Seattle City Council member Tim Burgess is seeking candidates to fill two council positions on the Families and Education Levy Oversight Committee.

Passed in 2004, the levy provides funding for early childhood developments, school-based student and family services, out-of-school activities, middle school support, and student health services.

The Levy Oversight Committee reviews and advises the implementation and evaluation plans, the City of Seattle/Seattle School District Partnership Agreement, expenditures and allocations of levy funds and makes recommendation on the implementation of particular programs.

These positions are open to Seattle residents who are interested and have a background in education, youth and family services.

Applications, resume and cover letters can be sent to council member Tim Burgess at and will be accepted until 5 p.m. on Friday, June 12.


Through the overactive imagination of a fifth-grader named Alexander, a knight with a backpack for a shield and an umbrella for a sword, Ballard students learned that bullying, and allowing bullying, is not right.

On May 15, the Road Company of Greenwood's Taproot Theatre performed "Alexander and the Dragon" for the students at North Beach Elementary.

The play is based on curriculum on bullying prevention developed by the Committee for Children, a Seattle-based non-profit organization.

It follows Alexander, a fifth-grader who likes to pretend he is a knight. On the first day of school, he watches as his friend bullies another student. Alexander is stripped of his knighthood for not doing anything about the bullying and must find a way to earn it back.

"Alexander and the Dragon" is fun and entertaining, but the Committee for Chilrden curriculum makes it effective, Road Company member Soloman Davis said.

After every performance, the company members have a dialogue about the performance with the children.

"Some students just want to know how we change costumes," Davis said. "But, some want to know what to do about problems with specific bullies."

Photo credit: 
Michael Harthorne

Alexander watches as his friend steals another student's lunch on the bus.

Seattle Public Schools Superintendent Maria L. Goodloe-Johnson, confirmed today, May 15, that the School district is implementing a layoffs in response to an estimated $34 million budget shortfall for 2009 and 2010.

The layoffs will affect approximately 172 teachers and other certificated staff (approximately 5 percent of the total certificated workforce), although Goodloe-Johnson said she was optimistic that retirements and resignations would allow the district to recall a number of the individuals who are being laid off.

“Closing a $34 million budget gap requires a combination of strategies,” said Goodloe-Johnson in a statement released Friday.

She noted that the district has already implemented a number of budget-cutting strategies, including a reduction in central office staff, hiring freezes, increased efficiencies in operations such as transportation and nutrition services, closing schools, a responsible use of reserves, and freezing cost-of-living-adjustments.


School Board representative for district VI (West Seattle and South Park), Steve Sundquist, will be at Uptown Espresso for an informal discussion with parents and guardians Tuesday, May 26 at 9 a.m.

Uptown Espresso is located at 4301 S.W. Edmunds St. in West Seattle. All people interested in education are welcome.

Since elected to the School Board in November 2007, Sundquist has held several of these informal gatherings where he has invited the public to engage in a discussion about any concerns or comments regarding public education.


Eight students from Chief Sealth High School recently took an educational trip to Antigua, Guatemala to both help build and learn about community and leadership.

Another group of six high school students from Chief Sealth will be participating in the summer 2009 trip to Guatemala, which begins on June 24 and ends on July 8 this year. Both trips are sponsored by Global Visionaries, a group which states its mission to be to "educate and empower youth to become active community leaders and global citizens."

Chief Sealth High School is one of the eight schools that have been participating in year-long educational programs sponsored by Global Visionaries. These educational programs culminate with a two-week trip to Guatemala. 

Michaela A. Milo, a student from Chief Sealth who participated in the program, which culminated with the spring 2009 trip said, “I’d say Global Visionaries is something to experience if you love meeting new and exciting people, because I know I have made so many new friendships and its hard to leave them behind in Guatemala.” 

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Photo credit: 
Photos courtesy Global Visionaries

Chief Sealth students Allie Bunch and Jacob Michael Kenney (behind) at the school construction site. CLICK IMAGE TO VIEW SLIDESHOW.

Seattle School Board member Michael DeBell has announced that he will seek re-election to the post he has held since 2005.  DeBell represents School Director District IV, which includes Ballard, Queen Anne, and Magnolia. 
“We have plenty of work ahead of us,” DeBell said in a release announcing his bid for re-election, “but we’ve made great strides in our effort to bring positive change to Seattle Public Schools.  The pieces are now in place:  a strong new superintendent, a thoughtful and effective new board, and an ambitious five-year strategic plan to guide our work.  We are positioned to accomplish the turnaround that will make our schools a model for the nation.  I am eager to continue building on what we’ve started.”
Citing improved student achievement in every school as his top priority, DeBell highlighted several steps currently in progress that will have a positive impact:

- Reorganizing our budget to maximize tax dollars going to classroom instruction.

- Redesigning our Student Assignment Plan to insure that every home has a guaranteed nearby school assignment.

Photo credit: 
Courtesy Michael DeBell
Parents petition to assure kids will stay in their communities

The Seattle School District presented to the public a preliminary draft of its new Student Assignment Plan that is scheduled for implementation this fall, but some local parents are petitioning against it out of concern the new system could force students out of their neighborhoods.

Dr. Tracy Libros, manager of enrollment and planning for Seattle Public Schools, said the district decided to split up the schools into three types; attendance area, service and option schools.

She presented the draft plan on May 6 at a community engagement meeting held at Ingraham High School.

“Each attendance area school has a geographic boundary and students are assigned to those schools based on their address, this is kind of the starting point,” Libros said.

Elementary attendance area schools would act as a filter for nearby middle schools in the area, so students who are in the elementary area will go to middle school together, Libros said.

As for students in K-8 attendance area schools, they too will be a part of the same middle school attendance area.


Six local teens are raising money for Amigos de las America to help fund community service projects in Latin America that they will work on this summer. 

Andrea Adachi, Rachel Cermak, Johanna Garcia, Kata Martin, Kyeti Morgan, and Lukas Shadair will work on Amigos projects in rural Paraguay, Panama, Honduras and Nicaragua. 

They have organized the Amigos Garage Sale, part of the West Seattle Community Garage Sale.  All proceeds from the Amigos Garage Sale will go toward the summer service projects. In addition to garage sale items, organic Fair Trade coffee and chocolate will be available for purchase.   

Amigos de las Americas is a non-profit service organization that has fielded approximately 20,000 volunteers during the last 40 years working in more than a dozen Latin American countries on projects related to healthcare, water sanitation, the environment, youth education and community based initiatives.  Amigos values and encourages youth leadership, multicultural understanding, service, and the development of projects that address community priorities. 


During the months of April and May in celebration of Earth Month, Seattle Public Schools students, staff and volunteers are participating in numerous environmental projects throughout the district.

Environmental studies and projects support Seattle Public Schools’ strategy to strength and align science and math curriculum as part of the district’s strategic plan, Excellence for All , according to a release from the district.

This Saturday, April 25, Arbor Heights Elementary volunteers will trim ivy and weed to beautify their school’s front entry and playground between 9 a.m. and noon.

From 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. that same day, Schmitz Park Elementary will be hosting its annual Spring Clean. Thirty to 40 volunteers will work with students and staff to weed and mulch their landscape and garden beds.

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Photo credit: 
Photo courtesy of Seattle Schools

Arbor Heights (pictured above) and Schmitz Park elementary schools will participate in district-wide environmental activities this weekend.

Ballard High School senior Lizardo Lopez has been awarded a scholarship from the South Seattle Community College Foundation.  He is among 18 graduating seniors to receive the awards, which cover full resident tuition for the 2009-2010 academic year at South Seattle Community College.

Scholarship criteria included academic achievement, leadership potential, community service, and financial need.

The remaining scholarship recipients represent, Lindbergh, West Seattle, Chief Sealth, Global Connections and Highline High Schools; Seattle Urban Academy; and South Seattle’s Career Link Academy.

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