More than a game: West Seattle-Chief Sealth volleyball match spotlights fight against cancer

October 21, 2014 at 1:53 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle schools, WS & Sports | No Comments

The socks said it all: The fight against breast cancer was in the spotlight along with the battle on the volleyball court when West Seattle High School hosted Chief Sealth International HS on Monday night.

Sealth went home with the win in a 3-0 shutout. But the battle for awareness and funding won too. Just ask West Seattle survivor and fundraiser extraordinaire Tracy Dart:

It also was Senior Night – with the Wildcat girls honored on their home court:

Senior Devon Fox sang the national anthem:

Flowers for the visiting Sealth seniors:

Back to the match – it was closer than the 3-0 score sounds – the games went 25-23, 25-22, 25-22.

Next up, Sealth hosts Franklin.

West Seattle plays at Ballard.

Both matches are at 7 pm Wednesday.

West Seattle schools: Two open houses this week; WS Education Fair next week

October 20, 2014 at 4:05 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | 2 Comments

Looking at options for next school year? Three more events are coming up fast:

HOPE LUTHERAN MIDDLE SCHOOL OPEN HOUSE: 6:30 pm tomorrow (Tuesday, October 21st), families interested in the middle grades at Hope Lutheran School are invited to an open house – details in our calendar listing. (42nd/Oregon)

SEATTLE LUTHERAN HIGH SCHOOL OPEN HOUSE: West Seattle’s only independent high school invites you to come meet staff and students, 7-8:30 pm this Thursday night (October 23rd) on campus, 41st/Genesee.

WEST SEATTLE EDUCATION FAIR: This is also happening at SLHS, but it’s for families with kids going into pre-K through 8th grade. One week from tomorrow – Tuesday, October 28th, 6:30-8 pm – come to the SLHS gym for this informational event (sponsored again this year by WSB). 10+ local schools spanning those grades will be there to talk with you; we’ll have the final list when it gets a bit closer.

Is your school’s open house in our calendar? If not, e-mail us ASAP – editor@westseattleblog.com

Ready to shop – or sell? West Seattle Co-op Preschools’ next one-day kid-stuff consignment sale set

October 20, 2014 at 11:34 am | In How to help, West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | 6 Comments

(WSB photo, March 2014)
Last spring’s first-ever group consignment sale benefiting West Seattle Co-Op Preschools was wildly popular – and organizers are doing it again. News for shoppers and would-be consigners, from Erin:

West Seattle Co-Op Preschool system is very excited to be hosting a kids’ Consignment sale on November 8th from 9-1 pm at the West Seattle VFW Hall to help fund scholarships for families in need.

We are also in need of consigners, anyone can consign at this sale. The seller can set their own prices and will make 65% of the asking price and the host will take 35%. The consigner will be paid for the sold items when they pick up their unsold items at the sales conclusion on November 8th.

This sale will be a great thing for families to make some money with their gently used bay/kids gear and to buy low-cost, good-quality items for their kids; for the school system to be able to continue providing scholarships for families who might not be able to afford preschool otherwise; and to bring the community together! For more information: www.westseattlepreschool.org

Sale info is also on Facebook and Twitter.

High-school football: Seattle Lutheran homecoming vs. Rainier Christian

October 19, 2014 at 5:58 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle schools, WS & Sports | No Comments

This weekend’s local high-school football wrapped up with Seattle Lutheran‘s homecoming game Saturday afternoon at West Seattle Stadium. Rainier Christian went home with a 44-6 victory, but the Saints had some bright spots. They rallied late in the game, with their sole touchdown from #10 Roberto Duenaz (top photo), who ran back a Rainier Christian kickoff in the third quarter for the TD.

Also in the second half, quarterback #3 Isaiah Dowding-Albrecht (photo above) ran well; #88 Josh Meyer (photo below) had an interception and critical pass reception that jumpstarted the Saints offense:

Otherwise, Rainier Christian had a solid ground game that saw them score in the first minute of the game. Late in the game, Lutheran found some holes in their defense, but it was not enough. Ahead, our photos of the Saints’ homecoming royalty, plus, what’s next in the season:

Click to read the rest of High-school football: Seattle Lutheran homecoming vs. Rainier Christian…

Signup time for West Seattle High School Cheerleaders’ next Mini Cheer Camp

October 18, 2014 at 10:32 pm | In Fun stuff to do, West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | 1 Comment

In just a few years, that little one we photographed last week with West Seattle High School cheerleaders will be old enough for their periodic Mini Cheer Camps. Next one, as announced by Melinda Fredricks, is coming up next month:

The WSHS Cheerleaders will be holding a Mini Cheer Camp Tuesday, November 11 in the West Seattle High School Gym from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm.

K-5th grade kids will have a great time learning fun cheers and making crafts with the Westside cheerleaders. Campers will receive a tee shirt, pom poms, official team hairbow, picture of themselves with the cheerleaders AND perform as an honorary West Seattle Cheerleader at an upcoming home basketball game!

The cost of this camp is $55. Registration paperwork and payment are due by November 3, 2014. Space is limited, so register early to ensure your spot.

Contact Melinda Fredricks at 206.940.6033 or melindafredricks@comcast.net if you have any questions.

Here’s the flyer with a few more details; here’s the registration form.

As-it-happened coverage: Chief Sealth wins third consecutive Huling Bowl, 18-14 over WSHS

October 17, 2014 at 7:33 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle schools, WS & Sports | 6 Comments

(Added: Video of Sealth players with trophy, post-game)
7:33 PM: We’re at Southwest Athletic Complex, where the rain has stopped and the first quarter of the big game has just ended. West Seattle High School has scored first in the annual Huling Bowl football battle of crosstown rivals, WSHS 7, Chief Sealth International High School (the home team, though both are sharing this field these days) 0. More to come.

7:38 PM: Wildcats score fast in the second quarter, now leading 14-0 with 10:14 left until halftime.

#22 Fynniecko Glover has scored both TDs for WSHS. And a few minutes later – the rain has returned.

8 PM: Halftime, still WSHS 14, Sealth 0. Marching bands take the field!

8:19 PM: First, it was West Seattle, under the direction of Ethan Thomas:


Then Sealth, directed by Marcus Pimpleton:


We’ll be adding longer clips, plus game photos, later, of course. And now the teams are back on the field, getting ready for the second half. It’s Senior Night for Sealth, so its players ran out through a “We (Heart) Our Seniors” banner held by the cheerleaders, wearing pink because it’s breast-cancer-awareness night. (Added: Photo of Sealth cheerleaders giving gift bags to their WSHS counterparts:)

P.S. Sealth won this game the past two years, after a long WSHS streak.

8:39 PM: There’s a medic call over on the street north of the stadium. Don’t know yet what it’s for; we’re checking.

8:50 PM: Third quarter over, still 14-0 WSHS.

Meantime, the emergency situation outside the stadium involves a 29-year-old man hit by a car. Does not sound like life-threatening injuries. Very busy on Thistle tonight, with the orchestra concert across the street at Sealth and the game here. (Added: Police tell us the man was crossing the street at 27th/Thistle with a child, who is OK. They hadn’t yet figured out which way they were crossing.)

8:52 PM: Touchdown Sealth.

By #11 Daron Camacho, who dedicated the game to his godmother, who’s fighting breast cancer:

With the point-after kick good, it’s now WSHS 14, Sealth 7.

9:26 PM: Dramatic few minutes with turnovers and a penalty just led to a Sealth touchdown by #12 Weston Reed, followed by 2-point conversion.

It’s now Sealth 15, WSHS 14 – the Seahawks’ first lead of the game – with 4:12 left in the game.

Shortly thereafter, Sealth intercepted the ball.

9:37 PM: Field goal Sealth with :16 left. Score 18 CSIHS, 14 WSHS.

9:39 PM: And that’s the final score. Sealth wins third consecutive Huling Bowl.

Carrying the trophy triumphantly aloft, the players ran off the track, then came back to gather by the end zone. It’s their third win this season, the first season for head coach Simon Iniguez.

West Seattle schools: Chief Sealth Link Crew’s ‘Road Rally’

October 17, 2014 at 10:15 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | 1 Comment

A month and a half into the new school year, we had the chance to check back with the Chief Sealth International High School Link Crew as its members – freshmen and their mentors – crisscrossed the peninsula by bus for an afterschool “Road Rally” on Thursday.

First, they gathered in the Galleria for signmaking and strategy-plotting. You might have seen them in action after that – teams taking photos by West Seattle landmarks and businesses. Points were awarded for photos involving any of more than 40 locations and activities. Bonus – sunshine!

Activities included “picking up litter” and “best Superhero pose”; locations were near the school – Longfellow Creek – and far, including Walk All Ways in The Junction.

That’s Lincoln Vuong, and we thank him for the alert about what he called “pretty much a massive scavenger event around town.” He and the rest of this year’s Link Leaders are resolved to keep the community updated on their work with the Class of 2018:

If you use the Instagram app on your smartphone, you can see the photos by searching for the hashtag #sealthlinkcrew. The Road Rally wrapped up after about two and a half hours with an optional gathering for hot chocolate and snacks back at the Sealth Galleria.

P.S. The Link Crew program – explained here – also is used at West Seattle High School and elsewhere across the country.

Student athletes raising cancer awareness: Huling Bowl tomorrow night, volleyball match Monday

October 16, 2014 at 4:41 pm | In Health, How to help, West Seattle news, West Seattle schools, WS & Sports | 1 Comment

Two upcoming sports events feature friendly faceoffs between our area’s two biggest public schools – both spotlighting the fight against cancer:

HULING BOWL, FRIDAY NIGHT: The Huling Bowltrophy and all! – is the name of the annual football game between Chief Sealth International High School and West Seattle High School, and you’re invited to this year’s edition at 7 pm tomorrow (Friday), Southwest Athletic Complex (2601 SW Thistle, across from the Sealth campus).

Sealth’s bulletin announces it as a “pink-out,” urging everyone to wear pink to show support for the fight against breast cancer. That will be especially meaningful for Sealth running back Daron Camacho, who e-mailed us overnight asking if we would let folks know that “I dedicate the game to my Godmom Margarita Vidrio, who is fighting breast cancer.” You’ll see Daron on the field wearing #11.

VOLLEYBALL, MONDAY NIGHT: Thanks to Jim Bowe for sharing the announcement:

On Monday, October 20th at 7 pm, West Seattle HS Volleyball hosts Chief Sealth in what is always a great Metro League volleyball match. The WSHS volleyball girls are making this night Cancer Awareness Night. Admission to the event is free. There will be opportunities for people to donate to cancer research if they choose to do so; however, attendance and awareness is really the goal.

The WSHS gym is on the southwest side of the school, right off the parking lot, at 3000 California SW.

Fairmount Park Elementary alum? You’re invited to Fall Falcon Fest

October 15, 2014 at 8:59 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | No Comments

The first festival at reopened Fairmount Park Elementary isn’t just a celebration for students, staff, and families – organizers are reaching out with a special invitation for alums and others who were part of the school in its past life. In case you haven’t already seen it on the WSB calendar, with the event just a week and a half away, here are the details:

The Fairmount Park Elementary PTA (FPEPTA) invites alumni/alumnae of the newly expanded and reopened school to join us for our first festival, the Fall Falcon Fest on October 24th from 5-8 pm at the school.

Events for the evening include:

· Alumni tour (please email spirit@fpepta.org to register)
· Student craft booths
· Art stations – decorate a pumpkin, create a falcon-themed barrette or pin, make a lantern, and more!
· Add your own falcon to our “flock of falcons” art installation
· Join the cake walk
· Take your photo at the fall falcon photo booth
· Enjoy food trucks – no need to cut the evening short, stay for dinner! (Wicked Pies, Fusion on the Run, and The Cookie Cutter)

The event is free, although a suggested donation of $1 per person is welcome and donations to FPEPTA’s Annual Giving Campaign will be accepted.

Visit the FPEPTA website to find out more about the fabulous things happening at the school. We are off to a great start and look forward to engaging with neighbors in the years to come.

All former Fairmount Park Falcons are strongly encouraged to join in the fun! If you have not yet shared your experiences with us at the FPEPTA website, please do so! We are treasuring the fabulous stories shared thus far.

For more information contact Shanti Breznau and Parie Hines: spirit@fpepta.org

School open-house season: Explorer West, Harbor School, Westside this week

October 15, 2014 at 2:05 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | No Comments

Our calendar includes open houses for three area independent schools (all WSB sponsors) in the next four days:

TONIGHT (WEDNESDAY) – EXPLORER WEST MIDDLE SCHOOL: 6:30-8 pm, come “try out” EWMS during an “an interactive school tour including art and drama demonstrations.” (If you can’t make it to this one, open houses for prospective students/families also are planned at 10 am November 15th and 6:30 pm December 9th.) EWMS is at 10015 28th SW.

TONIGHT (WEDNESDAY – HARBOR SCHOOL: West Seattle families are invited to visit Harbor School, which serves grades 4-8, for its open house on Vashon Island, 7 pm. Campus tours will be offered, with an “overview of the curriculum as well as highlights on the school’s Travel Study, Service Learning and Arts Integrated programs.” West Seattleites ferrying over from Fauntleroy can arrange for a shuttle ride if you RSVP ASAP – our calendar listing explains how. Harbor School is at 15920 Vashon Highway SW.

SATURDAY MORNING – WESTSIDE SCHOOL: 10 am-noon, Westside – which moves to its new campus next year – has an open house for prospective families interested in all grades, pre-K through 8th. Its current campus is at 7740 34th SW.

P.S. Looking ahead to month’s end, we’re again co-sponsoring a School Information Fair for pre-K through middle schools, to be held in the Seattle Lutheran High School gym (41st/Genesee), 6:30-8:30 pm Tuesday, October 28th.

P.P.S. Open house coming up? Please send the info for our calendar! editor@westseattleblog.com

Fun(draiser) season: West Seattle High School PTSA, November 21

October 12, 2014 at 3:18 pm | In How to help, West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | No Comments

Another school-fundraiser auction to announce! West Seattle High School PTSA sends word of its annual auction on Friday, November 21st, at Brockey Center on the South Seattle College (WSB sponsor) campus:

West Seattle High School’s annual auction supports all students to “Reach for the Stars” by raising funds for academics, arts, and athletics. Buy tickets and donate at wshs.schoolauction.net/2014. Oct. 31st is the deadline for early-bird tickets at $40; regular price in November is $50 per person. Items for the live auction are needed and can be donated through the link above. Contact wshsptsaauction@gmail.com with questions.

Does YOUR school have a big fundraiser coming up? Make sure we know so we can get it into the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar *and* publish an announcement like this. editor@westseattleblog.com any time!

West Seattle weekend scene: Washington Green Schools @ WSHS

October 11, 2014 at 3:57 pm | In Gardening, West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | 1 Comment

The showers that moved through earlier didn’t stop some of the hard-working volunteers on the West Seattle High School campus for a morning of special attention from volunteers with Washington Green Schools. WSHS was chosen as a location for volunteer help on a statewide day of service, with visitors “including highly skilled gardeners and carpenters” and donated materials including chips and lumber, according to the announcement we received. Along with WSHS volunteers, the WGS visitors worked on planting areas around the campus. Our photo is from the sign fronting California SW, a site that will be part of the Steps at Stevens project.

High-school football: West Seattle hosts Cleveland

October 10, 2014 at 11:56 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle schools, WS & Sports | No Comments

In tonight’s home game, West Seattle High School was held to one touchdown by visiting Cleveland (after the pre-kickoff handshakes, top photo), victorious in the 50-6 final. West Seattle’s only touchdown came in the fourth quarter when #85, sophomore Andrew Burggraff, ran the ball in. Both defenses came out strong.

(WSHS #21, Jonathan Cheth)
But Cleveland held steadier, all game long. Note all the pink, for cancer awareness:

Next week, it’s WSHS vs. Chief Sealth IHS for the annual Huling Bowl.

That’ll be at 7 pm Friday, October 17th, at Southwest Athletic Complex.

High-school football: Close game for Chief Sealth at Ingraham

October 10, 2014 at 11:25 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle schools, WS & Sports | No Comments

In tonight’s road game, Chief Sealth International High School fell just one point short of what would have been its third victory of the season. At Northwest Athletic Complex, the Ingraham Rams topped the Seahawks, 28-27. Next Friday at 7 pm, it’s the annual Huling Bowl game between Sealth and West Seattle HS (whose results from tonight will be published here shortly) at Southwest Athletic Complex.

Fall = fun(draiser) season. 3 weeks until Chief Sealth auction

October 10, 2014 at 9:11 am | In How to help, West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | No Comments

Fall is fundraiser season, especially for local schools – if you haven’t sent info about yours yet, please do (editor@westseattleblog.com)! This morning, we have a reminder about Chief Sealth International High School‘s 6th annual Passport to Excellence Dinner and Auction. It’s a combined benefit presented by Sealth’s PTSA and Athletics, as well as by Denny-Sealth Performing Arts. The auction is just three weeks away – 5:30 pm Saturday, November 1st at Brockey Center on the South Seattle College (WSB sponsor) campus. Early-bird tickets, at the lowest rate, are available through Monday – buy online here. Organizers are happily accepting donated auction items – “goods, services, and experiences- all unique and practical are welcome”; those too can be offered online by going here (through October 22nd). And businesses interested in being an event sponsor can e-mail sahamilton@Q.com to get details.

‘Thank you a hundred times over’: Friends of Gatewood postscript

October 9, 2014 at 3:13 am | In Gatewood, West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | 27 Comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

Update: Why police are at Gatewood Elementary

October 8, 2014 at 2:30 pm | In Gatewood, West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | 41 Comments

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

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

‘We’re being held for ransom’: Anger voiced by Gatewood Elementary parents told to raise $90,000 to keep a teacher

October 8, 2014 at 10:19 am | In Gatewood, West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | 49 Comments

(1:44 PM UPDATE: SPS says in a statement that “Gatewood teaching staff will remain intact” because of the fundraising campaign – full statement is at the end of this story)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click to read the rest of ‘We’re being held for ransom’: Anger voiced by Gatewood Elementary parents told to raise $90,000 to keep a teacher…

Followup: ‘Friends of Gatewood’ continue fundraising to keep a teacher

October 6, 2014 at 9:03 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | 4 Comments

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Tomorrow night, West Seattle’s representative on the Seattle Public Schools board, Marty McLaren, convenes her second community-conversation meeting since the start of the new school year. And the topics are expected to include Gatewood Elementary parents’ unusual campaign to raise enough money to keep a teacher.

We first reported on the situation Thursday; because of enrollment numbers that differed from projections, the district said it planned to reduce the teaching staff at Gatewood by one, moving a teacher to newly reopened Fairmount Park Elementary. At both schools, parents say, the result would include moving students around in multiple classes.

Gatewood parents say that circumstances at their school, including its programs with full inclusion for Emotional/Behavioral Disorder students, mean they cannot afford the disruption of losing a teacher now:

Click to read the rest of Followup: ‘Friends of Gatewood’ continue fundraising to keep a teacher…

Update: Gatewood Elementary ‘save the teacher’ bake sale

October 4, 2014 at 12:16 pm | In How to help, West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | 49 Comments

12:16 PM: The sale is on at California and Myrtle, half a block east of Gatewood Elementary, whose families are trying to raise $90,000 in a matter of days to keep a teacher – if you missed our earlier stories, here are the Thursday (with 100 comments) and Friday reports. All ages are helping out, from facepainting …

… to beverage-pouring …

Laura posed with the apple-shaped tote board as things got going after 10 am:

While we were there, somebody gave them a drive-up donation:

They say they’ll be out as long as possible.

2 PM UPDATE: Organizers say they have raised $35,500 so far, including “an anonymous $10,000 donation.”

3:15 PM UPDATE: Just in from Gatewood parent Kevin Kincade:

Both the Feedback Lounge and The Bridge will have donation boxes to support the Friends of Gatewood tonight. Go and have a drink and kick in a few extra bucks to help save a teacher. It’s a win-win! This is to support their cause of raising $90,000 in order to save a teacher at the school. Any and all donations will be appreciated. Thanks!

Kevin adds, “And one more update — they are in their last hour at the bake sale now (3:15) so come by and get some goodies before we shut down.”

Just as we were adding this update, we received a photo from Sam with donation collectors at West Seattle Thriftway (WSB sponsor):

We’ve had a few other community-contributed photos come in, and we’ll be adding to the story.

4:59 PM: We’re told that Beveridge Place Pub has joined the list above of nearby establishments that will have donation boxes tonight.

ADDED LATE SATURDAY: An update and thanks from Nicole Sipila:

We had an amazing day. Many times I was brought to tears and for those folks who know me, that is not an easy feat.

In the bank, as of 4:00 closing time, we have collected $35,300.00 We also have approx. $8,500.ish coming back to the school from a grant that the PTA made last year, so that would put us at $43,000ish to our ultimate goal of $90,000!

Yes, we had one anonymous donor with a check for $10,000. Another for $5000 and yet another for $1000!!!! I was moved to tears at all of these checks! But I was even more emotional about some of the small moments that happened today.

First, we had an amazing parent, teacher turnout. Bringing baked goods and just handing us cash, saying, “Keep it. If you don’t make your goal, do something great with the money for the kids.”

Also, one set of parents who happen to be foster parents, who had heard that many of the GW teachers would be contributing $500 and they wanted to match that amount. Then I learn that these are foster parents of a child at GW that might be going back to birth parents at the end of the month and they didn’t want a refund if we don’t meet our goal! “Keep it, do something good with it!” Yes, I was a teary mess.

We had some ADORABLE little Gators who were standing on the corners collecting drive by donations. They had walked down toward Thriftway and passed by the Real Change vendor that hangs out by McDonald’s. This man, who doesn’t have much himself, gave these children a dollar. I am tearing up just writing this.

Plus all the other small moments, the Schmitz Park 1st grade teacher (young and new to the district) who stopped by with friends who just wanted “to support us and our teachers.” And all the other schools who posted our event on their web sites (STEM and Fairmount Park) and the parents of other schools who stopped by to drop off small donations just to say, “We support you.”

I am truly blessed to be apart of this community and am amazed at the generously of friends and strangers.

High-school football: Chief Sealth homecoming victory vs. Franklin

October 4, 2014 at 6:36 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle schools, WS & Sports | No Comments

(Photos & video by WSB co-publisher Patrick Sand)
Chief Sealth International High School‘s defense was the star of their 47-6 homecoming win over Franklin last night at Southwest Athletic Complex. But the whole team emerged with energy – watch our short Instagram clip to the end:


Since it was homecoming, that was just the start of the festivities, which also featured the band, directed by Marcus Pimpleton:

They marched onto the field before the game right behind the cheer squad:

And showed off new moves at halftime:

The game was already 27-0 by halftime, by the way. But backtracking to the start of play:

Starting with recovering a fumble (photo above) for the first score of the game, it was the defense who managed to hold Franklin to a single touchdown- a run back of the second-half kickoff. Among the Sealth players who scored TDs, #5 Alloney Burris:

And #23 Czai Terrell:

Though a consistent ground game put up most of the points, Sealth’s passing game had some major gains against Franklin. #12 Weston Reed passed to #3 Jalonzo Smallwood for one of the Seahawks’ TDs. Here’s Reed in another play, with #30 Heriberto DeLuna:

In addition to the homecoming revelry, the night also brought birthday wishes for #59 Sam Tino:

This was the season’s second win for the Seahawks and head coach Simon Iniguez.

A road game is next up for Sealth, vs. Ingraham, 7 pm Friday at Northwest Athletic Complex.

High-school football: West Seattle HS vs. Roosevelt

October 4, 2014 at 6:34 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle schools, WS & Sports | No Comments

One local varsity-football team played on the road Friday night – West Seattle High School. At Memorial Stadium downtown, Roosevelt blanked the Wildcats, 39-0. Next Friday, WSHS hosts Cleveland, 7 pm at Southwest Athletic Complex.

Followup: ‘Biggest bake sale imaginable’ Saturday as Gatewood Elementary families raise money to keep a teacher

October 3, 2014 at 8:36 pm | In Gatewood, West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | 54 Comments

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We’ll continue to follow up.

ADDED 5:26 AM SATURDAY: Overnight, we received the letter to the community, drafted by organizers of the fundraising drive. Click (or scroll) ahead to read it:
Click to read the rest of Followup: ‘Biggest bake sale imaginable’ Saturday as Gatewood Elementary families raise money to keep a teacher…

School boundary changes: West Seattle meeting next Wednesday

October 3, 2014 at 3:01 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | 7 Comments

(WSB photo, taken this morning: Demolition continues at ex-Genesee Hill Elementary)
Because of changes including new school construction (like the Genesee Hill site, above), the Seattle Public Schools board voted last November to approve boundary changes that are being phased in over the next five-plus years. Some take effect next school year (2015-2016), so the district is having three public meetings next week to talk about those. The meeting for families in West Seattle is at 6:30 pm next Wednesday (October 8th) in the lunchroom at Fairmount Park Elementary (38th/Findlay). Eight elementaries in West Seattle, and both local middle schools (which means both high schools too, because of our area’s feeder pattern), will be affected by the boundary changes, with new maps linked from school names here. In some cases, the changes are relatively small – the Gatewood boundary changes, for example, would affect up to 10 students.

If this wasn’t on your radar, you probably have questions. The district has an FAQ online, including this:

This does not mean that students must change schools. Students currently enrolled at an elementary may stay at that elementary through 5th grade as long as the services they need are available. This is called grandfathering. New students will be assigned based on the updated boundaries.

(Thanks to Mary for pointing us to the saveseattleschools.blogspot.com report mentioning this – the meetings were not previously on our radar.)

West Seattle schools: Fairmount Park, Gatewood teacher swap sparks parent concern

October 2, 2014 at 4:21 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | 108 Comments

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

The start of October – one month into the new school year – is when Seattle Public Schools traditionally has to make adjustments for unexpected circumstances at some of its campuses.

One such circumstance is about to affect two elementary schools in West Seattle, and we’ve been hearing all day from parents who are unhappy about it. At least one of the schools involved called a last-minute after-school meeting today to talk with families about it, and the district says other communications tools are being used.

In short, the newly reopened Fairmount Park Elementary School has more students than planned for – 367 in K-5 – and needs another teacher. Gatewood Elementary (with 405 total students), meantime, has fewer first-graders than expected – they had projected and staffed for four classes, but only need three. So, explains SPS spokesperson Lesley Rogers in response to our request for information, “In order to be fiscally responsible and assure our funding was being used where the greatest student need existed, at this time the district identified the opportunity to reduce Gatewood’s teaching staff by one teacher and increase Fairmount Park’s teaching staff by one teacher. This required no additional funding, and put the teacher where the need was greatest.”

It’s not entirely that simple, according to what parents have been sending us today. One Gatewood parent says the swap would involve sending the no-longer-needed-in-first-grade Gatewood teacher to a fourth-grade team-teaching class, and one teacher from that team, in its third year, would in turn be sent to Fairmount Park. Another letter circulating among parents also points out that 20 Gatewood first-graders will be going to new classrooms after a month.

Some parents are reported to be talking about raising money to keep an extra teacher at Gatewood. They tell us there is urgency to this, because apparently the decisions involving the teacher moves have to be finalized within a few days.

One Gatewood parent’s letter to this region’s Executive Director of Schools Israel Vela and School Board director Marty McLaren was forwarded to us. In part, it lists the concerns as:

This will disrupt teachers and students in harmful ways, including:

* Time and energy that teachers put toward creating a classroom environment and
bonding with students will be totally lost.

* Students will be abandoned by the teacher that they now know and thrown into a
new learning environment, including different classmates more than a month into the
school year.

* The size of 1st grade classes at Gatewood will go up.

* Teacher morale will go down.

* The parent groups that have risen up and come together to support each classroom will be divided.

* The relationship between Gatewood and Fairmount jeopardized.

Students will feel all of this. My child will be hurt by this plan. I ask you to take immediate action to prevent this plan.

This isn’t the only school that’s had to make changes, says district spokesperson Rogers: “The district made a commitment to our school leaders, teachers and families to quickly resolve over-crowding issues as close to our Oct. 1 enrollment count as possible. Earlier in September we were able to respond to overcrowding concerns at Alki and Arbor Heights with additional kindergarten teachers. We had been communicating with principals for the past several weeks regarding changes coming and this was one.”

In case you’re confused by the description of “overcrowding” at Fairmount Park, with fewer than 400 in a school expanded to 500 capacity, we were too; Rogers explains that it has to do with the contractual maximum number of students that can be in a class. Thanks again to everyone who tipped us on this; we’ll be following up.

ADDED 10:30 PM THURSDAY: Two notes – First, JTD looked up contact information for key district personnel; find it here. Second, several parents shared word that the Gatewood PTA has called a meeting related to this for 6:30 pm October 14th (bylaws require 10 days’ notice) in the school library.

ADDED 11:32 AM FRIDAY: A parent has forwarded a message from Gatewood principal Connie Aleman, who says the district has reached this decision and notified her of it:

Unless a teacher volunteers by October 7, the least senior teacher at Gatewood will be transferred to Fairmount Park. She/he is expected to report to duty at Fairmount Park on Friday October 10th. Gatewood’s four first grade classrooms will be consolidated into three and students will begin learning in that configuration on Monday October 13. This decision is based upon the Collective Bargaining Agreement, which is a contract agreed upon by both the district and the teachers’ union. It is also based on the Weighted Staffing Standards, which are established by the Seattle School District.

If we want to keep Gatewood’s staffing and class configurations as they are now, the district will allow us to raise the money to pay for a full time certified teaching position. Unfortunately, we must raise the money to fund that 1.0 FTE by October 8th. If it is not possible to raise the money by then, we can continue efforts to raise the money but the reduction in a teacher will occur October 10th and we will have to hire a different teacher when the money is raised.

If a specific fundraising campaign is under way, we hope to receive details so we can publish a new story about it – editor@westseattleblog.com – thanks!

Chief Sealth student(s) in the family? New ways to get info

October 1, 2014 at 8:56 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | No Comments

If you have a Chief Sealth International High School student in the family, the school’s staff wants to make sure you’re connected with new ways to get information. Librarian Katie Hubert forwarded this:

Chief Sealth International High School has implemented a new communications plan to better keep our community informed about the many happenings at our school.

1. Weekly newsletters (the Seahawk Weekly News) are attached to

2. a weekly phone call update from Principal Fraser-Hammer, both of which are sent on Sunday evenings.

3. The third element of our new communication plan is the CSI Monthly Reader, a compilation of the many events, programs, services, and achievements that take place each month at Sealth.

Parents/families who have not received the phone calls or news publications should call or email the school to update their contact information.

Phone: 206.252.8550 email: kahubert@seattleschools.org

High-school sports: West Seattle HS soccer hosts Bainbridge

October 1, 2014 at 5:35 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle schools, WS & Sports | No Comments

The division-leading Bainbridge High School girls-soccer team crossed the Sound to play West Seattle High School on Tuesday afternoon.

Tough match for the Wildcats, but their loyal cheering section was on hand at Walt Hundley Playfield in High Point.

The Spartans went back to Bainbridge with a 6-1 win. After they scored the first goal, WSHS answered with one of their own, by Kate Veenhuizen, but they were shut out after that.

Next game for WSHS is tomorrow (Thursday, October 2nd), again at Walt Hundley (34th/Myrtle), 3:30 pm vs. Roosevelt.

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