Capitol Hill Historical Society | The mind boggling array of stairs and corridors connecting history at TOPS K-8

1905 Seward building in red, 1895 in b&w on the right (Paul Dorpat photo colorized by 7 year old)

Part 1: Jennie Lombard, Eastlake’s first principal
Part 2: 

TOPS is a K-8 school with an extensive history dating to the Klondike Gold Rush era. I recently met with a group of 1st to 3rd graders to share what I knew about Jennie Lombard, the very first principal of the first school at TOPS, and other details from the school’s history.

After we made collages, I took them on a tour of the many different parts of Eastlake’s K-8 school.

The oldest piece of TOPS opened in 1895 as the Denny-Fuhrman School and is on the state historic register. It was later expanded and moved, then moved again, then went through a few changes in use and is now the cafeteria. Continue reading

Walkout at Seattle Central part of call for state to provide more funding for community colleges

Students joined faculty and staff at walkouts across the Seattle Colleges system Tuesday including a rally on Broadway outside Seattle Central to support legislation currently being considered in Olympia to more fully fund Washington’s community and technical colleges.

“The walkout is intended to illustrate the crisis faced by the community and technical colleges (CTC) because of the State Legislature’s failure to adequately fund programs, salaries and student support,” organizers from the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) local 1789 wrote. “For over a decade, the State has covered only 65% of college expenses, while increases in student tuition, budget cuts, and reserve money have attempted to cover the gap.” Continue reading

DeWolf, first openly gay person on Seattle school board and former Capitol Hill Community Council president, joins race for Sawant’s District 3 seat

(Image: Elect Zachary DeWolf)

Zachary DeWolfSeattle Public Schools board member representing Central Seattle neighborhoods and former Capitol Hill Community Council president, has announced he will also join the race for Kshama Sawant’s seat on the Seattle City Council.

“I’ve been advocating for my neighborhoods for the past seven years and I think it is time we have a Council member who will also advocate for our neighborhoods and the critical needs of our neighbors,” DeWolf said in his announcement. “I want to continue to meet with people in every area of our district and hear what matters most to them. Those are the voices and memories that I will take to City Hall.”

DeWolf says he is the first openly gay person to be elected to Seattle’s school board. Continue reading

Seattle’s increasingly modest plans for new bike projects include seven across Capitol Hill, CD — UPDATE

This page from the council presentation on the bike plan implementation update oddly includes an image of a Capitol Hill rider on perhaps the most un-pedal friendly in the neighborhood.

Seattle is criss-crossed by 1,547 lane-miles of arterial streets and 2,407 miles of non-arteries. In recent years, the city has added new bike infrastructure to only about 10 miles of those streets per year.

Tuesday afternoon, the Seattle City Council will begin the latest process to shake out the next five years of Seattle bike infrastructure investments. Following the relatively paltry output of the last couple years, the proposed plan includes projects that will likely add up to even less than 10 miles per year. But there are still some new improvements on the list for Capitol Hill, the Central District, and the nearby. Continue reading

Capitol Hill Historical Society | Jennie Lombard, Eastlake’s first principal

I recently had the opportunity to lead a learning activity at TOPS K-8. The school is located at Boylston and Roanoke — some would call that Eastlake, others might say it’s on the side of Capitol Hill. Originally opened as Denny-Fuhrman School, it was renamed to Seward in the early 1900s and is today called The Option Program at Seward and is better known as TOPS K-8.

I named the session “Old School TOPS.” A handful of 1st to 3rd graders joined me to learn about the school’s history, make art projects with old photos, and explore the different sections of the school.

To serve or to marry

At the beginning of the event, I shared information with the students about the first school’s first principal, Jennie Lombard. Continue reading

Ethnic studies leader Hagopian says losing teaching position at Garfield High

Jesse Hagopian, the Garfield High teacher who has led the way in creating an ethnic studies program across the Seattle Public Schools district, is losing his teaching position for next year’s 2019-2020 school year due to budget cuts based on expected lower enrollment at the Central District school.

“I have been displaced from my second home, Garfield High School—the school I went to as a (student) and have taught at for almost a decade,” Hagopian writes in an update posted over the weekend.” With budget cuts and under enrollment—due largely to families being pushed out of Seattle because they can no longer afford to live here—some 13 teachers are being displaced from my school.” Continue reading

A first for Seattle Public Schools: coming to the people — ‘We’ll have some tough conversations’

Even a 137-year old institution has to try something new once in a while. For the first time, a Seattle Public Schools Board meeting is coming to the people. Instead of meeting at their regular locale in SODO, School Board members will hold March’s monthly work session at Garfield High School during a special community board meeting Wednesday at 4.30 PM.

Seattle School Board Community Work Session

Usually, these meetings, whether they are regular board meetings or more topic-related ‘Work Sessions’, take place at SODO’s John Stanford Center.

“If you are a student or a working parent, it’s hard to make your way down there,” says Zachary DeWolf, District 5 Director for Seattle Public Schools. With his election to the board in 2017, DeWolf, a program manager with All Home, and a citizen of Chippewa Cree nation, made the board considerably younger, queerer and more diverse. He’s also hoping to make it more accessible.

Bringing these types of meetings “to the community”, helps create more trust and transparency, DeWolf says. “With such a big institution sometimes people don’t know what’s under the hood.” Continue reading

Holy Names reaches agreement with Capitol Hill neighbors after long fight over underground parking garage

There is peace along E Aloha. In a letter to the school’s Capitol Hill neighbors sent out this week, Holy Names Academy announced it has reached “a mediation agreement” on the City Hall tussle over construction of a new, two-story gymnasium and a new parking lot on the school’s 21st Ave E campus.

“I extend thanks from our HNA community to these neighbors and to everyone involved who worked in good faith to reach this settlement,” Holy Name head of school Liz Swift writes in the brief letter outlining the settlement.

According to HNA, the agreement with a group of neighbors over the project to create a new gym and underground garage, and a new 32-space surface parking lot on the northern edge of the E Aloha at 21st Ave E campus will put construction on track for a June start.

But a few sacrifices were made. Continue reading

Black Lives Matter at School: A lesson in ‘Teaching for Black Lives’

Amid Seattle’s snowy start to February, a start to Black History Month was not lost. The Black Lives Matter at School movement, fostered by Garfield High School teacher and education activist Jesse Hagopian, grew into a national effort along with local events and rallies.

Last fall as the school year began, CHS spoke with Hagopian about Black Lives Matter at School and Teaching for Black Lives, a book for educators and students with lessons meant to challenge and upend systemic racism in the classroom. Here is what we learned.

A lesson in ‘Teaching for Black Lives’ from Garfield High
By Carolyn Bick for CHS

In the one high school honors class Jesse Hagopian was in, his mostly white peers laughed at him when he stumbled over some words as he read aloud to the rest of the class.

“Being one of the only students of color in the classroom, that pretty much shut down my attention or will to participate in that class,” Hagopian recalled. “School was a challenge to me. I never thought I’d ever be a teacher. I wanted to get away from school.” Continue reading

SNOWBRUARY 2019 — Wednesday update: Snow routes, schools closed (parents sad), levies renewed (kids happy)

Banks of dirty, wet snow line the edges of Capitol HIll’s streets while sidewalks remain a slushy mess. Cars probably won’t be spinning out once they make it to the street but the new spectator sport is watching people try to dig their cars out. Maybe lend a hand. Here are some wrap-up notes on Snowbruary 2019’s Wednesday.

  • Snow routes: Metro will restore most of its service and buses will operate on snow routes Wednesday morning “on a route-by-route basis,” the county says:
    Riders are encouraged to visit Metro’s MetroWinter.com website for route specific information on Wednesday morning before traveling and sign up for alerts. Online updates are underway for over 200 bus routes and will be available by Wednesday morning.

  • No school: If the parents, grandparents, guardians, and child care pros in your life seem a little rundown, consider that Wednesday is yet another snow day. While the main streets are mostly clear, the soppy conditions moved Seattle Public Schools to declare yet another snow day:
    Schools will be closed on Wednesday, Feb. 13 due to adverse weather conditions. We thank the City of Seattle for their continued and diligent efforts to clear roads including many near our schools. Yet, many sidewalks and walkways are not cleared of ice and slush, and side streets in the north and south ends of the district continue to be icy. All activities, athletics and public meetings are canceled. There will be no preschool or Head Start.
    As for make-up days, the district reminds there are two scheduled — June 21 and 24 — but says the state won’t consider any waiver requests “until after the threat of further weather closures has passed.” UPDATE: Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan said Wednesday the city has been working with Seattle Public School and King County Metro “to discuss immediate next steps to try and get our children back into schools as quickly as possible.” Seattle Schools has workers out clearing sidewalks near its campuses and SDOT road crews are out again pre-treating roads in anticipation of another freeze Wednesday night. As for garbage, crews are out for Monday/Tuesday customers Wednesday with other customers on a one-day delay.
  • Levies: The district is declaring victory in Tuesday’s vote on two school levies. “These two levy replacements will help fund critical day-to-day operations for Seattle Public Schools, including salaries, textbooks and materials, as well as the rebuild of eight aging schools, improved safety and security, increased technology access, and added capacity across our district,” a statement on the successful votes reads.