West Seattle, Washington
This reminds us that Seattle Public Schools had sent around a press release recently mentioning that just-retired assistant principal Nels Enquist from Chief Sealth HS will be honored as a “Distinguished Principal” at next month’s Association of Washington School Principals conference. But CSHS might want to add a letter or two to this tribute spotted on the school’s marquee this morning:
Four clips from today’s event: First, the kids — from Gatewood Elementary, Denny Middle, and Chief Sealth HS, with EarthCorps assistants:
Here’s Nobel Peace Prize recipient Wangari Maathai assisting with one of the trees — this is what she’s famous for, if you aren’t familiar with her work; this online reference calls her the “Tree Woman of Kenya”:
Also at Pelly Place: King County Councilmember Dow Constantine. Our videographer asked him for a few words, and he reminded us he’s no stranger to ravine restoration:
Last but by no means least, part of the poetry performance by Gatewood Elementary students:
The WSB photo/video crew is just back from the tree planting at Pelly Place held today in connection with Earth Summit II at Chief Sealth HS. First photo shows Nobel Peace Prize recipient Wangari Maathai assisting students with the tree planting:
The photo below shows Gatewood Elementary students who read a poem at the event. Others in attendance included King County Councilmember Dow Constantine; no mayor sightings — he is in Eastern Washington today. We will post video from the Pelly Place event later.
TOMORROW NIGHT: What should the city do with millions of your $ earmarked for transportation projects? Don’t wait till you read here that crews are on their way to (fill in the blank) and then say “Hey! Why don’t they (whatever) instead?” — stop by tomorrow night’s city Transportation Department open house at Youngstown Arts Center between 5 and 8 pm, look at what’s under consideration, register your preference. Or – if you absolutely can’t make it in person – the city has set up a webpage where you can see what’s on the potential project list and rank your preferences – click here, then choose South Sector; with 29 WS locations on the list, one just might be near you. Make your choices by September 27th.
ALL DAY TOMORROW: Chief Sealth HS hosts Seattle Earth Summit II 9:30 am-3 pm with an impressive guest list, including the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize, Wangari Maathai, as well as West Seattle’s world-famous photographer Art Wolfe. Also part of the agenda: a ceremonial tree-planting @ 11:30 am at Pelly Place Ravine, which Wolfe and local students are working together to revitalize as part of Project Earth Care.
Yet another WS event to add to the list of what’s happening Tuesday night: West Seattle High School has a community forum @ 6:30 pm tomorrow to talk about the recent announcement that it will change from 4-period days to 6-period days as of next school year. (There’s also a student-only forum at WSHS tomorrow afternoon.) This is a huge change for the school, which has had 4-period days since 1994, and described them in its 2006 annual report as “(facilitating) in-depth and hands-on learning.” Some of the arguments against the 4-period day were discussed in the unofficial Seattle Public Schools Blog a few months ago.
Think our crosswalks need more of this treatment? That’s probably something you can bring up at next Wednesday’s WS open house about how to spend millions of voter-approved city $. And steps away from this street work, a Lafayette note: School families are wrapping up Phase 1 of their playground renovation project with a volunteer planting party this Saturday. Congratulations!
Also speaking of schools – the primary election results have just been certified, and theÃ‚Â Final TwoÃ‚Â for West Seattle’s school board seatÃ‚Â are now official: Steve SundquistÃ‚Â (photo left) got 53.4% of the primary vote (5,624 votes), while Maria Ramirez (photo right) got 23.4% (2,467 votes). Although school board members represent certain districts, in the general election the entire city votes on all seats, so Sundquist and Ramirez (as well as the candidates in the other districts) will have to campaign citywide. Election Day: November 6th.
As the new school year starts its second day, our inbox is full of implorings from concerned WS folks who want to remind everyone to SLOW DOWN IN SCHOOL ZONES. Don’t wait for this to become reality; do the right thing. Also, make sure you know the law — Eric Baer from the Pathfinder K-8 PTSA (their school fronts a busy straightaway on Genesee Hill) pulled up the fine print, including some things that might surprise you:Read More
Many big things coming up this month in WS. Here are a few we haven’t mentioned yet …
WEDNESDAY — First day of school for Seattle Public Schools (and many private schools too). Note that Cleveland HS is no longer in the Boren building on Delridge; its own new building is done. However, South Lake HS continues its temporary stay in the old Hughes building; and Fairmount Park Elementary will be empty after closing in June.
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 16TH — The Northwest Hope & Healing Breast Cancer Half Marathon, with an added 5K Walk/Run if the half-m is a bit much. Sign up now at Capers in The Junction or get the registration form online and send it in.
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 18TH — First-ever fundraising breakfast for Southwest Youth & Family Services, 7:30 am @ Salty’s on Alki. Read more at the SWYFS website about all the people their programs help.
School doesn’t start for most local kids till next week, but high-school football starts now, as sure a sign of impending fall as the pumpkin-spice drink flavors that have just returned to you-know-which mega-coffee-chain. The Times site has comprehensive schedules for all local schools including the 3 high schools in WS — for Seattle Lutheran, the season-opener is Saturday afternoon; for Chief Sealth, it’s tomorrow night; for West Seattle, it’s Saturday night.
The Instant Hausfrau cc’d us on correspondence with someone who is moving back to West Seattle soon after some years away and now has a 4-year-old. Our excellent local network of co-op preschools already has been recommended, but the parents aren’t sure they can make the co-op time commitment. Any other recommendations from WSB-land?
It was about 15 minutes before the end of tonight’s school-board candidates forum on the lawn at Pathfinder K-8 when our internet-attuned ears really perked up.
First, Dan Dempsey (photo left), one of 4 contenders for the West Seattle-centered District 6 seat that Irene Stewart is giving up, declared he has multiple blogs on his campaign website, but isn’t getting much feedback yet. (Reviewing his site, it appears he’s put up more discussion boards than blogs, but nice gesture anyway!)
Then, answering the same audience question about ways the board could improve communication with the public, District 1 candidate Peter Maier (photo right) offered his observation that the official Seattle Public Schools website just isn’t particularly easy to use — tough to access documents, etc.
Understatement of the night, from our quarters (and not just us; a fair amount of those in attendance laughed knowingly). But as she rose next to answer the same communication question, District 2 incumbent Darlene Flynn (photo left) was clearly not amused, retorting sharply, “That website didn’t even HAVE documents on it four years ago.”
Not surprisingly, given the rocky year the school board has had, Flynn and the other incumbent in attendance, Sally Soriano (photo right), spent a lot of their time defending and detailing what they believe to be their key first-term accomplishments. But that was really a small part of a fascinating evening that probably helped clarify a lot of August 21 (and beyond) decisions … much more after the click:Read More
-Believe it or not, less than a month till the first day of school (9/5) for most local kids. (SPS ’07-’08 calendar here.)
-Congratulations to the Community School of West Seattle, which, after a dinner/auction last month and other fundraising efforts, now has enough money to buy its building (photo at left) at 22nd & Roxbury, which was being eyed by a developer.
-Last reminder about the school board candidates’ forum (free ice cream!) on the lawn at Pathfinder K-8 tonight, all welcome, bring a picnic.
Political signs are multiplying along every busy stretch of road in WS (and elsewhere in the city). This is because the primary election, earliest ever, is less than 3 weeks away. The hottest Seattle races are for School Board (including the WS district, whose rep, Irene Stewart, is not re-running) and City Council; we are now just a few days away from your chance to see/hear the School Board candidates in person, at an outdoor forum, Pathfinder K-8 School lawn (Genesee Hill), Monday night, bring a picnic dinner, enjoy free ice-cream treats courtesy of the Pathfinder PTSA –picnicking and mingling with the candidates starts @ 5:30, speeches @ 6:30. One PS on the August 21st election: Two King County ballot measures will be decided, both tax levies — Proposition 1 for regional/rural parks, Proposition 2 for parks, trails, and Woodland Park Zoo.
We happened onto this scene today at Fairmount Park Elementary, one of the buildings closed by Seattle Public Schools at the end of this past school year to save $. While the building is being taken out of commission, Fairmount Park’s people and programs are “merging” with High Point Elementary one mile southeast; tomorrow night (Wednesday) the School Board is set to vote on the proposal to give the “merged” schools a fresh start by renaming HP “West Seattle Elementary.” (Also on the board agenda, the introduction of the proposed contract for architect and engineering services on the Denny/Sealth project. More on that in the morning; we’re discovering too many nested documents linked from the agenda to coherently summarize it all tonight!)
If only more political events were set up this way: Two weeks from tonight, as the Aug. 21 primary election approaches, at least 10 Seattle School Board candidates (including 2 incumbents) will be at Pathfinder K-8 for an ice-cream social and moderated forum the evening of Aug. 6 — no, not in the cafeteria, but on the school’s front lawn, atop lovely Genesee Hill. Picnic dinners encouraged. Free ice-cream bars served. So far, forum organizer Eric Baer of the Pathfinder PTSA (co-sponsoring with counterpart PTSAs from 3 other WS elementaries: Alki, Arbor Heights, Sanislo) tells us the confirmed attendees include 4 of the 5 candidates in the WS-centered District 6 race, as well as candidates from the 3 other districts to be decided this year. Don’t just wade frantically through your voters’ pamphlet at the last minute; hear and see candidates in person. Aug. 6; see you there.
The folks working on Ercolini Park on SW Alaska just west of The Junction are in line for a $90,000 Neighborhood Matching Fund Award from the city — this isn’t a giveaway, but a hard-fought win that’s only possible when community members commit time and money to projects, enough to impress city leaders to chip in. Ercolini Park organizer Bill Barna says they have a little more fundraising to do — $6K worth — you can go to the Ercolini Park website to find out how to contact them to chip in $ (or anything else the project needs). Congratulations also are in order to Gatewood Elementary School; the next phase of its playground project also is in line for a $90K matching-fund grant. (Full list of matching-fund projects citywide, including a South Park skatepark, is readable here.)
As mentioned in our weekend-events list, tonight is the fundraising dinner and auction for, and at (map), the Community School of West Seattle (photo right). As we reported 6 weeks ago, they are trying to raise enough money to buy their building, which otherwise will go to a developer, and they only have another month and a half. Here’s what one organizer writes about the event (6:30 pm tonight):
This will be a spectacular evening, with live entertainment by local performers and delicious food from local eateries.Ã‚Â Some of the items available for auction include: a cruise to the Galapagos Islands, a week at Whistler, Botox cosmetic treatment, art from local artists, and exquisite jewelry.
If you can’t go but you still would like to help CSWS, donation information is on its website.
Dr. Maria Goodloe-Johnson (official district photo at right) has started work as Seattle Public Schools superintendent, and the P-I and the Times both note that she stopped at two schools on day 1, including West Seattle HS. (The writeup starts with a great aside about what was apparently her first trip on The Viaduct — which by the way got a status update in this Times article, in case you haven’t seen it already.)
The (unofficial) Seattle Public Schools Blog points out that the agenda for this Wednesday’s school board meeting includes a proposal to rename High Point Elementary (photo below) “West Seattle Elementary.” According to the agenda item, this name-changing is by “request of the High Point and Fairmount Park merged elementary schools.” (If you’re just coming in on this saga, the district closed several schools at the end of this past school year, including Fairmount Park, to save $; the students of FP are “merging” into HP.) Historical datapoint: This won’t be the first “West Seattle Elementary School”; the district’s thumbnail history of Lafayette Elementary says it briefly held that name about 90 years ago!