Denny-Sealth 141 results

Denny/Sealth: A Denny teacher’s view

In our ongoing quest to publish as much information and as many perspectives as possible on the Denny/Sealth project, as a final decision gets closer, we had wondered here why supporters didn’t seem to be speaking out publicly. Tonight, in comments on this post below, a Denny teacher supporting the co-located campus has spoken out – the school’s music director – and especially considering not everyone reads the comment sections, we wanted to highlight it here:

Over the past year that I have had the opportunity to work on the BEX committee, I have had numerous talks with Mr. Clark, the Denny principal regarding this project and the ongoing debate surrounding it. I know for a fact that Mr. Clark supports option 2, the “adjoined” campus, because he sincerely believes option 2 is what is best for kids. (I posted his letter on this subject in my previous comment and I have the attachment if anyone would like it forwarded to them).

Having listened to everything for the past year and having consistently participated on the BEX committee, I tend to agree that an adjoined campus is in the best interest of our students. I say adjoined and not combined because I believe that “adjoined” is a more accurate description of what has actually been proposed and I have spoken to a lot of kids (and some adults) who have misconceived notions about what was actually proposed. The only “combined” part of the campus, where the students would be regularly encountering one another, is our music department, which is largely combined already with students from Denny going to Sealth for orchestra and choir, and Sealth students coming up to Denny for steel drums.

In a recent survey of the Denny staff (January 30, 2008) 63% of the Denny staff supported or somewhat supported what is being referred to as Option 2, the adjoined campus. 22% were supportive or somewhat supportive of separate campuses, with the remaining 15% checking a box marked neutral. The Denny homeroom representatives, in their most recent meeting saw the district’s budget comparison of Options 2 and 3, including the list of upgrades to be performed to Sealth under the two plans, and saw the drawings that have been done so far of the adjoined campus. They listened to the input of their student represenative to the BEX committee, and discussed the pros and cons of having the middle school next door to the high school. After much back and forth, the Denny homeroom representatives issued a unanimous statement in favor of the adjoined campus. They are working with the administration on plans for grade level assemblies to occur next week, to present the information to the Denny students as a whole and to do a survey to invite their input. I think this is particularly relevant because, although the vast majority of the high school students will never have to attend school in the adjoined campus, the middle school students are the ones who will ultimately have to live with whatever is decided. Although I am personally of the opinion that adults, not students, should be making decisions about what is best for kids, if we are going to consider student opinion, the middle school students support for the adjoined campus should be given special consideration and weight.

As for me personally, I support the adjoined campus because I believe it affords us with an opportunity to build a 6-12th grade “nest” around these students, to create the framework for collaboration and sequential instruction, to foster mentoring and tutoring programs between the two schools, to support the development of specialized programs for both middle and high school students, to support the maintenance of students’ relationships with positive adult figures from their middle school experience, and to work together as a community to address the real challenges faced by many of our students. While there are undoubtedly going to be challenges that come along with any change, it is clear that we need to do something to help the many kids who are falling through the gaps, for example students dropping out of school. To the extent that we can create continuity and a sense of community for these kids, it is a good thing.

One of the primary concerns I have heard expressed with this project has been a reported danger of mixing the student populations. Personally, I think the risks are being overblown. In all the pleas for evidence to support the academic benefits, has anyone presented any real evidence that bringing a middle school and a high school in close proximity will bring about the doomsday I hear so many predicting? I student taught at Chinook M.S. and Tyee H.S. in the Highline district (two schools separated by a parking lot), and I was never aware of any issues there. Is there any data to suggest that this has worked out disastrously in the many other places where this has been tried? Or, are we just assuming the worst of our students?

Personally, I would argue that adjoining these two campuses has the opportunity to actually improve the security situation as it will enable the teachers and administrators to make concrete plans for how to move students around safely, and will put directly in our face the mixing, that is already occurring, and that our two block distance has previously allowed us to ignore. Furthermore, my understanding is that as with any new project being completed now, we will have security cameras and access points with ID card readers.

Students live up or down to the expectations of the adults in their lives. If we believe in them, educate them, and demand that they live up to high behavioral standards, they will. If we are convinced they can’t, they won’t. Up until last year, Denny and Sealth students rode the same school busses to school every day with next to no incidents (and this was under the supervision of a bus driver who was watching the road). Today, the students still manage to commingle safely on the streets coming to and from school and in the after school hours at the community center and the Westwood Shopping Center.

The students at this adjoined campus will not be mixed. They will have separate schools and separate facilities, including a completely divided lunchroom facility. It is not a “combined” school, but two schools adjoined.

Having been on the design committee, I had the opportunity to travel with the group that went to New York and Boston. My observation from the visits at the schools in New York and Boston was that the kids we saw in those schools were excelling, despite the fact that those buildings were not designed with the 6-12 environment in mind. In those schools, middle and high school students shared a single building, sometimes with just a sign and a door separating high school classes from middle school ones. In at least two of the three schools we visited, over 90% of the graduating classes were accepted into colleges and universities, and none of the students I spoke to expressed any issues about having middle schoolers and high schoolers near each other. While I have heard my colleagues make the case that those are different kids and a different situation, I am convinced that our kids are every bit as good and as capable as the kids in New York, Boston and anywhere else. If kids in other schools can excel in the difficult environment of multiple ages in a single building, I know our kids can excel in a well-planned environment where they will not be sharing one building, but a large campus with separate facilities for middle and high school programs.

Thanks for taking the time to hear me out. I am convinced that as a community we can not only make this work, but we can ultimately realize all the potential benefits of better curriculum alignment, increased collaboration, improved programming, and greater continuity from middle school to high school. For these reasons, I strongly support Option 2.

Marcus J. Pimpleton
Music Director, Denny Middle School
Director, Seattle Schools All-City Band
Denny/Sealth Alumnus

Again, this originally appeared in the comment thread below this post, where the same author earlier posted a previously circulated letter from Denny’s principal Jeff Clark (a letter from Sealth principal John Boyd was circulated last week). WSB archives of Denny/Sealth coverage are here, including reminders about tomorrow night’s meeting @ CSHS.

1 day till Denny/Sealth meeting, plus a student perspective

One day to go till what will be the school district’s last public meeting in West Seattle about the Denny/Sealth proposals before the school board vote later this month … though it’s not THE final public meeting — the Westwood Neighborhood Council is presenting a panel discussion on Feb. 12 (announcement here). If you missed it yesterday, here’s our post about the meeting (including the official district flyer), with a side note about the dearth of online information about the proposal. Meantime, there’s another perspective of note: We received via e-mail and postal mail copies of the January student newspaper from Chief Sealth, with a front-page article about opposition to the original proposal (known in the current discussion as “Option 1”). You can read it here; the headline and photo from “above the fold” over the article can be seen here. (In fairness, we should note that we don’t have copies of prior months’ papers so if there was a pro-project article, we can’t currently point you to that, but would be happy to upload it if we received one.) Back to tomorrow’s meeting: 6:30 pm, drawings & one-on-one conversation opportunities; 7 pm, public meeting begins, Chief Sealth High School Library. WEDNESDAY MORNING 2/6/08 ADDENDUM: School district legal counsel has asked WSB to remove the links to the images of the student newspaper article because of “factual inaccuracies” in the article, until a correction for those inaccuracies can be written up. We are declining the request, since the newspaper was published and circulated and that fact alone is newsworthy, but did want to note here for the record that the school district has made this request; as our lawyer told theirs, we will be more than happy to publish the correction text (and/or any other clarifying information) as soon as possible after they provide it to us.

2 days till Denny/Sealth meeting (but where’s the online info?)


In case you missed the first announcement Jan. 23 or the numerous mentions here since — if you have anything even resembling an opinion about, or a stake in, what is decided about rebuilding Denny Middle School and renovating Chief Sealth High School — the essential questions being whether or not they will share a campus, and how much of a renovation CSHS will get — Monday night is the first of two meetings whose importance cannot be overestimated. (Official flyer here.) In one sense, everyone in West Seattle has a stake in this — technically, if you look at where the $125-ish million is coming from, everyone in the city does (district documents describe this as “the most expensive project the District has attempted”). But if you can’t get motivated on that level: Is there a child of any age, high school or younger, in your family? Is there a chance you’ll become a parent someday? For the entire West Seattle peninsula, there are two public non-alternative middle schools and two public non-alternative high schools; what’s involved in this decisionmaking process comprises half of that. Think about it one more time before you conclude you don’t care much about how this turns out. The meeting is in the Chief Sealth Library on Monday night, starting with a “gallery walk” 6:30 pm where drawings can be viewed and one-on-one conversations can be had before the meeting starts at 7 (more here). After this meeting, the Westwood Neighborhood Council has its panel discussion on the project Feb. 12 (news release here) — also an important meeting — then on Feb. 13, the School Board will be presented with the recommended choice, prior to what is billed as the final vote Feb. 27. To get a sense of some of the discussion, check out the comments in just about everything posted here in the WSB Denny/Sealth archive (link here; find that link anytime from the WSB Categories list in the sidebar at right), but the comments that the district says will matter the most are the ones it gets at and after Monday’s presentation. (Board contact info here.)

SIDE NOTE – WHERE’S THE OFFICIAL WEB INFO? The drawing atop this post is from the Westwood Neighborhood Council site, posted last summer. This is because background info is difficult if not impossible to find on the Seattle Public Schools website; Denny-Sealth is not even on the “current issues” list on this resource page (though the West Seattle HS schedule issue is); the only project page we can find on the SPS site offers a couple of bullet points here, pointing to a “project update” page here that says “Updates coming soon.” In October, the district promised a special website at (see the flyer at the bottom of this post and see the district rep’s comment here) … it’s still not up. We have messages out to the district to ask if there’s somewhere else we should be looking. (Just discovered that School Board member Harium Martin-Morris posted Jan. 24 in this thread on his blog that he was “working with district staff” to get the drawings up on the district site. That was nine days ago. We can upload a Power Point presentation or pretty much any other doc to this website in a matter of minutes.) 6:50 PM UPDATE: We did get same-day responses to the notes we sent today to the district’s communications leadership and to West Seattle’s school board rep Steve Sundquist. He says he’s not aware of anywhere that the latest schematics/info can be found now on the district website but expects it will be updated in tandem with Monday’s meeting and is calling the project manager to check; district communications manager Patti Spencer says, “The schematics absolutely should be up on the Web but don’t know if they are. I apologize on behalf of SPS. The BEX Websites are created and maintained by the BEX staff. I don’t think there is anything I can do to make that happen over the weekend, but will talk with Fred Stephens to see if we can get something posted on Monday – latest Tuesday. I know that Fred is totally committed to providing easy-to-access and timely information.”

Denny-Sealth: New date for Westwood meeting

Now that the school district has set its Sealth-Denny community meeting for Monday 2/4 (flyer), the Westwood Neighborhood Council has moved its previously planned forum from 2/5 to 2/12 (the night before the School Board considers whatever becomes the district’s recommended option). Here’s the official news release just sent out by WNC president Steve Fischer:Read More

Sealth/Denny update: Sealth principal speaks out

At least one community-group mailing list that we are on has just received a letter from the principal of Chief Sealth High School, John Boyd, in which he writes, “I feel like I cannot remain silent regarding my feelings about this issue any longer,” adding that he is “weighing the merits of options two and three” — two is the current project plus at least $5 million additional improvements to CSHS, three is a Denny rebuild on its existing site, with Sealth still getting some improvements. Here’s the letter as it was distributed; or if you have trouble with PDFs, here’s the text:Read More

More details on newly announced Denny-Sealth meeting

As we reported last night, the school district has decided to hold an official public meeting on the Denny-Sealth proposals Feb. 4, the night before a meeting that the Westwood Neighborhood Council had already scheduled for Feb. 5. We e-mailed community liaison Eleanor Trainor from Seattle Public Schools today, asking for a few more details on the Feb. 4 meeting, and here’s what she just sent:

The meeting is scheduled for February 4, in the Sealth library. There will be a “gallery walk” at 630p during which folks can get a look at the latest drawings and ideas, in addition to chatting with district staff and leadership who will be on-hand. The meeting portion of the evening will begin at 7p.

If you missed last night’s update – the district also says the School Board will make its final decision on the Sealth-Denny project at its regular Feb. 27 meeting.

Denny-Sealth bulletin: District sets decision timetable

Bulletin from the Seattle School Board meeting under way right now (live on Channel 26, though no further Denny-Sealth discussion is expected tonight) — in her “superintendent’s updates,” Dr. Maria Goodloe-Johnson said there will be a community forum at Chief Sealth High School on Feb. 4 to present the 3 options under consideration (continue current plan, continue current plan but add some $ to Sealth renovations, rebuild Denny on its own site and renovate Sealth separately) — this apparently is separate from the Westwood Neighborhood Council‘s planned Feb. 5 meeting on the project (we will check with the Westwood folks to be sure). Then, she said, a resolution will be introduced at the Feb. 13 school board meeting recommending which option to pursue, and the board would vote on it at its next meeting after that, Feb. 27. More later, including highlights of the Denny-Sealth speakers in tonight’s public comment period (all opposed to the consolidation project — is there a reason no supporters ever seem to appear?). 11:30 PM UPDATE: Speaker recap ahead:Read More

Denny-Sealth: 10 people to address the School Board tonight

January 23, 2008 3:10 pm
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 |   Denny-Sealth | West Seattle news | West Seattle schools

The full agenda is now up for tonight’s Seattle Public Schools Board of Directors meeting — see it here — including the list of those who signed up to speak at the start of the meeting. 10 of the 17 people on the list are scheduled to talk about the Denny-Sealth project. The meeting’s at 6 pm — attend in person @ district HQ, or watch live on cable channel 26.

Date set for next Westwood meeting on Denny-Sealth

January 16, 2008 10:04 pm
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 |   Denny-Sealth | West Seattle news | West Seattle schools | Westwood

Quick headline (more to come) from tonight’s joint meeting of the Delridge and Southwest District Councils: The Westwood Neighborhood Council announced it’s set the date for its next community meeting on the Denny-Sealth project — Feb. 6 Feb. 5, Southwest Community Center CSHS Commons. (THURSDAY NIGHT UPDATE: WNC says it had to change the date to Feb. 5 after getting word today that school board rep Steve Sundquist couldn’t make 2/6.)

Denny-Sealth update: Teachers’ union resolution

This just in from Delfino Munoz, the Chief Sealth High School teacher who has been publicly voicing concerns about the current Denny Middle School-Sealth HS shared-campus plan:

The Seattle Education Association Representative Assembly just passed a resolution calling “…on the Seattle School Board and District Administration to direct BEX III/Facilities to provide an option for rebuilding Denny at the current Denny site…”

More details when we get them. ADDED 10:01 PM: Here’s the text of the final SEA resolution, from a doc forwarded by Munoz:Read More

Denny/Sealth: Activist says it’s “clear that this project is a mess”

So declares Seattle Public Schools parent/activist Melissa Westbrook in a brand-new update on the blog, following up beyond the School Board’s Denny/Sealth work session two days ago (WSB coverage here). Westbrook posted a thorough account of that meeting (find it here) and then attended a meeting today of the BEX III (the bond measure that included the Denny/Sealth money) Oversight Committee. That committee meeting is detailed in her new post (and e-mailed to School Board members and district leadership), including what she says were discrepancies between the Denny/Sealth presentation made to that committee today and the one made to school-board members on Wednesday, and what she describes as a bottom-line revelation that under current district plans, Sealth will eventually be the “only non-renovated high school in the district.” Anyway, her update seems like a must-read for those closely following the Denny/Sealth project controversy. Until more meeting dates are set, the major “next step” here is letting the school board know what you think should happen; their contact info is here.

Denny-Sealth: Too late to turn back now?


What we heard from Seattle Public Schools administration at the end of the school board’s Denny-Sealth shared-campus project work session tonight boiled down to something a lot like what we heard at a meeting about it that we covered here in West Seattle last summer — Yes, we know, we didn’t get a whole lot of public input before roaring forward with this plan, but really, we’re in it too deep now to pull back, though we’ll get you a little more information on what it would cost to change course, if you really, really want it. The majority of the board members, of course, have been elected since the project was approved last year — 4 of the 7 school board members are brand new — and even though board president Cheryl Chow warned them not to get bowled over by the “freshman rush” of project opponents hitting them up, they asked for a chance to reconsider anyway.Read More

Denny-Sealth work session: New option, sort of

January 9, 2008 5:50 pm
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 |   Denny-Sealth | West Seattle schools | WS breaking news

First top line from the school board’s just-concluded work session – maybe the Chief Sealth HS community’s concerns about the consolidation project would be alleviated if the district added at least $5 million to the Sealth renovations, for items such as a new roof and a new gym floor? District administration wants to focus on either that option or the current plan; the newer school board members want some more financial facts on the “rebuild Denny at Denny” third option too, before discarding it entirely. More details shortly; the work session wrapped up at 5:41, and the board is now about to launch into its regular session.

Denny/Sealth consolidation controversy: Next steps


The main questions left for us after the Denny/Sealth discussion at last night’s Seattle School Board meeting (which we covered with in-progress reports here and here) were, what now, and when? We got some new info today from West Seattle’s school-board rep Steve Sundquist. But first – we wanted to let you know, if you want to watch the meeting, particularly the testimony on this project during the public-comment period near the start, the video is now available online at the Seattle Channel site. (Regardless of where you stand on the project, you have to agree it’s particularly heartening to see students show up and speak to the board.) Back to “what’s next” — Sundquist says the Denny/Sealth “work session” at 4 pm January 9th will be open to the public; he tells WSB its format and participants are not all set yet, but he’s expecting there to be “some element of presentation” as part of it. He thinks it’ll last an hour to an hour and a half, since it’s before the board’s regular meeting at 6 pm that same night. As for any sort of a deadline to decide whether the Denny/Sealth project will proceed, change, or be scrapped altogether, Sundquist acknowledges that West Seattle families’ enrollment decisions make this time-sensitive as well as the oft-cited construction-cost factor, so he hopes it will be settled “within the first couple months of the year.”

More Denny/Sealth updates from school board meeting

Meeting’s in a 10-minute break right now. Since the previously mentioned public comment against the project (no one spoke in favor):

-District superintendent Dr. Maria Goodloe-Johnson and West Seattle school-board rep Steve Sundquist both reiterated (as he had told us would happen) that the scheduled votes later tonight would not commit the board to the Denny/Sealth project as it now stands. It also was announced that the board DOES have the authority — last week, Sundquist said they were awaiting a legal answer on this — to “modify the project if we see the need.”

-Board president Cheryl Chow asked members to clear time on their calendar the afternoon of January 9, before the next board meeting, for a work session on the Denny/Sealth project.

Susan Harmon from the Westwood Neighborhood Council, speaking during the public-comment period, asked the board to delay Denny-Sealth votes until after a meeting WNC is working to organize for late January or early February to examine both the potential impacts of the shared high school/middle school campus concept, and the future of the current Denny land if the project proceeds as currently planned.

More details as they happen, plus a full all-in-one wrapup by night’s end in the morning (we have a followup question out). 8:46 PM UPDATE: The meeting is adjourned. The matching-funds item involving the Denny-Sealth project passed unanimously, after yet another reiteration that it does not commit the board to the project as it now stands. One other note of interest, Sundquist will chair the board’s Finance Committee next year.

Happening now: Sealth/Denny opponents @ board meeting

December 19, 2007 6:31 pm
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 |   Denny-Sealth | West Seattle schools | WS breaking news

You can watch it right now on channel 26 – public comment at the start of the school board meeting, and several people (including two students and two teachers) have spoken against the Denny/Sealth consolidation project. (It’s open public comment, for those who signed up ahead of time, so other topics are being discussed too; as mentioned last night, there’s a Denny/Sealth-related item later on the agenda.) More to come.

Denny-Sealth item on School Board agenda tomorrow

December 18, 2007 10:37 pm
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 |   Denny-Sealth | West Seattle news | West Seattle schools

Thanks to Susan in Westwood for pointing out that tomorrow night’s Seattle School Board agenda includes an item regarding the controversial Denny-Sealth combined-campus proposal, updated and discussed at a Westwood Neighborhood Council meeting last week (our detailed report here). The item is explained on the agenda as, “Approval of this item will certify that the existing space to be replaced through new construction in lieu of modernization at Denny Middle School/Chief Sealth High School will not be used in the future for District instructional purposes or be eligible for future state financial assistance.” If you read the report linked from the agenda item, it sounds like a technicality, rather than any key vote regarding the project – but just to be sure, we checked with West Seattle’s new school board rep Steve Sundquist, who was at last week’s WNC meeting. He replied:

“… my understanding is that Action Item 4 is an administrative action concerning state matching funds, and passing it does not bind the board or district into a particular outcome regarding the Sealth/Denny project. Consequently, I do not consider it a major directional vote on the project. Having said that, I have asked the district to go on record publicly to that effect before we vote in our Legislative Meeting tomorrow evening, and Superintendent Dr. Goodloe-Johnson has agreed to ensure that it happens.”

We also asked if there was an update regarding Sundquist’s statement last week that the board needed legal counsel’s opinion on whether it would be potentially empowered to change or scrap the Denny-Sealth project; he said, “I am expecting to hear that announced publicly soon, possibly as early as tomorrow evening’s meeting.” That meeting starts at 6 pm Wednesday at school district HQ, the John Stanford Center in Sodo (map linked from this page).

Denny-Sealth shared campus: NOT a done deal after all?

So suggested Sealth teacher Delfino Munoz toward the end of tonight’s Westwood Neighborhood Council meeting to update the project status; he was followed by West Seattle’s new school-board rep Steve Sundquist saying the board’s trying to get a legal opinion on whether they do indeed have the power to cancel the plan – if they wanted to. Bottom line, now more than ever is your time to speak out, if you have a strong opinion on the proposal either way; WNC president Steve Fischer provided lots of resources tonight on how to do that. Here’s our detailed report (updated 11:59 pm):Read More

Happening tonight: 2 meetings on multi-million-$ projects

DENNY-SEALTH UPDATE: It’s been a few months since the last general update on what’s going on with this fast-track Seattle Public Schools project to consolidate the neighboring middle and high schools on one campus. Tonight, the Westwood Neighborhood Council sponsors a gathering to get out the latest info. Read more here, including the meeting agenda. It all starts at 7:30 pm @ Southwest Community Center.

HIAWATHA PLAYFIELD IMPROVEMENTS: The city will present details on improvements to the field, iighting, and more that have been years in the making; read more here. This meeting happens at 6:30 tonight @ Hiawatha Community Center. (Got the reminder about this last night at the monthly meeting of the Admiral Neighborhood Association, where the main topic was the California/Hanford/Hinds upzone proposal; our full writeup on that is coming up a little later this morning.)

Denny-Sealth campus consolidation meeting: School sparks

October 9, 2007 8:47 pm
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 |   Denny-Sealth | West Seattle news | West Seattle schools

Just back from the school district-organized Denny-Sealth project update meeting at CSHS. Sparks flew, especially on the issue of why this meeting was called with only days’ notice. Another one is set for later this month. Our full report will be posted here later tonight.

Denny/Sealth project: District suddenly sets an update meeting

October 4, 2007 9:21 am
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 |   Denny-Sealth | Development | West Seattle schools | Westwood

Just got word from the Westwood Neighborhood Council that Seattle Public Schools has scheduled a community update meeting next week about the impending Chief Sealth High School/Denny Middle School campus consolidation construction project. The neighborhood group itself called the last update meeting, in June, after learning details about the project that previously hadn’t gotten much public airing. (We covered that meeting in-depth; here’s the link.) The district’s flyer (which touts a weblink,, that as of this writing goes only to a “parking page”) says the meeting at 6:30 pm next Tuesday (10/9) in the Chief Sealth HS theater will include updates on the schedule and design for the project, and take Q/A. Here’s the flyer:Read More

The train’s left the station, but they’ll let us help paint it

That’s what the current state of things boils down to, regarding the school district’s plan to build a new Denny Middle School on the Chief Sealth High School campus, with some shared facilities — or so it sounded when district reps made their case during a semi-contentious community meeting tonight (called by the Westwood Neighborhood Council). Click for more:Read More

This week’s big WS meeting: Sealth/Denny/Westwood

June 24, 2007 6:45 pm
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 |   Denny-Sealth | West Seattle schools

Two schools here on the south side of WS may soon share a campus, and their neighbors want to hear more about what’s planned. So the Westwood Neighborhood Council is organizing a meeting about the Sealth HS/Denny Middle School project for this Wednesday, 6:30 pm @ Southwest Community Center.