West Seattle, Washington
1:48 PM: The last big back-to-school day of fall is tomorrow (Tuesday, September 26th), when hundreds of students start classes at South Seattle College (6000 16th SW; WSB sponsor). If you’ve been considering continuing your education, it’s not too late to register – you can start the process here. We asked SSC communications director Ty Swenson what’s planned to welcome students back; he told us, “For the first two days of fall (tomorrow and Wednesday), we will have ‘Ask Me’ volunteers posted up around campus to help students find classes and resources. Weather permitting, we will also have a table with snacks in the clock tower plaza. A Welcome Back BBQ that was scheduled for Thursday is being rescheduled to a better-weather day next week.” SSC is part of the three-school Seattle Colleges district, which also includes Seattle Central College on Capitol Hill and North Seattle College near Northgate.
4:30 PM: Commenter Mellow Kitty pointed out that SSC is going “smoke-free” with the new quarter’s start. Swenson confirms it, explaining, “We are becoming a smoke-free campus (including smoking, chewing and vaping) starting this fall quarter. It will be a gradual roll-out of introducing folks to the new policy throughout the quarter as we place signage, remove smoking huts and share cessation resources with the campus community.”
Tuesday night is the final meeting in Seattle Public Schools‘ series of community conversations about defining “well-resourced schools” – considered to be a prelude to a possible recommendation of closing/consolidating some schools. That meeting will be held online at 5:30 pm. Superintendent Dr. Brent Jones is expected to deliver his recommendation in November. Also as a prelude, the School Board met this past Wednesday for what was described as a “budget work session,” though few numbers were presented. See the meeting documents here; the video is below:
“We’re back at it again,” Dr. Jones declared, noting that the district had solved a $131 million budget gap for this year, in part with $81 million in non-recurring funding, and now face a “$105 million challenge.” Deputy superintendent Dr. Art Jarvis noted, “Small schools no longer match the state (funding) model.” Our area’s school board director Leslie Harris observed that “closures and consolidations are coming .. this is coming at us like a tsunami.” Though district administrators promised to keep advocating for better state funding, chief of staff Bev Redmond observed, “Our answer has to come from within.” The bulk of the discussion was geared toward process, including this timeline:
That includes the date for Dr. Jones’s recommendation – November 15th.
Back to this Tuesday’s 5:30 pm online community meeting: As of Wednesday’s board session, Redmond said more than 300 people had registered to attend; the link is here. And if you haven’t yet answered the survey that’s been circulating throughout this process – you have until Friday (September 29) – find it here. (If you missed the Southwest region in-person meeting last month, our coverage is here.)
You’ll find family fun all day and into the night during Holy Rosary School‘s WestFest “carnival of community.” We stopped by for a few photos – festivalgoers are bouncing, climbing, even throwing:
Food and beverages too:
Plus onstage entertainment – here’s the schedule. And if you’d rather hang out indoors, you can play bingo. WestFest is on until 10 pm tonight; the campus is on 42nd SW between SW Genesee and SW Dakota.
9:37 PM: At Nino Cantu Southwest Athletic Complex, West Seattle High School just won back the Huling Bowl trophy in the annual crosstown-rivalry game with Chief Sealth International High School. After WSHS went up by two TDs, CSIHS battled to a 17-17 tie with 1:18 left in the game; then a Wildcat field goal with :05 to go sealed the West Seattle win, 20-17. Full story and photos to come.
1:21 AM: Both teams went into the game undefeated – Sealth at 3-0, WSHS at 2-0. But the Wildcats had the upper hand on offense for the first quarter and half of the second. Here’s the moment they got on the scoreboard:
#3, Bo Gionet, ran that one in with 8:03 to go in the first quarter. He passed to #5, Gibson Aguilar, for West Seattle’s second TD at 3:22.
#34, Scott Bremen, landed both point-after kicks plus a field goal at 6:17 in the second quarter to boost WSHS to a 17-0 lead.
Then Sealth’s comeback began, starting with the first of two touchdowns by #3, Jeylen Pham-Arejaga, at 1:15 to go in the first half:
The halftime score was 17-7. The energy in the stadium kept rising. Both schools’ bands and cheer teams helped with that.
Almost four minutes into the second half, the Seahawks scored their next touchdown, bringing them to within three points of the Wildcats. And that’s where things stayed until less than a minute and a half remained. Running out of downs but within field-goal range, Sealth went for the three, and #26, Ogi Petronijevic, made it:
That tied the score 17-17. Was overtime unavoidable? As it turned out, no. The Wildcats marched down the field and got close enough for Bremen to nail another field goal with just :05 to go:
With that, West Seattle reclaimed the Huling Bowl trophy:
Among those in the stands tonight, the Huling brothers themselves, Steve and Tom – the backstory of why this annual game carries their name is in this 2012 WSB story.
They are Chief Sealth alumni, as is the man between them in the background – Mark Denniston, who was on Sealth’s undefeated 1968 football team. Even with tonight’s loss, the Seahawks and head coach Daron Camacho have much to celebrate at 3-1 on the season. And West Seattle, under head coach Anthony Stordahl, keeps its loss-less record, now 3-0. Here’s what’s next for both teams:
–WSHS, road game vs. Roosevelt next Thursday (September 28th) at 7 pm
–CSIHS, home game vs. Ingraham next Friday (September 29th) at 4:30 pm at NCSWAC (2801 SW Thistle)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
To borrow a sports phrase, this is a “rebuilding year” for the Chief Sealth International High School PTSA, with an all-new board.
This week, they kicked off the year with the first quarterly general meeting, and were heartened by the turnout – ~30 parents, students, staff gathered in the Sealth library to talk about everything from school spirit to the new no-cell-phones-in-class policy.
New co-presidents Shannon McDonald and Cami Peloza led the meeting. First, some internal business – the board still has a few openings, from vice president to some committee chairs. (If you’re interested, email firstname.lastname@example.org.) The PTSA plans a fundraising auction in December and a “direct drive” in spring. Right now they’re also interested in more members (the coordinator is community member Preston Anderson), to rebuild that base too; here’s how to join. Students are free, and there’s a scholarship fund for anyone else who can’t afford the nominal dues.
That’s all in line with th PTSA’s “strategic plan” for this year, which calls for encouraging more student/staff/family involvement in the organization and with the school in general. Other parts of the plan: Be more inclusive of families of color, to “get the PTSA away from being primarily white women”; to work more closely with the ASB (student leadership) and school leaders; develop strong relationships with staff; work with other major school-support organizations like Denny-Sealth Performing Arts; and to bolster CSIHS’s image in the West Seattle community, shining a light on student achievements, supporting caretaking of the school property, etc.
CELL-PHONE POLICY: As it happens, this new policy (no cell-phone use except before/after school and at lunch, as noted here earlier this week) is also bolstering Chief Sealth’s image – principal Ray Morales says he’s heard from other high schools interested in implementing something similar themselves. But before he spoke, reps from the Building Leadership Team explained how they came up with the policy. A teacher proposed it, said Maha Giundi of the BLT, which is a group, elected by school staff, that meets every other week. They worked on it over the summer; “we were really nervous about it but so far it’s been successful.” Even the rollout to students went more smoothly than expected; Giundi said they thought they’d be booed for it. Parent support is overwhelmingly in favor, according to a survey sent out with principal Morales’s original announcement. “It’s not punitive – it’s a policy, not a rule.”
Overall, Giundi explained, the motivation is increased mental health – it’s been shown that being glued to their phones has been detrimental to that. So far, they’re seeing people “talking to each other!” And there’s no question it’s a boon to teachers too – “we were tired of asking folks to put their phones away.” One attendee described the policy as “courageous.”
Principal Morales followed the BLT reps.
Now that school’s back in session, there are many community opportunities to help out by volunteering and/or donating. Tonight the call is from the Gatewood Elementary Spirit Fair Committee, seeking teen/tween volunteers:
Volunteer opportunity for Seattle Public Schools middle and high school students:
Gatewood Elementary is hosting their first Gatewood Spirit Fair on September 28, 2023, from 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. and is looking for volunteers to help run carnival games and hand out free hot dogs. Rain or shine. We will feed you.
Volunteer shifts are: 4:15 – 5:30p; 5:15 – 7p.
Contact: GatewoodGatorFair@gmail.com to sign up or for more information
School address: 4320 SW Myrtle Street. Parking in the neighborhood
Public transportation: Rapid Ride C line stop is at Fauntleroy Way SW and SW Myrtle St.
A new policy at Chief Sealth International High School this year – no cell phone use during class. Under the hashtag #AwayForThe Day, it’s explained: “The expectation is simple. Students will need to keep their phone away for the day. This means that during class time, phones will be in their backpack or bag and remain there until the end of class. Teachers will also have cases, lockers or something similar where phones can be safely stored if the student would prefer that.” After a survey, an FAQ was sent out, with most student questions answered the same way: “You can use your cell phone before and after school, and during lunch.” It’s going to be a topic at the first Chief Sealth PTSA meeting of the year, Tuesday night at 7 pm in the school library, PTSA leaders say guests will include Sealth principal Ray Morales as well as “a presenter from our Building Leadership Team talking about the research that went into making the phone decision.” Community members are welcome at the meeting too, even if you’re not a Sealth parent, teacher, or student. Other topics include discussing “key issues the PTSA will focus on this year.” P.S. We’ve asked Seattle Public Schools if any other schools have a similar cell-phone policy; haven’t heard back yet.
Received from our area’s Seattle Public Schools director Leslie Harris:
HUGE apologies – SPS District 6 Community Meeting is cancelled due to unforeseen mistakes in scheduling.
Next meeting (w/ lasagna) is scheduled for the West Seattle Library, October 21, 2023 – 2 – 5 p.m.
Please make sure to attend the online Well Resourced Schools [online] meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 26th from 5:30 – 7 p.m. and take the poll that allows narrative answers.
And tune in to the Board Work Session on the Budget on Weds. Sept. 20th, 4:30 – 6 p.m.
seattleschools.org – for sign-in information.
3-0 was doubly meaningful for Chief Sealth International High School‘s football team tonight. That’s the score by which they defeated Franklin at Nino Cantu Southwest Athletic Complex – and that’s their record so far. The three points came on a field goal in the final second of the first half by #26, sophomore kicker Ogi Petronijevic (above). Otherwise, it was mostly a defensive contest – one busy tackler was #11, junior Xavier Nguyen:
During the offensive attempts, #3, senior Jeylen Pham-Alejaga, did a lot of carrying:
Another highlight of the night – the Chief Sealth cheerleaders were joined by younger protegés from their fundraising cheer camp earlier this week:
Next up for head football coach Daron Camacho and the Seahawks, the annual Huling Bowl game against West Seattle High School – that’s next Friday night, September 22nd, 7 pm, at NCSWAC (2801 SW Thistle).
West Seattle High School‘s care coordinator Stacey Fernandez asked us to share this with you:
I serve students and families that are in need of basic needs resources, and over the years the number has drastically increased. This week, I have officially kicked off the first food drive of the year. All food and hygiene products collected will benefit WSHS students. The food drive will go on until September 29th. Food items could be dropped off at the front office, Monday – Friday 8 am – 4 pm. I will hold two after school collection times where I will be accepting donations at the school’s historical entrance (the entrance that directly faces Hiawatha). The dates for the after-school collections are: Tuesday, September 19, 4 pm – 6 pm, and Tuesday, September 26, 4 pm – 6 pm.
Here’s the list of most-needed items.
The fall quarter starts in two weeks at South Seattle College (WSB sponsor), and SSC has an acting president in place. Here’s the announcement we received today:
Dr. Sayumi Irey, an educational leader committed to antiracist and sustainable educational transformation with over 25 years of experience, became South Seattle College’s acting president on Sept. 1, 2023 and will serve in this role during the 2023-2024 academic year. Dr. Irey was named to the position by Seattle Colleges Chancellor Dr. Rosie Rimando-Chareunsap, and steps into the role after the retirement of Dr. Jean Hernandez, who served as interim president at South during the 2022-2023 academic year.
“I believe that Dr. Irey is the best fit to ensure leadership stability through this coming year,” Dr. Rimando-Chareunsap said. “She brings to the role deep knowledge of the priorities and directions in which South Seattle College is already actively engaged.”
A national search for South Seattle College’s next permanent president will start this fall.
Prior to becoming acting president, Dr. Irey served as vice president of instruction at South Seattle College since 2019. She has also been a longtime equity and social justice leader in our state, having founded the statewide Social Justice Leadership Institute (SJLI), a non-traditional leadership program to train historically marginalized staff and faculty of color in Washington State to succeed in leadership roles. Under Dr. Irey’s continued leadership, over 200 staff and faculty have taken part in SJLI from across the state’s community and technical college system.
Dr. Irey started her higher education as a student in the Washington state community and technical college system, and holds a master’s degree in Library & Information Science and a doctoral degree in Educational Leadership & Policy from the University of Washington.
“As a first-generation TRIO student, I started my community college experience in Washington State,” Dr. Irey said. “As a student, I met faculty members who changed my life in many positive ways and met staff members who were kind, caring, and supportive. I see that vital mission carried on today at South Seattle College, and I continue to be proud of our staff and faculty members and grateful for the care they show to our students, community and each other. I know our work changes people’s lives.”
South Seattle College is headquartered on West Seattle’s Puget Ridge at 6000 16th SW.
Another high-school team is off to a successful start of the season. The report and photo are from West Seattle High School volleyball coach Scott Behrbaum:
The West Seattle High School girls varsity volleyball team were the champions of the Kent Meridian Varsity Volleyball Tournament on Saturday, defeating Shadle Park HS in the finals. Way to go. Wildcats!
The Wildcats also defeated Holy Names in the first league match of the year on Wednesday, 9/6.
WSHS has three road matches ahead this week, and then will be home, vs. Roosevelt, on Wednesday, September 20th – here’s the season schedule as finalized so far.
West Seattle High School‘s football season is off to a 2-0 start after a resounding win tonight over Franklin, 42-6 at Nino Cantu Southwest Athletic Complex. Comprising most of the Wildcats’ score were six touchdowns – two by #3, senior Bo Gionet:
The first TD of the night was by #80, junior Myles Mutchler:
WSHS held Franklin scoreless for the second, third, and fourth quarter – after the Quakers’ TD in the final minute of the first quarter, they were done. Back to WSHS scoring: Another TD was by #5, senior Gibson Aguilar:
Another by #24, junior Airric Lewis, seen below with head coach Anthony Stordahl:
And the sixth and final TD for the Wildcats tonight was by #16, junior Niko Craven:
Among the night’s star runners, #1, senior Leland Gayles III:
The point-after kicks were all good – all by #34, sophomore Scott Bremen. And the defense was responsible for the announcer’s repeated use of the catch phrase, “brought down by a pack of Wildcats.” Many penalties, mostly for Franklin, slowed things down, and the game was headed for three hours before it ended in time for the second NCSWAC game of the night (Ingraham-Cleveland) to take the field.
NEXT WEEK: WSHS plays Cleveland at SWAC, 7:30 pm Friday (September 15th).
Friday night means high-school football: Chief Sealth International High School played tonight at Memorial Stadium downtown, vs. Lakeside, whose Twitter/X updates include the final score: Sealth 36, Lakeside 21. Next Friday the Seahawks, now 2-0, play their first home game of the season, 4:30 pm Friday (September 15th) vs. Franklin, at Nino Cantu SW Athletic Complex (2801 SW Thistle).
For thousands of West Seattle families, today’s biggest news is the start of the new school year. The traditional red-carpet welcome for students at West Seattle Elementary in High Point was paired today with a ribbon-cutting for the school’s newly complete expansion/renovation. Last month, we took you on a photo tour of the school. Now, principal Pamela McCowan-Conyers (above right), her staff, and their students are all back, after two years in temporary quarters at the former Schmitz Park Elementary (a “long ride” from High Point, the principal acknowledged). McCowan-Conyers hailed the project as “sorely needed” while offering a profuse round of gratitude for everyone involved, before leading the ribboncutting:
Among the dignitaries was district superintendent Dr. Brent Jones, who also enthused about the project, funded by the BEX V levy, passed by voters in 2019.
Once the ribbon was down, students headed for the entrance, under the new canopy, and were greeted by school staffers with high-fives and big smiles.
Shoutout to WSE staffer Akim Finch, who DJ’d the event, including a brisk early round of Earth Wind & Fire classics (“September” was especially appropriate):
The expansion added 12 classrooms, giving the school a capacity of more than 500 students; currently it’s around 400, assistant principal Ritchie Garcia told us when we toured for last month’s report. The school – which serves a community with a large immigrant population – is designed to support families as well as students, with areas where parents can access resources such as a job board.
P.S. With the reopening, West Seattle Elementary’s address has returned to 6760 34th SW – readers have noted that Google is still listing it with the Schmitz Park address, which is now the temporary home of Alki Elementary.
Just announced by Seattle Public Schools:
Seattle Public Schools (SPS) is pleased to announce that it has reached a tentative agreement with Local 302 International Union of Operating Engineers. The Local 302 represents SPS custodians, culinary services, grounds, security, and alarm monitor teams.
SPS appreciates all the hard work of both bargaining teams to reach a tentative agreement.
We are excited to have the members of Local 302 join us as we welcome our students, families, staff, and community partners for the 2023-24 school year tomorrow.
Thanks to Greg for the tip. The three sets of speed bumps announced earlier this year for SW Genesee, near Genesee Hill Elementary, were installed today, the day before the scheduled start of Seattle Public Schools‘ 2023-2024 classes. Other West Seattle school areas with new traffic-safety installations over the summer include Lafayette Elementary, Pathfinder K-8, and the Denny/Sealth campus.
With Seattle Public Schools scheduled to start Wednesday, we have three notes tonight:
CONTRACT TALKS: We hope to hear more Tuesday about the district’s contract talks with Operating Engineers Local 302, the union for several categories of staff including culinary services, custodians, grounds, security, and alarm monitoring. SPS acknowledged Friday that the contract had expired Thursday but insisted, “It is not unusual to go past the contract end date for these negotiations.” The South Seattle Emerald reported that union reps speaking at last week’s school-board meeting said talks had been under way since spring but the district just made its first money proposal a week earlier. Meantime, the question many are asking is whether teachers would refuse to cross the picket line if this union goes out on strike. There’s been no public statement on that, though it’s been requested that teachers not step in to do the work IUOE members would do. (Tuesday morning semi-update: We asked SPS for the latest. They sent us a statement that is word-for-word what they published on the SPS website Friday. So, no update yet.
NOT-READY PORTABLES: After we reported a week and a half ago that West Seattle High School‘s new portables were in place in the parking lot, a commenter said staff had been told they won’t be ready to occupy for the start of the year.
We asked SPS if that was true, and if so, why. Spokesperson Tina Christiansen replied, “According to the senior project manager, it’s an issue with the availability of electrical contractors.”
WEST SEATTLE ELEMENTARY CEREMONY: Last month we showed you the renovations and expansion at West Seattle Elementary School, where classes are resuming after two years at the former Schmitz Park Elementary.
WSES will celebrate the project before school on Wednesday morning, combined with their red-carpet rally to welcome the students, starting around 7:15 am
As we’ve been noting since mid-August, some students are already back in class. Most of those who aren’t yet are about to be. Here’s who starts tomorrow (Tuesday, September 5th):
Tilden School (WSB sponsor)
Watch out for more people walking and biking, and more traffic in general in school zones.
Both of West Seattle’s public high schools have started their football seasons with victories. We covered West Seattle HS‘s home win on Friday; then on Saturday, Chief Sealth IHS opened their season on the road at Bellingham. That game ended with a 32-27 victory for the Seahawks. Next week, head coach Daron Camacho‘s team is on the road again, 5 pm Friday (September 8th) vs. Lakeside at Memorial Stadium downtown.
Waving their flag and bursting through a banner, the West Seattle High School Wildcats roared onto the Nino Cantu SW Athletic Complex field tonight for the first time this football season. Two-plus hours later, they left the field victorious over Columbia River High School (Vancouver, WA), but only after some literally last-minute drama.
But first – new head coach Anthony Stordahl‘s team got off to a strong start, taking the ball on an interception just half a minute in. They needed a while to break through the Rapids’ defense but with 4:28 to go in the first quarter, #1, senior Leland Gayles III, got the first TD.
The Wildcats got another one in the final minute of the first quarter, with #45, junior Cole Edwards, recovering a Columbia River fumble in the end zone.
The Wildcats capitalized on another of their opponents’ mistakes in the first :15 of the second quarter, when #7, junior Alex Jorge, followed an interception with a run most of the way down the field. That eventually set up a field goal by #34, sophomore kicker Scott Bremen, that boosted the WSHS lead to 17-0 with 10:27 to go in the first half.
The Rapids finally got on the scoreboard with a touchdown at 7:16 left in the half, and that was the end of scoring before halftime, when everyone left the field with WSHS up 17-7.
In the second half, more big runs – including two by #2, junior Sam Turner – paved the way for a touchdown pass at 7:26 caught by #5, senior Gibson Aguilar.
With the point-after kick, WSHS was up to a 24-7 lead. A few minutes later, a spot of trouble – a short-lived physical altercation at midfield, broken up quickly by coaches and refs, saw (corrected) two players, one from each team, ejected. The next significant action in the game didn’t come until the final minute, when Columbia River scored two touchdowns, resulting in a final score of 24-19. Close call, but reason for WSHS fans to join the expanded Cheer Team in celebrating.
NEXT WEEK: WSHS has an early home game, 4:30 pm, next Friday (September 8th) at NCSWAC, against Franklin.
Every school year, we tell you about ways you can help local students, from tutoring to attending events to donating money. Here’s the announcement for one of the first fundraisers of 2023-2024, from Friends of Roxhill Elementary:
Kick off the new school year by giving to the Roxhill Field Trip and Classroom Fund!
Did you know schools and families cover the cost of field trips? This creates a disparity between field trip experiences across schools in our district.
With your generous donations, Friends of Roxhill provides each teacher at our school with money for field trips and to equip their classroom with much-needed supplies, like educational games, toys, and books. Last year, each teacher received ~$15 per student. We’d like to increase the amount to ~$20 per student this year!
Not all families in our school have the means to give. If you do, please consider donating on behalf of your student and a classmate. 100% of funds will go to teachers to benefit our RoxStars.
Roxhill Elementary is a small but mighty Title I school with about 250 students, located in the south end of West Seattle. Friends of Roxhill Elementary supports the education and enrichment of our multicultural public school in Seattle. Over 70% of our students are from BIPOC communities (Black, Indigenous, Person of Color). Our nonprofit focuses on building equity for students through fundraising, community building, and other important projects for our kids’ school success.
You can go here to help. (And if you have news of a school fundraiser/event/cool potential news story, email email@example.com or text 206-293-6302!)
Some fall high-school sports start up even before the first classes of the year. High-school football season is about to begin. Tomorrow night (Friday, September 1st), West Seattle High School plays a home game at Nino Cantu Southwest Athletic Complex (2801 SW Thistle), 6 pm, vs. Columbia River (from Vancouver, Washington). Chief Sealth International High School was scheduled for a season-opener on the road at Foster High School in Tukwila, but the Metro League schedule page says the game’s been canceled and that CSIHS instead is playing at Bellingham, 1 pm Saturday (September 2nd). You’ll also see/hear football at West Seattle Stadium, where O’Dea – which plays its home games there – will play Union at 7 pm Friday.