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


Public Review of first phase of Viewlands playground improvement Nov. 2

October 28th, 2014 by Doree

The public is invited to review the first phase of playground improvements proposed for Viewlands Elementary School, 10525 3rd Ave. NW., from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 2, in the school gym. This is the first of two public meetings.

The playground improvements are being paid for by a grant from the City of Seattle Department of Neighborhoods.

Meeting participants can tour the school grounds and learn where future recreational and play components will be located. Snacks and games will be provided.

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Viewlands Elementary meeting to discuss improvements to school grounds

November 12th, 2013 by Doree

Viewlands Elementary is holding its second public meeting to decide how to improve the school’s grounds with a City of Seattle Department of Neighborhoods grant. Plans include better parking, new playground, and better connections to nearby Carkeek Park.

The meeting is from 6-8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 19, at the school. Light refreshments will be served.

The school website has drawings of three proposed options: Option A, Option B and Option C.

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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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City to fund two Greenwood sidewalk projects

September 20th, 2013 by Doree

The City of Seattle has approved two neighborhood projects that were requested by citizens to make walking safer.

Bridging the Gap funds of $1,070,000 will be used to build sidewalks on Greenwood Avenue North between North 92nd and North 97th streets, and from North 104 to North 105th streets.

School zone camera revenue of $505,000 will be used to build a sidewalk on the west side of 3rd Avenue NW between NW 105th and NW 107th streets, by Viewlands Elementary School.

The projects should be designed in 2014 and constructed in 2015. You can the full list of 16 city-wide projects here.

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Reminder: Children in need can still receive free lunch and snacks at several sites this summer

August 21st, 2013 by Doree

Just a reminder that children 18 and younger can get free lunch and sometimes breakfast or snack through the Summer Meals Program.

Two of the three sites in our neighborhood will end their summer meal program this week:

  • Broadview-Thompson Elementary School, 13052 Greenwood Ave. N., serves free breakfast from 8:30-9 a.m. and lunch from 12-12:30 p.m. This Thursday is the last day.
  • Bitter Lake Community Center, 13035 Linden Ave. N., serves lunch from 12-1 p.m. and snack from 3-4 p.m. this Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

Viewlands Elementary, 10525 3rd Ave. NW, will serve lunch from 12-1 p.m. Monday-Friday through next Friday, Aug. 30.

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Hunger Intervention Program expands Healthy Food Backpacks Program to Viewlands Elementary

February 8th, 2013 by Doree

The Hunger Intervention Program (HIP) provides backpacks full of healthy, kid-friendly foods to 40 North Seattle elementary school children each weekend. Starting on Feb. 22, HIP will expand the program to two more elementary schools, including Viewlands, 10525 3rd Ave. NW.

Viewlands has one of the highest numbers of children in the district relying on free or reduced price school meals.

The Healthy HIP Packs Program is a food backpack program that provides meals for children at risk of hunger when they are out of school. Each Friday, backpacks are discretely filled with enough food for six meals and two snacks per child and include information on nutrition and community resources… (T)he foods included in the pack are complete meals and emphasizes whole grains, milk, high quality proteins, fresh fruits, and products with no added sugars.

“We always welcome donated funds as well as donations of healthy, quality foods that can be included in the HIP Packs,” added Murphy. “If anyone is interested in hosting a food drive, we can provide information to do so. We know that hungry kids can’t learn and this program directly delivers food to where it is needed most.”

Donors have provided HIP with enough money to provide weekend food for up to 20 children at each of the two new schools. HIP hopes to increase that to 40 children at each school every week by the end of the next school year.

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Viewlands Elementary students collecting food for Holiday Food Boxes for students in need

November 3rd, 2012 by Doree

Students at Viewlands Elementary, 10525 3rd Ave. NW, are collecting food in each classroom and partnering with Hunger Intervention Program (HIP) and local businesses to create Holiday Food Boxes for fellow students in need. Participating businesses include Starbucks, QFC, and Lenny’s Produce Market.

The students will pack up the boxes on Nov. 14; the boxes will be distributed to students in need before Thanksgiving.

“The Hunger Intervention Program is pleased to support Viewlands Elementary and hopes to offer weekly food support to students in 2013 through our Healthy HIP Packs program,” Kate Murphy, HIP Program Manager, said in a press release. “The Healthy HIP Packs program provides food when children need it most – on the weekends when the safety net of school meals is not available. The packs provide nutritious and kid-friendly foods sufficient for six meals and two snacks per child.”

According to the press release, one in four Washington children live in households where families are struggling to make ends meet; and Viewlands Elementary has one of the highest free and reduced price school meal participation rates in North Seattle.

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New principals named at two PhinneyWood area elementary schools

May 18th, 2012 by Doree

Seattle Public Schools today announced new principals for two schools with students from the Phinney-Greenwood area.

Melissa Schweitzer is leaving her job as assistant principal at Whitman Middle School to become principal at Whittier Elementary School. Current principal Linda Robinson is retiring at the end of the school year.

Schweitzer has previously been an instructional coach, and a Special Education teacher at Meany Middle School and Seattle Children’s Home.

She holds a Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Colorado and earned a Bachelor of Science in Special Education from the University of Evansville. She has Washington State Administrative Certification.

Ms. Schweitzer was selected after a hiring process that included input from staff and families. The selection team committee was particularly impressed with her strong background in instructional support and leadership for excellence in student learning, as well as her commitment to the vision of the Whittier community.

Michelle Ota is leaving her assistant principal post at Salmon Bay K-8 School in Ballard to become principal at Viewlands Elementary School.

Michelle Ota previously served as professional development coordinator at Meany Middle School, as outreach coordinator for the Puget Sound Writing Project, and as a STAR mentor for Seattle Public Schools. She taught sixth grade language arts and social studies at TOPS, and middle school social studies in the Spectrum program at Washington Middle School.

She holds a Master in Education from Western Washington University and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington. She earned a principal certificate from Western Washington University and holds a Washington State Administrative Certification.

Both Schweitzer and Ota begin their new jobs on July 1.

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2 Greenwood elementary schools receive funding for conservation programs

April 17th, 2012 by Doree

Greenwood and Viewlands elementary schools are among 37 Seattle schools that will receive money from the district for encouraging conservation and environmentally responsible behaviors.

The schools will split $26,000, which comes from district-wide savings in energy and water use. Schools will use the “Green Team Funding” to conduct assessments of their schools in energy efficiency, recycling and waste reduction, or water quality and conservation.

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Seattle Public Schools may delay Whittier Developmental Preschool move by one year

March 28th, 2012 by Doree

Seattle Public Schools today announced that it may delay by one year the planned move of the Developmental Preschool at Whittier Elementary to Viewlands Elementary.

Last week we told you that some parents with children in the Developmental Preschool were upset that the district had made the decision to move the program in January, but didn’t tell them until mid-March. Some of the preschoolers have older siblings enrolled at Whittier specifically so the family could be at one school. By waiting to notify parents until after Open Enrollment had ended, those families didn’t have the option to move their older children to Viewlands as well.

The Developmental Preschool is located on the bottom floor of Whittier Elementary.

The school district says it made the initial decision in January, after determining that Whittier would likely need an extra classroom next year. Since there are no open classrooms right now, either the Developmental Preschool or the Whittier Kids before- and after-school program would need to move. The district determined that more families would be affected by the loss of the before- and after-school program.

Today, the district sent home a letter with all Whittier students, stating that it will wait until April 15 to determine if increased enrollment at the school will mean it needs the preschool room for an additional home room. The letter from Pegi McEvoy, Assistant Superintendent for Operations, says that if the latest enrollment data for Whittier does not show any increases for next year, then the Developmental Preschool will remain at Whittier for the 2012-13 school year, then move to Viewlands in 2013-14.

SPS Spokeswoman Teresa Wippel told me today that the district has an exception process for siblings who want to transfer to Viewlands but missed the Open Enrollment period. The new District Ombudsman is helping affected families with that process.

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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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Lisa Escobar appointed principal for soon-to-be-reopened Viewlands Elementary

March 24th, 2011 by Doree

Viewlands Elementary School, 10525 3rd Ave. NW., was closed a couple years ago, but will reopen this fall with new principal Lisa Escobar.

From Seattle Public Schools:

Escobar, a Seattle Public Schools administrator since 2004, has been a principal at Nova, The Center School and is currently co-principal at Rainier Beach High School. She held positions as an elementary school principal and assistant principal at the middle school level. In addition to her service with Seattle Public Schools, she has been a classroom teacher at schools in Issaquah and school districts in California. Escobar taught general, special and bilingual education for several years at the elementary and secondary level and did her administrative internship at an elementary school. Escobar received her degree in health science with minors in chemistry and biology from California State University, Chico. She has a master’s degree in special education from San Jose State University, where her focus was on engaging Spanish-speaking parents in the IEP (Individualized Education Program) process. She received her administrative credential from Chico State.

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