West Seattle, Washington
Just got word of this:
Seattle Public Schools is offering 20 fall community Flu vaccine clinics (through Seattle Visiting Nurse Association) and 6 Moderna/Pfizer COVID vaccine clinics (through Safeway Albertsons) from September 18-October 21. All community members are welcome to sign up. Insurance information is required for flu shots (most insurance accepted). COVID vaccinations are free for ages 12 and up.
Madison Middle School – 3429 45th Ave SW
Sunday, September 19, 2021 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Louisa Boren STEM K-8 – 5950 Delridge Way SW
Sunday, September 26, 2021 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Chief Sealth International High School – 2600 SW Thistle St,
Saturday, October 2, 2021 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. & COVID-19 vaccines 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
(Added note from the Visiting Nurses’ Association: These are indoor clinics.)
Monday is when Seattle Public Schools updates its new COVID-19 dashboard (although last week included additional midweek updates). The cumulative districtwide case total is now 117 – 32 of those in the Southwest Region (West Seattle/South Park) – and the district has added school-by-school numbers and a map:
In our area, Chief Sealth International High School and Lafayette Elementary report 6 each, Denny International Middle School and Highland Park Elementary report 4 each, Gatewood and Roxhill Elementaries report 3 each, Pathfinder K-8 reports 2, and there’s 1 each at West Seattle High School, Louisa Boren STEM K-8, and Genesee Hill and Sanislo Elementaries. (The numbers are not broken out between students and staff, just by school.) None are reported at Madison Middle School, Alki Elementary, Arbor Heights Elementary, Concord International (Elementary), Fairmount Park Elementary, or West Seattle Elementary. The 32 total cases in this area is 20 more than were listed when the dashboard launched a week ago.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
A week and a half into the new school year, some Seattle Public Schools parents have been keeping their children home, feeling it’s not safe to return until kids under 12 can be vaccinated.
While usually it would take 20 consecutive absences before a student was kicked off the rolls, the district changed its policy last week to say that any student who hadn’t shown up by this past Friday would be unenrolled. The district attributed that to “guidance” from the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, which for its part says it has not issued any such order.
One West Seattle parent who wants to keep her child enrolled at their neighborhood elementary school – while staying home until vaccinated – has been organizing other like-minded parents.
A “brand-new magical place” is how Westside School (WSB sponsor) head of school Steve de Beer described the preschool expansion just opened south of the Arbor Heights campus. A ribbon-cutting ceremony this morning celebrated the completion of the two-classroom building, which, like the heart of the school’s main building, is a converted church sanctuary.
The connected classrooms welcomed a full complement of 28 students Friday. We took a sneak-peek tour two days earlier.
Everything is kid-size:
As we reported in April, as remodeling of the former New Apostolic Church got under way, the expansion is enabling Westside School to double the size of its preschool and pre-K programs. In all, the school now has nearly 400 students, preschool through 8th grade. The community of families present and past is so supportive, it yielded key participants in the project, including STS Construction Services (WSB sponsor), whose Craig Haveson was there this morning (below left, with Westside’s director of advancement Nicole Caden and de Beer):
The design firm, SKL Architects, also is from the school community (and designed the main campus, too). This morning’s ceremony was an opportunity for Westside to acknowledge and thank the project participants and donors, to talk about the school’s future, and also honor its almost-40-year history. A key figure for many of those years, who served in many roles at Westside, Claudia Ross-Weston, was at the ceremony:
Past board president Lisa Hadley cut the ribbon:
Then it was time for tours. The preschool-expansion building is opening almost exactly three years, de Beer said, after the former church approached the school to see if it might be interested in leasing the property.
Two wins in a row now for the West Seattle High School Wildcats. Tonight they traveled to Bellingham and scored another lopsided win, 34-6. Next Friday night, they’re the home team for this season’s Huling Bowl game against Chief Sealth International High School, 7 pm Friday (September 17th) at Nino Cantu Southwest Athletic Complex.
What was scheduled to be the first home game of the season for the Chief Sealth International High School Seahawks turned out to be their first game after a COVID cancellation last week. The Clover Park High School Warriors visited from Pierce County and left Nino Cantu Southwest Athletic Complex with the win, 13-7. CP kept Sealth off the scoreboard until #4, sophomore quarterback Issac Martinez (top photo), scored the Seahawks’ one and only touchdown a minute into the second half. #3, junior Daniel Cortes, kicked for the extra point. CP did all its scoring – 13 points – in the first half, but that’s all the Warriors needed for the win. Sealth got close twice in the second half, though:
#22, senior linebacker senior Marcus Tupua (above), picked up a Clover Park fumble and ran it from midfield to inside the 5, but the Seahawks couldn’t score and turned it over on downs, which is how their last near-score ended.
In the fourth quarter, #33, junior defensive back Grayson Leui-Steele (above), picked
up a CP fumble inside the 5-yard line, but again, Sealth lost possession on downs.
Tonight’s game kicked off the second season for head coach (and Sealth alum) Daron Camacho:
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
We’ve covered some of these over the 8 years that they’ve been a vital part of the EWMS curriculum.
Last year’s EWMS 8th-grade graduates included four young women whose project has the potential of changing the school experience for students throughout our state.
A year and a half after the passing of former South Seattle College president Jerry Brockey, the date is set for his Celebration of Life. The announcement is from one of his successors at the college, Dr. Jill Wakefield:
The Jerry M. Brockey Student Center sits at the center of South Seattle College’s campus, where students gather to connect with each other, and the cultural celebrations of a diverse community take place. It is fittingly named after a man who shaped a college from a vision to reality, serving as the college’s president from 1977 – 1995. Jerry Brockey passed away in March 2020. A celebration of life is scheduled for Mr. Brockey on Saturday, September 25, at 2 p.m. in the Brockey Center.
Born in 1933 on a small farm in North Dakota, Jerry Brockey eventually landed in Seattle where he built his career in education as a teacher and coach at Seattle Public Schools. He later joined the Seattle Community College district and was appointed president of South Seattle in 1977.
Brockey was known as a passionate and tough leader, with high expectations and a legendarily firm handshake. Brockey led the college’s growth as a premier workforce education and college transfer destination. Former colleagues described Brockey as an “egalitarian … an effective president, and a natural leader,” a “welcoming executive that created a welcoming environment for students,” and a president who was “really good at bringing people together.”
West Seattle historian and journalist Clay Eals, in remarks shared with West Seattle Blog, said, “Jerry also was a highly visible connector between the college and the rest of West Seattle, no easy feat given the college’s geographical isolation.” Eals went on to say, “He was a true force for good, worthy of admiration.”
Jerry Brockey’s legacy is ever-present at South Seattle College through the Brockey Student Center and the Brockey Endowed Scholarship, which has helped many students find financial stability so they can focus on their studies.
For more information on the Brockey Celebration of Life, call 206-234-6752.
Mr. Brockey was 86; here’s the obituary published shortly after his death last year.
Last night in our weekly pandemic update, we noted that Seattle Public Schools planned to start updating a “dashboard” this week with COVID-19 case numbers. Despite the holiday, the district posted the first round of data today. The data is shown by region, not individual schools. It shows the Southwest region – West Seattle and South Park – with 12 cases, 10 students and 2 staffers. That’s more than a third of the 36 cases reported districtwide after three days of the school year. Though the dashboard totals are not broken down by school, we know at least one of the schools affected is Chief Sealth International High School, which had to cancel its Friday night football game. District protocols say families will be notified of any positive cases in their child’s classroom. The dashboard, meantime, is scheduled for weekly updates, on Mondays.
Fall high-school football returned with a roar at Nino Cantu Southwest Athletic Complex tonight. The West Seattle High School Wildcats kept the Sammamish Redhawks from taking flight, 55-6.
#8, junior Mason Kallinger, accounted for three of the Wildcats’ eight touchdowns. Two were the work of #6, senior Jaxton Helmstetler:
Also with a touchdown apiece, #3, sophomore Bo Gionet:
#7, senior Will Godwin:
And #22, freshman Terryus Smith:
Head coach Jeff Scott is back this year, after leading WSHS to a division title during the short, late season last school year:
Tonight, WSHS opened the scoring with 5:54 to go in the first quarter, which ended with the Wildcats ahead 16-0. They more than doubled that to 36-0 by halftime. “Wildcats are RED-hot,” chanted the Cheer Squad, and the team certainly was.
After three quarters, they were up 49-0. Sammamish finally got on the board with a big TD run by #25 Ty Webster early in the fourth quarter, but that was it for the Redhawks’ scoring.
NEXT WEEK: WSHS is scheduled to play on the road at Bellingham, 8 pm next Friday (September 10th).
Gatewood Elementary was vandalized overnight with what the principal described in email to families as “horrific racially-charged graffiti.” Principal Kyna Hogg wrote that, before students arrived for the day, “Our team took immediate action and covered the graffiti (until it can be permanently removed), we called 911, and informed the SPS Safety and Security team.”
District spokesperson Tim Robinson tells WSB the work order for permanent removal is already in and work should happen soon. Gatewood has been hit with racist crime before; we reported earlier this year on the fourth theft of a Black Lives Matter banner from the school fence, The racists won’t win, Hogg assured families: “I believe it is important to continue to emphasize that Black Lives Matter at Gatewood Elementary School and throughout Seattle Public Schools.”
The return to full-time in-person learning continues tomorrow for thousands of West Seattle students. It’s the first day of classes for 1st through 12th graders at Seattle Public Schools, as well as for Hope Lutheran School and for Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic School. Even if you don’t have a student in your household, be mindful of school zones for safety’s sake – expect more buses, cars, and students walking/biking. Here’s a map of SPS campuses in West Seattle:
Note that, as we’ve reported, West Seattle Elementary is spending the year at the former Schmitz Park Elementary (5000 SW Spokane) while its expansion building is under construction. Also remember that, as announced last week, there’s a new school-zone speed-enforcement camera in West Seattle, on 35th SW near Our Lady of Guadalupe. Here’s the citywide list of not only school-zone cameras and the times they’re supposed to be on, but also flashing school-zone 20 mph reminder beacons. … After tomorrow, there are more first days to come later this week and next – here’s our full list of who starts/started when. Good luck to all, and if there’s news from/at your school, please let us know!
ORIGINAL TUESDAY REPORT: Summit Atlas, the charter middle/high school in Arbor Heights, was in lockdown for a little more than an hour this morning because of what was described in an email to parents as a “possible threat.” We called after a text from a reader; the school told us the lockdown was over and parents would get an explanation via email. One parent forwarded what was sent, in which the school said:
This morning, we responded to a report of a possible threat to our campus. When an incident occurs on our campus, we act quickly, we collaborate with the community and with local law enforcement, and we communicate with you promptly. The situation was resolved quickly, and all students are safe.
Our students’ safety is always our top priority and consistent with our safety protocols, our school building did go on lock down for approximately 70 minutes while the Seattle Police conducted a thorough investigation. …
Police say what information they have so far indicates the incident involved “an unfounded report of a weapon at the school.”
ADDED WEDNESDAY: The police summary that’s now available adds a few more details:
On 08-31-2021 at 0902 hours, officers responded to a school due to a student emailing a teacher about students bringing guns to the school. The school went into lockdown and units responded. The principal and officers spoke with the student about what they had heard. It became apparent quickly that the timeline of events given by the student was not possible. Officers did a check of the property for anything out of place. The school released from lockdown and thanked officers.
Thousands of students around the city are getting no-cost transit passes again this year through the ORCA Opportunity program. From the city’s announcement, here’s the information, including how eligible students can get a card:
Today, Mayor Jenny A. Durkan celebrated the 4th school year of ORCA Opportunity Program – Seattle’s commitment to free transit for public high school and middle school students. Through the program, the City of Seattle provides 12-month, fully-subsidized ORCA cards to all Seattle Public high school students, income-eligible middle school students, and Seattle Promise Scholars.
The card is valid through August 31, 2022 and provides no-cost, unlimited transit on King County Metro, King County Water Taxi, Seattle Streetcar, Sound Transit, Community Transit, Pierce Transit, Kitsap Transit, Everett Transit, and Seattle Center Monorail.
More than 80 percent of Seattle voters passed Proposition 1 last November, which has funded more frequent, reliable, accessible bus service in Seattle and the ORCA Opportunity Program. Through a 0.15% sales tax (the equivalent of 15 cents on a $100 purchase), Seattle residents have opened the doors to transit for more residents in the community.
In the 2020-2021 school year, the City of Seattle provided ORCA cards to over 15,000 middle and high School students. From September 1, 2020 to July 31, 2021, students collectively took 512,151 total trips, which equates to a savings for families of over $1.4 million. The ORCA cards allowed students to travel throughout the region, including on King County Metro Bus, Sound Transit Light Rail & Commuter Rail, Seattle Streetcar, Via To Transit, Community Transit, Everett Transit, Kitsap Transit Bus & Ferry, and Pierce Transit. The City looks forward to expanding the number of students and trips taken by also providing cards to Seattle Promise Scholars this year.
This year, applications for income-eligible middle school students are integrated into the City’s new Affordability Portal. Families now complete an application to receive an ORCA card for their middle school student on the Affordability Portal. The Portal can then refer and connect families with other income-based programs the City offers.
High school students and Seattle Promise Scholars do not need to apply for a card. High school students can pick up an ORCA card at their school. Schools will provide information about when and where students can collect their card. All high school students are required to complete a Conditions of Use form to receive a card. Seattle Promise Scholars will learn more information about how to get their cards during Summer Bridge on September 14, 15, and 20.
Just a quick reminder that school is starting before Labor Day this year for many, and some go back as soon as tomorrow. We’ve added a few more schools to the start-date list we published last week. From that list, three notes for tomorrow (Monday, August 30th): It’s the first day for Holy Rosary Catholic School and Seattle Lutheran High School – both on the north edge of The Junction – and Vashon Island School District 1st-12th graders, some of whom travel by ferry from Fauntleroy.
Just before the last school year ended, work began on Lafayette Elementary upgrades including boiler replacement, fire sprinklers, and earthquake proofing, preceded by asbestos removal that generated staff and parent concerns. The work has continued through the summer. After a reader question, we checked today to see if the $3 million project will be done in time for the first day of classes next Wednesday. Yes, says Seattle Public Schools spokesperson Tim Robinson, who says the project team reports they’re “returning furniture to classrooms and offices. Waxing floors.” Next Tuesday, they’ll walk through with a final “punch list”; any resulting work will be done after-hours.
School starts soon for most students in and near West Seattle – but for some it’s already begun! We’ve checked local schools’ start dates and here’s what we’ve found. For one – August 18 was the first day of school at Summit Atlas, West Seattle’s only charter school. Everyone else has yet to start. Here are the dates from schools’/districts’ online calendars:
August 30 – Holy Rosary Catholic School
August 30 – Seattle Lutheran High School
August 30 – Vashon Island School District (1st-12th grades)
August 31 – Kennedy Catholic High School
September 1 – Hope Lutheran School
September 1 – Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic School
September 1 – Seattle Public Schools (1st-12th grades)
September 1 – Vashon Island School District (kindergarten)
September 2 – Highline Public Schools (1st-12th grades)
September 7 – Holy Family Bilingual Catholic School
September 7 – Hope Academy
September 8 – Highline Public Schools (kindergarten)
September 8 – Tilden School
September 8 – West Seattle Montessori
September 8 – Westside School
September 9 – Explorer West Middle School
September 9 – Seattle Public Schools (kindergarten/preschool)
September 27 – South Seattle College
With school starting next week for most local students, the city’s school-zone speed cameras will be activated starting Wednesday (September 1st) – and SDOT has just announced that for the first time in six years, there’s a new one in West Seattle. In addition to the existing automated cameras, SDOT says it’s added one on 35th SW between SW Willow and SW Othello, near Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic School. That stretch has long had a warning about enforcement because SPD had on occasion deployed a mobile speed-camera van, but now there’s a permanent camera. It’s one of 15 around the city, also including sites on Fauntleroy Way SW near Gatewood Elementary, on SW Roxbury near Holy Family Bilingual Catholic School, and on Delridge Way SW near Louisa Boren STEM K-8. (SDOT confirmed, when we asked on followup, that the new camera will have a 30-day warnings-before-tickets period as has been the case in the past.)
With Seattle Public Schools starting classes a week from tomorrow (except for kindergarteners/preschoolers), it’s important for schools to have an accurate count of how many students are showing up. Toward that end, Tricia suggested we publish this message from the district:
If your student will not be attending Seattle Public Schools or attending another school this year, please complete the appropriate form here. If you have questions, you may contact the Seattle Public Schools Admissions Center team online or at 206-252-0760.
With Seattle Public Schools opening for full-time in-person learning one week from Wednesday, families with questions about health/safety issues are invited to an online “town hall’ tomorrow. At 4:30 pm Tuesday, district leaders plan a community Q&A session. You can participate via Microsoft Teams, or watch live on platforms including YouTube – the links are here. You can read about school health/safety protocols and other new-school-year plans here.
With school starting soon, we’re starting a series of previews. First: A school with a new temporary location this year: The sign above tells the story outside the former Schmitz Park Elementary building at 5000 SW Spokane – this year, for the first time since 2016, it will be a full-time elementary school again. West Seattle Elementary will spend the year there while an addition is built on its site in High Point. Construction there is now under way:
The temporary move has meant changes for the Schmitz Park site too – portable classrooms fill the schoolyard again, moved into place over the summer; most were moved out after Schmitz Park students and staff moved to the then-newly built Genesee Hill Elementary five years ago. (We reported last January that 17 portables were to be installed – as Schmitz Park Elementary, the site held 20.)
West Seattle Elementary is expected to be back at its site in time for the start of school next year. The $28 million project includes a 2-story, 20,000-sf addition, with 12 new classrooms and two learning commons, plus a new entrance, upgraded mechanical systems, new play areas/fields, and technology upgrades..
The Schmitz Park building is expected to host another school later this decade, when Alki Elementary is rebuilt 2023-2025.
One week from tomorrow, an outdoor celebration is planned to celebrate the past, present, and future of West Seattle’s Tilden School. At the heart of it, the school’s founder. Here’s the announcement:
Whitney Tjerandsen of Tilden School Retiring
Almost 37 years ago, Whitney Tjerandsen had the same angst as many other West Seattle parents: how to find the right school for her own soon-to-be Kindergarten son. The difference was that she had taught in the Berkeley Public Schools for 12 years, so she really knew what she was looking for: a school where he, and any child, would learn and thrive.
She found one on Capitol Hill, only to face a waiting list that was completely full. Words from the director of that school kindled a spark: “You are a teacher! Use your teaching skills and love of kids and their learning – and start your own school.”
With Whitney ‘s boundless and newly focused energy, she did just that. Putting the word out to the West Seattle community, the first year of Tilden School began with 12 students and ended the year with 17; the next year, it grew to 35; the next 78, and so on. Tilden School was a reality! As the school grew, Whitney hired a cadre of like-minded teachers with the same love of kids and philosophy of teaching.
What makes Tilden School unique? Keeping the class size small (no matter the looming waiting lists) allows individualized education. Whitney herself meets with each child every few weeks, K through Grade 5, to review their reading progress, to help them utilize the crucial phonics and syllabification rules to open up the sounding out of new words that make a reader and writer.
Ever dramatic and engaging, she wears her Super-E cape to teach those logical, and illogical, rules of English words. After all, knowing “I can teach a rock to read,” (and has the rock that proves it!) inspires children to tackle learning, even the difficult tasks.
She holds high expectations for each child, while building in the structure to help them succeed-not only academically, but personally. Just as important as strong academics is expecting and promoting the qualities of “responsible, good people” in society who know how to treat one another with kindness and respect.
Children learn to be responsible for themselves and celebrate who they are without needing to see themselves as better than anyone else, not as competitors, but with each as an important part of the whole.
This Covid year, Tilden continued to welcome and nurture children from K through 5th grade, and it became Whitney’s retirement year. It was not an easy decision, because in her words, ” I LOVE it! And I will so miss the kids and teachers.” The stars aligned and it became the right time. One of the Tilden teachers, Sarah Shearer, was ready to take the lead, so the school will continue.
Some favorite teachers and staff will also be retiring this year: Elaine Connell, Jan Foster, Karin Beck, and Administrator Monica Riva. Tilden teachers are also what makes Tilden a special place. Drawn to a small school after working a decade or more in public schools, they all relished the opportunity to get to know each child. Whitney describes her teachers as: “dedicated, hardworking, calm, smart, able to balance leadership with kindness, having a sense of humor, and a sense of what is right.” And so much fun!
What is next for Whitney in retirement? She will still take a small part in Tilden School, meeting individually with each student for reading skills. She will continue with her small part of the former Lou Magor and Whitney music program. They were friends for almost 50 years–since he was her director in the San Francisco Symphony Chorus. She feels that she could never fill his shoes, but will do her part, admittedly with a heavy heart.
She won’t have to find new hobbies in retirement because now she will have time to revel in her varied interests and skills-gardening, music (chamber music on cello, barbershop singing, 2 choirs, fiddle lessons, ukulele with the kids, learning crumhorn and alto recorder) and she has two grandchildren who live nearby, which is just a joy!
If you experience a Whitney “celebrity sighting” as a current student or family, be sure to catch her eye, and as a Tilden alum or family, expect her\ to swoon in delight and ask for a life update!
Join us to celebrate the retirements:
Sunday, August 29 from 3-6 p.m.
Hiawatha Park (2700 California SW)
Please help us spread the word to current families, past students and their own growing families, past parents.
2:38 PM: Two weeks from today, it’s the first day of school for many students in our state, including most Seattle Public Schools students. But while summer vacation is almost over, the COVID-19 pandemic is far from over. So today Gov. Inslee is having a media briefing about the pandemic response, joined by state Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal and Secretary of Health Dr. Umair Shah, You can watch it above; we’ll add notes here as it goes.
2:42 PM: He’s expanding vaccination requirements among (updated) education employees.
K -12 educators, staff, coaches, bus drivers, volunteers and others working in school facilities will have until Oct. 18 to be fully vaccinated as a condition of employment. This includes public, private and charter schools. This does not impact students, regardless of age.
— Governor Jay Inslee (@GovInslee) August 18, 2021
He’s also ordering mask-wearing in indoor public settings, statewide, regardless of vaccination status, starting Monday, for Washington residents age 5+. This is because, Inslee declares, not enough people are getting vaccinated.
2:51 PM: Superintendent Reykdal says the vaccination requirements are necessary because they want to keep schools open. “If we do not do this and we have to shut schools down again this year … students are impacted and jobs are impacted.”
3:09 PM: In Q&A, Reykdal says yes, the vaccine requirement will apply to substitutes as well. And he reiterates that what’s making this necessary is the rapid spread of the Delta variant (now responsible for 98 percent of WA cases): “We’ve got to up our game … and we can’t have 30 percent of our team unvaccinated.”
3:12 PM: Here are full details of what the governor has just announced. He also warns, “This may not be the end of our efforts if this pandemic continues.” But: “We are hopeful that these measures will restrain the pandemic.”
3:17 PM: Secretary Shah adds that while there’s no outdoor-masking order, it’s “strongly recommended” to wear one if you are in a CROWDED outdoor setting.