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

Police take man in reported drug crisis into custody after struggle inside Capitol Hill elementary school gym

It took four officers to subdue a man high on drugs and suffering a crisis who fought with Seattle Police after making his way inside a Capitol Hill elementary school Tuesday morning, according to emergency dispatch reports.

SPD was first contacted about the man behaving erratically outside the 19th Ave E side of the campus around 8 AM as parents dropped off kids for the school day. Just before 9 AM, the arriving officer put out a call for “fast backup” assistance as he struggled to take the man into custody inside the school’s gymnasium, according to East Precinct radio reports. Continue reading

Student walkouts planned as part of Seattle We Won’t Be Next demonstration

One of thousands at last month’s March for Our Lives against gun violence

Seattle students including kids from Capitol Hill and Central District area high schools are expected to be part of walkouts Friday for an anti-gun violence rally in Seattle’s Occidental Square.

The We Won’t Be Next campaign is seeking to bring attention to gun violence’s effect on youth beyond school shootings:

“The Parkland students’ response to the gun violence that affected their community has shown students across the country, across racial lines, and across socioeconomic barriers that we, as youth, have the ability, duty and right to use our voices to call for an end to the senseless gun violence that plagues our communities,” said Niko Battle, a lead organizer for We Won’t Be Next Seattle. “We Won’t be Next recognizes that there is an epidemic of gun violence that typically goes unnoticed by the media that affects the safety, well-being, and security of youth in our community.”

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Mayor wants Seattle to open ‘school to opportunity pipeline’ with new education levy

Inside Capitol Hill’s Miller Annex Preschool and with a focus on jobs, income, and affordability, Mayor Jenny Durkan Wednesday made her first pitch to Seattle citizens for a new education levy her office says will cost typical households just under $21 a month — about $7 more than they have been paying to help pay for the Seattle Public Schools system and its some 53,000 students at more than 100 schools.

“The increase comes from us doing the two things that we know are vital. Increasing pre-school so that more kids come to school ready to learn. And giving kids that opportunity to go to college,” the mayor said Wednesday in a speech focused on the economy as much as it was on learning. Continue reading

Think of the children: Seattle selects gay tribal member to lead school system

(Image: Denise Juneau)

Denise Juneau, an education and Democratic leader from Montana, a lesbian, and a member of the Mandan Hidatsa Tribes, has been selected as the next leader of the Seattle public school system.

Juneau’s choice came Wednesday night as the Seattle Schools board voted for the 51-year-old to take over the post filled by interim superintendent Larry Nyland since the summer of 2014.

“I am ready to work with the school board to help them achieve their goals of educational equity in outcomes, closing the opportunity gaps, robust engagement with community and parents, and providing a quality education for all students,” Juneau said in a statement following her selection. Continue reading

Seattle U’s Center for Science and Innovation will give school new presence on 12th Ave

The number of science and technology majors at Seattle University is surging, and the school is planning a new building to house them all. The project will continue the school’s recent trend of developing its edges and creating new buildings that connect more solidly to the surrounding neighborhood blocks.

There are about 1,200 students studying STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields at Seattle U right now, said Michael Quinn, dean of the College of Science and Engineering. Quinn expects that number to grow to nearly 1,600 by 2023, about double from the 900 students they’d had in 2009. Continue reading

Here are the three candidates to be the next leader of Seattle Schools — and here are a few things to ask them about

You have to move fast when trying to hire the best person to grow the opportunities and meet the challenges of operating the public school system in a wealthy, increasingly stratified, and still somehow growing West Coast city. Seattle Public Schools is giving you only two days on this assignment: Provide feedback on the three finalists to become the next superintendent: Montana Office of Public Instruction superintendent and member of the Mandan Hidatsa Tribes, Denise Juneau, superintendent of Harrison School District Two in Colorado Springs, Andre Spencer, and superintendent in the Ann Arbor Public Schools system, Jeanice Swift:

You are invited to a Public Forum for all members of the community to hear from the candidates on Thursday, March 29 from 5:00-8:15 p.m. at the John Stanford Center Auditorium. It will also be broadcast live on the District’s Channel 26.

You may submit feedback on the candidates by completing the following surveys:

Candidate Denise Juneau https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/supe_candidateA

Candidate Andre Spencer https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/supe_candidateB

Candidate Jeanice Swift https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/supe_candidateC

Please submit any comments by 9:00pm on Thursday, March 29 to allow the Board time to review the feedback. The Board intends to vote at its meeting on April 4 to begin negotiations with a single finalist.

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While Seattle churns on earthquake retrofit plans, Capitol Hill school set for seismic upgrades

E Mercer’s Lowell Elementary is lined up for summer seismic work

Saturday afternoon around 3:35 PM, a magnitude 2.7 earthquake sent a little jolt of reminder rippling out of South Seattle. The city has some seismic work to do.

On Capitol Hill, the next round of work begins this summer as Lowell Elementary School is scheduled for major seismic updates this summer while the city tries to figure out what to do about other brick buildings around town. Continue reading

Capitol Hill, Central District students speak out against gun violence for #NationalWalkoutDay

With reporting from Michelle MacKinnon and Alex Garland

Students and supporters walked out of their schools across Capitol Hill, the Central District, and Seattle Wednesday at 10 AM to come together for 17 minutes of silence to honor the one month anniversary of Stoneman Douglas High School where 17 people were killed in a mass shooting that has reignited calls for gun control reform.

The actions Wednesday are part of a wave of activity including town halls with Governor Jay Inslee and Rep. Pramila Jayapal leading up to the March 24th March for Our Lives protest march starting at Cal Anderson Park.

At the Central District’s Garfield High School, student organizers were looking beyond school shootings. “We are planning March For Our Lives and participating in school walkouts because we want change and refuse to be ignored in our pursuit of it,” student Bridget Fox told CHS. “We hope to bring attention to the fact that gun violence disproportionately affects communities of color and other marginalized communities, and we strive to find methods of legislation that won’t have further unintended consequences in such places.” Continue reading

Students from across state coming to Capitol Hill for March for Our Lives protest

The students from March for Our Lives Seattle made a trip to Olympia to spread their message (Image: March for Our Lives Seattle)

With Mayor Jenny Durkan set to lead a town hall Thursday night addressing the youth-led push against gun violence, a coalition of students from across the state has announced its members will be part of the March 24th protest march slated to begin on Capitol Hill:

A coalition of Washington State students today announced that they are working to unite their communities to stand in solidarity with the March for Our Lives protest, a student-led demonstration created in response to the most recent mass school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Protest marches are scheduled throughout the country on Saturday, March 24, 2018. Seattle’s demonstration begins at 10:00 a.m. at Cal Anderson Park in Capitol Hill and will be marching to Key Arena.

Maple Valley student Rhiannon Rasaretnam tells CHS she was inspired by the student activism at Parkland, Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in the wake of the Valentine’s Day deadly mass shooting at the school. “I feel like youth around the nation seeing that students can take the lead on this inspires them to increase their own role in their own community,” Rasaretnam said. “I want the focus to be on the face a lot of these marches are being led by the students.”

The Tahoma High School student is joining Ballard High’s Emilia Allard to organize the coalition effort that they say also includes students from public and private schools in Gig Harbor, Marysville, South Seattle, and other local communities. Rasaretnam said that students gathering in Seattle from communities across the region is an important part of the message. Continue reading