SCHOOL CHOICE: See where West Seattle’s longest waitlists are

It’s waitlist season for Seattle Public Schools – families who have applied for schools other than their default neighborhood schools are waiting to see if they’ll get in. Starting this week, the district is posting citywide lists weekly showing which schools and which grades have waitlists – here’s the newest one. The West Seattle schools/grades with double-digit waitlists are:

Louisa Boren STEM K-8 kindergarten – 57
Fairmount Park Elementary kindergarten – 40
Pathfinder K-8 kindergarten – 36
Louisa Boren STEM K-8 1st grade – 28
Louisa Boren STEM K-8 3rd grade – 28
Louisa Boren STEM K-8 2nd grade – 26
Louisa Boren STEM K-8 6th grade – 25
Arbor Heights Elementary kindergarten – 20
Madison Middle School 6th grade – 20
West Seattle High School 9th grade – 19
Pathfinder K-8 1st grade – 14
Pathfinder K-8 6th grade – 12
Alki Elementary kindergarten – 11
Fairmount Park Elementary 2nd grade – 11
Fairmount Park Elementary 2nd grade (advanced) – 10
Louisa Boren STEM K-8 5th grade – 10

The district continues to accept open-enrollment applications through May 31st – you can get forms here. If you’ve already applied and haven’t heard back about your student’s status, you can try the lookup tool here. The district now dissolves waitlists at the end of August, rather than maintaining them for a while after the school year starts.

15 Replies to "SCHOOL CHOICE: See where West Seattle's longest waitlists are"

  • North of Admiral April 19, 2017 (3:58 pm)

    Well I have some good news for some parents out there. I just opened up a 6th grade slot at Madison and a 9th grade slot at West Seattle High for your kids next year.

    With the declining state of our public school system, neither of my school aged kids will be going to SPS any longer. I am biting the bullet for private school.

    After years of involvement in our school system it is just obvious that only the parents and some (only some) of the teachers care about a good education for our children. The state certainly doesn’t. And in some cases the teachers union also makes decisions (in the best interest of the teachers) that are detrimental to our students. My daughter went through most of second grade with substitute teachers after her permanent teacher refused to show for work, but couldn’t be replaced or fired because the union defended her action.

    The students are the ones that suffer the most.

    • SWinWS April 19, 2017 (11:32 pm)

      I am sorry to hear that you are dissatisfied about the SPS system (North of Admiral) but really the problems lie in adequately funding schools.  And, blaming low-wage teachers for the problems incurred by the system (top-down) does not solve the problem.  This really is death by a thousand cuts here: inadequate funding, low-wage teachers/assistants, etc., and an exodus of those that can afford better schools for their children, standardized testing tied to No Child Left Behind and leaving others of less fortunate economic status behind…this is recipe for collapse.  I hope we can pull this together as a community and build better public schools that serve both the teachers and parents/students.    

      • Mike April 20, 2017 (7:52 am)

        $80k is low wage?

    • WSMom April 20, 2017 (6:55 am)

      I’m sorry you have had bad experiences.  For the most part my kids have had good experiences.  I do agree with the state of public school though, much improvement is needed, especially on the top heavy admin side. 

      On another note, my guess is once you’ve pulled your kids out they will still keep them enrolled on paper.  I have heard of people who have put their children in private school and SPS fails to unenroll them for months!  

    • Sara April 20, 2017 (1:35 pm)

      I applaud your decision.  Sounds like you’ve been through the wringer.  We might follow suit.  And I used to be such a big supporter of public education.  

      We’re lucky in our school and have staff and principal who work their arses off, but they are swimming upstream against horrible district decisions, a teachers union that pushes for measures that hurt parents, massive bureaucracy in the district, standardized testing, and political in-fighting.  

      [Can we talk about the one day a week early dismissal next year?  It is the most parent-unfriendly thing I’ve ever heard of.  And is horrible for the very people that the district claims it wants to support: disadvantaged, low income families working two or more jobs, or families that don’t have the flexibility to deal with that one day a week early dismissal.  It’s absurd.  Seattle is rife with decisions like this.]

      And standardized testing…hoo boy.  The standardized testing curriculum puts funds in the pockets of massive scholastic companies, which in turn, push some of the most un-creative teaching that I’ve ever seen in my life.  And that’s not the teachers’ faults.  I’ve read teaching blogs that make me want curl up in a ball and cry.  Teachers are as upset about this as we are and are leaving for careers that afford them more choice and support.  Good teachers are leaving because they can’t take it any more.

  • WS Homegrown April 19, 2017 (8:52 pm)

    Wow almost every grade at STEM has a waitlist!

  • Rusty April 20, 2017 (1:21 am)

    I attended public schools (good schools and teachers, Nothshore district), and would love to be able to send my daughter to public schools. Instead, we try to cover what amounts to around $20g a year so she can go to a private school. We do this because we want her (like all parents) to have a great education. 

    When the elementary school closest to us is one of the lowest-rated in SPS, and the high school near us thinks it’s ok to give contraceptives to underage girls without parental notification (while legal, having the school providing it without consent is not their decision to make), we feel private school is our only option (and are thankful that so far we’ve been able to go that route). 

    We might not all agree on everything, and there are truly great educators that can make a difference everywhere, but I can’t abide any system that doesn’t seem to prioritize the foundational function of school. We spend over 12g per student for our SPS schools, and what I see is the longest wait lists for the school that apparently prioritizes STEM. Shouldn’t that be every school?

    I don’t have the answers, but I sure would like it if everyone (teachers, administrators, union and legislature) would work together to demand better for our kids – there’s plenty of talk on all sides, but seemingly little accountability when it comes down to it. Every kid should be able to have a great public school education, no matter where you live.

    • CandrewB April 20, 2017 (12:23 pm)

      For an extra $20K per year, you can buy a home on the Eastside and send your kid to public schools.

  • AJP April 20, 2017 (10:27 am)

    If anyone is interested in what is actually going on with the state’s education funding problem, check out Washington’s Paramount Duty: It has excellent information on just what the problems are with regards to funding, and suggestions for what you can do to make a difference. They have a FaceBook group too for up-to-the-minute information. We are three days away from the end of the legislative session and we are no where near having an agreed-upon budget for schools. Now is the time to make your voice heard! 

  • RB April 20, 2017 (12:51 pm)

    I think it is time for Stem to add more classes. they got the space…

    • anon April 20, 2017 (1:42 pm)

      The opposite is happening, RB- the principal has decided to cap the lower grades at two classes each, and then follow suit upwards as the largest cadre of students (currently 4th grade) moves on.  STEM has also had a staff turnover of around 75% since his arrival. Look at his track record at his first two schools and you can see where STEM is headed. Prospective parents might want to look elsewhere.

  • Lola April 20, 2017 (2:23 pm)

    Mike,  I know of some teachers who make more than $80.  I think they make more than a fair wage for the hours that they work and all of the time off they get.  My kids went to public schools but I was un-happy in their last years and nobody seemed to want to help.  

  • Robin April 20, 2017 (2:57 pm)

    A few facts: 

    First off – North of Admiral I wish you really good luck. I know it’s a hard choice. 

    You look up what teachers make so you don’t have to guess. It’s a simple google search. Some make over 80K and other don’t. I have to say after 4 kids at home last week for Spring Break we don’t pay teachers enough! 😭

    Facts re: STEM

    STEM and many of the other schools in West Seattle have waitlists. 

    We have not had a 75% teacher turnover rate. Are their growing pains – absolutely. 

    Our principal does does not cap it at 2 classes per grade level K-5. That is done by SPS and the reason for it is that there is not enough room for more than 2 classes with a middle school in the Boren building. That said, SPS could choose to use the portables that are housed there but that is an SPS decision not a principal decision.

    If is interested in knowing more about STEM I’m always happy to help! 

    Highly recommend joining Washington’s Paramount Duty Facebook page for more information on fully funding education in Washington.


  • Wsres April 20, 2017 (7:50 pm)

    Fyi: teachers in SPS start at about $48,000. To make $80k a teacher has to have worked for 15 years and have a BA +90 more credits. 

    Much of the politics in schools and problems within the schools occur because of how the district is run. Funding does play a big role in what teachers can do with our students.

    There are good teachers, bad teachers, and burnt out teachers. Having volunteered alot of time in public schools I find that most are good and work really hard for our kids. 

  • Stemdad April 21, 2017 (8:06 am)

    My kid goes to stem, it’s a ways for us, but well worth it- just for the uniforms! It’s cheap, no hassle, cuts down socio-class stigma- and the kids look great! It’s all bonus after that …

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