Friday night football: Sealth hosts Hale; WSHS vs. Garfield; Lutheran vs. Lummi

September 20, 2014 at 3:19 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle schools, WS & Sports | No Comments

All three local high-school football teams played Friday night, but only one was at home:

SEALTH VS. HALE: The night’s lone home game left Chief Sealth International High School cheerleaders and fans with reason to cheer – a hard-fought win, first of the season, 28 to 26 over visiting Nathan Hale. Huge night for #11 Daron Camacho, with three touchdowns for the Seahawks, the first one just three plays in.

#12 Weston Reed threw to Czai Terrell for Sealth’s other touchdown.

Camacho also ran a two-point conversion after that TD, and after one of his own. Here are the game stats from our partners at The Seattle Times. Sealth plays Ballard next Friday at Memorial Stadium, 7:45 pm.

WSHS VS. GARFIELD: West Seattle High School is still looking for its first win of the season after falling to Garfield 41-13 at Memorial Stadium. The Wildcats host Rainier Beach at Southwest Athletic Complex next Friday, 7 pm.

SEATTLE LUTHERAN VS. LUMMI NATION: In Bellingham on Friday night, Lummi HS defeated the visiting SLHS Saints, 60-12.

Followup: New kindergarten play area in place at Schmitz Park Elementary, following summertime fire

September 17, 2014 at 2:32 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | 1 Comment

(WSB photo, taken early this afternoon)
That bright new play equipment at Schmitz Park Elementary was ready for kindergarteners’ morning recess today, two and a half months after the early-morning fire that left the previous playset unusable. Exactly what caused the June 26th fire has never been pinpointed. Nobody was hurt, but the fire destroyed $50,000 worth of equipment that was only a year old. SPES principal Gerrit Kischner tells WSB, “The District moved very quickly to find the funds necessary for purchasing the replacement in time make the order (very impressive in light that a five-week lead time was necessary from the manufacturer to land the material before school started).”

West Seattle scenes: School-demolition crews move to main buildings at Genesee Hill, Arbor Heights

September 16, 2014 at 10:50 pm | In Arbor Heights, Genesee Hill, West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | 9 Comments

(UPDATED Wednesday morning with two more views of Arbor Heights)

ORIGINAL REPORT, 10:50 PM TUESDAY: If you’ve been meaning to go take a look at what’s left of the former Genesee Hill and/or Arbor Heights elementary schools before they’re completely demolished, you’re running out of time. As of this afternoon, main-building teardown is under way at both sites – above, our photo from GH; below, Tim Eannarino shared the photo from AH this morning:

(Also, a few closeup views caught Robin Adams‘ eye.) The new schools to be built on these sites are both scheduled to open in 2016.

ADDED 9:04 AM WEDNESDAY: Thanks to Mike for sharing these next two Arbor Heights photos:

We checked again with the school district and they still don’t expect to settle on the new AHES’s final size until next spring (they could build it for 500 students or 650; the current school, temporarily housed at the Boren Building, is adding a third kindergarten class, so growth is continuing).

Video: ‘Surprise!’ Crowdfunding-seeking teachers get Google gift, revealed at Highland Park Elementary

September 15, 2014 at 11:42 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | 14 Comments

Almost 300 teachers who had nearly 400 crowdfunding projects listed on the website Donors Choose as of this morning got a big surprise that was revealed at West Seattle’s Highland Park Elementary: Google just “flash-funded” all King, Pierce, and Snohomish County teachers’ projects on the site.

One of those teachers, HPES kindergarten teacher Amanda Burke, got a visit from Mayor Murray, reps from DC and Google, and news-media reps, as part of the surprise announcement – here’s our video capturing the moment:

The “flash-funding” totaled $338,000. Part of it fulfilled Ms. Burke’s $1,769 request to buy four ChromeBooks and one Surface Tablet for her students. Every project included in Google’s $338,000 “flash-funding” donation around the region now has a message posted on its page, declaring it’s funded. Google has done this in more than half a dozen other cities too, including San Francisco and L.A.

Weekend scene: Denny International Middle School in Fiestas Patrias parade

September 13, 2014 at 1:01 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | No Comments

What an awesome morning for a parade! South Park’s annual Fiestas Patrias parade just wrapped up a little while ago and it included West Seattle sightings as well as South Park participants, visitors from around the region, and even two from downtown (Mayor Murray and Police Chief O’Toole). We’ll have lots of photos on our partner site The South Park News a bit later, but wanted to share this :15 Instagram clip of the Denny International Middle School delegation first. P.S. As noted in our Saturday preview lineup, the parade was followed by a festival that continues until 6 pm.

ADDED LATE SATURDAY NIGHT: To see dozens of photos, and several more video clips, from the parade, check out our gallery on TSPN.

ADDED MONDAY MORNING: A few words about the parade appearance, from Denny principal Jeff Clark:

The Denny Dolphins did an excellent job representing their school in the Fiestas Patrias parade on Saturday in South Park!

Eighth-grader Carmela Pedraza Sanchez did an outstanding job showing his positive leadership by leading the chants and demonstrating our school pride. Thank you to our terrific Proyecto Saber team, Ms. Olsen, Mr. Garcia, and Ms. Bowie for coordinating the event and to Ms. Rangel and Mr. Rodriguez for their help.

Additionally, it was an honor to march next to the Concord Cougars as they proclaimed that they were college-bound!

It was a great day for our school pathway and community — thank you to all of the scholars who participated!

Go Dolphins!

High-school football, week 2: 1st WSHS home game; Sealth on road

September 13, 2014 at 5:31 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle schools, WS & Sports | No Comments

Both local high-school teams that played tonight wound up on the losing side. But of course, there’s always more to the story. We start at Southwest Athletic Complex, where West Seattle High School roared out of the gate against Washington, visiting from Tacoma.

The Wildcats held the lead through the first half and continued with momentum into the third. Senior Fynniecko Glover (#22) had two touchdowns:

But Washington’s QB Kody Martinez broke loose for long runs in the second half; his team also managed a couple of big interceptions and eventually broke away. West Seattle fought to the end, though, wrestling away the last possession of the game, though they didn’t convert. Final score: Washington 32, WSHS 22. Next week, the Wildcats play Garfield at Memorial Stadium downtown, 5 pm Friday (September 19th).

CHIEF SEALTH @ RAINIER BEACH: At Southeast Athletic Complex, the Vikings won, 34-8. The Seahawks’ lone touchdown was scored by Daron Camacho. They’ll be back home at SW Athletic Complex next Friday, 7 pm, hosting Nathan Hale.

Seafair Clowns and friends visit West Seattle Elementary for school-supplies giveaway

September 12, 2014 at 1:49 pm | In High Point, West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | No Comments

(WSB photos by Patrick Sand)
For the 10th year, Seafair Clowns stopped at a local school for a big supplies giveaway. Today was the big day, and this time, the recipients were students at West Seattle Elementary in High Point. Seattle firefighters and police were there to help too:

That included Fire Chief Gregory Dean:

And West Seattle’s own “Officer Lumpy” got a big smile from West Seattle Elementary principal Vicki Sacco:

Also part of the event – Stoneway Concrete and Gary Merlino Construction.

Video: ‘Graduating’ before school starts! 13th Year Promise students @ South Seattle College

September 11, 2014 at 10:28 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | No Comments

Even before fall classes start at South Seattle College (WSB sponsor), some of its incoming students gathered today for a graduation – and, as you can see in the video above, something of a pep rally. (That’s Mathew Apelu, leading the “cheers.”) They’re coming to SSC on the 13th Year Promise Scholarship – one year of free tuition for graduates from Chief Sealth International High School and two public high schools from outside West Seattle, Cleveland and Rainier Beach. Today’s event marked the end of the three-day 13th Year Bridge orientation featuring workshops that covered topics “from college success strategies to financial literacy”:

13th Year Promise scholarships are available to graduates from those three schools regardless of grades or financial status, and SSC president Gary Oertli tells us they’re working on adding West Seattle High School to the 13th Year Promise roster soon. He is a Sealth graduate, as he reminded the new students this afternoon:

(Sorry about the camera instability – that clip works better as audio than video)
The event also included a panel discussion featuring past 13th Year Promise students. This year’s group, by the way, is more than 100 strong – the biggest one yet, says SSC. It started with the Cleveland class of 2008, added Sealth in 2011, and has now expanded to add Rainier Beach. You can get more information on the SSC website.

Co-op preschool moves to Tibbetts UMC, with rummage-sale ramifications

September 10, 2014 at 2:52 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle religion, West Seattle schools | 1 Comment

Two-part announcement from Tibbetts United Methodist Church (longtime WSB sponsor):

Tibbetts is well known for its Autumn and Spring rummage sales, but instead this year we are welcoming a second pre-school cooperative, Arbor Heights Co-op Preschool, as a new group who will use the church facility.

For all those in the West Seattle community who look forward to the twice-yearly sale, we announce that the rummage sale will not be held this Fall (2014) and next Spring (2015). While the co-op is not intending to make Tibbetts its permanent home, unfortunately, the space to be occupied in the church building is the same space ordinarily used for the staging and display of all the articles that wind up in our popular rummage sales. It is our sincere intention to reprise our rummage sale in the near future, bigger and better than ever before! For information regarding the Arbor Heights Co-op Preschool, contact Judy Hall, SSCC Parent Educator, Registration Co-Chair, 206-938-2278. Thank you to the West Seattle Community for your continued support!

AH Co-op previously was based at Hillcrest Presbyterian Church, currently being renovated as the permanent home of Westside School (WSB sponsor). Tibbetts also is home of the Admiral Co-op Preschool, which, like Arbor Heights, is part of the South Seattle College Parent Cooperative Preschool group.

West Seattle demolition watch: Genesee Hill school; 4535 44th SW apartment site

September 9, 2014 at 2:37 pm | In Development, Genesee Hill, West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | No Comments

Two updates on West Seattle demolition sites:

GENESEE HILL SCHOOL: After a tip last Friday, we noted that some deconstruction was under way at the former Genesee Hill Elementary campus, where the current Schmitz Park Elementary program will move in 2016. Today, building teardown is under way in a big way, starting with the classrooms north/northeast of the main structure. That’s about one day behind the start of a similar phase at Arbor Heights Elementary, where Seattle Public Schools is also tearing down an old school to build a new one.

4535 44TH SW: While in The Junction a short time ago, we noticed the backhoe has arrived at 4535 44th SW, future home of a four-story, 36+-unit, no-offstreet-parking apartment building; we’d noted last week that its demolition permit was granted.

While it was described as “microapartments” when we first reported on the plan early last year, this is NOT microhousing – the units will be full-fledged studios with kitchens. (We’ll check back in a bit to see if the backhoe has started work yet.)

West Seattle schools: Arbor Heights Elementary teardown revs up

September 8, 2014 at 10:08 am | In Arbor Heights, West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | 2 Comments

While demolition crews did a bit of work at the old Arbor Heights Elementary School site on the Friday before Labor Day, they didn’t start tearing down its buildings in earnest until this morning, starting on the south side of the campus. (Thanks to Elise and Joe for the tips.)

Arbor Heights students and staff are spending this year and next at the Boren Building, shared with K-5 STEM, while the new school is built. Renderings were shown at a community meeting in June, including these:

That same meeting (WSB coverage here) included the project’s two-part timeline; this site work is expected to continue through November, and then a stopdown is planned until the Phase 2 bid is awarded, with the rest of the work to begin in spring.

High-school football: West Seattle High School’s season-opener in Alaska

September 7, 2014 at 8:17 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle schools, WS & Sports | No Comments

The first game of the season is in the books for the West Seattle High School varsity-football team and coach Tom Burggraff – played 900 miles away, against Juneau-Douglas High School. reports this was the third game of the season for the Crimson Bears, who won last night’s game, 24-8. Thanks to Deni Mensing for sending the link, which includes game stats – including two receptions for her son Carter Mensing, the TD scored by Fynniecko Glover, 7 receptions and 6 tackles for Carter Golgart, 7 tackles for Bailey Wyatt, and 98 yards of passing for Robert Harrelson – and four photos you can click through.

Next up for WSHS: Friday night (September 12th) at Southwest Athletic Complex vs. Washington.

Followup: What happened when the Gatewood Elementary Class of ’56 reconnected

September 6, 2014 at 3:30 pm | In Gatewood, West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | No Comments

Back in April, we shared the announcement of a reunion for the Gatewood Elementary School Class of 1956. Now, the followup – Carol Stoner shares the photo above and this report on how it went!

We finally managed to locate more than 70 of the original list of 90. Most of us had not seen the school since the remodel in 1991, and we spent much of the tour reconciling our memories with the new reality.

The Class of 1956 attended Gatewood before the ‘gator was its mascot, when wooden desks with iron grillwork legs were bolted to the floor, and empty inkwells clanged if you flicked them during study time. Cloakrooms in the back were filled with wet coats, dripping boots, and lunchboxes with baloney sandwiches on white bread. No actual library; books were shelved in Mr. Acedo’s sixth-grade classroom, and choosing 35 books for your class was brief, stressful, and done very quietly during his class if you were book monitor that month. And, even in 1956, the wooden stairs leading up into the school had deep indentations, hollow treads, where former students, perhaps parents and grandparents, had trudged in previous decades.

On August 22nd, twenty-eight ‘Woodies reunited for a tour of the remodeled school and a catchup picnic in Lincoln Park. They found the wooden steps had been replaced, but delighted in the fact that the century-old banisters had been retained. Gone also were the wooden desks and cloakrooms, giving the rooms a modern feel and more space. The class picture on the front steps and the tour itself was much like herding cats, but a good time was had by all.

The picnic following at Lincoln Park, catered by Husky’s, was great fun. We heard apologies for remembered slights: “I’m sorry I pushed you off the table in Kindergarten, but I wanted to nap there” or “Sorry I teased you so much, but you were so cute when you blushed.” Episodes were told about teachers who had impacted our lives for good and bad, but we heard no bad stories about missing classmates, only “Remember how fast he ran?” or “She was so funny! Do you remember when she…?” We also told stories on ourselves, and it turns out that little candy store across the street from school must have made a fortune!

Although most of us shared the grade-school experience with one class for seven years, we split into two groups in ’56, some going to Madison and some to Denny. Some classmates we hadn’t seen in 58 years. Since then our classmates have built homes, airplanes, businesses, and families. They have climbed mountains, written books, worked in law enforcement, education, and health care. They have been firefighters, commercial fishermen, and researchers. They’ve worked with numbers, words, machinery, and people. It was a joy to reconnect with old friends, to remember cloakrooms, wooden desks, and inkwells, and when we were all twelve.

Gatewood is an official city landmark, by the way. P.S. Follow the link to the April announcement to see class photos from back in the day.

High-school football: Chief Sealth hosts Calgary’s Notre Dame

September 5, 2014 at 11:56 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle schools, WS & Sports | 2 Comments

The first local home varsity-football game of the year was tonight at Southwest Athletic Complex, where the Chief Sealth International High School Seahawks hosted the Notre Dame Lions, visiting from Calgary, Alberta, Canada, a 15-hour bus ride away. Above, Sealth senior Brady Crane scored two touchdowns, including running back the opening kickoff for his first one. But Notre Dame returned home with a win, 43-20. Sealth’s other TD was by junior Daron Camacho:

This early in the season, both teams were clearly working on cohesiveness; both had stretches of running and throwing well, but penalties were plentiful that seemed to negate many gains. Sealth has a new head coach this fall, by the way, Simon Iniguez, promoted from defensive coordinator.

NEXT UP FOR SEALTH: Next Friday (September 12th), 7 pm, they visit Rainier Beach High School at Southeast Athletic Complex.

West Seattle back-to-school: Westside School celebrates start of final EC Hughes year, before ‘Heading Home’

September 5, 2014 at 1:19 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | 1 Comment

(WSB photos by Patrick Sand. Above, the start of today’s assembly)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

This morning’s back-to-school celebration/assembly at Westside School (WSB sponsor) was the last one at the former EC Hughes Elementary.

Next year, after five years at the leased Seattle Public Schools-owned campus in Sunrise Heights, Westside is expecting to start the year in a “home of their own” for the very first time – the former Hillcrest Presbyterian Church site that they’ve purchased and are renovating in Arbor Heights.

The project is on schedule, Westside’s head of school Kate Mulligan told us during an end-of-summer conversation about that and other reasons this is an especially exciting year for the independent PreK-8 school.

Click to read the rest of West Seattle back-to-school: Westside School celebrates start of final EC Hughes year, before ‘Heading Home’…

West Seattle schools: Demolition begins at Genesee Hill

September 5, 2014 at 11:19 am | In Genesee Hill, West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | No Comments

Thanks to Fiona for the tip: Demolition has begun at the other new-elementary-school site in West Seattle, on Genesee Hill. No backhoe-biting-into-building activity yet, as of our visit – as you can see in the photo, some bricks have been removed from the front of the school along SW Genesee, and we noted backhoes on the back side (north). This is the future home of the program currently at Schmitz Park Elementary; Seattle Public Schools has said that building will become an “early-learning center” once the new elementary opens. According to this history page from the district website, Genesee Hill Elementary was open 1948-1988 before its first closure; the building was reopened in 1994 for the alternative school that became Pathfinder K-8, which was housed there until GH was closed one final time in 2009.

Back-to-school 2014: Chief Sealth freshmen launch with Link Crew

September 4, 2014 at 6:21 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | 2 Comments

For a few often-rowdy hours on the first morning of the new school year Wednesday, Chief Sealth International High School‘s Class of 2018 had the school to themselves.

Well – except for the upperclassmen volunteers and staffers leading them through those hours via the nationally renowned transition/mentoring program Link Crew.

This is Sealth’s third year with the mentoring program (we reported on student leaders’ preparation the first year, in 2012) meant to get freshmen off to a successful start. It mixes inspiration with goofy icebreakers – like this relay involving hugs and balloons:

On the inspirational side, Luke Azinger told the new arrivals that there are three types of people – those who make things happen, those who watch things happen (both of whom, he stressed, were important in their own ways) and – those who wonder, “What happened?”

In this case, what happened is … they all woke up one day and found themselves in high school. (It was a later wakeup, with Sealth’s bell time later this year, 8:40 am.) But this is one way to start off in a team mode, instead of wandering the halls feeling alone.

Link Crew goes beyond the first-day activities; on Friday, for example, freshmen and their mentors have a barbecue planned and then the first football game of the year (across the street at Southwest Athletic Complex).

P.S. Thanks to student leader Lincoln Vuong for inviting us to visit! He’s pictured below with a faculty Link Crew leader, Kim Dinh:

Lincoln was so organized, he first messaged us two months ago! Other program leaders include assistant principal Andra Maughan as well as Sarah Martin and Carrie Syvertsen, plus Azinger, who emceed the warmup activities happening while we were there at the start of the day. After that, the freshmen were to break up into crews of a dozen or so, with two student leaders for each, finishing the morning with a school tour and wrapup assembly before classes started for the entire school in the afternoon.

West Seattle back-to-school: Highland Park Elementary barbecue

September 3, 2014 at 3:36 pm | In Highland Park, West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | No Comments

Another special back-to-school event to announce! From the Highland Park Elementary PTA, via Holly:

HPE will be hosting its annual back to school BBQ on Friday, September 5th. The BBQ is scheduled from 5:30 – 7:00 on the school grounds.

This is an annual tradition at HPE, and provides the students and their families an opportunity to gather as a community, share their visions for the school year, and celebrate the beginning of another school year. Hot dogs and refreshments will be provided. The PTA will be on hand, as well as teachers and administrators.

Special event, accomplishment, request, etc. from/at YOUR school? Let us know!

West Seattle back-to-school scene: Schmitz Park flag ceremony

September 3, 2014 at 2:15 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | 2 Comments

If the district’s timetable for the new school at Genesee Hill holds, this morning was the second-to-last first-day-of-school flag ceremony at Schmitz Park Elementary.

The program now housed at SPES is scheduled to move into the new GH school in 2016; the district’s most-recent announced plan for the current SPES building is to use it as an early-learning center. Thanks to Sean O’Connor for these photos from this morning! (Watch for a few other “first day of school” stories here, later today and tonight.)

Video: Hundreds gather to celebrate on the eve of Fairmount Park Elementary’s reopening

September 2, 2014 at 7:50 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | 6 Comments

“It’s amazing!” That’s what we heard one new Fairmount Park Elementary student exclaim while walking the school’s halls after this afternoon’s standing-room-only ribboncutting event celebrating the school’s expansion and reopening after a seven-year closure. You might have gotten a sense of that amazement, checking out some of the features shown in our walkthrough story earlier today. But it’s the school’s community – with more than 380 students expected tomorrow, 40 or so above the most-recent estimate we had – that is most astounding. Principal Julie Breidenbach pointed out it was a leap of faith for many families who already had started their children’s elementary years elsewhere, and that it’s more than double what the district expected the school to re-start with:

She was joined onstage by dignitaries including the district’s new acting Superintendent Dr. Larry Nyland, and West Seattle’s School Board rep Marty McLaren:

Even West Seattle’s highest-ranking elected official, King County Executive Dow Constantine, was there, and he shared reminiscences including his memories of some involvement with Fairmount Park’s first phase of life, as well as some thoughts as a new dad who’ll be taking his daughter to her first day of school in a few years.

So much work has gone into “breathing life into the new building,” pointed out interim PTA president Hillary Shaw:

Those weren’t even all the speeches – but we have to get to the main event: The ribboncutting itself, which came after words of acknowledgment from principal Breidenbach and district construction-projects manager Jeanette Imanishi.

The event even had dessert – ice cream, served in the cafeteria/auditorium – and then it was off to look around:

Students and families got to meet teachers, too:

All the while, finishing touches were continuing – we spotted this worker painting lines on the north playground:

Tomorrow morning, it’s the real deal – time for school, again, at Fairmount Park. (And remember, that also means a school speed zone on Fauntleroy Way for the first time since 2007.) P.S. Other schools have changes too, including bell times, and we’ll be looking at those in a story later tonight.

West Seattle back-to-school: Ribboncutting this afternoon at Fairmount Park Elementary; take a closer look now

September 2, 2014 at 10:30 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | 14 Comments

(Renovated hallway in original FPES building. WSB photos by Tracy Record)
In about four hours, on the day before classes begin for 2014-2015, Seattle Public Schools‘ new acting superintendent Dr. Larry Nyland will be in West Seattle. He’ll join in a ribboncutting ceremony at newly expanded/renovated Fairmount Park Elementary School (3800 SW Findlay; map), reopening after a seven-year closure. We showed you photos of the completed overhaul two weeks ago (thanks again, Joe!). Then last week, we had the chance for a guided walkthrough with SPS construction-project manager Jeanette Imanishi (whom we last met for a walkthrough at the renovated Boren Building two years ago, before K-5 STEM opened there). Both the old building and the new wing to its east are full of light and color, whether you look up at the colored glass letting light into a stairwell:

Or across the courtyard, at new tile accents outside (replacing old panels that contained asbestos, which was removed from other features of the old building too, including its floors):

Or down, at the refinished gym floor, where equipment awaits the students:

The gym also sports a water-bottle filler:

Updated technology touches are everywhere – note these outlets dangling from the ceiling:

Click to read the rest of West Seattle back-to-school: Ribboncutting this afternoon at Fairmount Park Elementary; take a closer look now…

Video: Ice Bucket Challenge at Holy Rosary, and who they’re passing it on to

August 29, 2014 at 9:27 pm | In Health, West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | 4 Comments

That’s the first “Ice Bucket Challenge” clip called to our attention by a local school. This one features the staff of Holy Rosary School and the parish’s pastor, Father John Madigan. HR principal George Hofbauer starts with challenges to other local Catholic schools, and Fr. Madigan adds a challenge to Seattle’s Archbishop Peter Sartain. (In case you’ve missed it somehow, the IBC has been making the rounds for weeks to raise awareness and money for ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.) P.S. First day of school at HRS is next Tuesday.

West Seattle schools: Building demolition begins at Arbor Heights Elementary

August 29, 2014 at 3:54 pm | In Arbor Heights, West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | 2 Comments

Thanks to Scott for the top photo and the tip that building demolition has begun at Arbor Heights Elementary, a milestone for the project to replace the dilapidated old buildings with a brand-new school. We went over and got there just in time to photograph the backhoe doing a little more work on the north side of the southern building before parking for the day:

As reported here on August 20th, the city Hearing Examiner rejected an appeal of the demolition-permit granting. Another appeal was rejected in May; that one involved the ruling that the project didn’t need a full environmental review. Following that first decision, a meeting was held to update the community on the construction plan (WSB coverage here). The timetable shared at that meeting called for demolition to begin in August, which now, technically, it has; it also noted that there would be a pause from November to February, when the second phase of the project would begin, by which time the district would decide if the school would be built to hold up to 500 students, or up to 650. The new school is supposed to open in two years; in the meantime, AHES is sharing the Boren building in North Delridge with the school permanently housed there, K-5 STEM.

You can help! Be a tutor in West Seattle, just 1 hour a week

August 28, 2014 at 9:59 pm | In How to help, West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | 3 Comments

Can you spare an hour a week – a small amount of time that can make a big difference? Invest in Youth is signing up volunteers now:

Your investment of one hour a week can lead to a lifetime of dividends for a child…

Invest in Youth is a Seattle-based non-profit organization that provides free tutoring to local elementary students across the city, including two West Seattle elementary schools (Roxhill and the new Fairmount Park). Our program is unique in that we don’t charge families or schools to provide our quality tutoring services. We are able to do this because of the support of our volunteers who commit to tutoring a 3rd through 5th grade student once a week. Will you join us this fall?

The program is pretty straightforward:

Click to read the rest of You can help! Be a tutor in West Seattle, just 1 hour a week…

If you’re noticing the sirens …

August 27, 2014 at 10:43 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | 1 Comment

Seattle Fire crews are responding to fire alarms at both West Seattle High School and Madison Middle School. *No* indication of fires at either location so far, but both sites are being checked.

10:50 PM UPDATE: WSHS (3000 California SW) was just pronounced an official “false alarm.” At Madison (3429 45th SW) they’re still doublechecking to be sure nothing’s awry.

West Seattle back-to-school: Roxhill Elementary barbecue Thursday

August 27, 2014 at 2:38 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | Comments Off

We’re continuing to spotlight local back-to-school events as the start of the new school year (one week from today, September 3rd, for Seattle Public Schools) nears. Here’s an announcement for Roxhill Elementary students, family, and staff:

Roxhill Elementary’s Back to School BBQ is being held tomorrow, Thursday the 28th, from 6 pm- 8 pm. Food will be provided, so bring the whole family and come on down to meet your teacher this year! Free school supplies will be handed out while supplies last – so get there early!

Lots to see just off-campus, too, including more pedestrian improvements on 30th SW.

P.S. Thanks yet again to everyone sharing school news/announcements – e-mail (the further in advance, the better)!

West Seattle back-to-school: Why you’ll see yellow buses on the roads and in the lots the next two days

August 26, 2014 at 12:28 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle schools, West Seattle traffic alerts | 1 Comment

Though Seattle Public Schools‘ first day of classes is still eight days away, you’ll see yellow school buses on the roads the next two days. Here’s the heads-up from driver Al:

Tomorrow and Thursday school bus drivers will be doing ‘dry runs’ of their routes, which means as early as 6 am, hundreds of school buses will be out-and-about following the directions given to us by the District to find and check out our pick-up and drop-off locations, as well as looking for any route-problems we may encounter on the streets.

Also happening during these two days are meetings at various schools between staff and the drivers, so some schools will see a number of buses parked in their load zones for a while.

This will likely happen for most of the day both days, and we thank you ahead of time for the public’s patience and understanding.

And thanks again to everybody sharing back-to-school news – – same address for announcements and info once schools are open again, too!

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