Arbor Heights meeting, report #1

We’re in the cafeteria at Arbor Heights Elementary, where a community meeting is about to begin, called by the PTSA to discuss the proposal to close the AH “program” so the building can be given to the Pathfinder K-8 program. The fluorescent green T-shirts you see around the room are newly minted “Save Arbor Heights” T-shirts. PTSA leadership will speak, followed by open mike time; we’ve seen several crews here from citywide media – KOMO TV included (so something should be on their 11 pm news). 7:21 PM UPDATE: PTSA leaders say Arbor Heights parents managed to get six of the speaking slots at tomorrow night’s School Board meeting (the official agenda lists four, and one for Pathfinder); they are offering child care to any AH community members who want to go to the board meeting to show support for the school. 7:48 PM UPDATE: As listed on the “fact sheet” we reported on yesterday, they are suggesting West Seattle, Cooper, and Roxhill Elementaries are better options for closure than AH. PTSA president Suzette Riley also mentioned proposing Denny as a new Pathfinder home, once its students move to the new Denny on the Sealth campus, as a longshot proposal. 8:32 PM UPDATE: The meeting has just ended and they’re signing people up for committees to help with various tasks in what could be a two-month road ahead, although they are hoping to present compelling-enough evidence to get the “close Arbor Heights program” tossed out sooner. (Full report on tonight’s meeting is in the works.)

1 Reply to "Arbor Heights meeting, report #1"

  • Dana Varon December 3, 2008 (4:28 am)

    As an Arbor Heights parent I want to make it clear that we are not “suggesting” other sites for closure. We are simply showing that the data being used for repurposing Arbor Heights is not consistent with district closure data. We have the second highest number of students within walking distance to our school in all of West Seattle. We have the second highest percentage of parents CHOOSING Arbor Heights as the first choice for school for their children and we have the lowest number of children in the Pathfinder program- 0.7% of Pathfinder comes from Arbor Heights. 42% of Pathfinder comes from the High Point/West Seattle Elem. reference area. Only about 43% of West Seattle Elementary comes from its own reference area. One could argue that Pathfinder is already a High Point community school.
    But more importantly, we are trying to show that “repurposing” Arbor Heights is bad for our community, bad for families, bad for traffic, the environment and safety as we bus 500 students in at least 6 different directions- and most importantly, bad for Arbor Heights children. There is an immeasurable intrinsic value to going to school with your neighbors, to having everyone know you and your family and you theirs. Research continuously shows that parent and community involvement contributes to student success. This kind of community creates a safety net that reaches every corner of Arbor Heights and every community member benefits.

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