Seattle Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Maria Goodloe Johnson brought her “community coffee” conversation tour to West Seattle Elementary School Monday night. The number of community members who attended was almost matched by the number of district staffers on hand, but those who came brought up some challenging issues – primarily class size and closed schools. Most of the discussion centered on elementary-level class sizes; if classes hold 28 or more, Dr. Goodloe-Johnson said, it’s up to the school’s principal to work with teachers and find solutions. School population in general is an issue as well; crowded elementary schools in West Seattle were mentioned, particularly Schmitz Park Elementary, which is now over 400 students – some parents asked when the district would open closed schools to relieve some of the crowding. The superintendent said her staff is currently reviewing the latest enrollment numbers (keep in mind, this is the first year of the new Student Assignment Plan). While schools have been reopened in other parts of the city, Dr. Goodloe-Johnson didn’t commit to doing that in West Seattle (which currently has two closed and not-in-use elementary buildings, Fairmount Park and Genesee Hill). Other topics included the school levy that’s on next week’s ballot and the district’s response to criticisms contained in a state-conducted audit (she noted they’re addressed on the district website). The superintendent has two more “coffee chats” elsewhere in the city (full list here), but if you want to discuss West Seattle SPS issues sooner, local school board rep Steve Sundquist has his next community chat 11 am Wednesday at Delridge Library.
West Seattle, Washington