Denny Middle School: Break? What break?


No, that’s not a file photo of kids in class BEFORE the midwinter-break week that wraps up today for Seattle Public Schools; those are kids in class DURING the break, photographed at Denny Middle School on Thursday, getting math coaching from teacher Gary Lai as part of a reading/math camp that’s been under way since Wednesday — with free lunch every day plus a bowling party when it’s all over today. It’s one of two midwinter-break camps wrapping up at Denny today — the other is 4th-8th grade music camp, where we videotaped participants on Thursday getting ready for a casual concert they’re planning today. Denny’s well-known music director Marcus Pimpleton is leading this first-ever program, with help from some student assistants, such as 11th-grader (and Denny grad) Chloe seen here helping a breakout group improvise a drum riff:

Another set of drummers worked indoors – the steel-drum players; what a lovely sound, even in short practice bursts:

We had to keep our distance for student-privacy purposes, since that group included younger kids; their student assistant was 7th grader Jennee, who we were told happens to be the niece of nearby Chief Sealth High School‘s principal John Boyd.

Meanwhile, back outside in the Thursday-afternoon sunshine, music director Marcus Pimpleton was putting yet another breakout music-camp group through the baton paces.

When it comes to band, he knows it all – as director of the renowned Seattle All-City Marching Band (a parade staple) and the Federal Way Public Schools Junior All-City Bands. This week’s camp is a prelude to another marching band he’s launching — the Southwest All-Stars Marching Band, which will have a camp at Denny during spring break (March 31-April 4). That’ll be for 5th-8th graders with at least one year of “successful participation in an elementary or middle-school music ensemble,” according to a promotional flyer, which says there are already plans for the Southwest All-Stars to march in parades in Tacoma and Wenatchee. Their work will continue with a one-week summer camp preceding yet more parade appearances, including the West Seattle Hi-Yu Parade in July.

These opportunities are free of charge, and open to students from other schools, not just Denny. But you will need to contact Denny to find out how to sign up for the spring and summer band camps; all the contact info is on the DMS website (which by the way also lists one last tour for families making middle-school decisions for next year — 8:15 am next Monday).

Reading/math camp, by the way, is free too, and will be offered again next break; besides the math group shown above, we also dropped in on the reading group getting coaching from teacher Kathy Saxon:


Hats off to the kids spending part of their “break” working to get ahead, and everyone who’s helping them; and thanks to Denny assistant principals Mia Williams and Chanda Oatis for showing WSB around. (Something cool happening at YOUR school? Let us know!)

6 Replies to "Denny Middle School: Break? What break?"

  • Jerald February 22, 2008 (7:15 am)

    Bravo! to everyone involved at Denny. And thanks, WSB, for highlighting a school (and age group) that could really use some good press.

  • Suzanne February 22, 2008 (8:46 am)

    Thanks again to Marcus Pimpleton for this great music camp. My 7th grader is getting an opportunity to help out some younger kids and my 5th grader is getting more comfortable at Denny where he will be attending next year. It’s great to see such a wide age range of kids interacting together.

  • JanS February 22, 2008 (9:11 am)

    Imagine that….older kids (at least one from Sealth) helping out younger kids..peacefully coexisting, instead of being a bad influence…very nice, indeed…

  • Bikefor1 February 22, 2008 (12:21 pm)

    ‘Reading and math help’. Well it’s not exactly the cram schools Japan has, but it’s nice to know students (or more likely, their parents) see the value of giving up some of their free time to get extra educational help.

  • Leslie February 22, 2008 (8:51 pm)

    I had a great time during Mr. Pimpleton’s music camp and I think we should have it again next year, where I would be a Denny Alumni but would still be more than happy to help out!!

    –Leslie, 8th Grader at Denny Middle School

  • Breanna February 25, 2008 (1:26 pm)

    The teachers and staff at Denny have always been a devoted, tireless, child centered group. I am happy to see them getting positive recognition for their dedication that I have observed for nearly twenty years. Marcus Pimpleton is simply a musical genius with high expectations who inspires every student he comes into contact with to aspire to reach his/her potential. Kudos to the staff and students who participated in this rigorous camp. It is a brilliant idea!

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