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CHIEF SEALTH ALUMS: Got memorabilia? This request is for you

October 23, 2017 9:00 am
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 |   West Seattle history | West Seattle news | West Seattle schools

This year’s Chief Sealth International High School auction celebrates the school’s 60-year anniversary. If you or someone in your family spent time at the school during those 60 years, maybe you can help with this request:

Are you a Sealth Alumni? Do you know one? We are looking for MEMORABILIA throughout the ages. The Sealth Auction Committee is looking for items to use for decorations at the 9th Annual Auction for Sealth, PTSA, DSPA and Athletics. Do you have old Letterman jackets, pictures, annuals? Old uniforms? We’ll borrow or take whatever you’ve got. Maybe ask your neighbor that’s lived in the area for a long time. We are celebrating 60 years of Sealth, 1957-2017!

The auction is on November 18th at the Brockey Center. We’d love any help the community can offer us in locating these items. We are especially looking for the years late ’50s, ’60s & ’70s! Please contact Kristin Arvidson at chiefsealthptsa@gmail.com

FOLLOWUP: Concord Elementary PTA seeking support for solutions to dual-language program, kindergarten-crowding concerns

“We ARE the opportunity gap,” Robin Schwartz from the Concord International Elementary School PTA told the Seattle School Board at its meeting this past week. (When you click “play” on the video clip below, it should advance to her remarks.)

We first reported three weeks ago on the concerns of Schwartz and other parents at Concord, which is in South Park but also draws some West Seattle families, especially because of its dual-language program, the subject of some of the changes they’re worried about.

They organized a forum to bring some of those concerns to school and district officials (WSB coverage here), and have another one planned.

And now they’re gathering signatures of support after circulating this letter:

In her remarks to the school board last Wednesday, a comment period that has strict time limits, Schwartz focused on the kindergarten class size, adding that besides being a non-optimal experience for students, “Our teachers are overwhelmed and overburdened.”

At the forum earlier this month, the district promised a committee would look at the parents’ concerns. A November 9th followup meeting is planned to see what progress has been made. But the PTA doesn’t want to just wait for that, so is seeking signatures of support – if you would like to add yours, here’s where to sign on (scroll to the end of the document after the summary of concerns and requests).

CONGRATULATIONS! West Seattle High School golfers’ success

Thanks to Anna Nguyen for photos and reports on two success stories from the West Seattle High School golf season. First, the girls:

(L-R, Berit Syltebo and Lauryn Nguyen)

Congratulations to the WSHS Girls Golf Team on their 3rd-place finish in the overall-team standings at this week’s 3A Metro League Tournament held at Jefferson Park Golf Course. Senior Berit Syltebo and Freshman Lauryn Nguyen qualified for the 3A Metro/King Co District tournament to be held next Spring. Nguyen posted a commanding 4-under par round to win the individual Medalist Honors, beating the field by 7 strokes in the 18-hole Metro League Tournament. Nguyen also captured 1st place during all of the regular season high-school matches. Her dominating performance earned her the WIAA Metro League Player of the Year title!

Here’s the entire team, in a tweeted photo:

Now, the report on the boys’ team:

(L-R, Cameron Smith and Alex Nguyen)

Two members of the WSHS Varsity boys’ golf team qualified for the 3A Metro/King Co District tournament after competing in the Metro League Golf Championship this week held at West Seattle Golf Course and Jefferson Park Golf Course. Senior Alex Nguyen and Junior Cameron Smith finished in the top 38 to earn a place to compete at Districts next Tuesday (10/24/2017) at Riverbend Golf Complex in Kent.

Both teams are coached by Velko Vitalich, who, as we reported back in June, has retired as WSHS baseball head coach but continued on with the golfers for one more year.

VIDEO/PHOTOS: Playoffs next for Chief Sealth after homecoming victory over Bainbridge

October 20, 2017 9:49 pm
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 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle schools | WS & Sports

9:49 PM: That’s one of Chief Sealth International High School #8 Dontae McMillan‘s touchdowns tonight at Southwest Athletic Complex, where the Seahawks beat the Spartans of Bainbridge High School, 24-6. It was Sealth’s homecoming night and senior night, and we have lots of photos and details to come later tonight. This was also their last regular-season game of the year – ending with a 6-2 record – and it was announced that their first postseason game will be 5 pm next Friday at Memorial Stadium downtown vs. Seattle Prep. More to come!

ADDED EARLY SATURDAY: As announcer Eddie Snead (a 9th-grade social-studies teacher) put it, it was a fine defensive game. Both defenses dominated so much that the halftime score was only 6-6. And that was just two and a half minutes after Bainbridge got its only touchdown of the game. With seconds to go until halftime, they tried and failed to make a distant field goal – “way off,” Mr. Snead pronounced it. His announcing is a highlight of Sealth games but tonight he was really on a roll, so we stopped in for a photo:

During halftime, there was a pie-throwing contest – our video shows Ms. Parker from the independent living and hospitality program:

The cheerleaders of course performed – otherwise, it was a huddling-for-warmth kind of night, with a brisk wind in the stadium.

The band took the field:

We caught a bit of the “Munsters Theme” on video:

A few minutes into the third quarter, Mr. Snead observed that it had been a penalty-laden game, more than 80 yards worth for Sealth alone. “More flags than the United Nations!”

McMillan’s second TD (seen in the top video clip) broke the tie with 5:01 to go in the third quarter, giving Sealth a 12-6 lead.

#5 Diego Jackson got one with 10:18 left in the game – “no flags!” declared Mr. Snead jubilantly – and it was 18-6. Final Sealth TD was with just over a minute left, and that resulted in the final score, 24-6.

The game – which had started early, 5 pm, since it was homecoming night – was over, but not the festivities. Seniors were honored:

Head coach Ted Rodriguez read their names and their post-high-school plans. Then came the announcement of next week’s playoff game, and everyone headed out into the wind-chilled night.

SCHOOL SAFETY: Sealth principal’s letter about homecoming night

Thanks to the parents who shared this letter sent to Chief Sealth International High School families:

Dear Chief Sealth families,

As you are probably aware, tonight is our Homecoming game and Dance. Homecoming is an exciting event for our students. There is increased activity around the school including more former and non-district students. We want to ensure that we have a safe and fun Homecoming celebration and have been developing plans to make this a wonderfully memorable occasion.

Yesterday after school a student alerted us to a rumors of a potential disruption at Homecoming. Although no specific threats were identified, we alerted the Seattle Police Department (SPD). Because of recent community violence, we wanted to make sure that the Southwest Precinct was aware of our student’s concerns, so that they could support our Homecoming. In an abundance of caution, SPD will be assigning additional officers to our event today. We appreciate their support.

Please know that we take safety on our campus very seriously, the well-being of our students is our top concern. We are committed to doing everything we can to keep our students safe during all school activities. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me. I will be happy to speak with families and guardians directly. In the meantime, please join us for our wonderful Homecoming activities tonight.


Aida Fraser-Hammer
Principal, Chief Sealth International High School

This time of year, we’re at Southwest Athletic Complex every Friday night, covering whichever team is playing a home game, so we can tell you that police are almost always on hand at SWAC games, whether there’s an incident or not. We usually see them in local high-school gyms during varsity basketball games, too.

FOOTBALL: Chief Sealth’s head coach Ted Rodriguez discovers post-retirement ‘adventure’ back on the field

(WSB photo: Coach Ted Rodriguez, last month)

By Tracy Record and Patrick Sand
West Seattle Blog co-publishers

Tonight, Chief Sealth International High School head football coach Ted Rodriguez leads his players onto the field at Southwest Athletic Complex for their last regularly scheduled game of an already very successful season.

They’re 5-2. They have the Huling Bowl trophy for the first time in three years. Those are just part of this season’s highlights.

All this after Coach Rodriguez quietly took over the team at the start of the year. Along with leading Sealth’s football team, he’s also athletic director and house administrator next door at Denny International Middle School.

And he’s working after having come out of retirement – twice.

Read More

FRIDAY NIGHT: Dinner and square dancing with Highland Park Elementary PTA!

The Highland Park Elementary School PTA invites you to have fun with them on Friday night – free! It’s the fourth annual Square Dance, 6-9 pm at the school (1012 SW Trenton), starting with dinner until 7, then dancing with a live string band. “All ages and abilities welcome (and) every kid goes home with a pumpkin.” No admission charge at all – dinner and dancing are free, as are the pumpkins – if you are able to donate, it’s a fundraiser for the PTA, but if not, they’ll still be thrilled to see you.

FOOTBALL: Chief Sealth IHS now 5-2 after home victory over Sammamish

(WSB photos by Patrick Sand. Above, #73 Nic Anderson)

Friday night at Southwest Athletic Complex, Chief Sealth International High School took the lead over visiting Sammamish with 4:40 left in the first quarter, and, with rampaging offense and determined defense, kept it the rest of the game.

Diego Jackson got that first TD, and with a successful point-after kick, Sealth led 7-6, which is where things stood at the end of the first quarter. The second quarter was just a little over a minute old when Chief Sealth #8 Dontae McMillan notched the Seahawks’ next TD. The Totems blocked the kick so that took the score to 13-6.

Sealth expanded the lead to 20-6 just before halftime. The third quarter – on a clear, chilly night in Westwood – went scoreless until Sammamish ran in a TD with 8:44 to go. No extra points, so that brought the score to Sealth 20, Sammamish 12. The Seahawks needed only a minute to answer with their next TD, run in by #11, Bishop Jackson.

Fourth quarter started with Sealth up 27-12. The game provided lots of opportunities to hear the Sealth band strike up the fight song, and the next one came less than one minute into the fourth, #11 again with the TD, widening the lead to 33-12.

Two more touchdowns before the game ended, last one with 4:02 to go, by #16 Chase Gaither, and with a two-point conversion, the final score was Chief Sealth 47, Sammamish 12.

The cheerleaders were not only rooting for a win, they were also rooting for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, with special pink tops and a sidelines decoration in the shape of an awareness ribbon – a symbol spotted elsewhere, too:

Head coach Ted Rodriguez‘s team is now 5-2.

The Seahawks have one more regular-season game, homecoming next Friday (October 20th), 5 pm at SWAC vs. Bainbridge.

@ West Seattle High School PTSA: Principal discusses threat response

(WSB photo)

West Seattle High School‘s new principal Brian Vance was already scheduled to talk with the WSHS PTSA at its meeting last night, long before the situation last Thursday involving a “threatening statement” made by a student (WSB coverage here), but that became Topic A. Read More

VIDEO: 59th/Admiral ‘improvements’ made things worse, Alki Elementary parents say

Our video is from 59th and Admiral, during the Monday morning walk to school at Alki Elementary, just north of the intersection. It’s been a little over a month since SDOT changed the intersection to an all-way stop – previously, east-west traffic didn’t have to stop unless the north-south signal on the east side of the intersection was activated by pedestrian(s). It’s the first phase of what SDOT announced as a two-way “crossing improvement.” Some say it’s been anything but.

Parents from Alki Elementary have formed a Traffic Safety Task Force. They met with us at the intersection before school at Monday morning to show us what they say are more-dangerous conditions since the change, with some drivers still seeming confused about how the intersection is supposed to work, resulting in, for example, turns made through the crosswalk while pedestrians are still in it:

In the parents’ correspondence with SDOT so far, it’s been reiterated that the department is evaluating the changes over a six-month period before deciding whether to make them permanent and to continue to Phase 2. The parents say this is more urgent than that – we’re going into the dark, rainy months and even on the clearest winter day, many will be crossing before sunrise, and the intersection is challenging enough now.

The one marked crosswalk at the intersection already serves as the only marked crossing on Admiral Way from 49th to 59th, all part of the Alki Elementary attendance zone.

What they want, as Merkys Gomez from the Task Force summarizes: “An all-way traffic signal (i.e. traffic light) that is pedestrian and vehicle activated with no-turn-on-red signs, and red light and speeding cameras for ticketing, at a minimum, during school commute times. We also need appropriate signage installed indicating that this is a school zone, with flashing beacons.”

While the city hasn’t added red-light cameras in a long time (West Seattle has two, at 35th/Avalon and 35th/Thistle), it’s continued to slowly expand the list of speed-enforcement cameras in school zones; in West Seattle, they are installed along Fauntleroy Way SW near Gatewood Elementary, along Delridge Way SW near Louisa Boren STEM K-8, and along SW Roxbury near Roxhill Elementary (which is scheduled to be vacated next school year) and Holy Family School. Even more elementaries have flashing “20 mph school zone” beacons, minus cameras, nearby, including Genesee Hill, Highland Park, and Gatewood.

This morning, the Traffic Safety Task Force parents were scheduled to meet with at least one SDOT official to continue discussing their concerns. But the request for a full-service signal has already been turned down – here’s what SDOT spokesperson Dawn Schellenberg told the Alki parents via e-mail:

Unfortunately, at this time traffic operations do not meet Federal Highway guidelines for full signal installation so this is not a resolution we can move forward.

Noting that 47th/Admiral has a full signal, without a school zone in the immediate area, they are asking for an explanation of where 59th/Admiral doesn’t meet “guidelines.” They also want to know how SDOT is collecting “public input” during the six-month review, as they haven’t seen any calls for it yet.

By the way, as shown in our video above, the intersection does have a crossing guard – but not guaranteed; the parents say that if the guard has an off or sick day, they’re not replaced. Not that the guard’s presence in the roadway prevented all rule-breaking, we noticed while we were there. SDOT told the parents that when a traffic officer was at the intersection in the early going after the all-way-stop change, SPD saw “99 percent compliance,” but didn’t provide data, so the parents are asking for that too.

ADDED TUESDAY EVENING: Nearby resident Tim has since recorded video at the intersection and provided it to the Alki Elementary Traffic Safety Task Force as well as to us, via this YouTube clip.

HAPPENING NOW: Seattle Lutheran HS cheerleaders’ car-wash fundraiser

(WSB photos. Above, Dazor and Sophie)

No matter how dirty your car gets, you’re probably not going to find someone cheering when you wash it – unless it happens to be a car wash by and for cheerleaders. That’s exactly what’s happening right now at West Seattle Autoworks (35th SW/SW Webster; WSB sponsor), where Seattle Lutheran High School cheerleaders are raising money by washing cars:

Stop by before 3 pm. No set price – whatever you can donate.

FOOTBALL: West Seattle HS hosts Nathan Hale for homecoming game

(WSB photos by Patrick Sand)

Down 21-0 two-thirds of the way through the first quarter of Friday night’s homecoming game, West Seattle High School‘s varsity football team refused to give up.

Led by quarterback Anthony Coats (#8, above), who threw and threw and threw – and ran, too – the WSHS players battled back to a 21-all tie with visiting Nathan Hale before the second quarter was half over.

(#3, Leland Gropper)

After that, though, Hale managed to pile up another 20 unanswered points before halftime – and it was 41-21 at the half.

(WSHS head coach Marcis Fennell)

Neither team added points in the third quarter. In the fourth, the Wildcats got into comeback mode again, and made up half the gap with a field goal and TD – but that’s as far as they got, and the final score was 41-31.

Also at Southwest Athletic Complex: At halftime, the WSHS Marching Band put on a show:

Besides the full band, directed by Ethan Thomas, the drumline entertained, too:

Lots of pink on the field, because October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month:

And though the weather was the worst it had been for a game night so far this year – windy and drizzly – the fans kept the energy level up too:

This was also the last home game of the year for the Wildcats, who are 0-6 so far the season. Next Friday (October 13th), they play in Renton, at Liberty High School, 7 pm.

FOOTBALL: Chief Sealth IHS wins at Ingraham HS

October 6, 2017 9:55 pm
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 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle schools | WS & Sports

One football final score so far tonight – according to the Metro League website, it was a road win for Chief Sealth International High School tonight, 40-0 over Ingraham at Northwest Athletic Complex. The Seahawks are now 4-2. Next week, they play a home game vs. Sammamish at Southwest Athletic Complex, 7 pm Friday, October 13th.

WEST SEATTLE CRIME WATCH: Students encounter exposer, per letter sent to families

For the second time this week, the principals of Chief Sealth International High School and Denny International Middle School have sent families a letter about an incident involving students walking near the campuses. Thanks to Denny principal Jeff Clark and several Sealth parents for forwarding it minutes ago:

Dear Denny/Sealth families:

It has been an exciting start to school, and with our scholars’ growing independence – particularly when they are out in the community – there may be situations that challenge their personal safety.

We want to take this opportunity to let you know that we are working with scholars to ensure they maximize their personal safety and their comfort with reporting potentially unsafe behavior. We also want to highlight an incident where students saw an inappropriate and disturbing behavior, and correctly reported it to school staff.

Today, two 11th-grade scholars were returning to Chief Sealth from Westwood Village. They were near the intersection of Cloverdale and 26th Avenue SW when they noticed an adult male exposing himself. The students immediately reported the situation to staff. Administration took immediate action and the Seattle Police Department were notified. We are very proud of how our students responded to this situation and want to encourage all our scholars to report appropriately.

At school, we continue to differentiate “reporting” from “tattle-telling.” Reporting is a responsibility when someone is hurt, in danger or in an unsafe situation. We are providing a link to some additional information that might be helpful during these discussions: http://www.seattle.gov/police/community-policing/youth-safety-tips

Please be assured that the safety and security of our students is a top priority at both Sealth International School and Denny International School. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

The letter was signed by Clark and by Sealth principal Aida Fraser-Hammer.

26th SW is the path along which the city still plans walkway improvements, while 25th SW – where students reported being approached inappropriately back on Monday – is the area where they’ve been canceled pending a future development.

WEST SEATTLE SCHOOLS: New home for Arbor Heights Co-op Preschool

From Jen Giomi at West Seattle Cooperative Preschools:

Finally, Arbor Heights Cooperative Preschool has found its new home! After 3 years of looking for a new location in the South end of town, it has landed at Mount View Presbyterian Church, 10806 12th Ave SW. Arbor Heights has preschool classes for children 2-5 years of age, which include parenting education through South Seattle College.

The preschool was housed at Hillcrest Presbyterian Church before that church sold its Arbor Heights campus to Westside School (WSB sponsor).

P.S. The Cooperative Preschools are again the beneficiaries of the West Seattle Monster Dash, which is just three weeks away – Saturday, October 28th, at Lincoln Park – full details and online signup here.

UPDATE: West Seattle High School principal sends letters after ‘threatening statement’

ORIGINAL REPORT, 7:43 PM THURSDAY: Tonight we received a few inquiries about a report that a West Seattle High School student made a threat in a classroom during the school day. We contacted district spokesperson Kim Schmanke to ask if she had any information about this, and she just sent us the letter that WSHS principal Brian Vance sent to families tonight:

Dear West Seattle High School families,

Late in the school day, one of our students made a threatening statement. Upon learning about the comments, we contacted the district’s Safety and Security office and the Seattle Police Department.

We contacted the families whose students overheard the comments before sending a school-wide communication.

Please know that we take safety in our buildings very seriously; the well-being of our students is our top priority.

I realize any talk of violence is a cause for concern and we will continue to investigate to assure you that we are committed to doing everything we can to keep our students safe at school.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me. I will be happy to speak with parents and guardians directly.

ADDED 8:03 PM: We asked if /how the student had been disciplined. Schmanke replied, “My understanding is we cannot disclose the specifics but yes, appropriate protocols were followed regarding the student.”

ADDED 8 AM FRIDAY: Thanks to the parent who forwarded us a second letter that they say was sent this morning:

Dear West Seattle High School families,

I wanted to follow up from my email last night regarding the threat that was made by one of our students yesterday afternoon. I received several emails with a variety of concerns. Unfortunately, I cannot share every detail from our investigation but I wanted to at least clarify a couple of things.

· The student who made the threat was identified immediately and will not be at school while we continue our investigation.

· In an abundance of caution, there will be additional security at school today.

· Both district security and Seattle Police Department are aware of the situation and are helping with our investigation.

· We are planning a normal school day today and plan to move forward with all the homecoming activities this weekend.

· If your student needs to talk with someone, our counselors will be available to do so.

As I said last night, please know that we take safety in our buildings very seriously; the well-being of our students is our top priority. I realize any talk of violence is a cause for concern and we will continue to investigate to assure you that we are committed to doing everything we can to keep our students safe at school. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me.


Brian Vance, Principal
West Seattle High School

FOLLOWUP: Committee to be created to handle concerns about Concord International’s dual-language program

October 4, 2017 11:45 pm
|    Comments Off on FOLLOWUP: Committee to be created to handle concerns about Concord International’s dual-language program
 |   South Park | West Seattle news | West Seattle schools

(Concord International School PTA members at meeting they organized regarding dual-language-program concerns)

Story and photos by Marika Lee
Reporting for West Seattle Blog

One parent said he didn’t learn of changes at his son’s school, Concord International Elementary, from the school or the district, but by asking his son what he did at school in Spanish that day. His son’s reply: “Nothing.”

That was just one of the experiences shared at Tuesday night’s community meeting in South Park to voice concerns about the changes to the Spanish/English dual-language program at Concord.

Another Concord parent, Paulina Lopez, said at the meeting organized by the Concord PTA, “I have always been very strong on bilingualism. That is why I chose Concord. It came to my surprise that there were changes. One reason was because I wasn’t aware of the changes when the year started.”

As reported here last Friday, with the changes, reading and writing are being taught primarily in English.

Read More

HELP NEEDED, URGENTLY: Volunteer tutors for Roxhill Elementary students

(Photo courtesy Invest in Youth)

The nonprofit Invest in Youth just sent this, saying it’s urgent:

Looking for a way to give back to your community?

Invest in Youth is a Seattle-based nonprofit organization that provides free tutoring to local elementary students across the city.

Become a tutor this fall! We are looking to pair volunteers with struggling learners in the community. We have a very high need for volunteer tutors at Roxhill Elementary, here in West Seattle.

Tutoring begins in late October, runs through May, and takes place once every week at each school.

Each tutor is matched with the same student for the whole school year, and the pair works together on things like playing math games, reading stories or working on homework, for one hour each week. Educational materials and activities, training and support, and heartfelt appreciation are provided at every session.

For more information or to apply to be a tutor, please contact Alison Allen at aallen@investinyouth.org or visit our website: investinyouth.org

Can’t commit to the full school year? Become a substitute tutor or share this with your friends who might be interested.

CONGRATULATIONS! National Merit Scholarship honors for Chief Sealth IHS student Amad Ross

From Chief Sealth International High School principal Aida Fraser-Hammer:

Chief Sealth International High School announced that Amad Ross has been named a Commended Student in the 2018 National Merit Scholarship Program. A letter of Commendation from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC), which conducts the program, was presented to this scholastically talented senior on Friday.

Commended students placed among the top 50,000 of more than 1.6 million students who entered the 2018 Competition by taking the 2016 preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSATNMSQT). “The young men and women being named Commended Students have been demonstrated outstanding potential for academic success,” commented a spokesperson for NMSC. “These students represent a valuable national resource; recognizing their accomplishments, as well as the key role their schools play in their academic development, is vital to the advancement of educational excellence in our nation. We hope that this recognition will help broaden their educational opportunities and encourage them as they continue in their pursuit of academic success.”

Amad is a part-time Running Start student and a strong leader at Chief Sealth, having been co-organizer of a Walk-Out against the Trump Travel Ban and a Rally against Anti-Islamism. Chief Sealth is very proud of him and we look forward to sharing more about his accomplishments as he graduates and enters college.

FOOTBALL: Chief Sealth hosts Franklin @ SWAC

September 29, 2017 11:51 pm
|    Comments Off on FOOTBALL: Chief Sealth hosts Franklin @ SWAC
 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle schools | WS & Sports

(WSB photos by Patrick Sand)

Big win for Chief Sealth International High School tonight at Southwest Athletic Complex, over visiting Franklin HS.

We got to the game at the start of the second quarter, by which time the Seahawks were ahead 19-8. The scoring for the rest of the game was all Sealth.

(Sealth #8, Dontae McMillan)

They had added 10 more points by halftime, 29-8. By the end of the third quarter, Sealth was up 44-8. And the fourth quarter went by without any change, so the final score was 44-8. That put the Seahawks’ record up to 3-2 under first-year head coach Ted Rodriguez.

The Quakers – with far fewer players on their roster – went home still looking for their first win.

Next week, Chief Sealth is on the road, playing Ingraham at NW Athletic Complex, 7 pm Friday (October 6th).

TUESDAY: Concord International School PTA to air concerns that dual-language program is eroding

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

In the West Seattle/South Park area, Concord International School is the only Seattle Public Schools elementary with a dual-language immersion program.

Some parents are concerned that changes this year are eroding the immersive aspect of the English/Spanish program. And they plan a meeting next Tuesday at South Park Neighborhood Center (6 pm October 3rd, 8201 10th Ave. S., South Park) to explain their concerns.

Among those concerns: Reading and writing are being taught primarily in English. And Concord’s kindergarten has only one dual-language classroom this year.

At a briefing for families last week at Concord, longtime principal Dr. Norma Zavala explained the program’s status but didn’t take Q&A, saying that would be at a later meeting.

She noted overall changes including that Concord has a STEAM curriculum now – science, technology, engineering, art, math, and that while the school’s students were 93 percent qualified for free/reduced-price lunch when she started almost a decade ago, that is down to 75 percent.

Kindergarten enrollment for Concord wasn’t enough for two dual-language classrooms, the principal said, so they have one dual and one “traditional” as the result of a decision that had to be made around kindergarten “jump start” time in August.

There are concerns that the school is not as involved with nearby Marra Farm this year as it has been in the past, but the principal says it’s continuing to partner with Concord teachers.

Regarding the dual-language instruction, she said both Concord and Beacon Hill, another of the district’s five elementaries with dual-language immersion, have a “shift” happening:

Students (native/heritage Spanish and English speakers) will learn to read and write in both English and Spanish from kindergarten. Formal, balanced literacy instruction will happen in English. Literacy in Spanish will be taught through small group instruction and through the content areas (e.g. math, social studies, science). The plan, she said, “supports increasing bilingualism of incoming students” – that’s another change, that students who used to start as native Spanish speakers “are now coming in bilingual.”

The principal said the benefits of concurrent literacy development are expected to include:

*Native Spanish and English speakers learn with and from each other all day

*Literacy skills are taught through content in both languages

*Increased time in Spanish for English native speakers

*Less segregation by language group

She also said the changes are expected to increase support for and collaboration between teachers, better leverage district resources, and increase centralized support for the dual-language program.

Among specific subjects, math for the dual-language students is being taught in Spanish for K through 2nd, both languages for 3rd, and in English for 4th and 5th, though Dr. Zavala said that’s not a change. Writing is being taught in English for all grades, though English Language Learners will continue to get support from bilingual staff, and it will also “be taught through social studies and science in Spanish in dual-language classrooms.”

Reading has a new district-adopted curriculum – for the first time in many years, pointed out School Board director Leslie Harris, who was also in attendance.

Science, with new standards, is being taught in Spanish for the dual-language K-5 classrooms.

Music for all students is being taught in Spanish.

Overall, many areas in K-3rd are “50/50 Spanish-English,” while in 4th and 5th, there’s more English. Dr. Zavala said that in visiting classrooms previously, 4th and 5th graders “were not engaged … were not talking in Spanish.” But they will still be eligible for middle-school Spanish studies and “the Seal of Biliteracy” in high school.

PTA co-president Robin Schwartz says parents are concerned about what they’re hearing from their kids, and have myriad concerns and want answers from the district. That’s what they are hoping will happen at next Tuesday’s meeting, to which they invite not only their fellow Concord parents but anyone else interested in the dual-language program. The elementary level has been the most immersive in our area; it feeds to Denny International Middle School and Chief Sealth International High School in West Seattle, whose program points are explained here.

Seattle Early Learning Center: Welcome, new West Seattle Blog sponsor!

September 26, 2017 1:36 pm
|    Comments Off on Seattle Early Learning Center: Welcome, new West Seattle Blog sponsor!
 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle schools

Today we welcome Seattle Early Learning Center, at Alki Beach, as a new WSB sponsor. Here’s their message for you:

Dear Parents!

As parents and longtime local residents of West Seattle, we are pleased to announce the startup of our preschool right on Alki & 59th, locally operated and owned by Regina Steinsvik, whose previous experience stems from YMCA West Seattle Preschools as well as her Master in Environmental Engineering and various jobs with larger companies throughout the world.

Seattle Early Learning Center is dedicated to providing a developmentally appropriate curriculum, knowledgeable and well-trained program staff, and comprehensive services that support children’s health, nutrition, and social well-being.

In a small group of 10 children, 2 teachers focus on each individual child and make learning meaningful, support children’s growth and skill development in a safe, well‐organized and material‐rich environment, and provide warm and responsive interactions. Our curriculum is built around activities that enhance growth in main areas that are essential for school and long-term success. We support social and emotional development, language and literacy skills, approaches to learning, cognition, perceptual, motor, and physical development. Children have lessons in the following subjects: Movement and Coordination, Mathematics, Social-Emotional Skills, Orientation of Time and Space, Science, Music, Writing, and Arts.

Our engaging environment is thoughtfully and carefully designed to support active participation and engagement that affects learning, promoting independence and positive behavior, fostering children’s excitement about learning and enabling them to reach developmental goals.

Teachers at Seattle Early Learning Center support English and Russian languages. We are pleased to offer two groups – depends on your interest in languages, enrolled kids may be offered on a first-come, first-served basis to move into full-day programs, if desired by parents. We have flexible half-day schedules until the full-day program is up and running. Both programs provide opportunities to impart stimulating and fundamental learning experiences for all children and prepare them to be school-ready!

The intent is that the preschool will have a full-day program starting in January 2018. Meanwhile, we have weekend play dates that just started. Fun time for the children, while parents enjoy some time to themselves! Read more at seattle-elc.com and facebook.com/seattleELC. Seattle Early Learning Center is at 2634 Alki Ave. SW, phone 206-535-4205.

We thank Seattle Early Learning Center for sponsoring independent, community-collaborative neighborhood news via WSB; find our current sponsor team listed in directory format here, and find info on joining the team by going here.

CAN YOU HELP? Chief Sealth International High School Photography Club seeks someone with darkroom experience

(Photo courtesy Chief Sealth International High School Photography Club)

With so many talented photographers contributing to WSB, maybe there is one with the very specific skillset that the Chief Sealth International High School Photography Club needs, and some time to volunteer. From Zhen Williams:

The Photography Club is looking for someone with darkroom experience! One main goal Chief Sealth Photography Club has this year is to start up the Sealth Darkroom again. However, we would need an adult supervisor who knows how to work a darkroom. It would be once or twice a month for a couple of hours. You must be willing to go through the Seattle Public Schools background check.
If interested, please email Zhen Williams: williams.zhen@gmail.com

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