Denny-Sealth – West Seattle Blog… West Seattle news, 24/7 Wed, 15 Aug 2018 08:02:20 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Meet neighbors, fight crime: WSCPC, Fauntleroy meetings ahead Sat, 14 Sep 2013 19:56:39 +0000 Two crime-prevention meetings ahead that you might want to check out:

DENNY, SEALTH PRINCIPALS @ CRIME PREVENTION COUNCIL: The special guests have been announced for Tuesday’s West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting:

We will have Chief Sealth International High School principal Aida Fraser-Hammer and Denny International Middle School principal Jeff Clark; they will discuss safety and security in their schools and the surrounding area. We will also discuss if having a combined campus has presented any unique safety problems.

Fears of such problems were amply voiced six years ago, before the new Denny was built adjacent to a renovated Sealth; the new school year is the third one of full co-location. The WSCPC meeting is at 7 pm Tuesday (September 17th), Southwest Precinct (Delridge/Webster).

FAUNTLEROY COMMUNITY SAFETY: The Fauntleroy Community Association found out via its recent community survey that crime prevention/safety is a topic of intense interest in their area, so FCA is hosting a special forum on Thursday, September 26th. It’s at The Hall at Fauntleroy in the historic schoolhouse, and will start with an ice-cream social at 6:30, meeting at 7, including presentations by Southwest Precinct police, and community Q/A.

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Video: Music for & by all ages, @ Big Band Dinner Dance Sun, 25 Mar 2012 07:10:55 +0000

Our video features the Denny International Middle School Jazz Band, the first of three student groups directed by Marcus Pimpleton that performed Saturday night for the Big Band Dinner Dance; the two others were from adjacent Chief Sealth International High School – here’s the Jazz 1 group:

Last night’s benefit combined what had been the Denny Jazz Dinner and the Sealth Big Band Dinner Dance, in this first year of the two schools sharing a campus (they had already been sharing a “pathway“). The above photo and the next one are courtesy of Denny principal Jeff Clark, who also shared these words:

Congratulations to Denny and Sealth Jazz musicians on an outstanding night of music. The dance floor has filled as guests are dancing to the sweet sound of jazz. Thank you to our amazing volunteers, families, and staff for making this event possible. A special thank to the West Seattle Big Band for joining us!

The WSBB has long supported student music programs.

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West Seattle schools: World Water Week wraps up at Sealth Sat, 24 Mar 2012 04:11:42 +0000

So far in the two years that Chief Sealth International High School has observed World Water Week with special events, it’s become a tradition – Friday sunshine! On the track at Southwest Athletic Complex across the street, where students walked with heavy containers of water on WWW Friday last year, today the task was a Food Walk, visiting various student-created stations to learn about food and water issues from around the world.

Special activities were the order of the day for all Sealth students, including a multitude of indoor activities (such as workshops with guest speakers), and also gardening outside adjoining Denny International Middle School:

The garden’s namesake was a Denny principal who died 20 years ago during the school year and had a garden named after her at the school’s old site – now, there’s one at the new site.

A KING 5 crew was there to help document the action:

We promised to come back later this spring to see the garden after it’s planted and growing!

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West Seattle schools: Denny, Sealth in St. Patrick’s Day Parade Mon, 19 Mar 2012 01:13:13 +0000

(Photo by Bruno Cross)
West Seattle had a big presence in the downtown St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Saturday. Denny International Middle School principal Jeff Clark forwarded the photo and reports:

I am pleased to share that the Denny International Middle School marching band did a terrific job marching in the St. Patrick’s Day parade on Saturday. The crowd was very enthusiastic and supportive of our kids—it was great and we are proud of them!

Adjoining Chief Sealth International High School‘s band participated too, and can be seen in two photos in the Seattle Times (WSB partner) photo gallery, which features one more West Seattleite – Seafair Clown “Officer Lumpy,” aka Chris Henggeler.

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West Seattle schools: Denny, Sealth band concert ‘magical’ Fri, 02 Mar 2012 05:52:14 +0000

(Photo by Bruno Cross)
“Magical” is the word Chief Sealth International High School principal Chris Kinsey used to describe tonight’s concert, with 350 band musicians from his school and adjacent Denny International Middle School, whose principal Jeff Clark shared the quote, and the enthusiasm. Above, the Denny Senior Band, directed by Marcus Pimpleton (whose Golden Apple Award-acceptance ceremony was broadcast on KCTS 9 tonight, while he was directing his Denny and Sealth musicians in concert).

ADDED FRIDAY MORNING: Here’s senior John Aguilar directing Sealth bandmates:

And the Denny beginning/intermediate musicians:

P.S. Some of the Sealth musicians have a big gig Saturday night – playing at the annual auction presented by the CSIHS PTSA.

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New not-a-park at former Denny site: The bird’s-eye view Wed, 18 Jan 2012 05:14:22 +0000

Last week, we brought you the story of the now-completed work at the former Denny International Middle School site in Westwood, with a focus on how it incorporates some of the features neighbors fought for, during the design process more than three years ago. Tonight, we have an aerial view of the results, courtesy of Seattle Public Schools (click the image for a larger view), photographed just last Friday.

As noted in our story – read it here, if you didn’t see it when we published it – the only part of the site that’s still fenced off is the big unmarked field where the main Denny building was, before last summer’s demolition work. While some nearby nicknamed the site “Denny Park,” it is school-district property, and considered to be an expansion of the nearby Southwest Athletic Complex, though Seattle Parks is helping with some of the scheduling. Technically, it is the third and final phase of the Denny/Sealth co-location work (coverage archive here), funded by the 2007 BEX III levy, with tennis courts and a softball field replacing the ones torn out on the Sealth/Denny campus nearby. Since this site may house a new elementary school under consideration for the BEX IV levy, project managers say there is nothing on the site that would have to be torn out for that potential project.

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Results of Westwood neighbors’ efforts evident, as new park-that’s-not-really-a-park opens on ex-Denny site Fri, 13 Jan 2012 17:53:48 +0000

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

If you harbor that festering suspicion that citizen involvement can’t make a difference – here’s the latest case in which it did: The new park-that’s-not-technically-a-park on Denny International Middle School‘s former site.

Three-plus years ago, when the district invited neighbors to help shape the site plan – as long as a few requirements (especially tennis courts and softball field to replace the ones lost on the new Sealth/Denny site to the northeast) were met – Westwood community leaders didn’t just show up for meetings, they roughed out their own vision (above) and fought for it in the process:

(WSB photo from January 12, 2009)
Now, except for a finishing touch here and there, the site work is complete, and you’re welcome to use the area. Though the final layout of what ultimately became a $6 million project is different (here’s what was presented in February 2009), several elements on which they insisted have become reality – particularly pathways through the site:

If you’re just catching up on this, the old Denny school was demolished last summer/fall, just before its replacement opened on the Chief Sealth International High School campus a short distance northeast, a project authorized by the BEX III levy almost five years ago. The not-a-park is the third and final phase of the project – though it may well see future work, if the “open field” is chosen to house a new school funded by the forthcoming BEX IV.

As a result of the new work, multiple walking paths stretch and wind through and around the site, leading all the way from SW Thistle Street on the north side to the Southwest Athletic Complex on the south side.

That’s a relief, too, for Westwood neighbors, who had particularly chafed at locked gates that blocked walkthroughs once the Southwest Athletic Complex was built to the east (technically, this new park-but-not-a-park is part of it), and brought that up often during the design process.

For this new site, you can enter from ungated points on all sides – also including the former Southwest Community Center/still Southwest Pool building, along with, 30th SW, SW Cloverdale. There’s even a new paved spot for service vehicles between the pool building’s west wall and the site’s east edge:

One of the community activists intensively involved during the planning process, Mary Quackenbush, tells WSB she just visited the site for the first time Wednesday night: “I’m really glad we all came together – sometimes on snowy nights after work – to design a space that is so very much more community-friendly than what we would have if we hadn’t persevered.”

Quackenbush says there’s more pavement than she expected, although the project team says the old school-site ratio has been reversed – it used to be 75 percent paved, 25 percent not, and now it’s the other way around. There’s also some “grasscrete” along the path south of there, so that it looks like grass and shows some grass, but won’t get completely mashed if a vehicle comes through, because of almost-invisible reinforcement:

The fence you see now, around its hydroseeded open field where the main school building once stood, is temporary – aside from that area, the Seattle Public Schools-owned site is open to the public. The play equipment on its southwest corner even got a tryout during our recent tour of the site with the project team, taking a closer look at how it all turned out:

The playground-testers were from a home day care nearby; their caregivers told us they had come to visit the site many times during the demolition and subsequent park-not-a-park construction. Our tour guides, by the way, are here:

From left, River Steenson with the general contractor BNBuilders, Dana Amore from Bassetti Architects, and Mike Skutack, capital-projects supervisor with Seattle Public Schools. We toured the site with an eye toward not just the basic features, but also some behind-the-scenes insight into how the construction project unfolded (and some underground features of the site).

They pointed out some features that might not be obvious, till you stop to ponder: For example, the work to preserve some of the pre-existing trees on the site, which takes the edge off some of the newness, in a good way. That was something else Westwood neighbors fought for. For example, this bank of trees was actually between two old-Denny courtyards as the school buildings stairstepped eastward down a slope:

They had more than a few challenging slopes to deal with. Which resulted in some touches devised almost on the fly – railings over short retention walls in a few spots on the sloping east side:

To help with drainage on the site, there are multiple rain gardens:

And there’s a hidden retention area under a bank on the south side of the still-fenced-off open field. Adjacent to both that field and the formal softball field, you will find more of the features neighbors asked for – seating walls, for example:

Four picnic tables are on the south side of the open field, one with ADA access:

We walked onto the softball field for a view you’ll only get if you happen to be the pitcher:

There’s a small parking area by the field, by the way:

And on the southeast side of the site, there’s parking set aside for disabled drivers/passengers to be close to site access that doesn’t require stair usage:

And it too has paths alongside:

One thing you’ll notice – the tennis courts have a temporary black surface. They’ll get their permanent surface in warm weather; the project squeezed nine months of work into six, as one project team member put it, with only a few finishing touches left, like this.

Back over to the playground: It’s designed for kids 5-12, and has room for expansion (remember that possible future elementary school?) as well as little touches like “the spinner”:

It complements a toddler playground at the ex-SW Community Center next door, which is home to the private EuropaKids International Preschool, source of another informal visit during our tour.

They’re a bit young for the playground, but won’t be for long. And they’ll get to watch other growth – two young madronas, close to an older one that was saved.

Site landscaping was yet another focus of neighborhood advocacy. Adds Mary Quackenbush: “A big shout-out to Susan McLain and Sandra Melo for being at every meeting; to Steve Fischer and the leadership of the Westwood Neighborhood Council for holding the school district’s feet to the fire over their previous broken promises to the community; to all the other community members who added their voices and ideas to the design process; and to the school district for listening. We all got what we wanted – tennis courts, a baseball field, reserve space for a future school, open space for unstructured play, play space for small children, some native plants, and a community-friendly site we can all enjoy. ”

P.S. In case you are wondering – the project team tells us there is no “grand opening” celebration planned for the site at present. Our tour guides said they might consider having a community open-house type event at some point, so we’ll let you know if and when one is scheduled.

P.P.S. Though this is not a Seattle Parks-owned site, they are handling scheduling for booking the softball field and other facilities (which are open to the public if not booked). Call the department at 206-684-4082.

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‘Denny Park’ takes shape at site of demolished school Thu, 27 Oct 2011 03:50:59 +0000

Play equipment has now arrived at the site of the now-demolished former Denny Middle School, as construction of a Seattle Public Schools-owned park/recreation site continues. The district has said it will have no formal name – it’ll be maintained as an extension of nearby Southwest Athletic Complex – but nearby resident Alice Kuder has dubbed it Denny Park, and has been taking photos of the progress, including the ones shared in this report. The site where the main school building stood has been seeded with grass, and some of the new trees detailed in the plan are there too (along with a few of the old ones that have been saved):

If you want to see the site plan, take a look at this June WSB report from a community meeting previewing the project. If you drive along SW Thistle, you can also see the blacktop now in place for tennis courts, and the softball field beyond. The informal field on the ex-school building site may be used for construction of a new elementary school years down the line, the district has said, but there are no official plans so far.

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Happening now: Tours at the new Denny Int’l Middle School Sat, 24 Sep 2011 18:29:07 +0000

We stopped by Denny International Middle School to see how the open house (till noon) was going, and met four members of Denny’s City Year team in the weight room – above, Stephanie, Ruchira, Megan, and Mary. Outside, we found Denny’s award-winning principal Jeff Clark, talking with School Board rep Steve Sundquist:

Also visiting this morning: Sundquist’s predecessor as West Seattle’s school-board rep, Irene Stewart, with husband Bruce Butterfield (president of the Fauntleroy Community Association):

If you’ve missed earlier coverage, the third phase of the project that built the new Denny and renovated adjacent Chief Sealth International High School is happening a few blocks away on the site of the old Denny, which was demolished, so the site could be transformed into fields and tennis courts.

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Video: ‘Thrilling day’ at new Denny International Middle School Wed, 07 Sep 2011 06:19:01 +0000

Right after the ribbon was cut and the doors were opened, a work crew was still handling details on a very important wallhanging inside the new Denny International Middle School – a banner with the slogan, “Expect the best.”

That’s what was on display during what Denny principal Jeff Clark called “a thrilling day” – including his best suit, renowned for its shade of bright blue:

The weather couldn’t have been better – the sun shone bright as Denny/Sealth construction-project manager Robert Evans got help from two students to raise the flags:

(Photo by MIKE SIEGEL/The Seattle Times, used with permission)
Also worth of “best” status – the national-anthem performance by Janelle Maroney:

Janelle is both a Denny alum and Chief Sealth International High School student – perfect symbolism for the fact the two schools are now the first middle/high-school combo in Seattle Public Schools to share a campus. It hasn’t been a universally popular idea along the way; School Board president Steve Sundquist acknowledged the “robust discussion” dating back four-plus years (such as this meeting we covered in June 2007), to the passage of the levy that raised the money for the project.

But it moved ahead, and the new 130,000-square-foot school now prepares to welcome students on Wednesday. With so many involved along the way, the list of those who helped cut the ribbon was long – here are all the sets of scissors set out for them:

Sheree Fantz-Gut from the Denny PTSA and Nadene Paltep, student-body president, led the “call to the ribbon” – summoning the participants – and then, everyone counted down, to the strategic snips:

As the school has been readied for opening this summer (here’s our story on an August tour), the old Denny has been demolished a few blocks away (after one last sentimental journey), and the site has been cleared, to make way for fields, tennis courts, play equipment, and maybe someday an elementary school. But the history embodied by the school’s name remains – and the celebration included Andy Harris, a descendant of the school’s namesake, pioneering Seattle settler David Thomas Denny:

(Denny’s life is detailed here – including reasons for renown beyond being a settler; he even helped Washington women win the right to vote.) After that bow to the past, it was time to look ahead. After going through the co-location-planning process with Sealth’s now-former principal John Boyd, Denny principal Clark has a new partner, Sealth’s interim principal Chris Kinsey, and they’re about to make Seattle Public Schools history:

Give them a few weeks to settle into it, then check out the campus for yourself during Denny’s community open house at 10 am on Saturday, September 24th.

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Back to school: New Sealth principal Chris Kinsey ready to go Tue, 06 Sep 2011 21:35:54 +0000

At the Denny International Middle School dedication (more coverage to come), we caught up with the new interim principal of Chief Sealth International High School next door, Chris Kinsey. It’s been only a month since he was announced as successor to longtime Sealth principal John Boyd, who is now working as an executive director in Highline Public Schools to the south. Kinsey’s work is cut out for him: He tells WSB that as of today, Chief Sealth is expecting 1,286 students tomorrow, up more than 200 from the start of last year, and the 9th-grade wait list, second longest in the district, is at 87, close to where it’s been all summer. He hopes to shake the hand of each and every one of them as they arrive at school tomorrow morning, and then, he says, he and his administrative team plan to visit each and every classroom before the week is over. P.S. Sealth community members are invited to hear more from the new principal at the first PTSA meeting of the year, 7 pm September 27.

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Another dedication tomorrow: New Denny Int’l Middle School Mon, 05 Sep 2011 18:19:38 +0000

(WSB photo from August media tour of new Denny)
On Wednesday, when Denny International Middle School sixth-graders get the school to themselves as per tradition, they will be the first to officially attend the brand-new Denny, adjacent to the remodeled Chief Sealth International High School. But first: As was the case for Sealth on back-to-school-day-eve last year, Denny gets the spotlight at a ribbon-cutting ceremony tomorrow. Seattle Public Schools‘ interim superintendent Dr. Susan Enfield will be there, as will of course Denny’s proud principal Jeff Clark, and other dignitaries, including West Seattle’s school-board rep (and its president) Steve Sundquist. If you’re planning on being there too, note that Denny’s entrance is on the north side of the campus (2601 SW Kenyon), while Sealth’s entrance remains on the south side. A formal community open house/tour event is set for 10 am Saturday, September 24th.

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New Chief Sealth principal Chris Kinsey promises ‘biggest ear’ Tue, 09 Aug 2011 04:18:02 +0000 By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

By the time Chris Kinsey had a few minutes to talk with WSB about his new job as Chief Sealth International High School‘s interim principal, he was in the eighth straight hectic hour since the announcement was made this morning.

He’s already started meeting with the people he’ll need to work most closely with. Just before our early-evening conversation, in fact, Kinsey said, he had just been in a late-afternoon meeting with Jeff Clark, principal of Denny International Middle School, which is weeks away from its first year sharing a campus with Chief Sealth. Kinsey says he’s known Clark for “a few years now,” since he has some background in Seattle Public Schools‘ middle-school system.

For the past three years, he’s been an assistant principal at Cleveland High School – also a school that’s been operating in a new, unconventional format. It’s focused on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). The STEM launch is the accomplishment of which Kinsey is proudest, so far:

“It really came from the ground up, from the walls of Cleveland. Our teachers had a lot of input into the design, with some direction by the school district, but it grew organically.” Cleveland now runs as two schools, the School of Life Sciences and the School of Engineering and Design, and he thinks the “bumps” he helped work through will prove to have been instructive for working through what lies ahead for his new school and its new neighbor.

Some of his background was in the morning “letter from the superintendent” announcement of his appointment. What it doesn’t mention: No, he’s not a West Seattleite; he lives in Ballard. He started teaching in 1999 (7th-grade language arts, for the record), but that wasn’t directly out of college – “I had a few odd jobs (first),” he says, including working in the Bethel School District as a “security specialist.” His background in both middle- and high-school education, Kinsey says, will be a plus as he leads Sealth in this first year of co-location with Denny. It’s an “incredible opportunity” to “create a 6th-through-12th-grade pathway,” he believes.

He’s also quick to offer high praise for what outgoing Sealth principal John Boyd and his team have done, “amazing work” – including the International Baccalaureate program, which has made Sealth even more of a draw. About the challenges of managing a school that has both a prestigious program like IB and a “low-achieving” designation, he says, “Whether IB or the regular program, we cannot fail kids – we have to provide them the best teaching opportunities so they can be successful. There’s going to be a time when they leave the academic world and venture into the world outside – they need to be well-prepared, with high-quality instruction for all the kids. When you address that and school culture and climate, it naturally leads to improvement.”

So what’s in the works for introducing Kinsey to the Chief Sealth community? The next two days, he says, all SPS assistant principals and principals are in a “school leaders’ retreat.” Then on Thursday, he will meet with his Sealth predecessor, John Boyd. “At the same time, I have to transition out of Cleveland,” Kinsey notes. “I’m looking at being at Sealth fulltime as of August 15th.”

From there, in conjunction with West Seattle executive director of schools Aurora Lora – his immediate supervisor – and Chief Sealth’s activities director (among other roles) Sam Reed, Kinsey says he’ll “set up some community meetings and some office hours. Part of my job right now is to have the biggest ear in the world and listen to the community, listen to the teachers, listen to the students, learn from them.”

That’ll be one busy ear … the first day of school, September 7th, is now less than a month away.

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Denny principal leads 1st official media tour inside new school Mon, 01 Aug 2011 08:19:50 +0000

The new Denny International Middle School is ready to go, proclaims principal Jeff Clark, just a month after presiding over the move out of the old one (where building demolition is entering its final phase). Along with project manager Robert Evans from DKA, which has overseen the entire Denny-building/Chief Sealth-renovating process, he led us on a long-awaited tour last Friday morning. Outside, banners welcome visitors (and students/staff) in multiple languages:

What’s new INSIDE – and more of what’s new outside – ahead, with 20 more photos:

Though Denny and Chief Sealth International High School are now adjacent, the promises of keeping their operations as separate as possible appear to have been kept: The design places Denny’s entrance on the north side of campus, while Sealth’s entrance remains on the south side. The main office is right by the main entrance door, with the school entrance alongside:

Throughout the school, signage will point Denny students and staff where they need to go:

For those who worked or studied at the old campus, the sight of new learning areas is bound to be a thrill – here’s one of the science rooms:

And a more-basic classroom – note the gray wall area; that’s all a type of “tackable” board for easy affixing of what needs to be put up (and easily, when needed, taken down):

There are also spaces that can be pressed into use for classes, though they won’t be regularly occupied as such:

There are other such places elsewhere on campus – this one can be an impromptu gathering place or teaching/learning area:

Here’s the library:

And a gym taking advantage – note the cut-out spaces in the walls and ceiling – of the natural light:

It has a climbing wall, too:

Over the gym, a space that resembles a fitness center – with barres for dancing/stretching types of activities:

You’ve probably seen the Sealth galleria – here’s the Denny side, over the central partition that will keep the two student bodies separate:

Look more closely around the building and you’ll see touches like these railings made from recycled wood that had been part of old Chief Sealth fixtures pre-renovation:

Various recycled materials in areas like this upstairs hall-lining bench, too:

Now back outside. Denny’s traffic will flow separately from Sealth – this driveway along the east side of the campus is part of what will facilitate that :

Also along the exterior, yet another area where classes can gather when an alternate learning space is sought – note the rain-garden plantings here, to hold water that comes off the sloped roof:

Gardening gets even more serious in this area, where you’ll find a greenhouse:

And on the northeast side of campus, a playfield and basketball courts:

While the school won’t be formally dedicated till early September, it was expressly intended to be ready right after the old one shut down in late June – and staffers are still moving in, to be more than ready before the new school year:

Photos from the construction work reveal even more detail – the district’s gallery is here.
Back over at what’s left of the old Denny, you can peer through the already-stripped facade on the west side – where the demolition equipment will be focusing efforts this week.

And once that’s gone, that site too will be into its construction phase, to hold a softball field, an informal playfield, and tennis courts.

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West Seattle schools: Denny Intl Middle School, the ‘new view’ Fri, 29 Jul 2011 01:52:36 +0000

With all the coverage of the demolition at the old Denny International Middle School site, it’s gone almost unnoticed that the new Denny, adjoining Chief Sealth International High School, is almost done. Tomorrow, we get a sneak peek inside the new Denny – so last night, we stopped by for a few exterior photos, including the basketball court and playfield:

The new Denny faces SW Kenyon, and its parking/bus dropoff-pickup entrances are separate from Sealth. You can find out more about the project here, and we’ll have many more details after tomorrow’s interior tour.

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