Genesee Hill – West Seattle Blog… http://westseattleblog.com West Seattle news, 24/7 Tue, 22 May 2018 08:05:59 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.5 WEDNESDAY: 5 West Seattle restaurants where you can Dine Out for Dakota http://westseattleblog.com/2018/03/wednesday-5-west-seattle-restaurants-where-you-can-dine-out-for-dakota/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/03/wednesday-5-west-seattle-restaurants-where-you-can-dine-out-for-dakota/#comments Wed, 07 Mar 2018 07:43:37 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=910717 (Photo courtesy Urban Homestead Foundation)

Go out to dinner on Wednesday night, and you can help a community group in its quest to save a scrap of greenspace for community use. Five restaurants – two in Admiral, three in The Junction – are donating part of their proceeds 5-10 pm Wednesday night to “Dine Out for Dakota,” benefiting the Urban Homestead Foundation‘s ongoing campaign to raise money to buy the former Seattle City Light substation site at 50th/Dakota. Participating are:

Mission Cantina (2325 California SW; WSB sponsor)
Arthur’s (2311 California SW)
Great American Diner & Bar (4752 California SW)
Falafel Salam (4746 California SW)
Talarico’s (4718 California SW)

If you haven’t heard about the project before, the backstory is here.

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If you see an injured raccoon on Genesee Hill … http://westseattleblog.com/2018/02/if-you-see-an-injured-raccoon-on-genesee-hill/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/02/if-you-see-an-injured-raccoon-on-genesee-hill/#comments Sun, 25 Feb 2018 20:29:32 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=909955 Mike e-mailed to say he’s called it in, and he advises that people and pets keep their distance. He saw the raccoon, appearing “severely injured” as he described it, on SW Dakota between 47th and 49th SW. Here’s what the Seattle Animal Shelter (aka “animal control”) says about injured/ill wildlife. Other animal-involved situations? Info here.

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FOLLOWUP: Genesee Hill/Lafayette Elementary boundary changes get School Board approval http://westseattleblog.com/2018/01/followup-genesee-hill-lafayette-elementary-boundary-changes-get-school-board-approval/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/01/followup-genesee-hill-lafayette-elementary-boundary-changes-get-school-board-approval/#comments Fri, 19 Jan 2018 00:28:38 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=906624

The Scenario F” proposal to move part of the Genesee Hill Elementary attendance area into the Lafayette Elementary attendance area got final approval from the School Board last night. After a reader question, we just checked and just confirmed that via the recording of last night’s meeting (you can see the unanimous vote here). Current GH students in the affected area will be “grandfathered” if their families want them to stay at that school. The plan is meant to provide some relief for GH, the district’s most populous elementary and now 50+ students over “seat capacity,” per the district, while Lafayette is 100+ students under capacity. More background is in our report from two weeks ago; before the final scenario was settled on, we covered a briefing at GH last October.

P.S. Incoming kindergarteners’ families are asked to enroll them as soon as possible because schools already are making staffing and other decisions – you can do that now. GHES has two tours scheduled – 9 am January 25th and 9 am February 7th. Principal Gerrit Kischner noted in his enrollment-period announcement, “If you do have an older child currently attending Genesee Hill and you live in the zone that is shifting to Lafayette, you must apply for Genesee Hill during Open Enrollment, which runs for a short period between February 5 and February 16th.” Lafayette’s next kindergarten tour, meantime, is on the school calendar for 2:30 pm February 8th.

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‘We need a hero’: Urban Homestead Foundation has weeks left to find dollars to help dream come true http://westseattleblog.com/2017/11/we-need-a-hero-urban-homestead-foundation-has-weeks-left-to-find-dollars-to-help-dream-come-true/ http://westseattleblog.com/2017/11/we-need-a-hero-urban-homestead-foundation-has-weeks-left-to-find-dollars-to-help-dream-come-true/#comments Mon, 06 Nov 2017 23:01:39 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=899951 (Photos courtesy Urban Homestead Foundation)

“We need a hero to save this land and legacy before it’s lost forever.”

That’s what it’s come down to for the West Seattle volunteers who founded the Urban Homestead Foundation, as they now have less than 8 weeks left to finish raising the money needed for a rare remaining open-space site in West Seattle, right across the street from the area’s most-populous elementary school.

The grass-roots group won a $281,000 matching grant from the King County Conservation Futures Fund, as reported here last June. That was a major achievement. But the key word there is “matching.”

The land at stake, dubbed the Dakota Homestead, is at 50th SW and SW Dakota [map], to purchase the lot, on the corner of SW Dakota and 50th Avenue SW. It’s city-owned – a decommissioned substation – and holds 20 mature trees, six of them with “exceptional” status. The foundation has been working for more than a year and a half to manage the land as a neighborhood preserve and gathering space, a hub for urban gardening and environmental education.

But they have to have the money to buy it by the end of the year. That’s where the hero, or heroes, come in, says foundation board member Phoebe Ingraham: “We are confident a visionary family, an energized community member or local businesses will respond to this call and save the day with a major gift. We need a hero to save this land and legacy before it’s lost forever. It’s the 11th hour on this unique opportunity. This green space represents West Seattle’s past, present, and future.”

The Urban Homestead Foundation has raised money and awareness, and along with securing the grant, they’ve pulled together $30,000 from neighbors. On the same June day that foundation supporters celebrated the big matching-fund grant, for example, a Girl Scout troop stopped by to donate $350:


(Photo courtesy UHF president Katie Stemp)

And now, they need major gifts totaling at least $300,000 before the end-of-year deadline.

The community supporters include Gerrit Kischner, principal of Genesee Hill Elementary across the street. He sees the site as “a natural classroom. Right now, much of the space is closed up and cut off from the community. Urban Homestead Foundation wants to do better for students and neighbors. I urge local families, individuals and businesses to consider their deep ties to this area, learn about the vision, and to step forward. It would be an incredible legacy to capture this moment in time and preserve the Homestead for future generations.” He’s one of the people you’ll hear from in this video about the site:

Donations are tax-deductible; information about how to give is here. December 31st is the deadline.

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WEST SEATTLE SCHOOLS: Why attendance-area boundaries might change for Genesee Hill, Lafayette next fall http://westseattleblog.com/2017/10/west-seattle-schools-why-attendance-area-boundaries-might-change-for-genesee-hill-lafayette-next-fall/ http://westseattleblog.com/2017/10/west-seattle-schools-why-attendance-area-boundaries-might-change-for-genesee-hill-lafayette-next-fall/#comments Fri, 27 Oct 2017 21:22:57 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=898786 By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Some families who currently live in the Genesee Hill Elementary School attendance area may find themselves in the Lafayette Elementary School attendance area starting next school year.

Boundary changes are being considered for those two schools to take some pressure off GHES, West Seattle’s most-populous elementary, already 10 percent above capacity just one year after opening.

The changes – if any – would take effect next fall, starting in the 2018-2019 year, and could affect some current GH students, depending on what kind of “grandfathering” – if any – the district decides to allow.

All this was discussed at GHES this morning, as principal Gerrit Kischner and district officials led an early-stage briefing for families during a “coffee with the principal” event in the lunchroom.

GH opened in fall 2016, built for a capacity of 650 students, after the program’s years with a village of portables at Schmitz Park Elementary, but it’s already stuffed with more than 710. “We’ve continued to grow and grow even though our boundaries have shrunk,” Kischner noted.

He was joined at the meeting by Lafayette principal Cindy Chaput and, from district HQ, associate superintendent Dr. Flip Herndon and enrollment planning director Ashley Davies.

“We’re already over the capacity of the building” and “there’s no additional space,” Davies began. She showed a slide with Genesee Hill’s “right-size capacity” and current over-enrollment, while Lafayette is underenrolled – “right-size” at 550, currently at 394. (The calculations for “right size” do include Lafayette’s current portables, Davies said in response to a question. Some of those portables are used only part time, principal Chaput said, adding that “we have four empty classrooms” right now and she saw no problem with adding more students – right now.)

If nothing changes, Genesee Hill would grow to 807 by 2021 while Lafayette would still have room, at 437.

So the district reviewed five “potential scenarios” as Davies described them to try to balance things. They’re looking more seriously at three of them, and those are what were shown.

(UPDATED EDITOR’S NOTE: The full electronic version of the slide deck from this morning’s meeting is available via the Genesee Hill PTA site. And late tonight we received the proposed boundary-change maps from the district as separate files. Click HERE to open the full-size PDF version of the options. For comparison, the current GH boundary map is here.)

(Again, you can get the largest size of those three maps by clicking here, and then use your own controls to zoom in.)

The big issue that comes with boundary changes is grandfathering – what would happen next fall to students now attending GH but whose attendance-area school is changed to Lafayette? Davies had slides for that too, suggesting the district is mulling three options – what attendance would be if all current students were grandfathered, what it would be if none were, and what if they grandfathered students who would be in 4th/5th grade next year.

Siblings are not part of the grandfathering policy in any event, she said.

Questions included why a partial grandfathering policy would be for older Genesee Hill students rather than younger. Davies said that’s “based on most of the feedback we’ve heard during boundary changes in general.” So is there any research on the emotional, cognitive, etc. changes’ effects on the younger children? How would they get additional support? the parent followed up. That would be a collaboration between the school leaders of Genesee Hill and Lafayette, Davies said. “We’d be working to have as smooth a transition as possible for those students.” Yes, but would there be any specific resources, such as an extra counselor? Davies didn’t know.

One parent said she’s strongly in favor of grandfathering because breaking up a community otherwise would violate “social trust” for the children, and she’s OK with her kid(s) going to a “slightly overcrowded” school where families and staff have built a community. That drew applause.

Also potentially affecting the future – Lafayette is one of four West Seattle elementaries currently being considered for a rebuild under the BEX V levy that is scheduled to go to voters in early 2019 – with details yet to be worked out, as we noted in this story earlier this week. If Lafayette does get rebuilt, might more of the families currently choosing private schools return to Lafayette? one parent asked. Davies pointed out that it would be several years away at least and they have to do something sooner to handle the Genesee Hill crowding.

And what about the students, another parent asked, who in that scenario might have to move multiple times in their elementary years? Associate superintendent Herndon said, “Unfortunately that has happened from time to time. We try to coordinate boundary changes with capital projects completing.” But he said there are possibilities such as keeping students on-site at Lafayette while the project is built in parts. However, what they’re talking about right now is using Schmitz Park as an interim site while Lafayette (and potentially Alki Elementary) is rebuilt. And, it was noted, if a school moves to an interim site, the entire school goes – kids still have the same classmates and teachers, for example.

Also asked: What about other schools, such as Alki, being involved in changes, given how waitlists shook out previously? Alki is not under-enrolled, Davies said. Another question regarded boundaries going along socio-economic lines in West Seattle as a whole, so why arent some bigger improvements being considered? Davies reiterated that they are just trying to do something “more immediate” to relieve GH overcrowding, but that the socioeconomic lines are a “bigger conversation that needs to be had.”

Another parent said that before the new school opened, she and others had warned the area was too wide, but it fell on deaf ears. She also says GH PTA leadership would be “decimated” because the area under consideration for change is where the leaders have long come from.

So who makes the ultimate grandfathering decision? “Who do we need to go talk to to make sure our voices are heard?” asked a parent. Davies said that “ultimately enrollment planning will have to create a recommendation that goes to the school board,” which makes the final decision.

At that point, a PTA leader said that it’s important families know that what was shown this morning followed some smaller conversations narrowing things down already. “This is not the first conversation – we’ve been working on this for a little over a year,” when it was clear that the capacity issue would have to be dealt with.

Another attendee noted that three school-board positions are on the November ballot – being voted on citywide – and the winners will be part of the final decision on this early next year.

Also asked, whether the district is taking HALA upzoning into consideration in their projections. Davies said the district does talk with the city, but “what ends up happening isn’t always what could be anticipating.” Multi-family housing, for example, has a “low student yield rate.”

And then a parent asked, is anyone really shocked by these numbers? And how confident is the district? “My kid may get to stay here, but her friends may need to go, and that sucks.” She wanted to know if the district is sure this conversation won’t recur in two years. And another parent said he wanted to be assured that the district has changed its methodologies to make reliable predictions.

Davies noted that BEX V projects would figure into that so they would have more future capacity and “not be (dealing with) the same schools (they are now).” The parent wasn’t happy with that answer.

Kischner jumped in at that point to note that the “capture rate” change had played into the changes in a big way – for many years, about 67 percent of the kids born in the area had attended Schmitz Park, and then the percentage “shot up” to 93 percent. “That was a huge number of kids, and just a shift in the whole attendance process.”

He also invited attendees to write down remaining questions so he could work to get answers, and promised to send out information via the school’s e-mail list.

WHAT’S NEXT: Here’s the decision-making timeline shown at the meeting:

They’re looking for feedback over the next month or so. A tentative boundary-change proposal would go to the School Board Operations Committee on December 7th; a final vote on any change would be at the full board meeting January 17th so that it would be finalized before Open Enrollment begins in February.

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VIDEO: Quake-readiness lessons for students in Great Washington ShakeOut http://westseattleblog.com/2017/10/video-quake-readiness-lessons-for-students-in-great-washington-shakeout/ Thu, 19 Oct 2017 23:27:46 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=898170 Disaster preparedness is for all ages. Genesee Hill Elementary students provided an example of that during this morning’s Great Washington ShakeOut earthquake drill:

As you can see, they knew what to do – and got the all-clear to emerge after 60 seconds:

Genesee Hill – which, at just one year old, has plenty of upgraded seismic-safety features – was by no means the only school participating today, but Seattle Public Schools chose it as the school to host interested media, like us. It also became a teaching occasion:

Those students were showing classmates a map with a closer look at the Pacific Rim’s “Ring of Fire” quake-fault-and-volcano zone. Some learned about emergency supplies by tasting them:

(The review: A bit sweet. Turned out it contained some coconut water.) Students were also asked to tell their neighbors one thing they would do in case of an emergency:

P.S. One important extra lesson for West Seattleites – separate from today’s official event but something you need to know – your nearest Emergency Communication Hub!

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SAVING THE SUBSTATION: Urban Homestead Foundation benefit dinner Saturday http://westseattleblog.com/2017/09/saving-the-substation-urban-homestead-foundation-benefit-dinner-saturday/ Tue, 12 Sep 2017 16:22:20 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=894613 cherry tree(2016 photo)

The Urban Homestead Foundation, raising money to buy the former City Light substation property on Genesee Hill, is sending out a last call for tickets to this Saturday’s pig-roast fundraising dinner. UHF’s Katie Stemp says it’s happening at the site, 50th/Dakota, 5-9 pm Saturday (September 16th): “Tickets are $75 and include a sit-down dinner, a drink, live music and dancing, and outdoor games! It’s going to be a blast and hopefully raise a lot of money to match the King Conservation Futures Fund grant we received! If there are local businesses that would like to be promoted by helping sponsor part of the event, they can contact Becca Bay at beccabayaway@gmail.com.” (We reported on the grant back in June.) You can buy your ticket(s) online right now – if you can’t commit until the last minute, Katie says they expect “a limited amount” available at the event.

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VIDEO: Urban Homestead Foundation celebrates big grant in campaign to transform ex-substation http://westseattleblog.com/2017/06/video-urban-homestead-foundation-celebrates-big-grant-in-campaign-to-transform-ex-substation/ http://westseattleblog.com/2017/06/video-urban-homestead-foundation-celebrates-big-grant-in-campaign-to-transform-ex-substation/#comments Sun, 25 Jun 2017 06:56:57 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=886961

(WSB video: Urban Homestead Foundation vp Kristen Corning Bedford announcing grant news)

Leaders and supporters of the Urban Homestead Foundation‘s vision for the ex-substation on Genesee Hill had big news to celebrate today. As you can hear in our video clip above, they’ve been recommended to receive a King County Conservation Futures $281,000 matching-fund grant that would get them to half of what they need to buy the land and transform it into a community learning and gathering place and urban-agriculture demonstration zone.

The grant recommendation was announced during a block-party potluck at the site. They’re also celebrating gifts of all sizes – earlier in the day, Girl Scout Troop 44428 stopped by with a $350 donation:


(Photo courtesy UHF president Katie Stemp)

While the grant recommendation is big news, the group is racing the clock, as they were given until the end of this year to raise the money they need before City Light sells the site on the open market; the utility is in the process of getting a new appraisal (the previous one put the site’s value at $530,000). Later this summer, UHF plans a Farm Dinner fundraiser at the site, 5 pm August 13th – more details to come but you can save the date now.

BACKSTORY: The site at 50th and Dakota, just north of Genesee Hill Elementary, is one of the six former substations in West Seattle that Seattle City Light declared were no longer needed, putting into motion a process to sell or otherwise dispose of them. Three of them – on Pigeon Point, in south Highland Park, and in Fauntleroy – have been or are being sold for housing; one in north Highland Park is proposed for mixed-use rezoning at the community’s request; and then there’s the one becoming the Delridge Wetlands Project. The UHF plan is described in detail in the application for the just-announced grant.

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Gatewood Elementary principal Constance Aleman leaving to become Genesee Hill assistant principal http://westseattleblog.com/2017/05/gatewood-elementary-principal-constance-aleman-leaving-to-become-genesee-hill-assistant-principal/ http://westseattleblog.com/2017/05/gatewood-elementary-principal-constance-aleman-leaving-to-become-genesee-hill-assistant-principal/#comments Fri, 12 May 2017 23:13:26 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=882643 Just announced by Seattle Public Schools: After the school year ends, Gatewood Elementary principal Constance Aleman will be moving across the peninsula to take the newly created position of assistant principal at West Seattle’s most populous elementary school, Genesee Hill. She has been principal at Gatewood for four years. Letters have gone out to both schools’ communities – here’s what Aleman said in her announcement:

It is with mixed emotions I am writing to inform you this will be my last year at Gatewood Elementary School.

After four amazing years and careful consideration, I have decided it is the right time for me to pursue a new leadership opportunity. I have accepted a role at Genesee Hill Elementary; I am excited to stay within the West Seattle community and to work more closely in the areas of Special Education, social-emotional learning, and family engagement. As difficult as this is for me, I feel confident I am leaving this school in great shape and ready to continue the amazing work of providing academic excellence for each student.

While seeking new opportunities brings some excitement, I want you to know this was not an easy decision for me. I’m indebted to so many incredible friends and colleagues who have made my experience here a lifelong memory. At Gatewood there are positive, innovative, and hardworking staff, and a supportive and positive group of families. I cherish the brilliant, caring, and committed students. It has been an honor serving all of you the past four years. As much as I will miss this community, I will cherish the memories and reflect fondly upon them as I move forward in both my professional and personal life.

As we wrap up the year, I am hopeful you continue on the path we have laid together. Together we have worked toward the mission of fostering a school climate of compassion, academic excellence, problem solving, creativity, and cultural awareness. It inspires me to see the school, families, and the community working together for the social, emotional, physical, and intellectual development of each student. This mission lives with you. Your relentless commitment, drive, and compassion for our students will ensure that our mission of excellence continues on!

I will finish out the school year at Gatewood and my first day with Genesee Hill will be July 1. The formal search process for hiring a new principal is underway as we look forward to the next school year. The process will include an opportunity for Gatewood staff and the community to provide input. Executive Director of Schools, Helen Joung, will communicate updates to the staff and community.

Thank you all for your kindness and support. I have appreciated it more than you can imagine. And thank you all for your continued commitment and dedication to our school, staff and students. It is because of you that I know Gatewood will continue to be the very best school ever!

With admiration,

Constance Aleman, Principal
Gatewood Elementary School

You can read the message sent by Genesee Hill principal Gerrit Kischner to his community here.

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CONGRATULATIONS! Genesee Hill Elementary ‘Literature Lions’ in Global Reading Challenge finals http://westseattleblog.com/2017/03/congratulations-genesee-hill-elementary-literature-lions-in-global-reading-challenge-finals/ http://westseattleblog.com/2017/03/congratulations-genesee-hill-elementary-literature-lions-in-global-reading-challenge-finals/#comments Tue, 14 Mar 2017 20:42:24 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=877096
(Photo courtesy Genesee Hill Elementary)

Congratulations to the lone West Seattle team to make it into the finals of this year’s Seattle Public Library Global Reading Challenge – the Literature Lions from Genesee Hill Elementary! The finals are at the Central Library downtown, one week from tonight, Tuesday, March 21st. The LLs’ semi-final-winning session was one week ago, but we’ve been waiting for the official list of citywide finalists from SPL following the eight rounds of semi-finals, and just got it:

Genesee Hill
Literature Lions

Bailey Gatzert
Global Gang

Lowell
Reading Rock Star Pandas

John Muir
Readers and Roarers

Sand Point
Mutant Squirrels

Graham Hill
Blue Pandas

Thurgood Marshall
Who Are We Again?

Leschi
Leschi Boom Readers

Loyal Heights
Pink Porcupines

To compete in the GRC, described as a “Battle of the Books” for fourth- and fifth-graders, they read books from a specified list (here are this year’s books) and answer questions about them. After on-campus and regional competition, the finalists emerge. Here’s the list of all schools citywide that participated in the GRC this year. If you want to go cheer for Genesee Hill in the finals, it’s open to spectators, no admission charge, 7 pm next Tuesday; the downtown library is at 1000 4th Ave.

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FOLLOWUP: Urban Homestead Foundation building momentum; three events ahead http://westseattleblog.com/2017/02/followup-urban-homestead-foundation-building-momentum-three-events-ahead/ http://westseattleblog.com/2017/02/followup-urban-homestead-foundation-building-momentum-three-events-ahead/#comments Wed, 01 Mar 2017 03:03:54 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=875672
(Sketch of vision for potential “Dakota Homestead”)

Major milestone for the Urban Homestead Foundation, community volunteers pursuing a dream for the former City Light substation on Genesee Hill. And you have three chances in the next eight days to stop by, find out more, and have fun, starting tomorrow morning.

First, the milestone: Katie Stemp from the UHF says the organization has finally been granted 501(c)(3) nonprofit status “after a year of working on the application and waiting to hear from the IRS! Now we are qualified to apply for several more grants than before! It’s a big step and we are very excited!”

Now, the backstory, since we haven’t mentioned the UHF in a while (here’s what we wrote about it last year) – it’s a community effort that first needs to raise money to buy the vacant city-owned land across from Genesee Hill Elementary, a former Seattle City Light substation, to turn it “into a valuable community asset for West Seattle and beyond.”

Next, the events

Tomorrow (Wednesday) morning and March 7th, you’ll see a coffee cart at the site, where you’re invited to enjoy a cup of coffee (donated by Admiral Bird tomorrow, C & P Coffee Company [WSB sponsor] on March 7th) and find out more about getting involved with the project, including “a sneak peek at the future and hopeful home of the Dakota Homestead – a place for the community to gather, learn, play and grow together!” Look for the canopy at the corner of SW Dakota and 50th SW. Coffee’s free; donations will be accepted.

And next Sunday – March 5th – the Urban Homestead Foundation is hosting a Block Party on SW Dakota between 49th and 50th SW, 2-3:30 pm, “bringing neighbors together to celebrate the potential of what this vacant piece of land could be for our community. All are welcome! We’ve gotten a street permit along Dakota and we’re working on getting donated food and beer.”

Aside from events, the UHF team is working not only to seek grants but also to “connect with people from the area who are interested in helping fund or connect funders to the project, who are excited about positively impacting thousands of students through workshops that teach life skills (kitchen skills, growing food, finance, etiquette, etc.) and the opportunity to create a model, organic food garden for the community that all can enjoy. When we, as a community of invested adults, are able to influence youth in a positive way that builds self-confidence and resiliency, it changes the path their lives take and impacts the people they come into contact with. The ripple effect of helping youth is exponential and we want to bring that positive guidance into their lives.”

If you can’t make it to any of the events, connect with the UHF via its website.

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VIDEO: Genesee Hill Elementary dedication celebrates ‘awesome’ school http://westseattleblog.com/2016/09/video-genesee-hill-elementary-dedication-celebrates-awesome-school/ http://westseattleblog.com/2016/09/video-genesee-hill-elementary-dedication-celebrates-awesome-school/#comments Tue, 06 Sep 2016 21:54:18 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=856902 ghallcut

You don’t expect to hear “Happy Birthday” at the dedication of a new school. If you were at this afternoon’s ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Genesee Hill Elementary, that’s exactly what you heard, at the behest of School Board rep Leslie Harris, in honor of principal Gerrit Kischner and some of the students who joined in the ceremony.

Kischner joked that the new school is a “91,000-square-foot birthday present.” His parents were there to help celebrate.

ghbirthday

For Harris, there also was a personal connection, as her daughter attended Pathfinder K-8 in the old Genesee Hill Elementary on the same site.

The principal, staff, and students moved from Schmitz Park Elementary, which they had long since outgrown (as proven by a plethora of portables there), but the ties to the Schmitz family, who gave the SPES site to the district long ago, remain strong. At today’s GHES ceremony, family representative Vicki Schmitz Block was given the last flag to fly over SPE before the end of last school year:

ghvicky

(As announced last week, SPE will not be vacant – it will host after-school programs for about 100 students.)

gnehill

The GH ceremony was outdoors, while the Arbor Heights Elementary dedication two hours earlier was indoors, but both were followed by tours (here’s our original look inside GH) and both shared several dignitaries who took to the podium, including third-year Superintendent Dr. Larry Nyland, who declared, “These really are awesome schools.”

ghcuttingnyland

(Both GH and AH were funded by the BEX IV levy passed by Seattle voters three and a half years ago.) Again, tomorrow’s the first day of school; GH is opening with about 700 students, already past official capacity, but it’s been configured so that portables will not be needed.

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West Seattle schools: Genesee Hill Elementary teachers move in http://westseattleblog.com/2016/08/west-seattle-schools-genesee-hill-elementary-teachers-move-in/ http://westseattleblog.com/2016/08/west-seattle-schools-genesee-hill-elementary-teachers-move-in/#comments Thu, 11 Aug 2016 23:18:58 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=854101 shiloh
(WSB photos)

It’s move-in week for Shiloh Henderson and her teacher colleagues at brand-new Genesee Hill Elementary, where the September 6th dedication day is now less than four weeks away. The new school housing what had been the Schmitz Park Elementary program could have more than 700 students by the time classes start on September 7th, principal Gerrit Kischner tells WSB.

betterkischnertiles

History will be honored at that spot in the spacious entrance area – the bricks are from the old Genesee Hill school, demolished to make way for this one, and the squares will hold tiles from Schmitz Park. A plaque here will honor the history of what led to the new campus, which, we noticed while visiting, is full of light:

library

That’s the library, where books from Schmitz Park were awaiting unpacking, with additions on the way. Also in the library:

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Little nooks like that one await the youngest readers. Around the school, everything’s been designed to be age- and intent-specific … the tables in the cafeteria, for example, will be round, to facilitate conversation – no more shouting down a rectangular row:

roundableslooking

The cafeteria is adjacent to the gym and the stage, and each area can be separated from the rest:

stagelunchroomstuff

gym

The school has so many distinct areas, it doesn’t have the “huge school” feel some worried it might have:

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That’s the covered play area, which has skylights to let in some brightness even on a rainy day. The new (uncovered) play equipment isn’t far away:

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That all opens onto a courtyard which also includes the 59-step staircase down to the staff parking lot:

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You might have noticed the trees in that view – the site retained many of them, including a huge old elm. It keeps the new school from feeling stark. Lots of warm touches inside, too:

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The fox, you probably know, is the Schmitz Park, and now Genesee Hill, mascot. It’s also featured in some of the forest murals on inside walls. And we spotted another friendly creature in a classroom:

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Furnishings make a big difference. Also being set up, autism inclusion classrooms:

autism

Right outside is a turfed half-circle area that will be a sensory-focused play area. The school has three distinct areas, but all have common touches such as the big windows we’ve mentioned – here’s the nurse’s office:

nurse

The entry area:

geneseeentry

And if you’re waiting to, say, meet with the principal, you might end up in this seating area:

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The classrooms are in a three-story tower, two grades per level. Lots of setup for teachers to do – Julie Pietsch was getting some help:

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The classrooms are clustered in pods, four around an area where they can gather for shared lessons.

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andanotherclassroom

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Science and art classrooms will have rotating uses – there’s even a kiln:

kiln

When school starts on September 7th, Genesee Hill will have five classes in each grade from kindergarten through 3rd, four classes in 4th grade, and three in 5th. Principal Kischner says the bus and dropoff zone is on 51st, but they’re not expecting many buses, because so many of the students are in the walk zone and not eligible for yellow-bus transportation.

Meantime, the moving-in will continue over the next few weeks. You can get a firsthand look inside the new space at an open house that will follow the ribbon-cutting ceremony on September 6th – many more details to come.

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Genesee Hill Elementary School: New campus to carry name of its predecessor http://westseattleblog.com/2016/03/genesee-hill-elementary-school-new-campus-to-carry-name-of-its-predecessor/ http://westseattleblog.com/2016/03/genesee-hill-elementary-school-new-campus-to-carry-name-of-its-predecessor/#comments Fri, 11 Mar 2016 00:34:31 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=836685 FullSizeRender (85)
(WSB photo, taken this afternoon, looking at northwest side of new school)

4:34 PM: Schmitz Park Elementary principal Gerrit Kischner will be principal of Genesee Hill Elementary as of this September. That’s the name chosen, Kischner announced this afternoon, for the new school that’s being built for his students and staff, on the site of a school that carried that same name, Genesee Hill Elementary. He says the ribboncutting is set for 1 pm September 6th. The Schmitz family name will stay with the current Schmitz Park building, he says; we’re checking with the district on the current plan for its future use (once described as potentially an early-learning center, but it’s been a while since we’ve heard that mentioned). Meantime, Kischner says students in the new building will have a special way to learn about their school’s history: “We are writing a historical plaque that will be in the new building tracing this joint history.” Funding for the new school is from the BEX IV levy.

6:08 PM: The principal’s announcement in this week’s school newsletter, sent out this afternoon, also notes that more than half the respondents in last year’s survey wanted this name. The mascot will remain the fox, however. The newsletter also notes that the new school currently is projected to open with about 663 students, 19 more than this year’s Schmitz Park enrollment; it’s being built to ~650 capacity. And one more note since our first report – SPS says the future use of the current Schmitz Park building has not yet been decided.

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Schmitz Park Elementary: New school opening this fall; kindergarten tour tomorrow http://westseattleblog.com/2016/01/schmitz-park-elementary-new-school-opening-this-fall-kindergarten-tour-tomorrow/ http://westseattleblog.com/2016/01/schmitz-park-elementary-new-school-opening-this-fall-kindergarten-tour-tomorrow/#comments Mon, 25 Jan 2016 19:07:23 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=831364 genback
(WSB photo of under-construction school, earlier this month)
The construction of both new West Seattle elementary campuses – for Schmitz Park at Genesee Hill (above) and Arbor Heights – is on schedule for their planned openings this fall, Seattle Public Schools tells us. And if you will have a kindergartener going into Schmitz Park this fall, principal Gerrit Kischner invites you to their upcoming tours – 9 am tomorrow (Tuesday, January 26th) and Wednesday, February 10th:

We are still hosting tours this year because we want families to start getting excited about our program. Next year, it will be the same great teachers and the same great community in a brand new, beautiful space! We will showcase our five Kindergarten classrooms, give parents an opportunity to observe upper-grade classrooms as well, and share pictures and ideas for how our program will maximize the advantages of our new space. Whether families choose to tour or not, please remember that Kindergarten registration is now open for attendance-area schools, and the sooner families register their youngsters, the better we will be equipped to plan for their coming!

Kischner adds that the new school’s name hasn’t been finalized yet but so far they’re calling it “Schmitz Park at Genesee Hill.” But be sure you go to the CURRENT campus for the upcoming tours – 50th SW/SW Spokane.

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