West Seattle schools: Arbor Heights announces eSTEM plan

April 29, 2013 at 9:39 pm | In Arbor Heights, West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | 34 Comments

ORIGINAL MONDAY NIGHT REPORT: Arbor Heights Elementary has gone public with a curriculum change that principal Christy Collins says will start taking effect this fall: They are moving to eSTEM – environment, science, technology, math. The announcement is now on the school’s home page, but apparently had been made to the school community earlier – after a WSB Forums member mentioned it last week, we asked the district for more information, but hadn’t received any until several people with Arbor Heights ties contacted us tonight to point out the principal’s online announcement. Collins writes that the school “will begin the transition to eSTEM beginning the fall of 2013, with full implementation of the eSTEM curriculum and instructional practice in 2016 when our new school opens.” This comes just one year after the district opened its first STEM elementary at the Boren building on Delridge.

ADDED TUESDAY NIGHT: Another message from principal Collins says the curriculum might turn out to be eSTEAM – adding an arts emphasis, too. It’s part of an overall message to families addressing multiple topics for next school year – you can see it here.



    Comment by Objective — 9:49 pm April 29, 2013 #

  2. Great news for our neighborhood school! Reconsidering AH for my daughter.

    Comment by Future Parent — 11:06 pm April 29, 2013 #

  3. That’s awesome! I think Jane Addams in the NE quadrant has also become e-STEM. It’s about time this district improved its science and math education.

    Fight for Singapore math! There is no way you can successfully do STEM with EDM.

    Comment by Evergreen — 2:12 am April 30, 2013 #

  4. @ Future Parent: I can’t say enough good things about the staff, principle and PTA volunteers. With the new building in the works, yes you should reconsider AH!

    Comment by An AH Parent — 8:21 am April 30, 2013 #

  5. There was no mention of this at the AH PTA meeting last Thursday. I’m very excited about this. Ms. Collins is amazing. I echo what the above AH parent said – AH community, leadership and staff is amazing!!!!

    Comment by Krista — 9:12 am April 30, 2013 #

  6. Hurray! Will it remain K-5, or does this make it K-8?

    Comment by Joe Szilagyi — 11:43 am April 30, 2013 #

  7. Does this make it still a neighborhood school or is it an option like the current STEM? I second the Singapore Math!

    Comment by lisa — 12:17 pm April 30, 2013 #

  8. I believe it would still be a neighborhood school and be a K-5. A K-8 would be nice because then my daughter could stay but I don’t think so.

    Comment by Bonnie — 12:33 pm April 30, 2013 #

  9. If AH is eSTEM and there is the ‘option STEM’ currently in Boren, with a growing wait list – why choose the ‘option STEM’? Should be interesting to see how this plays out. Especially since quite a few AH students went to the ‘option STEM’. I hope AH remains a Neighborhood School and NOT an option school then my kids can easily attend!

    Comment by curious — 12:45 pm April 30, 2013 #

  10. AH will remain a neighborhood school and K-5. The staff will be vetting out math curriculums. Christy Collins has a lot of experience with different math curriculums. Also, AH has a successful art program that the kids love and that will hopefully be staying a part of the curriculum.

    Comment by AH Parent — 12:53 pm April 30, 2013 #

  11. My son is at STEM, it’s fantastic, and I’m thrilled to see STEM expanding into a neighborhood school. It should be in all schools, in my opinion (not all agree with me). Just as all schools should have art, music, reading, writing, social studies, personal development, PE, etc…

    Comment by evergreen — 3:18 pm April 30, 2013 #

  12. Those of us at STEM would be happy to talk to anyone – we just picked math (and all) curriculum.

    Comment by wsMama3 — 4:41 pm April 30, 2013 #

  13. This is exciting news! Principal Collins is AMAZING and so are the staff. I am fortunate to have an incoming K and a third grade at AH. Can’t say enough about the principal and teachers. Glad to FINALLY see AH getting a new building, MUCH DESERVE! Seeing the posting on facebook in regards to the design team, I am looking forward to the future and all the possibilities it has in store for the school and the students.

    Comment by Parent @ AH — 4:41 pm April 30, 2013 #

  14. We live in Arbor Heights, but my daughter attends STEM at Boren. This decision by AH does make me rethink my decision to perhaps have her attend AH, her neighborhood school, instead of the option school. I like aspects of the STEM at Boren school, but really wish it had the E(environmental) and the A( art, which it seems AH has) and was more or less an eSTEAM school.

    Comment by WS Jade — 7:00 pm April 30, 2013 #

  15. From the recent update on the AH website an explanation from Christy Collins, it looks like the school hopes to have an eSTEAM curriculum. The “e,” is to weave “environmental literacy” in all aspects of our students’ academic, social and emotional learning as they grow and develop as global citizens. The “a” for arts in eSTEAM would be a very appropriate addition, given the decision to add a multi-arts teacher to our specialist model for next school year.

    Comment by AH Parent — 11:32 pm April 30, 2013 #

  16. Thanks, AHP. Since the AHES home page seems to be evolving quickly, here’s a link to the letter from which the eSTEAM possibility is discussed:
    Will add to the main story, too. – TR

    Comment by WSB — 11:37 pm April 30, 2013 #

  17. This is exciting news for AH, but it’s unfortunate that it wasn’t announced until after the enrollment deadlines. With the eSTEM transition beginning this fall, families who might be interested didn’t have this information when deciding to leave AH and enroll in other schools or deciding not to consider AH at all. Does AH have space for more students now?

    Comment by fiverson — 8:47 am May 1, 2013 #

  18. Here’s the current waitlist for all schools in SPS. http://www.seattleschools.org/modules/groups/homepagefiles/cms/1583136/File/Departmental%20Content/enrollment%20planning/WaitingListSummary%202013.pdf?sessionid=64f01b46f233b164eae782bd1c2aac80

    Fiverson, I agree that these sorts of decisions would be incredibly helpful if made BEFORE open enrollment. It would have greatly changed the route we took. Oh well. Great news though! So excited for AH!

    Comment by ghar72 — 9:14 am May 1, 2013 #

  19. @Fiverson and other families interested in attending Arbor Heights. This is what I’d suggest doing — contact the district and demand an exception to the open enrollment deadline because if they had known eSTEM at Arbor Heights was an option the request would have been made to place AH first on the choice list.

    Comment by Another AH Parent — 10:04 am May 1, 2013 #

  20. After reviewing the waitlists, I am curious to know how many on the STEM list have AH as their neighborhood school?

    Comment by curious — 10:13 am May 1, 2013 #

  21. It seems to be the norm for the school district to announce things a little too late.

    Comment by Bonnie — 11:10 am May 1, 2013 #

  22. @curious, I’d contact Tracy Libros, Dir. of Enrollment Services at SPS and ask for a breakdown of the STEM waitlist by attendance area. Her email is trlibros@seattleschools.org.

    Comment by Another AH Parent — 1:30 pm May 1, 2013 #

  23. This would probably not have affected our enrollment decisions, but I imagine it could have really changed things for families in the AH neighborhood. Also, the official announcement that a new building for AH will open in 2016 instead of 2018 and the formation of a Design Team for that happened soon after open enrollment deadlines. I agree that families who were seeking environmental focus, STEM focus, or more adequate school buildings elsewhere and are now interested in enrolling in AH should contact the district enrollment offices about their options in light of these new developments.

    Comment by fiverson — 1:34 pm May 1, 2013 #

  24. Fiverson and ghar72 – I am a parent at AHE and I too wish the district had announced the new curriculum to the school and the reference area community before the enrollment deadline.

    Comment by AH Parent — 1:58 pm May 1, 2013 #

  25. I just wanted to give a shout out of thanks to Christy Collins because under the old leadership none of this would have ever happened. No new building, new program, nothing. Our Principal has fought hard for our school (as have the wonderful parents on the PTA).

    Comment by Bonnie — 2:19 pm May 1, 2013 #

  26. AMEN Bonnie!!!

    Comment by Krista — 2:40 pm May 1, 2013 #

  27. Agree with the above comment to call/email Tracy Libros and voice your concern and to get the story on whether the district will handle the wait list differently with this new development. Squeaky wheel and all…Maybe another K classroom will open up if there’s enough interest. Looks right now like there are 2.5 K’s, so maybe that 1/2 K could turn into a full.

    Her direct number is 206.252.0511.

    Comment by ghar72 — 2:59 pm May 1, 2013 #

  28. @ghar72 yes and possibly keep the one wonderful k teacher that is displace. As a school community we are upset and sadden that we are losing this teacher because of numbers.

    Comment by AHParent — 6:22 pm May 1, 2013 #

  29. yes and possibly keep the one wonderful k teacher that is displace. As a school community we are upset and sadden that we are losing this teacher because of numbers.

    Comment by AHParent — 6:23 pm May 1, 2013 #

  30. AHParent, So do you have three straight K’s right now? I’m assuming then a 1st grade teacher will be taking over the split? Such a bummer you’re losing that K teacher and such uncertainty for the teacher. It’s no fun being RIF’d.

    Comment by ghar72 — 6:42 pm May 1, 2013 #

  31. Is AH definitely moving to the Boren school next year while they rebuild AH elementary? Or is that still up in the air? Thanks.

    Comment by WS Jade — 7:29 pm May 1, 2013 #

  32. Fall of 2014 was the last word – here’s the story in which we reported that:

    Comment by WSB — 7:53 pm May 1, 2013 #

  33. @ghar72, currently we are slated for 2.5 K’s (2 full K’s + 1 K/1 split). It’s my understanding we only “lost” 10 K’s to open enrollment, yet assume that # would be much less had the district made the decisions (eSTEM/eSTEAM program, fast tracking the new building, etc…) it did for Arbor Heights PRIOR to the open enrollment period. We currently have 11 kids on the waitlist (schoolwide), yet SPS is saying we are full in certain grade levels. I think we just need 6 more students to enroll in order to keep our wonderful teacher who would otherwise get displaced due to lowest seniority. I know our fabulous principal is pressing the district allow us to keep that teacher and to open up the waitlist and review their enrollment data. Remaining hopeful this will all work out!

    Comment by Another AH Parent — 8:08 pm May 1, 2013 #

  34. Sorry, I missed something in the earlier post.
    2012-2013 – 2.5 K’s
    2011-2012 – 3 K’s
    2010-2011 – 3 K’s
    It is not 100% determined we will be headed to Boren in Fall 2014, yet that is most likely the case. I’m sure we will know more in the next month or so when we’re further along in the design process.

    Comment by Another AH Parent — 8:13 pm May 1, 2013 #

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