Seattle Public Schools

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.

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.

Elaine Thompson / Associated Press

As the school year draw near, teacher strikes are a possibility in south Kitsap County and Seattle following disagreements over contract negotiations.

Gabriel Spitzer / KPLU

Seattle teachers are expected to reject the school district’s latest contract offer at its meeting Monday evening, but the superintendent suggests the district is ready to deal on some key sticking points.

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.

Seattle Public Scools

A group of local and national experts is calling on the Seattle School Board to get its act together.

Specialists in school district governance say the research is clear: School board dysfunction matters. Seattle Pacific University professor Thomas Alsbury said drama in the board room can poison the whole organization, which affects students.

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

Gabriel Spitzer / KPLU

Seattle’s superintendent of schools was hired in hopes that he could avoid some of the turmoil and scandal of recent years. Jose Banda just wrapped up his first year in charge, and can claim some high-profile accomplishments. But some of the melodrama still lingers, with the school board sharply divided over its own role, and that of the superintendent.

Taking stock of his first year at the helm of Seattle Public Schools, Banda told KPLU a divided board has a definite effect on how he does his job.

Gabriel Spitzer

Seattle public high schools will be able to opt out of the controversial Measures of Academic Progress, or MAP tests, starting next year.

The policy change comes after teachers at Seattle’s Garfield High School staged a boycott of the MAP tests in January, blasting the tests for giving unreliable data and for sucking up classroom resources. A half-dozen more Seattle schools have since signed on, and the protest has drawn national and international attention.  

how3ird / Flickr

Rainier Beach High School will become the third Seattle school to offer the International Baccalaureate program, district officials announced.

IB was originally developed to educate the children of diplomats in Europe, but is gaining popularity as a way to help turn around struggling urban schools. And Rainier Beach is one of those, with chronic under-enrollment and the lowest test scores of any comprehensive high school in the district.

Seattle’s school district has frozen hiring and spending in anticipation of a budget shortfall next year. But since officials say the change won't affect actual classroom resources or essential personnel, you might say the district has put hiring and spending in the fridge.

Gabriel Spitzer / KPLU

Seattle Public Schools is reinstating a high school curriculum on race and social justice after suspending it over a student’s complaint, but the controversy is likely to continue.

Seattle Public Schools

Seattle Public Schools is set to stop busing students to schools outside their neighborhood next year, but that move might cost more money than it saves. The situation dates back to Seattle's move to a system of neighborhood schools instead of district wide school choice. The district continued to give some kids rides to their old schools during the transition. 

A pack of King County school districts has won of slice of the federal government’s Race to The Top fund, worth $40 million dollars over four years. Seven districts applied for the grant together, as the Road Map District Consortium. They said they’ll use the money to beef up preschool programs, enrich science and math learning in the primary grades, and offer training and testing subsidies to high schools.

Gabriel Spitzer / KPLU

Many jobs of the future will be in fields that go by the shorthand “STEM”: Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. But these are precisely the subjects where many American students are falling short. Educators are responding by creating STEM-focused schools, and in Seattle officials are breaking ground by pushing that emphasis back into younger classes, all the way to kindergarten.

Principal Shannon McKinney is in charge of figuring out how to build one of the first STEM elementary schools in the Northwest. K-5 STEM at Boren, as it’s awkwardly named, is in West Seattle, but any elementary student in the district can apply for a spot here.

As the school wraps up its first semester, McKinney and her team are still working out what a STEM education for Seattle’s youngest learners should look like.

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