Florangela Davila

Freelance Arts Reporter

Florangela Davila  has been a journalist since 1992. For 14 years she worked at The Seattle Times where she covered both news and features. She's been freelancing for KPLU since 2008, reporting and producing as well as helping coordinate the station's "Looking Back to Look Forward" documentary project. She's also a lecturer in the Department of Communication at the University of Washington. Florangela received her B.A. from U.C. Berkeley and her Master's in Journalism from Columbia University. She's been both an arts consumer and an arts practitioner for as long as she can remember.

Florangela Davila

It isn't easy being a teacher, especially a new one.

"The reality of the complexity of the job comes flying at you on Day One, when everything you learned in school needs to be in acted in reality, and you realize this is a really complicated job," said Jeanne Harmon, who directs support programs for new teachers at the state Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Associated Press

The Seattle City Council could move one step closer to using its power of eminent domain as a way to curb foreclosures. 

The council is looking to create a committee to explore eminent domain and two other principal reduction programs, namely lease swapping and setting up a municipal land bank, as tools for struggling homeowners.

Ted S. Warren / Associated Press

Thousands of Washington residents who started the GED high school equivalency test sometime this past decade but never finished now have just a few weeks to complete their exams or start over.

cdsessums / Flickr

A King County judge has ruled parts of the state’s charter school law are unconstitutional. But the nuances of the ruling have both supporters and opponents of charter schools declaring victory.  

If it’s confusing why both sides fighting something in court would be happy, it has to do with how you read what King County Superior Court Judge Jean Rietschel decided.

Dave Martin / Associated Press

A free program developed by the University of Washington helps curb teen drinking and violence, according to new research.

The “Communities That Care” program takes a one-size-doesn’t-fit-all approach in tackling these problems.

Roosevelt High School senior John Otten discovered the trumpet as a fourth grader.

"I thought, 'It’s only three valves. It wouldn’t be that hard. I bet I could do it,”’ he said.

Turned out, it was hard; he couldn’t even get a sound out that first month.

Fast forward eight years, and Otten is headed to the Grammys as the only student from the Pacific Northwest selected for the Grammy Band Jazz Session program.

City of Tacoma

It will soon be easier to walk or bike around the Puget Sound region, thanks to nearly $17 million in federal funding to build and expand foot bridges, trails and pathways.

The funding from the Federal Highway Administration will benefit 16 transportation projects in King, Pierce, Snohomish and Kitsap counties.

Seattle transportation officials are looking into what went wrong after cars started spinning out of control on a de-iced West Seattle Bridge on Monday.

Three minor car crashes in the eastbound lanes shut down the bridge for several hours. Police blamed the de-icer used on the bridge, but the formula, which the city has been using for three years now, didn’t seem to have caused any problems in the westbound lanes on the same bridge.

Still, the Seattle Department of Transportation is checking to make sure the de-icer had not been contaminated, said spokesman Rick Sheridan.

Florangela Davila

Tacoma public schools brings in professionals to teach their career and technical education classes: a former judge’s advocate, a former photojournalist—you get the point.

But the man who’s just started teaching wood shop at Stadium High? Well, he’s Roy McAlister and he's got some impressive, rock star-sized credentials.

American Booksellers Association

Head to an independent bookstore on Saturday, and you might find a local author working behind the counter.

One thousand authors at some 400 bookstores will be participating in a one-day national program called “Indies First”, which aims to draw shoppers to independent bookstores on Small Business Saturday.

Gabriel Garcia Marengo / Flickr

Today’s teens are pushing the boundaries in their artwork, but playing it safe in the stories they write, according to new research by the University of Washington Information School and the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Using a set of criteria, the study examined artwork and writing produced by teens and published in magazines between 1990 and 2011.

Seattle Public Schools

Every student who graduates from Seattle’s Rainier Beach High School in the spring will be able to attend South Seattle Community College for free for a year.

The 13th Year Promise Scholarship pays for one year of tuition, or the equivalent of approximately $5,000, in an effort to increase the number of underrepresented students in higher education.

Florangela Davila / KPLU

Seattle Public Schools will keep working with the groups that were holding classes in the vacant Horace Mann school building, the district said after police arrested four people for trespassing on Tuesday.

District officials said those who set up barricades earlier this month and refused to leave were just a small subset of the group that had been using the building over spring and summer.

Florangela Davila / KPLU

Seattle police have arrested four people occupying the vacant Horace Mann school in Seattle's Central District. Some activists inside had refused to leave the building even after they were warned against trespassing on school district property.

YouthCare's Facebook Page

YouthCare’s James W. Ray Orion Center for homeless youth will stay open five nights a week, thanks to funding from Seattle and King County.

The Seattle City Council on Monday allocated $130,000 in next year’s budget for the center, adding to the King County Council’s pledge of $120,000 for the center earlier this month. The city council will take a final vote on the budget next week.

Ted S. Warren / Associated Press

Veteran four-term Seattle City Council member Richard Conlin has conceded to Socialist challenger Kshama Sawant.

“Unfortunately, it appears that my opponent has received a greater number of votes,” Conlin said in a written statement Friday. “I hope that she will serve the people of Seattle effectively during her time in office.”

Seattle Children's Hospital

A generation ago, almost half of all schoolchildren walked or biked to school. That rate now is closer to 13 percent. So here’s the question: What difference does walking to school make on a child’s health?

In hopes of finding answers, researchers at Seattle Children’s Hospital have launched an experimental program called "the walking school bus."

Associated Press

Enrollment at Seattle public schools is growing. More students are graduating from high school. And more high school students are taking college-level courses, according to the school district’s own scorecard released Tuesday.

But the district admits the same scorecard shows there’s much more work to be done.

Bullit Marquez / Associated Press

Local Filipinos are raising funds for victims of two recent natural disasters in the Philippines.

The Filipino Community of Seattle had planned a dinner benefit on Nov. 22 to help the victims of a devastating earthquake that rocked the country last month. Then Typhoon Haiyan slammed into the country on Nov. 8, killing an estimated 10,000 people.

Florangela Davila

 

Want to pay for street parking in Seattle? There’s an app for that.

The Pay by Phone program, which launched in the downtown retail core in July, is now available citywide. The option allows you to pay via an app instead of visiting a kiosk.

But here’s are a few things you should know:

Seattle school board candidate Suzanne Dale Estey has conceded to her opponent Sue Peters in one of the costliest campaigns in local history. 

Peters said Dale Estey called her Wednesday night to congratulate her.

Dale Estey is the former economic development for the city of Renton. Her campaign raised nearly $100,000 more than Peters. A political action committee, Great Seattle Schools, also raised nearly $100,000 in an effort to defeat Peters.

Ted S. Warren / Associated Press

Washington state’s fourth and eighth graders are among the best in the country when it comes to reading and math, according to the Nation’s Report Card released by the National Assessment for Education Progress Thursday.

The only overnight shelter for young adults in downtown Seattle is about to close due to money troubles.

YouthCare says funding from a private grant has run out and as a result, its 20-bed shelter will close in January.

Elaine Thompson / Associated Press

An additional 770 kindergarteners can now attend school for free as a result of Seattle Public Schools’ decision to offer free all-day kindergarten at 16 more schools.

The change took effect Nov.1, but it is retroactive to Sept. 4, meaning families will get refunds for September and October.

Lynn Friedman / Flickr

An estimated 1.1 million low-income people in Washington state, or 1 in 6 residents, will find less money in their monthly food allowances starting Nov. 1.

That’s because food stamps, otherwise known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), are being cut. For most families, their monthly food allowance will be reduced anywhere between $11 and $36.   

Florangela Davila

I never paid much attention to school buses until I met driver Tanya Emmels.

Emmels picks up and drops off students without homes.

At a bus depot in Edmonds, she stuffs juice boxes, doughnuts, and chips into bags.

“I know they love these,” she says.

This is how Emmels starts her shift.

Ted S. Warren / Associated Press

With 25 percent of new teachers quitting the profession within the first five years, state Superintendent Randy Dorn hopes the latest batch of mentorship grants will retain teachers.   

Nearly $800,000 in Beginning Educator Support Team (BEST) grants will benefit nearly 400 new teachers in seven school districts across the state. The funds will help grantees coach and counsel new teachers and offer them professional development opportunities.

Washington state students rank in the top 10 for math and science when compared with their counterparts in other countries, according to a new batch of test scores.

Washington's eighth graders tested better than the national average in both subjects. And scores here are higher than those in Ontario, Canada; Hungary, and Australia.

Do the arts matter? ArtsEd Washington, a nonprofit advocacy group, queried school board candidates across the state about the influence of the arts in their own lives and whether arts education would be a priority if elected this November.

AP Photo/Royal Canadian Mounted Police, File

A violent sex offender who fled from Canada is suspected of sexually-assaulting a 16-year-old boy Tuesday morning in West Seattle.

Seattle police learned of the alleged assault after arresting Michael Sean Stanley on an unrelated charge.

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