K-5 STEM to Schmitz Park Elementary in 2016? District announces ‘preliminary’ proposals

Seattle Public Schools has finally proposed a permanent home for K-5 STEM at Boren – the current Schmitz Park Elementary building, once it’s replaced by a new building in 2016. A K-5 STEM parent shared this e-mail received tonight from the district:

To meet the needs of our growing enrollment, Seattle Public Schools is considering boundary changes for the 2014-15 school year. We will not change any boundaries or assignments for the upcoming 2013-14 school year.

In anticipation of these changes, we are having conversations about our current schools and programs with our stakeholders. On Wednesday, district staff will present several options to the School Board for early consideration, including moving K-5 STEM at Boren to the current Schmitz Park building in 2016-17 after Schmitz Park Elementary moves to its new building at Genesee Hill. Fairmount Park would become an attendance area elementary school opening in 2014-15, and K-5 STEM at Boren would continue as an option program.

Again, these are all preliminary conversations. We will host five community meetings this fall to consider boundary changes and get feedback from families, staff and community members. There will be plenty of time for review and community reaction. You can view the district’s initial presentation to the board here. This initial review of program placement will be presented from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Wednesday, May 29 at the John Stanford Center for Educational Excellence. This will be a committee discussion. There is no public testimony at this meeting and no votes will be taken.

Our goal at Seattle Public Schools is to ensure equity, access and opportunities for all students. We are planning for the future of our district, and any changes moving forward starting in the 2014-15 school year will help meet this goal. We also want to maximize walkability and minimize disruptions by aligning new boundaries with current attendance area boundaries, when feasible. The School Board will ultimately vote on the school assignment boundary changes on November 20, 2013.

If you would like to give feedback on these early recommendations, please send an email to growthboundaries@seattleschools.org

We look forward to working with each of our school communities to make sure any changes are rolled out smoothly and to ensure we have a thoughtful, strategic and equitable plan for schools, programs and services.

This again was a message tailored for K-5 STEM families – we’re looking now for any additional information on West Seattle schools, and will add what we find.

ADDED 10:58 PM: Here’s the full PowerPoint that will be presented at tomorrow’s School Board committee meeting (thanks to the Seattle Schools Community Forum website for a link that works!) – it includes lots of information that will be of interest to families in programs including Advanced Learning, Special Education, and English Language Learning, but the only West Seattle specifics of note are mentioned in the e-mail above – the recommendations for K-5 STEM to move into Schmitz Park, and for Fairmount Park to open as a neighborhood school.

68 Replies to "K-5 STEM to Schmitz Park Elementary in 2016? District announces 'preliminary' proposals"

  • Morgan Junction Mom May 29, 2013 (12:05 am)

    Does anyone know if younger siblings get grandfathered in to older sibling’s schools when boundaries change?

  • Nick May 29, 2013 (1:49 am)

    Makes absolutely no sense to move Schmitz Park Elementary FROM Schmitz Park if the building is still going to be operating as an elementary school. Move STEM to Genesee and leave Schmitz right where it is!

  • Me mama May 29, 2013 (3:13 am)

    Great! Finally, this makes sense!

  • StringCheese May 29, 2013 (4:11 am)

    Riddle me this…
    Why is Genesee Hill not a “new neighborhood school”?
    Seriously. Stop and think. It is absolutely clear that more seats are needed in the north end. The question is, why are they moving a school from a completely functional building instead of opening the new school and redrawing appropriate boundaries that leave all north end schools with building-appropriate numbers?
    This is no Arbor Heights scenario. They’re not rebuilding a dangerous, dysfunctional building. They are building a new building and letting a perfectly functional building sit. Until they decided to place STEM there, that was their plan! Let it just sit there. A perfectly sound building! Here is the WSB coverage:
    How do the families at Alki and Roxhill (two buildings also falling apart) feel about this?
    In an overcrowded north end, keeping Schmitz open at a reasonable size and opening Genesee as a new neighborhood school would create 1000 seats instead of 650. Common sense boundaries for Genesee Hill would alleviate crowding issues at SP, Gatewood, Lafayette, and West Seattle.
    Think about it. You would end up with two strong neighborhood schools where they are needed. Did you look at the crazy lines for Fairmount Park?
    Again, why has no one questioned the basic lack of reason or logic of this whole crazy scenario? Schmitz Park should stay Schmitz Park (at its intended capacity) and the whole north end (and a bit of the south) should benefit from the capacity relief of opening a new school at Genesee Hill. You would have enough families drawn into the new school from Schmitz to replicate their success and bring engaged families (and their money to the PTA) to the new school.

  • West Seattle Mom May 29, 2013 (6:39 am)

    It doesn’t sound like STEM can grow too big if they are going to be in SP. Well, unless they are all in portables.

  • Person May 29, 2013 (6:45 am)

    Seems reasonable. How refreshing!

  • Person May 29, 2013 (7:24 am)

    I think the reason they keep calling it Schmitz park at genessee is to emphasize that the program will stay the same. If it was a whole new school, they’d probably have to go through all of the hoops again to keep Singapore math, etc.

  • Observer May 29, 2013 (7:25 am)

    In my history with the district as an employee and parent, the word ‘Draft!!!” means, “This is going to happen, but we want to be able to easily deflect criticism until the last minute when we ignore all input and go ahead with our first idea.”
    @ Morgan Junction Mom- Sibling placement is one of the top tie breakers, but not a guarantee. I had to fight tooth and nail to have both kids at the same school and I’m a teacher with the district.

  • Person May 29, 2013 (7:30 am)

    Hopefully not a double post:

    I’m guessing they don’t start a whole new school because they’d have to jump through hoops to keep Singapore math, etc.

  • Amanda May 29, 2013 (7:42 am)

    Why wouldn’t they move it to EC Hughes? It’s unfair that now both option schools will be in the North end of West Seattle. It keeps up those property values in the Schmitz Park neighborhood. How nice for them.

  • Bonnie May 29, 2013 (7:45 am)

    When are they going to announce the boundary changes? Will it effect middle and high school?

  • Citizen May 29, 2013 (8:08 am)

    Have those of you against the idea of SP moving to Genesse ever seen the condition of SP? The school community at SP do deserve a new building and I wonder if SPS is trying hard not to displace existing SP students. Also, the only way to renovate the SP existing building is to find a new place for them so it can be fixed appropriately for whoever will use it in the future. Not trying to defend this idea from SPS but thinking about its rationale.

  • Bsmomma May 29, 2013 (8:19 am)

    I whole heartly agree with Stringcheese! With the new boundaries, how many families that put in 3 years and took a lwap of faith with the school would be denied further enrollment? Just seems ridiculous.

  • AHParent May 29, 2013 (8:22 am)

    Amanda – There is equity in this plan. STEM at Schmitz in the North and ESTEM at AH in the south.

    There has to be something up for Roxhill. They need a new building. It is not in as bad shape as AH, but very very close. The biggest issue is capacity. They are bursting at the seams. I believe they lost two progams because of this. I know one was a tranisition to Kindergarten program…I might have this wrong. Just redrawing the boundary lines to alleviate capacity is not acceptable. They need a new facility also.

  • HPMom May 29, 2013 (8:27 am)

    I agree Amanda. This would leave the Denny service area with no option schools and the Madison service area with two.

  • JustYourNeighbor May 29, 2013 (8:27 am)

    Interesting slideshow — I wasn’t aware how the concentration of kids played out in W. Seattle. I’m happy for the families who will have opportunity (Fairmount!) but sad for the many who will have much anxiety in the coming months.

    I assume kids that are already at a school are grandfathered into that school, no? They’d better be!

    @Bonnie – slideshow says “community engagement” is this Sept/Oct, and middle schools are affected. High school coming later.

    @StringCheese – Good points. I think overcrowding at Schmitz was identified and addressed before the solution of new boundaries came about. We voted on the BEX levy last spring and they’re already moving forward…

  • Jeff May 29, 2013 (8:27 am)

    I just wish they would make the boundaries make sense. Right now my son is apparently going to go to Alki elementary, even though it is twice as far as Schmitz Park, and probably three times as far as this new Genesee Hill site. Why can’t everyone just go to the closest school like in normal towns?

  • Jem May 29, 2013 (8:28 am)

    What about the parking issues around Schmitz Park? How is the School District going to handle drop off and pick up? It’s already a major problem in the neighborhood. Parents have actually threatend homeowners with physical force and to burn down their houses when asked politely not to block alleys, park on handicapped spots, etc.

  • CooperWS May 29, 2013 (8:34 am)

    As a new STEM parent next fall I hope the STEM PTA is against this. It makes no sense to put the option school across town where there are already fine schools. I’d hoped STEM would go to Fairmont Park in the middle of WS. Silly to move the name of Schmitz Park to another building too.

  • Amanda May 29, 2013 (8:40 am)

    Roxhill was .2 “points” “better” than AH. While AH will be an ESTEM, it’s not an option school. Roxhill is the recipient of many grants, which is great. But their PTA didn’t raise $250,000 like the Schmitz Park PTA did. I see a very large disparity in the amount of money and attention paid to schools in areas that have higher property values. And frankly, I don’t think that is very fair.

  • StringCheese May 29, 2013 (9:02 am)

    Go through all the hoops? In this scenario, Fairmount Park will have to go through all of the “hoops”. There is no getting around “hoops”. Actually, for Singapore, all that must be done is fill out the waiver form. Not much of a hoop really.
    Also, SP will not be kept together no matter what the scenario. Some families will be drawn out to attend Fairmount Park. So, it comes back to logic…
    I think Amanda has hit the elephant in the room as to why they would approach this in such an inequitable way.

  • beef May 29, 2013 (9:02 am)

    There is the issue of the students in the geozone for STEM that have to be transported to the farthest of all the location options for permanent site.

    Another reason STEM should have been against the formation of a geozone for its temporary location.

  • Melissa Westbrook May 29, 2013 (9:06 am)

    Morgan Junction Mom, that’s a good question about grandfathering. I suspect not because it would take years to “age out” students and they need the space now. We’ll have to see what the Board asks at today’s Work Session.

    The discussion over boundaries will include middle and high school but probably at a later date. The work will continue through the fall (so get to one of the community meetings) and they are likely to vote in December.

    If you are worried/unhappy, let Marty McLaren know your concerns and ideas.

  • OnGraham May 29, 2013 (9:12 am)

    So many questions (from a STEM mom)
    – It seems that STEM at Fairmount, SP at the New Genesee campus and a new school at old SP would have the least impact on boundaries. If that’s one of the primary goals, then the “DRAFT” plan doesn’t map to goals very well. In fact, I’d love to see a West Seattle specific rationale for the decisions based upon the “guiding principles” in their proposal.
    – We have nearly four kindergarten classes at STEM this year, as the school grows, how are we not going to be in the same overcrowding situation that we already see at SP?
    – Does the district have the ability to manage another “new school” in West Seattle (Fairmount Park)? As a parent at STEM, while I love the staff, it’s been a bit of a rough ride getting district support and funding to operate at the appropriate levels (equipment, materials, facilities, staff). Why put STEM in limbo for another three years while building and designing yet another new school in West Seattle? Let’s get one done well before starting a new one.
    – Agree with other commenters on the equity front, for all the district’s equity talk, another great school in the very North West part of West Seattle gives North end kids lots of options, but geographically limits the option for kids in the South and East part of the area.

  • Kayo May 29, 2013 (9:17 am)

    All you have to do is get a waiver for Singapore math? That is completely incorrect. True for stem but not for anyone else unless you have a wealthy enough PTA to buy yourself a better curriculum. Point is soon to be moot anyway as math curriculum changes for K5 are coming in 2-3 years according to a school board member I heard from last week. Equity in schools is a joke when stuff like that goes on. I wonder if Roxhill is getting absorbed into the AH mega Elementary? Shhhh. Maybe district is keeping that on the down low for now? Pay attention folks. It is going to be interesting for the next few years…

  • Planning May 29, 2013 (9:33 am)

    I believe they intend to move Roxhill K-5 to Hughes and keep the Roxhill building as a developmental pre-school and Kindergarten.

  • AHParent May 29, 2013 (9:36 am)

    Your right Amanda. You were speaking about choice schools and both being in the northend and I was just speaking of STEM programs.

    The differences in the WS north and south end schools is the ecomonic demographics of those communities. They are able to raise the money to fill in the gaps of what the district does not provide. They do end up being better off all around.

    It makes sense that SP is relocating to Genessee with the name. Probably is based on curriculum technicalites, etc… They also have a school community established with the name.

    Singapore Math and any other curriculum that is not district mandated has to be purchased by the school. I am pretty certain that a new school cannot just get a waiver. You have to get a waiver and then buy the curriculum. Alki just went through that process. I am a parent at AH and our fundraising efforts have been directed towards that goal. It looks like now we will get a new math program and the staff won’t to have to keep finding ways to work around EDM.

    I think Jose Banda and the board are working hard to clean up the mess made during the Goodlow years. I have been in SPS since then it was even more of a headache during that period than it is now. It was a big mess and big changes are needed to make things work in the near future and carry out in the long run and they are not going to please everybody.

  • Kayo May 29, 2013 (9:37 am)

    That makes sense.

  • StringCheese May 29, 2013 (9:41 am)

    Kayo, yes I was being a bit simplistic. But not much. New schools buy new supplies. To buy one set of books instead of another is basically a wash. What stops a lot of established schools from switching is that they do not have a textbook budget to use and they lack teacher buy-in for the switch. Singapore takes a lot of training to do well. Funds and buy-in would be fairly easy for a new school starting from scratch.

  • Planning May 29, 2013 (9:41 am)

    Also regarding capacity, since AH will be an ESTEM school perhaps some of the AH neighborhood kids who left AH for STEM will choose to return to AH for the curriculum. And if the new AH boundaries include more students in the Gatewood area, that may draw some students who left that school for STEM will return to AH as well.

  • Jodilyn May 29, 2013 (9:43 am)

    Oh boy, now well have school names such as “K-5 Stem @ Schmitz Park”, “Schmitz Park @ Genesee Hill”, and who knows what Fairmount Park will be called; “old Genesee Hill program @ Fairmount Park”? I’m an employee of the district and they love to make things more confusing than to make sense.

  • Anne May 29, 2013 (10:41 am)

    How will they physically get hundreds of kids in and out of the Schmitz Park location if STEM moves there? It’s already a traffic mess with many of the Schmitz kids walking to and from school. With a full school of kids being bussed and driven from all over West Seattle to STEM on small residential streets it will be far worse. Not to mention that Schmitz has now been completely torn apart, with bathrooms in the original classrooms to support the trailer park of portables there. No science labs either. Fairmount is on an arterial with easy access for commuting students and could easily include the installation of science labs that STEM will require if they just make it part of the current remodel there. As a current STEM parent, I personally resent the district sending this notice out at 6pm the day before this presentation. It only adds to the feeling that our students are all being railroaded.

  • GWParent May 29, 2013 (11:01 am)

    This solution makes sense. The north end is not the only area of West Seattle with overcrowding. Gatewood is adding yet another portable. We have 4 kindergarten classes currently, with another 110 K students projected next year. Opening Fairmount as a neighborhood school will help the numbers for Gatewood, SP AND Lafayette, with some boundary changes. Plus, STEM is being promised a location, not being rolled in as a program at another school. Adding a neighborhood school at the old SP location would only help that area. This solution makes sense to me.

  • GWParent May 29, 2013 (11:04 am)

    This solution makes sense. The north end is not the only area of West Seattle with overcrowding. Gatewood is adding yet another portable. We have 4 kindergarten classes currently, with another 110 K students projected next year. Opening Fairmount as a neighborhood school will help the numbers for Gatewood, SP AND Lafayette, with some boundary changes. Adding a neighborhood school at the old SP location would only help the numbers at those two schools. This solution makes sense to me.

  • Azimuth May 29, 2013 (11:31 am)

    I’m a new parent in the Junction area so I won’t be in the system for a few years but will be affected by the new school. So far I can’t find anything on the SPS site for getting updates on events and news besides a twitter feed, which I’m not a fan of. Is there a source for West Seattle specific info so I can start tuning in to our educational scene (besides WSB of course)?

    Oh, and I sincerely hope the “Schmitz Park at Gennessee Hill” is temporary to distinguish the programs and they come up with a new name…

    • WSB May 29, 2013 (12:00 pm)

      Azimuth, what kind of information specifically are you looking for? It’s pretty much compartmentalized by school. That’s how we get our calendar information – aside from a few events for which we get announcements from PTA/PTSA reps and occasionally school employees, we check in on individual school websites. If you are tracking K-5 STEM info, their PTA has an excellent site …

  • george May 29, 2013 (11:33 am)

    Anne, SP was designed for 320 students. It currently houses 536 and projected for 574 next year to make it the largest in WS. STEM is projected for 327 next year, who knows for 2016. Currently 4 full size buses and two smaller buses service students after school and none of them are even half full. I doubt it could get much worse than it already is, as self-serving parents dropping off kids ignore the local neighbors and park as they see fit. Perhaps STEM can introduce better parking etiquette and respect instead of blocking driveways, alleys and fire hydrants. I thought STEM students would be entitled to bus services, which certainly has room to accomodate the traffic. Good luck with those 60-90 minute bus rides though.
    I agree that old SP is a poor choice if growth for STEM is expected in the near future, as it will quickly max out as SP is now. Lack of a science lab sure hasn’t hindered SP students now. I can only think of a one stall bathroom that was relocated from a kindergarten classroom to a new hallway between the classrooms for open access (and a second stall). That also opened access to a new play area. So not sure where that “completely torn apart” comment is from. But if STEM does move in, I would encourage some updating, as the school is from the ’50’s. But truthfully, I rather see STEM @ Fairmount and keep SP as a neighborhood school, the northend needs it even if SPGH opens with 650 seats (yuck at an elementary school).

  • StringCheese May 29, 2013 (12:16 pm)

    GW parent, a Genesee Hill neighborhood school with corresponding boundaries with help with GW overcrowding much more easily, as some of GW would even be in the walkzone for Genesee, than going to Fairmount would. Fairmount isn’t going to alleviate much at all from Schmitz as current families are not going to choose to leave a stellar program to go to FP.
    Think about it… would you leave SP for a school with no history, no PTA, no PTA funding for all of those little “extras” like art? Or would you stick it out for one more year until a shiny new building is built. Hmmm… I’ve heard many SP families talk about how they’ve heard people clamoring to leave because of the overcrowding. Interestingly enough, none of these people would be affected by the redraw to FP. Alleviating capacity is all well and good as long as it’s “other” families that are doing the “alleviating”. The only people they can forcefully assign to FP are kindergarteners. Everyone else will have the option of staying put. What would you do?

  • Charlie May 29, 2013 (12:24 pm)

    Don’t forget that they need to find seats for the elementary and middle school APP students they’ll be sending back to West Seattle.

  • Jem May 29, 2013 (12:28 pm)

    George and Anne thank for your comments regarding the traffic around SP. the neighbors have become completely frustrated with the current situation. The are also fearful of the parents who make threats and have asked the police to step in as the school and the district have only put a note on the handout they give students and nothing else. The situation needs to be addressed current and for the future.

  • Amanda May 29, 2013 (12:30 pm)

    @Planning. Are you just speculating about that plan, or do you have direct knowledge?

  • L. May 29, 2013 (12:38 pm)

    I would leave GW in a heartbeat to go to FP. My child is currently in 1st grade.

  • WSM May 29, 2013 (12:48 pm)

    I haven’t looked at the entire slideshow but I looked at the 2017 map for middle school (the first one shown) and it looked like they were going to change the lines to split West Seattle in half somewhere in the middle of WS instead of having it basically go down West Seattle with all of west of 35th on one side and east of 35th (with the exception of Arbor Heights) on the other.

  • ElizaS May 29, 2013 (12:57 pm)

    I’m actually pretty happy with this proposal. I think it helps alleviate crazy overcrowding, not just at Schmitz, but also Lafayette, Gatewood, and Alki. I know STEM wants to be a big school and also have a new building (and hopefully someday they can), but the beauty of an option school is that they can cap enrollment, whereas the neighborhood schools cannot. Having 4 K classes now does not mean they have to continue to offer 4 K classes, right? They will have that bubble move through, but could bring the other grades down to 2-3 classes at each level and fit nicely into the SP site. Having a nice small school at the SP site will alleviate a LOT of the traffic headaches those poor neighbors are dealing with. Having a great option school at a large site (FP) would be terrific for STEM, but would not guarantee to draw off enough kids from the schools that need the most relief.

  • george May 29, 2013 (1:08 pm)

    Jem, thats not completely true. Every week, the principal and assistant sends out a school bulletin. It may not be on EVERY weeks, but it frequently requests that parents respect the neighborhood. There are bus loading and cross walk monitors and even parents picking up their own kids who try to direct traffic too. But it reallys comes down to a few, self-entitled and lazy parents who are late every day and swoop in and block the alleys, no-parking zones and driveways. They are the ones who are just “too busy” to care about anyone else but themselves. You’ll notice its the same cars every time.

  • george May 29, 2013 (1:30 pm)

    But Eliza, thats why old SP should remain a neighborhood school. Do we really want GH @ 650 seats for an elementary? At the rate Lafayette, SP and GW are growing, that only leaves about 83 seats of growth left before its “full” since SP is projected for 567 next year. I feel an option school should be centrally located to alleviate traffic and commuting. FP allows this and room for growth and customization. If STEM parents are driving at a greater rate than current SP parents, then that neighborhoold will be really, really bad. And/or bus rides will be obnoxious (60-90 minutes at its furthest reach??)

  • pagefive May 29, 2013 (1:48 pm)

    Seems to me that having the current SP and new Genesee SP schools as neighborhood schools would serve the same purpose (i.e., alleviate overcrowding at the other elementary schools). And it would achieve this in a more equitable way, so that STEM can continue to be located in a central & more easily accessible part of WS (at FP). Let’s be honest, the commute/bus ride for STEM families living towards the south end of WS will be a real hassle if STEM is moved to SP. And I agree with the commenter who said that it doesn’t seem right to have two option schools (Pathfinder & STEM) located in the north end of WS. How is that “equitable access”?

  • momoftwoboys May 29, 2013 (1:54 pm)

    Charlie, what are you referring to? Is the APP Program going away?

  • AH Parent May 29, 2013 (1:55 pm)

    @Planning’s speculation is what is being projected at the school. It will be nice to not be in a position of losing families and getting enrollment so low that we risk losing staff…hopefully with enrollment increase that will not happen. With the new direction of curriculum (ESTEAM…these acronyms crack me up!) next year and the major overhaul of the past two years is putting the school ahead of the Common Core Standards), and not to mention a future amazing facility is going to be a big draw. I already know some families referenced for AH on STEM waitlist that have changed their minds since the news and will be going to AH next year. We also have a wonderful principal and staff.

    I know that I am really bragging here and feel entitled to do so, because I have heard so many negative and even awful things said about AH over the past few years. I am very happy to be seeing this being turned around. I am proud to be a parent at AH as well.

    I am also pleased that Schmitz Park is getting a new school, their overcapacity is horrible. And also, that STEM will be getting a home for their school, wherever that will be. Roxhill needs to be on this path to have their over capacity and facility issues taken care of as well.

    @Amanda, did you move?

  • AlkiMom2.0 May 29, 2013 (1:55 pm)

    As a current STEM parent I’ve got lots of questions about this plan, but to me the biggest gap is with the location of STEM in the 2014-15 & 2015-16 school years. We were told we’d be at Boren for two years. Assuming we did go to SP, where will our school be located while the new SP is being built?

  • OnGraham May 29, 2013 (1:56 pm)

    ElizaS – As I recall, the K5 STEM option school WAS the strategy to alleviate overcrowding at all of West Seattle schools. It still can be if given the room to grow and in a location that is more accessible/approachable to all. I’m with String Cheese in that it’s going to take a clearly differentiated program at Fairmount to draw folks away from the schools they are already in. STEM already has that to offer. A brand new school is going to have the same growing pains that we at STEM have already gone through. Why go through the trouble twice and then have two schools struggling (and likely competing) for appropriate resourcing?

  • whacked May 29, 2013 (2:03 pm)

    Seems West Seattle kids are second class citizens within the Seattle public school system, compared to further north end of Seattle… perhaps this is just my imagination. Does anyone know how each of the schools compares with the others? Building square footage to student ratio, size of classes, teacher student ratio, number of bathrooms, size of playground, do they have auditorium, gym, and other ammenities? How does the Seattle school district justify differences in the quality of their schools?

    And what about boundary line adjustments and changes? School closures then re-openings? Rotating door of principals… Seems this happens a lot in West Seattle. Is this a common issue all throughout the district, or just a West Seattle phenom?

    • WSB May 29, 2013 (2:07 pm)

      A whole lot of research would have to be done for the first part of your question but for the second part of your question, other areas of the city have been put through the wringer in terms of closures, reopenings (some much closer together than the 7-year gap between Fairmount Park being closed and reopened), programs moved around, etc. http://saveseattleschools.blogspot.com has chronicled it all – as have to a lesser degree some other news/info outlets – I have anecdotal knowledge because of covering so much of this that happened at the same time as other closures/changes around the city. – TR

  • Charlie May 29, 2013 (4:01 pm)


    The presentation linked above discusses the plan for APP. The district would like to split it into four or five zones (from the two we currently have.)

  • GWParent May 29, 2013 (5:08 pm)

    @String Cheese, I don’t think the only goal is to alleviate the current overcrowding but to also help with the projected growth in the years to come. I don’t expect current GW families to be clamoring for a new school at FP, and to leave in sizable numbers. I do, however, expect that it will help with future numbers. I have a child at GW and one entering GW. GW will also be over 500 students next year, I believe. If the lines are redrawn, it should help numbers at SP, Lafayette, Alki and GW. We need to be thinking of solutions that help the most kids. GW numbers don’t get as much press but we are very crowded, as well. Option schools, like PF and STEM can cap their numbers, neighborhood schools cannot.

  • Amanda May 29, 2013 (7:07 pm)

    @AH Parent. AH Parents banged the drum loudly and for a long time to get what they wanted. A new school. They also are getting a program that people are apparently willing to wait for (STEM). I have lived here for 6 years, and my son will start kindergarten in fall 2014. We are blocks from Roxhill, and want him to go a school he can walk to – his neighborhood school. We are considering applying for STEM, but if he has to go all the way to SP for that, forget it. I’ve heard great things about Roxhill, and it’s teachers are super dedicated. I just think it is incredibly unfair that over crowding gets resources faster than buildings that are in horrible condition. Why is that? Why is Roxhill not mentioned AT ALL in this “draft”? Where the hell did I put that drum…??

  • StringCheese May 29, 2013 (7:14 pm)

    GWParent, opening Genesee as a neighborhood school puts more seats where the seats are projected to be needed. GW benefits directly from this scenario. I continue to fail to see how opening FP instead is more beneficial.

  • ghar72 May 29, 2013 (7:47 pm)

    @Amanda, You can always try and get in to AH. I know this isn’t addressing the issue of equity with Roxhill, etc, but it is an option, and you’d have a much better chance of getting in there than K-5 STEM.

    Our story: we tried to get in to STEM but were 18th on the wait list. When AH announced their move to an E-STEM program, we jumped waitlists and are now #3 for K. I went in yesterday and spoke with the principal, received a personal tour in fact. Ms Collins spent over AN HOUR with me and my son, during the school day, to discuss their curriculum and future as a school. I am so incredibly impressed with her! Arbor Heights community, you are a lucky bunch to have Christy Collins as your leader. She knows her stuff and from what it appears, the teaching and choices made at AH are 100% intentional and for the best of the students.

    My reason for going on like this is very selfish. If more K students join the waitlist at AH, they will open up another K classroom. Right now there are 2 straight K’s and one K/1 split. They’d turn that split into a K if more wanted in. AH will be at Boren for two years (imagine the collaboration with the STEM teachers there!) and then by 2016 will be back in their new building, which sounds out of this world. I really do not understand why parents aren’t jumping at the chance to join this program. We’re very excited and VERY hopeful we’ll get to be a part of it. If you’re curious, email Ms Collins and ask to come in and chat. You will not be disappointed!

  • AHParent May 29, 2013 (10:52 pm)

    @ghar72 – You are right, Christy Collins is awesome and we love her! Thank you for your nice post. I hope that you are at the school next year.

    @Amanda – You are correct. AH parents did “bang the drums” very loudly and rightly so. I have been a part of the community that rallied through two school closure attempts, adminstration change and fighting to get our 60 year old, unsafe and unhealthy building moved up on the LEVY, because it had been on the previous two but was at the END AND FUNDS RAN OUT. People have been leaving AH and enrollment dropping fast, which leads to less money, reduction in staff…more parents leaving and eventually a closeure. The enrollment at the school is low 300s and very close (maybe 20 or 30 students difference)from STEM, a school in its’ first year. I do not want to see my neighborhood school decline anymore.

    Amanda, what would you do a as parent at AH? Do you think that these things are not worth “banging the drum loudly”?

    Roxhill is a good school, your son can walk to it and your family can support the neighborhood school. In case you are not aware, Carmella Dellino was the principal there for four years. During her time there, she worked hard along with the staff to a bring Roxhill from a Level 1 – the lowest performing – to a Level 3 out of 5 performance levels. She is now the Executive Director of West Seattle Schools. She is awesome and she gets things done. Carmella is a big champion of Roxhill, and I would not be at all surprised if there are already plans being made for a new building or a move to a new building.

    I attended a community meeting at Roxhill a year ago and I got to see how much the staff and families love and are vested in the school. The staff and parents expressed how much they wanted to keep their community together but move to a new location and E.C. Huges was mentioned. Also, many safety issues in the building were brought to attention at the meeting and from what I understand there was maintanence done to rectify them before the start of this school year.

    Amanda why not go to Roxhill and bang your drum loudly and get others to join along? Be a champion for your neighborhood school. You sound like a person that can ralley a community and bring change.

  • AHParent May 29, 2013 (11:37 pm)

    One more thing! My comment about possible move or new building for Roxhill was not hinting at it being absorb by AH. Roxhill has over 400 students. There is still a need for two schools in the Roxhill and AH area.

    From my understanding is that one of the intents of having ESTEM or ESTEAM curriculum at AH is to make it a draw to fill up the future 500 seats….I am going to miss our small school!

    The new curriculum will start being introduced next year.

  • Bonnie May 30, 2013 (6:35 am)

    From what I have noticed is if the parents and staff don’t bang their drums to get what they want SPS completely ignores the school. You have to bang your drum and be noticed otherwise your school will be under their radar. Roxhill families need to bang their drumb loudly!

    My son went to Roxhill for preschool and transitional kindergarten. He was then moved to AH because of the special education program. (it seems that SPS seems to move special ed kids around quite a bit for programs. We have been in the ‘system’ quite awhile and the programs just keep moving to different schools) Anyways, back to Roxhill… the teachers there are WONDERFUL. Some of the best teachers I have dealt with. It’s a great school. When my son was there for kindergarten the district threatened to close it and the school did band together and kept it from being closed.

  • ELL May 30, 2013 (5:13 pm)

    I have babies so I am just starting to think about elementary schools for them but can anyone tell me what a STEM school is versus a regular school? Shouldn’t they be teaching science, technology, engineering and math at all schools? Thanks – a confused new parent.

  • WS Jade May 30, 2013 (6:27 pm)

    I am a current K-5 STEM parent and am seriously considering sending my daughter back to our neighborhood school in the fall, which is Arbor Heights. I am not pleased with the likelihood STEM will be located in the NW part of WS, and I also don’t like the idea the location will continue to be a temporary one for the next three school years.
    STEM is a new school, and though it has potential, it is lacking in many of the things that are importatn to me, such as an Arts program, or a well-developed after-school program. I know the PTA has worked hard on these things, but I was naive to think they would be accomplished in the first couple years. And having no childcare on-site has proved a hardship for me. I can’t imagine the district opening another brand new school at FP, starting from scratch, given all the things that go into starting and establishing an entirely new school. It seem s a foolish waste of resources and energy. I wish they would put STEM at Fairmount Park, as was originally planned.

  • Carl May 31, 2013 (6:42 am)

    I personally think SPS’s plan is thoughtful and well developed. If you step back and look at the plan without personal agendas, it accomplishes what is currently needed and adequately accounts for future growth. Fairmount Park will be able to absorb the growth of West Seattle ES (2 portables), Gatewood ES (1 portable), and Schmitz Park ES (4 portables)…all three with population growth. The High Point area is the most rapidly growing neighborhood in WS. STEM @ Schmitz Park works. The school butts up to the green belt and makes for a great natural environmental science lab. Also since it is an Option school, attendance can be capped, were as Neighborhood schools cannot. The addition of a STEM program at Arbor Heights allow the south part of WS to attend there. Long term I’m sure STEM will become part of the standard curriculum taught. Bellevue School District is launching three schools with STEM programs next year, with the long term plan to possibly roll out to all school.

    This certainly easy stuff and change is hard. I do appreciate the work that SPS has done to establish the plan that was presented and the goals of completing the boundary redraws this year.

  • Kim May 31, 2013 (7:21 am)

    Arbor Heights voted in a full time multi-arts position for next year! Excited!

  • WS parent June 1, 2013 (8:56 am)

    I’m hopeful that Banda is trying to undo the mess that SPS had been turned into. I wish news BEX levy changes could happen faster– our future K student will be at Alki (very far from our house) and then will have to change schools in a couple of years to be at Genesee Hill (we hope) since it is only 4 blocks from us. The overcrowding problem in WS is ridiculous.

    A lot of you have great ideas– I hope you make these ideas known to Marty McClaren as well. The squeaky wheel gets the oil!

  • Marty McLaren June 2, 2013 (1:46 pm)

    Thank you all for your thoughtful contributions to this dialogue, and a huge shout-out to WSB for making it possible. It is very informative and encouraging to witness this high level conversation, with so many knowledgeable individuals contributing viewpoints and also answers to excellent questions posed by others.

    I will be conferring with SPS staff about the possibilities for facilitating conversationsthis summer in West Seattle, to discuss community perspectives, and will forward info as soon as possible. (We are already scheduled for a district-sponsored community meeting on September 25, 6:30–8 p.m. West Seattle High School Commons, 3000 California Ave SW.) In the meantime, I hope some of you can join my meeting on June 15th, posted by WSB above.

    The SPS website on Growth Boundaries is coming to life, and is intended to be frequently updated after it is fleshed out. Go to Seattle Public Schools; at upper right, click on Schools, then Enrollment; on the right side, under News and Announcements, click on Planning for the Future: Growth Boundaries.

    Marty McLaren
    School Board Director, District 6

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