West Seattle, Washington
If you’re part of the Gatewood Elementary community, you’ve probably already heard, but the district is now publicly sharing the announcement that the school’s new principal Kyna Williams is on the job as of this month. She formerly led Destiny Charter Middle School in Tacoma. From Superintendent Dr. Larry Nyland‘s letter:
Kyna Williams was one of multiple candidates interviewed by a hiring committee that included school staff, parents, principals, and central office staff before being recommended for the consideration of the Superintendent and Chief of Schools. The committee was impressed with her commitment to social justice and her experience with school culture building. She is a strong instructional leader and relationship builder.
Ms. Williams most recently served as Founding Assistant Principal, and ultimately the Principal at Destiny Middle school in Tacoma, where she created and implemented positive behavior supports and school-wide culture systems and a system of professional learning for educators in a brand-new middle school. She has also served as a school leader in Washington, D.C. where she facilitated teacher engagement programs, coached and supervised teams of teachers, and oversaw a teaching residency program. She has also taught math and science and tutored literacy skills.
Principal Williams earned her Masters in Elementary Education from Chaminade University in Hawaii; her Bachelor of Arts in Music from the University of Minnesota; and was a Teach for America corps member.
I would like to extend my thanks to Principal Connie Aleman for working to create an inclusive environment for all students. She has worked diligently to create systems to support students’ social and emotional well-being so that all students can access learning with success at Gatewood.
Principal Williams is excited to be joining the Gatewood Elementary community, and is looking forward to
working with the students, staff, and families to build a place where all stakeholders have high
expectations of students and believe that every student can succeed.
Highland Park Elementary students will NOT lose their volunteer reading tutors after all, thanks to community contributors plus one generous ongoing supporter of the Reading Partners program. Here’s the update from Dina Johnson, the volunteer tutor and community advocate who has been working for more than a month to get the word out:
Just received this from Linda Givler, admin of the “Save Highland Park Reading partners” GoFundMe Page:
The GoFundMe campaign to save the Reading Partners program at Highland Park Elementary School has ended. The page will be left up for a few days to allow everyone to see the latest update.
Together we were able to raise $12,787 in 30 days. I think that is amazing, even though it is short of the $30,000 necessary to continue the program.
ALL IS NOT LOST. An ongoing supporter of the RP program in Seattle, who has chosen to stay anonymous, has designated their annual contribution to make up the difference and allow the Highland Park Reading Partners program to continue this coming school year.
We are very, very fortunate that a Reading Partners supporter has stepped up to help save our Reading Partners program at Highland Park. I know you will all be as excited as I am to continue helping our wonderful little readers next school year.
This was truly a group effort. Thanks to everyone…
Now it is time to celebrate.
(Dina’s P.S.) I’m giddy with delight (and amazement!) We proved that people CARE about schoolchildren in our little corner of Seattle!
By Patrick Sand and Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog co-publishers
Like his predecessor, West Seattle High School‘s new head baseball coach has deep roots at the school.
Bryan Tupper, a 2002 WSHS graduate, has been announced as the school’s new head baseball coach, successor to Velko Vitalich, who – as reported here a month ago – retired from the role after 31 years.
We talked with Coach Tupper at a local coffee shop this week. His rise to the head-coach job comes after he spent six of the past seven years as an assistant coach for the Wildcats.
He’s a born-and-raised West Seattleite who started playing ball at Bar-S Playfield and played with West Seattle Little League all the way up through seniors. He played in the Pony League, too, for the West Seattle Dodgers.
After college, he wanted to go into coaching, and Coach Vitalich gave him a chance. Since he’s worked with the team for so many years already, he says he’s familiar with the students in the program, and while he’ll have to get to know some of the freshmen, many of them have older siblings with whom he’s already worked at WSHS.
Coach Tupper says his core group for next season has good talent coming along, and he sees a real possibility to build a program that produces teams like the ones who went to state for five consecutive years in the past decade. The building blocks are in place now, he says, to have a competitive team for next year. He says WSHS’s increasing success in sports has encouraged more student athletes to stay at the school rather than switch to independent schools.
Overall, Coach Tupper says, he sees this as a great opportunity – and it’s in his hometown, where his folks still live, too. Now, it’s on to preparing for the 2018 season.
While EC Hughes Elementary in Sunrise Heights is getting some renovation work before Roxhill Elementary is moved there in fall of 2018, the project doesn’t include the playground … so, as we reported a month ago, the new support group Friends of Roxhill Elementary is launching a community campaign. Today, from Jenny Rose Ryan, an announcement of the next phase, focusing on ways you can help – with money, materials, and/or volunteer time:
You can also find out more at the upcoming Friends of Roxhill Elementary meeting – 6 pm Thursday, July 20th, at White Center Library (1409 SW 107th) – everyone’s welcome.
Here’s something heroic you can do right here, right now: Help save the reading-tutor program at Highland Park Elementary. Here’s the latest from Dina Johnson, the volunteer leading the effort:
Update for Save Highland Park Reading Partners. We are at $8,462 of $30k goal!
Donations have been steadily accumulating, many $50 or $100. I update on the Facebook page daily. Someone named Wendy Rush just donated $500 today! I don’t know her, but MANY THANKS to Wendy!
I’m feeling very heartened. Was disappointed by last week’s Summer Book Swap – LOTS of book donations, but almost no one came by to browse. Was it the 95-degree heat that day? Many people missed a chance to get wonderful free books for their kids. Luckily, a 9-year-old girl did grab a complete boxed set of the Little House books. But the complete boxed set of Narnia books was unclaimed…
Thank you to the book donors, though – credit at the used bookstore means RP can add to the student library for all the schools.
If we make $10,000 or more I will be so gratified that people care, although it wouldn’t be enough to save Reading Partners this year. (A hard-working Volunteer Coordinator needs to be hired to make everything run smoothly for the volunteer program.)
In that case, the donations will be refunded. THANKS to 99 generous donors so far!! I’m sure someone will be eager to claim the 100th spot of honor!
You can do that – or maybe even be the 101st or 102nd or beyond, if you don’t see this until later tonight, or Sunday, or … – just go here.
Seattle Public Schools classes may be over for the year, but the School Board still has work to do, and its agenda for tomorrow (Wednesday, June 28th), starting at 4:15 pm at district HQ (3rd/Lander in SODO) has these items of interest:
SOLAR POWER FOR ARBOR HEIGHTS, DENNY: When the new Arbor Heights Elementary was designed, there was a mention that it would be solar-ready for the future. According to an item on Wednesday’s board agenda, the future is approaching – AH and Denny International Middle School are two of six schools around the district planned for a pilot project. The documentation says AH is proposed for “1 ballasted rooftop array consisting of a total of 412 modules of 72 cell monocrystalline, 345W format” and Denny for “3 roof-penetrating rail-mounted rooftop arrays consisting of a total of 408 modules of 72 cell monocrystalline, 345W format.” The project has a price tag of more than $2 million but the district is getting a grant covering half a million, and says the sites were chosen for energy savings that will provide a “positive cash flow.” You can read the documentation here.
SCHOOL-BUS PADDLE-CAM TICKETS: The district’s been working on this for a while and now is looking at going full-speed-ahead with cameras on school-bus paddles, to detect violations and send tickets. One of those tickets will cost you $419. Of that amount, the agenda document says, $69 will go to the provider American Traffic Solutions. They’re expecting more than 9,100 violations a year, to be processed by the King County Sheriff’s Office (which also will get a share of the proceeds). Total expenses are projected to be more than half the expected revenue, so the district expects to net about $1.3 million a year.
CAPACITY: The board meeting will start with a “work session” at 4:15 pm, and part of it addresses the topic of “capacity.” No documentation in the agenda yet, but “capacity” is the umbrella topic that includes the possible move of Louisa Boren STEM K-8, so we’ll be monitoring.
First day of summer vacation for Seattle Public Schools students, and some summer-camp decisions have yet to be made. If a 3rd- through 8th-grader in your house is interested in basketball, here’s an offer: Four days of training with the West Seattle High School girls-basketball team – which benefits from the proceeds – focusing on “integrating individual skill into game concepts, (concentrating on) dribbling, shooting, ball handling, footwork, and game-situational skills and drills.” 9 am-noon each day, Monday, July 17th, through Thursday, July 20th, at the WSHS Gym (3000 California SW). $100 for the whole week – you can register right now here, and then pay here. Questions? email@example.com
Thanks to SBRE for today’s in-bus photo – as we remind you again that Seattle Public Schools are getting out an hour early today, last day of classes. Summer vacation continues until the first day of classes, September 6th (for kindergarteners, September 11th). And schedules will be different next year, as announced on June 15th, including weekly early dismissals on Wednesdays. Happy summer to all!
That short video by Dina Johnson tells the story of how supporters are hoping to save the Reading Partners one-on-one-tutoring program at Highland Park Elementary. We first mentioned it here last weekend; their next event is a book swap tomorrow (Sunday, June 25th) afternoon at Highland Park Improvement Club (1116 SW Holden). It’s free – bring books, for kids and/or adults! – and also a chance to find out more about the program and how volunteers are trying to save it. Their main fundraiser is a GoFundMe page that has now passed $6,000 but has a long way to go to the $30,000 needed by July 15th to keep the program from being dropped at HPES.
More end-of-school year sports news: West Seattle High School has a new girls-soccer coach. We met Todd Veenhuizen at his meeting for prospective players after school on Thursday.
He shared his expectations – including positive attitudes – as they look ahead to tryouts in about two months. And he told them about his background, including serving as an assistant coach for women at UW and Seattle University. The new coach says he believes the team has a solid core to build on, losing only two players to graduation (one of whom happens to be his daughter Sara Veenhuizen). First league game in the fall, by the way, will be against crosstown rivals Chief Sealth International High School.
Students at Highland Park Elementary are getting an early start on beating the heat. Today – second-to-last day of school – is Field Day, and PE teacher Chellie LaFayette tells us that means bonus outdoor fun.
The younger students’ Field Day fun was earlier this morning, and the older kids will be out this afternoon.
P.S. Highland Park kids work hard in the classroom too, but as reported here last weekend, are facing the loss of a reading-tutor program – this Sunday brings a chance for you to help.
Wednesday night’s second Class of 2017 commencement ceremony at Southwest Athletic Complex launched more than 220 West Seattle High School graduates into the world. The class adviser, Tom Burggraff, called them “this school’s finest graduating class ever.” He explained why, in his speech following the welcome by ASB president Sean McCabe, who starts this clip:
Burggraff also is the parent of a 2017 grad (Andrew Burggraff), and saluted other grads’ families and friends, who filled the stands and cheered throughout:
Valedictorian Michaela Coontz spoke of concluding “the busiest year of our lives” and urged her peers to be flexible, instead of worrying about deciding their futures immediately, or worrying that whatever path they were setting out on couldn’t be changed:
After the diploma presentation, one more student spoke, ASB vice president Nahom Kassaye. Like adviser Burggraff earlier, he also hailed the Class of 2017 as the school’s most-successful class, and “most impactful.” And then, musical reassurance from an ensemble of graduates (plus a guest from another school), a 40-year-old song by Bob Marley – “Every Little Thing’s Gonna Be All Right”:
Then it was off to the staff receiving line as the grads left the field. Among those there to wish them well, Ruth Medsker, at her last commencement ceremony as WSHS principal:
Before the ceremony, we saw her successor, Brian Vance, on the sidelines:
With new beginnings on the way for many – the Class of 2017 went off into the night.
The hour-and-a-half ceremony celebrated Provost and more than 230 other Class of 2017 graduates – who principal Aida Fraser-Hammer (below with district Superintendent Dr. Larry Nyland) said she would remember warmly because their first year at Sealth was hers too.
Here’s our video of the Class of 2017 entering Southwest Athletic Complex as the ceremony began:
Their principal also hailed the grads’ achievements, including hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships and shouted out to valedictorians Michelle Ly and Tommy Nguyen, and salutatorian Amy Ly. The program also listed 54 grads who made the National Honor Society (3.5 grade-point average or higher). Proud family and friends cheered loudly throughout the ceremony:
And the grads beamed:
Their featured speakers, Kaitlin Andrade and Sean Jenkins, shared memories, promising their classmates they’ll all be together again “at the reunion in 10 years”:
Staff speaker Matthew Schiavo honored the school’s international focus, greeting the grads in multiple languages, and exhorting them to “be your own #1 fan”:
And after the diploma pickups and the tassel-turning, it was time to move on, as the decorated caps showed in a multitude of ways:
They left the stadium through a receiving line of their now-former teachers and other Sealth staffers, perhaps with a memory of their principal’s declaration, “We are Seahawks – we are made to fly; we are made to soar.”
This was the first of two Wednesday night graduations at SWAC – our report on the second, West Seattle HS, is coming up.
As first reported here last March, West Seattle High School‘s football team has a new head coach, Marcis Fennell. As he and his team get ready for the fall season, they are asking for community help with equipment and supplies that they need for success and safety. WSHS athletic director Corey Sorenson explains, “Basically we have far more kids out for football this year than we currently have proper equipment for. Having a high number of kids turn out for a sport is a good problem to have. Unfortunately it’s also an expensive problem. The headset system for our football coaches is also inoperable. This usually runs around $20,000. We also need to purchase shoulder pads, agility bags, etc.” They’re hoping WSHS alumni and other community members can help, and they’ve set up a GoFundMe page here.
After decades of teaching, those two West Seattleites are moving to the next phase of their lives. The announcement, from their family:
This month, two longtime (37+-year) educators are retiring from the teaching world.
Nancy Hallberg (who helped facilitate the White Center Heights Elementary musical instrument drive a few years back) is retiring from her position as the librarian at WCH, where she dazzled the students, introducing them to Roald Dahl and Dr. Seuss, encouraging them to find a passion for reading and exploring their talents.
Peter Junkerman is retiring his beakers and stepping into a life free of lab experiments after 35+ years as a science teacher. He spent the last 10+ at Chief Sealth International HS as the IB Chemistry teacher; and his career revloved around igniting the fire of learning, pushing students to find new ways to think about the environment, molecules, and the world around them. He has earned the distingushed honor of being a “Junkerman” as told by the Urban Dictonary:
a very awesome teacher, or someone who is really good at teaching other people
Karl: i don’t get this problem
Hamda: just call over the teacher, he’s a total junkerman, he’ll help you out.
They plan to spend their lazy days of retirement traveling, walking in Lincoln Park, and reading for pleasure. Hanging out with their kids and grandbaby will keep their days interesting.
For the second year, Chief Sealth High School alumni will gather at Lincoln Park for a multi-class reunion, and they’re inviting all classes from the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s! It’s set for 5-8 pm Friday, July 28th, at beachfront picnic shelters #3 and #4, closest to the south end of the park (ferry-dock end). It’ll be catered by Dante’s Inferno Dogs, sponsored by David Katt (contributions welcome). Organizers say they’re hoping to make this an annual event – last year was well attended, and future events will “depend on level of interest and support.” Need more info? David is at 206-650-0863 or DJK@comcast.net. And if you use Facebook, you can join the reunion group.
“We called on the community and they really answered!” Rebecca Evans and the Sanislo Elementary PTA are still thrilled about the turnout they got at last weekend’s tropical-themed fundraiser: “Our goal was to raise $5,000 and we ended up raising $15,000!!!!” That wasn’t at all a sure thing – you might recall our story about their concerns, with days to go, that they had sold so few tickets, even at a low price with high hopes for helping a school community with many needs. But generous neighbors from around the peninsula responded to the pleas made here and elsewhere, and “we were able to go from having sold 20 tickets to overselling our 150 limit by about 20 tickets in less than a week! I’m still in shock and can’t wait to start planning how we’ll put those funds to use to support our students.” Though the party’s over, the needs are not, and you can still donate online by going here.
Chief Sealth International High School students will benefit from two notable donations:
When we covered the first Roll Hawks 5K last weekend, a benefit for the cross-country team, we noted that pre-race remarks mentioned a big donation on the way from Brooks Running. Tonight, volunteer assistant coach Chris Hoffman tells us more about it:
The Chief Sealth Cross Country Team was awarded a Brooks Running Scholarship last night at a ceremony at MoPop. Head coach Jim McCue applied for the scholarship earlier this year and we were notified a couple weeks ago that we were one of just 25 schools in the whole country to receive a scholarship. Through the scholarship, Brooks will donate $12,000 worth of uniforms, running shoes and gear (enough for up to 30 athletes) and $2,000 in cash to be used for team expenses. Coach Jim, assistant coach Marta Wambaugh, and myself [L-R in the photo] were on hand at the ceremony last night to receive the scholarship from Brooks.
And from Sealth academic dean Lori Douglas:
Ten Chief Sealth students were the lucky recipients of laptops from Logic 20/20. Their repurposed computers were CSI students’ gain! The students applied and wrote convincing arguments about why they should be the new owners of this valuable resource. Most common response: This will REALLY help me with my school work. Thank you to Logic 20/20 for their well-received donation!
Logic 20/20 is based in SODO.
Friday was historic for South Seattle College (WSB sponsor) and the other Seattle Colleges – their first combined commencement, at Safeco Field. The photo and report are from SSC communications director Ty Swenson:
South Seattle College’s Class of 2017 graduates were honored at Seattle Colleges’ “Empowered to Achieve” Commencement Ceremony on June 16 at Safeco Field. More than 900 South graduates were celebrated (with more than 300 attending the ceremony), having earned a wide variety of degrees, certificates and diplomas to support their future endeavors.
South Seattle College is part of the Seattle Colleges District (which also includes Seattle Central College, North Seattle College and the Seattle Vocational Institute), and for the first time in district history, 900 students from all campuses came together for a combined ceremony. They were joined by family, friends, and college faculty and staff.
“Tonight we celebrated an amazing class of South students who have opened the door to their future in pursuit of fulfilling, family-supporting careers,” said South Seattle College President Gary Oertli. “I admire our graduates for their dedication, and thank the important people in their lives – family, friends, instructors and allies – for supporting them every step of the way.”
Outgoing Student Body President Jackie Tran, a South graduate who plans to transfer to a four-year university to earn his bachelor’s degree in engineering, spoke during commencement.
“Now we are all Seattle Colleges graduates,” Tran said. “A new chapter in our lives begins now.”
South Seattle College conferred a total of 905 awards this year, including 460 associate transfer degrees that enable students to transfer to four-year colleges and universities in Washington and beyond to complete their bachelor’s degrees. Another 257 graduates earned associate degrees and certificates that prepare them to enter the workforce immediately. Sixty-eight graduates earned their bachelor’s degrees, and 120 graduates earned their high school diploma or equivalent, taking a significant step toward increased earning potential and future educational opportunities.
One day after that 15-minute meeting in which Seattle City Councilmembers approved giving Seattle Public Schools $2.3 million to help with transportation costs, the district has finalized next year’s schedules. They’ll be in two “tiers,” down from three previously, which means dramatically earlier starts for some schools that had been in the third tier, including two in our area.
The school days also will be 20 minutes longer for all students, the district says, and every Wednesday (except the first day of the school year) will be an early-release day (explained here).
We compared them to this year’s bell times, and here are the schools whose start times are changing:
Chief Sealth International High School starts 8:55 am, ten minutes later
Concord International (Elementary) starts 8:55 am, forty minutes earlier
Louisa Boren STEM K-8 starts 8:55 am, forty minutes earlier
Madison Middle School starts 8:55 am, ten minutes later
Pathfinder K-8 starts 8:55 am, ten minutes later
The district says anyone with questions can ask at their child(ren)’s school(s), or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
When Roxhill Elementary is moved from its current crumbling campus to 90+-year-old EC Hughes in fall 2018, its parents, teachers, and other supporters hope to have something special for the students that’s not part of the district’s modernization project: An improved playground.
School supporters, who have just relaunched their organization (formerly the PTSA) as Friends of Roxhill Elementary, met this week to talk about the playground aspirations and to get inspiration and advice from local parents/advocates who have already helmed playground projects.
Right now, the EC Hughes playground (as shown in our top photo) is mostly asphalt – all too common at older schools, and not an optimal use of the space. Read More
More student achievements to celebrate! The report is from Chief Sealth International High School principal Aida Fraser-Hammer:
The Global Navigator Scholarship program, which Seattle Public Schools helped pioneer, has culminated in $33,700 in scholarships awarded to 12 students to study abroad this coming summer. Of these 4 are Chief Sealth International High School students. These outstanding students are Alexander Thavongsa, who will study Japanese Language & Pop Culture in Tokyo; Clarissa Perez, who will study German Language & Culture in Berlin; Dominic Martin, who plans to study French Language Intensive in Rennes, France; and Rumi Conley, who will study Chinese Language & Culture in Nanjing and Shanghai.
In total, 7 students in the district accepted Global Navigator awards, culminating in $27,440 in accepted scholarships for Seattle Public Schools.
Congratulations to Madison Middle School‘s volleyball team for a hard-fought citywide championship!
Head coach Charles Maher tells the story of what led up to Saturday’s win:
From a base camp close to home (Chief Sealth IHS), the 2017 Lady Bulldog Volleyball team overtook the Summit of Seattle Schools, Middle School Volleyball. Madison defeated the 3-time defending champions, Hamilton IMS, in three sets, to remain alone, standing at the top as 2017 League Champions.
While the ascent was challenging, the large squad of 18 eighth-graders worked together throughout. On April 8th, 2017, Madison ended the 3-year undefeated streak of Hamilton in a preview of what would be a Championship of two powerhouse teams with one goal on the table. The regular season matchup was decided in favor of Madison. The 3-set battle was only separated by 6 points. (27-25, 25-27, 15-13)
The regular-season victory brought the true potential of Madison into full view. Madison had been chasing the Hawks of Hamilton each year. While appearing in the last three playoffs with a chance to bring home a title, each year the Lady Bulldogs suspended their climb early while watching the Hawks soar to the top with ease.
NOT THIS YEAR: Madison mounted a 7-2 season record and was the #2 seed going into the Seattle Schools Volleyball Championship Playoffs.
This year the middle-school-volleyball Mountain has been conquered, and the Summit belongs to MADISON. Madison defeated Hamilton in the Championship game (25-17, 22-25, 15-7). The gym was a loud and electrically charged environment.
Our many thanks to the hosting sites throughout the year. (Boren K-8 STEM, Washington MS, Whitman MS, Denny IMS and Chief Sealth IHS). Thanks to Coach Rod and his staff at CSIHS and Denny IMS for a wonderful job hosting the 2017 season, and playoffs. Thank you to the officials and scorekeepers. Much appreciation to all the Varsity and program coaching staffs throughout the district. Thank you to the Hamilton volleyball players and coaching staff. Much respect!
The Bulldog team would like to extend a special thanks to the Madison MS Front Office Staff and Athletics Department. You All Rock!