day : 29/09/2015 9 results

Big changes for Seattle schools’ bell times? Big concerns voiced at tonight’s district discussion

Seattle Public Schools‘ draft proposal for changing bell times didn’t draw much support among the two dozen or so people who showed up at the first of five public meetings about it, held tonight at Chief Sealth International High School.

The proposed change in so-called “bell times” starting next year follows years of advocacy for starting middle and high schools later, to better align with tweens’ and teens’ biological clocks.

The “draft proposal” would give all high schools in the district an 8:50 am start; that would be an hour later than West Seattle High School starts now, 10 minutes later than Chief Sealth IHS starts now. But the most dramatic change would be for middle schools, moving all to a 9:40 am start – that’s almost two hours later than the current 7:50 am start time they all have, including West Seattle’s Madison Middle School and Denny International High School.

Start times for K-8s and elementaries would vary. Local schools’ current start times and proposed new ones (as listed on a district handout) are below:

Pathfinder K-8, 8:40/8:50
Louisa Boren STEM K-8, 9:30/8:50
Alki, 8:40/8:00
Arbor Heights, 8:40/9:40
Concord, 9:30/9:40
Fairmount Park, 8:40, 8:00
Gatewood, 8:40/8:00
Highland Park, 8:40/9:40
Lafayette, 9:30/8:00
Roxhill, 9:30/9:40
Sanislo, 9:30/8:00
Schmitz Park, 8:40/8:00
West Seattle, 8:40/8:00

Tonight’s meeting, led by assistant superintendent Pegi McEvoy, got testy at times; most of those who spoke said they don’t want the times to change at all. That wasn’t necessarily a surprise, given that results of an online parent survey (see page 13 here) showed this area with the highest support (46 percent) for keeping the status quo. Concerns voiced at the meeting ranged from insufficient data supporting the change to uncertainty over how afterschool activities would be affected.

And that didn’t just mean classic extracurricular offerings such as athletics – for example, Denny principal Jeff Clark said his school and two other middle schools are showing significant improvement in closing the “achievement gap” thanks to special after-school academic programs; if school starts two hours later, those programs will end two hours later – keeping participants at school until 6:20 pm.

The data concerns had to do with results of a district survey about changing bell times. Most of the parents in attendance said the plan to move ahead was based on too small a set of responses to really justify the change. But McEvoy and staff pointed to slides showing that they had gathered and parsed large amounts of data from parents and students. One parent asked if elementary-school kids had been included – answer: no – while others wondered if the older students who responded realized that later times would affect after school activities and even the possibility of holding a job.

Regarding athletics and after-school activities, attendees wondered how the district was working with Seattle Parks regarding field use, especially for West Seattle HS and adjacent Hiawatha Playfield. According to McEvoy, a district contract with Parks has expired and they’re working on an agreement, but don’t want to finalize anything until the district makes its bell-times decision. Some parents suggested that seemed to be a backward way to go about it, and some wondered if practices would end up being moved to the morning hours before school, canceling the expected benefits of a later start time for classes.

About those benefits – those in opposition questioned whether the American Academy of Pediatrics‘ findings related to improved attendance and grade performance.

Other concerns included family schedules: How would this affect students who currently are responsible for picking up younger siblings? And if middle school started later, would 11- and 12-year-olds find themselves staying home for a few hours by themselves, and getting themselves to school?

There were a few voices of support, including someone who said studies back east showed this could result in GPA and attendance improvement.

So what happens now? The board – whose West Seattle rep, Marty McLaren, attended the meeting – will consider the issue as part of a transportation item on the agenda on October 21st, McEvoy said. The district, she added, is trying to work this out so that it’s “cost-neutral” in terms of bus schedules.

If you have something to say – pro, con, or otherwise – the district is continuing to accept comments through October 6th; e-mail yours to As noted above, 4 more meetings are planned elsewhere in the district; see the list here. If you want to read through some or all of the backstory and district documentation on this issue – go here.

Skies Over West Seattle, first edition of Fall 2015: Three conjunctions are on the way

(Still lots to see in the sky, post-eclipse. Monday night moon, by Doug Branch)

By Alice Enevoldsen
Special to West Seattle Blog

I can see from all the photos here on WSB and on social media that plenty of people enjoyed watching Sunday night’s lunar eclipse, from as close as your own backyard, the sidewalk in front of your apartment, or a quick jaunt down to the nearest park.

What’s next? Three conjunctions in a row and maybe some fireball meteors.

Upcoming Conjunctions and ‘Hey, What’s That?’

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UPDATE: Hit-run crash at SB 99 ramp to westbound West Seattle Bridge

6:50 PM: If you’re just about to head this way – you might consider 1st, 4th, the low bridge, or I-5 because of a crash at the southbound 99 ramp to the westbound high bridge. SFD has just cleared, but police are still there.

6:59 PM: SDOT says the scene has cleared but “residual delays” are likely for a while.

8:34 PM: In comments, KJB says a hit-run driver is to blame and is asking for help if anyone’s seen a “silver wagon-type” vehicle with “significant damage to the passenger front.”

What might West Seattle look like in 2035? Grab the steering wheel @ upcoming meeting – or speak up by e-mail, social media, postal mail …

(Above, 1962 view looking west over Luna Park and beyond, from the Seattle Municipal Archives. Below, April 2013 aerial view looking south from Duwamish Head, by Long Bach Nguyen)

The seeds of our current growth and zoning, whether you like the way things are going or not, were sown many years ago – going back in the 1990s, during a big civic process. Maybe you weren’t here to get involved. Maybe you never heard about it. Here’s your chance to change that for the next 20 years. Right now – somewhat drowned out by a lot of other noise – another big process has been under way for a while, aimed at coming up with a road map to last through 2035. Even if you’ve missed earlier discussions, here comes another chance. West Seattle will be the site of one of five meetings coming up to talk about the next revision of the Comprehensive Plan. The announcement, just out of our inbox:

The Seattle Department of Planning and Development (DPD) will hold five community meetings this fall to solicit public comment on the Draft City of Seattle Comprehensive Plan. Titled ‘Seattle 2035,’ the Draft Plan was released for public comment on July 8, 2015. The updated Comprehensive Plan will be our roadmap for Seattle’s next 20 years.

The meetings will include open house displays and a presentation to provide a broad overview of the Draft Plan, highlight major changes and get feedback on proposed village expansion areas, especially areas near meeting locations. Since some of Seattle 2035’s policies about affordable housing will be implemented as part of the City’s proposed Housing and Affordability and Livability Agenda, there will be information and opportunity for feedback at the meetings.

The Draft Plan is informed by the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) that was released in May 2015. The Draft Plan includes goals and policies to help achieve our vision for Seattle’s future. Seattle is expected to grow by 120,000 residents and 115,000 jobs in the coming 20 years. The Draft Plan also includes a new Future Land Use Map, showing a pattern of growth that supports the City’s vision.

The City of Seattle is seeking public feedback on the Draft Plan as we continue to evaluate goals and policies to build a safe, livable, vibrant, and affordable city for all. City staff has already received hundreds of public comments on the DEIS and on the overall direction of the Draft Plan document.

DPD is extending the public comment period through Friday, November 20th. The Online Community Conversation will remain live through this period. Here’s how to join the conversation about Seattle’s future and provide comments:

1. Attend a community meeting in October or November

2. Read the Draft Plan Summary and check out the Draft Plan.

3. Join the Seattle 2035 Online Community Conversation and discuss the potential pros and cons of proposed policies with other Seattleites

4. Follow Seattle 2035 on Facebook and Twitter

5. Send comments by November 20, 2015:

a. Email comments to

b. Mail comments to the City of Seattle Department of Planning and Development, Attn: Seattle 2035, 700 5th Avenue, Suite 2000, PO Box 34019, Seattle WA 98124-4019.

Feedback received on the Draft Comprehensive Plan will help inform the Mayor’s Recommended Plan, which will be released in early 2016.

(Five open houses are listed in the full announcement – following is the only one in West Seattle)

November 12, 6 pm to 8 pm (presentation at 6:30 pm)
Senior Center of West Seattle
4217 SW Oregon St.

What you’ll be voting on in February: Seattle Public Schools details levies, answers questions

(Slide deck from last night’s meeting – see it here as a PDF)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Why DOES Seattle Public Schools put its levies on a “special election” ballot in February, instead of November when everything else is out to be voted on?

That was one of the questions asked – and answered – as the district led an informational meeting at West Seattle High School last night about the two levies it plans to put before you on February 9th, 2016, known as Operations and BTA IV (background info here).

This was the third in the district’s second series of five citywide meetings, deputy superintendent Flip Herndon said, and by far the best turnout, by multiple accounts – about three dozen people, around half there to show support for a project that’s not on the levy’s draft project list, the West Seattle Indoor Tennis proposal – yet.

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West Seattle Crime Watch: Diapers, toys, tote taken in car prowl. Also, see where else thieves struck this week

September 29, 2015 1:12 pm
|    Comments Off on West Seattle Crime Watch: Diapers, toys, tote taken in car prowl. Also, see where else thieves struck this week
 |   Crime | West Seattle news | West Seattle police

Maybe you’ve seen some of what car prowlers stole from Ashley last night?

My car was broken into last night on the corner of 48th Ave SW and Dawson St. My work badge from Seattle Children’s Hospital was stolen as well as a large pink beach tote with our last name on it full of beach toys, towels, and spare clothes and diapers, and my son’s school tote with his coat. I am certain that none of this is at all meaningful to the thieves but it is to me!! I wonder if they threw it out after looking through it. If anyone finds it, I would so appreciate getting it back!!

After receiving Ashley’s e-mail, we checked online SPD records for the past week.

Above is what the SPD Crime Reports map shows right now, dating back to last Tuesday – the car prowls on the map, north to south, are: Alki/61st, last Tuesday morning; 45th/Hinds, last Friday morning (reported here); 2900 block of Avalon, last Friday morning; 4000 block of 42nd SW, last Tuesday night; 5600 block of 35th SW, last Tuesday night; last Friday night, 2800 block of SW Barton; last Wednesday evening, 9400 block of 16th SW. To doublecheck the files, we also reviewed Tweets by Beat (which continually update on the WSB Crime Watch page), and found six others that hadn’t made the map yet, besides what Ashley reported above:

*4000 block of SW Brandon, reported this morning
*4000 block of Admiral Way, reported this morning
*3000 block of 38th SW, reported Monday morning
*1600 block of SW Roxbury, reported Monday morning
*4000 block of SW Concord, reported Sunday afternoon
*3000 block of SW Orleans, reported Friday night

(Also not listed, we noticed while checking the archives, the 8800 block of 40th SW car prowl reported here on Sunday.)

P.S. – PROWLED LATELY? Some “found item” listings turn up in the WSB Forums, like this one, so be sure to check there.

YOU CAN HELP! Ticket time for White Center Food Bank’s Harvest Dinner and Auction

September 29, 2015 11:11 am
|    Comments Off on YOU CAN HELP! Ticket time for White Center Food Bank’s Harvest Dinner and Auction
 |   How to help | West Seattle news | White Center

Earlybird price is about to expire for one of this fall’s biggest benefits. Kristina at the White Center Food Bank (which serves West Seattle from SW Myrtle southward, too) sends the reminder:

The White Center Food Bank’s 11th Annual Harvest Dinner & Auction is coming up on October 17, 2015 at South Seattle College’s Brockey Center. This is our biggest fundraiser of the year, and helps us to continuing feeding our community; in 2014, we served 64,473 people from West Seattle, White Center, and Burien. The auction is really fantastic this year, with items ranging from restaurant gift cards to a week in Mallorca, Spain, and everything inbetween; the dinner is a delicious steak and salmon entrée (vegetarian also available). Tickets are on sale now, and the price goes up October 1st, so the time to buy is RIGHT NOW! Last year, the event sold out, and we hope for the same this year. Information, tickets, and a preview of items up for bid, all available at

West Seattle Tuesday: Change school start times? Meeting tonight. Plus, North Delridge Action Plan workshop; Design Review changes ‘open house’; more…

September 29, 2015 9:45 am
|    Comments Off on West Seattle Tuesday: Change school start times? Meeting tonight. Plus, North Delridge Action Plan workshop; Design Review changes ‘open house’; more…
 |   West Seattle news | WS miscellaneous

(California sea lion, photographed by Mark Wangerin)

Highlights of what’s up today/tonight, featuring listings from the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar:

NATIONAL COFFEE DAY: Go wish WSB’s coffee sponsors Hotwire Online Coffeehouse (4410 California SW) and C & P Coffee Company (5612 California SW) a happy “National Coffee Day”!

BABY STORY TIME: 10:30 am at Southwest Library – songs, stories, rhymes for wee ones up to a year old. (35th SW & SW Henderson)

QUILT SHOW AND LUNCHEON: 11:45 pm lunch, 12:30 pm quilt show at Senior Center of West Seattlecheck to be sure there’s room! (SW Oregon & California SW)

NORTH DELRIDGE ACTION PLAN: Come find out about the draft plan and talk about your hopes and dreams for the area – including the future of Delridge Way and vicinity as a “multimodal corridor” – during a 6-8 pm workshop at Delridge Community Center; details in our calendar listing. (4501 Delridge Way SW)

CHANGE DESIGN REVIEW? The city’s been working on “improvements” to the Design Review program, and is having two open houses – neither is in West Seattle, but at 6 pm tonight in Columbia City, it’s the closest one. Details here. (4721 Rainier Ave. S.)

COMMUNITY CONVERSATION WITH SCHOOL BOARD REP: West Seattle/South Park’s rep on the Seattle Public Schools board, Marty McLaren, has her next community-conversation meeting tonight at High Point Library, 6-8 pm. (35th SW & SW Raymond)

CHANGE SCHOOL START TIMES? TALK PROPOSED ‘BELL TIMES’ TONIGHT: For the second consecutive night, Seattle Public Schools is bringing a big topic to a meeting in West Seattle. 6:30 pm, the next round of discussion about changing “bell times” – school schedules – is happening at Chief Sealth International High School. See the superintendent’s Draft Proposal by going here (note, for example, that West Seattle High School would start an hour later than it does now, and Denny IMS & Madison MS would start almost 2 hours later than they do now); more info about the meeting here. (2600 SW Thistle)

MORE! for tonight, tomorrow, beyond on our complete calendar.

TRAFFIC/TRANSIT TODAY: Tuesday updates and alerts; NB I-5 crash; stalled vehicle on EB WS Bridge

(Four WS-relevant views; more cams on the WSB Traffic page)
6:47 AM: The morning starts with trouble on northbound I-5 downtown, a deadly crash that has left only one lane open at Mercer.

6:57 AM: While SDOT described it as a lane, traffic reporters say it’s just the shoulder at one spot. WSP says the scene of the crash, which killed a motorcycle rider, stretches across 150 feet. As noted in comments, other northbound routes (especially 99) are slowed by the spillover.

7:14 AM: Thanks to Erica for calling with the tip – a stalled vehicle is blocking one lane of the Fauntleroy end of the bridge, not too far past Fauntleroy.

7:18 AM: Just heard the dispatch on that, so police are on the way to check it out.

7:21 AM: Again, NB I-5 remains almost completely blocked on the north side of downtown. WSP now says the crash scene stretched across 400 feet.

7:33 AM: While monitoring for updates, we’ll mention two other transportation notes:

BUS BRIEFING: It was late Monday afternoon before the City Council, as the Transportation Benefit District Board, finally heard from Metro leadership. We’ll be publishing the full story when the Seattle Channel video of the meeting is available; in short, there was no specific explanation of why West Seattle routes seemed to be disproportionately affected, just a couple things we’ve heard before – that the overall cancellation rate systemwide is miniscule, and that it should all be better in October (mid-to-late) when they finish hiring, which was described as a lengthy process. (So far this morning, the cancellations tweeted by Metro are NOT on West Seattle routes.)

WEST SEATTLE BRIDGE CORRIDOR ACTION REPORT – SPECIAL MEETING: Announced even later in the day, but with three weeks’ notice – City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen will host a meeting in West Seattle about the report covered here a week ago, suggesting 27 possibilities for improving the “West Seattle Bridge-Duwamish Waterway Corridor.” 6:30 pm Monday, October 19th, at the Sisson Building (home of the Senior Center) in The Junction, California/Oregon. (Here’s our story from last night.)

7:51 AM: Via scanner, we’ve heard police just say the eastbound high bridge is now clear – but still affected by the backup from the northbound I-5 crash (where one lane is open, no ETA for investigators to clear the scene).

8:39 AM: Still just one lane at the NB I-5 scene. We’ll continue to update here past the top of the hour, even once we move to other news at the top of the home page. Meantime, even school buses are affected, the district tweeted:

8:48 AM: Mike Jensen reports via Twitter that there’s (still?) a stalled vehicle on the eastbound bridge, parallel with Nucor. So if you’re going to brave the backup anyway, Admiral/Avalon might be better than the Fauntleroy entrance to the bridge … Mike Lindblom has tweeted that the backup stretches quite a distance back on Delridge Way.

9:28 AM: Per an exchange overheard via scanner a few minutes ago, apparently 911 didn’t have word about THAT stalled vehicle. A police unit told them about it and is now handling it.

9:33 AM: I-5 northbound lanes are all open at Mercer following the motorcycle-crash investigation, but backups are still reported northbound just about everywhere – will take a while to clear.