West Seattle schools – West Seattle Blog… http://westseattleblog.com West Seattle news, 24/7 Sun, 22 Apr 2018 13:21:23 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.5 BASEBALL: Host Chief Sealth IHS takes first ‘Best of the West’ game; rematch ahead http://westseattleblog.com/2018/04/baseball-host-chief-sealth-ihs-takes-first-best-of-the-west-game-rematch-ahead/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/04/baseball-host-chief-sealth-ihs-takes-first-best-of-the-west-game-rematch-ahead/#respond Sat, 21 Apr 2018 04:35:02 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=914497 (First 4 photos by WSB’s Patrick Sand)

That’s Gabriel Ieremia on the mound for the Chief Sealth International High School Seahawks, who hosted the West Seattle High School Wildcats for the first annual “Best of the West” game this afternoon, and got the win, 5-2. Ieremia is also one of the Sealth seniors who were honored today with their names on the fence, since this was the last home game on the regular season schedule, along with Max Sugar Rubin-Stencil, Albert Roque, Tobias Woodward, and Richard Swanson (#1, below, with WSHS catcher Kai Osaka):

Pitching four innings for the Wildcats was Anthony Coats, who led for the game in strikeouts with 6:

The bleaches were so full, some spectators were left standing outside the fence – we dubbed it the skybox:

Chief Sealth head coach Ernest Policarpio tells us the two teams will meet again in the first round of Metro League playoffs one week from tomorrow, 10 am Saturday, April 28th, again at SWAC, and shared this photo of his victorious team:

Meantime, the last regular-season home game for head coach Bryan Tupper‘s Wildcats is Monday at 4 pm at Hiawatha against Bishop Blanchet.

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Explorer West Middle School students present water-saving proposals to Seattle Parks http://westseattleblog.com/2018/04/explorer-west-middle-school-students-present-water-saving-proposals-to-seattle-parks/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/04/explorer-west-middle-school-students-present-water-saving-proposals-to-seattle-parks/#comments Wed, 18 Apr 2018 16:49:51 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=914229 As Earth Day approaches, the spotlight on environmental consciousness brightens, and today we have a report on how students at Explorer West Middle School (WSB sponsor) are working with Seattle Parks to make a difference by saving water – and money. The report and photo are from the school:

The Seattle Parks and Recreation Department is making an effort to examine park water usage and implement ways to conserve and reclaim water. Seattle has the highest water and sewer rates in the country.

Students at Seattle’s Explorer West Middle School were invited to share their ideas on water conservation and reclamation to the Seattle Parks Department. Four teams of eighth graders researched solutions and brainstormed ways to be more conscious with Seattle park water usage.

Three executive staff members of Seattle Parks attended the presentations at the school. As a result of this meeting, the teams have been invited to present their findings and ideas to the Seattle Parks Department Board of Commissioners on May 10th at 6:30 pm. Interim Parks Department Superintendent, Christopher Williams, will also be in attendance.

One student noted, “The average Seattle citizen uses fifty gallons of water daily. Water is a limited resource that we need to preserve. There are simple ways to preserve water, but these plans need to start somewhere.”

The students wrote comprehensive research essays and collaborated on their live presentations. Their innovative ideas ranged from water irrigation management; low flush and composting toilets; rainwater cisterns; sustainable wading ponds and spray parks instead of pools; and creative ways to reinvent golf course water usage.

“Students volunteered for the opportunity to pass along inventive approaches to water consumption and conservation,” said Explorer West Social Studies Teacher Tim Owens. “It was a stimulating conversation.”

By using these suggestions, the Seattle Parks system could preserve our precious water. Hopefully in the future, these propositions will benefit our park system and move towards ending our ongoing worldwide water crisis.

“I was impressed by how passionate the students were about the subject matter,” said Joelle Hammerstad, Seattle Parks sustainable operations manager. “The presentations were well-researched and engaging. They even introduced us to new products that we didn’t know about, which inspired us to do some of our own follow-up research.”

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SPORTS: West Seattle High School athletes’ success at nation’s biggest single-day track meet http://westseattleblog.com/2018/04/sports-west-seattle-high-school-athletes-success-at-nations-biggest-single-day-track-meet/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/04/sports-west-seattle-high-school-athletes-success-at-nations-biggest-single-day-track-meet/#comments Tue, 17 Apr 2018 01:24:29 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=914078 Thanks to West Seattle High School track and field head coach Will Harrison for the report:

For West Seattle track athletes, it was another successful trip to Edgar Brown Memorial Stadium in Pasco for the nation’s largest single-day high-school track meet: the Pasco Invitational. Over 1,500 athletes from over 100 schools were represented this past Saturday, April 14th.

As they did last year, Junior Chloe Cunliffe (pole vault) and Senior Cass Elliott (300 meter hurdles) picked up big wins.

Cunliffe cleared 13 foot, 3 inches to win over Taylen Langin of Rocky Mountain (Idaho), who cleared 13 feet even. Elliott clocked 38.70 to win over Mead’s Joseph Heitman by 1.25 seconds. Cunliffe and Elliott now hold the top marks in the state this season, in any classification, in their respective events, according to athletic.net. Cunliffe’s mark is tied for No. 3 in the nation.

Other highlights of the meet included: Junior Rylee Farrison (ranked No. 2 in Metro) clocked at 23.40 seconds for 12th in the 200, the Distance Medley relay (1200-400-800-1600) of Evelyn Hootman, Madison Kipley, Melody Potratz, and Sonya Chin clocked 14:02 for a school best mark and 18th place finish, the 4×100 meter relay of Cunliffe, Symmone Davis, Katherine Long, and Sierrah Bettin ran 52.29 (Metro League No. 5 this season), and the 4x 400 meter relays of Hootman, Potratz, Bettin, and Long ran 4:27.08 (Metro No. 7).

Full results can be found here.

The Wildcats are back in action this Thursday at Northwest Athletic Complex to see Ingraham, Eastside Catholic, and Garfield.

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GOT YOUR TICKET? ‘Greatest Show on Earth’ for, and with, Denny/Sealth Performing Arts http://westseattleblog.com/2018/04/got-your-ticket-greatest-show-on-earth-for-and-with-denny-sealth-performing-arts/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/04/got-your-ticket-greatest-show-on-earth-for-and-with-denny-sealth-performing-arts/#respond Thu, 12 Apr 2018 16:45:52 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=913745 Later this month, you have the chance to both enjoy the talents of, and assist, student performers from Denny International Middle School and Chief Sealth International High School. In case you haven’t already seen it in the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar:

The Denny Sealth Performing Arts annual fundraiser, Music Night Out, “The Greatest Show on Earth,” will be held on Saturday, April 28th at the Fellowship Hall of UCC Fauntleroy Church. You will enjoy music from the Denny and Sealth Band, Orchestra, Mariachi, Choir and the award-winning musicians in the Sealth Jazz Band led by Dr. Marcus Pimpleton and Ms. Brittany DeLong. Beverages, appetizers, a full dinner and dessert dash will round out the evening. Please join us for this fun night. Early Bird tickets are available if you act fast and can be purchased [here].

The DSPA (Denny Sealth Performing Arts) servers approximately 300 scholars in the Middle School and High School Performing Arts programs.

Band, Orchestra, Jazz, Mariachi and Choir scholars work all year on their craft, and share with the community in a few performances. And performance is a key element in the art.

Many of our scholars will be traveling this spring to destinations such as Disneyland, California and Silverwood, Idaho.

Our high school jazz scholars recently returned from Montana for such an experience. Your ticket purchase allows the DSPA to raise money for scholarships for those students who would not be able to afford the experience of such travel.

Our program serves a population of approximately 63% free and reduced lunch, students. Besides travel, the DSPA helps to cover the cost of maintenance and purchase of musical instruments, band uniforms and all of the small things; sheet music, rosin, strings etc, that, keep our scholars making the beautiful music and creating the amazing performances that we’ve come to expect from our Denny-Sealth programs. Our instructors rely on their ability to write grants and your generosity to be able to provide working instruments for our performing arts scholars.

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‘The time is now for our program not to fall, but to rise’: Chefs, students, faculty fight to save South Seattle College Pastry/Baking Arts http://westseattleblog.com/2018/04/the-time-is-now-for-our-program-not-to-fall-but-to-rise-chefs-students-faculty-fight-to-save-south-seattle-college-pastry-baking-arts-program/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/04/the-time-is-now-for-our-program-not-to-fall-but-to-rise-chefs-students-faculty-fight-to-save-south-seattle-college-pastry-baking-arts-program/#comments Wed, 11 Apr 2018 03:15:48 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=913601 (UPDATED WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON with decision delay)

(WSB photos by Patrick Sand)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

At least a million dollars has to be sliced from the budget for South Seattle College (WSB sponsor), says its interim president, who has until tomorrow to decide whether to kill one of its signature programs to save some of that sum.

Just days ago, faculty and students in that program, Pastry and Baking Arts, were told it was on the chopping block. This afternoon, dozens of them crowded into the board room at SSC – along with culinary luminaries from around the region, including the founders of Bakery Nouveau, Macrina Bakery, and Essential Baking Company – to plead for it to be spared.

SSC interim president Peter Lortz and his cabinet gathered for the informal meeting that he described as “impromptu,” intended to “give everybody who wants to speak a chance to speak.”

In addition to singing the praises of the well-regarded, decades-old program, some speakers also decried the lack of notice that ending the program was a consideration.

Lortz explained the “program viability process” starting with discussion and data-gathering in the summer, moving through the academic year. Eight programs including this one went through “level two” of review for possible termination, he said. Seated next to him was vice president of instruction Laura Hopkins, who said she had recommended three programs for closure, including two whose faculty were “ready to retire” – auto body and engineering graphic/design. “We’re not the only community college faced with this horrible, horrible situation financially,” she said. “With the pastry program,” she said that low enrollment had been a problem “over a number of years” and that high cost and completion/retention rates, also were factors in her recommendation, which she said “had nothing to do with the quality of the program.”

Current students will have a “pathway to completion,” she promised, “if the chancellor does make the decision to close the program,” referring to Seattle Colleges Chancellor Shouan Pan, who would have the final say on whatever closure recommendations are forwarded by Lortz.

Then the people lining the room began to speak, and what was announced as an hour-long meeting ran more than twice that. First came the program’s chef instructors:

Chef Christopher Harris began by acknowledging students, alumni, industry supporters for coming to this unusual meeting. He said he wasn’t disputing declining enrollment in this kind of program, nor its costs “More than just dollars in, dollars out… we’re asking you to consider the intrinsic value of … a legacy program to the college (that’s) been around more than 40 years.” He said the program also would like the chance to implement “action plans” that could “turn around the trajectory” of the program. He asked supporters to pledge to help the program “so it will be there … in the future,” including for future students who hear “this really is the best program in the area.”

Chef Kimberly Smith followed: “I do think we have an opportunity … to capture a lot of students … in the 13th Year Promise Scholarship.” This year, 42 percent of eligible seniors have signed up – a dramatic increase – she said. 10 percent of 150 potential 13th Year students who visited the college a day earlier are interested in the program, she said. She also acknowledged that “up until now, maybe we’ve rested on our laurels … waited for the customers to come to us ….” but their action plan includes outreach. She described the program as confidence-building . “I have students and graduates that go to the highest level of our industry,” as well as people who fry donuts for supermarkets and can go to any store, fill any shift. Smith read a letter from a student who is pursuing a food-science degree, inspired by what she learned in the program. She wrote that she’s had multiple job offers, from employers who were impressed by her skills and her school, and has been able to mentor others. She said the South degree was a vital launching pad for her career and her future studies. “If you lose this program, you will be losing bright students – like me.”

Speakers who followed identified themselves as from local food businesses, most if not all employers of program graduates.

“It would be a devastating blow to our industry” if the program were closed, said a program graduate representing restaurateur Tom Douglas‘s local empire. “It would be just terrible.”

2016 graduate Bobbie Martin said she has found a successful new career thanks to her SSC education, after a 27-year career in the travel industry, adding that she is granddaughter of a career baker. She said students commute from many miles away to attend this program. It’s a “melting pot” of students, she said, whose heritages are from around the world; a student next to her, she noted, was from Iran. She also ticked off a long list of companies that employ program graduates. She also observed that students who had challenges including autism and ADHD “had all been welcomed into the Pastry and Baking Arts program.” Her grandmother, who died recently at 97, visited the program several times and told her, “You are where you are meant to be.” She said she was disturbed that the recommendation had been made without administration talking to students.

Brad Barth, a manager at Bakery Nouveau, talked about hiring for their new Burien location, and seeking employee candidates from this program first and foremost. He has several SSC graduates on staff right now. “To say that pastry professionals aren’t needed in the industry is absolutely false. … It just sickens me that you guys are so narrow-minded on what this program is … what skills it can offer. If Bakery Nouveau expands, if I’m looking for more employees, I’m looking to South Seattle.”

Leslie Mackie, the founder of Macrina Bakery, said she’s a graduate of a community college in Oregon: “I really believe in the power of community colleges.” She said that in the first few years of Macrina, after dealing with a lot of turnover, “we decided that … a criteria for employment would be” a background from an accredited pastry program.” She said the program “gives real-life experience.” The kiosk on campus does that. “It is so valuable. … Our recommendation is that we will do what we can to support the program. … The industry in general is changing, the restaurant business in general, and we need people who have a foundation in pastry.”

A chef for Seattle’s Facebook offices said they have a “humongous cafeteria for employees” – 2,500 people served daily. They have an eight-person pastry team, and still have two open positions. He said Facebook is looking to double its staff here, and double the culinary team too – “maybe some people in this room.”

Brandon LaVielle, president of the Washington State Chefs Association, owner of Lavish Roots Catering, and an SSC alum, said he thought the announcement of potential closure “was a late April Fool’s joke.” He added, “There aren’t enough pastry and baking programs in our area to begin with. … It’s hard enough to find staff with the school, let alone without it … The need for bakers and pastry chefs is at an all-time high … look at all the restaurants doing things from scratch these days.” What happens, he asked, when the economy picks up and they’re trying to reinstate the program?

Lisa Dupar of Pomegranate: “This is something very unique here at South Seattle … (SSC) graduates are industry-ready.” She said that the program’s reputation is stellar, and she too offered to help in any way she could – marketing the program, continuing to hire graduates.

George DePasquale, co-founder of Essential Baking Company, described himself as a 40-year baker, with 320+ employees: “The school is sitting in the middle of a gigantic labor pool that we really badly need.” The school needs to seek out those people – it has the training; companies like his have the jobs. He said news that the program was in jeopardy left him “shocked.” They’ve had dozens of SSC graduates over the years, he said. “They come to us already proficient in many of the skills” that their work requires. “Almost as important as the skills, they come to us already prepared for the atmosphere and demands of the lifestyle.” It is a lifestyle, not just a career, he said. “You give graduates the confidence and skills to see their own way …” to a promising future. “These people continue to revitalize the local culinary environment.”

He was followed by Bakery Nouveau founder William Leaman, who noted he has more than 150 employees in West Seattle, Capitol Hill, Burien. “There’s no doubt that this program kicks ass. Out of all the local community colleges that we get people from, it’s always been South that’s the best. … I think you don’t realize the quality, or what the potential could be, for the future.” He offered to help with marketing, with scholarships. “Don’t take our program from us!” He said all his managers, all his pastry chefs, “are South graduates.”

Another speaker said, “This feels like a marketing challenge.”

Lee Horswill from Brown Bear Baking on Orcas Island: “In this room combined you have the movers and shakers of the pastry world in Seattle and it’s just frickin’ awesome.” He agreed that it seems like a marketing challenge and they are willing to help. He would have hired more graduates “but they’re just not coming out fast enough.” Those he has “are amazing.”

The next speaker said the program is vital for Seattle to “continue to be a first-class city” – having to outsource this kind of education would not be right. “To lose something like that,” and inevitably to regret it – “once you lose it, it’s not going to come back in the right way … it’s not going to be a part of the community” the way it is now.

Leaders of SSC’s United Student Association spoke next: “You guys have our entire support – we’re here to represent our student body.” The program and its products are high quality. The problem is “are we just calling it quits?” USA officer Harkarn Bairns said, “Let’s not call it quits – let’s find out what we can do to sustain it.” The college is a family, he said.

A speaker describing herself as a long-ago student named other bakeries and said none of them compared. “It would be a shame to close this program down – what’s a culinary program if you don’t know how to bake?”

Faculty member Tim Walsh said he considers it an “ecosystem issue” with relationships between the various food and beverage programs – “changing one thing changes everything.” He said “it’s a hobby of mine to visit every bakery I can in town” and SSC’s remains at the top of his list, “a vital community resource … If the baking program leaves, I’d be very worried about the quality of bakeries all over the city.”

Another non-culinary faculty member, Tish Lopez, said she was speaking from the “campus perspective,” with SSC “on a hill … there’s not much around here,” especially in the way of food. “The bakery serves such an essential function.” She said she asked her 76 current students “what gives you joy” on campus – and more than 50 of them mentioned the baking program. Its affordability does make a big difference for many students. “If we’re trying to make South a place that feels like home, the bakery is such an essential component of that. … I can’t even imagine this campus without this program … it behooves us to see, what can we do to save this program?”

The next speaker drew laughter by saying he sees himself as its “top customer … I just believe as an educator that we learn by repetition … as a consumer, I know that many of my students consume the good stuff (the program) is producing,” but he also enjoys “see(ing) the students working there, the sense of professionalism that they are developing.” He too worries about the “domino effect” that the end of this program could cause.

He was the last signed up, but not the last speaker, it turned out. Lortz took a moment to say he would have to “struggle through the recommendation” made by Hopkins. “I appreciate immensely the outpouring of support, particularly from industry … I’m sad that it took this to get that display of support …” He also said the school “has not hit bottom” in its budget problems and needs to find “$1 million to $2 million out of next year’s budget.” Some of the problems that are manifesting now trace back many years, he added.

A student standing against the wall said she was a high-school dropout but has a young cousin who looks up to her and now wants to be a chef – not just because she is training to be a chef, but because “she wants to create things to make a better world for other people.” She said her training had helped her become “a better person” and “a better role model for my little cousin. … You realize you can do so much more to help this world,” and to spread the knowledge.

The next person who spoke said he didn’t even finish middle school but this is a career he can work toward.d he too was not just a high-school dropout but a middle-school dropout and this is a career he can work toward.

Can someone just write a check to save the program? Lortz was asked

Not that easy, said Lortz. “If we are not using state dollars … we can’t count the enrollment … we would then not be contributing to our FTE [full-time enrollment] goal and the state would not be contributing toward that.”

What if students were working with community leaders to generate revenue? That “could help with equipment and supplies,” said Lortz, “but not the cost of instruction.”

“How many bodies in the classrooms does it take to keep this program going?” one person asked. “We need to know, what do you need from us to maintain this program? … If we can get the bodies in here to make your numbers happen, how do we do that?”

Lortz prefaced his reply by saying that compared to other colleges, SSC spends more on instruction than on support (which includes marketing, etc.). The questioner pressed the point. Lortz continued, “The way the program is set up structurally, it is a high-cost program, even when full … South is in a difficult position (compared to others) because it has many high-cost programs” as well as many low- to no-cost programs. “I have to make decisions in general about the program mix of this college.”

Chef Smith said she and Chef Harris could work with more people. She said she also knows that the cabinet is having many tough conversations. “I firmly believe that the decision you have before you is an interim solution that might … provide a small amount of relief in your budget … but we might be able to use this to spark an opportunity to grow … the hard work starts now.” She said the program has been without a Technical Advisory Committee as it deals with the challenge of running a retail operation as well as an educational program. “I believe the time is now for our program not to fall, but to rise … and for all of us to imagine what we can be, together.” She said they didn’t get a chance to defend themselves, and that there are proposals to raise money in a variety of ways including raising lab fees. “We want to be part of the solution, not part of the problem.”

Various suggestions were offered by others, including allowing the college staff as a whole to “be creative.” Lortz also at one point before the meeting’s end declared that “Community colleges are ignored in Olympia,” saying SSC is “the canary in the coal mine … Washington does not fund its community colleges appropriately. … The problem is the underfunding overall.”

Whatever it is, program members and supporters said, they want a chance to help solve it. Chef Harris declared, “We were shorted … we were asked to make a proposal for getting out of this hole, and then we were told,” it wouldn’t even be considered, “this is what’s going to happen.” Ending it would be a “short-term fix,” but one that “creates more of this spiral effect. … This program is not just about providing cookies to the campus … this program is about getting people employed in the community … maybe it needs to be changed a little bit … but we want the opportunity to change it, not to be told … this is the end of it. … It kills me that we are in these situations when … for all these years I asked for financial data over and over and over again, and I’ve been told ‘you’re fine,’ but I’ve never been given access to financially manage our program the way I know I can.” He said that if he knew three years ago that trouble was looming, he could have done something. But “we really were shortchanged” by not having been given a chance. He said they weren’t told last year that they were going into “viability study” – if they had been, they would have gotten to work. “With all the money in this city,” there has to be a way to fund it.

“You gave me a lot more to think about,” Lortz responded.

What he doesn’t have is a lot more time. SSC says tomorrow is the deadline to forward the cut recommendation to the system chancellor, who in turn has just days for a final decision.

ADDED WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON: As noted briefly in comments, the SSC president requested and obtained a deadline extension. No firm date yet but “the decision will not be made this week,” according to the college’s communications director Ty Swenson.

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FAUNTLEROY CREEK: Our Lady of Guadalupe students’ morning research visit http://westseattleblog.com/2018/04/fauntleroy-creek-our-lady-of-guadalupe-students-morning-research-visit/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/04/fauntleroy-creek-our-lady-of-guadalupe-students-morning-research-visit/#comments Tue, 10 Apr 2018 20:36:29 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=913593 (Photos by Dennis Hinton)

By Judy Pickens
Special to West Seattle Blog

Sixth-grade science students from Our Lady of Guadalupe School, with teacher Jackie Ellis, descended on lower Fauntleroy Creek this morning to do the annual stonefly exoskeleton count and learn about other research on the creek.

Stonefly larvae are a major food source for juvenile salmon and an indicator of water quality. This is the time of year they take wing, leaving their exoskeletons behind.

Teams counted a total of 42 exoskeletons on trees, bridges, fences, and the ground in the study area. Last year’s count, done nearly a month later, was 28. Torso size averaged a typical 4 cm.

Environmental analysts with Seattle Public Utilities were on hand to summarize the city’s ongoing bacteria study in the creek, which is monitoring electrical conductivity and temperature to help identify sources of water pollution.

“In terms of what we’re sampling, Fauntleroy Creek has some of the cleanest water in all of Seattle’s urban creeks,” analyst Chapin Pier said. “This student research provides additional data, from another perspective.”

Dennis Hinton and Pete Draughon told the class about the spring out-migration study that’s been going on since 2003. Using soft traps in the upper and lower creek, these volunteers have caught and released 18 smolts so far as they head to saltwater, compared to 15 this time last year. Monitoring will continue through May.

Next up on Fauntleroy Creek will be Salmon in the Schools releases involving at least 750 students. The first of 20 releases in Fauntleroy Park will be April 26.

The watershed council’s Fauntleroy Stewardship Fund has received $4,275 in donations since March 1 to enable timely work to keep this outdoor classroom safe for students and healthy for aquatic life. The fund’s initial goal is $30,000.

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No more Pastry and Baking Arts at South Seattle College? Cancellation considered; meeting Tuesday http://westseattleblog.com/2018/04/no-more-pastry-and-baking-arts-at-south-seattle-college-cancellation-considered-meeting-tuesday/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/04/no-more-pastry-and-baking-arts-at-south-seattle-college-cancellation-considered-meeting-tuesday/#comments Mon, 09 Apr 2018 23:30:05 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=913541 (March photo courtesy South Seattle College)

You might remember that creative cake we featured last month, a commissioned creation of the South Seattle College (WSB sponsor) Pastry and Baking Arts program. This month, students, instructors, and supporters of the program are dealing with some not-so-sweet news: The program may be on its last legs. After getting word of this a few days ago, from a student who said, “The chefs told us … and it was a room full of crying people. A program that has been around for decades will be gone.” We sought confirmation from the college and received this statement today as confirmation:

After completing a program viability process, South Seattle College’s Vice President of Instruction (VPI) has made the recommendation to close the Pastry & Baking Arts program.

The VPI’s recommendation is based on low enrollment and high costs to administer the pastry program as the college addresses a challenging budget environment. The recommendation is not a reflection of the quality of the program or instruction provided to our students.

If the decision is made to close the program, the Office of Instruction’s main focus will be supporting currently enrolled students. Options to be considered include running the program until current students are able to complete their degrees or certificates, and transferring students to similar programs in the area. Human resources will provide support to impacted faculty and staff.

The VPI’s recommendation is made to the college president, who then makes the decision on whether to recommend program closure to Seattle Colleges’ chancellor. The chancellor makes the final determination.

Special Cabinet Meeting on April 10

South Seattle College’s president and cabinet are holding a special meeting from 2 to 3 p.m. on April 10 in the President’s Boardroom (RSB 30) to hear from Pastry & Baking Arts faculty, students, alumni and supporters. The meeting is open to the public. That feedback will help inform the president’s decision on making a closure recommendation to the chancellor.

A program graduate who contacted WSB says supporters plan to be there en masse to make the case for keeping the program. This is not the only manifestation of budget challenges at the college – before spring-quarter enrollment, some planned classes in unspecified areas were canceled, the college confirmed to us. Communications director Ty Swenson had told WSB at the time, “Looking at the big picture, South and many other community colleges have seen declining enrollment over the past several years with a strong economy and low unemployment (which typically drives potential and current students into the workforce instead). At the state level, funding for the community and technical college system has steadily declined. Locally, we’ve seen the cost of living rise dramatically in our service-area neighborhoods, causing lower and middle-income families we traditionally serve to move out of the area (which can also impact enrollment).”

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VIDEO: Highland Park Elementary’s first Move-A-Thon! http://westseattleblog.com/2018/04/video-highland-park-elementarys-first-move-a-thon/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/04/video-highland-park-elementarys-first-move-a-thon/#comments Sat, 07 Apr 2018 01:51:56 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=913340

Spring break has just begun for Seattle Public Schools – classes resume on April 16th. And it was a fun final pre-break day at Highland Park Elementary, as HPE PTA president Connie Wolf explains:

This morning Highland Park Elementary students rocked the tie dye at our first annual Move-A-Thon!

This fun event was made possible by our incredible school staff, passionate parents, and community-minded sponsors (Rain City West Screen Printing, Roxbury Lanes, Pagliacci Pizza, and West Seattle Runner). Also a very special thanks to our friends at Gatewood Elementary and Genesee Hill Elementary for their guidance. It’s been a landmark year for the HPE PTA, and it has everything to do with the support we’ve received from our West Seattle village.

(HPE principal Chris Cronas)

This is what your generosity and thoughtfulness helps us accomplish!

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VIDEO: 2 more chances to cheer ‘A Chorus Line’ at West Seattle High School http://westseattleblog.com/2018/04/video-2-more-chances-to-cheer-a-chorus-line-at-west-seattle-high-school/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/04/video-2-more-chances-to-cheer-a-chorus-line-at-west-seattle-high-school/#comments Thu, 05 Apr 2018 17:05:46 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=913206

(WSB video, photo)

Back in 1975, Broadway birthed the Tony and Pulitzer Award-winning sensation “A Chorus Line,” which ran for 15 years. The tale of 17 auditioners is still thrilling crowds today, with songs that have become classics, including “One,” which you can hear in our video clip, featuring West Seattle High School students from the Drama Club and Music Department. “A Chorus Line” is their spring musical, and you have just two more chances to see the 90-minute performance at the WSHS Theater – tonight and tomorrow (Friday) night at 7:30 pm (we recorded them during a runthrough before last night’s show).

It’s a huge production, with more than 60 performers and crew members, led by drama teacher Andrew Finley and music director Ethan Thomas (the program has a shoutout for more than a dozen parent volunteers too). E-mail for a reservation to get tickets at a lower rate. Haven’t been to the WSHS Theater? Enter the school through the courtyard off its parking lot on the west side of the school at 3000 California SW.

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Denise Juneau is board’s choice to become next Seattle Public Schools superintendent http://westseattleblog.com/2018/04/denise-juneau-is-boards-choice-to-become-next-seattle-public-schools-superintendent/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/04/denise-juneau-is-boards-choice-to-become-next-seattle-public-schools-superintendent/#respond Thu, 05 Apr 2018 02:25:38 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=913173 If a contract gets worked out, Denise Juneau will be Seattle Public Schools‘ new superintendent, and its first Native American leader. Here’s the announcement sent after tonight’s board vote:

The Seattle School board has narrowed from three to one its choice of a new superintendent. The board tonight unanimously voted to enter contract negotiations with Denise Juneau to take helm of the district July 1, 2018.

“Selecting a superintendent is the most important responsibility a school board has,” said Board President Leslie Harris. “Throughout this process, this board has sought feedback, listened closely and thoughtfully reflected on what characteristics we need in our next superintendent.

“We were thrilled with the quality of candidates, making this a harder decision than any of us expected. Our community and staff have high expectations for Seattle Schools. Denise Juneau is the right pick to fulfill our promise of equity and excellence.

“We have no time to lose on making the best education possible for every student, every day and in every classroom. Education is truly the key to the city’s future, and together, we have to unlock the doors.”

The board anticipates voting on April 25 to approve a final contract with Denise Juneau.

Juneau is Montana’s former state superintendent of public instruction, and one of three finalists announced a week ago. Since her unsuccessful run for Congress after her state superintendency ended, she has been self-employed as a consultant. Read more about her, and see her on video recorded at the district’s forum last week, by going here.

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What will Seattle Public Schools ask voters to approve in next year’s levies? Here’s how the West Seattle discussion went http://westseattleblog.com/2018/04/what-will-seattle-public-schools-ask-voters-to-approve-in-next-years-levies-heres-how-the-west-seattle-discussion-went/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/04/what-will-seattle-public-schools-ask-voters-to-approve-in-next-years-levies-heres-how-the-west-seattle-discussion-went/#comments Thu, 05 Apr 2018 01:13:25 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=913074 By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

This evening, we’ll find out who the Seattle Public Schools Board – led by West Seattle-residing president Leslie Harris – has chosen for a job offer to be the district’s new superintendent.

Whomever s/he turns out to be, one of their first big tasks will be jumping into a levy-shaping process that is already well under way.

Last night at Madison Middle School, senior managers from district HQ led the second of five citywide public meetings meant to help shape two levies expected to go to voters next February – the BEX V levy (Building Excellence, aka the “capital levy” meant to follow the expiration of the current six-year BEX IV levy) and the Operations Levy renewal.

Some additional West Seattle-related information and insight emerged beyond what was discussed at the board’s levy work session last week (WSB coverage here).

Disclosure, we arrived a few minutes late last night and Deputy Superintendent Stephen Nielsen was already in the middle of a complex explanation of the overall levy picture – including what some are asking, why levies are still needed given the recent sizable property-tax increase. “We have a problem,” he said. Even with what the Legislature did – and that property-tax hike – “do we have enough money? No.” Special education alone will use about $50 million of local levy money. And in a couple years, that’ll rise to $69 million. “We’ll be spending it here because we have to.” The slide deck for the meeting (which we obtained from the district – it’ll be on their website soon) explained (among other things) what areas of basic education are still not fully funded, per SPS:

Click here to see presentation (PDF)

On to the BEX V levy, when associate superintendent Dr. Flip Herndon took the microphone. He ran through district priorities for choosing projects that capital levies pay for – including capacity, safety, building conditions, “educational adequacy.” As we reported in coverage of last week’s School Board work session, board members still working on guiding principles for this levy, and he says a full discussion is expected later this month. And there were bullet points about the process, including community input/feedback; Herndon noted that playground assessment for elementary schools is part of the BEX process for the first time. Early lists of possible projects for levy inclusion total far more than the levy would be able to cover, he reminded the 20 or so attendees, so the list will be shrinking. “We still have a ton of schools that need to be addressed for a variety of reasons,” he said – and the levy won’t address them all.

Capacity-wise, the district has added 10,000 students in the past 8 years – the rate is slowing, Herndon noted – and has opened 15 new or modernized schools since 2014. Many schools are using non-classroom space for classrooms.

Taking the mike next, capital projects/planning director Richard Best. He recapped what we’ve already reported from the last board work session – the schools most in need of added capacity in this area are Alki, Lafayette, West Seattle (possibly an addition, he said) elementaries and Madison MS (which is slated to add portables before next year). He ran through the assessment criteria and noted the Meng report assessing district facilities (you can see it here).

Conditions: Alki, Lafayette, Schmitz Park, Boren STEM K-8 were listed.

We noticed at that point that Roxhill Elementary has disappeared from both potential project lists. Despite the building’s impending closure, when the students and staff move to renovated EC Hughes Elementary this fall, it had been mentioned in both priority categories during last week’s work session, ostensibly as a candidate for reopening to address south West Seattle space needs. We asked Dr. Herndon post-meeting about Roxhill’s removal from the lists, and he said he would look into it; we are waiting for a reply.)

The district’s chief information officer John Krull was up next, explaining the technology component of BEX V, saying the district needed to explain where it would invest. Questions to be settled for classrooms include: “Do we want to have laptops in classrooms? Do we want to have projection systems for teachers?” Questions to be settled for district operations include whether to invest in collaboration and communication systems.

Then it was Q&A time. First, written questions were answered. “What happens if voters don’t approve the levy?” Herndon said there are a couple of options – accept it, or revise the levy and try it again. Schools can only run levies in February, April, August or November, so they would have to decide when to try again as well as whether to try again. Running a levy costs $1 million, “so not passing obviously has some consequences” – though the cost itself is incorporated into levies.

The next question was whether the superintendent finalists had talked about lower class sizes, given that there was some question about whether they improve educational outcomes. Short answer: No.

Best answered the question of why levies were tied to enrollment growth rather than “local population growth.” He said the district works closely with the city to keep an eye on the latter. “We do not believe there is a direct correlation between (city population) growth and (enrollment) growth,” he said but rather an “indirect correlation.”

He also talked about seismic safety and said that some is still happening as a result of BEX IV, and that Sanislo Elementary is slated for some work.

Has there been discussion about combining STEM K-8 and Sanislo? He said no discussions that he was aware of, but “we are always looking at capacity solutions … we don’t always believe (they) are solved with facilities additions.” Changing boundaries helps sometimes, he added. He said they are aware of elementary capacity challenges in the Denny service area (most of south West Seattle).

Another question was answered by Krull: Who decides on technology vendors? He said they use state processes. All RFPs for purchasing are posted on the district website, and its IT website also has a quarterly report that talks about projects and purchases. Are specific vendor choices tied to the levy? 85 percent of the tech department’s purchases are, he said. Teachers are getting laptops now for the first time as the result of the BTA IV levy that voters approved in 2016.

Herndon handled the next question: Is parking part of the assessment process? Not really, he said, though a lot’s condition might be noted. And: What happens to all the feedback you receive about specific schools, after the levy is finalized? He said all the information is kept and the comments are made public “so you can see the full range of comments that are on there from previous levies as well.”

Then it was open-microphone question time. The first person with a question talked about whether capacity and funding become a snowballing situation – particularly at Sanislo, which raised questions about equity, resource distribution, and more, as density increases in the area, particularly with HALA Mandatory Housing Affordability upzoning likely. Dr. Herndon said that’s why they are working closely with the city.

School board director Eden Mack then took the microphone and said equity is a major focus for the district and board. She said that will play into the levy’s yet-to-be-finalized “guiding principles,” which will be discussed again later this week in the board’s Operations Committee meeting.

Another parent from Sanislo said their challenge includes being between two option schools – STEM K-8 and Pathfinder K-8 – and “low ratings” because of “a lot of complex issues” that result in parents deciding not to choose the neighborhood school. She brought up again the idea of combining Sanislo with STEM K-8.

A teacher from Alki Elementary then said he has attended many levy meetings over the past 20 years. And, he said, he has heard many rumors about the Alki-Lafayette corridor, long hearing that Alki was set for a new building, but being confused about that because of its footprint, so the only way they could expand capacity would be “to go straight up.” So, he asked, what is the relationship between Alki and adjacent city-run community center, and who owns which property?

Best said Alki is under consideration, and some of the school is on park property, while some of the center is on school district property. They share “physical plant” components such as the boiler. So they’ve been talking with Seattle Parks “because we do not want to surprise them if we were to replace a portion of Alki Elementary School.” He said Parks “is contemplating replacing the community center as well.” As for height concerns, he noted there’s a three-story apartment building nearby and they believe that going up would be allowed by zoning. What about the parking lot? There would be some parking on site, and a covered play area too.

Another Alki parent followed up on that, asking what part of Seattle Parks would be working with SPS if a project were improved. Real Estate is the department, and Max Jacobs and Chip Nevins in Parks are the people Best has been talking with, he said.

Next question: Why would Schmitz Park be considered for the levy, considering it is currently not being used as a school, and might have to be used as a temporary site during an Alki or Lafayette rebuild? Best said, yes, they’re looking at SP as an interim site. He also noted that Lafayette might be landmarked, as indicated by discussions with the city, and that would affect its future. One thing they would have to add to SP before using it as an interim site – restrooms, since currently it has only two.

What about Madison? It too needs room. And couldn’t STEM K-8 be considered for additional middle school capacity? Best said that what’s creating the need for capacity in southern West Seattle (Denny service area) is the K-3 class-size reduction, not a middle-school boom.

With that, staff headed out to the easels, to answer questions from, and talk with, attendees, one-on-one.

WHAT’S NEXT: The board will finalize the levy proposal no later than November; it has to be done at least 60 days before the February election in which they expect to send it to voters. What’s happening between now and then: This series of community meetings, “home language focus groups” in June, community meetings again in September, e-mail feedback throughout, and then in October, the board “weighs community feedback and staff recommendations to develop final levy proposals” before a final decision in November.

Right now, they want to hear what you think about the potential priorities laid out so far.

BEX V levy feedback/thoughts: capitallevy2019@seattleschools.org

Operations levy feedback/thoughts: budget@seattleschools.org

Info on the process: seattleschools.org/levies

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SOUTH SEATTLE COLLEGE: Four finalists for president, and your chance to meet them http://westseattleblog.com/2018/04/south-seattle-college-four-finalists-for-president-and-your-chance-to-meet-them/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/04/south-seattle-college-four-finalists-for-president-and-your-chance-to-meet-them/#respond Tue, 03 Apr 2018 23:40:20 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=913068 (UPDATED APRIL 10 with Dr. Brown’s withdrawal)

South Seattle College (WSB sponsor) has announced four finalists for its presidency, and your chances to hear from and talk with them:

After an extensive nationwide search, South Seattle College has named four finalists for the position of president. Students, faculty, staff and community members are invited to attend public forums where candidates will share their background, qualifications and vision for the college, followed by a question-and-answer session with the audience.

The finalists and public forum schedule are as follows:

Monday, April 9, 2018 | 1:30 – 2:30 p.m. | South Seattle College Olympic Hall Auditorium (OLY 120)

Dr. Tod Treat, Executive Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs, Tacoma Community College

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Wednesday, April 11 | 1:30 – 2:30 p.m. | South Seattle College Olympic Hall Auditorium (OLY 120)

Dr. Chemene Crawford, Vice President for Student Services and Enrollment Management, El Centro College

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Friday, April 13 | 1:30 – 2:30 p.m. | South Seattle College Olympic Hall Auditorium (OLY 120)

Dr. Alanka Brown, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs/ Dean of Arts and Sciences, Frederick Community College

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Monday, April 23 | 1:30 – 2:30 p.m. | South Seattle College Olympic Hall Auditorium (OLY 120)

Dr. Rosie Rimando-Chareunsap, Vice President for Student Services, South Seattle College

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Immediately following each public forum, from 2:30 – 3:00 p.m., candidates will answer questions from current South Seattle College students. In addition to the forums, each candidate will participate in a full day of campus interviews with students, various campus representatives and Seattle Colleges District leadership.

Anyone interested in learning more about the candidates can visit the South Seattle College President Search webpage. Attendees will be able to provide feedback on the candidates at the website above and with paper forms provided at the forums. That feedback will help inform the Seattle Colleges Board of Trustees’ decision.

The presidency is open because Gary Oertli retired after last year; Peter Lortz has been serving as interim SSC president. The college’s main campus is in West Seattle, at 6000 16th SW on Puget Ridge.

ADDED APRIL 10TH: SSC says Dr. Brown has withdrawn her candidacy, so the April 13th event is canceled.

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Why Seattle Public Schools will have increased security on Tuesday http://westseattleblog.com/2018/04/why-seattle-public-schools-will-have-increased-security-on-tuesday/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/04/why-seattle-public-schools-will-have-increased-security-on-tuesday/#comments Tue, 03 Apr 2018 02:24:09 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=913009 Thanks to the parent who forwarded us the following message that Seattle Public Schools subsequently confirmed to us was sent to families throughout the district:

In recent weeks, a social media post from the United Kingdom began promoting April 3 as “Harm a Muslim” Day. Social media can spread messages quickly, and some of SPS students are talking about this.

While this activity seems to be focused in Europe, in an abundance of caution, there will be increased security at schools. If you hear of something, please contact the district Safety & Security office at 206-252-0510 or call 9-1-1 if it is an emergency.

As a school system, we will do everything we can to make sure our students are safe while in our care. Anyone who feels unsafe or targeted for any reason should immediately contact a trusted adult.

Harassment of any kind is not, and will not, be tolerated in Seattle Public Schools.

New York schools also are increasing security; Portland’s school district has sent a message to families after discovering flyers about the “day.”

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FOLLOWUP: Highland Park Elementary playground gets ready for May grand opening http://westseattleblog.com/2018/04/followup-highland-park-elementary-playground-gets-ready-for-may-grand-opening/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/04/followup-highland-park-elementary-playground-gets-ready-for-may-grand-opening/#comments Sun, 01 Apr 2018 22:26:19 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=912895

Last weekend, we featured Sam‘s report on Highland Park Elementary playground progress. We received a followup, with photos, from Connie Wolf of the HPE PTA:

Over 100 adults and kids generously gave of their time (last) Sunday morning to move a mountain of play chips and prep the gravel under our new net climber. A huge THANK YOU to our school families and staff, community members, City Year, Pomegranate Design, and Bethany Community Church for turning a daunting task into a community-building celebration. All the credit for organizing the event and getting Phase One of our playground built goes to the volunteer group Highland Park Plays and especially Gretchen DeDecker (Seattle Public Schools Program Manager).

Up next – concrete work is wrapping up, and then we’ll finish getting the chips into the play area. The highly anticipated play structures will be ready for our students in April. We’re planning a Grand Opening Party on May 5th. Stay tuned for details!

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SOFTBALL: West Seattle High School vs. Chief Sealth International High School http://westseattleblog.com/2018/04/softball-west-seattle-high-school-vs-chief-sealth-international-high-school/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/04/softball-west-seattle-high-school-vs-chief-sealth-international-high-school/#comments Sun, 01 Apr 2018 21:35:48 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=912883

Checking in on more high-school spring sports – fast-pitch-softball season is well under way. This past Friday afternoon at Southwest Athletic Complex, Chief Sealth International High School hosted West Seattle High School.

(Sealth’s Kentoria Taitai on the brink of scoring the team’s first run Friday)

Tough season so far for the Seahawks, who lost 18-2 and are still seeking their first win.

(WSHS pitcher Belle Watt)

The Wildcats are 3-2 on the season. Up next for both teams, home games vs. Ingraham HS, both at SWAC (2801 SW Thistle) – Chief Sealth plays Monday at 4 pm, WSHS plays Wednesday at 4 pm. The regular season runs through early May.

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