Public Schools

Seattle Public Schools' initial recommendation for a new student assignment plan has been presented to the Seattle School Board.

The district says it has designed the plan so parents can easily know what schools their child will attend all the way through high school by simply knowing their address.

Each school would have a defined geographic boundary so that, without having to complete any application, students would be automatically assigned to their local attendance area school.

Families will still be able to apply for another school through the regular choice process.

Each middle school attendance area is also a service area for delivery of services not available at every elementary school, such as some bilingual, special education, and advanced learning services.

Services for more specialized needs will be located appropriately around the district.

Optional, or alternative school programs, which students must apply for, will need further definition regarding the program itself, student assignment and transportation. To do this the Council of Great City Schools has agreed to conduct an audit this spring.


At its meeting on March 18, the Seattle School Board voted to approve changes to transportation service standards for 2009-10, changing bus arrival and departure times this fall.

Some changes, especially for most K-8 schools, are significant.

The district hopes the changes will maximize operational efficiency, provide more consistency and reduce transportation costs by $2.2 million. Other changes will reduce rides times for many students.

The changes for fall 2009 are:

For middle schools, high schools and most K-8 schools (Alternative School #1, Catharine Blaine, Broadview-Thomson, Jane Addams, Madrona, Orca, Pathfinder and South Shore): Yellow buses will arrive at the schools at approximately 8:15 a.m. and depart at approximately 2:45 p.m. Principals will have the flexibility to adjust their specific school arrival and departure times within a narrow window of time in conjunction with the transportation service standards.


Seattle soccer fans have finally got what they’ve been waiting for, a professional team.

Tomorrow night, March 19, the Seattle Sounders Football Club will play their first regular season game in Major League Soccer. They will face the New York Red Bulls at 6 p.m. at Qwest Field. The match will also be televised on ESPN2.

Some of the best soccer players in the world have come to play for the Sounders. Starting goalkeeper Kasey Keller has played in four World Cups and was named U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year three times.

Another player coming in is Swedish star Freddie Ljungberg, who was his country’s captain in the 2008 Euro Cup. In that tournament he played every minute of every game. He has played 11 seasons in the English Premier League, arguably the best league in the world. He scored 72 goals in that time.

The Sounders will be getting even more winning experience from their new coach Sigi Schmid. Schmid was recently named the coach for the 2009 season. He led the Columbus Crew to the league championship last year, and was given the MLS Coach of the Year Award.

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West Seattle High

The West Seattle Wildcats boys came in third overall last year at the state meet and track coach Tom Burggraff led the Wildcats to the SeaKing district championship.

Burggraff was named spring coach of the year last year by the Seattle PI.

“I was honored, but really was a result of being blessed with a talented team and some great performances,” said Burggraff.

The Wildcats were undefeated in the 4x100 meter relay ran by Aaron Grymes, Markeem Adams, Christian Crain, and Brandon Brown. The group won by an unbelievable margin of 0.01 seconds.

Grymes and Adams are returning, leaving the other two spots up for grabs. Grymes took fifth place in the 100 meter dash at the state meet, while Adams took fifth at 200 meters.

The girls who are returning this year are seniors Tanya Tarabochia, Lizzie Perkins, Chandler Dennison and sophomore Kendall Kielbon. Senior April Johnson is currently recovering from knee surgery. Burggraff refers to her as one of the premier track athletes in the state, and a centerpiece of the team.

The returning boys are seniors Grymes, Jeremy Darden, Jules Guay-Binion, Ian Kiethly, Kyle MacDonald, juniors Adams, and Caleb Fisher.

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West Seattle High

The Ballard High School baseball team won their second game in a row by completely dismantling Roosevelt 11-2.

The win puts the Beavers at 1-0 in the conference and 2-0 overall.

The team was able to bounce back after a poor showing at the league jamboree March 15. Coach John Lamm said the team struggled that day because the pitchers couldn't get the ball over the plate in the cold weather.

Ballard's next game is at 3:45 p.m., March 18 at Whitman Middle School against Tacoma's Bellarmine Prep, weather permitting.

Lamm said the non-conference game should be a good test for the Beavers because Bellarmine is a very good team.

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March 16 - Ballard: 11 Roosevelt: 2

The Ballard High School soccer team lost its first game against non-conference Inglemoor Saturday, March 14.

Ballard's Nick Christie gave the Beavers an early 1-0 lead at the 27 minute mark, but Inglemoor would score the next two goals on the way to a 2-1 victory.

The Beavers face O'Dea High School at 3:30 p.m., March 17 at the Interbay soccer fields.

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March 17 - Inglemoor: 2 Ballard:1

The Ballard High School springs sports season opened with a bang as the Beaver baseball team beat Oak Harbor 11-9 March 13.

Coach John Lamm said the team hit well, but struggled in its pitching, largely due to having little to know preparation time.

The bus arrived at Oak Harbor only 15 minutes before the game.

"It was quite an adventure for my first game," said first-year coach Lamm.

Lamm said the Beavers have a good pitching staff and the pitchers who had more time to prepare were able to throw strikes.

The team did a good job being patient at the plate, but he said he wants the players to make sure they are staying ahead in the count in coming games.

The Beavers face Roosevelt at 3:30 p.m., March 16 at Lower Woodland.

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Beavers baseball team opens the season with a win.

This summer Ballard-ites can grab an opportunity to host one of 15 Japanese junior high school students and in exchange share with them the American culture while at the same time learn about Japan and its way of living.

The students will be staying in Ballard from July 14 through Aug. 3.

“We’re looking for families in the Ballard area who are interested in hosting a Japanese student for three week this July,” said Kristen Ramirez, resident of Ballard and coordinator of Compass USA. “These students are traveling from their homes in Japan to learn about American customs and culture by staying with a Ballard-area family.”

Compass USA has been around for 19 years and is based out of Colorado, Ramirez said. They’ve brought a lot of international students to the Puget Sound and this will be the first time they’ve hosted students in Ballard, she said.


Grants totaling roughly $9 million from local and national foundations were announced for Seattle Public Schools today.

The grants will go toward college readiness, staff development, and data and performance management in support of the district's five-year strategic plan.

The plan, Excellence for All, aims to raise achievement of all students by providing students and teachers with the resources they need to succeed, such as college ready work and stronger professional development opportunities.

The grants come from:

$7.2 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

$1.2 million from the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation

$308,000 from the Boeing Company

$254,000 from the Stuart Foundation

The goal is to set measurable targets for improving academic performance and closing the education gap, including increasing the college-ready graduation rate, according to the district. Today, fewer than one in five graduates of Seattle Public Schools meet the requirements to enroll in a four-year college.


The Seattle School District is considering changing school-start times district-wide that would be made effective this September.

A presentation was made to the School Board on March 4 regarding the potential changes.

Pending board approval, K-8 schools, middle schools and high schools would all start at 8 a.m.; and elementary schools would start at 9:15 a.m. Other changes are also recommended that would shorten ride times for many students. 

A School Board vote on transportation standards is planned for March 18. Further study of start times and customer satisfaction with transportation services will be undertaken by a Transportation Services Task Force.

Last year, Seattle Public Schools requested an external review of transportation services in order to receive feedback on what is working well and what needs to be improved. Among other findings, the reviewers noted that school districts across the nation coordinate start times to maximize effectiveness of transportation services and to provide consistent service to students and families.

They recommended that Seattle Public Schools consider this change, according to the district. 

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