Keep K-5 STEM at Boren, urges North Delridge Neighborhood Council

With fall and the new school year arriving, Seattle Public Schools‘ board is scheduled to make major decisions soon about “growth boundaries,” including the future of some West Seattle schools. As reported here a month ago, West Seattle’s STEM elementary – about to start its second year – is hoping to either stay at the Boren building on Delridge Way and grow to a K-8, or move into Fairmount Park Elementary, which is being expanded prior to reopening next year. Back in May, though, the district proposed moving K-5 STEM onto the current Schmitz Park Elementary site after it’s vacated upon completion of the new school at Genesee Hill in 2016. STEM has been marshaling community support, and is getting it in a letter being sent today by the North Delridge Neighborhood Council, backing the suggestion to stay at Boren. Co-chairs Parie Hines and Kirsten Smith write, in part:

Delridge as a neighborhood has felt the negative effects of having the Boren school used as a transitional and temporary school for many long years. It has been a pleasure to see the students, parents, and staff of the STEM school begin to “take ownership” of the building

Read the entire letter here:

NDNC letter supporting keeping K-5 STEM at Boren

(If you can’t see the document, try it here on our server as a PDF.) The school board’s decision is due later this fall; before then, the district plans a series of community meetings detailed here, one of which is in West Seattle – 6:30 pm September 25th at West Seattle High School. Comments are being accepted before (and after) that meeting via e-mail:

22 Replies to "Keep K-5 STEM at Boren, urges North Delridge Neighborhood Council"

  • Amanda September 3, 2013 (10:51 am)

    Good for you NDNC. I think that is a positive direction for STEM and makes a lot of sense. However, could Arbor Heights and STEM be in the same school during construction of the new AH building? If not, where would AH go temporarily? I am also supportive of STEM moving into EC Hughes as Westside School will be moving out. Moving another option school further north in West Seattle is NOT something I can support however.

  • Noelle September 3, 2013 (11:18 am)

    I hope the school board will leave the school at Boren and make it a K-8.

  • Heidi A September 3, 2013 (11:40 am)

    Amanda, Yes, there is room for both on the acclerated AH timeline. Boren can hold 800+ without portables. Deatils have to be worked out if the school can grow to a K-8, but it would likely start with a “roll-up” with current students an not be full until AH is in the new building, e.g. add 6th one year, followed by 7th.
    E.C. Hughes is tiny and does not accommodate growth for either a K-5 or K-8. One of the many reasons why we are advocating for staying at Boren is that the district promised equitable access with a comprehensive K-8 option in every middle school service area. There isn’t one in the Denny Service area, a simple look at the demographics and % eligible for free/reduced lunch in the Denny service area shows the inequity that would be perpetuated at Schmitz park or E.C. Hughes. Due to the small size of the building, a comprehensive option program won’t happen at EC Hughes and would be very hard for new families from the area to get into if they don’t have a sibling already at the school.
    if the acclerated timeline for AH doesn’t get funded, AH could also move to EC Hughes.

  • Mom 2.0 September 3, 2013 (12:19 pm)

    Amanda, the current plan is to co-house Arbor Heights and STEM at Borrn for two years, starting next year. While not ideal for either school, the building capacity (with portables) supports it even if STEM rolls up to K-8.

  • Mike September 3, 2013 (1:05 pm)

    I’m still confused why Seattle schools can only have one STEM school. Why not 2, 3… or ooooo, All of them. Science, Technology, Engineering, Math…kinda sounds like education to me. Without those programs being the forefront, your kid is being left behind. My kids will have that focus, if not with Seattle schools, then they’ll be going to private schools. Working in an industry where hiring well educated people requires looking outside our country is getting pretty sad. When 3rd world countries are doing a better job than we can in the USA, that says something.

  • WestSeattleSteve September 3, 2013 (1:11 pm)

    Cooper Elementary and Pathfinder were co-housed at Boron before Pathfinder moved to Genesse Hill ES.

    Has Seattle Public Schools considered any other uses for the Schmitz Park campus? This feels like a plan to keep the certificate of occupancy for that building rather than what is best for the schools and communities involved. If they don’t need the space for elementry students, they should look into leasing the space to a pre-school or other community use that maintains the CO.

  • Amanda September 3, 2013 (2:03 pm)

    Thanks Heidi & Mom. Isn’t Pathfinder K-8 in the Denny Service area? Good news about AH and STEM being together!

  • Heidi A September 3, 2013 (4:24 pm)

    No, Pathfinder is in the Madison service area.

  • West Seattle Mom September 3, 2013 (4:42 pm)

    I think Pathfinder is located in the Madison service area. Not 100% sure though.

  • Nip STEM in the Bud September 3, 2013 (5:36 pm)

    Yeah! Science Tech Engineering Math! … No room left in modern education for history, literature, arts, physical education, political science, critical thinking, theater, painting, creative writing, sociology, languages, government, debate, health, philosophy …

  • Mama3boys September 3, 2013 (6:05 pm)

    “Yeah! Science Tech Engineering Math! … No room left in modern education for history, literature, arts, physical education, political science, critical thinking, theater, painting, creative writing, sociology, languages, government, debate, health, philosophy …
    Comment by Nip STEM in the Bud”

    Feel free to come by and actually see what is happening at STEM THEN comment. We’d be happy to have you any time.

  • NSITB September 3, 2013 (6:31 pm)

    Ok mama3boys. Tell me when to be there. I expect to see all the topics I mentioned being taught in class without forewarning. I can give a whole day to you if I have a couple of days notice. No, I’m not kidding. If you’ll be there, I’ll be there

  • Amanda September 3, 2013 (6:47 pm)

    Heidi – Then I am TOTALLY on board with keep STEM in the Denny area, and you are correct about Boren being a good place to expand – and keep the neighborhood on track. I’ll be very curious to hear what the school district has to say. What do STEM parents think?

  • OnHolden September 3, 2013 (6:51 pm)

    I’ll suggest you visit Mr. Gluck’s class, it’s awesome! Along with all the others….

  • StringCheese September 3, 2013 (8:15 pm)

    NSITB, the kids at K-5 STEM all have music 2-3x/wk AND PE 2-3x/wk. You will see art on the walls, stories being written, social studies, and more. It is a shame that if you don’t feel the need to put the “A” in and make it STEAM, people assume that the arts don’t happen.

    We have a before school unicycle and “circus arts” type club, Mandarin Chinese available afterschool, we will have a musical theater club starting in January…

    You know, I’m not going to bother continuing, there is too much to list and you seem to have (very false) assumptions and misconceptions that you seem intent on clinging to.

    I hope that you don’t approach all things in life with such misguided vitriol.

  • Mama3boys September 3, 2013 (8:46 pm)

    NSITB –
    I can’t be there all day – 3 kids….note the name.

    I have two kids starting tomorrow and my priority is with them, not with proving you wrong.

    You can drop in or call to schedule a tour. We will also have Open House events in Feb for interested community members.

    I’d seriously hope you actually stop by – but for me and my family your misconceptions and assumptions don’t change the fact that my kids are getting a well rounded education.

    STEM doesn’t mean they don’t have gym – it just means that the gym teacher gets pedometers on them and they do some math too. STEM doesn’t mean they don’t learn how to write, it just means that “bird club” does research on birds and then writes a research “paper” or a short story about it. STEM doesn’t mean you don’t learn music, it just means that you learn at the same time about how the sound is comes out of a cello.

    Again – stop by. But for crying out loud come in easy. No teacher (at ANY school) is going to cover all the topics you listed every day.

    Our website has a ton of info about curriculum and how we work.

  • Mama3boys September 3, 2013 (8:48 pm)

    Amanda – you asked “What do STEM parents think?”

    We’ve not done a formal poll – but at meetings and community events we’ve asked and a majority of parents who attended (note that it’s not a sample of everyone) want us to stay at Boren and become a K-8.

    BUT – like every community – not every parent wants to stay at Boren and/or become a K-8 and I’ll leave it to them to comment if they choose too.

  • Eric1 September 4, 2013 (12:26 am)

    NSITB. Not getting personal but STEM is an option school. If you choose to send your children there, you probably want them to have greater exposure to valuable skills that will probably get them a good paying job. Other parents value different skills and there are several option schools that emphasize other talents.
    However, having gone to college and having a few friends in the “fields” you listed as lacking: history, literature, arts, physical education, political science, critical thinking (this isn’t a field), theater, painting, creative writing, sociology, languages, government, debate, health, philosophy. Not many of my graduating friends actually work in their field of study and if they do, they get paid far less than my friends in science, technology, engineering and math. The fields you mention are indeed worthy talents and help them in their current jobs but odds are, if you choose these careers, you might have a roommate all your life. Heck, my wife is a sociology grad and she does accounting because it is lower stress and pays the same.

  • Mom 2.0 September 4, 2013 (12:44 pm)

    NSITB, my 10yo and I were just talking about what he learned in fourth grade at STEM last year, including memorizing lines from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, perspective drawing with both colored pencils and oil pastels, and the great atlatl project that incorporated math, history, writing, engineering, mechanical drawing and art. STEM at Boren is much more than an acronym. It’s a project-based learning environment that incorporates many disciplines. I also encourage you to schedule some time to take a tour and educate yourself on what’s being offered at this school.

  • Paul M September 4, 2013 (6:55 pm)

    Please keep STEM at boren! Our neighborhood needs this school. Thanks for the good fight Heidi. Hopefully you work pays off.

  • evergreen September 5, 2013 (8:00 pm)

    Yes, yes, yes! Make STEM a K-8 and keep it at Boren! My son had an awesome 2nd grade year there, and we expect 3rd to be even better now that some kinks have been worked out. The education in my son’s classroom is top-notch, very hands on and about discovery. LOVE this school.

  • AH Parent September 6, 2013 (7:51 am)

    @ Mike: Arbor Heights is going to be a STEM school as well. So now there are two options in West Seattle.

Sorry, comment time is over.