Seattle School Board Member Betty Patu, who represents District VII (most of Southeast Seattle) on the Board, is hosting a community meeting this Saturday, September 24, from 10 a.m. until noon at Tully’s Coffee, 4400 Rainier Ave. S. (the corner of Rainier and Genesee, next to Walgreens). This is an informal drop-in opportunity to discuss our local schools with Patu.
The community meetings are held each month. The next two meetings are scheduled for Saturday, October 29, and Saturday, November 19, from 10 a.m. until noon at the same Tully’s.
He discusses the potential changes in the student demographics and some of the challenges the STEM students may face, including budget cuts, transportation issues, and a staff that will probably need to adjust to the school’s changes themselves. According to Mas, staff members at the open house at times seemed unprepared for the possibility that many of the STEM students will be working at or beyond grade level and will want to take advanced courses in subjects such as world languages.
However, Mas also describes what he sees as positive aspects of this new program on Beacon Hill:
“My daughter is looking for a small school, and I am convinced that STEM will be small. She is looking for project-based learning and they are definitely going to have that. She wants to escape the ‘Discovery’ math, and it looks like STEM will offer an escape from it. She is looking for a lot of science, and oh boy will she have that.”
To set up the STEM program, the District may spend $800,000 for curriculum and training from the New Technology Network, a network of schools with a STEM focus. Some, including School Board President Michael DeBell, are not certain this expenditure is necessary in a time of tight budgets.
The Times quotes Cleveland principal Princess Shareef, who feels the New Technology Network support is vital: “If we want to do this correctly, we’re going to need the professional development that the New Technology Network affords. I hope, hope, hope that the board approves it.”
Starting in Fall 2010, Cleveland will not be a neighborhood “comprehensive” high school, but instead an “option” school, open to everyone in the District. The STEM program will be phased in for freshmen and sophomores in the classes of 2013 and 2014, while juniors and seniors will be enrolled in a College Readiness Academy.
Do you recognize this dog? Know where he belongs? He’s a rather timid and skittish and probably really wants to be home. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you can help get him there.
On the flip side of “found”, Kazi the orange tabby cat has been missing from his home near the Jefferson Park golf course since Sunday. He may be wearing a blue “stinky cat”-labeled collar. If you’ve seen him, please contact his owner through this Craigslist posting.
Dayna P writes with a question about organizing a trash pickup effort on her block:
Hi. I’m a neighbor on 13th Ave S by Maple Park and recently walked to a friend’s house on 12th Ave, towards downtown. I just couldn’t believe the amount of trash on the street… really awful! I’m wondering if anyone out there is interested in helping me organize a neighborhood trash pickup day. I’ve never done anything like this, so don’t know the best way to go about it. Anyone out there want to help get this going? Does anyone know if the city/parks dept has any programs that help this kind of effort?
The Seattle Public Library is seeking Homework Helpers for the 2009-2010 school year. Homework Helpers assist elementary, middle and high school students with understanding homework assignments, developing study skills and learning approaches for solving math problems. English is a second language for the majority of the students. Homework Helpers are asked to assist students for just two hours per week throughout the school year, some time Monday through Thursday, between 4 and 8pm. Openings are available at many south-end branches, including the Beacon Hill branch. For more information and to request a volunteer application, please contact Anne Vedella, Volunteer Services Coordinator, at email@example.com by Friday, August 14. Interviews will take place in August. They’re also looking for “Talk Time facilitators” at the Beacon Hill branch — contact Anne about that, as well.
Some strange things are afoot on 14th. Kara on the mailing list wrote yesterday:
We seem to have some suspicious activity going on at 14th Ave S and S Nevada. There is a red Toyota Corolla that waits at the intersection for a “delivery” from someone on foot or in a black extended cab Toyota Tacoma. They make an exchange and away they go. We’ve seen it twice in the last month, most recently this evening (Monday) around 9pm.
I suspect that it is drugs. We have reported it to SPD. If anyone else sees these vehicles hanging around PLEASE report to 911.
Three burglary suspects were caught (and one remains at large) following a break-in at a home in the 4100 block of 13th Avenue South on Friday, reports the SPD Blotter. That didn’t make much of an impact, however. Hazel mentioned on the mailing list and in a post on her blog about another break-in which occurred not too far away at her home, 20th and Spokane on Saturday. Any recommendations for security companies? The question has come up on the list since.
Travis posted several interesting neighborhood-related blog entries over the weekend, including a firsthand account of attempted plant theft from the landscaping around the new Beacon Hill light rail station and the strange appearance of an SPU trailer near Daejeon Park.
I wonder if we’ll see anything like this with our new Residential (or Restricted) Parking Zone: A comparison of what it’s like just inside and outside the RPZ near Swedish Cherry Hill from Central District News.
(Updated 8/5 to correct attribution. Sorry, Laura and Travis!)
The Seattle School Board voted this week to approve final recommendations for a new student assignment plan. Under the new plan, students will have initial school assignments based on their home address. They will still have the option to apply to other schools, and open choice seats will be available at all high schools.
Assignment area boundaries have not yet been defined; the assignment maps will be made available for public comment this fall.
A separate motion relevant to Beacon Hill proposed that Cleveland High School be designated as an “option school” under the new assignment plan. Cleveland’s STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) program would then be open to applications from students throughout the District. According to the District, STEM high schools “offer a four-year course of study with a focus on preparing students for academing and professional futures in science, technology, engineering and math.”
Since a STEM school would not necessarily be the right choice for all students living in the Cleveland attendance area, designating it as an Option would allow these students to have a comprehensive attendance-area high school option while still having access to Cleveland’s STEM program if they wish.
The Board is scheduled to vote on the Cleveland motion on July 1.
With the coming departure of Cheryl Chow, longtime Beacon Hill neighbor Charlie Mas has announced he is again in the running for the office of Seattle Public Schools Board Director, a position he was a candidate for back in 2001.
I’m running for the Board because I want to do the work. The Board’s duties of making policy, overseeing the management of the District, providing accountability and representing the public aren’t getting done. If the voters let me, I’ll do the job.
I want the District to walk the talk. Standing up for accountability and community engagement are positive and supportive of the direction the District is trying to take.