West Seattle schools 5160 results

UPDATE: Police response at Pathfinder K-8

(Added: WSB photo)

10:38 AM: Police have converged on Pathfinder K-8 in Pigeon Point and here’s what we know. The original call that came into 911 was from a passerby who claimed they saw a man with a gun “walking into the school.” According to radio communication, police have NOT found anyone so far but are searching the school. More information as we get it.

10:45 AM: Just to be clear – NO REPORTS OF GUNFIRE. Police, including SWAT officers, are clearing the school room by room. The original description of the person a passerby said they saw was “unknown-race male, 5’5″ to 6’0″, medium build, red puffy coat.”

10:52 AM: Police have just told dispatch “We’ve cleared the whole structure and found no evidence of a weapon, a suspect, or a shooting.” … Individual classrooms remain locked and sheltering in place, they added. (Update – school staff in comments says it’s a lockdown.)

11:04 AM: They’ve been trying to get back in contact with the original caller, who was apparently on their way off-peninsula when they called in the report. … Meantime, SPD has sent a media team member, who will eventually brief us outside the school.

11:17 AM: They’re now checking individual classrooms. Meantime, Police Chief Adrian Diaz is there and has just briefed us.. Notes from our crew in a moment.

11:22 AM: Chief Diaz says there were two 911 calls of concern. One was the original one reported above. The second one, which has come up in comment discussion below, was a 911 call claiming there was a “school shooting” somewhere – no location given. That was an unfounded call – there has been no gunfire anywhere, school or otherwise. No injuries of any kind. Police will stay at the school through day’s end.

11:45 AM: Now our crew says the school’s announced that it’s closing for the rest of the day and setting up procedures for parents to sign out and pick up kids. The police response is downsizing.

12:25 PM: We’ve left the school too but expect more information later – we have followup inquiries out both with police and the district. We have also added three more photos above.

2:42 PM: For the record, here’s the official district statement, from SPS spokesperson Bev Redmond via email:

Earlier today, a concerned citizen contacted 911 to report a potential safety issue regarding the sighting of an individual with a weapon on the Pathfinder K-8 campus. In response to this report, and in close coordination with the Seattle Police Department (SPD), the school initiated a lockdown procedure as a precautionary measure to ensure the safety of our students and staff.

During a lock-down classroom and exterior doors are locked. Students remain indoors and in their classrooms until the lockdown has been lifted.

We are pleased to report that after a comprehensive safety sweep of the school and campus, SPD confirmed that there was no credible threat to our students or staff. The safety and well-being of our students remain our top priority, and we are grateful for the swift and thorough response of the SPD in this matter.

As of now, the school has transitioned to a shelter-in-place status, maintaining heightened security protocols to ensure ongoing safety. We want to assure all families that Pathfinder students and staff are safe.

During a shelter-in-place, all exterior doors are locked and students remain indoors while the normal instructional day continues.

The school will continue with the school day as scheduled, following the standard Thursday dismissal time of 3:25 p.m.

We understand that incidents like these can be concerning, and we will continue to communicate with the Pathfinder community as we receive further updates and information.

The “continue with the school day” conflicts with what the principal said when we reported it above, but hopefully families have received updates. The district has not yet answered our question about the Genesee Hill shelter-in-place, which appears to have been related to a second unfounded 911 call.

2:55 PM: SPS has just answered that question, also via email: “Genesee Hill was placed in a shelter-in-place as a precaution until SPD could clarify the focal point of the 911 call. Genesee Hill was the former location of Pathfinder K-8.”

SPORTS: Seeking a swim coach

Four years ago, we told you about the search for a swim coach at Chief Sealth International High School. Stephanie Hunt read about it here, got the job, and less than three years later was honored as Metro League Coach of the Year. Now she’s sent this announcement about the search for a new boys’ swim coach:

CSIHS is looking for a Swim Coach who is available early mornings and Friday afternoons to lead our Boys Swim Team this school year. Red Cross lifeguard certification is required. Our current coach is stepping back to focus on coaching diving for the Metro League. For additional information or to apply, please contact Athletic Director Ernest Policarpio at edpolicarpio@seattleschools.org.

SURVEY: Change the school calendar?

Even if you don’t have a student in Seattle Public Schools, its annual calendar may affect you – for example, some independent schools follow it, and some school-vicinity neighborhoods’ day-to-day rhythms are yoked to it. So a survey launched today by the district might be of interest. SPS says it’s gathering feedback for future negotiations in which the district and its unions agree to calendar dates (this page includes the tentative dates for the next few years). In particular, the survey asks if you’d like to see changes in any of these current policies:

First Day of School – 1st Wednesday in September

Winter Break – at least 10 weekdays

Mid-Winter Break – President’s Day week

Spring Break – 2nd week in April

Emergency Closure Make-Up Days – currently day between semesters and end of school year

The survey’s open through November 13th; go here to participate.

WEST SEATTLE SCHOOLS: Explorer West Middle School’s first fall open house Saturday

November 1, 2023 9:40 am
|    Comments Off on WEST SEATTLE SCHOOLS: Explorer West Middle School’s first fall open house Saturday
 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle schools

As we’ve been noting, though it’s only two months into the new school year, it’s also time for many families to look ahead to the next one. If you have a future middle-schooler in your household, Explorer West Middle School (WSB sponsor) invites you to visit this Saturday (November 4) at 1 pm:

You’re invited, whether you have a 5th-grade student thinking about next year or want to begin middle school research early. Our event features a program with faculty, current students, and families, as well as time to visit our classrooms to offer an in-depth look at our community and programs. Event registration is available (but not required) through Ravenna. We’re located at 10015 28th Ave SW.

If you can’t attend this one, Explorer West – serving local families since 1996 – has another one planned for 11 am Saturday, December 9.

SPORTS: West Seattle High School’s postseason win

The West Seattle High School Wildcats are one win away from the state football playoffs after a postseason victory tonight over Rainier Beach. WSHS emerged victorious at Memorial Stadium downtown, 22-20. Next, they play at Mount Tahoma High School in Tacoma at 7 pm Saturday (November 4). Winner of that game goes to state.

HALLOWEEN SCENE: West Seattle High School students’ Fall Fest

Until 7 pm, everyone’s welcome at the decorated West Seattle High School courtyard where Fall Fest is happening – a student-created community event for this Halloween Eve. Indoors and outdoors, you’ll find games …

Also some fundraising sales (bring cash), like the one we mentioned in today’s preview list – the AAPI Club‘s candy sale:

Student organizers from the Class of 2026 who let us know about this include Lilly and AJ:

Go support students and get into the Halloween mood! (They’re showing “Nightmare Before Christmas” in the Commons, too.) WSHS is at 3000 California SW, and the courtyard entrance is off the south end of the parking lot.

14 SCHOOLS, 1 EVENT: Greater West Seattle Middle School Information Night set for November 6

October 25, 2023 9:36 am
|    Comments Off on 14 SCHOOLS, 1 EVENT: Greater West Seattle Middle School Information Night set for November 6
 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle schools

If one or more students in your household will be a middle-schooler next year, you might want to set your calendar for Monday, November 6th – you’ll be able to get information about more than a dozen middle schools, public and independent, in one place. The Greater West Seattle Middle School Information Night is set for 6-7:15 pm November 6th, at Our Lady of Guadalupe‘s gym (7000 35th SW). Organizers so far say participants planning to be there so far include Denny International Middle School, Explorer West Middle School (WSB sponsor), Harbor School (Vashon), Holy Family Bilingual, Holy Rosary, Hope Lutheran, Lake Washington Girls Middle School, McMurray Middle School (Vashon), Our Lady of Guadalupe, Pathfinder K-8, Rainier Valley Leadership Academy, St. Bernadette, Summit Atlas, and Westside School (WSB sponsor). If you’re interested in going to the open-house-format event, organizers request pre-registration, which is fast and easy at this link.

Tilden School invites K-5 families to its upcoming open houses

Though the ’23-’24 school year is less than two months old, it’s the season to start thinking ahead to ’24-’25. For families of K-5 students interested in independent schools, Tilden School (WSB sponsor) is hosting the first of two open houses soon. You’ll be welcome to visit the Tilden campus on the north edge of The Junction 1 pm-3 pm Saturday, November 4th. If that date doesn’t work for you, Tilden also will offer an open house 10 am-noon on December 2nd. The school is at 4105 California SW. If you’d like to learn more about Tilden – now in its fourth decade of offering “academic, engaging, individualized K-5 education” – go to tildenschool.org and read our story from earlier this year.

FOLLOWUP: Chief Sealth IHS rally against sexual harassment/violence after texting incident

(WSB photos/video)

More than 150 Chief Sealth International High School students walked off the campus just before noon today in a protest demanding action against sexual harassment and violence.

Staffers joined them in support.

As reported here last night, this was sparked by text messages described as “graphic … group text messages” that “encourage sexual violence.” The students involved were reported to be football players; the principal’s message only alluded to “athletic” involvement

After walking out, students gathered on the Southwest Athletic Complex field across the street. School officials would not allow media crews into the stadium to hear the speeches (which were inaudible from the street because of a TV chopper hovering overhead).

The student who sent word last night about today’s rally said this has been an ongoing situation without much action from school administrators. We asked principal Ray Morales today if anyone had been suspended and he said he could not comment. We asked the district media office the same question, and others, and received only a statement similar to what the principal sent to the school community Thursday; this one was attributed to district chief of staff Bev Redmond:

SPS takes the safety and wellbeing of students very seriously. We respect student voices and listen to our students’ concerns. SPS condemns any form of sexual abuse, assault, and violence, and we are dedicated to providing a nurturing and safe educational environment for all students.

On Wednesday, Oct. 18, concerns were brought to the attention of Chief Sealth International school leaders. The concerns were related to group text messages written by several Chief Sealth students. The content was graphic and extremely inappropriate. Chief Sealth International staff and SPS leaders do not condone this type of communication in any format.

Chief Sealth International school leaders took immediate action, including:
-SPS and Chief Sealth International leadership will continue to evaluate appropriate discipline and corrective action
-Outreach by school social workers and school leaders to offer direct support to each student who was the subject of these messages

The school’s leadership is actively taking steps to be sure students approach their peers and community members with respect. This includes a plan by athletic leaders to promote gender equity, prevent sexual harassment, and help our students better understand what behaviors are expected of students and student athletes.

The district did not answer our question about whether police had been contacted.

ALKI ELEMENTARY REBUILD: Update – district’s challenge to parking ruling dismissed, hours after hearing

(WSB photo, Alki Elementary demolition site in August)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

ORIGINAL 12:08 PM REPORT: More than two months after the old Alki Elementary was demolished, the rebuild/expansion project remains on hold because of what’s become a court fight. A short hearing in the case was held this morning.

First, the backstory: Seattle Public Schools needed nine zoning exceptions – “departures” – to get approval for its plan to build a bigger, taller school on the site. The city Department of Construction and Inspections granted the nine departures. Four Alki residents appealed the decision. After a subsequent daylong hearing, a city hearing examiner upheld the city decision on all but one departure – the one that would allow the school to be built without off-street parking; current zoning would otherwise require 48 spaces. The examiner’s ruling sent the parking issue back to the city for “further consideration.” The district could have opted to work on that issue with the city but instead decided to file a court challenge to the decision. That challenge is set for a full hearing in January, but the city filed a motion to dismiss it, and that’s what was heard today in an online hearing before King County Superior Court Judge Wyman Yip. We monitored the hearing, which lasted less than 15 minutes.

The case is not a lawsuit per se, but rather, a land-use petition. Lawyer Liza Anderson, representing the city, contends the district’s challenge should be dismissed because the hearing examiner’s ruling was not a final land-use decision – it simply sent the parking issue back to city planners to work with the district, Lawyer Katie Kendall, representing the district, contends the hearing examiner’s ruling is indeed a final decision, because if SPS, for example, found a way to provide parking in or near the project, it could get its permits without further proceedings,

Judge Yip had no questions, and said he’d already read the documents filed by both sides. He told the lawyers – who also included counsel for the residents who filed the appeal, though she did not speak – that he expected to file a written decision on the dismissal motion by Monday. (We’ll be watching the case file.) If he doesn’t grant the motion to dismiss the case, it will proceed toward a hearing set for late January. Alki Elementary, meantime, is holding classes at the former Schmitz Park Elementary, which it was expecting to do for two years even if construction of the new school had started this summer as originally planned.

5:35 PM: Just got word that the judge has already made his decision, and he has dismissed the district’s case, agreeing with the city that the hearing examiner’s ruling granting the appeal of the no-parking decision was not a final land-use decision, so this manner of challenge was not appropriate. Here’s how the ruling ends:

Having reviewed the pleadings, the Examiner’s August 10, 2023 written decision, and the
authority cited by counsel, this Court finds that the Examiner’s decision was not a final
determination under LUPA. The Examiner found that “more attention to parking impacts within this
highly constrained and unique setting is needed” and that the decision is “returned to the
Department” for proceedings consistent with the decision. This was not a denial of the requested
parking departure. It was a remand for more/better information before a more informed decision can
be made.

Based on the foregoing, pursuant to Civil Rule (“CR”) 12(b)(1) the Court ORDERS that:
1. Respondent Seattle’s Motion to Dismiss is GRANTED; and
2. Petitioner Seattle School District’s Land Use Petition Act Petition is dismissed.

This does NOT necessarily mean the district has to provide the required parking – it does mean that the city and the district have to work on the issue, as the hearing-examiner ruling ordered. We’ll be seeking comment on Monday.

Chief Sealth IHS students plan walkout to ‘protest sexual harassment and assault’ after texting incident

Students at Chief Sealth International High School plan a protest walkout just tomorrow over an incident that was described in a letter from the principal as involving “graphic … group text messages” that “encourage sexual violence.” Shortly after principal Ray Morales‘s letter was called to our attention tonight, we received this email from a student:

I am a 12th-grade student at Chief Sealth International High School. At our school, some of the boys on our football team and in general have been known to sexually assault, catcall, and harass women, as well as yell slurs and hate-crime queer and other students. The only thing that has happened to these boys, up to this point, has been a slap on the wrist, and events like this continue to occur. Our school consistently preaches about the physical and mental health and safety of their students, implementing a no-phone policy to reduce students’ anxiety and help our mental health, yet there has been serious inaction when the safety of female and queer students is put in jeopardy.

Recently, there was an incident involving some boys on the football team, and many students are tired of the consistent problems. In the past, students who have had issues with boys on the football team and went the coaches or staff have been brushed off or told that they would be reprimanded by having to “run extra laps.” Students have finally brought this to the attention of the whole student body and the principal. While our principal has been immensely supportive and has brought forth an action plan to change these boys behavior it is disappointing that students had to go this far to feel safe at school and get the justice they deserve. Tomorrow, October 20th, a few students have organized a walkout to protest against sexual harassment and assault. It will be at 11:50 at SWAC, across from the school. Although many staff are supportive of us, these things continue to happen, and I would like to bring attention to this issue and hopefully cease the inaction that continues to persist. By bringing light to the issue and notifying parents and members of the community, I hope to help my fellow students incite the change that is desperately needed.

Here is the note sent to the school community today by principal Morales:

Yesterday, a concern was brought to our attention regarding group text messages written by several Chief Sealth International students. The content of the text messages was graphic in nature and extremely inappropriate. Chief Staff International staff stand united that we do not condone this type of talk.

As soon as my team became aware of these messages, we took immediate action, including:

The school administration team is investigating the concerns and exploring appropriate discipline and additional corrective action.

Our social workers and school leaders are reaching out to offer direct support to each student who was a subject of the messages.

Chief Sealth International athletic leaders are developing a plan to promote gender equity, prevent sexual harassment, and help our students better understand what behaviors are expected of students and athletes.

I take the safety and wellbeing of our students very seriously. I appreciate the messages and questions families have sent to me expressing their concern about this issue. Our school and athletic teams are taking proactive steps to be sure our young people approach their peers and community members with respect.

The district and the admin team support students’ rights to express their views in a peaceful manner, including assembly and peaceful protest.

Our school has support available for students. In addition to our social workers and counselors, our school has a Teen Health Center that can help students talk through their concerns. You can find a list of student supports on our school website.

Thank you to the students who reported these messages to school staff. I encourage students to report any concerns they have to administration or other trusted adults. We want students to understand that it is important to report to a trusted adult when someone is hurt, in danger, or in an unsafe situation.

Please talk to your students to help them understand that comments that encourage sexual violence are not acceptable at our school. I am including some resource links that may be useful in talking to your students.

· UW Medicine/Harborview’s A Safer Families. A Safer World

· Love is Respect, resources for young people to promote healthy relationships

· Amaze.org, age-appropriate sex education resources

We will be following up with the school/district regarding .

SCHOOL BUDGET CUTS: Closures/ consolidations? Schedule changes? Higher fees? Board work session lists possibilities in advance of superintendent’s plan

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Four weeks before Seattle Public Schools superintendent Dr. Brent Jones is due to present a plan for closing a $105 million budget gap next school year, some of the possibilities were previewed at a school board “work session” this week.

The session (see the agenda and documents here) also was intended to be a recap of the challenges – inefficient state funding, according to district administrators, singing out situations such as state funding provided for nine nurses in the district, which has 65 without even averaging one per school. And the measures that closed a budget gap for the current school year also were recapped, including changes to the “central office” budget, which is $441 million. The board was reminded that “central office” includes districtwide services such as meals, far more than just middle and upper management at district HQ. This year the district reduced “central office” expenses by $32 million and is looking at $18 million.

But some of the ways they closed a gap this year are no longer available. And that’s why they’re looking at school closure/consolidation, for example, to create what administrators call “a system of well-resourced schools” – theoretically, larger schools that would have a full set of nurses, librarians, counselors, family support workers. No specific schools have been mentioned so far. But one slide from Tuesday’s meeting mentioned what closures would be expected to save – up to $2 million per closed school:

Another possible way to save money, with existing schools: Going to three bell schedules, for more efficient use of school buses. That could save $5 million, according to district staff. (The most-recent suggestion to do that was shelved amid a firestorm of opposition.)

Maybe higher fees, such as charging for athletic participation, or having families cover the fees the district pays for payments through the SchoolPay system:

Other possibilities could include selling property:

The meeting ran short on time (though it lasted about half an hour longer than planned) before much brainstorming happened, but board director Vivian Song mentioned one thing she saw missing: Raising revenue by growing enrollment (since each added student means more state funding), or at least – given the recent declines – actively working to stabilize it.

Before the meeting got to the discussion of potential money-saving measures, some general philosophical points about the process were discussed. Board director Leslie Harris of West Seattle wondered if any parts of the budget could be put off-limits – “we never really agreed on baselines.” And she also again chided district staff for not yet at least previewing potential closures and consolidations, or at least hinting at what values they’re using to review specific schools: Would those values include keeping K-8 schools? Keeping STEM-focused schools? Keeping small schools that are focused on specialized programs? Some discussion ensued about “focusing on student outcomes.” Board director Chandra Hampson, who has been previously reported as a critic of “option schools” (in West Seattle, that includes Pathfinder and Boren STEM K-8s), declared that those schools “don’t have better outcomes.” In a general observation regarding school consolidations, board director Liza Rankin said, “I don’t want anybody’s school to close, but we’re talking about schools meant for 400, 500 stdents, with under 200” and therefore short on resources now.

WHAT’S NEXT: The superintendent is scheduled to present his plan on Wednesday, November 15th. Feedback from the district’s recent series of community meetings is supposed to factor into it, but that feedback is still being parsed by district staff, chief of staff Bev Redmond said toward the start of this week’s work session.

LOCAL MEETING: Local school-board director Leslie Harris has her next community-conversation meeting set for this Saturday (October 21), 2-5 pm at West Seattle (Admiral) Library, 2306 42nd SW – bring your questions/concerns/suggestions.

SCHOOL CLOSURES? Next step Tuesday as Seattle Public Schools Board meets for budget work session

While a formal plan isn’t expected until next month, Seattle Public Schools‘ next step toward addressing a budget gap happens at a School Board work session tomorrow (Tuesday, October 17). We heard today from a local teacher who says it’s important for concerned families to turn out for the meeting – at SPS HQ in SODO – because of the recent reconfiguration plans (WSB coverage here) as well as what’s ahead. She writes:

SPS’s management made a mistake. We need families to go to the SPS board budget meeting, TOMORROW. Tuesday October 17, 4:30 pm – in-person at JSCEE. The goal is to get many families in one place to connect and support one another. We URGENTLY need to get currently unaffected schools to support our affected schools because they could become affected schools next.

SPS administrators say they have a budget gap of more than $100 million to cover, and here are some of the possibilities listed in a slide deck for tomorrow’s meeting (part of the agenda documents):

You might recall, the “system of well-resourced schools” is where the possible school closures/consolidations come in, but again, the detailed proposal on that is still a month away. The district collected some community feedback at recent meetings (here’s our coverage of the one in West Seattle), mostly general opinions such as “what do you like about your school?”, and plans a report on the feedback at tomorrow’s work session too. If you’re interested in attending, the district HQ is at 3rd/Lander; if you can’t go, you can watch the livestream here.

P.S. Our area’s school-board member Leslie Harris has her next community Q&A meeting this Saturday (October 21st), 2-5 pm, at West Seattle (Admiral) Library, 2306 42nd SW.

WEST SEATTLE CRIME WATCH: School’s Pride flag stolen, again

That’s the flag pole at the Community School of West Seattle at 22nd and Roxbury, again without its Pride flag. CSWS’s Whitney Young says it’s been stolen for the third time, sometime last night or this morning, The previous two thefts were in May and June. They’re checking to see if they caught the thief on camera. If you have any information, the SPD case # is 23-917640.

YOU CAN HELP: Fall-fundraising finish line in sight for Friends of Roxhill Elementary

October 14, 2023 4:51 pm
|    Comments Off on YOU CAN HELP: Fall-fundraising finish line in sight for Friends of Roxhill Elementary
 |   How to help | West Seattle news | West Seattle schools

Two ways to help Roxhill Elementary as its support organization concludes its fall fundraising – here’s how:

Friends of Roxhill Elementary is wrapping up our 2 Fall fundraisers this weekend and so we are calling on our West Seattle community to help us reach our goals.

1. The Back to School Field Trips and Classroom Fund provides teachers with money for field trips and to equip their classrooms with much-needed supplies, like educational games, toys and books. The goal this year is to give each teacher $20 per student. Donate at: gofund.me/6d1ced75

2. There are only 3 more days to order from the Fall Flower Power Fundraiser! Buy flower bulbs, kitchen garden herbs, sprouts and seeds to bring some joy to your home garden or window sill. Friends of Roxhill Elementary receives 50% of the profits from every order. Order deadline is this Sunday, October 15:

SPORTS: Football victories for Chief Sealth IHS, West Seattle HS

On the second-to-last Friday of the regular season, both local high-school teams won last night. Playing at home at Nino Cantu Southwest Athletic Complex, Chief Sealth International High School beat Nathan Hale, 32-12, according to the Metro League scoreboard, which says West Seattle High School defeated Ingraham at Northwest Athletic Complex, 14-7. WSHS is now 5-1 and wraps up the regular season at 7 pm next Friday (October 20th) at home at NCSWAC vs, Hale, while at that same time, CSIHS, now 5-2, will play Roosevelt at NWAC.

Here’s why Highland Park Elementary was briefly in shelter-in-place

October 12, 2023 4:35 pm
|    Comments Off on Here’s why Highland Park Elementary was briefly in shelter-in-place
 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle police | West Seattle schools

We learned from a parent that Highland Park Elementary was briefly in shelter-in-place earlier this afternoon. For anyone else wondering about it, here’s what we found out about the reason: Police were dispatched to a reported “disturbance” at the school around quarter till 3. Dispatch told officers the call was somewhat convoluted, involving an off-campus dispute over a possible burglary and people including a parent showing up at the campus, arguing. We asked SPD how it ended up, and here’s the summary: “There was an incident that occurred by the school with a parent and approximately three high school kids. A parent accused the high schoolers of burglary. When officers arrived, all subjects had left the scene. The school was put into shelter in place briefly and has subsequently been lifted.”

WEST SEATTLE SCHOOLS: District’s ‘staffing balance’ shuffles students into new classrooms after a month

When the Seattle School Board meets later today, they’ll hear from numerous people signed up to speak about a districtwide controversy: One month into the new school year, some elementary students at 40 schools around the district are suddenly being shuffled to different classrooms with different teachers. Some are being moved to split-grade classrooms. We’ve heard from parents at two of the West Seattle schools that are affected. The district explains the situation in this post from last Friday, saying it has to “balance” class sizes in order to get millions of dollars in state funding:

Every fall, all Washington school districts review class size and staffing ratios. To focus on early learning, Washington state law encourages school districts to staff kindergarten through third grade at a smaller class size.

Seattle Public Schools values smaller class sizes for our youngest learners. Our review showed a staffing imbalance that needs to be corrected to meet state requirements at several schools.

What this means for Students and Families

To balance our educator staffing, some students may be moved to new classrooms or have a new teacher by the end of October.

If this adjustment means a change for your elementary or K-8 school, you will receive a separate message from your principal.

Why is this year different?

In previous years, SPS was able to provide extra funding to schools to minimize classroom staffing assignment changes. However, due to the current budget shortfall, SPS is unable to cover that cost for the 2023-24 school year.

The focus is on maintaining the 17:1 staffing ratio for K-3 general education classrooms to secure full state funding. This is a districtwide ratio that includes the classroom teacher and additional educators such interventionists and specialists.

To ensure SPS is eligible to receive $3.6 million in Washington state funding, we must have appropriate staff-student ratios for our elementary grade classrooms.

One of the local schools affected is Alki Elementary; a parent there forwarded us the newsletter in which principal Mason Skeffington explained how it would play out for Alki (which is holding classes at the former Schmitz Park Elementary because of the future rebuild). He explained that the staff-planning process starts with enrollment projections in spring, and continues with “actual student numbers” in August. Alki, the principal wrote, is currently “over … target” in kindergarten class size “but otherwise at or below classrooms caps in all other grade levels.” He wrote that he spent a week of meetings with district officials “pleading our case for why our current staffing makes the most sense for students and learning,” but “received a directive to adjust my class sizes” to what the district wanted to see. The results include two split-grade classes. The principal indicated that families would receive information on “shifts and changes to class placements” yesterday, and tomorrow will be “‘moving day’ where students will join new homeroom classes and have a chance to get settled into their new classroom spaces and routines.” There are no classes district-wide on Friday – in-service day for staff – but the principal also promised that a support staffer “will be on site next week and available to meet with students and classes to help process feelings connected to this adjustment.”

We’ve also heard from a Roxhill Elementary parent who told us that at their child’s school, “A 3rd/4th split class has to be created, which will affect 3rd-5th grade students who have to be moved around and potentially switch teachers. Luckily, we are not losing any staff, but it’s obvious that this will cause a huge disruption for students and teachers.” This parent says, “We want to encourage people to write to the board, watch (tonight’s) meeting and advocate for stability.” Board contact info is online here; tonight’s meeting starts with public comment at 4:30 pm – the agenda is here – you can watch the meeting livestream here. As for other local schools affected – we’ve asked the district for a list of schools but so far have not received it.

STUDENT VOLUNTEERS NEEDED: Fairmount Park Elementary event

October 9, 2023 3:59 pm
|    Comments Off on STUDENT VOLUNTEERS NEEDED: Fairmount Park Elementary event
 |   How to help | West Seattle news | West Seattle schools

Middle- and high-school students looking for volunteer opportunities might be interested in this announcement we were asked to share:

Volunteer opportunity for middle and high school students:

Fairmount Park Elementary PTA is hosting their annual Falcon Fest on Friday, November 3, 2023 and is looking for middle-school and high-school volunteers to help set up, run game stations, and clean up after.

Volunteer shifts are 4:30-5:30 pm, 5:30-7:00 pm, and 7:00-8:30p m.

Fairmount Park Elementary is located just off Fauntleroy at 3800 SW Findlay St

Please contact volunteer@fairmountparkpta.org for more info and to sign up!

SPORTS: Road wins for WSHS, CSIHS football teams

October 7, 2023 11:48 pm
|    Comments Off on SPORTS: Road wins for WSHS, CSIHS football teams
 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle schools | WS & Sports

Both local high-school varsity football teams played on the road this week, and both won, according to the Metro League scoreboard. Friday night, West Seattle High School defeated Lakeside 23-7 at Northwest Athletic Complex; this afternoon, Chief Sealth International High School won its game against Brewster, 38-37. Next Friday (October 13th), CSIHS (4-2) is home at Nino Cantu Southwest Athletic Complex, 7 pm vs. Nathan Hale, while WSHS (4-1) plays again at NWAC, this time versus Ingraham, 5 pm.

CAN YOU HELP? 1 hour, 1 day a week: Another West Seattle school needs tutors

October 2, 2023 9:00 am
|    Comments Off on CAN YOU HELP? 1 hour, 1 day a week: Another West Seattle school needs tutors
 |   How to help | West Seattle news | West Seattle schools

We’ve told you before about Invest in Youth, which matches volunteer tutors with local students. In West Seattle, the organization has just added another school, so it’s sent out another call for tutors, via board adviser Brad Ogura:

(Invest in Youth photo)

Sanislo Elementary has been added to the schools Invest in Youth serves, opening more volunteer opportunities in West Seattle (Delridge)! Brad Ogura, a tutor and board adviser for the educational nonprofit, reports that all tutor spots have been filled at Roxhill Elementary thanks to WSB readers. They’re now seeking volunteer tutors at Sanislo.

Make a commitment to make a difference in a local student’s academic success! As an Invest in Youth tutor, you’ll be paired with a 3rd, 4th or 5th grader and work with that same student each Thursday during the school year from 3:40 pm to 4:40 pm, beginning next month.

No experience is necessary; just a commitment to help narrow achievement gaps and promote educational equity right here in West Seattle. Tutors typically work on math skills, reading fundamentals as well as being a friend and mentor to their student. Time is spent in the classroom with other student-tutor pairs, and a teacher as well as an Invest in Youth staff member is onsite and always available to help when needed.

Invest in Youth needs your support. The Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction reports that test scores for Sanislo students are far below state averages. Tutors can have a big impact and it only requires one hour and one day a week of your time. Both tutors and students consistently report that the program is a highlight of their week and an extremely rewarding experience.

Register online or contact our executive director Cindy Sackett (CSackett@investinyouth.org) if you have questions.

FOOTBALL: Last-minute loss for Chief Sealth IHS

September 29, 2023 9:19 pm
|    Comments Off on FOOTBALL: Last-minute loss for Chief Sealth IHS
 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle schools | WS & Sports

(Photos and video by WSB’s Patrick Sand)

For the second consecutive week, the Chief Sealth International High School football team suffered a last-minute loss. Tonight at Nino Cantu Southwest Athletic Complex, they were tied with Ingraham, 14-14, until, with 1:04 remaining in the game, the Rams got a touchdown, and the Seahawks were unable to answer. Sealth scored both TDs in the first quarter, out to a 14-0 lead after sophomore quarterback Mason Filitaula‘s TD just :47 into the game.

The point-after attempt was blocked but Sealth made up for it with a two-point conversion after the next TD by #5, senior Jamal Guy Jr., at 9:31.

Ingraham battled back, with one TD at 4:23 to go in the first half, which ended at Sealth 14, Ingraham 7, after a Seahawk field goal attempt failed in the last half-minute. Ingraham’s second TD came with 4:55 left in the third quarter, tying things up at 14-14 until they got their third with 1:04 left to play.

This was homecoming night for Chief Sealth, so both the band and cheer team were in full force, with the band playing on the field at halftime:

WHAT’S NEXT: Head coach Daron Camacho and the Seahawks (3-2) play on the road, at Brewster High School in Okanogan County, at 1 pm Saturday (October 7th).

YOU CAN HELP: West Seattle High School PTSA welcoming auction donors, attendees

September 29, 2023 6:13 pm
|    Comments Off on YOU CAN HELP: West Seattle High School PTSA welcoming auction donors, attendees
 |   How to help | West Seattle news | West Seattle schools

The West Seattle High School PTSA hopes you can help – they’re bringing back the annual auction event and seeking both attendees and donors. Here’s the announcement we were asked to share:

Dear West Seattle Community,

We are excited to announce the return of our annual auction to support WSHS students and staff! Please plan to join us at The Tailgate Auction on Saturday, November 4, from 6 pm to 9 pm at Dakota Place Park (4304 SW Dakota Street).

Why do we need an auction?

As you know, Seattle Public Schools is facing an enormous budget shortfall and funding is limited for the programs we know our students need.

The WSHS PTSA is making every effort to fund the academic and classroom supports we have long taken for granted at West Seattle High School. Until last year, we benefited from a levy that funded a robust tutoring program, including school-day, after-school, and Saturday tutoring. Last year, we were able—through your generous donations—to fund a monthly staffed Saturday Study Hall that benefited an average of 100 students each session!

What will the funds be used for?

This year, we are hoping to fully meet the academic needs of our students. Our goals are to:

-Fully fund staffed Saturday School
-Bring back after-school study hall tutoring two days a week
-Bring back credit recovery in-person summer school
-Fund classroom and student club needs through PTSA mini-grants

Ambitious, I know!

How can you help?

Get your tickets to the Tailgate Auction now. Make it a night out with your WSHS friends!
Donate an item for the auction. Do you own a business or have a special skill (artist, talented chef, etc.)? Can you offer gift certificates, services (photographer, home improvement, etc.), sports tickets, theater tickets, vacation home stays, or other unique experiences?
Make a tax-deductible gift to support our goals.

Thank you for supporting WSHS students and staff!