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UPDATE: ‘We stand … because we have respect, but we hold our fists up … to make positive change’: Chief Sealth Black Student Union protest

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(Added 10:27 pm: WSB photos. More below)

ORIGINAL REPORT, 10:10 AM FRIDAY: For the third consecutive Friday night, a protest against racial oppression is planned during the pre-game anthem tonight at Southwest Athletic Complex. The last two weeks, the focus was on the visiting football players of Garfield High School. Tonight, before the Chief Sealth-Ballard game at SWAC, the protest will be led by the CSIHS Black Student Union, which sent this statement:

We, the members of the Chief Sealth International High School Black Student Union, are tired… We are tired of unarmed black men, women, and children being murdered and receiving no justice. We are tired of seeing our educational system fail our brothers and sisters of color. We are tired of being silenced; we are tired of being racially profiled; we are tired of being massively incarcerated; we are tired of the racial disparities of income, the racial and economic segregation of our neighborhoods; we are tired of being OPPRESSED, and repeatedly disregarded as human beings.

West Seattle, WA : The Chief Sealth International Black Student has joined other groups in solidarity to protesting the national anthem while it is played. On Friday, September 23rd, 2016, the Chief Sealth Black Student Union organized its first national anthem protest at Chief Sealth’s football game against Garfield. During our protest, many spectators from the stands of many different ages and races joined us in facing away from the field and raising our fists in the air. The Chief Sealth Black Student Union plans to continue our protests at home games during football season. Our protest was nonviolent and we intend to keep it that way.

At this upcoming home game against Ballard on Friday, September 30, the Chief Sealth BSU DOES plan to protest the national anthem, along with those who decide to join us.

We will, again, stand with our fists raised, with our backs to the flag. We stand for the national anthem because we have respect, but we hold our fists up to affirm our power to make positive change. We turn our backs on the flag in a plea for justice; to symbolize the way in which we feel our nation has turned its back on us.

This protest is not to disrespect America or the soldiers that are serving and/or have served this country. This protest is to shed light on the fact that African American fathers, mothers, and children are afraid of their loved ones leaving their homes, that Seattle Public Schools has the 5th largest black-white achievement gap in the country and that they have not even attempted to contact Black Student Unions in the district. This is to spark or continue conversations about Terrence Crutcher, Aiyana Jones, Alfred Olango, and all of the other unarmed black men and women who have been killed by the state without cause.

How are we supposed to stand with America, “the land of the free,” when people are afraid for their lives and treated as second class citizens because of their skin color? As the Black Student Union for Chief Sealth we will fight for the rights of black students and individuals not only in West Seattle but for black people across the country. Martin Luther King once said: “We must never give up infinite hope”. We hope that through our actions we can get people to begin a dialogue, and in turn, change the world. We want Black Lives Matter to be something that won’t have to be said because everyone knows that already . Don’t let the news blind you from all facts of the story, and don’t let traditional racist beliefs blind your judgement.

We want to be heard. We refuse to be silenced.

Sincerely,
The Chief Sealth International High School Black Student Union

As mentioned in our daily preview, the game is at 7 pm at SW Athletic Complex, which is across the street from Chief Sealth, at 2801 SW Thistle.

9:23 PM: We’ll be adding photos of the protest – which was joined by some members of both teams – to this story, when we are back at HQ.

ADDED 10:27 PM: In the stands:

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And on the sidelines (photographed via phone) – first Sealth, then Ballard:

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Game coverage will be in a separate story later tonight.

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FOLLOWUP: Seeking solutions to school-sports transportation trouble

West Seattle High School‘s athletic director says their Friday night football game vs. Cleveland HS at Southeast Athletic Complex might have to be canceled because of the ongoing transportation problem with away games.

That’s what AD Trevor Leopold told the 20+ people at last night’s community meeting called to strategize how to get Seattle Public Schools to address the ongoing problem, which is affecting other schools too.

Patrick Sand covered the meeting for WSB: Read More

SATURDAY: K-8 students invited to Chief Sealth Mini Cheer Camp

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(Chief Sealth cheerleaders @ SWAC on September 2nd)

Students in kindergarten through 8th grade are invited to spend this Saturday (September 24th) at Chief Sealth International High School Cheer Camp, 11 am-3 pm:

You will learn a dance, basic arm motions, some Chief Sealth cheers, team bonding games, jumps, and stunts. You will have the opportunity to perform your dance with the Chief Sealth Cheerleaders during their home game (Sealth vs. Ballard) halftime show on September 30th at the SWAC. Come join us for the fun! …

The cost of the camp is $40 cash or check payable to “Chief Sealth Cheerleading” – it includes admission to the (Sept. 30) game and a T-shirt to wear for your performance!

Registration is due tomorrow (Friday) – you can e-mail Sealth cheer coach Tahreana Turner for a registration form – coachtahreanacsihs@gmail.com – then on Saturday, the cheerleaders will meet campers at the gym door (2600 SW Thistle)!

UPDATE: Simultaneous fire alarms, but NO fires, at three West Seattle schools

11:31 AM: We’ve been checking on an odd situation from early today – automatic fire alarms going off simultaneously at three Seattle Public Schools buildings in West Seattle. Between 2:41 am and 2:45 am, the alarms went off, and Seattle Fire Department units were dispatched to, West Seattle High School, Madison Middle School, and Genesee Hill Elementary. After e-mailed questions from readers who either heard the alarms or noticed the three adjacent listings on the automated real-time 911 log, we followed up this morning with both SFD and SPD. SFD verified, first, that its crews found no sign of fire and no other obvious reason the alarms had gone off. SPS spokesperson Luke Duecy tells WSB, “According to maintenance, there was a pressure change in the city’s water system that triggered the fire alarms. It was investigated by security and maintenance and cleared. Systems are functioning.” (We’re now checking with Seattle Public Utilities about the pressure change, but in the meantime, wanted to share what we’d found out so far.)

4:25 PM: Andy Ryan from Seattle Public Utilities says they’re still investigating this: “It is true that a sudden change in water pressure can trigger a fire alarm. Some alarm systems interpret low pressure as high flow — indicating that a sprinkler system is going off. In the case of alarms sounding at West Seattle schools today, it is possible that the problem was caused when we switched pumps this morning at our Spokane Street Pump Station. Our system data shows outlet pressure from the pump station went from 162 pounds per square inch (PSI) down to a minimum of 126 PSI, and then settled out at 151 PSI within 15 minutes of the pump switchover. That pressure drop — not huge — might have caused the fire alarms to go off. However, other nearby school alarm systems did not sound. Lafayette Elementary is essentially across the street from West Seattle High School and its alarm didn’t go off. The alarms at Schmitz Park Elementary, a block away from Madison Middle, didn’t go off either.”

Transportation consternation: West Seattle HS Booster Club says athletes now forced to miss too many classes

Even if you don’t have kids in Seattle Public Schools, you probably know that many schedules changed this year. West Seattle High School now starts about an hour later than it used to, and the WS Booster Club says the resulting district transportation plan “is unacceptable” – forcing students to leave class too early on “away” game days, so they’re marshaling support to go to the School Board. Here’s their message for you:

Dear Seattle Public School Families and Community:

We want to invite you to a very important meeting on Monday, September 26th, 7 pm, in the West Seattle High School library. We will be discussing the transportation issues affecting our students.

Our high school student athletes currently have to leave school at 1 pm for away events because of the Seattle School Districts transportation plan. This means they have to be dismissed at 12:45 pm, missing all of 5th and 6th periods, lunch, and part of 4th period as well. This is unacceptable and we need to do something about this.

The West Seattle Booster Club invites you to join us in taking our concerns to the Seattle School Board. We are inviting families, staff, PTSA, Booster Clubs, and community members from all of the Seattle High Schools to join our efforts.

On Monday, September 26th, we will learn more about these issues, discuss our plans moving forward, and coordinate our actions for the School Board meeting we will attend as a group. Please join us. The more voices they hear, the better the impact.

Thank you for your support!

~ West Seattle Booster Club

WSHS is at 3000 California SW.

School boundaries: Sanislo Elementary to move back to Denny/Sealth feeder zone; community meeting October 11th

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(Multicolor area is what Denny/Sealth attendance area will look like with Sanislo – here’s what it looks like now)

Seattle Public Schools is about to launch a round of citywide community meetings to talk about boundary changes for next school year. Most were approved three years ago, but some “amendments” are proposed, and that includes one in West Seattle – moving Sanislo Elementary back to the Denny International Middle School/Chief Sealth International High School feeder zone, just two years after it was moved out of that zone and into the Madison MS/West Seattle HS zone. From the district website:

Staff recommends that the entire Sanislo Elementary School attendance area be re-aligned with the Denny International Middle School attendance area and feeder pattern. This would return the Sanislo feeder pattern to Denny for middle school.

Additionally, staff recommends that the addition of Sanislo into the Denny feeder pattern be aligned with the high school boundaries. This would mean that the Chief Sealth International High School attendance area would include Sanislo beginning in 2017-18. Currently Denny feeds into Chief Sealth and Madison feeds into West Seattle High School, thus this alignment would be necessary if Sanislo is in the Denny feeder pattern.

Why these amendments are being recommended:

Sanislo moved into the Madison Middle School feeder pattern in 2015-16; since then, Madison has become an option site for the Highly Capable Cohort. Updated enrollment and capacity information for Madison (and Denny) support returning Sanislo into Denny.

The district has also received school community feedback in support of this move. Over the past two years, many rising 5th grade Sanislo students have completed choice applications to attend Denny for 6th grade. With this amendment, only Sanislo’s middle school feeder pattern would change. Sanislo’s elementary attendance area will remain the same.

The district says it is NOT planning on grandfathering middle-school students in change areas, so anyone in the Sanislo attendance zone who would be at Madison next year will be reassigned to Denny (unless they get a “choice” spot). The West Seattle meeting to discuss this change (and any in the rest of the city, if you’re interested) is set for 6:30 pm Tuesday, October 11th, in the library at Denny (2601 SW Kenyon). That’s the last of the meetings around the city, and shortly after that, the boundary-plan amendments including this one will go to the School Board for approval.

BACK TO SCHOOL: South Seattle College welcomes biggest ’13th Year Promise’ class

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(WSB photos)

While the first day of the fall semester at South Seattle College (WSB sponsor) isn’t until September 26th, more than 100 new students got a jump start this week. They are in the 13th Year Promise program – which pays first-year tuition to graduates of three Seattle Public Schools high schools, including Chief Sealth IHS. Here are full details from SSC:

South Seattle College celebrated its largest incoming class of 13th Year Promise Scholarship recipients on Sept. 15 since the program’s inception in 2008. 110 students completed orientation this week and will start their higher education at South this fall with their first year of tuition paid for through the scholarship program.

The celebration came at the end of a three-day “Bridge Program” orientation, where incoming 13th Year scholars learned key skills and resources to help them navigate the transition from high school to college.

“I want to truly encourage you to take advantage of this great opportunity,” South Seattle College President Gary Oertli said to the incoming class. “Be committed in your heart to say ‘I’m going to do this,’ whatever your goals may be.”

For Chief Sealth International alum Matthew Burckhard, that goal is training to carry on a family tradition.

“I’m going into culinary or pastry because my grandfather was a baker … (and) a couple years ago he passed away and I figured I should take on his legacy and see if I can become a baker as well,” Burckhard said.

The scholarship guarantees one year of free tuition at South Seattle College for all high school graduates from Chief Sealth International, Cleveland, and Rainier Beach high schools, regardless of their grades or finances. Scholars’ first year of tuition is covered through a combination of donations to the South Seattle College Foundation and financial aid rewards.

Someone else new on campus was spotted at today’s ceremony:

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The otter is a new – so far nameless – mascot. The 13th Year program started with Cleveland in 2008; Sealth was added in 2011.

VIDEO: West Seattle High School Marching Band & Flag Squad @ Husky Stadium

That’s video from the halftime show at Husky Stadium on Saturday – featuring marching bands from around the state, including the West Seattle High School Band. Laura Martin sent the link as well as photos and this report:

West Seattle High School Band and Flag Squad participated in Husky Band Day this past Saturday! More than 1,000 high school students from across the state joined forces with the University of Washington Husky Marching Band for a halftime show in Husky Stadium during the UW/University of Idaho football game.

(WSHS Drum Majors Lindy Tongol, Neil Gromlich and Kevin Corona with our Husky Band member chaperone, 2015 Sealth grad Chris Laranang)

The all-day event included a morning rehearsal, the UW Husky Marching Band performing for the students during a pre-game lunch in the field house, and tickets to the game.

(2016 WSHS grads LaVera Sheilds and Bonnie Weglin, former WSHS Band members now in Husky Band!)

It was a fun and entertaining day. Great job, Wildcats!

If you couldn’t pick them out in the video – the WSHS band is in the lower right of this last photo:

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Look for them at their own home stadium, Southwest Athletic Complex, when the WSHS football team hosts Garfield this Friday night, 7 pm.

BACK TO SCHOOL: Nucor donates steel to South Seattle College

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(Photo courtesy South Seattle College)

You could call this a massive donation of school supplies: When classes start for the fall at South Seattle College (WSB sponsor) in a little over two weeks, one college program will have more than 30 tons of new material to work with, thanks to a business donation. SSC shared the photo and announcement:

This summer, Nucor donated approximately 65,000 pounds of steel to the college’s Welding Fabrication Technology program, which will help students hone their skills and prepare for welding careers for several quarters to come.

“To get a few pieces of steel here and there is one thing,” Welding Instructor Rick Baker said. “To get a whole truckload is a whole different story!”

“It’s a huge help to our program,” Welding Instructor Doug Rupik added, saying the steel bars will be used for classwork, unique building projects, welding booth improvements and “to help us get students prepared for the Washington Association of Building Officials welding certification test.”

South Seattle College and Nucor Steel have forged a strong relationship over the years, with several welding students earning their internship credits at Nucor and, in some cases, going to work for the West Seattle industry staple after graduation. South’s welding program also takes students on Nucor tours for a deeper understanding of metallurgy as part of their curriculum.

Nucor also supports South Seattle College’s Foundation by funding student scholarships, and Nucor’s Plant Controller Walter Reese serves on the Foundation Board.

“We want to give back to the communities in which we live and work, and supporting the college really fits well into that mission of ours,” Reese said, adding that the steel donation not only benefits South students in their education, but may well benefit Nucor with talented graduates coming to work for them one day.

The fall quarter starts at SSC on Monday, September 26th. Here’s how to enroll.

BACK TO SCHOOL: ‘Wonder’-ful ceremony on Day 1 at Westside School

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Another first-of-its-kind start-of-school ceremony happened today, this time at Westside School (WSB sponsor) in Arbor Heights.

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While loud cheers greeted staffers dancing in the aisles of the school’s big theater space – each group introduced with inspirational “theme songs,” from Macklemore’s “Can’t Hold Us” to Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” – the real call to action came in the form of a fish story.

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Westside’s new head of school Ted Kalmus told the assembled students and parents that he had acquired a pet fish that came with the name Wonder. The story of the fish became a tale of how he hopes that everyone will go throughout the year with a sense of wonder – and curiosity, “become the best question-asker you can be.” He invited the students to each take a blue or green “jewel” (the glass pebbles often found in aquariums or terrariums) from bowls at the bottom of the stairs down from the theater, and to hold it and think of something they wonder about.

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With that, Kalmus said, the school would be certain to have a “Wonder”-ful year.

BACK TO SCHOOL: Mayor visits Arbor Heights to welcome preschoolers

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(Photo via Twitter: @mayoredmurray)

One day after the dedication of the all-new Arbor Heights Elementary, Mayor Ed Murray visited this morning (as previewed here yesterday) to celebrate something else that’s new there – the Seattle Preschool Program. The levy-funded program has expanded to 600 students at more than 30 schools around the city; the levy’s original goal is to enroll 2,000 students by 2018. Tuition is free to families whose income is less than 200 percent of the federal poverty level. Arbor Heights still has room for more students, according to the SPP website, which also says there’s room at two other West Seattle schools where the program operates, Louisa Boren STEM K-8 and Highland Park Elementary.

BACK TO SCHOOL: Community answers the call to ‘Be There’ for West Seattle Elementary

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9 AM: The call went out two weeks ago: Help get West Seattle Elementary students off to a good start with a show of support, the “Be There” rally (explained here). And community members answered the call! More photos to come.

ADDED 10:30 AM: As promised, more photos. “Captain America” made an appearance:

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So did Southwest Precinct Community Police Team officers Kevin McDaniel and Jon Flores:

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And City Councilmember Lisa Herbold:

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But the students were the stars:

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This was also the first day of the first school year with new principal Pamela McCowan-Conyers, promoted from assistant principal when Vicki Sacco – who was there for today’s rally – moved to a new job at district HQ.

REMINDER: You’re invited to ‘Be There’ for West Seattle Elementary students tomorrow

September 6, 2016 8:38 pm
|    Comments Off on REMINDER: You’re invited to ‘Be There’ for West Seattle Elementary students tomorrow
 |   High Point | How to help | West Seattle news | West Seattle schools

If you’re not going to be busy getting your own kid(s) to school tomorrow between 7 and 8 am … you are invited to “Be There” for the students of West Seattle Elementary as they start the new school year. It’s been almost two weeks since we first previewed the plan, and invitation, for “community leaders, school supporters, family and friends to line up to cheer, clap and high-five students as they enter into the new school year,” in partnership with the West Seattle YMCA (WSB sponsor). They’re hoping for at least 100 men and 100 women to be there, “dressed for success,” to give the students an unforgettable start to the year – just be there at 7 am to be part of it. The school is at 6760 34th SW.

VIDEO: Genesee Hill Elementary dedication celebrates ‘awesome’ school

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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.

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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:

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

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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.”

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(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.

BACK TO SCHOOL: Mayor to greet preschoolers at Arbor Heights tomorrow morning

September 6, 2016 2:24 pm
|    Comments Off on BACK TO SCHOOL: Mayor to greet preschoolers at Arbor Heights tomorrow morning
 |   Arbor Heights | West Seattle news | West Seattle schools

Announced after our visit to Arbor Heights Elementary for today’s dedication of the new building: Mayor Murray will be at AHES tomorrow morning to greet preschoolers arriving for their first day in the levy-funded Seattle Preschool Program. The announcement we received this afternoon says he’ll be joined by school district and city officials during his 7:45 am visit. (We published an announcement back in July that the city-funded program had dozens of openings in local schools including AH.)

VIDEO: Arbor Heights Elementary dedicated as ‘not just a school – a philosophy’


The just-concluded dedication ceremony at Arbor Heights Elementary celebrated a day that twice came close to never happening. Mentioned many times during the pre-ribbon-cutting speeches was the fact that the school community had to fight to get the rebuild – and then had to fight to get the schedule moved up in the BEX IV levy so that students could get out of deteriorating conditions as soon as possible. Not mentioned – the fact that just a few years before, during a contentious school-closing process, the Arbor Heights program was proposed for closure. That too was fought and now AH students are hours away from their first day in a $28 million building built for their eSTEM curriculum, as highlighted by principal Christy Collins:

The ceremony in the AHES Commons was attended by a crowd we estimated at more than 400 – here’s just part of it:

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The ribbon-cutting was followed by tours – here are our photos from the recent media tour, including many of the elements that Collins mentioned. She was joined onstage and at the microphone during the ceremony by 34th District State Sen. Sharon Nelson, 11th District State Rep. Zach Hudgins, Seattle PTSA Council president Sebrena Burr, Schools First president Melissa Pailthorp, West Seattle/South Park School Board rep Leslie Harris, School Board president Betty Patu, and SPS Superintendent Dr. Larry Nyland.

AHES is one of 5 new schools the district is dedicating, and the next one is in West Seattle too – Genesee Hill Elementary (1 pm)!

ADDED: Another view of the crowd in the commons, showing the bracing in the back, meant to be educational as well as safety-enhancing:

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The big smiles during the ribbon cutting:

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Pieces of the ribbon were offered to kids afterward – “Batman” got one:

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Both kids and parents were helping the Arbor Heights PTA make the most of the big turnout, handing out cards touting the “4th Annual Direct Drive” fundraiser – one was offered to us as we walked down the sidewalk before even getting to the school, and the PTA had a table in the lobby:

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It was a day for celebration and for gratitude – with principal Collins thanking many, including the neighbors who dealt with two years of construction, and the Louisa Boren K-8 STEM community whose Delridge building they shared the past two years (“wonderful hosts”). And now, as of Wednesday morning, Arbor Heights’ new future begins.

BACK TO SCHOOL: Westside School’s new leader

We’ve reported already on the five Seattle Public Schools in West Seattle that are starting the new school year with new principals. We have since learned that a major local independent school has had a change at the top as well: PreK-8th Westside School (WSB sponsor) is now led by Ted Kalmus, who has a two-year appointment as interim head of school while Westside embarks on a thorough process to create a strategic plan and launch a leadership search. He took over after the departure of four-year head of school Kate Mulligan last June. Kalmus served as head of school at independent Billings Middle School from 1997 to 2015, and worked with Westside as a consultant prior to taking the leadership role. He also is on the board of the Northwest Association of Independent Schools (which has its headquarters south of The Junction). By the way, tomorrow will start Westside’s second year in its permanent location in Arbor Heights.

BACK TO SCHOOL: Schmitz Park Elementary’s future finally officially announced

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(WSB photo, taken today)

With the students and staff from Schmitz Park Elementary moving into the new Genesee Hill Elementary, many have wondered what would happen to the SPE campus. Bits and pieces of information have emerged unofficially, and we’ve continued to ask the district for comment. Finally, this morning, the plan is out, as part of this announcement:

Seattle Public Schools is excited to announce that starting in fall 2016-17 families will be supported with expanded child-care options in West Seattle. SPS, in partnership with Seattle Parks and Recreation, will be providing new child-care options in the Schmitz Park building as well as in the Genesee Hill and Lafayette Elementary buildings.

For many years, the need for child care has been growing across the City but reached a crisis level in West Seattle. Recognizing the growing need, former Lafayette Principal Robert Gallagher and Schmitz Park (now Genesee Hill) Principal Gerrit Kischner, along with Associate Superintendent of Capital and Facilities Dr. Flip Herndon and other central staff, Seattle School Board Director Leslie Harris, Seattle Parks and Recreation, and City Councilmember Lisa Herbold, worked together and identified a solution to meet the needs of the district’s West Seattle families.

Details of the solution:

• Eighty child-care spots are planned for the new Genesee Hill Elementary school.

• The district has finalized a multi-year lease with the Associated Recreation Council (ARC), to provide additional child care at the Schmitz Park building. At least 100 new childcare spots are expected to be licensed and made available to waiting families.

• ARC staff will walk child-care students from Genesee Hill students the three blocks to the Schmitz Park building after school dismissal, just as they do currently in walking students between Lafayette and the Hiawatha Community Center. Once registration is complete, ARC will determine which students will remain at Genesee Hill for child care and which students will walk to Schmitz Park.

• Child-care registration and enrollment began on July 2 for the majority of waitlisted families.

• Additional child-care spots are also being added to Lafayette Elementary thanks to Hiawatha Community Center and Seattle Parks and Recreation.

The district wants to thank our community, Schmitz Park PTSA, and the City for supporting this solution for our shared families. We couldn’t have done it alone. While we haven’t been able to meet the needs of all our West Seattle families, we have made significant gains.

We also want to recognize the Schmitz family’s contribution to Seattle Public Schools and the West Seattle community. The Schmitz Park site opened as an annex to Genesee Hill Elementary in 1953 when Dietrich Schmitz served as President of the Seattle School Board and his brother, Henry, served as President of the University of Washington. In 1956, the assistant principal at Genesee Hill, Ms. Dorothy Jack, was appointed to open Schmitz Park School, and the current building was completed in 1962. With the start of the next school year, neighborhood students will return to Genesee Hill Elementary. SPS will retain the former school building in its inventory, and we are pleased it will remain open and serving families in West Seattle for the foreseeable future.

In keeping the building open, we not only meet the needs of our families but also reduce potential vandalism, ensuring SPS continues to be a good neighbor and steward of our resources.

Principal Kischner, who has been instrumental in development of the child-care plan, said, “This agreement shows what we can get done when we work together. I am especially pleased that this multi-year lease will allow families to plan ahead and commit themselves to the long-term viability of the Schmitz Park-Genesee Hill community. It demonstrates the kind of partnership that can make a difference to neighborhoods throughout the city.”

The SPS history of Schmitz Park Elementary is here. The school, at 5000 SW Spokane, is on land donated by the Schmitz family, which remained involved with the school for its decades of operation. They were part of the community celebration of the school that we covered back in June, and Vicki Schmitz Block and son Dietrich Schmitz represented the family as Grand Marshals in July’s West Seattle Grand Parade.

You’re invited to collaborate on a greener schoolyard for Gatewood Elementary – garden renovation, too

August 30, 2016 5:51 pm
|    Comments Off on You’re invited to collaborate on a greener schoolyard for Gatewood Elementary – garden renovation, too
 |   Gatewood | How to help | West Seattle news | West Seattle schools

You can help Gatewood Elementary get greener – by helping plan playground improvements and/or renovating the school garden. Here’s how:

Help us imagine and design a greener schoolyard at Gatewood Elementary!

We are applying for a Neighborhood Matching Fund (NMF) grant to design playground improvements to renovate active play spaces and provide more opportunities for connection with nature and outdoor learning. Think shade trees, natural play areas, wildlife habitat, etc.

We want your input and need your help to win the NMF grant, as we need to demonstrate community match/engagement through pledges of volunteer time. Could you attend any evening design meetings next spring (there will likely be three meetings, Jan-Apr 2017)? If you are a Gatewood family, neighbor, or interested community member, please join us! Children and teens are more than welcome.

To pledge your time, please email Sandy Lennon (sandylennon@comcast.net) with names (of all participating family members), address/zip, phone, email, and the amount of time you can offer. If you don’t want to share all contact info, an email or phone contact is fine.

We are also hoping to begin rejuvenation of our school garden to be an awesome learning garden, outdoor classroom, and permaculture demonstration project. If you’re interested in helping with this project, we’d also love to hear from you.

BACK TO SCHOOL: Tiny Trees Preschool opening @ Camp Long

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(Photo courtesy Tiny Trees – classroom-building work party at a non-WS site)

We’ve already reported on two of the schools opening this fall in West Seattle – the new Arbor Heights and Genesee Hill elementaries – and here’s one that’s opening WITHOUT a new building, without any building at all, in fact: Tiny Trees Preschool.

Tiny Trees got big attention last year for announcing its plan to launch outdoor preschools in Seattle city parks, and the list of parks now includes West Seattle’s Camp Long, where the nonprofit plans two classes starting next month. Teacher Anne Churchill, a West Seattleite, tells WSB that teachers and other staff will partner with parents later this week to set up the outdoor “classroom” areas they’ll be using at Camp Long “to make a quality education in reading, math and science affordable for families and to give children a joyful, nature rich childhood – one full of play, exploration and wonder.” They’re expecting the two classes at Camp Long to serve up to 64 children.

South Seattle College’s big construction project: About the Integrated Education Center

If you went to South Seattle College (WSB sponsor) this past Saturday for the West Seattle Car Show, and hadn’t been there recently, you might have noticed the sizable construction project on campus, along 16th SW.

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(WSB photo, taken last week)

The $32 million Integrated Education Center project is a major addition for the campus on Puget Ridge. We asked SSC spokesperson Ty Swenson for an overview; here’s the information he provided:

The new 57,550 square foot Integrated Education Center (IEC) will replace the existing Cascade Court Building (CAS) and provide for expanded growth in our health care programs and needs for basic skills training, which includes English as a Second Language (ESL), adult basic education and high school completion.

(Rendering by McGranahan Architects – looking east from 16th SW, showing pedestrian walkway and plaza improvements)

Three stories in total, the IEC’s first floor will have general purpose classrooms and computer labs. The second floor will be dedicated to health care programs and the third floor will house faculty and staff from various disciplines. There will be small collaborative spaces found throughout the building intended for small group meetings or projects, and there will be three outdoor spaces – one at the front entrance, a balcony on the west side of the first floor and a roof garden on the west side of the second floor.

The IEC will integrate classroom and lab space for the health care programs, adult basic education, and ESL programs as well as a supporting faculty suite. Co-location of these programs will increase the efficacy of vocational-focused ESL training, I-BEST (where we teach basic skills in reading, math and/or English while simultaneously providing job training) and nursing NAC-LPN-RN ladders to better serve ethnic minority students and students with emerging English skills.

This energy-efficient building will provide plenty of natural light and an atmosphere that is welcoming, conducive to learning in many modes and a great place for students, staff and faculty to engage in collaborative ways.

The IEC’s location offers an opportunity to improve the visibility and identity of South Seattle College along 16th Ave SW. The project was designed to provide a balance and transition between the scale of the campus and neighboring homes. With the removal of Cascade Court, pedestrian movement and outside gathering spots will be created and improved. An open pedestrian walkway from our main entrance above 16th Ave. SW will lead to an expanded Clock Tower Plaza, considered the campus’s core and main gathering spot for students.

Construction is expected to continue through next May, followed by college staff/programs moving out of Cascade Court, which will be demolished in summer/fall 2017.

P.S. You can check in on the progress via the official construction-site webcam.

BACK TO SCHOOL: First day at Holy Rosary

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Thanks to Holy Rosary School for sending photos from this morning’s start of the new school year. As reported over the weekend, and mentioned again in today’s traffic/transit watch, most parochial schools start before the public schools and secular independent schools. HRS sent the photos to share their excitement for the new school year, including, below “some parents seeing our newest Gators starting Kindergarten!”

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Also an early reminder from HRS: “A beloved tradition at Holy Rosary that happens in the beginning of the school year is our upcoming festival, WestFest, September 16th & 17th, open to the community.”

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