“Save Arbor Heights” campaign goes public with “fact sheet”

(added Monday night: one of the “Save Arbor Heights” campaign signs that are being printed)
The Arbor Heights Elementary PTSA has just finished a “fact sheet” about its school, which (to recap) is proposed for closure by Seattle Public Schools staff — not the building itself, but the school that’s currently housed in it. AHPTSA describes it as “being evicted”; SPS staff proposes dispersing AH students to other “West Seattle South cluster” schools, and moving the Pathfinder K-8 alternative program into the AH building (after closing the deteriorating Genesee Hill building where it’s long been housed). One of the points that AH reiterates on the fact sheet: In a time when SPS leaders have said they want to move back toward “neighborhood schools” (after years of “school choice” tending to scatter people) — buildings where a high percentage of the students are from nearby neighborhoods — AH already is succeeding on that front, with 50% of its students from the immediate area (described by SPS as the “reference area”). If that doesn’t sound like much to you, consider the stats for other West Seattle elementary schools (according to the “demographic summaries” available on the SPS website – you can choose any school from the “school reports” pulldown on this page):
21% for Alki Elementary
29% for Cooper Elementary
32% for Gatewood Elementary
47% for Highland Park Elementary
42% for Lafayette Elementary
26% for Roxhill Elementary
31% for Sanislo Elementary
51% for Schmitz Park Elementary (the only one higher than AH)
36% for West Seattle Elementary
(Thanks to Michelle for pointing out this info also is available in map form)
Here again is the new Arbor Heights fact sheet; next steps for the “Save Arbor Heights” campaign, a community meeting in the school cafeteria at 7 tomorrow night (as reported here last night). Side note: Tomorrow is also a big night for dozens of West Seattle parents affected by the proposal to move the citywide APP (top-level gifted) program out of Lowell Elementary in the north end and split it between two schools (West Seattle APP students would move to Hawthorne) – their advisory committee is having a meeting at Lowell with a briefing from district staff.

18 Replies to ""Save Arbor Heights" campaign goes public with "fact sheet""

  • Melissa December 1, 2008 (3:15 pm)

    I’m just so thrilled and impressed by how much the AH parents (and particularly the PTSA board) have accomplished in so little time.

    The District gave us only one option, not several as in years past. They’ve also given us appallingly little time to respond to their plan. Additionally, they’re opening only 20 slots for community responses FROM THE WHOLE DISTRICT during the SPS Board meeting on Wednesday night. All of this is an end-run around the community involvement and participation the District claims it supports! I’m both furious at the District and encouraged by the passion shown by AH parents.

    When we sat down with my son last night to talk to him about the District plan, he said, “Yay! I’d love to have the kids from Pathfinder come to my school!” When I explained that the District wanted to remove the kids currently at AH to do so, his face fell and he looked utterly at a loss. “Why? That doesn’t make ANY sense??”

  • Cryptical December 1, 2008 (4:39 pm)

    Saving Arbor Heights Elementary is a must for the school district. They are a brilliant example of what our city desperately needs to build… A vibrant, involved and caring community that treasures its neighborhood school.

  • ArborHeightsMom December 1, 2008 (7:11 pm)

    Are there any ways to help if you are not (or not yet) an Arbor Heights parent? Donations?

  • TammyWooley December 1, 2008 (7:23 pm)

    Anyone from the Arbor Heights Community who wants to help, try to attend the Arbor Heights Community/PTSA meeting Tuesday evening at 7:00 PM. If you can not make the meeting, continue to watch both the WestSeattleBlog and the http://SaveArborHeights.com site. There are many ways for all to help support the cause.

  • ArborHeightsFather December 1, 2008 (7:35 pm)

    Arbor Heights is a prime example of community and what the School Board says they are supporting.

    I see no reason to displace hundreds of students from their friends and neighborhoods to make room for an alternative school.

  • Sofia Goff December 1, 2008 (8:01 pm)

    Hi ArborHeightsMom!
    Thank you for asking if there are ways you can help. There are many ways. You can let your neighbors know in Arbor Heights about what the school district is proposing and you and your neighbors can email and call the school district. Below is their contact information. Also you can come to the meeting at 7 pm tomorrow night at Arbor Heights school. Thank you so much for everyone’s support!

    AH’s School Board Representative:
    Steve Sundquist: steve.sundquist@seattleschools.org

    Other School Board Members:

    Sherry Carr: sherry.carr@seattleschools.org

    Harium Martin-Morris: harium.martin-morris@seattleschools.org

    Cheryl Chow: cheryl.chow@seattleschools.org

    Mary Bass: mary.bass@seattleschools.org
    Michael DeBell: michael.debell@seattleschools.org



  • Michael December 2, 2008 (1:26 am)

    It will be interesting to see which school’s parents win out – Arbor Heights’ sure look like they have professionalism on their side. Will they triumph over the Pathfinder parents? Do they have more than “not us” – can they suggest a plan that works?

    We’ll see I guess.

  • WSB December 2, 2008 (2:12 am)

    Just for context’s sake, as I am covering this one much more closely than the last one (in spring/fall 2006 we hadn’t yet morphed into a fulltime news org) – those involved are trying mightily to keep it from being Arbor Heights *vs.* Pathfinder, even though that is what the school district has set the stage for, with the proposal to boot AH and move PF in. The PF community has not taken a full public stand on the proposal yet. The AH community appears to be working hard not to demonize PF, instead stressing “we’re a school that’s working, we shouldn’t be dismantled, whatever the reason.” Of course we’ll see where the rhetoric goes from here, as public pitches take the spotlight over the next few nights and weeks (starting with the AH meeting tonight, and the School Board meeting Wed) – TR

  • Eric B December 2, 2008 (6:18 am)

    As a Pathfinder parent, I appreciate your comments WSB. We all at PF have really appreciated the fact that AH has gone out of their way to not vilify PF – it is so easy, especially when your community is threatened. They have been admirable in their self-restraint. Pathfinder has never advocated for the closing of Arbor Heights (and I can’t imagine we ever would!) We do NOT consider it to be an us vs. them fight – and sadly, there is no “triumph” when it comes to the the heartbreak of school closures.

  • Forest December 2, 2008 (6:45 am)

    I’m impressed by the Arbor Heights group and I trust its fact sheet a lot more than I trust anything the school district has to say.

    Note the district’s own student distribution maps: The separate maps for Pathfinder and West Seattle (High Point) Elementaries show clearly different different patterns for the neighborhoods the students originate from, yet the map statistic tables show the student enrollments and the neighborhood distributions for the two separate schools as 100% identical.

  • Cryptical December 2, 2008 (9:47 am)

    As an Arbor Heights parent, I can say obviously our fight is with the school district and their proposal to eliminate our program and certainly NOT with the Pathfinder community. We feel our program is not only successful enough, but significantly special enough to warrant preservation too.

    The school board just needs to really review all of the facts, not just the skewed numbers presented by the district. For instance, the district currently claims our school is under-enrolled, yet when we asked to expand our school with additional kindergarten or sixth grade classes, the district’s response was that we did not have the capacity.

    From what was heard at the board meeting last week, the district has used a lot of “soft data” to support their current recommendations. By their own admission, the district staff have not visited every school. The methodology the superintendent’s staff employed for calculating capacity is also suspect.

  • Connie Wicklund December 2, 2008 (10:09 am)

    I’m just curious as to where the information regarding percentages of neighborhood kids attending the schools came from. I know Lafayette’s information is not from the “annual report”, and I know that 42% is incorrect.

  • West seattle mom December 2, 2008 (10:30 am)

    As a whole all communities involved, i am so proud of the example that we are showing our children. When there is something happeing that you don’t agree with – make a change. Get your hands dirty and work hard to make that change. AH and PF, (many others as well) it’s a tough time for both of you. Your programs are so unique that it would be a shame to lose either.

    One of the most refreshing aspects of this round of school closures, is the attitude. There hasn’t been the negative comments, the ‘predator’ comments- it’s great. Two strong communities working together for the kids. That is who it’s about after all!

    hats off to both of you

  • West seattle mom December 2, 2008 (10:44 am)

    Comment by ArborHeightsFather —

    keep your chin up and keep it positive, that’s the way we should show our children how to lead. AH shouldn’t be closed to make room for ANY school- doesn’t matter if it’s alternative or traditional….

  • Cryptical December 2, 2008 (10:52 am)

    The information was gleaned from the school district’s website. See below:


  • WSB December 2, 2008 (11:11 am)

    Sorry, I combed two reports for each school while assembling data a couple nights ago – the annual report is the newest source of some info but also linked from the same page for each school is the DEMOGRAPHIC SUMMARY and that’s where the stats came from. The demographic summaries for 2008 do not appear to be up but the 2007s are – obtained from the pulldown (in Lafayette’s case) from this page
    Each school can be chosen from this page:
    use the “school report” pulldown

    (the map link is also in the pulldown above. For example, for Lafayette, the map says 199 of its 450 students, at least as of whenever the doc was prepared, were from its “reference area,” therefore the percentage. Keep in mind, that’s the immediate “reference area,” NOT the “cluster.” The reference area for each school is described in links from this page:

  • Michell December 2, 2008 (12:40 pm)

    I was at a Pathfinder function before the closures were announced and Steve Sundquist mentioned that the best way to proceed would be for groups of people to submit comments together and to generate ideas or alternatives.

    Has the AH PTSA invited the Pathfinder folks to the meeting tonight? I am just wondering if it might be useful for the two programs to brainstorm alternatives together?

    Disclaimer: I am not a Pathfinder parent (my child attends Alki), but my child does attend the after school program at Pathfinder.

  • West seattle mom December 2, 2008 (3:15 pm)

    Is there interest for a West Seattle School Cluster general meeting? Maybe a local community center would donate a room so that everyone could get together and talk. If people are interested we should do it.

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