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.

Why should you care about the Seattle School Board race? Consider these three reasons:

1. Unstable Board = Bad for Students

Research has shown that a chaotic board "will repel all people of quality," thereby negatively impacting student achievement, according to Thomas Alsbury, professor of educational administration and supervision at Seattle Pacific University. 

“When boards and central office leaders are viewed as unstable or chaotic, excellent principals and teachers choose to go elsewhere,” Alsbury said.

Photos provided by their campaigns.

Two first-time candidates are facing off in a tight race for a seat on the Seattle School Board. Suzanne Dale Estey and Sue Peters are both vying to represent District 4, which covers Queen Anne, Magnolia, and parts of Ballard.

This weekened, Seattle's Convention Center is getting overrun by thousands of women and girls gathered for the annual GeekGirlCon event. But the convention is not just about gaming.

As it stands now, it's not against the law to answer nature's call in public in the unincorporated areas of King County.

King County Council member Kathy Lambert wants to change that with a proposed ordinance.

dharder9475 / Flickr

A recent hazing incident involving more than 100 students at Seattle's Garfield High School has many wondering how such a thing can become part of a school's tradition in a district with a zero-tolerance policy. 

According to the police report, the victims were driven to the Washington Park Arboretum where more than 100 students and a keg of beer were present. There, they were paddled and "forced to drink shots of hard liquor" until at least one of them was very intoxicated, the report said. Eleven students have been temporarily expelled while both school officials and police investigate.

Seattle Public Schools spokesperson Teresa Wippel said hazing has become a tradition at Garfield High, which has a long history of such incidents. According to veteran psychologist Susan Lipkins, what begins as a benign initiation ritual can easily evolve into a dangerous culture over time.

JoeInSouthernCA / Flickr

Seattle’s Garfield High School has temporarily expelled 11 students following a mass hazing incident last month.

The students face emergency expulsion, which means the action isn't disciplinary in nature; instead, its aim is to get students off of campus as quickly as possible to allow school officials to investigate.

Florangela Davila

Meet Nathan Cummings, a senior at Mercer Island High School and one of five chosen National Student Poets.

"It's like a crazy fever dream," said Cummings of having been awarded the highest recognition of its kind for young literary minds. 

 The awards are part of the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. They're administered by the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers, the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Cummings flew to Washington, D.C. last month for the ceremony where he met Joyce Carol Oates and Michelle Obama.

The old Kimberly-Clark pulp mill site in Everett is getting a new lease on life. Foss Maritime plans to relocate its shipbuilding facility from Seattle to the 66-acre property on the Everett waterfront.

Foss's parent company Saltchuk has signed a purchase and sales agreement with Kimberly-Clark.  

JoeInSouthernCA / Flickr

Seattle school officials are looking into a mass hazing incident involving more than 100 Garfield High School students at Seattle’s Arboretum Friday night. 

In an email to parents, Garfield High Principal Ted Howard said students were hitting each other with paddles, throwing eggs and drinking beer. Students were also found covered in shoe polish and wearing diapers.

When Howard arrived on the scene, one of the students called him the N-word. Howard is black.

Elaine Thompson / Associated Press

Starting today, it’s going to cost you more to commute by ferry in and around the Puget Sound—unless you have a small car.

Walk-on ferry passengers will pay 15 cents more to sail from Seattle to Bainbridge Island. Passenger fares are going up 2 percent are vehicle fares are increasing by 3 percent to help the ferry system meet its revenue target.

But for those who drive onto the ferry, it pays to have a small car. Cars shorter than 14 feet will receive a discount.

Seattle Public Schools

Where should Seattle children go to school? That’s the question Seattle Public Schools is hoping to answer as it redraws the school assignment map.

But before the district makes its final proposal, it wants to hear what parents have to say. The district is holding two more community meetings tonight and tomorrow night. It is also taking community input online. 

Diana Bodwin, who lives in Seattle's Georgetown neighborhood, says she had expected to enroll her 4-year-old son, Teddy, in what she thought was her neighborhood school, Maple Elementary School. But under the district's proposals, Georgetown children would be assigned to Van Asselt Elementary School, which is farther south.

"We know Maple. We know that we feel connected to it, and we were prepared for it. And we had a good experience and good recommendations from parents who had been there," said Bodwin.

Tim Durkan

For the first time in four years, Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn has proposed a budget that doesn’t include any major cuts to programs.

Instead, the budget gives the city 15 new police officers, more cameras in school zones, and additional money for the homeless.  

Who’s got the “best dance station” in the country? The answer is Seattle, thanks to the students at Nathan Hale High School.

The school's KNHC C 89.5 FM nabbed the Crystal Trophy for best dance station in the country during the Promo Only Summer Sessions national radio conference last month. The station beat out major commercial stations, as well as Sirius XM to claim the honor. 

A campaign is under way to earn Seattle the distinction of being an international “city of literature.”

The man behind the effort is Seattle author Ryan Boudinot.

“I’m just a guy who wants cool things to happen in his city, who loves books and loves reading, and loves talking to writers and learning about new voices," he said. 

Kelly O.

What do you want to be wearing in your final moments? That's the question Seattle artist Mark Mitchell has been wondering about. And he has answered it in the form of burial clothing he has created for a new show at the Frye Museum.

"I’ve not had the luxury of not thinking about death a lot," he says. "I’ve had HIV disease well over 20 years. And I’ve lost many friends." 

In his 51 years on earth, Mitchell has been to a lot of funerals. There was the one for his father.

Ted S. Warren / Associated Press

Seattle Public Schools officials project enrollment will likely reach 60,000 by the year 2020—an increase of 9,000 students from the current population.

The growing student body is one of the biggest reasons why the district is proposing changes to the district's boundaries map

Johnston Architects

How do you push the envelope when it comes to designing an apartment building?

You bring in windows and high ceilings to spaces that are usually cramped and dark, like a laundry room.

"I think there are more windows than there are washing machines and dryers," says architect Ray Johnston.

Chris Kalbfleisch / Flickr

Do you stop for school buses?

A recent survey found Washington drivers are ignoring school buses' stop signs and flashing red lights, putting children's safety at risk.

Ted S. Warren / Associated Press

Johns Hopkins University has awarded Seattle Public Schools the 2013 Partnership District Award for family and community engagement.

The University's National Network of Public Schools noted Seattle not only has in place a family partnerships administrator, but also has several district programs that fuel stronger partnerships.

Photo courtesy of the designer.

A group of local businesspeople wants to turn Renton into a fashion manufacturing hub.

The Seattle area has the fourth highest concentration of fashion designers in the U.S. behind New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. It also has a long history in retail, what with Filson, Nordstrom, and Eddie Bauer based here, just to name a few. 

What's seriously missing, though, is a concentrated supply chain. 

Teachers in the Snoqualmie Valley School District averted a strike when they voted to approve a new three-year contract late Sunday. 

The news came shortly after 10 p.m.—several hours after the Snoqualmie Valley Education Association announced the two sides had reached a tentative agreement. 

Cliff Owen / Associated Press

Seattle schoolchildren returned to school Wednesday, but some of the city’s kindergarteners have already fallen behind.

At least that’s how Seattle City Council member Tim Burgess sees things, which is why he’s proposing a universal preschool program for the city's 3- and 4-year-olds.

"We know what works in helping kids to be prepared, to learn, and to thrive starting in kindergarten, and it means investing early," Burgess said.

The school year will begin on Wednesday for students in Seattle, Snoqualmie, and south Kitsap County after their teachers reached last-minute agreements with their respective districts Tuesday.

Late Tuesday, the Seattle Education Association voted to approve a two-year agreement reached with the school district over the weekend. The contract includes a longer work day for some, as well as higher pay. 

The school year will start on time for students in south Kitsap County after teachers overwhelmingly approved a new three-year contract on Tuesday.

John Jenkins

In a region that prides itself on being innovative, the SPARK Museum of Electric Invention in Bellingham is where to go when you want to marvel at the wonder and power of electricity.

There are 60,000 different items on display including a Blickensderfer manual typewriter from the 1930s, a telephone switchboard from that same era, and a theremin, which makes music just by waving your hands over it. 

Elaine Thompson / Associated Press

Microsoft wants students to be able to search the Internet without getting bombarded by ads.

The software company has launched "Bing for Schools," a pilot program available to educational institutions who want ad-free searches and no adult content. School districts in Atlanta, Los Angeles and Fresno, California have already signed on.

Dozens of businesses in Seattle are turning their backs on customers who carry guns. They’ve signed onto a new “gun-free zone” program launched by Washington Ceasefire with the support of Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn.

Businesses can register for the program by signing up on Ceasefire website and posting a "no guns allowed inside" decal on their windows.

Ted S. Warren / Associated Press

Seattle public schools kicks off the new school year on Sept. 4 with a projected enrollment of 52,000 students—an increase of 4,600 students in the past five years.

But how best to accommodate all those students in the future has Seattle schools and the teacher’s union at odds.

It's not quite a film festival. But a new series of films will play for free in Tacoma next month as a way to spark cultural conversations.

The "Film Forum: Advancing Cultural Dialogue" is sponsored in part by The Sundance Institute.

Puget Sound Bike Share

After years of planning, Seattle officials are likely to move one step closer to bringing a new form of public transportation to the city. The Seattle City Council's transportation committee will discuss the rent-a-bike program called “Bike Share" at its meeting Tuesday.

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