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West Seattle holiday scene: First year for Lafayette’s lights

Despite some damage from Friday night’s windstorm, Lafayette Elementary‘s first-ever Winter Festival of Lights was a success. We stopped by last night and parent volunteer Sarah Whitehead, who came up with the idea, gave us a tour.

The rainbow walkway, built by SODO Makerspace, was a highlight – we recorded some video of the moving lights:

Sarah said her family was outside the area checking out displays like the Bellevue Botanical Garden d’Lites when she thought it would be great for West Seattleites to have more to see closer to home. So over the past year, they planned, got donations from community businesses, sponsorships, and the show was a go! “Definitely a community effort,” she told us. The displays Friday and Saturday nights included some inflatable characters, too – we stopped to admire this one:

The wind took out some planned outdoor features such as an “alley of light” leading north to Wiseman’s Appliance, but it was splendid just the same, with a few indoor features including lanterns made by Lafayette classes:

Watch for Year 2 next year!

SPORTS: Another victory for West Seattle High School girls’ basketball team

A few weeks into the high-school basketball season, one local varsity team is undefeated: The West Seattle High School girls. You might not be surprised to hear that, since they finished third in the state last year. Tonight they won their third game of the season, as tweeted by @WSHSAthletics1:

Head coach Darnell Taylor‘s Wildcats are at home Friday night, 7 pm, vs. Bainbridge (followed by the WSHS boys vs. BHS at 8:30).

West Seattle’s Leslie Harris to serve 2nd year as School Board president

At last night’s Seattle Public Schools Board of Directors meeting, the board chose its leadership for the next year. Leslie Harris, the Highland Park resident who represents West Seattle and South Park, is continuing as board president. She was first elected to the board in 2015, became its vice president in 2016, then president in 2017. Rick Burke will continue as vice president, with Zachary DeWolf the board executive committee’s new member-at-large.

West Seattle schools: Surprise grants for Pathfinder K-8 teachers

Big smiles for this group we photographed at Pathfinder K-8 on Pigeon Point: Four teachers got surprises from visitors representing Inspirus Credit Union, fully funding projects they were planning for their students:

Ms. Dimsey – $729 for “a wooden block center, a play kitchen, new stuffed animals, Legos, puppets, a puppet theater, a light table, and an easel to have a wonderful kindergarten experience”

Ms. Mo, two projects – $287 for “engaging literacy tools that will help grow (first-graders’) reading and writing skills” and $671 for “thematic books to support literacy and our grade-level expeditions”

Ms. DeBurle – $233 for “graphic novels for our classroom library”

Ms. Alexakos – $355 for “books on the topic of the Civil Rights Movement”

A contingent from Inspirus visited the teachers and principal David Dockendorf last Friday morning to announce the surprise gifts fully funding the projects.

West Seattle holiday scene: Lafayette Elementary bazaar & benefit gift wrapping

Some cool creations by crafters of all ages are awaiting gift buyers right now in the Lafayette Elementary cafeteria (California/Lander). It’s the school’s holiday bazaar (with a book fair in the library). You can even get your gifts wrapped by students, raising money for a special cause:

From left, Elsie, Maddi, Ethan, Mia, and Maggie are at the wrapping table by the stage – one of their schoolmates, Thea, had e-mailed us to explain, “We are raising funds to buy 100 pairs of socks and shoes by grade level for kids in need.” 100 because this is Lafayette’s centennial. The bazaar continues until 7:30 tonight.

State charter-school audit includes stats from first one in West Seattle

(WSB photos)

Summit Atlas in Arbor Heights is one of only 10 charter schools that were operating in the state as of last school year, six years after voters approved the concept. It opened last year at 9601 35th SW with one middle-school and one high-school grade, and added one more of each this year. In our update report just before the school year started, we were short a few stats because school administrators didn’t have them handy. Now we have some stats courtesy of a newly released state audit of charter-school accountability.

The audit looked at the 2017-2018 school year. It didn’t cover all aspects of charter-school operation but did look at statistics that could show whether the schools are fulfilling a major mission, to serve at-risk students. In some categories, it compared what the charter schools did with what neighboring public schools, and the local public school district did. Examples: Summit Atlas was reported to have had a 46 percent free-and-reduced-lunch student population last year, compared to 60 percent for “neighboring” public schools and 34 percent for the Seattle Public Schools district at large.

Its public funding, meantime, was listed as $12,900 per student, 300 dollars less than the allocation for local public-school students. Summit Atlas served a slightly higher percentage of special-education students than “neighboring” schools – 17 percent compared to 15 percent – and a slightly lower percentage of English language learners, 11 percent compared to 16 percent.

The “profile” included in the audit (page 58) said that Summit Atlas had 167 students in its first year, and included its demographic breakdown:

White 39%
Black 28%
Hispanic 17%
Two or more races 13%
Asian 3%
American Indian or Alaska Native 0%
Pacific Islander 0%

That translated to a “diversity index” of .72, slightly lower than the .78 cited for neighboring schools. The audit did not address academic achievement or assessment; here are its overall conclusions:

The purpose of the audit was to examine whether Washington’s charter schools have the foundations in place to help ensure they are accountable to the public. We looked at whether charter schools have enrolled the types of students identified in their charters, whether they have complied with certain state and federal requirements, and whether their charter agreements include appropriate performance frameworks. We also examined the extent to which the charter schools and traditional schools work together. The results were mixed, which is not surprising given newness of the entire charter school system in Washington.

It is worth noting that during the course of the audit, charter schools made efforts to address some of the deficiencies found as a result of this audit.

Unfortunately, the newness of the system also keeps us from addressing another question about Washington’s charter schools—how effective are these schools at teaching students? As the system matures and more years of data accumulate, this is a logical question that should be addressed.

P.S. We’ll know soon whether any new charter school operators are applying to the state – tomorrow is the deadline for filing “notices of intent to apply” for the next annual cycle.

West Seattle Crime Watch: Student ‘inappropriately approached’ at bus stop, schools tell families

A student waiting at a bus stop was “inappropriately approached” by a man on Monday, according to this note e-mailed to families today by Denny International Middle School principal Jeff Clark and Chief Sealth International High School principal Aida Fraser-Hammer:

We want to actively share any safety-related information regarding any of our scholars when they are out in our community on their way to and from school.

Yesterday, as one of our 8th grade scholars was waiting at a metro stop on Delridge, an adult male inappropriately approached her and attempted to touch her. She did everything right, including running away and calling her mom, who made a police report and notified our school.

As a reminder, the following tips are recommended by the Seattle Police Department for Metro bus riders:

*Pay attention to your surroundings when walking to or from transit stops and on buses or trains.

*Thieves on transit are on the lookout for cell phones, jewelry or other valuables.

*Keep all personal belongings close by.

If you have concerns about safety at or near your stop, contact your driver or call 911.

Please be assured that the safety and security of our scholars is a top priority at both Sealth International High School and Denny International Middle School. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

That’s the entirety of the note, forwarded by a parent (thank you!) – no descriptive information – we’ll check with police tomorrow to see if they have a report available with more details.

VIDEO: Basketball begins! Chief Sealth International High School hosting preseason jamboree

November 24, 2018 2:25 pm
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 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle schools | WS & Sports

2:25 PM: Big preseason event for high-school boys’ basketball, happening right now at Chief Sealth International High School: A dozen teams are playing 10-minute mini-games, two each, in the annual Jamboree. We were there for the opener between Sealth and Monroe; the Seahawks are playing again in the finale at 6:30.

Between now and then, the schedule includes our area’s two other high schools – West Seattle HS playing at 2:30 and 3 pm, Seattle Lutheran HS playing at 3:30 and 4. Junior-varsity teams are playing in the adjacent Denny International Middle School gym until 5 pm (here’s that schedule). Entry for both is through the Sealth galleria only, not the usual gym entrance; admission is $6 adults, $4 students. This is the 18th year that Chief Sealth has hosted the preseason jamboree; the boys’ team opens the season at home next Tuesday (November 27th). More jamboree coverage to come!

4:09 PM: We went back to catch the other two local teams:

P.S. WSHS’s season starts Monday at Union; the first game on SLHS’s calendar is next Saturday, December 1st, at Cascade Christian.

Dozens of reasons to go watch Macy’s Holiday Parade downtown on Friday

November 20, 2018 9:03 am
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 |   Holidays | West Seattle news | West Seattle schools

Dozens of young musicians, comprising our area’s two high-school marching bands, will be part of the 28th annual Macy’s Holiday Parade downtown this Friday. Chief Sealth International High School and West Seattle High School (shown in WSB photos from 2017) are both in the parade lineup we obtained from a Macy’s spokesperson – see it here (PDF).

The parade starts at 9 am Friday (November 23rd) at 7th and Pine, heads west on Pine to 5th, turns south on 5th, then west on University, and heads back north on 4th to, of course, the endpoint at Macy’s. Rain or shine!

VIDEO: West Seattle High School celebration as Abdullahi Mohamed signs letter of intent

A celebration at West Seattle High School tonight as another of its senior basketball stars signed a letter of intent for college – Abdullahi Mohamed is going to Eastern Washington University. Teammates and other schoolmates watched and applauded the brief ceremony, as did the player’s family.

Abdullahi thanked everyone for their support:

His mom Burhan Farah also expressed gratitude, and pride:

Abdullahi and his teammates, with head coach Keffrey Fazio (below left with Abdullahi and his mom), will hit the court next weekend in a preseason jamboree at Chief Sealth International High School.

The Wildcats’ first home game is Saturday, November 30th, vs. Ballard.

CONGRATULATIONS! West Seattle High School’s Kelsey Lenzie, Grace Sarver sign letters of intent

Two members of the West Seattle High School girls’ basketball team that took third place at this year’s state championships have signed letters of intent.

Kelsey Lenzie (above) plans to attend the University of Portland; Grace Sarver (below), Washington State University.

The photos are courtesy of Tami Lenzie, who says Kelsey and Grace have played basketball together since they were 6 years old! Both are seniors, so they have one more season together – starting two weeks from tonight.

HAPPENING NOW: West Seattle Middle Schools Information Night

5th grader in the house? You want to be here. Until 8 pm, the first-ever Greater West Seattle Middle Schools Information Night (co-sponsored by WSB) is on. It’s happening in the gym at Our Lady of Guadalupe‘s Walmesley Center (northeast corner of 35th and Myrtle), open-house style but also featuring a presentation at 6:30 pm with information you can use about getting ready for middle school, no matter where your future 6th grader is going.

(If you ARE still school-shopping, 10 area middle schools have reps here who will be happy to talk to you!) Everybody in the family’s welcome.

TUESDAY: High-school graduation requirements are changing. Find out what you need to know

November 12, 2018 5:48 pm
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 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle schools

Even if you have no connection to Chief Sealth International High School, you’re invited to tomorrow’s CSIHS PTSA meeting, with a topic of wide interest. From PTSA vice president Nicole Sipila:

We’d like to invite the West Seattle community to our Nov. 13th PTSA General Meeting for a presentation on the state requirement for 24 credits for graduation. Presentation by Heidi Bennett, Wa. State Region 6 Legislative Representative:

NEW 24-CREDIT GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS & DECIPHERING HIGH SCHOOL – A guide for middle and high school parents

With the change to WA State 24-credit graduation requirements approaching, (this is) a presentation geared toward middle and high school parents to explain:

v New WA State 24-credit graduation requirements

v State and Federal testing High School requirements

v Deciphering acronyms – PPR, HSBP, AP, IB, CHIS, CTE, STEM, etc. – do you know what these are?

v Why and how to earn post-secondary credit (college or work credentials) in high school

For Shoreline and Seattle, the 24-credit graduation requirement starts with the class of 2021 (rising 10th graders) and beyond, as both districts have a 2-year waiver. Neither district has finalized plans for offering more credits beyond their current 6-period day/24 credit earning opportunities!

Come and learn more about this new requirement.

The PTSA meets at Chief Sealth at 7 pm Tuesday, at 2600 SW Thistle.

NEXT WEEK: Greater West Seattle Middle School Information Night

Got a child headed for middle school? Even if you are certain about where your child will be going next year, you’ll want to be at next Tuesday’s Greater West Seattle Middle School Information Night. It’s from 6-8 pm November 13th in the gym at Our Lady of Guadalupe (7000 35th SW), and along with a chance to get information about multiple local middle schools – public AND private – organizers will offer “a short talk on the transition to middle school as well as a panel discussion about the different types of schools in the area” starting at 6:30 pm. Free admission; all welcome.

VIDEO: Mayor leads Families, Education, Preschool, Promise levy victory celebration at South Seattle College

(WSB photos by Patrick Sand. Above, SSC students watching this morning’s event)

Not all victory parties were held on Election Night. 14 hours after results showing a big win (69 percent approval) for the city Families, Education, Preschool, Promise levy, Mayor Jenny Durkan returned to South Seattle College (WSB sponsor) in West Seattle to lead a celebratory event.

She spoke at Cascade Hall, same place she appeared one year ago – on her second day in office – to announce her plan to expand the 10-year-old “free college” 13th Year Promise program, which she said at the time might be levy-funded (as noted in our 2017 coverage), and it subsequently became part of the FEPP levy, which combined two expiring levies, the Seattle Preschool Program levy and Families and Education Levy.

Surrounded by city and education leaders, the mayor began, “I’m here to say thank you!” She said she had been inspired by meeting 13th Year Promise scholars at SSC and wanting to make that program available to more. With this levy, “We did it.” She gave a “big shoutout” to Seattle Public Schools, whose new superintendent Denise Juneau was there for the announcement, as well as the SPS Board of Directors, whose Zack DeWolf and Jill Geary were there. Plus: Councilmembers Lorena González and Rob Johnson, former Councilmember and interim Mayor Tim Burgess, who evangelized the Preschool Program that also was folded in. (Burgess was called “the godfather” of that proposal when it was announced at a High Point event in 2014.)

(Councilmembers Rob Johnson and Lorena González high-fiving, with Tim Burgess in the background)

“I want to thank Seattle … time and time again, when it matters, our city steps up to invest in the future,” the mayor reiterated before yielding the podium, describing the result as “even more tools to close the opportunity gap.” Burgess was next at the podium, calling the passage a “huge win” and saying he is “deeply grateful to the voters of Seattle. … We believe in all of our children and making sure they’re successful.”

Following him, Councilmember González said she is a product of the community-college system, having gone for 2 years in the Yakima area before continuing her education career, and also “the beneficiary of subsidized pre-K” because her family was migrant farmworkers. “You too could someday be a civil rights lawyer and city councilmember,” she said to the students and aspiring students in the room. “… The voters once again showed us they are generous … and that they see the value of these investments.” She said that taxpayers “paying a little more (will) get a huge return on their investment,” and that the levy will include help for students and their families experiencing homelessness. “It is a very huge deal. … We have received a mandate from the people of Seattle .. we are ready to get to work, to put your dollars to work.”

She was followed by Councilmember Johnson, noting that the city has made investments in Seattle Public Schools going back to 1990.

(SSC student Anthony Garcia with SSC president Dr Rosie Rimando-Chareunsap)

Then Anthony Garcia, a Promise scholar and Cleveland High School graduate as well as the son of Guatemalan immigrants, spoke. He said having the opportunity to go to the college tuition-free “is a blessing” and that students have “remarkable” support. “You have to capitalize on the opportunity.” He had high praise for the SSC programs and staff, saying he’s “a part of something great. … Who would give students free college?”

CM González behind him: “Seattle would!”

Next to speak, Seattle Colleges chancellor Shouan Pan. “Clearly, the voters have spoken … for equitable education for Seattle residents. … This vote is really a vote for investing in education … really K through 14.” He offered a little more explanatory information, saying that the program will expand to all Seattle public high schools by 2020. He promised the program would be “flexible” and that “we will not disappoint.” They also will raise a “significant endowment” in support of “this work”: “We need help” with that. (The 13th Year Promise program, explained here, has been supported by fundraising since it was launched at SSC in 2008.)

“Wow, Seattle, I love my new city!” exclaimed SPS Superintendent Juneau, speaking next. “We know that an investment in children is an investment in our future.” She noted that her own personal story – tracing back to the Blackfeet reservation – is about education. She said she looked forward to “partnership with the city … (to) achieve great things for our kids.”

When the mayor opened the floor to questions, there was only one. Student Andy Garcia had a question for the mayor – not related to the program. He wondered about city employees “trained in social engineering.” Durkan said that her staff was focused on “serv(ing) the people of Seattle” and while she didn’t see it as “social engineering,” she saw the importance of city staff being trained in equity and understanding “what (city residents) are going through.” She described it as “social vision.”

And with that, the event concluded, and the Cascade Hall lobby emptied, with dignitaries and students headed out to the rest of their day.

MORE INFO: For more information on the levy, you can read the fact sheet here and the full levy text here. The mayor’s post-event news release, just in as we finish this story, summarizes the levy as:

· Expand the popular and highly successful Seattle Preschool Program, increasing eligibility to all of Seattle’s 3 and 4-year-olds, and growing by more than 65 percent over seven years to serve 2,500 children in the 2025-26 school year.

· Provide child-care vouchers targeted towards families currently experiencing homelessness so that children can attend a program while families complete housing and stabilization needs.

· Support K-12 school health investments and adds three new school-based health clinics to increase access to compressive medical and mental health care and other services to promote early intervention, prevention and treatment of other health-related barriers to learning success.

· Increase K-12 and community investments that offer supplemental services focused on closing opportunity gaps, for highest needs students, and communities with a focus on college access and job readiness.

· Expand the Seattle Promise College Tuition Program, created by Mayor Durkan: beginning in fall 2019 all Seattle Public Schools graduates will be eligible for two years (90 credits) of tuition at any of the Seattle Colleges. Students that have other financial needs (books, materials, living, childcare, etc.) will have access to funding support as needed depending on eligibility.

ADDED: Our video of the SSC event:

SOCCER: West Seattle High School girls’ season ends @ state tournament

Congratulations to the West Seattle High School girls’ soccer team on a great season, heading to the state 3A championships for the first time, in head coach Todd Veenhuizen‘s second season. Tonight they faced the tournament’s #1 seed, Gig Harbor, and lost 3-1. The Wildcats’ Juliet Anawalt scored the WSHS goal, according to The News-Tribune‘s game report. West Seattle wraps the season with a record of 12-3-1.

West Seattle High School students organizing for winter ski bus

November 6, 2018 9:58 am
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 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle schools

Snow season is here, as the live WSDOT camera from Stevens Pass verifies. West Seattle High School students want to make sure they can make a “ski bus” happen this winter, so they asked if we would post this to reach more parents:

West Seattle High School parents! We will be joining other high schools this year in finally running a Friday night ski bus! The bus will run for 6 weeks starting Jan 11th. We will be holding an informational meeting in the WSHS library this coming Thursday, Nov 8th, from 6:30-8(ish). We’re a bit behind on the bandwagon, as other schools have already closed registration. If you have any interest, please attend the meeting, as there’s so much to pass along & we’ll need to fast-track registration! This is offered through a non-profit organization & scholarships are available.

If you can not attend the meeting & have any questions, please contact Dany Tomlinson at fridaynightskibus@gmail.com or go to skimohan.com & search for West Seattle

Let it snow!!

Direct link is here.

SOCCER: West Seattle High School girls start state tournament play Tuesday

We photographed the West Seattle High School girls’ soccer team at Hiawatha tonight right after a practice session with more at stake than usual – tomorrow (Tuesday), they travel south to face Gig Harbor High School in the opening round of the state 3A tournament! Team captains Emma Foulk and Ally Veenhuizen talked with WSB’s Patrick Sand:

If you can get to Gig Harbor, the team could use all the cheering they can get as they face the tournament’s #1 seed. Game time for head coach Todd Veenhuizen‘s Wildcats is 7 pm at Roy Anderson Field, 14105 Purdy Dr. NW in Gig Harbor (map).

REGISTER TODAY! West Seattle High School Mini-Cheer Camp coming up

November 5, 2018 12:44 pm
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 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle schools

(WSB photo from 2015 Grand Parade)

Got a kid, kindergartener through 8th grader, who might be interested in what it’s like to be on a cheer squad? Get a preview with the upcoming West Seattle High School Mini Cheer Camp! Today is your optimal day to register – the announcement explains why:

The WSHS Cheerleaders will be holding a Mini Cheer Camp Saturday, November 17, 2018 in the West Seattle High School Gym from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm.

K-8th grade kids will have a great time learning fun cheers and making crafts with the Westside cheerleaders. Campers will receive a T-shirt and official team hair bow, picture of themselves with the cheerleaders, AND will perform as an honorary West Seattle Cheerleader at an upcoming home basketball game!

8th Graders Welcomed. Get help for our 2019-2020 Try-Outs

The cost of this camp is $60. Registration paperwork and payment are due by November 5, 2018 to be guaranteed a T-shirt the day of camp. Space is limited, so register early to ensure your spot.

Contact Nadine Nguyen at wshsminicheercamp@gmail.com (for registration/questions).

THIS WEEK: Heading for high school? Chief Sealth IHS ‘showcase’ Thursday

Even though we’re just two months into this school year, it’ll be time for decisions soon about next school year. For eighth-graders and their families looking ahead to high school next year, here’s an invitation:

This Thursday night (November 8th), 6:30-8 pm, Chief Sealth International High School invites prospective students and their families to visit. This “showcase” night is a chance to meet the staff and learn about the programs. The school’s at 2600 SW Thistle.

FOOTBALL: Chief Sealth IHS’s season ends on a victorious note

November 4, 2018 3:39 pm
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 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle schools | WS & Sports

One more season-finale score to report this weekend: Chief Sealth International High School played at Ingraham on Friday night and came back from a halftime deficit to beat the Rams 43-33. Head coach Ted Rodriguez‘s Seahawks end the season at 7-3.

FOOTBALL: West Seattle High School wraps the season with a win

November 3, 2018 10:22 am
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 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle schools | WS & Sports

The West Seattle High School Wildcats‘ 2018 varsity-football season ended with a game against Sammamish last night at Southwest Athletic Complex. WSHS won, 31-21. That was the third win of the first season for new head coach Jeff Scott.

GOLF: West Seattle High School boys’ season highlights

The report and photos are from West Seattle High School golf head coach Joel Snoow:

Congratulations to West Seattle High School Boys Golf Team on a Great 2018 Season!

The West Seattle High School Boys’ Team finished the regular season at 6-4. Our record does not reflect just how competitive this year’s team has been, as 3 of our losses were by a total of 5 strokes. We had 6 players qualify for postseason play, which made the team eligible to compete for the Metro League Team Title.

The Metro League Tournament was held at Jackson Park GC on Tuesday 10/16 and West Seattle GC on Thursday 10/18. On Tuesday the boys played well, which put the team into a great position going into Day 2 at West Seattle GC our home course. On Thursday we carried the momentum from Day 1 and had 3 players shoot their personal bests for a high-school match. These great scores added to the other player scores put us into 7th place, with the top 8 teams qualifying to move on to the District Championship.

The District Championship was held on Tuesday 10/23 at Riverbend GC in Kent. Participating in the District Championship and playing against some of the best golfers in our State was a great experience for the boys. Unfortunately some shots didn’t go our way and we missed out on the opportunity to move on as a team to the State Tournament. However, we did have one player qualify for the State Tournament as an individual and that is senior and team captain Cameron Smith. This is the second trip to the State Tournament for Cameron and he played great golf during the District Championship and finished with a score of 77:

We had a great turnout for the boys’ team in 2018, which allowed us to have a JV team. This is a young, up-and-coming group of golfers and we are really excited about their future.

As a group, the Boys and Girls Teams had a great season and created an amazing team atmosphere, supporting each other during every match, especially at each other’s Metro League Tournaments.

For more information about the West Seattle High School Boys Golf Team, please contact Coach Joel Snow at wshsgolfteam@outlook.com.