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School district needs to hear from Maple neighbors

October 18th, 2013 at 11:18 pm | No Comments | Posted by JvA

by Julie van Arcken

In both their latest boundary maps, Seattle Public Schools wants to kick Mid Beacon Hill out of the official Maple walk zone (an area so close to a school that bus service is not even provided) and instead make our kids bus miles to school every day.

We’ve been working hard to rally the neighborhood to oppose this change, but the majority of our neighborhood are not native English speakers, and none of the boundary materials have been translated into any other language. At the Oct. 16 School Board meeting, we were supported by members of our local Vietnamese, Japanese, and Chinese communities, and we spoke about retaining our Maple walk zone, and also the need for native-language outreach in these important decisions. Together with an East African woman (to whom we donated one of our speaking slots, as she was also speaking out for the need for cultural and native-language outreach), we were the only voices speaking about the lack of racial and linguistic equity in this process. (See this post on the Mid Beacon Hill Blog, containing a bar graph depicting the lack of diversity in feedback the district has received so far.)

If you also feel it’s unjust that SPS is kicking a majority-non-English-speaking community of color out of its local school walk zone without even notifying affected families in the languages they understand, please fill out this two-question SPS survey before Oct. 25 at 6 p.m.:

Survey link

Choose Zone 36 for the area of concern, and provide a comment like “Let kids in the Maple walk zone walk to Maple. For a racially equitable process, notify affected families in their native languages.”

Zone36ToMaple


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Kids invited to create in Día de los Muertos crafts class

October 10th, 2013 at 4:11 am | 1 Comment | Posted by Wendi Dunlap

Photo by Wendi Dunlap.

Children and their parents or caregivers are invited to the Beacon Hill Library on October 27 to learn about and celebrate Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) with a free milk carton crafts workshop. Kids aged 7 and up will learn how to create an altar, shrine or shadow box with milk cartons.

The event is from 1:30 to 3 p.m. on Sunday, October 27 at the Beacon Hill Library, 2821 Beacon Ave. S. There is no fee, and everyone is welcome.


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Opinion: Community must work together on school boundary changes

September 28th, 2013 at 6:16 pm | 1 Comment | Posted by Melissa Jonas

Photo by Kei Noguchi via Creative Commons/Flickr.

Seattle Public Schools is scrambling to avoid overcrowding. They’ve introduced a proposal to move kids around called “Growth Boundaries.” Kids would be bused miles instead of attending a school two blocks away or another school less than a mile away. We must encourage complete transparency and work together as a community to keep Beacon Hill awesome. SPS needs to be thoughtful and engage our community more in the process before any decision is made.

Even if you don’t have a child in the Seattle Public School system, you are affected by this proposal. When families travel farther from home for school, they have less time to invest in our community. We have fewer eyes on the street and less of the daily interaction that makes our community so strong and interesting. We all benefit from the volunteer efforts and the small businesses started by families with kids. When families are forced to send their kids outside of the neighborhood they’ve invested so much time and money in, they may feel less committed to the community and may even decide to leave. Property values are affected by reference schools. Our homes may be worth less after this proposal is implemented because potential buyers are holding out for a better or more convenient school.

Please sign up now to “Walk the Boundaries.” It’s another important way to share feedback about the proposal. Feedback is due by October 1.

  1. Download the map for the school attendance area(s) you will review. Each map has a grid to use as a reference point when you submit your observations and suggestions.
  2. Drive or walk the boundary shown on the map. Look for portions of a school’s proposed boundary that have geographic barriers or local features that separate a specific area from the rest of the attendance area. (For example, we are recommending that the elementary boundaries in Southeast Seattle be modified so that the light rail is a dividing line.)
  3. Mark any issues on your map and note the reason, or note that there are no issues.
  4. Enter your results in the online survey. Please complete the survey one time for each school attendance area boundary you review.

While you’re “Walking the Boundaries,” remember: the City of Seattle has invested millions of dollars in Safe Routes to School and Neighborhood Greenways. The SPS proposal doesn’t take any of that valuable infrastructure into consideration.

“Walk the Boundaries” is only one part of the outreach. Please attend meetings and send letters to our school board representative,
Betty Patu; School Board President, Kay Smith-Blum; Sally Bagshaw, Chair of the City Council committee responsible for the Neighborhood Greenways; and any other elected or appointed officials you believe may be interested in this proposal.

I’m confident we can help Seattle Public Schools find a solution to the problem that works well for communities. I’m confident that Beacon Hill will work with Georgetown, Mt. Baker, Seward Park and other South Seattle neighborhoods to create a plan that meets the needs of students while maintaining strong communities. We must.

Please note: all opinions expressed or implied in this message are Melissa’s own and do not reflect the position of the North Beacon Hill Council or the NBHC Board. This topic is on the council agenda for Tuesday, October 1. Please attend the meeting at 7 p.m. at the Beacon Hill Library and share your ideas. (Melissa adds: “The NBHC does actually agree that Beacon Hill is awesome. That’s an official position.”)


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Help music students at BHIS by donating instruments

September 21st, 2013 at 4:26 am | 2 Comments | Posted by Wendi Dunlap

That old dusty violin or clarinet in your attic could help fifth-graders who want to learn to play.

Beacon Hill International School is seeking donated trumpets, clarinets, flutes, and violins (1/2- or 1/4-size only) for the 45 students who want to study music. The school has only a few instruments to lend, and many students who cannot afford to rent or purchase.

If you have an instrument to donate, please drop it off in the front office at 2021 14th Ave. S. on North Beacon Hill.

Photo by Pete + Lynne via Flickr/Creative Commons.


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Denise Louie preschool wins $126K grant

July 24th, 2013 at 2:22 pm | 1 Comment | Posted by Wendi Dunlap

denise_louieDenise Louie Education Center at 3327 Beacon Ave. S. is one of three Seattle preschools who will share $470,000 in funding from the 2011 Families and Education Levy as part of the City of Seattle’s Step Ahead preschool program. (The school also has branches in the International District and Rainier Beach.)

The funding will increase slots at Denise Louie for 20 children to attend part-time, for a total grant of $126,240. Denise Louie was one of nine preschools applying for the funds, which were intended to serve low- and moderate-income families of three- and four-year-old children who live in the attendance areas of Seattle elementary schools that are eligible for Families and Education Levy funding.

Slots are available at Denise Louie and the other Step Ahead preschools for the coming school year. To be eligible, children must be three or four years old by August 31, 2013, must live in Seattle city limits, and their family must meet the income guidelines based on family size. See the web page for more information.


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Orca Reading Club welcomes Beacon Hill kids

July 18th, 2013 at 9:56 pm | 4 Comments | Posted by Wendi Dunlap

Neighborhood kids are invited to take part in the Orca Reading Club at the Beacon Hill and Columbia City libraries. All kids are welcome; it’s not limited to Orca students. Books will be provided, and students will work toward prices including books and entries into a raffle for lunch with Mayor McGinn.

Upcoming reading club meetings are scheduled for:

  • July 19, 10-11:30 a.m., Beacon Hill Library
  • July 30, 6-7:30 p.m., Columbia City Library
  • August 16, 10-11:30 a.m., Beacon Hill Library
  • August 27, 6-7:30 p.m., Columbia City Library

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Kids’ summer reading club starts 6/18

June 17th, 2013 at 8:16 pm | 4 Comments | Posted by Wendi Dunlap

Children’s books photo by Svadilfari via Creative Commons/Flickr.

Kids need something to do this summer? Neighbor Dayna writes to tell us about a summer reading club that kicks off tomorrow, June 18:

A few Orca K8 parents have started a summer reading club that will meet in both the Beacon Hill and Columbia City Libraries over the summer. Schedule is below. Meeting times will be in both the morning and evening, 2 times a month. Our primary goal is to provide a space for friends — old and new — to gather and read together!! Our secondary goal is to provide a place for Orca parents to read with kids who may be struggling and will benefit from extra summer reading help. The Reading Club is not officially sponsored by Orca K-8 or by the Seattle Public Library. We are just a few moms of Orca kids who love reading, and love our children. Many of us have spent time in the classroom reading with our kids’ classmates, and we want to continue supporting them throughout the summer. We also want to keep up the culture of reading that our fabulous Orca educators have instilled in our kids!

What will we do?

Since the moms starting the reading club are moms of incoming 2nd graders, many of the readers will be that age. However, older and younger siblings will also be there, all reading together. Students will be reading together in groups or by themselves, and Orca parents will be there to help emerging readers. We will keep track of the books we read on the SPL Summer Reading program chart, and after 10 books the library will give us a prize! Prizes from SPL will include a book and entries into a raffle for a lunch with the mayor! All kids are welcome, from all schools and all grades. Please join us, and spread the word!

The reading club meeting schedule is:

  • June 18th, 6-7:30 pm, Columbia City Library
  • June 28th, 10-11:30 am, Beacon Hill Library
  • July 19th, 10-11:30 am, Beacon Hill Library
  • July 30th, 6-7:30 pm, Columbia City Library
  • August 16th, 10-11:30 am, Beacon Hill Library
  • August 27th 6-7:30 pm, Columbia City Library

Questions? Email Dayna (mom of an incoming Orca Kindergartener and 2nd grader) at readingclub@ross154.net
Also, see our blog.


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Beacon Mountain to reopen soon

May 6th, 2013 at 6:33 pm | 3 Comments | Posted by Wendi Dunlap

Families enjoyed the Beacon Mountain playground when it was open last summer.

With the recent fine weather, a few neighbors have been wondering what’s up with the Beacon Mountain playground at Jefferson Park, and when it will reopen.

Andy Sheffer at Seattle Parks and Recreation says:

I have the fencing scheduled to be removed next Tuesday, May 14th. At that point the entire park will be open and the spray park will be in operation starting Memorial Day, 5/27/13 (Date when all spray parks open). The following work has been performed:

  1. Slope fortification
  2. Installation of curbs along pathways to prevent mulch from entering spray park system.
  3. Replacement of portions of concrete surfacing to enhance amt. of water re-circulated in the spray park.
  4. Mechanical enhancements to ensure smooth operation of spray park.
  5. Replacement of long open slide with a tubular slide.
  6. Installation of additional site furnishings.
  7. Installation of additional stepping stones in areas where desire paths appeared.

The following work is getting wrapped up this week.

  1. Installation of replacement safety surfacing associated with the installation of the new slide.
  2. Planting.
  3. General clean-up.

Please feel free to call me anytime at 206.423.1917 with any additional questions or concerns.


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Beacon Hill kids to perform in Swan Lake

April 12th, 2013 at 4:14 am | 1 Comment | Posted by Wendi Dunlap

The Pacific Northwest Ballet production of Swan Lake starts tonight and runs through April 21 at McCaw Hall. It features 24 students from the Pacific Northwest Ballet School, including three young performers from the Beacon Hill area.

Beacon Hill kids performing in the production include:

Amanda Allen, a fifth-grader from Maple Elementary School, will play the role of Waltz Girl.
Alexis Calonge, a fifth-grader at Dearborn Park, will play a Persian Attendant.
Lucas Galvan, a fourth-grader at Dearborn Park, will play a Page.

Congratulations and best wishes to these talented Beacon Hill dancers!


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See, hear, walk and create at Kimball Art Walk 4/11

April 9th, 2013 at 3:59 am | 4 Comments | Posted by Wendi Dunlap

Kimball Art Walk 2013This Thursday afternoon, April 11, is a great time to take a walk on Beacon Avenue for the Second Annual Kimball Elementary School Art Walk. From 3:30 to 5 p.m., businesses on Beacon Avenue between Tippe and Drague (3315 Beacon Avenue South) and Beacon Hill Dental Associates (3051 Beacon Avenue South) will display art by Kimball students. Businesses participating will be marked with bright, colorful flags.

The street will also be lined with booths featuring art activities, and the school choir and ukulele band will perform. All neighbors are invited to see, hear and make some art with the Kimball community and friends.


View Kimball Art Walk 2013 in a larger map


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