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PHOTOS: Community celebration of Schmitz Park Elementary’s history

(WSB photos by Patrick Sand)

After 54 years, it’s down to three weeks before students and staff have their last classes at Schmitz Park Elementary, before moving to the new Genesee Hill Elementary, opening this fall.

Last night, hundreds of people gathered at the school to celebrate its half-century-plus history.


They included members of the extended Schmitz family, which not only donated the land on which the school was built, but has stayed involved with the school all these years:


At the event, we photographed Dietrich Schmitz, great-grandson of Ferdinand and Emma Schmitz, with wife Mary Howland Schmitz and mother Vicki Schmitz Block. Family photos and memorabilia were part of what was displayed around the school last night:


The “love (the Schmitz) family has for this community” was subsequently acknowledged by high-profile Schmitz Park alum, King County Executive Dow Constantine, speaking while holding toddler daughter Sabrina, acknowledging “fond memories of a place that did quite right by us.”


For eight years, Gerrit Kischner has led Schmitz Park as its principal:


He recalled arriving at the school in 2008, when its enrollment was 315 and it was something of a well-kept secret; it has more than doubled since then, to 650, the capacity of the new campus half a mile away.

New memories will be made from the moment that school opens on September 6th, but those from last night will linger as well. The event was organized by parent Fiona Preedy:


After speeches in the courtyard, last night’s celebration moved on to group photos – see some of them after the jump: Read More

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VIDEO: ‘Change the world’ projects presented at Explorer West Middle School


The end of the school year is in sight, and that means Explorer West Middle School (WSB sponsor) eighth-graders are looking ahead to their new beginnings as high-school students next year. On Wednesday, they presented their “Change the World” projects, an annual assignment by teacher Tim Owens. We stopped by and recorded one team talking about their project, advocating for healthy, sustainable, affordable food for people experiencing poverty. In the photo above are Zach Carver, June Oto, Ainsley Yukawa, and Bijan Zavareei, who is speaking in our clip below:

Owens says the students have been working on their projects for five months. Their presentations were made over the course of about an hour and a half. Read more about this year’s projects here.

P.S. Explorer West is celebrating its 20th anniversary with an alumni reunion tomorrow (Friday, June 3rd), 4-7 pm, starting at the campus, 10015 28th SW, with appetizers and faculty visits; at 5:30 pm the reunion moves to nearby Roxbury Lanes for bowling, hosted by EWMS.

West Seattle schools: Lafayette Elementary gets its wish – earlier bell times next year

9:15 PM: Lafayette Elementary in Admiral is getting its wish – an earlier schedule next year. Thanks to the parents who pointed us to today’s announcement, which is posted on the school website as well as having been sent home on paper. When the district announced new “bell times” last fall (WSB coverage here), mostly to try to get older students onto later schedules, Lafayette was the only elementary school in West Seattle that was left in late-start “Tier 3” – and its 9:30 start time was even scheduled to move five minutes later. But today, Lafayette leadership announced that the request to move to Tier 1 had been granted, one of only two of the 11 districtwide requests that the district was able to honor, according to this letter from assistant superintendent Pegi McEvoy. Next school year’s start time and end time at Lafayette will be 7:55 am and 2:05 pm. (Lafayette file photo from SPS website)

ADDED 4:16 PM THURSDAY: Thanks to the commenters who provided additional information. Here’s the official district reply to our request for the list of the 11 schools that asked to be moved up and which school besides Lafayette had the requested granted:

The district was able to move Bailey Gatzert and Lafayette to Tier 1 while keeping transportation “budget neutral”:

1. Bailey Gatzert
2. Orca K-8
3. Thurgood Marshall
4. K-8 STEM at Boren
5. Lafayette
6. Laurelhurst
7. Adams
8. John Hay
9. View Ridge
10. Catherine Blaine K-8
11. Cascadia@ Lincoln

West Seattle schools: YMCA expanding preschool at new location

Though the old location of the West Seattle YMCA (WSB sponsor) preschool has been demolished as the Y gets ready for Thursday’s groundbreaking on its expansion, it’s still offering preschool, and has announced an expansion. The new location for the Y’s preschool is the former E.C. Hughes Elementary in Sunrise Heights, and the Y is adding four classes of “quality and affordable halffull-day, year-round child care for children ages 2.5 to 5 years old between the hours of 7:00 am and 6:00 pm.” The program is described as “values-based with an emphasis on building self-reliance through our core values: Caring, Honesty, Respect and Responsibility.” Teachers are experienced and professional, and the curriculum includes enrichment activities such as Spanish, swim lessons, cooking classes, and music time. Open enrollment is under way, including tonight during an open house that starts shortly, 5 pm-6:30 pm. EC Hughes is at 7740 34th SW; if you can’t stop by tonight, contact Sissi Kamalii at 206 201 0696, skamalii@seattleymca.org, or Emilia Varga at 206 399 5704, evarga@seattleymca.org.

COMMENCEMENT ROBES WANTED: Request for donations from recent West Seattle HS grads

With this year’s commencement ceremony just a few weeks away, we’ve been asked to share a donation request to ensure that all West Seattle High School seniors can participate in this year’s ceremony. Volunteer coordinator Amy Doll has asked the WSHS community if any of last year’s graduates would consider donating the robes they wore in the commencement ceremony: “I have several students that aren’t walking because of the cost of the robes. The PTSA has a budget to help students but I would like to be able to let kids keep their Hat, Stole, and Tassel. I can do that if I have donated robes.” If you can donate one, please drop it off in the school office, which is open weekdays until 3 pm (though not tomorrow, because of the holiday).

P.S. One parent tells us they’re also welcoming used prom dresses. If you have a question about these donation requests, please e-mail asdoll@seattleschools.org. (Prom is next Friday, June 4th; graduation is June 21st.)

CONGRATULATIONS! Chief Sealth IHS student scientists chosen to assist in UW research

Thanks to Chief Sealth International High School assistant principal Scott Reisinger for sharing the report and photo:

We are excited to announce that Eun Tae Ki and Richard Nguyen, both seniors at Chief Sealth International High School, have been selected to participate in the 2016 Young Scholars Program at the Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering at the University of Washington this summer. Eun Tae and Richard were two of nine total students that were chosen from an applicant pool of more than 160. This program will expose these scholars to the cutting-edge field of sensorimotor neural engineering and allow them to participate in ongoing research projects. Eun Tae and Richard will be working with Dr. Rajesh Rao, University of Washington Department of Computer Science & Engineering, to research the brains ability to learn, process, and store information.

YOU CAN HELP: West Seattle Booster Club trying to assist with the costs of competition

Two notes this afternoon from the West Seattle Booster Club, which raises money to help WS High School sports programs, which have many costs not covered by the district. First:

The West Seattle Booster Club would like to congratulate all of the student athletes and wish all of the students competing in state this week the best of luck. It is an exciting week at the high school, with almost 40 athletes competing in the State Championships, including the Girls Softball Team, ten Boys and Girls Track athletes, the Unified Soccer Team, and two Golfers.

While this is great, it is also comes with a large price tag for the school – almost $4,000 for hotels, food, and transportation. The Seattle School District does not provide enough money to the schools to cover even the basic needs for the athletic programs (uniforms, equipment, etc), so there is definitely not enough to cover post season costs.

Our parents and families have been very generous in helping in so many ways, but there is still a large deficit. If you would like to help West Seattle High School Athletics cover the costs, you can make a tax-deductible donation via the West Seattle Booster Club. Every little bit will help these student athletes.

We want to thank the West Seattle community for their continued support of the students and staff at West Seattle High School. Go Wildcats!

And the club has an event coming up one week from tomorrow:

The West Seattle Booster Club invites you to participate in its Spirits for Sports 2016, a fundraising event in the Alaska Junction on Thursday, June 2 from 6-9 pm. All proceeds support the West Seattle High School athletic programs. For more information and to register, go here.

ALERT: Denny student approached while walking to school

Denny International Middle School principal Jeff Clark just shared this note sent to families:

Good Afternoon Denny and Sealth Families,

This morning at approximately 10:45 am, a Denny scholar was walking to school. When she was on Kenyon near the school bus zone entrance, the driver of a black Prius asked her to get in the car. She came right in to school and reported it. School staff contacted the Seattle Police Department, who responded very quickly. Scholars have been informed about the description of the car and reminded of safe walking procedures. We will have extra supervision in that area.

Denny and Chief Sealth Administration

He also asked us to share this message:

Our School Messenger email system sends out email notices automatically to all family email addresses in our system. If any Denny or Sealth family is not receiving the email, please call the school main office. We can confirm that we have your correct and current email address and can tell you if your email system is blocking our email, preventing you from receiving it. Thank you.

P.S. Thanks also to the Denny/Sealth parents who forwarded the top note (moments after the principal sent it out) to make sure we’d received it.

West Seattle schools: ‘Fox Hole Classic’ golf tournament to raise money for multiple PTA’s

May 24, 2016 8:52 pm
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 |   How to help | West Seattle news | West Seattle schools

While the school-funding shortage means PTA/PTSA fundraisers are not unusual, this one is: The Schmitz Park Elementary PTA is hosting the first Fox Hole Classic Golf Tournament – which, president Robert Kelly says, its purpose is “to provide financial grants for other West Seattle school PTA’s. This is an opportunity to help make the entire community the best place for our children to succeed as students and citizens.” Here’s the scoop on the tournament:

Join us at West Seattle Golf Course on Friday, June 10, 2016
2:30 pm Shotgun Start (1:15 Check-in)

There will be prizes for: Hole-In-One * Jackpot Hole * Tee & Door Prizes KP’s * Longest Drives * Putting Contest

Registration open now. Cost: $125 per golfer.
Early Bird Foursome Special: $400
Limit 144 total golfers. Deadline June 3rd.

Register and Pay Online or submit the attached form (PDF) with check.

Questions, please contact Robert Kelly: president@schmitzparkpta.org

Kelly says this is open to the public and they’re also seeking sponsors, via hole sponsorship, a one-time monetary donation, prize donations. As he notes, “Each year, school PTA’s help close the funding gaps by providing important resources that help our children learn and achieve every single day.”

UPDATE: Police at Denny/Sealth campus as ‘precaution’ after ‘fraudulent’ social-media threat


12:14 PM: Several parents have e-mailed to ask why Denny International Middle School is in shelter-in-place mode. We first checked with Seattle Police, and were told there is NOT an emergency situation, though police are on “directed patrol” at the campus. We’re now at the school and should know more shortly – will update when we do.

12:17 PM: Patrol officers are at the school on bicycles as well as in cars, and the Southwest Precinct’s Mobile Precinct van is too.


We expect to talk to police soon but in the meantime, school security tells us that this is the result of “a rumor on social media.”

12:28 PM: Just talked with Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Pierre Davis. He confirms this relates to a threat posted on social media but says they have spent some time investigating this and confirming it does not appear to be a credible threat. According to Capt. Davis, the student account where this threat appeared had been “hacked into” – they verified that it was not posted by the account owner. Meantime, one parent tells us Chief Sealth next door also is sheltering in place – we haven’t confirmed that yet, but since the two schools are adjacent, that wouldn’t seem unlikely.

ADDED 1:21 PM: Denny principal Jeff Clark has shared the message sent to families of Denny and Sealth students:

Dear Denny and Sealth Families,

This morning a few scholars shared information with school staff about some social media messaging that included mention of a potential weapon being brought to school. We immediately began consultation with the Seattle Police Department. As an extra precaution, as the credibility and details were investigated, we began a shelter-in-place, which means we lock the exterior doors and keep school operating normally inside the building. After investigating, the Seattle Police Department has determined that the messaging came from a fraudulent Facebook account.

Simply as an extra precaution, SPD suggested that we keep the shelter-in-place status until the near the end of the school day at 2:15, which we will do. We have been cleared to have normal dismissal from school and have our scholars go home as they do normally. We will continue to have afterschool activities.

We would like to thank our scholars for sharing this information with us right away. Additionally, we would like to thank our partners at the Seattle Police Department who responded right away with an extra presence at school and in the community and for helping us to determine that the situation was safe. As always, safety is our top priority. Thank you for your support.

Denny and Sealth Administration

West Seattle High School musicians, marchers in Victoria Day celebrations

WSHS band in Victoria Days parade

Thanks to Laura Martin for the photos and video from the West Seattle High School Band, Orchestra, and Flag Squad trip to Victoria, B.C., for Victoria Day celebrations. The Band and Flag Squad marched today in the 118th Victoria Day Parade, where she says the mid-parade dance routine delighted the crowd:

mid parade dance routine by WSHS band - Victoria Day Parade

And on Saturday and Sunday, Laura (a parent chaperone) reports, they performed “in various venues in downtown Victoria (including) in front of the Parliament Building as part of the ‘Parade of Bands” event, showcasing high school bands from Washington and British Columbia.” Here’s a collage:

WSHS band in Victoria BC (1)

Victoria Day is a Canadian holiday in honor of Queen Victoria, always on the last Monday before May 25th; she was born on May 24, 1819.

P.S. You can also see a short video clip from today’s parade here.

CONGRATULATIONS! Denny IMS musicians’ festival victories


Exciting weekend for Denny International Middle School orchestra and band musicians, as reported by principal Jeff Clark:

The Denny International Middle School Senior Band and Orchestra are returning from Idaho today after competing in the Music in the Parks Festival at Silverwood Theme Park. Not only did the Dolphins have a great time, they won first place for both Band and Orchestra in their divisions and overall amongst all schools! Congratulations to our Dolphin musicians and their terrific teachers, Mr. Morales and Mr. MacIntyre! We are proud of you — Go Dolphins!

COUNTDOWN: West Seattle HS All-School Reunion, 2 weeks away

May 21, 2016 10:14 pm
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 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle schools

Two weeks until this year’s West Seattle HS All-School Reunion, set for 2-5:30 pm Saturday, June 4th, this year. This announcement includes news of a raffle to raise money for scholarships – and you can buy tickets at tomorrow’s West Seattle 5K as well as at the All-School Reunion:

Please join West Seattle High Alumni for our yearly walk down memory lane at the annual All School Reunion (ASR), on Saturday, June 4, from 2:00 – 5:30 p.m. All who attended (or still attend) as students or staff are invited to show up in celebration of our school and our shared roots.

The ever-popular car show kicks off the afternoon. Photography students roam the halls to shoot formal and candid shots; many other students help to crew the event. Keep your Class Rep company in your year’s assigned class room. Check out the new War Memorial display, and drop in to the formal program in the Auditorium, recognizing Hall of Fame and Scholarship recipients.

Join our fundraiser benefiting our Scholarship fund: buy raffle tickets for a custom garden bench with built-in planter boxes. Thanks to alumnus Spencer Weglin, a recent Scholarship recipient, for organizing the raffle, and for crafting the beautiful piece. Local delivery included! Tickets for sale at the West Seattle 5K on Sunday, May 22, as well as at the ASR.

We look forward to seeing you there.

Questions? Reunion contact is Jim Biava, jim@jimbiava.com – raffle contact, wshsaa.98116@gmail.com.

Louisa Boren STEM K-8 students shine @ Science Extravaganza


West Seattle’s first STEM-focused school showed off some of its specialties last night. It wasn’t just a “science fair” at Louisa Boren STEM K-8 – it was a Science Extravaganza! And this one even featured a wind tunnel:


That’s the reason we heard about the big event in the first place – via a spokesperson for McKinstry, the Seattle-headquartered company whose engineers mentored students, helping build the wind tunnel and donating materials for it. STEM students built model tower cranes and used the wind tunnel to test how they would respond under pressure. It’s first on the list of projects that STEM teacher Craig Parsley shared:


1. Wind Tunnel Dynamics of Common Home Designs in Hurricane Regions
2. Hydrodynamic Fisheries Tank to study Fresh vs. Salt Water Migration
3. Construction Materials Flame Testing Study
4. Newtonian Properties of Objects on an Incline
5. Color Bias in Decision Making
6. Chemical Deterioration Rates of Concrete Structures (Dams and Buildings)
7. Long-term Evaluation of Surface Water Chemistry in West Seattle Creek
8. Rural vs. Urban Water Quality Study


1. Forward-Deployed Mars Lander Decelerator Proposal to NASA
2. Carbon Filtration Device for Lawn Mower Exhaust
3. Fertilizer Compound for Low Income Farmers
4. Earthquake Simulator for Testing Tower Crane Designs (built by a student)
5. Kevlar-lined Soccer Sock to Prevent Cleat Lacerations

Principal Ben Ostrom tweeted some project photos during the event:

Check his Twitter feed for more.

P.S. This fall will mark the start of the fifth school year for Louisa Boren STEM, which opened in September 2012 as a K-5 school, but now is headed into the second year of its “roll-up” to a full K-8, adding 7th grade for 2016-2017.

West Seattle schools: ‘Camp Fairmount Park’ literacy celebration

May 20, 2016 12:37 am
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 |   West Seattle books | West Seattle news | West Seattle schools

fairmont crowd

On Thursday night, part of Fairmount Park Elementary School was transformed into a “camp” to celebrate literacy. Students and their families enjoyed stories and poems in a variety of ways, including listening to Native American storyteller Itsa Sash:


He was telling the story of how birds got their beaks. Other activities included, according to FPE teacher Kevin Peterson, “Poetry Hill” – about 150 poems by second- and third-graders from five classrooms – as well as “Read Around the Campfire,” “Word Chopping,” and “Writing S’Mores.” A fundraising bookfair was part of the evening too:


The bookfair continues 8 am-10 am in the library this morning (Friday) with a percentage of sales going toward buying more library books for Fairmount Park.

West Seattle High School Class of 1966’s big reunion approaches

May 19, 2016 5:04 am
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 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle schools

Two weeks from tonight, the West Seattle High School Class of 1966 starts the party of a lifetime … the 50th reunion celebration stretched across three days/nights. Tom Friberg shares the highlights:

THURSDAY, JUNE 2 – Golf at West Seattle Golf Club, tee times 9:30-10:30 am
Interested? Contact sue@westseattle66.com or greg@westseattle66.com

Welcome Party at The Bridge, 7-10 pm
“Low-key event providing an opportunity to renew old friendships and perhaps make new ones over drinks and/or dinner.”


FRIDAY, JUNE 3 – Beach Party/Dinner Party at Normandy Park Cove, 5:30-10:30 pm
1500 SW Shorebrook Drive, Normandy Park

Vibraphone music with classmate and Hall of Fame member Tom Collier during registration
Appetizers 5:30-6:30 pm
Buffet dinner 6:30-8:30 pm
No-host bar
8 flavors of Husky ice cream for dessert
And more

All-School Reunion at WSHS, 2-5:30 pm

If you’ve ever attended an All-School Reunion, you know that the class celebrating its 50th reunion gets the biggest and best room in the place. This year, the big room will be ours. We’ll have several hours to continue earlier conversations and to start new ones, some with old friends from other classes. Finger food will be served. There will be classic cars to see. We’ll take a class photograph. Our own Gary Smith will be the Master of Ceremonies at a recognition program in the auditorium. Scholarship students, monogram club members and this year’s Hall of Fame inductees will be honored, as will we. And we’ll be first on the program!

Afterparty, 4-9 pm – Talarico’s Pizzeria (4718 California SW)

If you’re from the Class of 1966, or know someone who is, don’t miss it or let them miss it. Full details are online at westseattle66.com.

CONGRATULATIONS! 8 scholarship winners from Sealth


The photo and report are from Chief Sealth International High School principal Aida Fraser-Hammer:

Eight Chief Sealth International High School students received scholarships Monday) night courtesy of the Alki Masonic Lodge #152. These students were honored by the Masons for their scholarship, community service and leadership. Congratulations to CSIHS Juniors Harrison Robel, Michelle Ly, Cormac Toler-Scott, Rico Romo, Emily Richards, Janet Carter, Daniel Hatch and Amy Ly. Also in the picture are former recipients of the scholarship, seniors Katherine Staudt and Hidetaka Yoshino. Both Katherine and Hidetaka delivered speeches in which they thanked the members of the Masonic Lodge for their generosity and recognition. CSIHS joins them in thanking the Masons for their commitment to the education of youth in West Seattle.

CONGRATULATIONS! West Seattle High School wins Metro League softball championship for the first time

9:02 PM: The West Seattle High School Wildcats, coached by WSHS athletic director Trevor Leopold, have just won the Metro League softball championship for the first time ever, beating Ballard 5-2.


They were behind 2-1 going into the top of the sixth, when winning pitcher Gabby Wenn hit a leadoff homer to tie it up, and her teammates added three more runs.

ADDED 11:55 PM: Wenn’s performance seemed inevitable, as she was honored before the game as Metro League MVP.


But for a while, it wasn’t clear that this rematch of last year’s Metro title game would end with a Westside win (last year, the Beavers won, 3-1).

Things started well: West Seattle’s #4, Lucy Mead, hit a leadoff triple off Ballard pitcher Lauren King.


#9, Sofia Sallas, sacrificed to bring her in, and it was quickly 1-0 Wildcats.

But that’s all the scoring WSHS did until the sixth.

Ballard, meantime, got on the board with two runs in the bottom of the first, with Hannah Schubert hitting for both RBI’s, and that was it for the Beavers’ scoring for the entire game.

The second inning was three up, three down for both sides. The third also went relatively quickly except for a WSHS single by Sallas.

Moving on to the fourth, the game was intense but not tense. The between-innings tune was Neil Diamond’s 196x classic “Sweet Caroline,” and the WSHS girls sang along boisterously. Leadoff batter #13, Brynn Snodgrass, made it to second base on a Ballard bobble. She wasn’t easy to keep there:


But Ballard’s subsequent fielding eventually left Snodgrass stranded. The Beavers also got one runner on in the bottom of the fourth and left her stranded too.

The pattern repeated in the fifth – each team getting one player on base, but leaving her there; the Wildcats’ Mead hit a solid single to right field; Ballard’s Elizabeth Breckow bunted to get on base. But by the end of five, it was still Ballard 2, West Seattle 1.

That’s when everything changed, starting with Wenn’s leadoff homer off King. Snodgrass then hit a single to left field; #1, Berit Syltebo, sacrificed to get Snodgrass to second; then #16, Emma Atkinson, smacked a triple to center field, bringing Snodgrass in and giving WSHS the lead, 3-2.

Ballard changed pitchers, to #10, Megan Quigley-McAlister, but that didn’t stop WSHS.


Next up was #2, Rosa Grossi, who battled Quigley-McAlister in a big way before finally getting to first and bringing Atkinson in. Grossi in turn scored on Mead’s hit to center field, advancing the score to what became the final an inning and a half later, 5-2.

Now it’s on to the district tournament for the Wildcats, with their first game at 6 pm Tuesday (vs. either Seattle Prep or Bainbridge) at the Southeast Athletic Complex.


ALL-LEAGUE HONORS: Along with Wenn’s selection as league MVP, Coach Leopold shared this list of other WSHS honorees:

Emma Atkinson, 1B, Senior, 1st Team All-Conference
Lucy Mead, SS, Sophomore, 1st Team All-Conference

Sam Hemmert, C, Senior, 1st Team All-Division
Brynn Snodgrass, OF, Junior, 1st Team All-Division

Krista John, OF, Senior, Honorable Mention
Sofia Sallas, 3B, Sophomore, Honorable Mention
Carynia Smith, OF, Senior, Honorable Mention
Berit Syltebo, UT, Sophomore, Honorable Mention

(Head Coach Trevor Leopold)

-Photos by Patrick Sand; story by Tracy Record

Farewell celebration planned for Schmitz Park Elementary: Anything to share in advance?

In case you haven’t already seen this in the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar – it’s now just three and a half weeks away, and you might have something to contribute in advance:

As Schmitz Park Elementary plans its move to Genesee Hill this fall, we thought it was important to celebrate the legacy of Schmitz Park Elementary, which has been open since 1956, having moved into its current building in 1962.

We invite those in the community – especially those that were involved at Schmitz Park as a teacher, student, or parent – to join us on Friday, June 3rd at 6:30 p.m., at the school, to reminisce, walk the halls, view photos, etc.

Those who wish to be involved are invited to:

*Attend the event in June.
*Send in photos or request someone to copy their photos or memorabilia.
*Share an anecdote or memory via email.
*Consider being interviewed by a student.
*Add their email address to the mailing list for more information.
*Spread the word to neighbors and relatives that may have been at Schmitz Park.

Please contact Fiona at history@schmitzparkpta.org or visit the school’s web page for more information.

If you’re wondering about the future of the SPE site – it remains up in the air. Seattle Public Schools says there’s no plan to use it for anything next school year, for starters. We’re following up on the process for determining its longer-range future.

‘Educational and entertaining’ celebration @ Chief Sealth International High School

May 9, 2016 5:04 am
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 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle schools


Thanks to Chief Sealth International High School principal Aida Fraser-Hammer for the photos and report on the school’s observance of Cinco de Mayo last week:

Chief Sealth students celebrated 5 de Mayo with an assembly that was both educational and entertaining.

The goal of the assembly this year was to educate the Chief Sealth community on the contributions that immigrants make to our country as well as on the plight that undocumented students, who are part of our community, face. At Chief Sealth, 5 de Mayo is used to celebrate Latino culture and foster unity among Latinos and the greater Chief Sealth Community.

Dancers at Cinco Mayo

Students of all ethnicities participate in the assembly by dancing, hosting, or playing in the Mariachi group.


It’s a celebration that Proyecto Saber and M.E.Ch.L.A students have been organizing for thirty years.

BIKE TO SCHOOL DAY: Alki Elementary’s pedalers

May 4, 2016 11:56 pm
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 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle schools

File May 04, 10 19 03 PM
(Photo by Don Brubeck)

It’s not just the Viaduct closure that’s putting more people on pedals – Wednesday happened to be Bike to School Day, and Alki Elementary students led the way, as usual.

(This photo and next by Terry Kegel)

Not only did they have scenic rides to school, they had a bike rodeo too.


This year, May is being celebrated in our region as Bike Everywhere Month.

West Seattle schools: Alki Elementary principal Shannon Hobbs-Beckley leaving after this year

After three years of leading Alki Elementary School, principal Shannon Hobbs-Beckley has just announced she is leaving. Here’s the letter she sent to her school community (thanks to the person who forwarded it):

Three summers ago, I was enjoying the break between school years when I learned of the opportunity to apply for the role of principal at Alki Elementary. I was energized by the possibility of leading a school with highly skilled staff members, successful students and dedicated families, all within my own community. When I joined this school, it was to become a part of Alki. I am forever grateful that I took the risk to apply and that I was chosen as the next leader for the Alki community. Alki Elementary and this community are everything that I imagined; a school comprised of intelligent, innovative and hardworking teachers and staff members; brilliant, creative, joyful and persistent students; and active, informed, committed and supportive parents. It is a place where I feel inspired, challenged and proud.

It is with mixed emotions that I share with you my plan to leave Alki at the end of this school year. I am electing to seize a new and very different leadership opportunity than anything I have done before, either professionally or personally. I have accepted a leadership position at an American School in Brazil. My family and I are moving in mid-July and will begin working and attending school there right away. I am nervously anticipating acclimating to a new school, a new culture, a new language and a new way of life. I am also excited to experience the thrill of lifelong learning, the meaning of global citizenship and to grow as a person and an educator. I will carry each of you with me, in the warm memories of how honored I have been to serve you for the past three years.

As we work together to conclude this school year and lay plans for what lies ahead, I am confident that the Alki community will continue to thrive. We have worked hard to build a school characterized by collaboration, academic excellence, acceptance, compassion and positive outcomes for students. This is a school where staff, students and parents work together for the social, emotional, physical and intellectual development of each child. These traditions remain. Your unwavering commitment to the school, students, staff, and to one another will ensure that the mission of success and excellence for all students persists for many years to come.

The process for my replacement will commence immediately, as Alki looks forward to the next school year. We will keep you updated on the hiring process.

Thank you all for your kindness and support.


Shannon Hobbs-Beckley, Principal
Alki Elementary School

Hobbs-Beckley came to Alki from the Kent School District.

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