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PHOTOS: Riding to Alki Elementary on Bike to School Day 2017

Two “trains” of enthusiastic bike riders converged on Alki Elementary this morning for this year’s Bike to School Day. Actually, some riders used other human-powered forms of transportation:

The volunteer crossing guard at 59th SW and Alki SW was Alki parent Ken Harmell. Two groups gathered to ride to school this morning, one from Me-Kwa-Mooks, one from Anchor Park.

Thanks to Chris Nutter, who coordinated today’s event, for letting us know about it!

WEDNESDAY: Bike to School Day!

May 9, 2017 7:33 pm
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 |   Transportation | West Seattle news | West Seattle schools

File May 04, 10 19 03 PM
(2016 Bike to School Day photo by Don Brubeck)

If you haven’t already heard – tomorrow is Bike to School Day, as part of Bike Everywhere Month, so you’ll see more students on two wheels than usual. We know some schools are also planning special “bike trains,” and remember that elementaries start early, so you’ll see these “trains” in the 7 am vicinity.

P.S. What used to be called Bike to Work Day is now Bike Everywhere Day, and that’s coming up Friday, May 19th.

CONGRATULATIONS! West Seattle High School boys’ soccer team secures spot @ state

May 7, 2017 4:09 pm
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 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle schools | WS & Sports

Congratulations, Wildcats! The photo, video, and report are from Jason Woycke:

The West Seattle High School boys’ soccer beat O’Dea on Saturday to go to the Metro semifinals. The win also guarantees them a spot in state playoffs. After 90 minutes, the score was 2-2. They played overtime before ending the game with penalty kicks. Sam Carballo had a couple saves and Noah Woycke scored the final PK that sent the team into a frenzied celebration:

WSHS is scheduled to play Garfield in the semifinals on Tuesday night at Interbay – see the bracket here.

SOCCER: Madison Middle School boys win again

May 7, 2017 1:43 pm
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 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle schools | WS & Sports

Thanks to Matt Prevost for the photo and news that the Madison Middle School boys-soccer team is having a great season. Latest win was on Saturday vs. Aki Kurose, at Garfield High School.

The boys go for their sixth victory vs. Whitman at 9:30 am next Saturday (May 13th) at Rainier Beach HS, which is also where they play crosstown rivals Denny at 11 am May 20th.

GIVE A LIFE-SAVING GIFT: Sign up now for Holy Rosary/Red Cross blood drive

If you can donate blood, an upcoming drive in West Seattle invites you to sign up for a spot – they’re hoping to have 50 people donate:

Holy Rosary School is partnering with the American Red Cross to hold our first community blood drive on May 22 between 2 pm and 7 pm.

Giving blood is giving the gift of life. Please consider donating with us to support this life-giving organization. To register and reserve your spot, please visit: www.redcrossblood.org and enter the sponsor code HolyRosarySeattle (upper right of the page). The event will be held at the Holy Rosary School Hall, located at 4142 42nd Ave SW.

YOU CAN HELP: Small and big ways to be part of the Gatewood Elementary playground project

Time for the next steps in the Gatewood Elementary playground project, and you can help, in a variety of ways. From Sandy Lennon:

The final draft design for the SW corner of our playground — based on student and community priorities — will be presented this coming Monday, May 8, 6-6:30 pm in the school cafeteria just before the general PTA meeting. Karen Kiest, landscape architect, and Gatewood’s playground steering committee will present the design, explain next steps in fundraising and implementation, and take questions and final feedback from our community.*

And, we need your help to make playground improvements a reality!

To apply for a $100,000 implementation grant from the City’s Neighborhood Matching Fund in June, we need to come up with $50,000 worth of community match in the form of volunteer hours, cash, and in-kind donations. Could you, family, and/or friends pledge:

-volunteer time for work parties? All ages welcome!
-a cash donation?
-a donation of food and drinks for work parties?
-If you are a contractor: help with heavy equipment or irrigation work?
-If you own a plant nursery or landscaping business: donated/discounted trees, soil, mulch, sod, boulders, logs or other needed materials for improvements?

It all counts toward our match, so come and lend your support for playground improvements. If you can pledge to help but can’t make the meeting on Monday, please email Sandy Lennon at sandylennon@comcast.net.

On that note, save the date! Second Gear Sports, our West Seattle sports-consignment store, is donating 10% of sales on Sunday, May 21, to playground improvements. Gear up for your summer sports on May 21 and help us on our way to a better playground.

*Playground design work has been generously funded by a Small Sparks grant from the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods’ Neighborhood Matching Fund and the Gatewood PTA.

SOUTH SEATTLE COLLEGE UPDATES: New Aviation Maintenance Technology partner; new-building construction progress

Two updates at South Seattle College (WSB sponsor):

NEW PARTNER FOR AVIATION MAINTENANCE TECHNOLOGY PROGRAM: SSC has announced that it’s been selected by Delta Air Lines “as an approved partner college in training future aviation maintenance technicians for careers with the global aviation company.” The AMT program is FAA-certified and has been training technicians since the 1970s. This is the second partnership between SSC and Delta, which launched a paid internship program there in 2014. The college’s announcement says that this means “Delta will also help recruit future AMT professionals to the program and look to hire South-trained graduates for positions in their global workforce.”

Meantime, here’s an aerial look at progress on the new building at SSC:

INTEGRATED EDUCATION CENTER UPDATE: Eight months have passed since we wrote about SSC’s Integrated Education Center project. After West Seattle pilot/photographer Long Bach Nguyen shared that recent photo of progress on the project, we asked SSC communications director Ty Swenson how it’s going. His reply: “We are still aiming to have the new IEC building ready to open for Fall Quarter, which starts September 25.” Read more about the new building here.

YOU CAN HELP! Sanislo Elementary invites you to end-of-year party

May 3, 2017 8:59 am
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 |   How to help | West Seattle news | West Seattle schools

One of West Seattle’s smaller public elementary schools is reaching out to you in a big way. You are invited to this year’s Sanislo Elementary School end-of-year party – with a silent auction, tasty food, fun games, music and dancing. It’s happening Friday, June 9th, at Highland Park Improvement Club, and tickets are only $10. You can buy yours right now online by going here, or visit the Sanislo campus (1812 SW Myrtle on Puget Ridge; map) after school Wednesdays (like today!) and Fridays to buy tickets in person – school’s out at 2:05 pm. Sanislo parent and PTA treasurer Megan Garcia e-mailed WSB to share the news and says tickets will be on sale through May 26th.

WEST SEATTLE SCHOOLS: WSHS principal Ruth Medsker leaving; search is on for her successor

12:34 PM: After seven years, West Seattle High School principal Ruth Medsker is moving on. We noticed in this week’s edition of the school newsletter that WSHS parents are being sought for a hiring team to choose a new principal, so we inquired with the district’s communications office, where director Carri Campbell told us that Medsker will be the new principal at Lincoln High School, which is being modernized to reopen in north Seattle, explaining that she “is coming on early to lead the design of the school (i.e. vision, focus, courses) and will stay on as the principal.”

Medsker was appointed as WSHS principal six years ago, after almost a year as interim principal; before that, she spent five years at district HQ as director of middle and K-8 education. Campbell says an announcement’s already gone out to WSHS families and that a district-wide announcement is due later this week. We have a message out to principal Medsker for comment. (Above right, 2016 WSB photo)

ADDED MONDAY EVENING: The district provided us with the message Medsker sent to the WSHS community:

It is with mixed emotions that I share with you that I have been appointed as the principal of the ‘New Lincoln’ High School, scheduled to open in the fall of 2019. I am honored to lead the opening of the first comprehensive high school in Seattle since Nathan Hale opened in 1963. Opening a new high school feels like a capstone project; putting to use all I have learned during my career; most prominently my work at West Seattle High School and my work with implementing the new state graduation requirements and the recommendations set forth by the 24-credit task force. While I am sad to leave behind the West Seattle community, I am excited to continue to grow and develop as an educator and have the opportunity to lead the creation of school for the Innovation Era.

It has been a privilege to serve as the principal of West Seattle High School for the past seven years. I have loved my time working with an exceptional group of students, a dedicated staff, and supportive families. Together we have worked to build a school characterized by collaboration, academic excellence, acceptance, compassion, and positive outcomes for all students. West Seattle High School is a school where staff, students, and parents work together for the social, emotional, physical, and intellectual development of each and every child.

As the 2016-2017 year winds down and planning for next year and beyond is taking place, I am confident that the West Seattle community will continue to grow and thrive. Your unwavering commitment to the school, its students, and staff, will ensure that the mission of success and excellence will persist.

The hiring process for my replacement will commence immediately. The district will keep you updated on the process.

Thank you for an amazing seven years!

CONGRATULATIONS! Westside School’s volleyball champions

April 30, 2017 10:11 pm
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 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle schools

Thanks to Meg Halverson for the photo and report:

This afternoon at Bishop Blanchet, Westside School‘s 8th-grade girls’ volleyball team beat Holy Rosary-Edmonds to take the AA CYO title in two games. Westside’s team was undefeated this season. Go Wolves!

COUNTDOWN: 3 weeks to the 2017 West Seattle 5K on May 21!

April 30, 2017 3:57 pm
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 |   Fun stuff to do | West Seattle news | West Seattle schools

One of the year’s biggest school fundraisers is just three weeks away: Sunday, May 21st, starting around 9:20 am, you can run, jog, walk, or roll in the West Seattle 5K. This is the ninth year for the WS5K, which takes you all along Alki, from the starting line near 61st SW/Alki SW, to Anchor Park and back. It’s been presented every May since 2009 by the West Seattle High School PTSA (with co-sponsors including WSB), and the proceeds go to programs for WSHS students. Your registration also gets you a cool T-shirt with the new logo (at right). Kids 6 and under run/walk for free. Don’t procrastinate – you can sign up here, now.

SAFETY ALERT: Sealth/Denny families receive letter after student reports being followed

April 28, 2017 2:26 pm
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 |   Safety | West Seattle news | West Seattle schools

A safety alert has been sent to Chief Sealth International High School and Denny International Middle School families. It’s signed by principals Aida Fraser-Hammer of CSIHS and Jeff Clark of Denny IMS, who just sent it to us:

We want to share with you information regarding an incident that was reported this morning involving one of our scholars on her way to school.

At approximately 8:35 am, a 12th grade female scholar reported that she had been followed by an older-model blue van from Delridge and Trenton as she walked toward school today.  She reported the incident to Chief Sealth staff right away, who notified the police. The Seattle Police Department is investigating the incident.

The safety of our scholars is our top priority. We will continue to collaborate with the Seattle Police Department and Seattle Public Schools Safety and Security to help monitor the surrounding area before and after school.

You can help your children stay safe by talking to them about personal safety. Tips to discuss are:

 Walking in pairs or groups and being aware of their surroundings at all times.

 Leaving for school at times where there are high levels of pedestrian traffic.

 Immediately reporting anything suspicious to trusted adults (school staff and family members).

 Keep earbuds off and expensive phones out of sight.

We’ll add PDF copies of the letter in English and Spanish momentarily.

Students take the stage for Chief Sealth International High School Multicultural Night


(WSB photos)

Thanks to Chief Sealth International High School for again inviting us to stop by during the annual Multicultural Night celebration! We were there for two groups’ performances tonight – above, the East African Dance group; below, dancers from the Van-Lang Vietnamese Cultural School:

The celebration also featured food, and smiles:

This year’s theme was “Pass the Plate: Positivity and Peace.”

Seattle Public Schools announces major dates for 2017-2018 calendar

April 26, 2017 9:22 am
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 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle schools

While Seattle Public Schools doesn’t have the full calendar set for next school year yet, it’s gone public this week with key dates. So in case you haven’t seen them already:

Wed., Sept. 6, 2017 – First day of school

Mon., Sept. 11, 2017 – Kindergarteners’ first day of school

Dec. 18, 2017 – Jan. 1, 2018 – Winter break (no school)

Feb. 19 – 23, 2018 – Mid-winter break (no school)

April 9 -13, 2018 – Spring break (no school)

Fri., June 22, 2018 – Last day of school

The district expects the full 2017-2018 calendar to be finalized in June.

Local high-school students invite you to 3 free events in the next week

April 25, 2017 10:37 pm
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 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle schools

Here’s advance word of three student-led events at local high schools in the next week, all free and open to everyone in the community:

CSIHS MULTICULTURAL NIGHT: Doors open at 5 pm Thursday (April 27) at the Chief Sealth International High School Galleria for this year’s Multicultural Night, themed “Pass the Plate, Positivity, and Peace.” All are welcome for “free food, fun, and fabulous performances” that start at 6 pm. (2600 SW Thistle)

STUDENT-LED MENTAL-HEALTH PANEL AT WSHS: 6-7:30 pm Thursday (April 27), West Seattle High School invites parents, students, staff, and community members to the library for this discussion: “A student panel will address a broad range of topics such as anxiety, stress, depression, suicide, and relationships with parents and teachers. A mental-health counselor from Neighborcare Health at WSHS will be available to guide the discussion.” (3000 California SW)

GLOBAL GENDER-EQUITY COMMUNITY NIGHT: This will be hosted 5:30-7 pm Monday, May 1st, at West Seattle High School by the WSHS UNICEF Club, which “wants to invite all families, parents, and students around West Seattle! It is going to be a fun evening full of activities and learning about how education, gender equity, and the power of women all play a role in the global theater. Come be inspired by the youth of your community and their passions.”

First-ever Mental Health Day @ Seattle Lutheran High School: ‘There is always hope’

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

“Let this be a day of healing and education.”

That was the hope voiced in the prayer that opened the first-ever Mental Health Day at Seattle Lutheran High School in The Junction.

It was intended to be life-saving – but not dour. Humanities chair Tim Caudle, the organizer, also promised students, “Today is going to be a fun day – so you guys can learn that there is hope, there is a future.”

Parents were alerted more than a month in advance, and provided with an outline of what would be discussed.

We were invited to sit in on the assembly that began the day – with special guests from the Jordan Binion Project, founded by a couple who lost a child to suicide – a child the age of many who sat listening to them in the SLHS gym last Thursday morning – a child who had just turned 17.

This was the epitome of the urgency voiced by Caudle, who said that he and SLHS principal Dave Meyer had been to three funerals of people with some connection to the school.

The statistics told the story: Mental illness affects one in five people directly – and their loved ones.

That’s where Deb and Willie Binion stepped up to talk about the nonprofit they co-founded to educate high-school students about mental illness, named for their son Jordan. Read More

Looking for preschool in West Seattle? Westside School is re-launching theirs

Just announced by Westside School (WSB sponsor) in Arbor Heights:

Westside School will once again open its doors to three- and four-year-olds for a half- and full-day preschool program for the fall of 2017. Expanding upon our current pre-kindergarten program, we will offer emergent curriculum focused on experiential learning and inspired by a variety of teaching practices. Preschool students will have access to many of our specialists, such as visual art, performing arts, physical education, and world languages.

Great early-childhood education has been a hallmark of Westside School since its founding in 1981 and we are thrilled to announce the return of our preschool after a several-year hiatus. We encourage families to join us for our Preschool Preview or a tour.

Westside School is now accepting applications for preschool and other grades (depending on availability) for the fall 2017. For more information, please contact Ted Holmes in our Office of Admission, tedh@westsideschool.org or 206.932.2511.

Important Dates:

Tuesday, May 9: Preschool Preview, 10:00 to 11:00 am. Meet the preschool teachers and learn about the program in detail. Parents and guardians only, please.

Tuesday, May 23, Student Observation, 10:00 to 11:00 am. We will meet prospective students in a short observation session.

Tours for all grades: Available upon request: 206.932.2511

SOCCER: West Seattle HS wins crosstown-rivals match against Chief Sealth IHS

The sun showed up this afternoon for the only regular-season boys-soccer match of the year between West Seattle High School and Chief Sealth International High School. The Wildcats got the win, 1-0. It would have been a bigger gap if not for the hard work of Sealth goalkeeper Levi Erdman:

That one Wildcats goal by Alex Coronado (#4, below) came after Erdman was knocked down – and he stayed down for a while, but got up and the game resumed.

You can see both goalkeepers in action in our short clip:

WSHS is now 6-2-5 overall; Sealth is 4-8-0. The Wildcats’ next game is at home (Walt Hundley Playfield, 34th SW/SW Myrtle) at 4 pm Wednesday vs. Lakeside; the Seahawks also have a 4 pm home game on Wednesday, at SWAC vs. Seattle Prep.

PLEA FROM A PARENT: Enrolling in Seattle Public Schools this fall? Here’s why sooner is better than later

Last week, we reported on the waitlists for some local schools, for those who want to attend Seattle Public Schools outside the ones to which they’re geographically assigned. Even if you’re interested in a school that doesn’t have a waitlist, it’s important to get enrolled ASAP – especially if your child is an incoming kindergartener and isn’t signed up in the SPS system yet. The reminder was e-mailed to us by Erika Rasmussen, a Genesee Hill Elementary parent and PTA member who e-mailed us this week asking if we would share it with you. While the plea applies in particular to new kindergarteners and transfer students headed for that school – West Seattle’s most populous – it applies to all others as well, so that planning can be done without worrying about big last-minute changes. Here’s how Erika explains it:

At our PTA meeting (this week), we learned through the most recent enrollment projections that Genesee Hill Elementary School is currently projected to have approximately 760 students for the 2017-2018 school year (this projection also includes 149 Kindergarten students). The principal and staff are currently trying to budget and plan for staffing, resource, and even classroom space for next year (we are already busting at the seams in our new building and will be over capacity next year if this projection number remains or grows).

As you may know, Genesee Hill and many other local West Seattle schools have struggled in the past to correctly plan and budget for class sizes, staffing, and resources. Having more accurate numbers from actual enrollments will help schools plan.

What would greatly help these schools is for families who have youth at home that are ready to start Kindergarten in the fall to get them registered ASAP with the school district. I am a parent of an incoming Kindergartner and have heard from families new to the system that they find the enrollment process a bit challenging, especially with all the additional supplemental paperwork that is required to enroll students. I would love to encourage families to go ahead and complete the application form ASAP and submit it to the district. Some families have had challenges in obtaining the required State Immunization Forms and have said that this may be what is holding them back from registering their soon to be kindergartners. They do not have to have this form to begin the enrollment process [noted here].

We would also like to let the community know that even though the district states that enrollment is open and ongoing, local schools really want to encourage families to enroll ASAP (preferably before mid-May, when principals will have to make tough decisions regarding staff and classroom sizes). We would also like to encourage families who may have recently moved to new neighborhoods within West Seattle (which would put them in a new school zone for next year), or students who will be leaving private schools and joining their neighborhood public schools, to also enroll their students ASAP. This will help with planning across all grades (some schools are facing more split classes among multiple grades due to current enrollment numbers).

Any of this apply to your family? You can start the registration process right now by going here. That page includes information and links to forms, as well as a minute-long video that notes you can turn in your forms in person, by fax, or by e-mail.

New benefit 5K: Chief Sealth IHS Roll Hawks, June 10th

Just announced – a new benefit 5K to add to your summer schedule: 9 am June 10th at Lincoln Park, the first ever “Roll Hawks” 5K to raise money for the Chief Sealth International High School Cross-Country Team. Interested? You can register online by going here.

FOLLOWUP: School Board meeting touches on ‘unfair labor practices’ ruling related to Chief Sealth IHS wood-shop dispute

(School Board meeting agenda item about unfair-labor-practices ruling starts at 1:13:00 into the clip above)

One year ago, we reported on what at the time was described as an internal budget battle over the future of wood-shop classes at Chief Sealth International High School.

At Wednesday night’s Seattle School Board meeting, the final section of superintendent Dr. Larry Nyland‘s report to the board involved a state Public Employment Relations Commission ruling on a case into which that situation factored (though the case was initiated months earlier). Read More

CONGRATULATIONS: Washington Achievement Awards for 4 West Seattle schools


(Photo from award-winning Denny IMS’s recent Spring Break Academy, which includes math-skills work)

Mentioned at the Seattle Public Schools Board of Directors meeting under way now: Four public schools in West Seattle are among the 23 SPS schools that have won 2016 Washington Achievement Awards, presented by the state Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. As explained in this district announcement, “The Washington Achievement Award is based on statewide assessment data for the three previous years. The hard-earned awards acknowledge progress in the areas of English language arts, math, closing the achievement gap between subgroup of students, and overall academic success.”

The local winners, and the achievements for which they were honored, are:

Alki Elementary School – High Progress

Denny International Middle School – Special Recognition Math Growth

Genesee Hill Elementary – Closing the Achievement Gap (Students with Disabilities)

Sanislo Elementary School – Closing the Achievement Gap (Students with Disabilities)

The awards will be officially presented at a May 3rd event in Auburn.

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