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

Partnership puts Capitol Hill community center space to work as new Miller Annex Preschool

(Image: Michelle MacKinnon/CHS)

With funds and guidelines for raising early education competency and readiness for Seattle kids in-hand, the Seattle Preschool Program and Department of Education and Early Learning have teamed up with Seattle Parks to renovate a portion of the Miller Community Center and contract a high-quality provider to operate a preschool inside.

City representatives and Launch preschool officials welcomed a small handful of parents with their soon to be preschoolers on Tuesday for a short ribbon-cutting ceremony at Miller Annex Preschool. Launch, a Seattle nonprofit provider of before and after school programs, won the two-year proposal bid for the space in 2017. Continue reading

Police: Man who made threats at Capitol Hill middle school ‘in crisis’

Police say the man tracked down last week after threats at a Capitol Hill middle school made references to a school shooting but appears to be suffering a mental crisis and was not found with any firearms when he was arrested.

Police say he had also been released from custody just hours before the threats after being evaluated by medical staff who cleared the 26-year-old for release despite his “violent thoughts including homicidal and suicidal ideations.”

According to court documents, Leonardo Rivera has been held in King County Jail on $150,000 bail after being booked for investigation of felony harassment last week. He has not yet been charged in the incident. Continue reading

Capitol Hill and Central District high school population boom has Garfield looking for extra classroom space

Garfield, the Seattle public high school serving Capitol Hill and Central District area students, is growing so fast it will need portable classrooms to make space for its students.

The City of Seattle is looking for citizens to join advisory committees that will help determine recommendations for possible zoning changes to allow the 23rd Ave high school and a set of other Seattle Public Schools campuses to “provide less than required on-site parking” so they have space to add portable-style classrooms. Continue reading

Seattle Schools: Forget arming teachers, kids, let’s march against gun violence

The Seattle Public Schools board will vote on a resolution “calling on state and congressional leaders to take action to prevent any more students and educators from being the victims of a school shooting” and schools leadership will announce its “opposition to arming teachers as a school safety measure” at the SPS board meeting Wednesday night.

Seattle Public Schools is also throwing its support behind the March 24th March for Our Lives protest set to start at Cal Anderson before traveling through the streets to Seattle Center: Continue reading

A look at public comment on the Holy Names parking project — UPDATE: Extended

As you can see in the comments on this CHS Community Post in opposition to the project, there is a solid split on the proposal to build a five-level parking garage beneath North Capitol Hill’s Holy Names Academy and a new surface parking lot to the girls private high school’s north. As we reported in January, supporters and families at the school say that street parking in the neighborhood is overwhelmed. Those in opposition — mostly neighbors of the 110-year-old campus — say the massive project is not necessary, decry the loss of the school’s north lawn, and say the permitting should not proceed without further environmental review.

Land Use Application to allow a new 2-story gymnasium with below grade parking for 246 vehicles (Holy Names Academy). An additional 32 parking spaces to be provided in a new surface parking lot, 12 existing spaces to be removed for a total of 307 parking spaces. Review includes partial demolition of existing gymnasium.

With public comment on the key Master Use portion of the process to permit the construction project slated to end today, Wednesday, February 28th, here is a look at some of the comments submitted on both sides of the proposal. UPDATE 2:57 PM: The city tells us the comment period has, indeed, been extended to March 14th.

Of the 67 public comments submitted, supporters who support the project moving out without a costly environmental review outweigh those in opposition by around seven to three. Many in support have students among the 700 young women who attend the academy. Most in opposition live nearby. Continue reading

Durkan’s Seattle Promise would make college universal for city’s students

(Image: Seattle Central)

The opportunity for two years of post-high school education is set to be become universal in the city under the Seattle Promise college tuition program to be fully unveiled by Mayor Jenny Durkan Monday night at the Central District’s Garfield High School.

Currently, the privately funded 13th Year Promise program offers graduates of Cleveland, Chief Sealth, and Rainier Beach high schools one year of free tuition (45 credits) at South Seattle College. All graduates are eligible for the program, regardless of academic record or income level. The program also offers the students support in college readiness, which begins during their senior year of high school.

“Seattle’s young people are strong, smart and deserve every opportunity to chase their dreams,” Durkan said in a statement on the plan, calling it “our progressive values made real.”

“We must remove barriers and make sure more of today’s and tomorrow’s jobs go to our kids,” Durkan said.

Durkan’s plan expands the program to include graduates of Garfield, Ingraham, and West Seattle high Schools. These students will be able to matriculate at the branch of state community college closest to them. Garfield students, for example, will be able to go to Capitol Hill’s Seattle Central. As with the existing program, it will be open to any student, regardless of academic record or income level. Students who are undocumented will also be permitted to enroll. Continue reading

Seattle student walkouts planned in response to Parkland school shooting

(Image: Everytown)

A movement of students calling for gun control reform following the country’s latest school mass shooting is inspiring a wave of walkouts and marches including one planned for Saturday, March 24th starting at Cal Anderson.

A Seattle component of the March for Our Lives effort is planning to gather on 11th Ave on March 24th for a march to Seattle Center. Everytown, a nonprofit dedicated to gun control and addressing gun violence led by Michael Bloomberg, is organizing the events:

Thoughts and prayers are not enough to honor the victims of gun violence. What we need now is action. On March 24, 2018, students will rally in Washington D.C and in local communities across the country to demand action from our leaders. Join us in the March For Our Lives, as we fight for an America that is free from gun violence.

A school day walkout, meanwhile, is being planned for Wednesday, March 14th as the organizers from the Women’s March movement plan to rally in cities across the country. Continue reading