Central District students walk out to say annual teacher reshuffling unfairly targets Seattle’s ‘marginalized’ schools

Seattle school kids led by students at E Cherry’s Nova High School marched on City Hall Tuesday afternoon to protest the district’s enrollment-driven teacher transfer process and its effect on schools with strong LGBTQ, and student of color populations.

“We are marching and walking down to Seattle City Hall just to show that we stand with our teachers as much as they stand with us,” senior Casey Thomas told CHS about the walkout and rally. Thomas and student organizers say the district’s transfer of teachers targets marginalized students. “Schools up north are not being targeted,” Thomas said. Continue reading

Nova High students plan walkout against annual Seattle Schools teacher reshuffling

(Image via @cmkshama)

District 3 rep Kshama Sawant has joined students at Nova to call for a midday walkout Tuesday in protest of the loss of teachers at the E Cherry alternative high school.

The eliminated positions are part of the annual reshuffling at Seattle Public Schools after the start of the school year based on student attendance at individual schools and across the SPS system. In a statement, SPS said no jobs were being eliminated as teachers are transferred around the district from under-enrolled schools to schools with more students than planned. Enrollment across the city is about 700 students short of the district’s projections.

Students calling for the Tuesday walkout and march to Seattle City Hall say 33 teachers face transfers this year.

New SPS superintendent Denise Juneau, meanwhile, will hold her Central Seattle stop on a “listening and learning” tour next month. “Ultimately, community discussions will become the foundation of a revised strategic plan that maps the district’s course for the coming years,” the announcement reads. “A summary of the Listening and Learning Tour findings will be published in November 2018.”

Tuesday, October 2, 5:30 – 8 p.m.

  • Town Hall for Students: 5:30 – 6:10 p.m.
  • Central Town Hall: 6:30 – 8 p.m.

Co-hosted with Seattle’s Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs
Location: Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center
104 17th Ave. S, Seattle, WA 98144

Macklemore, Michael Bennett team up with Garfield educator to put Teaching for Black Lives book in every school in Seattle

Hagopian, Bennett, and Macklemore (Image courtesy Rethinking Schools)

An all-star team including Macklemore and Garfield High educator and activist Jesse Hagopian has come together to make sure copies of Teaching for Black Lives — “a handbook for creating the sweeping reform of our education system and equitable teaching strategies for Black students”– are in every middle and high school in the Seattle Public School system. Continue reading

With one-year deal for teachers, new $600M+ Seattle education levy and next round of negotiations loom

This November, Seattle voters will vote on a new education levy hoped to open the “school to opportunity pipeline” with more than $600 million in local funding. It will be a crucial vote for spending and maintenance at Seattle Public Schools —  and it is likely to shape negotiations that are all but guaranteed to be contentious after the union representing Seattle’s public school educators voted Saturday to approve a new one-year contract.

Saturday’s vote followed the tentative agreement on a new deal based around a 10.5% raise and paid five days of family leave that averted a Seattle teacher strike last week. Continue reading

CHS Pics | ‘Honk for teachers’ — UPDATE: Tentative agreement

 District officials said Friday they are hopeful for a tentative agreement this weekend after the union representing teachers and educators at Seattle Public Schools said it is prepared to strike.

UPDATE 9/1/2018 6:45 AM: Both sides announced a tentative agreement in the negotiations Friday night. The full announcement from SPS is below.

Thursday afternoon on Capitol Hill, CHS found a group gathered on the corner of 19th and Galer outside Stevens Elementary to bring attention to their push for increased wages for teachers, librarians, and other school staff. Continue reading

Seattle teachers contract negotiations continue

(Image: SEA)

Seattle Public Schools says scheduled negotiations on a new contract for the district’s more than 3,000 educators ended Saturday without a deal but parents shouldn’t be scrambling to be ready for a strike just yet.

In a statement from the district, officials said they still think a deal will be worked out before Seattle public school kids return to campus after Labor Day:

Scheduled negotiations between the Seattle Education Association (SEA) and Seattle Public Schools (SPS) ended Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018, without a tentative agreement. The hard working joint team has made good progress on many issues of common interest and on the difficult budget and compensation issues that confront us in Seattle Public Schools. Continue reading

‘We don’t want to do that’ — Following rare strike in 2015, Seattle Schools, teachers work on new deal

A 2015 picket outside Garfield High during the first Seattle teachers strike in 30 years (Image: CHS)

With just two weeks before students are set to arrive, Seattle Public Schools and the Seattle Education Association (SEA) are still hashing out details of a new contract for the more than 3,200 educators in the district.

“I know that for many of us we are feeling the crunch of time now,” Laura Lehni, an eighth grade social studies teacher at Washington Middle School, said.

While strides have been made on student safety, race and equity concerns, and the size of school nursing staffs, the discussion regarding compensation for educators has moved slowly. Both sides desperately want to avoid the heightened tensions that led to a five-day strike in 2015.

“We don’t want to do that, but we also need a competitive professional wage,” SEA president Phyllis Campano said. Continue reading

Capitol Hill’s Holy Names hopes changes to underground parking plan help move project forward

A rendering of the new gym planned to sit atop the controversial underground parking at Holy Names

Some neighbors continue to oppose the project but Holy Names Academy is hoping changes to its plan for a new five-level underground parking garage and a new surface parking lot on its North Capitol Hill campus will help move the project forward with city planners.

In a letter sent to neighbors of the private, all-girls high school, the academy announced it was eliminating plans for an entrance to the underground garage on 21st Ave, a city greenway route, and moving the planned new gym and garage “slightly to the east” to preserve more of the existing lawn and green space. CHS first reported on the proposal here in January.

“One of the issues raised about our proposed Project concerned the compatibility of the Greenway on 21st Avenue with a Garage entrance/exit on that street,” head of school Liz Swift tells CHS about the latest changes. Continue reading

With its new Cardinal Union ‘vertically-oriented middle school’ nearly complete, Capitol Hill’s Seattle Academy also eyes 12th Ave expansion

Tuesday night, seniors at Capitol Hill’s Seattle Academy of Arts and Sciences celebrated their commencement ceremony as the school year comes to a close. Next fall, the private secondary education institution’s middle schoolers will be the first to attend class in the brand new $48 million Cardinal Union building that now rises with its mix of grey- and cream-colored bricks at the school’s 13th Ave corner.

“One of the things we really wanted to focus on was what makes for a great middle school building, and that’s integration and connection between separate spaces,” Rob Phillips, Seattle Academy’s head of school said about the new building. “We talked a lot about how middle school is like the estuary of a river, meaning the building would have features of an estuary so middle school kids could get in the main current that moves them towards high school, and sometimes they could eddy out and have a physical space they can go to get out of the fray of middle school.” Continue reading

On a Capitol Hill campus, a training ground for social justice

Vero Berrera-Kolb at work

Students at Seattle Central College got what they’ve been asking for this school year when the campus inaugurated a degree emphasis in Equity and Social Justice (ESJ).

“Students wanted to get credit for emphasizing on these issues,” said faculty member Vero Barrera-Kolb, who helped create the program. According to the SCC, achieving the emphasis will give students a demonstrated interest in subjects surrounding “human diversity, including race, class, gender, sexuality, ability, religion, and more – with a focus on social justice and change.”

Clarissa Lunday, who was enrolled in LGBTQ studies class taught by Barrera-Kolb, was eager to be part of the new program. “One of my biggest goals is to become a lobbyist for women’s and sexual orientation rights and this emphasis will help with that,” she said. Continue reading