A news blog for Seattle's Phinney Ridge and Greenwood neighborhoods


Volunteer tutors needed for Daniel Bagley Elementary

August 29th, 2014 by Doree

Invest in Youth, a nonprofit that provides free tutoring at six Seattle elementary schools, is looking for volunteer tutors for Daniel Bagley Elementary School by Green Lake. Bagley’s attendance area includes portions of Greenwood and Phinney Ridge.

Our program is unique in that we don’t charge families or schools to provide our quality tutoring services. We are able to do this because of the support of our volunteers who commit to tutoring a 3rd through 5th grade student once a week.

Each tutor is matched with the same student for the whole school year and works on things like playing math games, reading stories or working on homework, for just one hour every week. Educational materials and activities, training and support, and heartfelt appreciation are provided at every session.

The impact of Invest in Youth’s tutoring program is dramatic:

• 100% of classroom teachers agreed during the 2013-2014 school year that Invest in Youth was a valuable resource for their students.

• Students made an average gain of 19% in math and 13.5% in reading as measured by Invest in Youth’s pre and post-assessment.

• Tutors felt that the lasting bond they form with their student is the most meaningful element of the program.

With at least 85% of students enrolled in Invest in Youth being eligible for free or reduced-price lunch, it is likely that these students would not be able to receive one-on-one tutoring each week for the whole school year by a reliable adult if it wasn’t for our committed volunteers. We are looking for volunteer tutors to join us this fall in our mission to enhance the academic abilities, self-confidence and life prospects of Seattle students. Please sign up today!

For more information or to apply to be a tutor, please visit our website: www.investinyouth.org. Can’t commit to the full school year? We have substitutes to fill in for you when necessary, so don’t let busy schedules dissuade you from participating – or “share” a student and the commitment by signing up with a friend!

Tutoring begins the first week of October and runs through May. Tutoring sessions are from 3:50-4:50 p.m. every Wednesday at Bagley, 7821 Stone Ave. N.

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Seattle Public Schools hosting community meeting Tuesday about latest plans for Wilson-Pacific project

May 12th, 2014 by Doree

Many students in the Phinney-Greenwood area may be assigned to the proposed Wilson-Pacific school just off Aurora Avenue on North 90th Street when it’s built in a few years. Seattle Public Schools plans to tear down the current building and construct a new elementary and middle school on the site, to open in fall 2017.

SPS will host a community meeting to answer questions about the project at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the current Wilson-Pacific building, 1330 N. 90th St. (use the south entrance on North 90th Street.)

The existing structure will be demolished to make room for the new 1,000 seat middle school and the 660 seat elementary school buildings. Attendees will be able to make comments and ask questions with regard to the project’s building and site design.

However, last week the district’s Facilities and Capacity Management Advisory Committee released a report which calls for the site to instead be a state-of-the-art high school serving 2,500 students. We’ve got a message in to SPS to find out more about the report and how it affects the current plans.

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Greenwood, Viewlands elementaries will now offer free full-day kindergarten

November 1st, 2013 by Doree

Seattle Public Schools announced today that it will add free all-day kindergarten at 16 more elementary schools, including Greenwood and Viewlands. That means 43 out of the city’s 69 elementary schools will now provide free all-day kindergarten to all students, instead of charging for half a day for students who don’t qualify for free and reduced price lunch.

And, if the School Board approves it at its Nov. 20 meeting, the district also will reduce the monthly amount for those still paying for the extra half-day from $311 to $283, retroactive to Sept. 1.

If approved by the Board, families who use automatic withdrawal will have their money credited back to their bank accounts by Jan. 31; those who paid by credit card will receive a refund check by Jan 31.

According to a school district press release, the money comes from a change in how the District can use $2.4 million from the state’s Learning Assistance Program.

“We know that early learning is key to our students’ success, and attending full-day kindergarten helps prepare our students academically and socially for the rest of their school career,” Cashel Toner, Director of Early Learning for Seattle Public Schools, said in the press release. “This proposal means that an additional 770 students can take advantage of full-day kindergarten at no cost.”

The state currently funds full-day kindergarten for schools that are at 50 percent population of students who qualify for free and reduced price lunch, including Broadview-Thomson K-8, just north of Greenwood. The district will now offer it to all schools with 25 percent free and reduced price lunch. The state legislature has said it plans to fully fund all-day kindergarten in all schools by 2017.

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Community meeting on proposed elementary and middle school on Wilson-Pacific site

June 25th, 2013 by Doree

Seattle Public Schools is hosting a community meeting tonight on a proposed new elementary and middle school, which would be built on the current Wilson-Pacific school site, just east of Greenwood.

The new schools would open in the fall of 2017. The new middle school will alter boundaries for Whitman, Eckstein and Hamilton middle schools.

The meeting is from 7:30-8:30 Tuesday (tonight) at Wilson-Pacific Seamat Center, 1330 N. 90th St.

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Alphabet Soup Preschool moving into East Phinney/West Green Lake

February 5th, 2013 by Doree

Alphabet Soup Preschool is opening a second Seattle location at 7216 Linden Ave. N., where A.C.P. CrossFit was most recently, and Furnishments before that.


Alphabet Soup Preschool started on San Juan Island, then expanded to Green Lake. This will be its third location.

Director Jeannette Mayes says the new location will open some time in March. It will have a toddler classroom for eight students ages 1 to 2-1/2, and a preschool classroom with 16 students ages 2-1/2 to 5. Each classroom will have two teachers. The school will offer half-day morning classes Monday through Friday.

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‘Preschool at the Harbor’ opening in Crown Hill in September

April 30th, 2012 by Doree

Harbor Church, 9204 11th Ave. NW in Crown Hill, is starting a new preschool called “Preschool at the Harbor” (PATH) beginning in September.

PATH is for children ages 3 to 5. Classes will run from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., either three days a week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday) or two days a week (Tuesday, Thursday).

Enrollment is now open. Call 206-743-5253 or email walkonthepath@gmail.com for more information.

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Greenwood Elementary 4th- and 5th-graders competing in Global Reading Challenge

March 19th, 2012 by Doree

A team of 4th- and 5th-graders from Greenwood Elementary will compete at the city-wide finals of the 2012 Global Reading Challenge on March 27 at the Central Library downtown. “The Jokers” team is one of the top 10 teams in the city.

More than 2,500 4th- and 5th- graders from more than 40 Seattle Public Schools studied 10 books to prepare for the Global Reading Challenge.

According to Global Reading Challenge rules, questions are read and repeated once. Teams have 30 seconds to write down the answer to a question.

“The purpose of the Global Reading Challenge is to promote the love of reading and to have fun,” Palmer said. “This program introduces children to a wide variety of literature and multicultural reading materials and provides a recreational outlet for readers. It makes it possible for students of all reading levels to participate in a public library activity that promotes reading as a pleasurable lifelong experience.”

The winning team from the city final will go on to face the top teams from Fraser Valley, British Columbia and Coquitlam, British Columbia at 10 a.m. Friday, April 13 in the Video Conference Final at the John Stanford Center for Educational Excellence, 2445 Third Ave. S. in Seattle.

The Global Reading Challenge is at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 27, at the Central Library, 1000 Fourth Ave., Level 1, Microsoft Auditorium. It’s free, and the public is invited.

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A new class could be added to Whittier, but not Kindergarten

January 25th, 2012 by Geeky Swedes

Whittier Elementary will not be getting a fourth Kindergarten class next school year, but could get one additional homeroom for a different grade, if needed. The Seattle School Board is looking at options to ease overcrowding in the school district and one of the options included adding a fourth Kindergarten class – an option that was opposed by the PTA.

In a letter sent to parents on Tuesday, Pegi McEvoy the Assistant Superintendent for Operations for SPS writes,

Our preliminary enrollment projections indicate we may need to add one additional homeroom at Whittier next year. The additional homeroom would NOT be for a fourth kindergarten class – we are still planning for three kindergarten classes. The potential need for an additional homeroom is based primarily on enrollment distribution across the grades. If enrollment is not as high as anticipated, we will not add an additional homeroom. However, we need to be prepared in case this need arises . We are looking at options in the building, given the fact we cannot place a portable on the Whittier site.

The school board is voting tonight on the Short-Term Capacity Management and the New Student Assignment Plan: Transition Plan for 2012-13. The Board will not vote specifically on adding a new classroom at Whittier. Placement decisions – moving or adding a new program to a school – will be made by the Superintendent. If a new homeroom is added, it is unknown which grade would get the additional class.

“These decisions are made prior to open enrollment to ensure that families can review their options for the next school year,” the letter states. “The Superintendent seeks guidance for these decisions from staff and community groups, such as the Special Education Advisory and Advocacy Council (SEAAC) and the Advanced Learning Task Force to provide input to inform these decisions.”

According to the letter, no changes in the Spectrum program or the Phinney Neighborhood Association programs are being considered at this time.

Individuals can email suggestions to: programplacement@seattleschools.org.

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North Seattle French School forming, open house Saturday at PNA

January 25th, 2012 by Doree

The North Seattle French School is getting off the ground and will hold an informational open house from 1-3 p.m. Saturday at the Phinney Neighborhood Center, 6532 Phinney Ave. N., Room 2 in the Blue Building.

North Seattle French School is a new elementary school dedicated to bilingual education through excellent academics, creative learning and outdoor activities while promoting a rich multicultural environment.

The curriculum will be in both French and English with a strong majority in French.

NSFS is still finalizing its location, but it will most likely be in Phinney-Greenwood, Green Lake or Ballard. It plans to open in the fall.

According to the website, tuition will be $10,000 for the 2012-13 school year, and they plan to offer an after-school program for parents who need childcare. The first class will have around 15 students. The school plans to begin with one kindergarten-first grade class, then add a grade each year until it offers kindergarten through fifth grade.

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Seattle Public Schools needs volunteers for Advanced Learning Program Task Force

November 3rd, 2011 by Doree

If you’re interested in working as an unpaid volunteer, Seattle Public Schools needs community members for its new Advanced Learning Program Task Force.

The task force will consist of approximately 20 members including one or more district staff, principals, teachers, parents and community representatives. Late afternoon meetings will be held monthly beginning in late November at the John Stanford Center for Educational Excellence.

The task force’s primary purpose is to advise district staff as it develops facility recommendations that will support the delivery of services to advanced learners throughout the district. The recommendations will be used by the Seattle Public Schools Facilities and Capacity Management Advisory Committee, Superintendent and School Board. The task force’s work will include a review of Accelerated Progress Program (APP) and Spectrum enrollment patterns, key program elements, family interests, costs and decision-making factors regarding student enrollment in APP and Spectrum programs. Responsibilities will include participating in public meetings, reviewing descriptive data, and weighing the competing interests and constraints surrounding future services for APP and Spectrum.

The task force will meet at least once a month for two hours from November to June with the possibility of additional meetings as needed to provide timely information to the Facilities and Capacity Management Advisory Committee, Superintendent and School Board. District staff will facilitate the meetings. A typical meeting will include a staff presentation on a topic or issue to resolve, followed by dialogue and discussion by the task force members. Staff will review task force input to develop recommendations.

Seattle Public School parents, principals, teachers and community members with an interest in advanced learning programs are encouraged to apply. Interested individuals should submit background information and reasons for their interest via email with “Advanced Learning Task Force” in the subject line to: advlearn@seattleschools.org no later than Monday, Nov. 14.

A district administrative team will select task force members to represent of a cross section of the community and participation in the Accelerated Progress Program and Spectrum program. Task force members and those not selected will be notified via email or mail sent Nov. 15. The first meeting is scheduled for Nov. 21 from 3:30-5:30 p.m. in Room 2765 of the John Stanford Center, 2445-3rd Ave. S.

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Re-opening a school, a look at Viewlands Elementary

May 13th, 2011 by Geeky Swedes

By Meghan Walker

Nestled just above Carkeek Park, Viewlands Elementary is slowly coming back to life. Since its closure four years ago, the school has stood empty. But now, with a new principal at the helm, Viewlands is planning for its reopening in the fall.

Guiding the renovation and planning is Lisa Escobar, the new principal of the school. Escobar is a seasoned school principal; she comes to Viewlands with experience working in elementary, middle and high schools.

Escobar found out she would be taking over the K-5 at the end of March. Since then, she’s been busy working with a design team to give the school a face-lift. She says it’s a very exciting thing to start a new school.

“When you go into an existing school, it already has a culture, and then you work to shape it as a leader. But when you get to create that, it’s not something that happens very often, so I jumped at it,” Escobar said.

The school needs everything from new desks to books and even a new teaching staff. Escobar said the hiring process starts soon, with six positions to fill. She wants the school to have a focus on environmental science.

“We’re working with Carkeek Park and Piper Watershed. People are very eager to get involved,” Escobar explained.

Rain gardens are being planted, and conservation will be a strong theme in the school.

“There’s an idea for a culmination project in fifth grade, where they’ll look into their (carbon) footprint, and ways to neutralize that footprint on the environment,” Escobar said. “Its an incredible opportunity to create such a dynamic learning environment.”

When the school closed in 2007, nearly 200 students were relocated to other elementary schools. Escobar said she was surprised to learn the history of Viewlands.

“When it closed it was hard on the community. So, there are a lot of old wounds that need to be healed, and there are people who are excited about it coming back. It’s going to be redone and it will be beautiful when it’s done,” she said.

The school will start with 130 kids this fall, with the hope that within five years, 450 kids will be enrolled. In the meantime, Escobar is busy getting ready for the new students.

“You have to order everything from paper clips to laminators,” she said. “You just have to imagine you start with nothing.”

(Contributor Meghan Walker is an intern from the University of Washington School of Communications.

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Phinney’s Polly-Glots children’s language program releases French and Spanish CD’s

March 17th, 2011 by Doree

Phinney-Ridge-based Polly-Glots, which provides French, Spanish and Mandarin language classes for children, is celebrating the release of its educational French and Spanish CDs with a big party downtown next week.

Polly-Glots teacher Ines Andrade will perform in French and Spanish from 10:30-11:30 a.m. Thursday, March 24, at the Starbucks at 1600 E. Olive Way. The first half-hour will be French songs, and the second half-hour will be in Spanish. The event is free, but because space is limited, please RSVP to kim@polly-glots.com.

Each CD – The Polly-Glots Chantent and The Polly-Glots Cantan –  includes 30 kid-friendly songs about food, letters, numbers, animals and the body.

Polly-Glots will give away some T-shirts, CDs, and there’s a raffle for free tuition for Spring quarter. Classes are held at the Phinney Neighborhood Center, Twirl Café on Queen Anne, and North Kirkland Community Center, as well as student-only classes at Stevens and Highland Terrace elementary schools.

Polly-Glots founder and French instructor Tanya Knudsen lives with her family in Phinney Ridge.

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