Free Family Weekend Walk: Swing into Spring

How do we know the seasons are changing? What lets us know that spring is on its way? Clues can be found all around us—especially outside! Adventure to the Washington Park Arboretum to embark on this seasonal investigation with us.

Bring the whole family for an hour and half themed walk. During this free public tour, we will stop along the way for games, hands-on activities and learning geared toward children (2-12 years old) and their caregivers. Tour groups gather in front of the Graham Visitors Center at 1:00pm, 2nd and 4th Saturdays February-June.

Now a teen, Children’s Film Festival Seattle celebrates all-ages cinema on 12th Ave

While we’re talking about a new kid-friendly hangout added to Capitol Hill, let’s talk about one of the neighborhood’s greatest ongoing kid events. The Children’s Film Festival Seattle returns to the Northwest Film Forum later this month. Like most things child-oriented in Seattle, parents need to get on the ball early to make sure their wee ones have spots at the pancake table:

The family-friendly extravaganza celebrates the best and brightest in international cinema that is age-appropriate for ages 2-14, and will include 168 films from 55 nations, spanning the globe from North to South America, Africa, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. The festival includes animation and live-action shorts, features, and hands-on filmmaking workshops, all crafted with care to appeal to a wide range of age groups.

This year’s festival runs January 25th to February 10th with screenings at NWFF’s 12th Ave theater following an opening night party at the Egyptian.

Children’s Film Festival Seattle 2018

“We want children to come to the festival not only to be entertained by funny and fantastic films, but also to discover common ground, to build empathy and envision their places in the wider world,” director Elizabeth Shepherd said in this year’s announcement of the 13th year for the film fest. Continue reading

Free Family Weekend Walk: Winter Safari

Did you know that there is something amazing to see and explore in the Washington Park Arboretum all year round? Get outside and play some winter nature games and activities with us while we take advantage of all the wonder winter has to offer!

Bring the whole family for an hour and half themed walk. During this free public tour, we will stop along the way for games, hands-on activities and learning geared toward children (2-12 years old) and their caregivers. Tour groups gather in front of the Graham Visitors Center at 1:00pm, 2nd and 4th Saturdays February-June.

Free, no preregistration necessary.

The most pressing issues for Seattle Public Schools in 2018: ethnic studies, superintendent search, and, yes, money

With two up for grabs vacant positions on the Seattle School Board filled following November’s election, new leadership at Seattle Public Schools is gearing up for a jam-packed 2018 with contentious issues such as contract negotiations with the teacher’s union.

“It’s never a dull moment [in Seattle public school news],” said Melissa Westbrook, a longtime watchdog of Seattle schools who blogs regularly at Seattle Public Schools Community Blog. “It’s become much more political and it’s become much larger than one district.”

Funding and teacher union contract bargaining: An overarching issue for Seattle public schools in recent years has been a lack of adequate funding: In 2012, the state Supreme Court ruled that the state wasn’t spending enough money to fully fund k-12 public schools across Washington and was forcing school district to rely on local property tax levies—otherwise known as the McCleary order. As a result, local levies and Parent Teacher Association fundraising have long tried to fill the funding gap, and the union representing Seattle Teachers, the Washington Education Association, went on strike demanding higher wages and other investments during the 2015 contract negotiations.

While the state legislature passed a tax and spend plan last legislative session that uses a statewide property tax to fund education, the Supreme Court recently ruled that the state needed to speed up its funding allocation to meet their imposed September 2018 deadline. (In response, Governor Jay Inslee announced that he will tap state reserves and seek to impose a carbon tax to appease the ruling.)

However, the new spending plan creates its own issues for the district, according to Westbrook. “One of the pressing issues is how much money are they actually going to get from state … all the districts have been complaining about how they are lowering their ability to access local levy money, and that may offset the state gains,” she said.

Jesse Hagopian, a social studies teacher at Garfield High School in the Central District and longtime progressive education activist, said that while the union hasn’t set their bargaining priorities for the upcoming contract negotiations, that wage increases for teachers and other staff (such as counselors) will surely be on the table. “All of these people, [including] our lunch staff, are underpaid and have an extremely hard time making ends meet in this city,” he said. “I would hope that the union’s ready for an all out struggle for a living wage for teachers.” Continue reading

Next for E Olive Way restaurant space: International Montessori Academy

One of the more rapidly blighted empty spaces on Capitol Hill will spring back to life in 2018. The little ones who will put it to use every day will say more about Capitol Hill Station and the neighborhood’s proximity to downtown than this stretch of Capitol Hill’s nightlife growth or a new highly anticipated industry coming to the street.

The International Montessori Academy, a Bellevue-based provider of Mandarin Chinese, French, or Spanish language immersion and Montessori education for elementary school-age children, is set to begin construction to overhaul the former home of the giant Zhu Dang restaurant on E Olive Way, shuttered since late November 2015. Before its life as a restaurant, the short-lived The Social nightclub venture overhauled the building as a dance club and restaurant.

“It’s close to downtown with very easy access and there are lots of families on North Capitol Hill,” school founder Yimin Chen tells CHS about the next big project coming to E Olive Way. “People live there, people work there.”

In addition to overhauling the building to serve as a school, the academy is a major investment. A company owned by Chen purchased the 1928-built property for $4.8 million over the summer. The seller was the family behind Zhu Dang — they had paid more than $3.3 million for it in 2013. Continue reading

KUOW: District didn’t want us to visit this struggling Seattle school… on Capitol Hill

E Mercer’s Lowell Elementary (Image: CHS)

Everybody — including CHS — focused on the drama around the Lowell Elementary S Path was missing a larger, more pressing need for many students at the Capitol Hill elementary school: a place in the city to call home.

In a moving and frustrating report, KUOW documents the school’s astounding 20% homelessness rate for students and the reportedly shaky educational environment the budget-strapped school district has in place for the kids:

Lowell Elementary School sits across from million-dollar houses on a quiet street in Capitol Hill. But this school serves some of the poorest children in the city.

The percentage of homeless students in Seattle Public Schools has doubled in the past five years. As of spring, 7 percent of the student population lacked a permanent address. That number is much smaller at some schools, and much larger in others.

At Lowell, 20 percent of students were homeless at last count.

Continue reading

6th Annual Leschi Art Walk

The Leschi Business Association and Leschi Community Council are proud to present local artists, craftspersons and businesses at the 6TH Annual Art Walk and Street Fair. Participating artists include photography, painting and graphics, jewelry, glasswork, organic soaps and leather crafts.
In addition to the arts and crafts booths there will be children’s activities and a live music stage with 3 bands.

Lusio. A Night to Awaken

Please join us with all of your friends for another immersive evening of light, sound and play!

As the sun sets on August 12th, Volunteer Park will slowly come to life and “awaken” with light and sound once again.
This year Lusio will feature more than 40 local artists, 30+ light art installations, a live electronic showcase by Patchwerks, aerial performances by Apex Aerial Arts, multiple projection mapping experiences and a whole park lit up with light and love!

Wander. Relax. Play. Wonder.

Lusio is meant to be playfully experienced in 2-3 hours and is FREE family-friendly, open to all, and for one night only.
Be prepared to wander and explore the corners of the park to find the art living under trees and in the gardens. Lusio is fully intereactive, family friendly, community driven event so participation is key!



Summer Meals Kick-Off Celebration

This summer United Way will be hosting a Food Invasion Field Day at Summer Meal sites across King County! These are extra fun days packed with educational activities, games, and plenty of food for everyone. Meet us at Judkins Park on Thursday, June 29th from 12-3pm for our official Summer Meals Kick-Off celebration! What does that mean?  Even more games, prizes and lunch for all that attend! Come play soccer in the Seattle Sounder’s Octagon while Kristin the Island Girl from 103.7FM plays all your favorite throwbacks. Join in the fun and help us get the word out about summer meals sites all over King County. This is one summer event you don’t want to miss!
When: Thursday, June 29th from 12:00-3:00PM
Where: Judkins Park (2150 S Norman St, Seattle, WA)
Who: Everyone!
See the full Field Day schedule and find a Summer Meals site near you at

Madison Valley’s latest salon specializes in picking bugs out of your hair

Looking for another reason to ban children from Capitol Hill? Here is the slightly geographically challenged announcement of new Seattle “lice salon” Hair Fairies:

Seattle’s upscale Capitol Hill neighborhood, with its swanky shops, parks and cafés, might seem like a strange place for a head lice treatment salon to set up shop. But there’s Hair Fairies, nestled between a Tuscan restaurant and a French bistro on E Madison Ave, and CEO Maria Botham thinks it’s perfect. “We aren’t just any old lice clinic, we pride ourselves on being a destination for parents and kids to feel comfortable, and release some of the stigma associated with lice. Everyone can get lice – it doesn’t discriminate – and we strive to create a space that is accepting and welcoming to everyone.”

Located at 2810 E Madison, the salon gets done pretty much what you’d expect from a lice salon. But the local location for the national chain of around a dozen salons says its methods fit in with “natural” Seattle.

“We understand the importance of ‘natural’ within the Seattle culture. We use our all-natural, plant-based products to eliminate your head lice — 100% guaranteed — with no at-home combing required. Or, if you prefer to DIY, we can teach you to tackle the pesky pests yourself,” the description reads.

Besides, chemicals won’t necessarily rid your kid — and you and your kid’s friends and your friends and grandma — of lice. The bugs are doing what good bugs do — becoming increasingly resistant to the most widely used treatments.

Company founder Maria Botham tells CHS the demand for her service really knows no season — though trends do seem to cleve closely to the school year and things like summer camp season. She says moms and dads vary by market but that her West Coast locations definitely illustrate a DIY trend for parents.

“In San Francisco, Seattle, and Portland, they roll up their sleeves,” Botham said of parents fighting the bugs. If that effort can’t get the job done, Botham says, that is where Hair Fairies can help.

The service isn’t cheap. The sometimes hours-long procedures run around $105 per hour.

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