Arbor Heights Elementary reportedly on the school closure list

According to various online discussions we are monitoring, Arbor Heights Elementary is on the closure list that the school district will unveil at 6 pm tonight. There is already a Save Arbor Heights blog. More to come. WSB will report live from the meeting tonight (public is welcome; it’s at district HQ in Sodo) – both with frequent updates here on the home page, and also via Twitter ( Arbor Heights, by the way, was one of the first schools NATIONWIDE to have a website – dating back to 1994. As per the comments below this note (including one that says it will be proposed that Pathfinder’s program move to Arbor Heights’ building) – the presentation the district will make tonight will be a complicated list of “program” closures as well as “building” closures and moves, so the full picture of who’s supposed to go where won’t emerge till the announcements are done. Also, in advance of this, the district announced this afternoon that the “open enrollment” period for next year is being pushed back to March 2-31, 2009 (more than a month later than the original plan; here’s the full news release).

21 Replies to "Arbor Heights Elementary reportedly on the school closure list"

  • que November 25, 2008 (3:36 pm)

    I think that with the annexation of WC still in limbo, that picking Arbor Hts is “penny wise and pound foolish” at best… If this goes through we will be feeling reverberations of this throughout WS.

  • Toddinwestwood November 25, 2008 (3:37 pm)

    ahh come on. Really? This is stupid. They JUST completed a whole bunch of work at the school, and my daughter wants to go there next year. Our only other choice down here is Roxhill Elementary.
    Great job Seattle School Board.! Bravo! Clap, clap clap, clap

  • Charlie Mas November 25, 2008 (3:45 pm)

    So they are moving students INTO Roxhill, the school they were going to close two years ago?

  • HTS November 25, 2008 (3:46 pm)

    My family moved to Arbor Heights six months ago, so we are a bit out of the loop. Our child would attend the school in a few years if it remains open. Is there a plan here? How is the attendance – is there a shortage of students? Where will the current students go? Will the school be remodeled, demolished, sold? I can’t make the meeting tonight…but would like to know more.

  • wsteacher November 25, 2008 (3:48 pm)

    They are actually proposing to move Pathfinder K-8 from the Genesee Hill building into the Arbor Heights building, preserving the only alternative school in West Seattle.

  • WSB November 25, 2008 (3:49 pm)

    Thanks – so where are the Arbor Heights kids supposed to be going, then?

  • wsteacher November 25, 2008 (3:55 pm)

    “Redistributed” throughout local schools is the word. Apparently there are enough empty seats in current WS schools. I just hope we don’t compromise the commitment to lower class sizes. And really, Pathfinder does deserve a decent building.

  • WSB November 25, 2008 (3:57 pm)

    One piece to the puzzle to remember – as we reported quite some weeks back, a district official remarked during the Denny site planning process (what happens at the Denny Middle School site when the new Denny is done on the Sealth campus) that an elementary school likely would be built on the Denny site “to replace three to be closed.” However, the Denny move is still two years away.

  • Michell November 25, 2008 (4:23 pm)

    I wonder if the excess capacity is at Highpoint? They sent out a letter in August to parents of children assigned to Highpoint stating that they were a failing school (under no child left behind). I know some parents opted to not send their children to Highpoint – so maybe there is the excess capacity?

  • Mark Ahlness November 25, 2008 (4:35 pm)

    I would add that Arbor Heights had one of the first school websites in the world, not just the US. It is also home to the largest educational activity on the Internet:

  • add November 25, 2008 (4:36 pm)

    Oh geez. Here we go again. *sigh*

  • jm November 25, 2008 (4:40 pm)

    My son is in Kindergarten at Arbor Heights this year and we were on the wait list at Schmitz Park at the beginning of the year. I seem to remember that Arbor Heights, Lafayette, Schmitz Park and Gatewood all had wait lists this year (unless the information printed was incorrect).. where would our kids go? Is there really enough space in all the schools here to absorb them? And why close Arbor Heights only to put Pathfinder there? So stressful and frustrating!

  • Bonnie November 25, 2008 (4:58 pm)

    What does anybody know about Pathfinder? I don’t know much about it, just that it is an Alternative School and K-8.

    My son is in special ed. at Arbor Heights and right now they are saying that the special ed will be staying with the school.

  • Ken S. November 25, 2008 (6:38 pm)

    My daughter is in 1st grade @ Pathfinder. I’m not sure what else to say – except we are really happy with the school – great teachers, great principal, great PTSA, etc….

  • Bonnie November 25, 2008 (9:32 pm)

    Thanks Ken. I just want my daughter to go to the same school as her brother. She can pretty much adapt to any teaching style. My son can not. He needs lots of structure.

  • add November 25, 2008 (10:18 pm)

    My understanding is the preliminary recommendation includes keeping the special ed programs intact at the Arbor Height building – but I havent’ seen that in writing so I’m not 100% sure.

  • WSmom November 25, 2008 (10:22 pm)

    @Bonnie – When I was looking at schools, structure did not seem to be Pathfinder’s strong suit. Process yes, integration of ideas yes, but structure, not so much.

  • WSB November 25, 2008 (10:23 pm)

    I just added a pointer to the links for what’s supposed to be ALL the docs from tonight’s meeting. As for that one – here’s the verbatim from the four-page doc handed out: “Special education generic self-contained primary and intermediate programs at Arbor Heights: Remain at the Arbor Heights building and become part of Pathfinder K-8.”
    That’s from the overview four-pager, may be more in the 12-MB “report and appendices” doc which I’m about to quickly review before zooming out of here.

  • Bonnie November 26, 2008 (7:11 am)

    WSMom, my son’s spec. ed teacher is concerned about having Pathfinder as the school they are in because the spec. ed students NEED structure. A lot of it. They have many of the children go into the regular classroom quite often for music, PE, math, science, etc. and they will still need a structured environment. Don’t know if it will go over too well with Pathfinder. Of course, my daughter doesn’t need that structured environment so anything would work for her but I’m really looking to match him because he’s the one with the learning issues.

    Hate this!

  • Dave and Lisa McFarlane November 26, 2008 (2:48 pm)

    My biggest concern after reading the recommendations are that they are forcing my children to be “reassigned” not because they are closing Arbor Heights but because they discontinuing their program? So they will have a school there just not the current one??? I am not quite sure how that seems fair to those of us in this neighborhood and I am also not quite sure why Arbor Heights was chosen to be discontinued and Roxhill was not a school that was looked at for discontinuation or closure as it had been previously, especially since enrollment in that school is down yet again. I now understand why more and more people have lost faith in the Seattle Public School system and why more are turning to private schools. The choice they are making here is difficult for even me to understand so how do I explain to my children that their school is still open but they are not able to go there any longer?

    I hope they know that their recommendations will not go forth without a battle. My children’s grandmother went to Arbor Heights as did my husband and I. We live in this neighborhood for many reasons and this school is one of them. This is a neighborhood school in the truest sense and they are robbing us the opportunity to give that experience to our children. I will not allow them to choose where my children will go to school. That is a choice we as parents have made and it is not something they are going to get to do now or ever.

    I fear these concerns will fall upon deaf ears as they have done so on so many other issues and that saddens me. They ask parents to get involved and to voice our opinions and concerns yet in so many instances it seems their decisions are made regardless of our input.

    We need to use all our energy to fight to keep our neighborhood school, our extended family open and thriving as it has done for so many years. Arbor Heights matters to us that live here that is why we are here, why we stayed, and why so many come back.

    Lisa McFarlane

  • WSmom November 27, 2008 (1:01 am)

    Bonnie, I totally hear you. I think that you are right to be concerned. I think that your son’s need for structure in the classroom will not be well served by Pathfinder’s guiding pedagogy. Things tend to be much less structured and fluid there in my experience, which totally works for some, and in your son’s case, possibly not so well. I think that it is going to be a very hard thing to mainstream the special ed students that need structure into the classes at PF successfully.

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