School-board vote on Denny-Sealth: Continuous meeting updates

9:50 PM: Back at WSB HQ now. Processing video for a separate wrap-up post on tonight’s School Board vote.

9:10 PM: Just back from wading into reaction interview central in the foyer outside the board room. Talked to Sealth staffers Delfino Munoz and John Wright, both of whom spoke against Option 2 tonight. Munoz quote: “It’s not over.” But what’s next – he says it’ll take some time to step back and reassess. (The board meeting continues, by the way; we will continue monitoring in case of anything WS-related.) P.S. The opponents were clearly disappointed as they cleared the chambers after the vote, but were classy about it – no loud boos or other disruptions – in case you were curious (and didn’t happen to be watching on TV). The board’s now discussing future transportation plans for students; high-school students are scheduled to stop getting “yellow bus” transportation as of next year, and are to be given Metro passes instead. WEST SEATTLE-SPECIFIC NOTE: District staff confirms this is the last year that Spectrum kids (one of the district’s gifted programs) from West Seattle who go to Washington Middle School will have the opportunity to ride regular school buses; that ends next year, though Metro passes would be made available for them too. (Meeting adjourned at 9:20 pm.)

9:05 PM – The vote is 5-2 for Option 2. The no votes are from Mary Bass and Harium Martin-Morris.

After the jump, the rest of our liveblogging of tonight’s meeting, in reverse chronological order, exactly as we filed it during the meeting:

9:04 PM: Sundquist still speaking.

8:44: Harium Martin-Morris says he’s voting no. It’s not the best thing for the Sealth students, he says. Michael DeBell says welcome to the new board members in getting baptized by fire with this decision. He says he was originally excited about the colocation concept. He notes Denny and Sealth are in line to be international schools; many crowd members groan. He sounds like he is going for Option 2 – though hasn’t said that yet – he is using words like, a unique opportunity. He says it’s up to the community to embrace this school, whatever happens, and he also had mentioned that whatever degree of program sharing ensues would be up to the schools themselves. He hopes the Westwood community will ‘seize this opportunity and embrace it’ and that it will become ‘a source of pride.’ Mary Bass is speaking now, apologizing for communication shortfall. Hard to tell where she’s going – long speech. She says Sealth deserves a comparable comprehensive site, looking at other hs’s. She sounds against 2 but didn’t say so. West Seattle’s school-board rep Steve Sundquist speaking now. He says he’s going for Option 2. He says money’s got a lot to do with it. He hopes an authentic public engagement process will be created around the site.

8:38 PM: Board members are starting to comment. Sherry Carr seems to be indicating she’s going for Option 2. She says this is a decision on which reasonable people will disagree – one community is for it, one is against it. She also doesn’t think the ballot language/mailed pamphlet discrepancy is a big enough reason to go against it, nor the communications problems along the way. She says she and her husband went to the Sealth site over the weekend. Her biggest concern about Option 3 is that the additional 15 million represents a loss of purchasing value and she can’t reconcile herself to that. She says she’ll vote for Option 2. Peter Maier says he is supporting Option 2 as well, says he’s received a lot of e-mail from Denny people supporting it. He says he’s concerned that another opportunity for money won’t come around again for a long time. He says it’s important that the BEX Oversight Committee has supported this and invites people to read their letter which is attached to the agenda. He acknowledges that Option 2 is really just what Option 1 used to be, “before inflation eroded purchasing power.”

8:30 PM: Continuing with Don Gilmore’s very quick review of items potentially related to this – current slide, “current high school project funding” around the district. Now a pie chart – haven’t seen that one before – showing what percentage of project dollars goes to which part of Denny-Sealth (etc) Board comments now, after that quick recap. Sherry Carr is first. She asks about academic benefits. The superintendent calls the possibilities “exciting.”

8:23 PM: OK, here we are. The people with the red signs all stand. The motion has been seconded. Carla Santorno and Don Gilmore are going to make a short presentation. Santorno has a few points on benefits of the move. Santorno says “we want to provide adequate time for the faculties to come together to decide what they need” – “we know we need to develop a transition steering committee to address concerns … keep the staffs well informed about what’s going on …” Don Gilmore now talks briefly about safety and security, says there are “a number of ways to deal with it – distinct schedules – clear separation of age groups- passive and active monitoring of the campus – enhance the safety-conscious culture” (the latter items are what’s on the slide he has on the screen as he speaks) … A few groans from the project opponents closest to where we are. A train whistle sounds (district HQ is close to the tracks across Lander in Sodo, if you’ve never been here). Gilmore now recaps some of the design elements, including the galleria between the two schools; now quickly summarizes the project schedule saying Sealth has to move out for 2 years no matter what, in option 2 Denny would move into new building in 3 years, under option 3 it would be 4 years. “Oh, for GOD’S sake,” someone nearby says. Now, a quick runthru of renovation history around the district. These are not the same slides as the presentations we’ve seen at previous meetings – hopefully they will be available on the district website if they aren’t already.

8:20 PM: On to action items. The major Denny-Sealth item is in this group – technically, transferring $10 million to the project “in support of Option 2,” as recommended by district administrators. We would imagine some discussion will precede the vote when that agenda item arrives – stand by. Some of the young audience members here for the Sealth vote, still clutching their red NO signs, have re-entered the meeting room after ducking out for a bit.

8:16 PM: Now it’s on to “board community reports.” West Seattle’s rep Steve Sundquist notes a meeting of the board’s finance committee, which he chairs, is coming up. No other reports; now it’s on to “consent items.” Mary Bass asks that item number 8 been moved off the consent agenda. She has a question about it. It’s the one that affirms the Denny-Sealth project does not affect racial imbalance in the district. District official Don Gilmore says it’s a procedural thing from the ’60s and this item would have to be approved for matching funds regardless of whether they went for Option 2 or Option 3. Roll call on the item: Martin-Morris no, Bass no, everyone else yes. 5-2, it passes.

8:04 PM: Board Q/A on Head Start continues. There’s another TV crew; channel 7. (Reporter Deborah Horne showed up at the very first Westwood Neighborhood Council meeting about Denny-Sealth last summer, too, btw.) Now they’re moving on to a presentation about the regional Small Business Development Program.

7:52 PM: Board members are asking questions of the consultant who did the audit. She says site-based decisionmaking was considered the way to go, nationwide, for a while, but “maybe the pendulum swung too far” and now things are swinging back toward more centralized decisionmaking for school districts. (This is in line with some of the philosophies that have been voiced so far by new district leaders including superintendent Dr. Maria Goodloe-Johnson.) Board president Chow has just thanked the consultant; two more “superintendent updates” to go. Chief academic officer Santorno says this entire 400-plus page report is available on the district website (UPDATE EARLY THURSDAY: Thanks to SPS’ Patti Spencer for pointing us to the link – look under “curriculum management,” an overview plus a report.). Next item is a Head Start update. 446 3- to 5-year-olds are served by Head Start; West Seattle elementary schools that are sites for the program include Concord, West Seattle, and Highland Park elementaries.

7:38 PM: The presentation on the curriculum audit continues. Important stuff but no startling conclusions or recommendations so far. A few side notes: We’re sitting on the north side of the room, and some students here for the Sealth vote are sitting quietly nearby, reading and doing work. If you can’t tell from TV (this is live on cable channel 26), most of the board members sit there with their own laptops – they must be plugged into the in-house system since the big screen with the powerpoint slides is facing the audience, not the board.

7:25 PM: Meeting resumes with the superintendent’s report. None of it has to do with Denny-Sealth, but we’ll resume posting if anything West Seattle-related comes up. First item – curriculum audit.

7:22 PM: 17 minutes in, looks like the board is starting to assemble and things will be back in session any minute now. The Denny-Sealth item is a ways down the agenda, so we may not have much more to say for a while. By the way, at least two TV stations are here (the two your editor here used to work for, 4 and 13); not sure about the other two, would be surprised if they weren’t, at least 5, since they covered the student walkout yesterday.

7:05 PM: Public testimony is over. The board’s going to take a 15-minute break.

YET MORE PUBLIC TESTIMONY (6:53 pm now): Valerie Orrock is continuing to speak. She is scheduled to be the second to last speaker on this topic. She is looking into the future and suggesting there will be regrets if colocation goes forward. The last speaker, Don Alexander, apparently is not speaking after all; another gentleman is now speaking on a different issue. Now the board’s moved onto the “wait list” for speakers; the woman speaking now is talking about the district math curriculum controversy. Representatives of a South Pacific Islander group are now asking for help in getting an afterschool program going.

MORE PUBLIC TESTIMONY (picking up after the speakers listed below): Steve Taylor defers his time to Renee Duncan. She says she’s been at every meeting since last summer’s Westwood Neighborhood Council meeting on the project. “What really is the benefit of combining these two campuses?” she asks. She is concerned this will be an “expensive experiment.” Debbie Taylor is speaking now. She says she is not coming forward “merely as an emotion-driven parent.” Middle schools are designed to feed into middle schools, not share space with them, she says. She mentions the Sealth protest yesterday, “organized, mature for their years” – tells the board members it’s time to “crack open your hearts” — saying, if you approve Option 2, you will be “ripping out the hearts” of the Sealth community. Murmurs of agreement ripple through the audience. “Vote no on Option 2; I really love the new ‘Option 4,” she says. Kate Martin is speaking now, also against the colocation. (No one has spoken in favor of it so far.) She says she is concerned with the inequities she says are being dealt to Sealth. “Why don’t you just say you made a mistake and do right by the community?” she asks. “Option 4 – the unspoken option of most of the people here – go back and get it right next time,” she suggests. She says joining the two schools would be “inappropriate.” Gavin Layton is speaking now. He is the first speaker to say he supports the colocation, but he has harsh words for the process and what he says is the district’s lack of communication. He is a parent of a Denny student and a potential future Sealth student, says he’s put his e-mail address on three lists at separate meetings and “has yet to receive a single e-mail about this — you people need to hire some spammers, or something!” He concludes “good luck, I don’t envy you” and is heckled by someone in the crowd. Alyson Hitch, student, is speaking. She says the walkout “was a huge thing for us … I’m tired of crying out for help and having no one listen … It sucks. I’m tired of having questions that don’t get answered.” Duron Jones spoke briefly and reiterated his opposition. Nancy Conyers said simply, don’t take away my facilities (she’s a PE teacher). Valerie Orrock is speaking against the colocation. (The crowd members with the red NO signs are still standing, by the way.)

PUBLIC TESTIMONY: Chris Jackins (West Seattle resident and district watchdog) asks the board to renovate both schools rather than building a new Denny. Dan Dempsey (former West Seattle High School teacher) is telling an allegorical fable about dinosaurs, saying that the middle/high school combo model is a dinosaur. He ends by holding up a red sheet of paper saying NO, and saying “Just say no.” Robert Femiano is a parent & teacher; he asks that the board vote no on Option 2. He says it would be a “shoehorning” of two campuses into one, and an apparent “land grab at Denny.” As he speaks, more than a dozen people in the audience are holding red sheets of paper with NO written on them, like the one Dempsey concluded by holding. Linda Wiley just spoke as a potential future Sealth parent, saying she has been impressed with CSHS and its staff but is opposed to colocation and concerned about the demoralization of staff not given the chance to have a say earlier in the process. Sealth teacher Delfino Munoz is speaking now. He recaps CSHS staff and community opposition to colocation. He says the board is sending the wrong message to Sealth staff if they approve the Option 2. Sealth teacher John Wright is speaking now. He recaps the concerns about community involvement having been lacking and information not having been communicated adequately. Alison Enochs is speaking now. If they support Option 2, she says, you have told 90 percent of Sealth staff their opinions don’t matter. She says the boiler is not in as bad shape as claimed. If you vote for Option 2, she tells the board, you are creating an arranged marriage where one of the partners is being dragged in kicking and screaming. She says – how about a new option, Option 4, leave us alone. Marlene Allbright is speaking now. She is a Sealth teacher and refutes district administrators’ contention there is strong academic benefit to be had from colocation; she says one of the studies that has been cited involved a rural school that she feels is not comparable to schools in an urban setting like Denny and Sealth. She says this project is supposed to be a model for “megaschools,” experimentation “at the expense of Sealth and Denny.”

6:08 PM UPDATE: Roll call to start the meeting. Public testimony is about to begin. The first 18 people are all slated to speak about Denny-Sealth.

6:03 PM UPDATE: Highland Park kids have just wrapped up; principal Ann Gray is listing credits, as board members file in. West Seattle’s school-board rep Steve Sundquist has just walked in; board president Cheryl Chow is asking that the kids help lead the Pledge of Allegiance. (We got some video of the kids’ performances – we’ll post it later tonight.)

5:55 PM UPDATE: We’re at school district HQ for the Seattle School Board meeting on the Denny-Sealth vote – will be updating continuously. There’s pre-meeting entertainment — kids from Highland Park Elementary in West Seattle are doing a lion dance. We’ll add continuous updates to the TOP of this post – so anytime you refresh, you’ll see the newest first.

27 Replies to "School-board vote on Denny-Sealth: Continuous meeting updates"

  • Emma Pierce February 27, 2008 (8:03 pm)

    I am a student at Denny Middle School and a 7th grader. I support Option 2 because both schools will be obtaining something. And I will be in Sealth by the time the project will be over and I want to be able to have something too.

    Emma Pierce
    13 years old

  • Katherine February 27, 2008 (8:40 pm)

    Emma, what exactly will Sealth be obtaining?

  • Janelle February 27, 2008 (8:45 pm)

    I am also a seventh grader at Denny Middle School and I support option 2. I think that adjoining the campuses will be beneficial for many people. I think it will be easier to transition from middle school to high school if we are on the same campus. I know that many people believe that it will not be safe for middle school students to be with high school students, but I don’t think there will be any problem. First of all, for both years I have been at Denny, I have shared classes with high school students and it hasn’t been a problem. Secondly, I have heard that many people believe that the schools are combining. There was an assembly at my school where I was informed that this is not true. They are only being put on the same property. I think we will actually be safer this way because the staff will be able to recognize students from both schools and make sure everyone is safe. I really hope that option 2 passes and that all future Denny and Sealth students, myself included, will be able to receive all of these benefits.

  • jb February 27, 2008 (9:03 pm)

    I love the play by play WSB. I can almost picture the meeting. Thank you.

    My elementary age children attend an independent school. I hold out hope that perhaps they will attend public high school, possibly CSHS.

    After looking at middle schools a bit, it’s hard enough to see 6th and 8th graders together (lots happens in those 3 years.) I cannot imagine having middles schoolers and high schoolers even remotely linked. I question the wisdom of the “experts.”

  • Dan Dempsey February 27, 2008 (9:17 pm)


    Yes the play by play is fabulous. Have you noticed the SPS has no experts. In the last election the fund raising dollars were like this:
    1) Maier 2) Sundquist 3) Carr 4) Martin-Morris
    Watch how this breaks based on campaign contributions. The district is creating a horrible situation based on a fantasy if this goes for option #2. Where are those recall petitions?
    This is the most outrageous of all the fiascos of the last 24 months.

  • Jlz February 27, 2008 (9:21 pm)

    I too was concerned to the point of almost moving my child to the Highline district because of the 6th grade/middle school combination. It has not been the easiest for me, but it has indeed been the most rewarding experience for my child as well as us as a family. During the summer before 8th grade, we engaged in a recommended program which was by majority high school students. Skeptics we were (my husband and I) we attended to ‘supervise’ and found that our child not only matured, but learned so much that an age isolated situation could not have offered. I learned how to trust my child in a whole new light. Believe.

  • EG February 27, 2008 (9:40 pm)

    Thank goodness for the wisdom of the new Seattle School Board! As emotional as the opposition was, there simply wasn’t enough evidence that this district losing more than $15-20m on the deal was worth not going forward. The Board has to consider the district as a whole- and as a whole, the district cannot afford to lose that much money.

    It is, however, disappointing that the Board dragged this out for so long. It would have shown a lot more leadership and allowed for a lot less rankling if the Board had made a decision and then given the rationale to the community afterwards. For goodness’ sake, this was a decision that was made in 2006, folks! The previous Board voted for it and now so has this one. Let’s get behind the idea, make the most of it, and rally for the kids.

  • Dan Dempsey February 27, 2008 (9:46 pm)

    I believe based on past experience that putting 1500+ 6 through 12 graders on the same site every day is an invitation for an increase in chaos.
    We have Bill Gates and small schools initiative. Now we have Don Gillmore and MG-J with the MEGA school for no apparent reason.
    I am all for believing let us take a look at the relevant data lest our belief lead to a nightmare.

  • Mark Ahlness February 27, 2008 (9:51 pm)

    Alyson’s third grade teacher here, chiming in to say he’s proud of her.

  • Jlz February 27, 2008 (10:12 pm)

    Mr. Dempsey-
    Chaos, what a great learning environment. This society used to believe in each other. Now through this whole experience, people are more concerned with the ‘merger’ (mis-used I must say) of two different groupings of kids. Groupings we as adults created. Unfortunately, it does not appear that those in this community think very highly of their own children or those around them. The community as a whole needs to step up and take responsibility for raising our kids and not leave it to the classroom. Parents/community members used to be a part of the education process and today, they are more of a beneficiary to a ‘free daycare’. I believe that the ‘co-location’ is a positive choice from many aspects. If not for the many previously listed on many blogs and documents, but to engage our students, families and community members in the ‘it takes a village to raise a family’ concept again. I believe that the powers that may be make decisions for numerous reasons and would not knowingly place our future leaders directly into harms way. It saddens me to hear the high school students and parents talk about themselves as being ‘dangerous’ or talking about a school setting as ‘dangerous’. My choice to send my child to whatever highschool I choose will be defined by what I believe is right for him. With the overwhelming amount of negativity coming from the Sealth staff/students and no apparent recourse to bring a positive voice into the high school will weigh heavy on my decision against Sealth. I do hope we can all come to an agreement that is in the best interest for our children. I will agree to disagree with you Mr. Dempsey.

  • Jonica February 28, 2008 (8:41 pm)

    Hi emma and janelle, u both made very good points (u go girls!:D) I am also a 7th grader at Denny Middle School, a future Sealth student and my neighborhood will be directly affected by any decision made. Ergo,I fully support option 2. Both the middle school and high school are definately in need of the new building for Denny and renovations for Sealth. After all, West Seattle High and Madison MS got a new building and I believe everyone should be able to have an oppurtunity to have such a nice facility. I believe that with the adjoined campuses we will be able to work together and collaborate with both schools and still be able to keep a certain level of security and still be able to be two seperate schools. I do realize that we could have gone about the process and decision making differently but whats done is done and there’s no going back so I think we should all try to work with this reality. i think with effort and help from the community this will be an amazing project that will bring the community together and create a lot of cultural oppurtunites for both schools to be a part of. For these reasons, I fully support option 2.

  • Katherine February 29, 2008 (8:05 am)

    Well, I am a student at Sealth, and I believe what one of the Denny students said before: everyone should be able to have an opportunity to have a nice facility. But in reality, Sealth really won’t be able to experience a nice facility. Instead, we’ll get to experience a new boiler and the loss of our new softball fields and tennis courts. I can see why the Denny community supports Option 2, as they get a brand new building and they don’t even have to move from their current location while it’s being built. I wouldn’t call this decision-making process “different,” I would call it fraud. This vote is extremely unfair to my fellow students and the Sealth community in general.

  • Dan Dempsey February 29, 2008 (6:06 pm)

    I will again ask the question:

    Where on the West Coast can I find an urban middle/high school with 1500+? so that I can look for the benefits of this configuration in the relevant data. To spend $100,000,000+ on anecdotes seems at best bizarre and more likely foolhardy.

  • Michael March 1, 2008 (1:54 am)

    “‘ripping out the hearts’ of the Sealth community”??
    Come on.
    There has to be more to an opposition than emotion and constant demand to prove a negative. Without some sort of fact-based approach to sway them, SPD has little choice but to approve what they feel is best. Objectively, you surely must see that.

  • Debbie March 1, 2008 (11:50 am)


    Without emotion there is no community. We could all come home from work, park our cars in our garages and never be a part of the place in which we live.

    SPD has a lot of choices. Have you gone to any School Board meetings and watched them vote more money to Garfied, more money to Roosevelt and more money to Nathan Hale? More money than the “paltry” $15 million they say it would cost to keep Denny and Sealth apart.

    I’m sorry Michael, you just contradicted yourself, you tell me that there has to be more than emotion to be in opposition (which there most certainly was) then you turn around and tell me that SPD had to approve what they “feel” is best. Is that not emotion? Where are the facts in this “feeling”?

  • Marcus Pimpleton March 1, 2008 (4:05 pm)

    Picking up on what Mr. Ahlness said, I think it is really great to see all of the students on all sides of this issue active, involved and giving their perspective. It makes me feel really proud to be a teacher.

    But it seems to me that there is some misunderstanding as to what exactly Option 2 entailed. Option 3 is the one that provided only the new boiler. Option 2 takes the savings from doing both schools at one time and puts them into the building at Sealth. The complete list of what was included in the powerpoint presentation, but to answer the question of what exactly Sealth would be getting I have pulled those out and put them here:

    – 7 Modernized Classrooms
    – Remodeled Library
    – 3 Modernized Science Labs
    – Modernized Computer Lab
    – Project Lead the Way Labs and Classroom
    – New Sports Medicine Clinic
    – Remodeled Spaces for Music
    – Upgraded Career Services
    – New ASB Area
    – New Athletic Field/Tennis Courts
    – New Paint
    – New Carpet
    – New Classroom Technology
    – New Furniture
    – New Galleria Space (should be great for school dances or evening activities)
    – New Health Center
    – New Staff Lounge
    – Administration area with enlarged reception area
    – Removal of the portables
    – New Student Plazas
    – New Landscaping
    – New Exterior Lighting
    – New Bicycle Storage

    Additionally, with the approval of the funds the board authorized last week, the Sealth community will have some additional monies available from which they can choose several of the options listed below:

    – Leaving the library as is and building 3 new classrooms
    – New Auditorium Seats
    – New Stage Lighting
    – New Theatrical Equipment
    – New White Boards
    – New Acoustic Ceilings
    – New Classroom Lighting
    – New Windows and Shades in all Classrooms
    – New Classroom Doors
    – Student Courtyard Project
    – New Exterior Doors
    – New Sunscreens
    – Improved Gym Entry
    – Improved Auditorium Entry
    – Improved Main Entry
    – New Gym Floor
    – New Bleachers
    – Remodeled Locker Room

    So, I don’t think it is fair or accurate to give the impression that Sealth gets nothing under Option 2. But to the high school students who are still worried about this, fret not. There is really no difference in terms of what the experience of the current Sealth students would have been under option 2 verses option 3. Both options required Sealth to go to Boren for the next two years. Under Option 2, Sealth moves back to Boren in 2010, but the middle school will not be completed until the end of the 2011 school year (after the current freshmen have graduated). So no one currently attending Chief Sealth will be there when the so called “nightmare” occurs and the middle schoolers cross the street.

    Personally, I am hoping and praying for the day that this discussion will eventually shift away from the failures leading up to this point, and on to a discussion about how we can come together in the three years ahead to ensure that on September 7, 2011 when that first group of sixth graders come to their first day at their new middle school (right next door to a high school) that it is safe, and that there has been the necessary and intentional planning done to maximize the benefits of the new proximity of these two schools. That is the dialogue/blog I am looking forward to being a part of and I hope many of you will be there.

  • WSB March 1, 2008 (4:10 pm)

    We talked to John Boyd about that in our interview done last Tuesday morning
    and will be looking forward to reporting any and all future developments.

  • marlene March 1, 2008 (5:19 pm)

    I know that you are a wonderful person and a great teacher. Someday, you will realize that this decision had nothing to do with academics, staff collegiality, mentoring, or great learning experiences. It’s about cost.

    The District will have to pay less people. There will be many fewer cooks. That equals less money going to salaries, retirement pensions, health, dental and vision benefits. There are fewer and fewer jobs that provide benefits.

    Carla Santorno, at the School Board work session on January 9, cited research to extoll the academic benefits that a 6-12 school could provide based on specific studies. I looked up those studies (and I would be happy to provide you with the website that published those studies) and found that the benefits she cited such as fewer suspensions because of fewer transitions, were not based on middle school students transitioning into high school, but were based on elementary students transitioning into middle school. Not only that, the studies were done in rural school districts, not urban school districts. The same studies suggested that K-8 schools were the best model all around for both academics and fewer suspensions. She named three studies, and there were none that were a 6-12 model in an urban district. Only when the Sealth community began putting pressure on the District to come up with some academic justification, did Carla Santorno dig up some research. Unfortunately, I guess she didn’t think anyone would “vet” her web search. You don’t build a $134 million dollar project based on this kind of research.

    All of the latest research suggests that smaller school communities offer the best academic environment. The School District really doesn’t care about students. They care about image, and the bottom line.

    If they cared about students they wouldn’t be taking our beautiful tennis courts and softball fields that are students use regularly because of the proximity and convenience. I don’t know what my developmentally challenged students will do.
    Their favorite part of the day is when they can get fresh air, and walk to the tennis courts and play games and activities.

    If the tennis courts and softball fields are built on the Denny property, it will be too far for my students to walk.

    But they will love looking at the new Galleria, and the new window shades, paint, sports medicine clinic, and Project Lead the Way.

  • Suzanne March 1, 2008 (8:23 pm)

    I am a physical therapist and definitely hear your concern about a space for your students. It is exceptionally important for everyone to get out and exercise and accommodations need to be made for the disabled under ADA regulations. I don’t know the physical abilities of your students, but I was wondering if they would be able to walk across the street to use the track and soccer fields, or is that still too far for some to walk? I don’t know the distance that they currently walk to get from their classroom to the tennis courts, and I just wonder how much farther it would be to walk to the track. I do take some of my clients to that field during the day and they love it.

    I think this is an important issue that needs to be addressed so that accommodations can be made, and I would be happy to be a part of the discussion to make sure it happens.

  • Marcus Pimpleton March 1, 2008 (8:33 pm)


    Thank you for your kind words. Likewise, I find your passion and willingness to fight for what you believe in quite inspiring and I honor the sincerity of your views.

    But we are where we are. The board has decided that co-location is the best use of the peoples money. It is going to happen. The question remains “Where do we go from here?”

    The way I see it we have two choices. We can continue arguing about whether this is a good idea and attempting to denominize people that we disagree with. Or we can accept the fact that this co-location is going to happen and do the work necesary to make it as successful as it can be. I personally choose to do the latter and hope others choose to do so also.

    We have spent the last several months identifying the problems, and the concerns. Now is the time to try working on solutions. One solution to the problem you mentioned might be to provide a regular time for the developmentally challenged kids to use the new playfield that will be on the north side of Denny. As long as it was not during the lunch time, it should be a relatively quiet space out there. There is no reason why a supervised group of developmentally challenged high schoolers should not be able to go over there and enjoy some fresh air and play.

    My concern at this point is that there are a lot of issues like the one you named that can be alleviated if we talk about them with the intent of finding solutions. But most of the opposition has been an effort to throw the kitchen sink at this co-location in hopes that something sticks. Yes, we need to think about what might go wrong. But we should do so with the goal of helping to make it go right.

    The passion and the conviction of the opponents of this colocation is inspiring on some levels. It is nice to see people standing up for something and caring about their schools and their community. But woudn’t it be something if that passion and conviction was directed towards making this co-location work rather than creating animosity and fear about it.

  • Doug March 2, 2008 (5:13 am)

    Marcus, you hit the nail on the head! It is time we move forward and stop focusing on the north end schools. Let’s make what we have work. The grass is always greener…
    Maybe we need to approach this like building the building. When a problem arises we (architect,engineer and carpenter) put our heads together and find a solution. We have a fine group of community members, teachers, staff and students. Let’s use these resources and make this a shining example of what can be done. Take the ropes off the boxing ring and use it as a platform to showcase what we can do. I know my kids are very excited about the new school.

  • marlene March 2, 2008 (7:37 am)

    Thanks for your concern Susan. Right now the tennis courts are only a few steps away from my classroom, and the track is too far for some of my students. As I’m sure you know, those of us who live in the Northwest are at risk from getting Vitamin D. The best way for our bodies to process that particular vitamin is to be outside.

  • marlene March 2, 2008 (7:39 am)

    Sorry, I meant Suzanne!!

  • Suzanne March 2, 2008 (8:41 am)

    I am in total agreement that we all need to get outdoors more often.

    Would Marcus’s suggestion of the new playfield to the north of the new Denny building work in terms of distance? It looks like that would be in about the same place as the current softball field – not much further than the tennis courts. Also, maybe classrooms could be moved around to get your kids as close to a designated outdoor space as possible.

  • Indaknow March 3, 2008 (2:57 pm)

    I attended the Sealth PTSA meeting last week. Mr Boyd indicated that we WILL be losing classrooms when the portables are torn down, unless there can be rooms “carved out” of other spaces at Sealth.

  • Indaknow March 3, 2008 (3:02 pm)

    I attended the Sealth PTSA meeting last week. Mr Boyd indicated that we WILL be losing classrooms when the portables are torn down, unless there can be rooms “carved out” of other spaces at Sealth. Our schools population is very diverse and our special population requires more classrooms than other high schools because of this. We aren’t even sure where we will all fit at Boren yet. I can accept this situation at Boren, but it troubles me that our students (whether they are IB, special-ed, ESL or traditional) may not get all the space they deserve to learn.

  • Indaknow March 3, 2008 (3:03 pm)

    sorry for the double post, got crazy with the keyboard…

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