealth was located there. I did write to Mr. Daugherty, but it is hard for me to believe they have no plans to install them.

  • Public School Advocate September 6, 2012 (9:56 pm)

    It will be interesting to see the final numbers for which schools these kids pulled from e.g. which school they left for STEM and/or what is their attendance area school. I hope it’s presented by grade level, not just schoolwide.

  • wsmama3 September 6, 2012 (10:30 pm)

    Thanks WSB – will contact (again!)! :)

    Public School Advocate- earlier in the process I did see a list. It was by school (with Gatewood losing the most kids to STEM) but it was early in the Summer and not by grade.

  • StringCheese September 6, 2012 (10:56 pm)

    I have been in touch with Brian Dougherty periodically since May. We are on the list for the next round of flashing beacons (or so I have been led to believe) and a new crosswalk across Delridge. We’ll see. With this site being used as an interim site for multiple elementary schools for the foreseeable future, these are investments worth making. Now.

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