West Seattle Blog... » Gatewood http://westseattleblog.com West Seattle news, 24/7 Thu, 28 May 2015 08:07:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.4.2 West Seattle Crime Watch: Gatewood burglary; major-crime trends http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/west-seattle-crime-watch-gatewood-burglary-major-crime-trends/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/west-seattle-crime-watch-gatewood-burglary-major-crime-trends/#comments Thu, 14 May 2015 04:49:40 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=310260 2 West Seattle Crime Watch notes – an incident this evening plus an SPD stats/trends update:

GATEWOOD BURGLARY: A neighbor texted us (206-293-6302 any time) about that big police response near 41st/Elmgrove in Gatewood [map] around 6 pm. When we went over to check, police told us they were checking out a burglar alarm but hadn’t yet found evidence of a break-in; no one was home. Later, though, it was confirmed as a burglary, according to neighbors and to SPD’s automated Tweets by Beat. That was the first confirmed West Seattle burglary, per TBB, since one reported at noon yesterday in the 8400 block of 12th SW.

STATS/TRENDS: Today’s edition of the every-two-weeks SeaStat SPD-wide briefing includes a page of year-to-year and week-to-week stats for the Southwest Precinct, which includes West Seattle and South Park – scroll through this slide deck to the very last page. Year-to-year – January 1st through May 9th this year, compared to the same period last year – every category except aggravated domestic-violence assault is up. (Though there’s no breakdown per precinct sectors, we know that the breakdown in one category – no 2014 homicides in West Seattle and none so far this year; the one 2015 homicide listed for the SW Precinct was in SP.) In the week-by-week stats for the past month, all categories are trending downward (or holding at zero) except for larceny, which was up from 12 in the third week to 13 in the fourth week.

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West Seattle Crime Watch: Gatewood hit-and-run http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/west-seattle-crime-watch-gatewood-hit-and-run/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/west-seattle-crime-watch-gatewood-hit-and-run/#comments Sun, 03 May 2015 05:19:54 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=309023 One note tonight, from a Gatewood resident who’s wondering if the same hit-run driver had any other victims:

Unfortunately, our neighbor’s car got hit quite badly about 7:40 pm this evening by someone driving out of control down Rose near 39th. It was a gray SUV. We have of course called the police and our neighbor found the car at 44th and Portland without the driver. The reason I am writing is we heard a loud boom about 5 minutes prior to the hit and run. Please share with the police if your car was stolen or if your car was also hit in the Gatewood area.

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West Seattle schools: Science Palooza at Gatewood Elementary http://westseattleblog.com/2015/04/west-seattle-schools-science-palooza-at-gatewood-elementary/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/04/west-seattle-schools-science-palooza-at-gatewood-elementary/#comments Sun, 12 Apr 2015 20:39:47 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=306885 Right before Seattle Public Schools got out for spring break (which lasts all of next week), Gatewood Elementary students got to show off their projects for the 4th annual Science Palooza. Here are some highlights from Thursday night’s event, shared by Nicole Sipila, who chaired the science fair:

We had 69 kids with 48 projects. The kids really stepped up the projects this year and everybody was really impressed.

Simone & Delaney exploring sound with their project, The Pitch of Pipes:

​… More than just your average volcano replica, Kailey, Hailey, and Hudson made a model of Mt. St. Helens and showed how much of the mountain was lost and the effects of the lahar:

… We also had some exciting guests. UW Material Advantage was on hand to demonstrate material science applications at a graduate school level. Most popular were the semi-conductors.

… Also, Gatewood’s choir, conducted by Mr. Hall, performed the National Anthem to kick start the evening and then came back later to perform two more songs.

It was an amazing night of science learning & sharing, along with a great community building event. Thank you to all the volunteers who helped put this wonderful evening together.

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West Seattle Crime Watch update: 2 vehicles stolen from 1 house in 3 days, found in same place http://westseattleblog.com/2015/03/west-seattle-crime-watch-2-vehicles-stolen-from-1-house-in-3-days/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/03/west-seattle-crime-watch-2-vehicles-stolen-from-1-house-in-3-days/#comments Mon, 23 Mar 2015 04:18:39 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=304778 9:18 PM: Auto thieves have hit one family in Gatewood twice in the past three days. The vehicles taken from their driveway/carport are a taupe 2006 Volvo XC70, license plate AMR4548, stolen Friday morning, and a silver 2006 Nissan Frontier 4-door pickup, license plate B31289L, gone since early today. The vehicles’ owners say there was nothing about the first theft that facilitated the second – no key left in either car, for example. If you see either vehicle, please call 911.

9 AM MONDAY: The vehicles’ owner says they both were found in an apartment-building parking lot in the 6500 block of 35th SW, less than a mile away from where they were stolen: “Someone in the apartments called to report the Volvo as a suspicious vehicle. When we arrived, we saw the truck parked in another stall. The Volvo was driven more than 150 miles and contained a lot of drug and DNA evidence. Unfortunately, there were no clean prints. The truck had more of the same drug evidence, it wasn’t driven more than 20+ miles.”

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Myrtle Reservoir retrofitting going out to bid, likely to start in fall http://westseattleblog.com/2015/03/myrtle-reservoir-retrofitting-going-out-to-bid-likely-to-start-in-fall/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/03/myrtle-reservoir-retrofitting-going-out-to-bid-likely-to-start-in-fall/#comments Mon, 23 Mar 2015 03:23:18 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=304757

(West side of Myrtle Reservoir site, where work is likely to be staged)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Nine months after Seattle Public Utilities discussed the earthquake-resistance retrofit needed for West Seattle Reservoir in Highland Park, we know what’s in store for our area’s other underground water facility, Myrtle Reservoir.

Myrtle was covered in 2008, West Seattle in 2010. Then in 2012, their designer, MWH, told the city about “possible seismic deficiencies” in their work – not potentially catastrophic, but not something that could be ignored, either. Analysis and testing ensued, and in June of last year, we reported on the retrofit/strengthening plan for WS Reservoir, interviewing reps from SPU and its consultants.

At the time, they didn’t know exactly what would need to be done to Myrtle Reservoir, a relatively small reservoir (5 million gallons) at the city’s highest point on the east side of the Gatewood neighborhood. Now they do.

We contacted SPU after spotting a bid-solicitation notice this past week for the work that’s ahead at Myrtle and at Maple Leaf in North Seattle, and have since spoken with project manager Stephanie Murphy, to find out what will be done and what Myrtle neighbors and users of the nearby park will see.

It’s not as extensive as the work that had to be done at the much-larger West Seattle Reservoir in Highland Park, but from above ground, it’ll be more noticeable, since there’s no other work ongoing at Myrtle, unlike the other reservoir, where park-building has been continuing.

SPU has stressed that even with the design flaw, the reservoirs were/are not in danger of failing during an earthquake – but, as Murphy said in the case of West Seattle, could have been at risk of “extensive leakage.” (Our report from last June contained a fair amount of technical detail, if you’re interested.)

Murphy explained that they’ll be adding more steel and concrete to reinforce one row of the underground columns in Myrtle, compared to two rows of reinforcement in the Highland Park reservoir plus extra concrete in its columns. The price tag for the Myrtle work is $700,000, less than a tenth of what SPU said last year that the West Seattle Reservoir work would cost (they were “collaborating” with the designer about covering that cost, given that it wouldn’t have been necessary if the design hadn’t been flawed).

What will neighbors and park users see when the work is under way?

You might not notice much from the surface aside from staging; Murphy said the work will be mostly on the west side, accessing from Willow to the north, going around the treatment building, and staging on the flat grassy area west of the reservoir. She says they won’t have to dig it up – the existing stairwell into the reservoir is what they’ll use for all types of access throughout the project, whether it’s dropping in materials or pouring the concrete. The construction trailer will be relatively small, Murphy expects, because the job will be managed from the Maple Leaf site.


Myrtle is packaged for bidding with Maple Leaf (which is projected to cost more than $5 million) because SPU expects the same contractor to do both jobs, one “cell” at a time – the Maple Leaf reservoir has two cells, Myrtle one, so after getting going on the first cell at Maple Leaf, the contractor would embark on the Myrtle work, and then return to Maple Leaf. So the Myrtle timeline is likely mid-October through January, according to Murphy, assuming Maple Leaf starts in June. The reservoir will be out of service for a few weeks before the work and a few weeks after, since they’ll have to drain and rinse it, but that doesn’t mean a change in water service – they’ll route the supply from somewhere else.

Bids are due April 1st, so we’ll find out sometime next month who will be handling the work.

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Baby (or toddler, or preschooler) on board? Free safety checks at Swedish Automotive later this week http://westseattleblog.com/2015/03/baby-or-toddler-or-preschooler-on-board-free-safety-checks-at-swedish-automotive-later-this-week/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/03/baby-or-toddler-or-preschooler-on-board-free-safety-checks-at-swedish-automotive-later-this-week/#comments Wed, 04 Mar 2015 00:32:23 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=302699

That’s Victor Gonzalez-Arredondo, child-safety expert at Swedish Automotive (WSB sponsor). This Thursday and Friday, 11 am-2 pm, he’ll be front and center offering free safety checks of baby/child car seats – all you have to do is drop by Swedish, 35th/Kenyon. (All makes of vehicles welcome for the safety checks, by the way!)

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Update: Pickup truck flips in Gatewood, hit-run driver flees http://westseattleblog.com/2015/02/pickup-truck-flips-in-gatewood/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/02/pickup-truck-flips-in-gatewood/#comments Sun, 22 Feb 2015 11:18:53 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=301777

(Added: WSB photos by Tracy Record)
3:16 AM UPDATE: Busy night for emergency responders. Now there’s word of a flipped pickup truck in Gatewood, near 39th/Myrtle. It went out as a major “heavy rescue” response but most units have been canceled. We’re checking it out.

3:37 AM UPDATE: Police told us at the scene that the pickup’s driver was gone when they arrived, so this is a hit-and-run. The driver appears to have hit a parked vehicle and a couple of mailboxes along 39th SW south of Myrtle before the truck flipped. So this is the second hit-and-run-away of the night in West Seattle.

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About the police response at 35th/Austin in Gatewood http://westseattleblog.com/2014/12/about-the-police-response-at-35thaustin/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/12/about-the-police-response-at-35thaustin/#comments Fri, 26 Dec 2014 01:50:33 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=296348

We’ve received several calls about a police response at 35th/Austin (map) – the original call was “assault with weapons”; one witness said there was a report of someone seen in the neighborhood with a gun. At the scene, officers told us it’s being investigated as a case of suicide. SW Austin is blocked off on the west side of 35th SW.

(As always when mentioning suicide, we want to point out a local resource for those considering self-harm or otherwise in crisis: The Crisis Clinic has a 24-hour hotline, 206-461-3222.)

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Update: ‘Small’ fire at house in 3900 block of SW Holden http://westseattleblog.com/2014/12/fire-response-for-house-in-3900-block-of-sw-holden/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/12/fire-response-for-house-in-3900-block-of-sw-holden/#comments Fri, 12 Dec 2014 08:57:49 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=295051 12:57 AM: A big Seattle Fire response is arriving at the 3900 block of SW Holden in Gatewood (map). It was described as a suspected roof fire; first units arriving aren’t seeing anything.

1 AM: They’re checking the attic, but report that it might just be “an overheated light fixture.” Some of the arriving units are being canceled.

1:09 AM: They’re now checking to be sure there’s not a smoldering fire in the ceiling.

1:11 AM: Minutes later, that’s what they’ve found, a small “smoldering fire in insulation … knob and tube wiring.”

1:19 AM: They’ve re-assessed the fire at 3′ x 3′ and declared it “under control.”

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‘Thank you a hundred times over’: Friends of Gatewood postscript http://westseattleblog.com/2014/10/thank-you-a-hundred-times-over-friends-of-gatewood-postscript/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/10/thank-you-a-hundred-times-over-friends-of-gatewood-postscript/#comments Thu, 09 Oct 2014 10:13:03 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=288192

(WSB photo: Gatewood Elementary, SW Myrtle side)
Three and a half hours after publishing our Wednesday update on the Friends of Gatewood “keep a teacher” fundraising drive, we updated it with the official district announcement that the drive had met its goal. But the final word comes from the parents who organized and took action so quickly, and their public message of gratitude:

Today we received the wonderful news that we raised enough funds to keep our teacher that ensures that there will be no relocation on October 10th as the district letter originally mandated. Friends of Gatewood raised $66,758.52, the Go Fund Me account that was created last night raised around $1000. The online donation site will be closed since we met our goal.

This accomplishment is shared with many, many people with our school, West Seattle and supporters beyond. The vigor, concern and passion expressed by so many people made this goal a reality; the process exemplifies that improvements need to be made in many areas, that the problems are real and complex, and that our students and teachers will not take the brunt of the inadequacies of an imperfect public school system.

All schools are unique by virtue of the individuals who occupy them. Gatewood Elementary’s infrastructure is more unique than the typical public elementary school. We stand by our students’ needs and our teachers to set them up for success. Thank you a hundred times over for answering the call for help.

With gratitude,
Friends of Gatewood
Nicole Sipila
Laura Kincade
Natasha Turcinovic-Hissong

Previous WSB coverage:
Wednesday 10/8
Monday 10/6
Saturday 10/4
Friday 10/3
First report, Thursday 10/2

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Update: Why police are at Gatewood Elementary http://westseattleblog.com/2014/10/why-police-are-at-gatewood-elementary/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/10/why-police-are-at-gatewood-elementary/#comments Wed, 08 Oct 2014 21:30:29 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=288145

2:30 PM: Police are at Gatewood Elementary right now investigating a report that a child threatened a teacher with a knife. No one has been hurt; we’re there and we have talked to staff. They don’t expect this to interfere with normal dismissal this afternoon. (And if you’re noticing a TV helicopter, this is the report they’re checking out.)

2:46 PM: The district has issued a short update via Twitter: “No injuries at Gatewood after teacher reportedly threatened w/knife. Special-needs student being taken to hospital for evaluation.” Per police-radio communication, the student is 9. As noted in our ongoing coverage of the Gatewood teacher-funding situation, the school has an inclusion program for EBD (emotional/behavioral disorder) students.

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‘We’re being held for ransom’: Anger voiced by Gatewood Elementary parents told to raise $90,000 to keep a teacher http://westseattleblog.com/2014/10/were-being-held-for-ransom-anger-voiced-by-gatewood-elementary-parents-told-to-raise-90000-to-keep-a-teacher/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/10/were-being-held-for-ransom-anger-voiced-by-gatewood-elementary-parents-told-to-raise-90000-to-keep-a-teacher/#comments Wed, 08 Oct 2014 17:19:08 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=288073 (1:44 PM UPDATE: SPS says in a statement that “Gatewood teaching staff will remain intact” because of the fundraising campaign – full statement is at the end of this story)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

They’re raising the money, but they’re angry about it.

While one group of Gatewood Elementary parents filled the chairs at School Board director Marty McLaren‘s regular community-conversation meeting last night, another led a fundraiser at a private home, toward their goal of raising $90,000 – described by some as “ransom” – to keep Seattle Public Schools from removing a teacher from their school.

Though they learned about the planned cut less than a week ago (here’s our original report), their fundraising campaign – including a hastily organized Saturday bake sale – has brought in $52,000.

That impressed McLaren, who opened last night’s meeting by saying, “I just want to acknowledge the extraordinary show of force that the Gatewood community has made … my sense is that many people from West Seattle proper have really invested in this. It’s really something.”

But also really something the parents can’t believe they have had to do.

“I am outraged,” declared one attendee. “I am just outraged that a major-city school district would try and pull a stunt like this … I cannot believe we are being asked to pay for a teacher salary. This is a major city, I cannot imagine this happening anywhere else in the country.” She drew applause.

“We’re being held for ransom for someone else’s mistake … and it feels precedent setting,” said another. “I don’t want a single dime of that money to go to the district that has a record of poor judgment and misuse … I feel it’s going to happen to another school.”

Before the meeting, the group that organized as “Friends of Gatewood” had received something of an update from the district, telling them they didn’t have to have the entire $90,000 in hand by today after all – provided they send in “a letter of commitment” today pledging the money, the imminent removal of a teacher from Gatewood would be put on hold. McLaren said she had met with deputy superintendent Michael Tolley and this area’s executive director of schools Israel Vela, and “both are very concerned, (saying that) the district would not want to do anything to disrupt the situation at Gatewood. Deadlines are secondary to resolving the problem successfully.”

That led one parent at the meeting to say, “If they already have decided to not move teachers (today), why not put this on hold while the root cause be found?”

That was the source of much anger and frustration during the meeting: Trying to figure out how the situation happened, what role school waitlists played in it – whether families enrolled at Gatewood were allowed to make last-minute switches, whether families were allowed at the last minute to add to Fairmount Park’s over-expectation enrollment – and what would be done to make sure anything similar can’t happen again, not just here, but anywhere in the district.

One thing heard over and over: If this was the result of a district mistake, why is Gatewood being forced to pay – literally – for it? Said one attendee: “My request is that the district solve the problem they caused.” Another: “Why isn’t there an option for district to take accountability for their actions?”

Over the past six days, different scenarios have been mentioned regarding how a teacher would be removed from Gatewood, which, however it happened, is said by the district to have 25 students fewer than expected. The one that was in circulation at the time of our first report last Thursday involved a first-grade teacher at Gatewood being moved to fourth grade, and a fourth-grade teacher being moved to Fairmount Park. The attendees last night included a man who identified himself as the husband of “the first-grade teacher in question, a master teacher (who) chose to take the Gatewood job” in the first place, “impressed by everything (about the school) she had heard. … To have this level of disruption and upset a month into it … has been eye-opening.” He, like others, expressed concern that “the district didn’t do anything to avoid this.”

Those in attendance sat in a circle, and each were offered the chance to voice their concerns, going around that circle. Several were on the brink of tears, and yet there also were moments of rueful laughter about what they had accomplished in less than a week, including spending Saturday standing on a streetcorner holding an emergency bake sale.

Some of the money to complete the district-requested $90,000 might come from the Gatewood PTA. One of its officers was at the meeting and expressed frustration and fear that its coffers might be virtually emptied for this – meaning the other things they raise money to fund, like so many parent groups at so many schools, might be in jeopardy. “I’m terrified to come to our membership and ask for something that will nearly bankrupt us.” The PTA wasn’t even able to have an emergency meeting to take a vote, as its rules require two weeks’ notice – more than the school community got regarding the teacher removal.

Anyone who thinks this is a “comfortable” school is wrong, said one parent. For one, Gatewood was affected in a big way by the last round of school closures, which district leaders have since admitted were a mistake: “We haven’t been in a comfortable place for so long. When (the Cooper Elementary program on Pigeon Point) was closed, we went from 250 students to 400. Either the district lied (when it made school-closure decisions) or they hired the worst statisticians ever.” She pointed out the portables that now take up playground space. Just creating room for more students wasn’t the only change; Gatewood’s ELL (English-language learners) program grew dramatically as well. And, as has been mentioned in earlier reports, the school has full inclusion for students with Emotional/Behavioral Disorder.

The suggestion of “comfort” because of financial status also is inaccurate, parents protested: “This is coming from our pockets, and our pockets aren’t that deep.” By the time the annual auction fundraiser – again, a staple these days for so many schools – comes around, someone suggested, the pockets will be empty.

Teachers also have contributed to the fundraising, and the aforementioned first-grade teacher’s husband said that left him shaking his head that he had just written a check to help his wife keep her current job.

The overall financial picture contributing to this seemed confusing at times, with McLaren saying that since Fairmount Park has more students than planned, it will get more money from the state, and is advertising a teaching position – leading some to ask, then why was it supposed to get a Gatewood teacher? (McLaren tried to explain that the Gatewood “one teacher too many” situation should be considered separately, but did not seem to get much traction.)

Those in attendance last night also included two Gatewood grandparents – a former teacher and her husband (who turned out to be a long-ago classmate of McLaren’s, in a moment that briefly broke the tension and emotion of the meeting). The former teacher said she had told ex-colleagues, “You won’t believe that this school has to do” to try to staveoff staff disruption.

Another attendee: “The district should meet us halfway.”

And yet another: “I really hope we’re not going to be asked to foot this bill.”

Before meeting’s end, asked what specifically she is going to do next, McLaren voiced empathy: “It seems like we should be able to come up with 90,000 dollars in an almost 600 million dollar budget,” and promised that she would be “back on the phone (today) … pushing hard for the district to cover this so you don’t have to … but everything I’ve heard so far is discouraging in that direction.” Looking at the bigger picture, she also promised, “I will be pushing hard to move the closing-enrollment date … moving it to August makes a lot of sense.”

In the meantime, the school’s families and staff have to move ahead with school day after school day, despite the unresolved questions. Curriculum Night is coming up, said one parent, a night when parents come to their child’s school to meet teachers and talk about what the classes will be working on, but: “Will this even BE my child’s teacher” once this is all over?

ONLINE DONATIONS: With time extended for the parents to finish raising the money, they have also set up an account online – follow this link to the GoFundMe page.

ADDED 1:45 PM: We’ve received this statement from the district:

Seattle Public Schools must remain fiscally responsible, following the direction of our own strategic plan: equitable distribution of resources that prioritize the needs of students. To meet this goal, it is our aim to assure funding follows students. It was with that goal we made the decision to move one full-time equivalent teacher from Gatewood Elementary to Fairmount Park Elementary.

Since receiving news of our decision, the Gatewood Elementary community has achieved an impressive feat of community involvement. As of today, the Gatewood community raised enough money to fund one full-time equivalent teacher at Gatewood.

The appropriate process was followed and paperwork to add a community-funded position to Gatewood for one year were submitted to the district today and are expected to be approved by Grants & Strategic Partnerships by the end of the day.

Moving forward, Gatewood teaching staff will remain intact and in place as they have been so far this year.

Fairmount Park Elementary will receive a full-time equivalent teacher, which the district hopes to see in place by the end of October if not sooner.

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Followup: ‘Biggest bake sale imaginable’ Saturday as Gatewood Elementary families raise money to keep a teacher http://westseattleblog.com/2014/10/followup-biggest-bake-sale-imaginable-tomorrow-as-gatewood-elementary-families-raise-money-to-keep-a-teacher/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/10/followup-biggest-bake-sale-imaginable-tomorrow-as-gatewood-elementary-families-raise-money-to-keep-a-teacher/#comments Sat, 04 Oct 2014 03:36:19 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=287743 By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

One day after news began to spread of a district-ordered teacher-reallocation move affecting two local elementary schools, one is launching a short-time, big-sum fundraising drive: $90,000 needed by Wednesday, to keep from losing a teacher.

We first reported Thursday afternoon on the situation that could result in one teacher being moved from Gatewood Elementary to newly reopened Fairmount Park Elementary. Fairmount has more students than planned for, the district says, while Gatewood has fewer first-graders than planned for.

While the district has not publicly identified the teacher that would be moved from Gatewood to Fairmount Park, Gatewood parents say the current version of the plan would move first-grade teacher Ms. Morgan. Parent Tracy Clarkson sent the photo at right, her twin daughter and son with Ms. Morgan, who is their teacher. Says Clarkson, “We are longtime West Seattlers, but new to Gatewood. We cannot lose this teacher!”

Another parent e-mailed more details about what will happen tomorrow, and beyond:

Gatewood is mobilizing. We need to raise $90,000 by Wednesday morning. We have about 10% thus far. Disbelievingly, our beloved teachers have each committed $500.

The parents of Gatewood and their children are planning to hold the biggest bake sale imaginable tomorrow starting at 10 a.m. at California and Myrtle and going on throughout the day.

We ask for any community support from everyone. Even if not a monetary donation, we appreciate moral support, too. The families and teachers could sure use it right now.

A donation account was set up late today at Chase Bank; you can donate at Chase and tell them it’s for “Friends of Gatewood.” Parents say online fundraising is not an option because they have to have the cash in hand by Wednesday morning, and online donations wouldn’t be disbursable that way.

They are hoping at least to get a time extension, and say that the district’s executive director of schools in this area, Israel Vela, indicated support for that in phone calls today to parents who had left him messages about this.

Meanwhile, the district responded to a followup question we had sent yesterday. At the ribbon-cutting for Fairmount Park on September 2nd, the day before the new school year began, it was announced they anticipated opening with 380 students. The current enrollment cited by the district is just below that. So why is an adjustment being made just now? District spokesperson Lesley Rogers replied with this backstory:

In August we decided to fund an additional teacher (the student projection [for Fairmount Park] went from 290 to 329, or 39 additional students). This was part of an overall district assessment that resulted in 26 schools having adds or pulls, with a net 2.0 addition. We also added in 2 schools based on high urgency (Arbor Heights and Alki Elementary).

We decided to wait to address FTE [full-time-student equivalent] adjustments due to the traditional student movement, wait list, data cleanup, and no-shows that happens in the first 2-3 weeks of school. The student enrollment reached 368 at 9/22 (Fairmount Park).

The other component was the budget situation. Our mitigation fund was depleted after the last 2 adds. We decided to wait to find out what schools have significantly lost student enrollment, as Gatewood, to transfer FTEs.

Overall, we are waiting for the official 10/1 counts that will be reported on 10/12 to recommend more staffing adjustments. At the same time we are using the current student count to identify the hot spots adjustments and deploy/execute earlier.

We’ll continue to follow up.

ADDED 5:26 AM SATURDAY: Overnight, we received the letter to the community, drafted by organizers of the fundraising drive. Click (or scroll) ahead to read it:

Dear Gatewood Community and the West Seattle Region,

After an intense past 48 hours of following updates from the district and Gatewood school administration, I am sharing dinner with my family at Zeeks Pizza and in a moment of reflection, comment that it has been tremendous to witness parents in our community being so proactive. I asked my kids if they knew what proactive meant; without missing a beat, my 4th grade daughter explains how she learned that word this week at school during her classroom’s Peace Circle time. She continued to explain quite eloquently how they are learning the 7 Habits of Happy Kids and that one in particular was very cool-the habit referred to as “Balance Feels Best.” She clarified how characters in a story represented the mind, spirit and body, and when you have those pieces in balance that one finds peace and happiness.

You know that feeling when wisdom is spoken from a young child. This urgent call to action is to foster the momentum of learning for all our Gatewood Gators without interruption.

In light of the recent proposed changes to staffing at Gatewood Elementary, this afternoon myself and Nicole Sipila, concerned and determined parents of Gatewood Gators, have created a direct drive fundraiser called Friends of Gatewood. The SPS district will remove 1.0 Seattle Public School Full Time Employee (FTE) driven by district enrollment criteria unless $90,000 is raised and delivered by Wednesday, October 8th. The Gatewood staff designed a learning system for this year that intentionally made a few classrooms smaller while sacrificing other classrooms to be at standard or at higher head counts. The next 4 days are critical. Act now!

Start giving now and this is how:

1.Before closing time at 4 pm, on Saturday, visit our local Chase Bank, Thriftway Branch, at 4201 SW Morgan St, Seattle, WA 98136 (www.chase.com). A Friends of Gatewood bank account was created (Friday) afternoon:

◦The checking account number is: 459084948, the routing number is 325070760

◦This account accepts cash and check donations. Deposit slips must be used to track transactions, particularly for cash donations. For cash deposits, please write “Friends of Gatewood” on the slip, and in addition, provide your name and phone number at the bottom of the slip (see attached Chase Deposit Slip for an example),

◦Donations are not tax deductible,

◦In the event that this direct drive falls short of our goal, we will communicate to all of our donors if you want a full refund, and if so, that will be done as promptly as possible.

2.Go to Saturday’s Bake Sale at California Ave SW and SW Myrtle at 10 am Saturday, October 4th (please note, that money raised from the baked sale will not be tracked and therefore not refundable),

3.Bring checks to Gatewood Elementary at the main office, ideally no later than end of day Monday, October 6 (Address: 4320 SW Myrtle St, Seattle 98136),

4.Bring cash – with your contact information and phone number- to Gatewood at the main office no later than Tuesday, October 7th,

5.In the event that you were not able to attend a community meeting held Thursday after school, or missed letters sent home with your student, attached are documents that describe the serious predicament that district budget shortfalls and enrollment mishaps have caused. Please read these for your information.

6.Lastly, reach out to your families, community business leaders and supporters of education.

For further questions, contact Natasha Hissong at natashahissong@earthlink.com or Nicole Sipila at alipis@clearwire.net

With gratitude,

Gatewood Elementary Community

Editor’s note: The text refers to attachments which we have not (yet) received; we’ll add if and when we get them.

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Have you seen Rick’s work van? Stolen early today in Gatewood http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/have-you-seen-ricks-work-van-stolen-early-today-in-gatewood/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/have-you-seen-ricks-work-van-stolen-early-today-in-gatewood/#comments Sat, 27 Sep 2014 20:02:49 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=287070 From Rick:

My work van with all of my tools inside was stolen from in front of my home at 39th and Holden. It is a 2003 Ford Ecovan with Relius Marine in large blue and green lettering. The license # is A46580Z. The police have been informed. The van was stolen after 1:00 a.m. or so on September 27, 2014. I am out of business without my tools & van. Please call Rick at 253-350-4263 with any information.

And call 911 if you see it – don’t approach a suspected stolen car, police advise, since you never know who or what might still be in it.

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Election 2014: Gatewood forum Sunday on I-591, I-594 http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/election-2014-gatewood-forum-sunday-on-i-591-i-594/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/election-2014-gatewood-forum-sunday-on-i-591-i-594/#comments Sat, 27 Sep 2014 01:01:05 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=287005 With ballots going out in mid-October, the “November 4″ election is closer than it seems. Just announced by Rev. Erik Kindem from Peace Lutheran Church in Gatewood, a forum this Sunday on two of the statewide initiatives you’ll be voting on:

Peace Lutheran Church is hosting a forum on two firearms-related initiatives that will be on the ballot in November: I-594 (text here) and I-591 (text here).

. I-594 would expand current criminal background-check requirements to include all gun sales and transfers in Washington State with specific exceptions.

. I-591 would limit the circumstances in which firearms can be confiscated and would limit the ability of government agencies to require background checks.

Stacy Anderson from FAN (Faith Action Network) will be leading the forum, which will begin at 12 noon. Peace Lutheran is located at the corner of SW Thistle and 39th Avenue SW in West Seattle. Members of the public are invited to attend.

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