Parents of Beacon Hill youngsters should note: Kimball Elementary School is hosting a Kindergarten Open House tomorrow, February 17, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. There will be an overview of kindergarten and of Kimball’s program.
Don’t forget to keep your eye on the BHB Events page to see what’s coming up on the Hill. We’d like to draw your attention to a few of this week’s events listed there.
Tonight is El Centro de la Raza’s Día de los Muertos Opening Ceremony. This year’s theme is “A Tribute to Las Adelitas: Revolutionary Women of Strength and Courage.” Dinner is served at 5:30 pm, and the reception ceremony begins at 6:30. Admission and food are free. The Ofrenda exhibit will continue from November 2 through November 19, open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm, and on Wednesday from noon to 8:00 pm. El Centro is located at 2524 16th Avenue South.
At 6:00 pm tonight, Asa Mercer Middle School is hosting a School Superintendent Coffee Chat, one of a series of chats with Superintendent Maria L. Goodloe-Johnson, open to all parents, grandparents and caregivers of Seattle Public Schools students. Mercer is located at 1600 South Columbian Way.
Then at 7:00 pm, Beacon Hill Music is holding an organizing meeting. They say “There are a lot of possibilities for music on Beacon Hill, including the brand new Jefferson Park with a beautiful amphitheater just waiting for musicians, possibly a beat walk, possibly almost anything. During the next few months Beacon Hill Music will need to pick what opportunities to pursue and determine the steps to turn those ideas into actual events. We are asking you to join in and make stuff happen on Beacon Hill.” The meeting is at 2900 22nd Avenue South (the green house on the corner of 22nd and Forest). For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Paul at 206-658-3622.
Later this week the monthly Café con El Centro returns on Thursday morning, November 4, from 8:00 – 9:00 am. Meet at El Centro for café, pan dulce, and a tour of the El Centro building and programs to learn more about the “Beloved Community.” RSVP by calling 206-957-4652, or email email@example.com.
On Thursday evening at 5:00 pm, there is an Art in International Education fundraising event at Fisher Pavilion, 305 Harrison Street (Seattle Center), for Beacon Hill International School and the four other International Schools in the city. The event will feature silent and live auctions, as well as a dinner prepared by chef Kaspar Donier. Tickets start at $35; for more information, contact Dick Lee at firstname.lastname@example.org or 206-252-0476.
Also Thursday night is North Beacon Hill Council‘s monthly meeting at the Beacon Hill Library. Watch this blog for the agenda when we have it.
The Beacon Hill Merchants group will meet on Friday morning, November 5, at 10:00 am at Inay’s, 2503 Beacon Avenue South. The group reports:
“At our last meeting we approved our bylaws, and as we approach the end of the year we must complete the work that is being paid for by our city grant. One large part of this is being primarily done by our graphic designer Nityia Przewlocki, as she finishes the logo design we’ll continue with the development of a brochure with a walking map, and then a website as well. Another portion of our grant is going for board development and training, and our board trainer Angela Powell should be attending this meeting. While we do have the minimum of five committed potential board members, having seven (or more!) would put us in a stronger position, so please step forward if you think could bring skills or resources to the table and help the Beacon Hill business community. The bylaws and some of the bios are up on the Google group site here. Anyone can join the Google group right now and we encourage members to do just that.”
Finally, Saturday is the Fifth Annual Green Seattle Day. Three forest restoration sites on the Hill will be hosting work parties that day from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm: Lewis Park, Cheasty Greenspace, and the Maple School Ravine. Register at the greenseattle.org website.
Seattle Public Schools Family and Community Engagement Symposium, 9:00 am to 3:30 pm at Aki Kurose Middle School, 3928 South Graham Street — free workshops on helping your child with math, science, reading, writing, dealing with bullying, and college and career readiness with keynote speaker Dr. Susan Enfield; breakfast (8:30 am), lunch, and childcare provided.
Wednesday, April 28:
International Children’s Day celebration, 5:00 to 8:00 pm at El Centro de la Raza, 2524 16th Avenue South, featuring children’s activities and cultural games, refreshments, and presentations; for more info contact Enrique Gonzalez at 206-957-4605 or email email@example.com.
Paul Ray writes about a potential activity for the new Festival Street:
“With the opening of the new Beacon Hill Festival Street, some of us were inspired to see if we could organize a music series at that location, perhaps emphasizing Beacon Hill musicians. We have scheduled our first organizing meeting for Tuesday January 5 at 7:00 pm. Thanks to Jessie and Marti the meeting will be at ROCKiT space (3315 Beacon Avenue South). This is the first meeting so we will be starting with the basics: what are we trying to do? How will we do it? Anyone interested in the idea of a music series at the new Beacon Hill Festival Street is invited to attend.”
* * *
Speaking of ROCKiT space, we are told they are now holding an open mic every Saturday night from 7:00 to 10:00 pm. Jessie says, “This is a very casual sort of thing, open to all, and we welcome any art form you’d like to share.” As mentioned above, they are at 3315 Beacon Avenue South.
Baja Bistro, 2414 Beacon Avenue South, has just been approved for a change in license type to “Restaurant / lounge — spirits, beer and wine (50 percent or more dining).”
* * *
Dayna writes about a lost kitty:
Has anyone taken in a rather large tabby cat the past week, or slipped him some food? Don’t have a pic at the moment, but he is a grey/black/dark colored male tabby, on the larger side. He’s an inside/outside cat who often catches his own food and isn’t tagged because he’s a master at losing his collar. He hasn’t been around for about a week. His name is Simon. He lives near Maple Park in the south part of Beacon Hill, on the corner of 13th Ave S and Angeline. His family was on vacation over Christmas and the house-sitters rarely saw him…. Now his family returned and he hasn’t emerged! If you have any info, please contact Dayna at firstname.lastname@example.org.
* * *
Local acupuncture clinic CommuniChi will offer free acupuncture to all new patients on January 16, in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the legacy of the civil rights movement. More info can be found on their website.
* * *
Seattle Public Schools now has 174 National Board-certified teachers, with 57 earning their certification during 2009. Beacon Hill International School led the 2009 pack with 6 teachers earning certification: Elizabeth Alexakos, Susan Fluegel, Heather Graves, Kyle Okada, Andrew Pickard, and Mary Thompson. Other Beacon Hill-area teachers earned their certification during 2009: at Kimball Elementary, Nancy Kiser and Kristina Thorp. At Mercer Middle School, Susannah Fenger. At Van Asselt, Sarah Clemmons, Bernard McDonough, and Nancy Howard. And at Franklin High School, Howard Steele.
After my article was posted on the Beacon Hill Blog, I heard that a fellow Beacon Hill International School parent had seen translated materials about the Student Assignment Plan. I contacted her, and she said she had handed them out at one of the community information meetings, and they’d had interpreters, too. She referred me to Bernardo Ruiz, who is the Family and Community Engagement Manager. I wrote to him and heard back the next day, a thorough answer. To make a long story short, he said, “The following link will take you to the website where these translations have been posted and are available: http://www.seattleschools.org/area/newassign/resources.html.”
I looked, and backtracked to see how one would get there. I found that someone would first go to the New Student Assignment button, which is big and bright on the home page. That would take them to a page entirely in English. They would need to know somehow that “Learn More”, which is one of 15 generic-looking small buttons, would lead to the translations. Very most likely, one would come to the conclusion, as did I, that the info is not available. I suggested to Mr. Ruiz that they not hide the translations under pages of nothing but English and an undescriptive label, and then I asked him if he’d please tell the District office where to tell callers to find it.
He wrote back right away, saying that he’d talk to the English Language Learner Department about posting these materials more accessibly in their website. And he said, “Also, I will talk to our Customer Service Department to ensure that we provide accurate information to our families and stakeholders.”
Where was this guy when I was looking for him?
(Do you have an opinion about a Beacon Hill issue? We are always interested in opinion posts from the community. Send us your thoughts at email@example.com.)
My son is a first grader at Beacon Hill International School. It’s a dream come true for us, and we felt very lucky that though it was not our reference area school (we live 1.8 miles north of the school), after a month on the waiting list he got in. We were doubly happy that our son’s little brother will be able to join his big brother at BHIS in a few years.
Or so we thought.
Though I had heard rumblings about a change in the school assignment system, I had no information about it until I saw a posting on Madrona Moms last spring. The new Student Assignment Plan, evidently years in development, quietly eliminated the sibling priority for enrollment. The plan to make the schools neighborhood schools would break up thousands of SPS families into two different elementary schools, or would force families to pull their older child out of his or her school to be able to attend the neighborhood school with the incoming kindergartener.
We have been trying to get the word out at our school. It’s greatly complicated by the diversity of languages at students’ homes. Only about half of the students’ families speak English at home. My husband got letters to the school board translated into Mandarin and Spanish, and families from those cultures signed them. Our school’s principal pointed out that over the years many Beacon Hill Elementary School families from outside the reference area chose the school because of its strong support for English language learners.
In June, the School Board voted to approve the new Student Assignment Plan. But, due entirely to the growing outcry by parents, they addressed the question of grandfathering in younger siblings of currently enrolled students by promising to consider a transition plan this fall, after the new boundaries are released and voted on. Continue reading Opinion: School assignment plan lost in translation→
October is International Walk to School Month, and local non-profit organization Feet First is observing the event by forming “walking school buses” at Muir Elementary School on “Walking Wednesdays.” Families, students and teachers will meet at designated locations and walk together to school. Walking groups leave at 8:40 a.m. from Safeway’s parking lot (behind Silver Fork), 33rd Avenue and Bayview (north of McClellan), Hunter Boulevard and South Hanford, and the Mt. Baker light rail station.
* * *
We hear that Yoga On Beacon, at 3013 Beacon Ave South, is two years old as of October 1st. Happy birthday!
* * *
The King County Council Town Hall YouTube channel has posted video from last week’s public transit town hall meeting at the Rainier Vista Boys and Girls Club — unfortunately, the video’s just a one-minute collage with music and not very much context, and doesn’t give more than a hint of what the event was really like, or of the anger expressed by many Southeast Seattle residents who spoke that evening about the way recent bus route changes have affected their lives. Update: Al Sanders and Frank Abe from the Council pointed us to the full video of the meeting now available on their website as of this morning. Thanks guys!
* * *
Seattle Public Schools have posted the proposed new Student Assignment Plan. In the plan, students attending Beacon Hill International School would continue to Mercer Middle School, which would probably become an international School itself. Cleveland High School would become a math and science option school, open to students from the entire district — Seattle Times
* * *
The city has released its updated snow plan, mapping which streets will be plowed in the event of snowfall. If you want to express your opinions on the plan, a neighborhood meeting to discuss it will be on October 20, 7:00 pm, at Jefferson Community Center. — Beacon Hill KOMO, West Seattle Blog
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.
Van Asselt Elementary on South Beacon Hill opened as a 4-room schoolhouse one hundred years ago, in 1909. Since then, the school has served thousands of children, as well as the larger Beacon Hill community.
This year is Van Asselt’s final year at the original site, as the school district has decided to close the Van Asselt building and move the program to a new location at the current African-American Academy site, further south on Beacon Avenue.
To mark this bittersweet occasion, the community, former staff and students, and current and future Van Asselt families are invited to a 100th Anniversary celebration and reunion on June 12, from 4:30 – 7:30 pm at the school, 7201 Beacon Avenue South. The event will include an open house and tours by students and staff in historical costumes, musical performances, speeches from community leaders and students, historical displays, and a cake and snack reception.
Lissa Munger from Van Asselt says, “We’re also collecting stories and memories from Van Asselt’s past. These can be sent to me (firstname.lastname@example.org), or to VanAsselt100@gmail.com. ”
The photo to the right is of a particular Van Asselt memory, a 1921 annual, that we discovered recently.
The Totem Annual, Volume II, June 1921, is a collection of mimeographed pages in a construction paper cover. It was produced by the seventh grade class that year, and the staff included Editor-in-Chief Helen Mance, department editors Elizabeth Wallace, James Scott, Arlee Baer, Martha Hansen, and Walter White, and illustrator Tom Petersen. The students included poems, historical drama, book reviews, and dreams of their futures. Unlike some school annuals, this one doesn’t contain student pictures.
Several local middle school students have been chosen for Mayor’s Scholars Awards for service to their schools and communities. Criteria for selection include overcoming obstacles or meeting challenges, giving back to the community, and maintaining good academic standing. To compete for the award, students wrote essays about how they contribute to the community, and how they would use the cash award. In addition, they provided recommendations from adults familiar with their service work.
Each winner will receive $500 that can be used for education or donated to a charity, and a Mayor’s Scholar letter jacket.
Gizelle Gando, an 8th grade student at Mercer MS, volunteers at church as an altar server, sets up the parish hall for special events, and helps her younger brother with his reading. Gizelle’s favorite subjects are science and math. Last summer, through the Technology Access Foundation, she learned how to start and successfully manage a business. About college, Gizelle says, “My goal is to go to college to get that very special treasure — an education — a treasure that no one can take away from you.”
Daniel Gonzalez learned how to fix bikes and continues to do so at Bikeworks, a group that donates bikes to foster kids. Learning this skill has fostered his interest in an engineering career. He understands that a college education willl help him improve his family’s lives. As the oldest son in a fatherless household, Daniel has assumed many responsibilities, including translating for his mother and grandmother. A 6th grade student at Mercer MS, Danny is a mentor at his brother’s elementary school where he helps other kids learn to read.
An 8th grade student at Mercer MS, Adriana Meraz-Gonzalez is in a motivational youth group called Latino Dream, which encourages all students to avoid negativity and better themselves. Adriana presented a resolution to the School Board on behalf of undocumented students that choose higher education and, because of her testimony, the school board passed that resolution. She met with local District Representatives to share her ideas on solutions to immigration, student struggles and youth violence/gang involvement issues. Adriana said she has faced a lot of racism which has fueled her educational pursuits.
A 6th grade student at The New School @ Columbia, Jessica Walters shows leadership by singlehandedly organizing a 6th grade dance and donating the proceeds to charity. She helps other students and participates in an after school program and church choir. Jessica dreams of becoming a singer/songwriter and recognizes the importance of education to help with her goal. Jessica’s teacher says, “She has dealt with every obstacle society can throw at her and still maintains a sunny disposition and always does her best work in school.”
Congratulations to Gizelle, Daniel, Adriana, and Jessica!