Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A message from your PTSA Board

A story about Arbor Heights recently aired on KUOW radio. Unfortunately the KUOW story contains a number of inaccuracies and did not accurately reflect the subject matter of our conversation with the reporter. As saveseattleschools.com, West Seattle Blog and Seattle Times have reported earlier, Seattle School Board members (Sundquist and Maier) directed the District to consider Cooper Elementary as a location for Pathfinder at the November 25th School Board meeting when closures were first announced – prior to any testimony, letters from parents or calls to Board members. Also at that meeting, Board members questioned Dr. Goodloe-Johnson about why she wasn’t proposing to close a high school when the District had excess capacity of 3,000 seats, with 800 more by 2011.

During public testimony at the December 3rd School Board meeting Arbor Heights parents presented School District data supporting three potential alternatives to closing Arbor Heights. That data was in no way based on poverty. It was based on building capacity, percentage of attendance drawn from reference area and rate of first choice attendance.

Three schools in West Seattle rank high (2nd, 4th & 5th respectively) for first choice and neighborhood attendance despite high levels of students in poverty – Concord (81% free lunch), Sanislo (50% free lunch), and Highland Park (73% free lunch).

Dr. Goodloe-Johnson’s Superintendent’s report at the December 3rd School Board meeting proposed Cooper as the location for Pathfinder and closure of Rainier Beach. Delivered immediately following public testimony, the report was clearly prepared in advance. These facts are easily verifiable through media reports of the meetings and by the Superintendent’s Reports on the School District’s website.

Seattle School District has said schools will close. This is nothing to celebrate and we at Arbor Heights, along with the rest of West Seattle, do not celebrate ANY West Seattle School closing. Our efforts have always been, and will continue to be, focused on two things only: making sure that the district stays true to its stated priorities of neighborhood schools and equitable access to quality education for all students.

Please contact ahptsa-owner@yahoogroups.com with any questions or concerns.

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Monday, December 15, 2008

Arbor Heights on the Net

Arbor Heights has an illustrious past on the Internet, beginning with the establishment of The Earth Day Groceries Project and the school web site in 1994, pictured here. This is a place to share thoughts about the impact of our school on the web in education. Leave a comment here (please leave your full name, location, and affiliation), or send an email, and we'll get your story up here. Thanks! - Mark

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Media Advisory - 12/11/08 - Arbor Heights Receives Grant for Playground Improvements

Arbor Heights Elementary will receive a "Small & Simple" Neighborhood Matching Funds grant from Seattle Department of Neighborhoods in a ceremony tonight from 6 - 7:30 pm at Alki Elementary School, 3010 59th Ave SW.
Arbor Heights parents applied for the $4,084 grant to install new basketball hoops and courts at Arbor Heights Elementary after the school's old basketball hoops were removed by Seattle School District in September 2008 because of high lead content on their painted surfaces. Replacements were not supplied by the District, so Arbor Heights parents began fundraising and writing grants to fund new hoops on the school playground.

Arbor Heights raised $800 to fund new basketball hoops through two fundraisers: a childrens change drive, where Arbor Heights students brought in their loose change; and a partnership with West Seattle restaurant Endolyne Joes, where a portion of one November evening's sales benefitted the Arbor Heights basketball hoops. Arbor Heights PTSA will contribute approximately an additional $975 toward the cost of building new basketball courts and installing new hoops.

More information: Suzette Riley, Arbor Heights PTSA Co-President, 206-409-1960

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Updated Closure List - Arbor Heights is not on the list!

The Seattle School District sent out a News Release late last night.

Seattle Public Schools continues to weigh options for capacity management and building closure
Community feedback, ongoing evaluation helping to shape options


Arbor Heights Elementary is not on the updated closure list.

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Friday, December 5, 2008

Events for Tuesday, December 9th

Today is busy day for Arbor Heights parents. A number of parents and staff will be greeting the School Board Members this afternoon at the Stanford Center (between 3:30 and 4:00 PM). The School Board has a School Board Workshop regarding Capacity Management, starting at 4:00 PM.

Many parents, staff and community members will also attend the Program Community Meeting with Patrick Johnson (6:00 - 7:30), at the Arbor Heights Elementary Cafeteria. Patrick Johnson will get a chance to see the Arbor Heights Community in action.

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School Closure Discussion with Steve Sundquist - Sat. Dec. 6th

West Seattle School Board member, Steve Sundquist, is offering an informal meeting opportunity for West Seattle parents on Saturday at Delridge Library, 3-5 pm. Drop by for a chat. The last informal chat he had (on November 26th) was very informative and constructive.

3-5 PM on Saturday, December 6th

Delridge Library
5423 Delridge Way S.W.

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Seattle Schools Community Workshop - Saturday Dec. 6th

I encourage any and all to attend Saturday’s Community Workshop. It would be great to have Arbor Heights representatives at many of the tables; that way every group reiterates the Arbor Heights talking points.

Recap of Thursday's Meeting:
At the community workshop last night (at the Stanford Center), Arbor Heights was represented by 3 parents and 1 teacher. The West Seattle Herald was there. (side note: Lowell was represented by about 30 people.) We need Arbor Heights to be well represented at all school closure meetings. The more times we can get our "safety green and yellow" shirts glowing at these meetings the better. The School Board has stated they want suggestions earlier than later – the time to strike is now!

At Thursday's community workshop, the Superintendent gave a rundown of the criteria used for picking schools to close. Attendees then divided up into tables of eight people. Reference information was provided at each table (maps, building enrollment, building scores etc.). The people at each table came up with alternative solutions to what was provided on the table. They also discussed the closure criteria being used. A spokesperson was selected for each table, and they presented a 2 minute synopsis of their ideas to the group. It was a loud and hurried process with lots of staff stopping by to listen, to see if we had picked a spokesperson, to see if we had a note taker etc.

Call to Action:
If you can attend Saturday's Community Workshop, come prepared to share ideas of what alternatives you would like to see. The information the PTSA shared at Wednesday’s board meeting is exactly the type of info we need to share. We need to reiterate our stance. Don't close “Neighborhood Schools”, especially ones that are working.

The workshop is: 9:30 – 11:30 @ the Filipino Community Center 5740 Martin Luther King Jr. Way.

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Arbor Heights Pajama Party/Fundraiser at Barnes & Noble brings parents protesting closure

Media Advisory:

Arbor Heights Pajama Party/Fundraiser at Barnes & Noble brings parents protesting closure, signing Save Arbor Heights petitions.


  • Arbor Heights kindergarten teachers (who both attended the school as kids) read stories to Arbor Heights kids at Westwood Village Barnes & Noble.
  • Parents walking the sidewalk with "Save Our Neighborhood School" signs.
  • Parents seeking for signatures on Save Arbor Heights petition.


  • Barnes & Noble - Westwood Village store, 2600 SW Barton St, Suite E-1 Seattle, WA 98126


  • Kids' pajama party starts at 5 pm
  • Story time with kindergarten teachers starts at 5:30 pm


  • Fundraiser for Arbor Heights, to fund projects such as: paying for kindergarten assistant teachers, buying books for school library, and an Artist in Residence program. All purchases Friday Dec. 5th - Sunday Dec. 7th give 10% proceeds to Arbor Heights.
  • Protest Seattle School District's proposed school closure.


Give voucher code to 413831 when making purchases, to benefit Arbor Heights.

For More info: contact Suzette Riley, 206-409-1960

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Thursday, December 4, 2008

Parent Letter

I just received this letter and attached picture from a former Arbor Heights parent. She sent it to Director Sundquist, and I share it here, with her permission. I taught both the young men in the front of the river raft below, when they were third graders at Arbor Heights:

Dear Director Sundquist,
I am writing to provide input on the proposed Arbor Heights Program Closure. I have lived in the Arbor Heights community since 1987. I can tell you that the Arbor Heights Program is not just a school program. It is an integral part of our neighborhood community.

At the time we moved here, my son was 3 years old. He attended Arbor Heights Elementary, then Madison Middle School, and finally Chief Sealth High.

In Kindergarten, my son Tony planted grass seeds in a Styrofoam cup in Ms. Broome's class. That grass is still being tenderly nurtured by me in a special pot on the back porch, 18 years later.

Mr. Dorr's class walked up to our house and had a fun picnic lunch during the last week of first grade. I helped water the young trees during the summer when they were planted on the hillside when Tony was in 4th grade. Tony won the All School Mile Run in 5th grade. I, along with my girlfriend down the street, whose boy also attended, have journals from the Young Author's Conference up in our attics in "Memory Lane."

As we take our dogs for walks around the neighborhood, we see our neighbors children walking home from school and visit. We're still in touch with the neighborhood kids that have attended that school. At 25 years old, Tony had his best Arbor Heights buddy fly up from North Carolina this past summer to go river rafting with him in Montana.

I could go on and on for hours, and don't want to bore you. I know everyone's neighborhood schools are important, but I feel especially that Arbor Heights Elementary Program is an important life-force to this community. It takes so long to get to know your neighbors these days. I can't imagine how it would be if the children that lived locally had to be relocated a distance away. Please don't end our neighborhood school program.

Sabra Snow
Tony Zwink's Mom

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Capacity-Closure Public Workshop at Arbor Heights on Tuesday, December 9th

Please attend a Capacity-Closure Public Workshop at Arbor Heights Cafeteria on Tuesday, December 9th 6:00-7:30 pm. Patrick Johnson, Educational Director for Arbor Heights will present.

The purpose of the meeting is to provide information and inform the community and staff about school closures: the process, criteria, impact on the school. This is also an opportunity for the community to give input.

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Students Blog about Arbor Heights

The third graders in Room Twelve at Arbor Heights have been writing about the proposed closure of our school.

Their articles are grouped together for easy reading, at "Save Arbor Heights". The list of posts is sure to grow, so please bookmark the site and check back later. These young writers would welcome comments from one and all, so feel free to respond to them individually (the blog is totally moderated).

Many thanks,
Mark Ahlness,
teacher, grade 3

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Community Workshops on Preliminary Recommendations for Capacity Management and Building Closure

Tonight is the first of two School District Community Workshops, where the school district will consult with the public, present information and listen to concerns and ideas.

Dates, Times and Locations:

Thursday, December 4th, 6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. John Stanford Center for Educational Excellence, Auditorium 2445 - 3rd Avenue South, Seattle, Washington

Saturday, December 6th, 9:30 - 11:30 AM Filipino Community Center, Main Ballroom 5740 Martin Luther King Way, Seattle, Washington

As the West Seattle Blog states: however they shake out, the closures/changes are on a fast track, and the district wants community suggestions ASAP.

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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

School Board Meeting Reports

A couple of blog posts are in early from tonight's Seattle School Board meeting.
I was really, really impressed by all of the speakers from Arbor Heights. Can I possibly feel any prouder of my school?

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Seattle School Board Meeting - Watch it live on Channel 26

Tonight (December 3) from 6:00 - 9:00 PM is the Seattle School Board Meeting at the John Stanford Center, 2445 3rd Avenue South. The school Board Meeting Agenda is http://www.seattleschools.org/area/board/08-09agendas/120308agenda/120308agenda.pdf

Arbor Heights Elementary will have 6 speakers at the School Board Meeting. For those who are unable to attend the meeting in person, be sure to watch Channel 26.

The Seattle Public Schools
Instructional Broadcast Center / SPS-TV Channel 26 is a self-funded department within the Seattle Public School District.

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Arbor Heights Holiday Bazaar - Experience a true community event!

The Holiday Bazaar is finally here! Please come join the fun, and watch our amazing community in action.

This year will feature: Over 40 vendors offering handmade crafts, delightful gifts, homemade foods, and body care products; An outrageous raffle featuring decadent gifts and services donated from local businesses and vendors; Fantastic children's activities including face painting, ornament making, and cookie decorating; A delectable assortment of baked goods made by our talented and hardworking Arbor Heights parents; Holiday performances by our own Arbor Heights choir; Delicious Pagliacci pizza, Jones sodas, and more...all generously provided by local businesses for fundraising!


For more information, check out the Arbor Heights School WIKI.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Stop and Honk to Save Our School

The parents and children at Arbor Heights Elementary are showing their spunk with numerous homemade signs. Arbor Heights is a community with HEART! And Arbor Heights Elementary is at the heart of it all!

The Arbor Heights Community meeting tonight should be a good reflection of how passionate the Community is. Swing by the Arbor Heights Elementary school at 7:00 PM tonight (Dec. 2) and join the "standing room only" meeting, where parents, teachers and neighbors strategize how to save our school!

Don't forget to HONK!

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Monday, December 1, 2008

A special PTSA/Community Meeting Tuesday, December 2nd at 7 pm

December 1, 2008
Dear Arbor Heights Parents,
The Seattle School District has proposed that the Arbor Heights Elementary program be eliminated and be replaced by Pathfinder K-8. The proposal moves Pathfinder K-8 into the Arbor Heights building and reassigns current Arbor Heights students to other West Seattle South Cluster Schools – Roxhill, Sanislo, Highland Park, Gatewood, Concord or West Seattle Elementary (formerly High Point).
Because this action affects everyone at Arbor Heights, the PTSA is holding a special PTSA/Community Meeting Tuesday, December 2nd at 7 pm in the Arbor Heights cafeteria to discuss this issue. Free childcare will be provided.
The Seattle School Board will be holding a Board Meeting to discuss school closures on Wednesday, December 3rd from 6-8 pm at the John Stanford Center for Educational Excellence, 2445 3rd Avenue South. This meeting is open to the public.

The Seattle School Board will hold a Community Workshop on Thursday, December 4th from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., also at the John Stanford Center. A full schedule of public meetings may be found at the School District’s website http://www.seattleschools.org/.

The Seattle Schools Superintendent is scheduled to make her final recommendation on Tuesday, January 6. The School Board is scheduled to vote on the final recommendations on January 29, 2009.

If you have questions or concerns about the School District’s recommendations, you may reach the Seattle School Board as follows:
Phone: 206-252-0040
Email: capacity@seattleschools.org or schoolboard@seattleschools.org
School Board Members:
Steve Sundquist: steve.sundquist@seattleschools.org [West Seattle Representative]Sherry Carr:mailto:sherry.carr@seattleschools.org
Harium Martin-Morris: harium.martin-morris@seattleschools.org
Cheryl Chow: cheryl.chow@seattleschools.org
Mary Bass: mary.bass@seattleschools.org
Michael DeBell: michael.debell@seattleschools.org
Mail: School Board, PO Box 34165, MS 11-010, Seattle, WA, 98124-1165

If you would like to learn more about the Arbor Heights PTSA, please join the Arbor Heights PTSA Yahoo group by going to ahptsa@yahoogroups.com, email Tammy.Wooley@comcast.net, or call Tammy at 206-933-6410. You may also call me at 206-409-1960.

Thank you,

Suzette Riley
Co-President, Arbor Heights PTSA


Seattle School District - Public hearing at Genesee Hill (Pathfinder)

Public hearings are scheduled to be held at buildings proposed for closure.

Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2008 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. ▪ Genesee Hill - 5012 S.W. Genesee St.

Public testimony will be limited to 3 minutes per speaker, and should focus on the school building about which the hearing is being held. To sign up to give testimony, please call (206) 252-0042 or e-mail hearing@seattleschools.org.

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Save Arbor Heights Fact Sheet

Seattle School District proposes that the Arbor Heights Elementary program be eliminated and Pathfinder K-8 Alternative School be moved into the building.

Arbor Heights Elementary is a quality neighborhood school closely resembling the ethnic makeup of Seattle.

Closing Arbor Heights violates the District’s stated goals to promote quality neighborhood schools. Other schools in the area offer a home for Pathfinder and better meet the District’s closure criteria.

For the complete fact sheet,

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West Seattle Blog - Arbor Heights Program Closure Information

The West Seattle Blog has been busy helping us with our cause - Save the Arbor Heights Program (http://westseattleblog.com/blog/?cat=94):

We love our West Seattle Blog!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Timeline for District Meetings

Here is the timeline for the School District Meetings and additional dates to remember:
  • December 2 - 7:00 PM Arbor Heights PTSA/Community Meeting - Arbor Heights Elementary cafeteria
  • December 3 – 6:00 - 9:00 PM School Board Meeting - John Stanford Center, 2445 3rd Avenue South. School Board Meeting Agenda - http://www.seattleschools.org/area/board/08-09agendas/120308agenda/120308agenda.pdf
  • December 4 – 6:30 to 8:30 PM Community Meeting, John Stanford Center, 2445 3rd Avenue South.
  • December 6 – Community Meeting, 9:30 to 11:30 a.m., Filipino Community Center, 5740 Martin Luther King Way
  • December 15, 16, 18 – Public hearings at buildings proposed for closure http://www.seattleschools.org/area/capacity/public_hearings.pdf
  • December 16 - West Seattle Public Hearing at the Genesee Hill (Pathfinder) building (http://westseattleblog.com/blog/?p=12155)
  • Monday, January 5 - 8:00 AM sign up for Board Meeting Speaking Slots
  • Tuesday, January 6 – Final recommendation announced by Superintendent
  • Wednesday, January 7 – Board meeting: Capacity management motion introduced
  • Monday, January 19 - 8:00 AM sign up for Board Meeting Speaking Slots
  • Wednesday, January 21 – Board meeting
  • Thursday, January 22 – Final public hearing
  • Thursday, January 29 – Special board meeting: Vote on capacity management motion

Here is the link to the School District's timeline:


Add these dates to your calendar!

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

In the News - Arbor Heights Elementary

We are getting the word out in the media. Suzette Riley, PTSA co-president, contacted TV, radio and newspaper outlets in Seattle today, and did interviews with KOMO TV, KIRO TV and KOMO Radio, KIRO Radio. Several parents were on TV today too (Yay Sharon Ruud + Tammy Wooley!)

Debbie Taylor was quoted on KUOW.

Arbor Heights parents attended Steve Sundquist's coffee chat, which is described in the West Seattle Herald (with pic):

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West Seattle Blog - The Latest Arbor Heights Program Closure Information

Tracy with the West Seattle Blog has a great recap of last night's School Board Session (all 4+ hours of it). Read through it http://westseattleblog.com/blog/?p=12141

If you have time for coffee @ 9:00 AM today, join me at Coffee to a Tea with Sugar in the Junction, where we can chat with West Seattle’s School Board rep Steve Sundquist. It may be standing room only.

Tammy Wooley
Proud Arbor Heights Parent since 2001 and Kindergarten Aide

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

School Value - 1

Jr. on the wall Arbor Heights is home to the Jr. Seahawk Newsletter, the oldest continually published student newspaper on the Internet, going back to 1994, with all editions available online, and several available as podcasts, available on iTunes, of course.

Volume 18, Issue 2 will be out the day before Thanksgiving, 2008.

Student news reporters have their own blog.

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The Value of Our School

Leave your comments here - about the value of Arbor Heights Elementary - to the students, families, community, school district, city, and more...

Please use your full name. Anonymous comments will not be published.


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