Sealth/Denny update: Sealth principal speaks out

January 29, 2008 at 6:11 pm | In Denny-Sealth, West Seattle news, West Seattle schools, Westwood | 71 Comments

At least one community-group mailing list that we are on has just received a letter from the principal of Chief Sealth High School, John Boyd, in which he writes, “I feel like I cannot remain silent regarding my feelings about this issue any longer,” adding that he is “weighing the merits of options two and three” — two is the current project plus at least $5 million additional improvements to CSHS, three is a Denny rebuild on its existing site, with Sealth still getting some improvements. Here’s the letter as it was distributed; or if you have trouble with PDFs, here’s the text:

Sorry for the line breaks – we’ll fix them later, off to an unrelated community meeting first.

Dear Chief Sealth Community:
As you may know, the Superintendent and Facilities staff are presenting to the School Board three options for the money allocated for Chief Sealth High School and Denny Middle School in the Building Excellence III Levy.

The first option calls for continuing the concept of a shared campus with no additional dollars devoted to Chief Sealth beyond the $125 million dollars originally allocated for both schools. Since the time of the passage of the levy, the cost of construction has skyrocketed, and, as a result, the scope of work on the Chief Sealth building under the original plan has decreased. The construction cost acceleration is a national issue, impacting not just school districts, but also businesses, governments and communities. It is very unfortunate that we are experiencing this, but it is the economic reality of the situation.

Under the first option, Chief Sealth would receive mechanical upgrades including a fire-sprinkler system, seismic retrofitting to prevent collapse in case of a severe earthquake, and a new boiler system. With this design, Chief Sealth and Denny would share common spaces including a Galleria, a pre-engineering lab, a family and consumer science kitchen, as well as common physical plant systems including a kitchen. Many other upgrades to Chief Sealth, including improvements to the gym and auditorium, would be dependent on the amount of money available after the major structural work was done, taking into account the increasing cost of construction and other factors.
The second option could result in all of the above work being performed and would provide $5-10 million more dollars for additional work specific to Chief Sealth. Facilities staff has told me that this money could be spent on making sure that many, if not all, of the items that are optional under the first plan would be done. I have been told that our staff would be able to make certain choices that I think are critical, including maintaining the current Chief Sealth library as is.

The third option would be to build a new Denny Middle School in its current location while Chief Sealth would receive a new heating system and the upgrades necessary to meet city codes and safety requirements. According to the calculations done by the Facilities personnel, an additional $10-15 million dollars would need to be allocated by the School Board to complete option three.

I have been told that under all three options, Chief Sealth staff and students would still have to relocate to the Boren Building as the new mechanical upgrades cannot be done with students in the building.

I believe that the initial plan to commensurately upgrade both buildings was conceived in good faith by the prior School Board’s Operations Committee when faced with the knowledge that Chief Sealth would have to move in order to receive a new heating system. They hoped to do more work to improve our building beyond the heating system.

As most of you know, the order in which work is done on buildings is determined by a survey of building conditions. Chief Sealth would not have been included on the BEX III Levy if not for the needed work to the heating system, and was not in line for a major remodel for at least another levy cycle. I do not think that there was ever intent to slight our community, but I can understand why people have grown concerned about the difference in the upgrades that have been allocated to Chief Sealth as opposed to Denny since the idea was conceived and the levy passed.

I know that many of you feel like your voices have not been heard in this process. I am troubled the process has led to such discord. I know that I share part of the responsibility for that. The reduction of the scope of this project as set forth in option one is not what I supported initially and brought forth to you.

As a Chief Sealth graduate, a Delridge Community member, and a parent of an incoming Chief Sealth student, my feelings about this issue go beyond that of my job. I have struggled with watching how this debate has impacted the Chief Sealth staff who I know to be among the best in the District and whom I believe are committed to the success of our students. I have also worried about the impact of this on our students and particularly as they internalize the idea that they are somehow less worthy of a new building than other high school students in Seattle.

I know that people have concerns about middle and high school students sharing a campus. I have faith in our students. I believe that our students are and will be good role models to their counterparts at Denny. I believe that the staff at both schools can work together to ensure that the best interests of our students are met. I would love to see all students who currently attend Denny choose to attend Chief Sealth because they know it is a place where they will be embraced and encouraged. I think that many exciting things could happen if Chief Sealth and Denny were in a position to work collaboratively, especially if each school were in comparable facilities. For these reasons, I am not opposed to the concept of a shared campus.

I have to acknowledge that my perspective on the potential of a shared campus comes in part from my having taught at Denny Middle School for five years and having been the Principal of the Secondary Bilingual Orientation Center which is a 6-12 school. I think that it is because of my experience as the SBOC Principal that I do not feel a sense of trepidation about mixing the populations of students. As a parent of two girls who are entering middle school, I need you to know that I would have no hesitation with having my daughters attend a middle school that shared space with Chief Sealth because I have the greatest confidence in our students as role models and our staff as care takers.

I feel like I cannot remain silent regarding my feelings about this issue any longer. At this time I am weighing the merits of both options two and three. I am open to option two, if the School Board is committed to providing the Chief Sealth community with facilities that will cause us to walk into the building and say “Wow.” I want to see the details of what is going to be included in option two just as you do so we can all have a clear understanding of what it entails. If option two were selected, I would ask for assurances that efforts to bring the Chief Sealth and Denny staff together are fully supported so that the potential benefits of a shared campus could be realized.

I am hoping that our school community can keep an open mind and honest dialogue regarding the options and move forward together for our students, staff and community.

I know that many people have stated that there needs to be more investigation into the academic benefits of a shared campus. At the request of the Superintendent, I will be meeting with Denny Principal Jeff Clark and Instructional Directors Michael Tolley and Ruth Medsker next Wednesday after school to talk about ways in which our two schools can benefit academically from a shared space campus design. I would like to hear from you about what questions you would like me to take to this meeting or thoughts you would like me to share. I believe that no matter what decision the School Board makes, this type of conversation about working together with our neighborhood Middle School will be incredibly valuable.

At the end of the day, I believe that it is the people that make the home, not the house.

Regardless of what the School Board decides to do, my personal goals remain the same. I am committed to:
1. Improving academic achievement and reducing the achievement gap,
2. Continuing to develop our international/global focus,
3. Recruiting and retaining neighborhood students and high quality staff,
4. Improving the image of our school.

Being the Principal of this school means a lot to me. I cannot overemphasize how proud I am to serve the community that I grew up in and to serve the children of the people I grew up with. In the nearly four years that I have been the Principal at Chief Sealth, I believe we have instilled a sense of faith in our community that Chief Sealth is a strong, academically-challenging, and safe school to send their children to, as well as a school in which all of our students will be appreciated for who they are. We must to keep the momentum we have gained in the community and move forward collectively.

I respect your opinions and beliefs and that you are passionate about sharing those. I felt that it was time that I shared with you my own beliefs about this issue not just as the Chief Sealth Principal, but as someone who cares about what happens to our school. I know that you may not all agree with me. However, I ask that we all move forward together in the best interests of our students no matter what choice the School Board makes.

John Boyd,
Principal, Chief Sealth High School

Also note, there are two community meetings about the Sealth/Denny project next week — Feb. 4 organized by the school district, Feb. 5 organized by the Westwood Neighborhood Council — both at Chief Sealth HS; more on the WSB Events page. And regarding Principal Boyd’s call for feedback – his e-mail address is jboyd@seattleschools.org.

71 Comments

  1. Wow. That was bold of him.

    Comment by Tallula — 6:42 pm January 29, 2008 #

  2. Dear John,

    I read your letter that Ron circulated for you this morning and it was obvious how intensely you feel about this issue. It has been obvious to me all along that you care about Sealth, your community and your family. That is a good thing.

    In a democracy, it is considered a good thing for the stakeholders to make the decisions. Let me share with you my own perspective on this issue.

    1. If Seattle Public Schools (SPS) planned in 2006 to combine these 2 schools (and it is obvious now that was the case), why wasn’t that on the ballot? Clearly, SPS wants the voters to provide funding, but does not want those same voters to know what they are funding. This is undemocratic. And while it may not rise to the level of voter fraud, it is certainly deceptive. To me that is a fundamentally flawed way to practice democracy. I would hope that your government teacher would discuss this with the students and be as dismayed as I am about the way this was (or was NOT) presented to the voters.

    2. Even going past that combining the 2 schools was planned, but not presented to the voters, there is still a mandate to have AUTHENTIC community input. SPS, for some strange reason has historically resisted that and then when the community insists on being at the table, complains that it is taking too much time which, had they involved the stakeholders from the beginning, this would not have been a problem.

    In this case, Westwood Neighborhood Council (WNC) offered time and again to partner with SPS to get people out to the school’s meetings. That partnership has been given lip service by SPS, but the community continues to be shut out of the process, even though we have tried to support SPS in every way possible to be part of the process and to act in a cooperative way, the door was shut on us at every turn including SPS creating a meeting the day before we scheduled a panel discussion of these issues.

    It is a shame and very sad that you chose to be part of the decision making to hold a meeting on the 4th knowing WNC was sponsoring the panel on the 5th. We designed a format of written questions sorted and handed to the moderator with clear rules before hand so no one would be blind-sided or that any audience members would be allowed to bully any panel members.

    You must admit that in the 2 meetings WNC sponsored on this issue, we got great turnout and no one from Schools was abused. We have not allowed you or any of the others to be mistreated at these meetings even though we were not well treated at that first BEX meeting we attended in the Sealth Library.

    WNC still (call us crazy) wants to work with you, your staff, Denny, Denny staff, parents, facilities, teachers union, business, ALL people involved to provide the BEST for ALL the students in this city in an equal and fair way.

    3. I have not been shown any educational plan that supports this experiment. It seems to me that having an educational plan is where we should start rather than building a joint campus and hoping for the best. As I have said time and again, I do not know if I support or do not support a joint campus. I just know I did not vote for it and I have been given no data to support it.

    4. Building costs should not be the reason for lack of equity. Students at Sealth HS, your alma mater, would leave to return to a smaller version of the exact same school with a brand new middle school where their gym used to be. There is no question that Sealth would not be getting what other highschools in Seattle have gotten and this is an obvious lack of equity. I know it conveniently saves money. But it is still not fair.

    I’d like to concentrate on all the good things happening at Sealth HS and promote what a great school it is with great kids.

    5. Show me the educational plan that benefits this particular school population and I can support this. Show me how this helps the students who will attend these schools and I am right behind you. If you compare Denny/Sealth to schools where students apply and the school population is hand picked, tell me if that’s what we will have here before we move forward. If this is just an experiment with which we will be stuck for 50 years, I will continue to question this plan.

    You have to be aware of how much I have supported both Denny and Sealth and how much I care about all our kids. You know I want equity in education for ALL. You know I want a Seattle that hires its own children because they are so well educated. My own grandson begged to go to Sealth HS and I supported that because it IS a good school.

    Give me a reason besides saving money that includes equity and transparency, and a good education plan and I’m right there with you on this.

    Comment by Susan — 7:11 pm January 29, 2008 #

  3. Susan, did you read the same letter? As I read this, the Principal is saying that he has not made up his mind yet. I don’t think that he is the person who can answer your questions about what central decisions were made. I value your opinon, but I think you are missing the point by addressing it to Mr. Boyd as if he is your adversary.

    Comment by Mary — 7:51 pm January 29, 2008 #

  4. I think Susan is missing the point. \\\”I am weighing the merits of both options two and three.\\\” Then conditioins are given for what it would take for him to be in favor of option two.
    What does that mean? He is against option one, and needs assurances to be okay with option two.
    No matter what side you come down on this one, at least it is clear that the principal is a good guy who cares. I am sure it was not easy to write a letter like this, professionally, politically and in putting himself out there. Kudos to him for going there and not being the company soilder not saying anything.

    Comment by Sasha — 8:27 pm January 29, 2008 #

  5. Should you have an opinion on the Chief Sealth High School / Denny Middle School BEX plan/s. It would be greatly appreciated if you would publicly, or at least directly express your opinion/s to each and every member of the Seattle School Board at a very minimum. Being a Chief Sealth High School and Denny Middle School Alumni, having children currently at Chief Sealth High School and Denny Middle School, along with a child at Arbor Heights Elementary School, I have opinions regarding the proposed / tentative merger of Denny Middle School and Chief Sealth High School. Having seen select individuals “at work” the last four years I trust nothing of what is said, has been said, nor the source itself! As I have witnessed “expressions” / (lies) come to fruit. The Principals of Denny Middle School and Chief Sealth High School are only people, and they are capable of error. Their public support of the BEX has been blatant and consistent all along. to myself they appear as puppets of the Seattle School Districts plans regarding BEX. To believe either principal considers anything more than what they have historically publicly expressed all along I believe is naive. I believe for Denny Middle School and Chief Sealth High School to receive reasonably equitable improvements (however long such may take – future Levy/s), will likely take a strong showing of public support for each school, beginning with the construction of a new Denny Middle School at Denny Middle School. If you have an opinion of how your tax dollars are spent (over one hundred million of them) I invite you to express your opinion/s sooner than later, before it is to late. Before we are left with something we do not want, as those who support the BEX plan may very likely not be around should the time come such an experiment fails. I for one do not believe it is wise to spend over one hundred million dollars on an experiment. I was born in West Seattle, I grew up in West Seattle, I live in West Seattle, and I will likely retire in West Seattle. I will likely live in West Seattle regardless of how the BEX progresses. I can only wonder how many BEX supporters will be at Denny Middle School and Chief Sealth High School several years from now after the BEX concludes either way… Regardless, likely many West Seattle area students will still be here… What will they have? What will our community have? I suggest we work to make such something we are proud of, and appreciate having in our community. Thank you.

    Steve Taylor

    Comment by Steve Taylor — 10:55 pm January 29, 2008 #

  6. Okay, here is how it will go at the district/community meeting at Sealth on Feb.4. There will a half-hour schmoozefest by Gillmore & Company to roll out the new and improved schematic for Denny-Sealth. This is option #2.
    There will be elaborate drawings for option #1 and especially option #2. There will be no drawings for option #3, and no positive aspects mentioned, because they don’t want the community to choose option $3.

    We will be told only that it will cost $10 to $15 million more. How much more will it cost to tear out the new north parking lot, tennis courts, softball fields, part of the student commons, and library that were just replaced in the last few years?

    You see, the way the district thinks, they believe that the staff can be bought for an extra $5 million. They don’t understand that the teachers might actually be objecting on well-founded principles, such as wanting the strongest academic environment as possible, equity for the students, and I know this is really hard to believe, but they are objecting because the students want a learning institution where they feel they are becoming well-rounded adults and have the opportunity to express themselves in an adult community. This has been expressed at recent Seattle School Board meetings.

    You see, Facilities, some board members and administrators believe that the teachers at Sealth are a bunch of self-involved whiners, who are jealous of Denny getting a new school, and don’t want to move unless they get a new school.

    Wrong. They don’t mind moving to Boren. They realize the school needs some upgrades to bring it up to code. The objection is coming back to an ill-conceived, poorly-planned,security nightmare that is being thrust upon this community with very little oversight, community engagement, or a well-articulated academic plan.

    Comment by valkyrie — 12:02 am January 30, 2008 #

  7. Option 2 is just option 1 the way it was presented all along with the caveat that we probably can’t afford everything we promised, but will give you some of it. Why is no one in a position of power and privelege willing to discuss the “merits” of Option3?

    I do agree that it was a bold statement, as was the vote, and public School Board testimony of 93% of the staff against option 1 and 2.

    In order for Option3 to be a real option, we all need to discuss and acknowledge the benefits and drawbacks of Option3. This has to include drawings of possible building configurations and rationale for why the “benefits” of Option2 are not applicable to Option3.

    I do give recognition and thanks to Mr Boyd for encouraging community dialogue, and to the readers of this Blog for engaging. Please plan to attend the District Feb 4th and Westwood neighborhood Council meeting probably on the 12th, and ask the School Board administration to present Option3.

    More later

    Comment by Delfino — 6:48 am January 30, 2008 #

  8. [...] News on the Denny/Sealth Merger Posted by: Dartanyon in Newsletter A shout out to the West Seattle Blog (link here). To this story about the upcoming [...]

    Pingback by Sanislo Elementary PTA » More News on the Denny/Sealth Merger — 9:24 am January 30, 2008 #

  9. Susan, did you send your letter to Mr. Boyd directly? If so, did you get and response and are you willing to share that?

    Comment by Radley — 10:26 am January 30, 2008 #

  10. Great letter – and well-thought-out, which is not what I’m seeing from the shared-campus opponents.
    .
    The argument against is really fear, not facts, and that needs to change.
    .
    Items I find amusing in the responses:
    - Susan, America is actually a republic, and the Founding Fathers had explicit reasons for making it so. We elect representatives who then do far more work than you or I would be able to, in order to come up with the best answers. If we don’t like those answers, well, that’s what elections are for.
    - Delfino, love the quotes around “merits” and “benefits,” considering they’re less purely emotional than the “drawbacks.”
    - All, ROFL at you assuming John’s letter was pro-shared – simply because he mentions potential benefits – when he says quite clearly and repeatedly that he hasn’t made up his mind. Knee-jerk reactions don’t help the discussion.
    .
    People, start presenting FACTS, not emotions, if you want your POV taken seriously.

    Comment by Michael — 10:30 am January 30, 2008 #

  11. okay then…
    FACT: There is no data to show that combining 6-12 grade students together will improve academics.

    FACT: The ballot and official voter’s pamphlet for BEX II election did not state that Denny and Sealth were to share a campus.

    Opinion: I do not want my tax dollars poorly spent just to try to beat predicted construction increases. When SPSD should be focusing on increasing the value of education in their schools (in my opinion) is not the time to embark upon an untested experiment. Sorry, I lived through an even bigger SPSD experiment, mandatory bussing. It cost lots of money, lots of families left the public school system permanently, and in the end not much was accomplished. So that’s my opinion. That and $3 will get you a cup of coffee. : )

    Comment by Indaknow — 11:12 am January 30, 2008 #

  12. I second the comments of indaknow when it comes to SPS experiments already lived through (and failed miserably).

    Fear is not what drives us against the Denny/Sealth merger it is simply a lack of trust in SPS. It is easy to apologize after they have their hand caught in the cookie jar.

    The focus at the moment is to merge or not to merge, however, the absolute silence about what will actually be done at the current Denny site if the school is moved to the Sealth campus is fairly telling of itself.

    Comment by Debbie — 12:41 pm January 30, 2008 #

  13. Ok Gang … I’ll try to address everyone’s comments to me, but I’ll be out of town on business for a couple of weeks so further discussion of me after today will have to take place w/o my brilliant comments. Ah! Is that a sigh of relief I hear?

    Going backwards, Michael, you are really something. You repeat yourself, but never follow through with any facts yourself. Guess you don’t actually have any and just find it easier to take potshots at others. However, it is great you are laughing, as that is very healthy.
    .

    While we all know that our country is a democratic republic where we elect some of our number to speak on many issues for all of us, we also vote directly on other issues. That was the case in this instance.

    Radley,

    Yes, I sent my response to John around 9:00AM yesterday right after I received his letter e-mailed yesterday morning. I did not get a response until today and only after he read the WS Blog.

    I did not post on WSB until last night, giving him all day to respond to me privately. When I did not hear from him, I posted my response.

    Today, after getting his e-mail, I attempted to call him, left a voicemail and e-mailed him again this afternoon in a further attempt to have direct communication with him before leaving town.

    First, he told me he did not participate in the decision to hold a meeting the night before WNC had scheduled our meeting. I apologized to him for making that assumption and told him I thought we were all people of good intent.

    Sara
    I think John Boyd is a good guy, too. I said that in my letter. That is not the issue. The issue is what was on the ballot and what the voters approved. I know John feels caught in the middle at this point, but that was not the case a few months ago. That doesn’t make him a bad guy. It just makes him a person with a career and who also lives in this community.

    Mary,
    Yes, I read his letter. I do not feel John is an adversary. Just because John is now conflicted and wants to share that with the community is not a reason for me to allow myself to be taken on a side trip and forget what the issues actually are.

    In John’s e-mail to me this morning, his only concern (for which I’ve already apologized) was that I had said he participated in the Seattle schools decision to usurp the WNC meeting…. which BTW is no longer a problem as we moved it to TUESDAY FEBRUARY 12, 2008 at Sealth HS at 7:00PM

    Enrique Cerna will moderate a great panel of experts …bring your questions on safety issues and child development issues …and whatever and attend this important panel discussion.

    Well, that’s my 2 cents for now … keep talking about this and follow that talk with action …

    Peace,
    Susan

    Comment by Susan — 1:27 pm January 30, 2008 #

  14. Mr. Boyd has, in my opinion, been courageous in writing his letter. The District doesn’t really encourage principals to strike out on their own. It was a thoughtful letter.

    Having said that, well, there’s lots to wonder about. Things like:
    -if we have to rush, rush, rush because time is money, where are they finding this extra $5-10M for Option 2? There is no extra pot of money. That money will have to come out of some other project. (I give that range because when Facilities presented its plan to the Board the number was $5-10M but when they presented to the BEX Oversight Committee, it was only $5M. Why the difference?)

    -Where’s the beef? Meaning, where is the academic plan? Every single thing this district dies HAS to follow academics. The time to develop the outline of the plan so that parents, staff and teachers could understand what the reasoning and the hoped-for academic outcomes might be should have happened sooner. Then the specifics could be fleshed out as the building(s) took shape. You don’t start a new program without a plan or buy-in.

    -I appreciate Mr. Boyd’s mea culpa about community engagement but, like Michael de Bell’s, it rings a little hollow. There are too many people – voters, community members, parents, staff and teachers – who did not get either knowledge or input on this plan. You can’t just say sorry, and forge on. Or you can but you risk a loss of faith/credibility with the very groups you need to support your school(s). And that could hurt very much for future levies/bond measures.

    Comment by westello — 5:03 pm January 30, 2008 #

  15. “And that could hurt very much for future levies/bond measures.”
    -
    extreme understatement. The wrong outcome at Denny-Sealth could conceivably halt future SPS evolution. I really hope the administration and school board take a long and hard look at the issue of community trust. Without it, Seattle Public Schools has no future.

    Comment by credmond — 5:28 pm January 30, 2008 #

  16. If you have not walked the halls of Chief Sealth High School, or Denny Middle School. If you have not had conversations with Principal John Boyd, or Principal Jeff Clark, and thereafter see what they say holds true, and what does not… If you have not conversed with Chief Sealth High School Teachers / Staff or Denny Middle School Teachers / Staff. If you are not familiar with a fair cross section of Chief Sealth High School Students or Denny Middle School Students. You might want to educate yourself with such subjects, as only then will you be able to truly understand the needs of the students and staff are, and the ramifications of what the BEX plan/s offer. From my personal experience with each aforementioned principal, I do not trust either! I believe both could have careers in politics… My two children who attend each school are both honor students, athletes, one is also a musician, well representing their respective schools. There are valid reasons why 93% of Chief Sealth High School Teachers oppose the BEX plan/s, except “option 3″. Thanks to various “reasons” few tenured staff remain at Denny Middle School. I know there are teachers at Denny Middle School who oppose the primary BEX plan/s, however support “option 3″. Unfortunately these same teachers are not willing to express their opinions for fear of reprisal… Does such sound like our Democracy is working well in the public school system? Check your facts; there were approximately 102,000 students enrolled in the Seattle Public School System in 1980, in 2007 there were less 50,000 students enrolled in the Seattle Public Schools. Conversely the private schools in the greater Seattle area have enjoyed unprecedented growth. However there are more administrative positions in the Seattle Public Schools than in 1980… “Two many Chiefs, not enough Indians”. The Seattle Public Schools are seemingly unable to maintain the buildings they have, let alone effectively manage the construction of new buildings. Why was the Chief Sealth High School gymnasium floor allowed to be ruined, caused by a leaking roof that seemingly could not be repaired in a timely manner, and has yet to be repaired, causing even more floor damage. Though the “wisdom” of the Seattle School District is to wait and address the issue via the BEX process… In the mean time the hardwood gymnasium floor continues to decline even further, ultimately causing more repair/s and greater cost of repair / replacement to us… Also causing the Chief Sealth High School Basketball Teams (boys & girls) to have to play their Home Games at Louisa Boren Junior High School, even though there was great desire (vast majority) to play such games at Denny Middle School. However Principal Boyd chose otherwise, preferring games be played at his Junior High School, close to his home. Suggesting such is a good beginning toward the temporary transition to Louisa Boren Junior High School for Chief Sealth High School Students. The list of failures, false promises, poorly addressed issues is long and varied. To believe the Seattle School District can implement, maintain and offer long term continued support for a joint campus plan of Chief Sealth High School and Denny Middle School is naive. All one need to do is learn from history… Are we that smart? Thank you.

    Steve Taylor

    Comment by Steve Taylor — 6:00 pm January 30, 2008 #

  17. Hi All, I’ll keep this short. I have a somewhat minor, but important, correction to John’s letter and that is that this was a bond issue we voted on for the school capital projects. “Simple Majority”, the measure that passed in the November election, applies to levies only. We will need a super majority to pass another bond measure in the future. As you well know, the voters have long memories and we must be accountable to them now so that we can ask for their vote on the upcoming BEX IV. Academics and student safety must be at the forefront of decision making when it comes to designing a school. Thank you.

    Comment by Moonflower — 8:56 pm January 30, 2008 #

  18. Steve Taylor, you are so far off base that I am not sure what stadium you are in.

    Would you like to know why the enrollment has decreased (and, by the way, the number you cite is from the early 70s, not the 80s)? Mandatory busing, which was a federal mandate, and the decrease in families with school age children in Seattle. Have you looked at the census data? Seriously, more people own dogs in this city than have school age children. The root causes are the same things that all urban cities face, price of housing and comparable services.

    As to the gym issue, the Chief Sealth Gym floor was damaged by the same storm that flooded the Delridge area. The gym of the Boren building was being unused and could be refinished over the winter break. The much smaller Denny gym was already booked for Denny activities. And the person who came up with the plan to use Boren was former AP current intrim AD Enquist, not Mr. Boyd.

    Put down the crazy stick and have some facts already.

    Comment by Radley — 9:34 pm January 30, 2008 #

  19. Mr. Taylor, I am highly offended by your attacks on Jeff Clark and John Boyd. Mr. Clark gave up a very cushy job at Salmon Bay to take on a middle school that was deemed as a lost cause. He moved his family to WS and is nothing but a straight up guy. Mr. Boyd is a class act who is serving the community he grew up in, and who, as Melissa pointed out, took a huge gamble in taking a non-party line stance publically. I don’t know you, but I know both of them, and I can’t believe that anyone who has spent more than five minutes with either would dare accuse them of being political operatives. If Mr. Boyd was looking for a career in politics, he never would have written the letter that started this blog. You sadden me.

    Comment by Sasha — 10:00 pm January 30, 2008 #

  20. Radley & Sasha, I have children at Chief Sealth High School, and Denny Middle School, do you? My children were at Chief Sealth High School and Denny Middle School when each Principal became “the new principal”. I have personally witnessed each say one thing, yet do another. Agreed each principal has created at least some benefit for each school they steward, in my observation Jeff Clark far more than John Boyd. John Boyd has made to many “back room deals” from my view point. One example is the four head football coaches in the last five years… It is possible I may know to much about such a subject, and you very possibly know nothing about such at all. Get in each building and learn something. Find out why security staff at each school have opposed the BEX, however now are mysteriously “tight lipped”. Pressure is being applied from select “players” to ram rod the BEX project, and Jeff Clark and John Boyd have agendas regarding such. I believe you are kidding yourself if you believe otherwise without finding out some facts yourself. By the way, Mandatory Busing was not a Federal Mandate, but a choice the Seattle School District made. I went to school during years of mandatory busing at Chief Sealth High School. I saw it, I lived it, I know what positives it had, I know what negatives it had on student populations. I also know the enrollments of private schools are a far greater percentage now of Seattle School District area students, than then. I suggest you check “your facts”, know what you are talking about, and educate yourself very locally before you expound on a subject from my perspective you know very little about. I will be at the 6:30pm 02-04-08 BEX meeting in the Chief Sealth High School Library, how about yourself? I am interested to see as many people as possible show their support for select BEX plans, ideally “option 3″ – Build Denny at Denny. Thank you.

    Steve Taylor

    Comment by Steve Taylor — 11:01 pm January 30, 2008 #

  21. Question- I know the district is against rebuilding on the Denny site and that it would be more expensive to do so. Any ideas why?

    ,

    Comment by westello — 11:09 pm January 30, 2008 #

  22. The Denny Site has more geographical slope overall to contend with than at Chief Sealth High School, a valid point for the Seattle School District. Select areas of the Denny Site are just as friendly toward construction, possibly even more so than at Sealth (though hardly considered by the Seattle School District). The “desirable” construction area/s at Denny is where it is suggested “option 3″ be constructed. Take the same plan / footprint proposed for Denny at Sealth, and simply construct a new Denny at Denny. Such a plan could lend itself to other desires of the community for the remainder of the Denny Site, and would leave very recent Chief Sealth High School capital improvements undisturbed (not destroyed). How many of us extensively remodel our homes, only to tear it all apart a year or two later, and start all over again. Such is the case for some of the recent capital improvements (expenditures) that have been constructed at Chief Sealth High School (inside the building). Let alone the six tennis courts, and synthetic turf softball field, etc. outside the building. Also, the Chief Sealth High School Gymnasium floor was damaged by a leaking roof, not a flood, though the same rain storm was the “noticeable” cause of both. Choosing not to fix a leaking roof is another issue. How many of us allow our roofs to leak unchecked and decay our homes? Such has been the choice of the Seattle School District regarding the Chief Sealth High School Gymnasium. The Denny Gymnasium was available, the “details” had already been “worked out”, by the “Minions” however “hierarchy” prevailed… Go figure? Thank you.

    Steve Taylor

    Comment by Steve Taylor — 11:43 pm January 30, 2008 #

  23. Steve Taylor, not sure where your personal attacks on Mr. Boyd and Mr. Clark are coming from. We (also including an honor student) have had nothing but positive interaction with Mr. Clark. And what I know of Mr. Boyd from current students, Choice Night, and now this letter, only lead me to believe he has the leadership qualities I would want to see as a principal. Both Denny and Sealth seem to be trending in a positive direction. If you’ve been unhappy with both schools for so long, why are your kids still there? Or are all SPS principals minions?

    Comment by GenHillOne — 6:26 am January 31, 2008 #

  24. Those of us who have been involved have been told that the primary reason that it is more expensive to build at Denny is because of “cost escalation” due to construction delays. These come from acquiring permits and drawings, length of time that Sealth would have to be a the temporary Boren site, then the time that Denny would have to be there for their construction and the fact that a new Denny would need it’s own spaces that are current planned to be shared.

    Although I am no expert, I have questioned these figures and timelines since they first started coming up last spring when real opposition to a combined campus began. No real figures and rationale have been provided to me, those were either not available or shared only with those in power positions. I think this would be a great line of questions for the Feb 4th District panel, and hope community has better results getting answers than staff have.

    Comment by Delfino — 7:11 am January 31, 2008 #

  25. If Denny is rebuilt on site, its students will also have to relocate to the Boren building. Who goes first, Chief Sealth for two years only to come back to a new heating system, or Denny students because that project is bigger? How bad is the boiler at Chief Sealth? Can it last for four to five years? Will there be money left to finish the Denny project if it is put off for several years? How much money will be lost by scrapping the work that has been done to date?

    Steve Taylor, I am not going to point out any more of the flaws in your posts, because if your answer when challenged is to use quote marks and gossip, it is not worth the effort to engage you.

    Comment by Radley — 7:54 am January 31, 2008 #

  26. GenHillOne & Radley, I have previously stated Jeff Clark has provided benefit to Denny Middle School. Jeff Clark is not all bad. Denny Middle School is in a much better position than when Karma Torklept? left (previous principal). I do believe Jeff Clark has the vision and the drive to continue to improve many issues that have plagued Denny Middle School. All that aside, Jeff Clark has allowed “select” issues at Denny Middle School to fester and grow, not acknowledging they exist, which even the Seattle Police can confirm. Such “issues” cloud the “Mayberry” picture Jeff Clark would prefer to paint. When John Boyd arrived at Chief Sealth High School I was ecstatic! Someone I personally knew, and was well acquainted to his family was to be the principal! Unfortunately John Boyd has proven to me to be a great disappointment as the principal of Chief Sealth High School! I would rather John Boyd became the hero and savior of Chief Sealth High School, however after watching for four years John Boyd be the principal of Chief Sealth High School I am severely disappointed. The list of reasons is long, and my personal experience at Chief Sealth High School affords me such a view point (you may not know for yourself until you have been a parent there for several years), volunteer to chaperone a dance… you might gain enlightenment (make sure to be in the middle of the dance floor). I believe great learning is going on at Chief Sealth High School, and Chief Sealth High School has fantastic teachers, of the very best! Same as Denny Middle School. Hence greatest reasons why my children continue to attend Chief Sealth High School and Denny Middle School. Being an “experienced” high school and middle school parent. I firmly believe Chief Sealth High School is a great choice for a student / parent. I simply do not have the greatest of confidence in John Boyd or Jeff Clark. It has taken several years for me to come to the conclusions I offer. Time can only tell what your experiences will be. I wish you and your children the very best of experiences at each school! My youngest child will very likely be at Denny is a few years. Thank you.

    Steve Taylor

    Comment by Steve Taylor — 8:51 am January 31, 2008 #

  27. My experiences with principals at multiple West Seattle schools that my children, nieces and nephews have attended is that they all have had “pet projects” or hidden agendas. They are all essentially politicians trying to sell a product (their school). It has always been disheartening to me. I do not have any issues with Steve Taylor’s comments and opinions. I think it is very naive to put any school administrator on a pedestal or to close your mind to the possibility that there are deals happening that we (the public) are not privy to.

    Comment by Indaknow — 9:46 am January 31, 2008 #

  28. One thing worth noting with regard to that point — in a district with “school choice,” where you can theoretically (space permitting, etc.) send your child to any school regardless of whether it’s 10 blocks from your home or 10 miles, principals have to market their schools. District central administration doesn’t really do much of that – otherwise some of the excellent programs in SPS (and yes, there are some, in our opinion and experience) would draw more families and more attention. Not to detract from the other points nor to say whether any particular school administrators are going about said marketing in an appropriate or inappropriate way – but in a school-choice district, marketing is unavoidable.

    Comment by WSB — 10:35 am January 31, 2008 #

  29. I am also deeply offended by some of the comments I’ve seen, specifically from Steve Taylor. I have no problem with people sharing their opinions but let’s at least try to keep it civil. What kind of example are we setting for our children? I want to know as much as I can about this subject and it is therefore important to hear from both sides, but this kind of slander is totally uncalled for.

    This issue is extremely divisive and and I’m very concerned about how long this rift will last after the school board makes their final decision. Let’s hope that no matter what their decision is, we can rally together to make things work for the sake of our kids. Let’s hope some of the passion and energy I’ve witnessed can be channeled toward making things work no matter where the buildings are situated.

    Comment by Suzanne — 2:54 pm January 31, 2008 #

  30. Perhaps I was clumsy in my earlier post. I certainly hope that it did not seem to be aggressive or attacking. What I was attempting to articulate was not that principals or administrators are bad. Just that sometimes they seem blind-sighted to their own predjudices. I have loved many things about the schools my children have attended and accepted these mild shortcomings. That said, I still was involved at one school where the principal (for several years) okayed pulling students out of class to rehearse for an elaborate musical for weeks at a time in spite of the disruption it caused. Another school I volunteered many hours at had a very non-traditional way of teaching (almost as if the children would learn to read and write by osmosis from the more advanced students sitting next to them) that was absolute chaos but the principals big platform. My point was meant to be that it is POSSIBLE that the leadership at these schools have said one thing but done another. I am just opening my mind to that possiblility that a parent who has had children at these schools for longer than I have might have more information than I. Whatever happens, I, and my kids are in it for the long haul. I think that we all want good things for our city’s children.

    Comment by Indaknow — 9:29 pm January 31, 2008 #

  31. oops, that should have been prejudices…time to sleep now.

    Comment by Indaknow — 9:35 pm January 31, 2008 #

  32. FYI, when my oldest child began elementary school, Carl Letherman was his principal. Carl Letherman was a fantastic, thinking out side of the box principal, who did not always bye into what the Seattle School District tried to sell. Carl Letherman was able to very creatively enhance his schools bugdet in such a manner as to get one more teacher than the school district would otherwise allow… Carl Letherman was phenominal! Unfortunately Carl Letherman had to retire. When my oldest child began school at Denny Middle School, Wayne Hasiguchi (a great principal) was the principal who had got Denny Middle School turned around from the dismal “any school but that school” reputation Denny Middle School had at the time. Unfortunately Karma Torklept? was not able to follow Wayne Hasiguchi’s leadership example (in my opinion). Denny Middle School was slipping away again. Thankfully Jeff Clark arrived. Jeff Clark I do not believe is all bad, however I also believe is not all good. When Wayne Hasiguchi left Denny Middle School, he moved to Chief Sealth High School. The students who were able to follow along with Wayne Hasiguchi were truly fortunate. Wayne Hasiguchi was able to right many wrongs at Chief Sealth High School, paving the way for John Boyd. John Boyd initially was reluctant to be the principal of Chief Sealth High School (his alma mater). In the beginning John Boyd seemed to “steer the ship” reasonably well. Unfortunately (in my opinion) John Boyd has made some very poor choices for Chief Sealth High School (not all bad however). When my oldest child arrived at Chief Sealth High School I was informed by “experienced” parents of some of the trials that seemed to plague Chief Sealth High School. Initially I discounted them, thought I would see such for myself before making opinions. Unfortunately all and more of what I was originally apprised of proved true. The “experienced” parents were more than correct (and more polite than I). The teachers of Chief Sealth High School are the true jewels / gems of Chief Sealth High School. They know their students, they know what works well for their students, they know what does not work well for their students. Why is it that 93% of Chief Sealth High School Teachers oppose the BEX plan, except “option 3″. Is it possible the teachers of Chief Sealth High School could know what they are talking about? Ask yourself why “administrators” favor the BEX plan/s, yet teachers, students, and active parents oppose it? The issues parents believe to be imperative to their child in elementary school pale compared to the issues their children will face in middle school and high school. It is ultimately a great challenge and learning experience, however at times less than desirable. Watch the PTA of an elementary school dissolve down to 10% in middle school, and even less in high school. Elementary school PTA’s are powerful, capable of achieving much. Middle School and High School PTA’s (Denny and Sealth) can only dream of such. Contact the Denny and Sealth PTA’s, or any public middle school and high school PTA’s. They have hard working members, however very few. Possibly you can work to change such. I wish you and your children the very best. Our children deserve no less! Thank you.

    Steve Taylor

    Comment by Steve Taylor — 10:22 pm January 31, 2008 #

  33. “…in a school-choice district, marketing is unavoidable…”
    .
    This statement by WSB is so correct, and in so many ways the real reason behind the combined campus plan. Sealth was not in line to get a substantial rebuild this levy/bond cycle because in comparison to other needy schools in the District, we are not a priority. While we clearly have needs, we have a clean and mostly solid school. We have a heating system that needs severe maintenance and probably replacement. We also need some safety upgrades including an expensive seismic upgrade. Denny, on the other hand is in dire need of a complete rebuild.
    Building appearances and reputation are so important in drawing families to make schools their first choice. Witness the growth in every High School that has been redone. With most other High Schools either completely rebuilt or substantially renovated, and no real way to justify almost half of the BEX bond funds to West Seattle, the combined campus plan was created. Sealth would get in on the new construction so that we could attract families.
    (before you start screaming for facts, Michael and Radley, these are the facts as are known to those of us who have been involved and cared enough to ask. Mr Taylor is right in this instance. You have to be involved to know some things)
    Those of us that are involved know there was never an academic reason for this plan. The little academic reasoning that has been spun since this plan was proposed has been marketing plain and simple. Nothing that is being stated as a potential benefit of a combined campus can’t be accomplished with two buildings across the street from each other.

    Much of John’s heart felt letter, in my opinion, is also marketing. Many of you have heard John talk before and have heard his goals for the school. For the past 4 years they have been consistent and on point:
    1. improving the image of our school,
    2. recruiting and retaining neighborhood students and high quality staff,
    3. improving academic achievement and reducing the achievement gap.
    In this letter John states that “Regardless of what the School Board decides to do, my personal goals remain the same. I am committed to:
    1. Improving academic achievement and reducing the achievement gap,
    2. Continuing to develop our international/global focus,
    3. Recruiting and retaining neighborhood students and high quality staff,
    4. Improving the image of our school.”
    Notice the new addition? Get ready for a new spin. The educational plan behind the merger; “International School” Maybe not fact yet, but educated guess at least. If and when this comes to pass it will be another in a long line of top down mandates that staff will have little to no input on and have to implement before we have even had a chance to try and make the last one work. Ever heard of the 9th grade house? Our popular leaders will put on their suits, smile and go back to marketing, while those of us who are working in the background to teach all our kids will watch experienced teachers get frustrated and leave and students fall through the cracks because real academic change, improvement and problem solving takes second place to marketing.
    Statements like “I have faith in our students. I believe that our students are and will be good role models to their counterparts at Denny. I believe that the staff at both schools can work together to ensure that the best interests of our students are met” are, to a large degree, marketing also. Clearly our staffs have always done the best we can. We have great students some of whom have significant issues. When you live there like I have for the past 22 years, it’s easier to know the reality, than if you only see and hear the marketing. The staff knows what really happens and doesn’t happen in this school, and are crying for you to listen without having to hang out all the dirty laundry that the marketing masks and that hurts our schools in a choice system. Talk to us individually and look up the data if you need to.

    John is a good person. He has a good heart. He cares deeply about our schools. Nobody can say that isn’t true. He is trying to do his best, as are the vast majority of our committed staff. He is also the school’s number one salesman. If he is asking questions publicly, don’t you think we all should? What are the pros and cons of both Option2 and Option3?

    Suzanne is also right. After the school Board has made their decision, and the suits are back on and the marketing is in full swing again. It is the teachers and staff of both schools who will have to deal with the distractions and problems created by this project in both the short and long terms. It is the students whose needs are ultimately met or not that really count. Please look deep to separate the marketing from the facts and let ALL the dedicated caring professionals that love this job and our students know that you value their opinions as much as those whose job it is to sell. Remember the vast majority of staff have voted three times against this project.

    Lets attract families to these schools because of our parent and community partnership and solid educational program that can serve all students, not a two for one special that really does neither school right. Lets build a new Denny at Denny and not skimp one bit. Put all the money there, if that’s what we need to ensure equity for our community. Sealth will get our share when it’s our legitimate turn. Together as a whole, engaged community we will ensure that. See you on the 4th and 12th.

    Comment by Delfino — 10:31 pm January 31, 2008 #

  34. Ain’t it great to be a conspiracy theorist! Throw in a few inflammatory phrases like “back room deals,” and “pressure is being applied from select “players,” add a few terms like “minions,” fail to add any facts or details and you’ve got yourself a nice little rant there.

    Unfortunately this view is completely disconnected from reality. There are no evil geniuses putting the pressure on their “minions” to advance an agenda designed to stick it to the taxpayers. There are, however, extremely hardworking, competent people trying to do what is practically impossible – educate kids regardless of whether they come from drug-addicted, essentially parentless homes or the homes of over-involved and under-informed helicopter parents who place their needs above those of anyone else (and everything in between), with embarrassingly limited resources, and insane state and federal regulations (i.e. expecting a 2nd year immigrant to pass a test in a language that he or she can’t (and shouldn’t be expected to be able to) read after only a couple of years in a new country) – to name just a minute fraction of all of the problems that public schools face through no fault of the people in those schools or districts. On top of all of this throw in a big flap over upgrading a couple of buildings that, without a doubt in my mind, is absolutely distracting the staff at both schools from doing THE most important job in the world – preparing our kids to enter a completely different and more demanding world than most of us grew up in, and you’ve got a nice little mess here.

    Think you can run a school, much less a district Taylor? Go put in some time, get the degree and do it yourself. I think you’d find your tune would change the second you stepped through door on the first day and ran into someone like yourself.

    Thank you.

    Comment by Mike — 11:12 pm January 31, 2008 #

  35. I have stated more than once I have three children in the Seattle Public Schools, one in elementary, one at Denny Middle School and one at Chief Sealth High School. I have been a parent volunteer at my children’s schools in varying capacities since my high school senior was a Kindergartner. I have volunteered the most during the time my oldest child has been in high school. I have learned high school is where the most help is needed, as high school staff (teachers, coaches, etc.) often have the least resources to work with. I am not a professional teacher, I know it. I work at what I do best, and help where I can. Teachers and coaches work at what they do best, and I help them where I can. All my children’s teachers know me by name at least, and in most cases by face rather well. It is a new semester for middle and high school. I do have a few teachers yet to meet this new semester. If “facts” are what a person is interested in, and a person should be. Decide what facts you would like to know. Search out the information you desire. Question the source of the information, for it may be flawed or biased (are they really facts). Some of the facts I can definitively express on are not the most polite, or express Denny Middle School or Chief Sealth High School in their best light. Each school has it’s problems, however I firmly believe each school’s pros, far out weigh each school’s cons. The issue of this particular forum is directed toward BEX plans. To get side tracked beyond such only serves to distract from the BEX issue, and the issue of where a new Denny Middle School should be constructed. Nothing more, nothing less. I am certain there will be several BEX “option 3″ supporters at the 6:30pm 02-04-08 BEX meeting at Chief Sealth High School. Many people, including myself would sincerely appreciate seeing as many interested, curious, fact searching, individuals in attendance at the meeting. We hope to see you there. Thank you.

    Steve Taylor

    Comment by Steve Taylor — 12:02 am February 1, 2008 #

  36. The Westwood Neighborhood Council meeting will be held on February 12 and be
    hosted by Enrique Cerna, Director of Production, KCTS TV Channel 9.

    Please note that we have moved our meeting to February 12 so as not to
    conflict with the School District’s meeting on February 4th.

    Earlier we have announced to several groups that we would be hosting the WNC
    meeting on February 5th. However, once the Seattle Schools opted to hold a
    meeting on the Denny Sealth the night before our already scheduled WNC
    meeting we became concerned of meeting fatigue that would lead to poor
    citizen turn out to one or both meetings.

    Please share this information

    Thanks,

    Westwood Neighborhood Council

    A Combined Denny & Sealth?

    What’s Best for our Kids?

    Seattle School District is looking at options for the rebuilding of Denny Middle School and the renovation of Sealth High School

    The School District has been planning to combine
    these two school facilities on the Sealth campus.

    The new School Board is now reconsidering this idea.

    Panel Discussion
    Led by Enrique Cerna,
    Director of Production for KCTS TV Channel 9

    Featuring
    Steve Sundquist, Seattle School Board; educators; School District representatives; public safety experts

    Bring your questions – Ask the panel
    Find out what is happening

    Please go to http://www.westwood-neighborhood.org for more information about this meeting, and about the School District’s plans.

    Comment by Steve Taylor — 7:05 am February 1, 2008 #

  37. Actually the Westwood Neighborhood Council site has not posted anything about the meetings – but we have reported both here. Just click the Denny-Sealth tag below the headline on this post and you will get the full archive of coverage including the updates on those meetings. They’re also both listted on our Events page. We also have covered every public meeting about this going back to June, including the board work session at which the three options were discussed (Jan. 9); that’s in the same archives.

    Comment by WSB — 8:02 am February 1, 2008 #

  38. Mike, who are you? I have been following this blog for some time now and you are pretty quick to point out what you perceive as weak arguments, but what is your connection to this issue? Are you a parent of a student, a staff member, student, concerned citizen, administrator, neighbor, degreed educator? Other posters have been brutally honest with the connection they have and how they have formed their opinions. As far as I know, I do not know any of the other posters, but I enjoy reading and considering their points of view. What’s your story? I really am curious. Once again, for the record, I am a mother of students, school volunteer, neighbor and concerned citizen BUT I do not feel that you have to be any of these to have an opinion. I am just trying to figure out the logic of how you formed your opinion.

    Comment by Indaknow — 12:04 pm February 1, 2008 #

  39. Indaknow,
    Some of this is pasted from a post on another section of WSB, but here’s my background. I was a high school teacher in two states for 14 years at a 2500 student campus, a 1500 student campus and an 1100 student campus – two with similar demographics to Sealth. I’ve taught in buildings where the roof leaked, the walls were crumbling and I had to use hot plates to heat my room in the winter. I’ve taught in portables, and I’ve taught in new, state-of the art buildings – in one case, in a brand new building that was constructed while I was a department head and where I got to be a part of the planning. My teaching, didn’t change radically in any of these buildings, nor did that of my colleagues, and student achievement didn’t skyrocket in the years after we (or any other school I know of) moved into the new building. Sure, it was more pleasant in the newer building, and I do believe that we send a message to students about how much we value them when they have clean and pleasant spaces to learn. Also, as some have mentioned, a new building is often a draw for families when choosing a school.
    I have also been a middle school principal for five years and have been on a building design team in this role. On top of all of this, I have two children at Arbor Heights.
    So, that’s my background, which has shaped my opinion on this matter which is that, as is so often the case in Seattle, issues just like this, and more specifically, the community and staff responses to these issues, are sidetracking SPS from doing the real and difficult work of educating kids. Buildings and building configuration, in my experience, are practically negligible in terms of impact on student learning (and isn’t that the purpose of our public schools) when compared to the work that the people in the school must do to improve the lives of our kids. Getting mired in an argument over having a combined campus or not, will in no way help students, and all of this arguing, especially within the two schools themselves (which includes staff, students and parents alike) keeps people from getting to the really important work now and for years to come. I suppose that the arrangement of buildings might make some things easier or more convenient. For example, if the campuses are combined, it would be possible to create a more seamless transition between the schools, create more opportunities for tutoring programs between high school and middle school students, and provide the middle school students with access to a wider range of facilities. There might also be some issues to resolve around how to create positive interactions between older and younger students. However, these, or any innovative approaches involving a combined campus (or not) are people-dependent. It takes people to utilize any space well in order to teach kids. However, in either configuration this is possible if and only if people are working together on the difficult and complex task of teaching, and not wasting what may be years arguing or holding grudges for a perceived slight. I’m all for healthy debate on issues that will make a significant and positive difference in the education of young people. For example, are all teachers and staff in both schools using the best and proven instructional strategies to teach every kid in the school well? What is the best way to teach kids? Does the curriculum in these schools reflect what we as a community want for our kids? What should this curriculum be? Is the surrounding community being utilized in the best possible way to support our kids as they go through and leave our school system? These are issues worthy of deep and rigorous debate. To me however debating issues such as where the middle school ends up, or how much renovation Sealth will receive, will simply not result in anything that will significantly help kids and is toxic to the health of both schools because the debate 1) does not serve to further the purpose of either school, 2) it sets good, hard-working and competent people against each other for no good reason, 3) it draws resources including time and money from the district and 4) and probably most importantly, as I’ve said, in the end, it is not the configuration of buildings that will make these two schools better, but it is the relationships between the people in this community now and for years to come. This relationship is suffering now because well-intentioned people are losing sight of the much more important issues facing all of our public schools.

    Comment by Mike — 1:15 am February 2, 2008 #

  40. Mike, I appreciate your “historical explanation”. Unfortunately I do not believe you provided any facts, though you did mention / state many subjects I and I suspect many others agree with, thank you! It would seem we both have students at Arbor Heights Elementary School, which has itself suffered over the years, continually declining since Carl Leatherman’s retirement. A whole other story. There is merit why so many Chief Sealth Teachers speak up regarding the proposed / planned BEX “merger”. Such is why they do so. If only select student groups were “merged” together, few if anyone believes such would be a great problem, if at all. However when considering to merge two entire student populations together (all students), such is when concern/s arise. There are far more “social” issues (very negative) currently going on at Denny / Sealth than you may be aware of. Possibly you should have a conversation with some of the Seattle Police Officers who are intimately familiar with the goings ons at Denny / Sealth, especially the last week or so… Officer Wilson would be a good choice. Unfortunately I do not recall Officer Wilson’s first name at this time, however any Denny Security Staff should be able to put you in contact with him. I hope you choose to express your wisdom to each an every Seattle School Board Member regarding BEX. Those who support “option 3″ want the input of all elementary school parents, and parents of young middle school students. For my senior, it will not directly affect him, he will be gone. For my eighth grader she will be affected one way or the other, however being on the older end of the spectrum, with her brother carving a wide path for her in advance, there will very likely be few problems for her to deal with, as she will be naturally transitioning into ninth grade high school. For my Arbor Heights student, and all to be “affected” students is why I speak up. As is why so many gifted, caring, hardworking, constantly going the extra mile, Chief Sealth Teachers speak up (during their own personal time). Curious how few Denny Teachers publicly speak up in support of BEX 1 or 2. However there are Denny teachers who adamantly oppose such, however only few publicly, and they have tenure… Once you get out of “Mayberry” Arbor Heights Elementary School, you may see the great many “pros”, and the select few in comparison “cons” (reason for concern) that Denny Middle School and Chief Sealth High School provide. If you know who Mr. Wilke is at Arbor Heights (most people affiliated to Arbor Heights do), you might want to inquire to Mr. Wilke privately as to his views of BEX (Mr. Wilke and I attended Arbor Heights, Denny and Sealth together – same age – back in the day). Knowing my name you might also inquire to Mr. Wilke of the experiences my Wife (who attended Denny and Sealth with us – same age again) has elaborated to Mr. Wilke regarding BEX. I suggest getting well informed regarding Denny and Chief Sealth before making a decision regarding BEX. Chief Sealth High School Teachers are already well informed, and have been for years. Thank you.

    Steve Taylor

    Comment by Steve Taylor — 7:45 am February 2, 2008 #

  41. Well said, Mike, except you’ve made the most central argument against co-joining the schools. An academic plan. Where is it? What is the real research on 6-12 schools and how would it apply here? No one is asking for a fully-fleshed out plan; that needs to be the work for the Denny/Sealth staffs. But no outline of a plan, no research, no asking parents in that area what they want and what it might mean – good and bad – to their students? (Their options will likely be narrowed soon by the new assignment plan being worked on.) That’s asking too much. It’s not like “hey kids let’s put on a play”; it’s about changing two staffs physical working environment and how they do their work. The amount of planning to achieve some of what you talk about academically will be huge for a co-joined school. Has any of that happened?

    You’re right about the issue of who gets what being a distraction. It’s interesting that Sealth is willing to do the bare minimum and wait their turn for a renovation rather than have a co-joined building where (1)they will have less than they have now and (2) it means tearing out or altering work (done under BEX II and BTA within the last 5 years)that taxpayers just paid for. Is that right? Is the best flexibility for these two schools a co-joined buiding where it almost seems like the academic plan runs on vapors or is the best flexibility two buildings (whether next to each other or leaving Denny on-site)?

    These are not small nor petty questions. Academic enhancement/improvement should be the number one driver of every single thing in this district and I haven’t heard from staff nor anyone else that it is the case here.

    Comment by westello — 8:57 am February 2, 2008 #

  42. I am the parent of a current Denny student and an incoming Denny student.
    Mike, thank you for voicing your opinions – you expressed some of the concerns that I also have.
    Westello, remember that this is not a full blown 6-12 school, since it will still have 2 separate principals, 2 separates staffs and will be in 2 separate buildings. Yes, there will be some shared resources which I feel is a wise thing and is already happening to some extent now. Yes, planning will be imperative and I interpreted John Boyd’s letter to mean that he is committed to making this happen and if option 2 were approved, he would insist on this. From comments on this blog, I realize that some may not believe him, but I have no reason not to believe him. There is still quite a lot of time between now and then to bring the staffs of Denny and Sealth together to make this work. My concern is that some people are so strongly opposed to this plan that it may be difficult for them to put their best effort forward to make it work if the board decides to move ahead with option 2.
    I understand that you haven’t seen any evidence of the academic benefits of a shared campus, but I have been following this issue closely, and I still haven’t heard anyone tell me it could be academically detrimental. I do feel that finances may be a big reason the district proposed this to begin with, and I don’t feel that is a bad thing as long as it doesn’t compromise the safe learning environment of our children, and I am convinced that it does not. I want the district to look at creative ways to save money and if a shared campus is a way to do this, then it may be a good idea. Yes, some tennis courts and fields will need to be torn down, but while this may be disappointing and frustrating, I’m fairly certain it would still be a lot less expensive than having to build 2 separate kitchens, auditoriums etc etc. (I’m sure that this would be verified by most people in the construction industry.)
    In the end, if the board approves option 3, it won’t be the end of the world, but I feel we will have missed a good opportunity to do something positive and creative in these 2 schools.
    Unfortunately, I feel we are at a standstill regarding this issue because I have heard all of the arguments in opposition to a shared campus and I remain unconvinced. On the other hand, most of those opposed to the plan have heard all the arguments in favor of a shared campus and are still unconvinced. Maybe a few more people will make up their mind one way or another at the next couple of community meetings, but in the end, the board will make a decision that we will all have to live with and make the best of it.

    Comment by Suzanne — 10:45 am February 2, 2008 #

  43. Wait, what is the point of co-joining the schools if it isn’t for programming (i.e. it’s not a 6-12) and it’s not money (Sealth eventually wants a renovation)?

    Suzanne, you say you want a “safe learning environment”. There are many, many safety problems from the obvious (how to secure two communities that are co-joined, how to separate younger girls from older boys, etc.) to the not-so-obvious (less flexibility with a co-joined building than two buildings and the further limiting of choices – after a new assignment plan comes in – for parents who simply don’t want a 6-12 building (whether the program is co-joined or not).

    FYI, You aren’t really saving any money because the district is committed to renovating ALL the high schools so Sealth would get their renovation in 20+ years whether the buildings are co-joined or not. That was in their slide show presentation to the BEX Oversight Committee.

    You are right; the Board will make a decision and we will have to live with it but at what cost? If the Board and the District can decide to make full disclosure to voters on what we are paying for, then it could hurt future levies/bond measures. If the Board and the District, unilaterally, decide to co-join two schools without notice to the staffs and the communities, then that sends a signal to all schools that the district will make decisions without public input. If the Board and the District continue to build high schools without security measures (as is the case for Roosevelt and Cleveland, both brand-new buildings), what is the possible outcome for a co-joined building of 2100 students plus staff? This is the kind of thing that drives parents to private schools when they see that this district does value or ask for community input on major decisions.

    Comment by westello — 1:58 pm February 2, 2008 #

  44. Thank you Mike for your response to my questions. I do think I remember reading some of that in earlier posts. I agree with you that ultimately it is the teaching environment and not the physical one and ironically that is part of why I disagree with plans one and two. I just don’t see the merit of it improving the teaching environment. I don’t know much about Denny MS because my own children went to Madison MS, but I think it would be hard to find teachers anywhere in the district that are as involved and devoted as the teachers my son has had at Chief Sealth HS. This is why I value their opinions so highly. They are the school’s greatest asset, and the reason I chose Sealth over West Seattle High School (or West Seattle Community College as my husband calls it, due to its very extensive remodel). In regards to campus safety, I don’t think that there is any middle school or high school that is “safer” than the other but there is a huge difference between elementary school and the higher grades. Some of the stories of things my own children have witnessed are quite eye-opening/jaw-dropping/hair raising (maybe that is why all us High School parents have “that look”). I love having older children but some of topics at the dinner table (“What happened at school today?”) make me yearn for the earlier days! I have family members who have attended all four WS middle/high schools in recent years and their stories are very similar. Some of our student population have serious issues and there is no way around that. There is a reason for the police presence on Thistle Ave across from Sealth in the afternoon hours (I live down the street so I know). Do I feel that my son is in an unsafe environment? Absolutely not, but we have spent hours and hours (over years) talking to him about choices, consequences and safety. For that reason I would prefer to keep those Middle School kids geographically further away, even if it is only two streets away. The only way I would feel differently would be if the student population was “screened” as it in certain magnet schools, but I’m not a big fan of that. Thank you for sharing your opinion and have a great weekend. See you at the meeting.

    Comment by Indaknow — 3:12 pm February 2, 2008 #

  45. In case you are not aware, the Seattle School District BEX “3″ (not “option 3″) created a (in my opinion biased) group of students, staff and parents to fly back East and visit / tour several schools that the current BEX plan/s are patterned after. All of those schools required “application” to attend. None of those schools represented the general population of the neighborhoods they resided in. One of the principals of those schools said point blank “you are crazy to even consider doing this”. The reasons for opposition to the original BEX plan/s are long and varied. There are academic issues that have not been resolved in years, moving the two schools geographically together is not going to help the issue, though in such a matter will likely not hurt either. The security issues are a nightmare, and no Chief Sealth or Denny security staff believes it is a good idea to merge the two schools closer. One Seattle Policeman well acquainted with Denny stated he would prefer they rebuilt Denny even farther away at the old E.C. Hughes location. If security issues increase, academic learning will likely decrease… Our children deserve and truly need the best learning environment/s we can provide them. Allowing the “All mighty dollar” which the Seattle School District seems to rarely spare, influence the Denny / Sealth construction plan/s should not be an issue. The Seattle School District did not seem to think twice to buy new property and build a new Seattle School District Head Quarters (John Stanford Center) during a time the Seattle School District went from being thirty million dollars in the black to thirty million dollars in the red, all because of irresponsible financial management / declaration, not to mention an individual by the name of Olcheski? Raj Manhas did a pretty good job, however did not believe the requirements the State School Board proposed were reasonably attainable goals in the time frame required, hence Raj Manhas chose to “bail out”. Were you aware about twenty Chief Sealth Teachers did not return for the 2007 / 2008 school year, many because of their opposition to the BEX plans, and they were not willing to deal with the forecasted doom of such a plan. Once Denny is built (wherever) we will be stuck with such for generations. If a poor plan is chosen, is such what we want to be stuck with for generations? If you question safety concerns and Denny, and do not believe “issues” go on? You might want to look into the recent “death threat” toward a Denny Teacher written on a wall in Denny, that Jeff Clark has tried to minimize publicity of (for obvious reasons). Come to the meeting 6:30pm 02-04-08. Thank you.

    Steve Taylor

    Comment by Steve Taylor — 10:58 pm February 2, 2008 #

  46. Another interesting related side note. In a discussion today with a parent at the metro league wrestling championships at WS High, a parent caught me off guard. He said “oh great now we will have two disruptive construction projects in the neighborhood.”

    When he saw the puzzled look on my face, he said, “with all the people trying to avoid that mess (going to a combined 6-12 school) Holy Family will have to build a bigger school” and well need a new bus route to Kennedy” then walked off shaking his head.

    For those of you not familiar with our community, Holy Family is the neighborhood Catholic K-8 and Kennedy is the Catholic High school in Burien.

    Comment by Delfino — 2:11 am February 3, 2008 #

  47. Delfino, actually that was yesterday (February 2nd). There are those who want “facts”. Not everything stated is easily able to substantiate as a “fact”. However I know this as “fact” as I was there myself! It is very possible enrollment at Chief Sealth and Denny will decline because of BEX if “option 3″ is not chosen. If such is true, there could be less over crowding of class rooms in each school, a great thing! Maybe we should choose BEX 1 or 2? Currently each school has some overcrowding issues. Issues that are “addressed” by paying the teachers more money (per union contract) for having to teach in over crowed conditions. One of the best services we can provide our children / students is the lowest ratio of students to teachers. Trying to capture and keep the attention of middle school or high school students can be challenging enough, try doing such with a large group of either, possibly both… Spend an entire class period in a classroom of students and watch what a teacher does for the meek salary they receive. I personally witnessed the great Nancy Conyers go over class work for her students on Saturday, February 2nd, while Nancy Conyers (Chief Sealth High School’s P.E. Department Head) was a spectator at the Metro League 3A Wrestling Championship Tournament, hosted at West Seattle High School. The event was about twelve hours long all told on Saturday, and began on Friday. Thank you.

    Steve Taylor

    Comment by Steve Taylor — 8:51 am February 3, 2008 #

  48. Normaly I don’t read blogs but when a good freind called me and and said I needed to read this particular one, I did. After reading it I became very upset about what was wrote about John Boyd. When you attack someone’s character like Steve Taylor has done you loose credibilty with the issues. Steve you need to stick to the issues because you know nothing about John Boyd’s character. When you call someone names as you have done, in my mind it boarders on defamation of character. See I think I know more than you since I have seen first hand what he has done with his life helping others. Steve there are more people involved in the issues beside you particularly children like mine, one attends Denny and one attends Sealth, who are doing very well at both, and who happen to look up to John as the principle and their uncle. Also John’s children who admire their father very much. So you see Steve your not the only one here and you should aplogize to John and his family.

    Sincerly Alumni of Cheif Sealth,
    Edwin P. Boyd

    P.S. John has my 100% support as the Cheif Sealth Principle. Look what he has done for the school on the past four years.

    Comment by Edwin Boyd — 2:38 pm February 3, 2008 #

  49. Edwin, I am sorry that this discussion has been upsetting to you or your family. As John Boyd’s brother (I am guessing from the last name and uncle reference) of course you are going to defend family. But the fact is that John Boyd is the principal of a public school and the population of that school is watching both his words and actions. Opinions are formed based on these things. Neither you, nor I are around him all day long to hear personal conversations that he has with other members of our school population-so really, we cannot comment on them. Personally, I think he is a great person and a big part of why we chose Sealth (in spite of the horrible press regarding the Women’s basketball team and lackluster test scores), but that doesn’t mean that he cculdn’t have been misleading on this issue to other people at some point over the last two years.

    Comment by Indaknow — 8:06 pm February 3, 2008 #

  50. Edwin Boyd, you stated the same posting above on another blog segment, come on pal, I posted a reply. Long ago I sent an E-mail to John Boyd, stating at the time I would always refer to him as “Principal Boyd” when in direct conversation with him regarding Chief Sealth High School, and that otherwise I would refer to him as John Boyd. I stated at the time I wanted a division between my personal relationship (however minimal) with John Boyd and my professional relationship with John Boyd. I have a long history of doing such, I have every E-mail – facts. Unfortunately for some time John Boyd rarely acknowledges my presence when we are in close proximity. I would not doubt I am on his list of parents he could do without. Such is John Boyd’s choice. Possibly John Boyd will say high to me at the meeting on Monday? My feelings will not be hurt if not. Thank you.

    Steve Taylor

    Comment by Steve Taylor — 9:17 pm February 3, 2008 #

  51. STEVE TAYLOR I am extremely disgusted and disappointed that someone like you is in my community. You talk about Principal Boyd like he abused you and your family.
    You talk as if you have a long background in managing schools, construction, community management and psychology. You obviously have no sense of self respect or respect for others unless they do everything as you think they should. If you have spent your entire existence in West Seattle maybe it is about time you got out and see the real world. It is time you take your frustration elsewhere and let the community have an informed and honest discussion about this matter based in facts and a vision of our kids future. It is about time we have a little bit of trust in the people we have elected and the professionals in our community and let them at least try to move our community forward instead of spending most of their energy fighting ill informed naysayers. It is time we move forward into the future instead of backwards kicking and screaming with blinders on.
    Sometimes a little bit of risk is necessary to forge ahead.

    Comment by Doug — 10:03 pm February 4, 2008 #

  52. Doug, I appreciate all views regarding a given subject. Though I may not agree with all views. I speak from personal experience in everything I have stated. What do you speak from? Just so you know I have twenty seven years of professional experience in construction, twenty two years as a Licensed General Contractor, with employees. I have personal experience in psychology (TBI survivor, a year of “brain school” alone). I also have a fair understanding of what it means when a person says one thing and does another. I invite you and others to extensively tour each school and then make decisions of what you believe is right and wrong. I have been close enough to issues at each school long enough I no longer worry if I might upset one of the principals with what I have to say. Each principal is an education professional. I rather doubt I am their most difficult parent. Though possibly one of their more out spoken parents. When either makes what I believe is a good decision, I back them all the way. When either makes a decision I do not agree with, more often than not I let them know, rarely publicly. I have had little need to talk with Jeff Clark, though my wife has had some conversations with Jeff Clark. Thank you.

    Steve Taylor

    Comment by Steve Taylor — 12:06 am February 5, 2008 #

  53. Steve this is not my first trip around the block. I have 30 years in commercial construction, 27 of that in Seattle. I have worked on numerous jobs the size and scope of this one. I have personally managed 20,30 or more people at a time directly under me and another 100 plus indirectly. I have worked hard to educate myself in the ways of good management. I have worked hard to be a good mentor to those I work with. I have helped coach baseball teams, lead cub scouts and play an active and supportive role in my neighborhood and community. Maybe I haven’t lived my whole life in West Seattle but that doesn’t make any less important member in this community than you. I too have children in Arbor Heights and Denny. I am thrilled about the prospect of a 6 – 12 program at Denny/Sealth. I am extremely disappointed with reaction some people have had toward this project and their unfounded fear. Being in construction you know how fast a job can deteriorate when you have someone on site who does nothing but complain and bad mouth the job, the people running the job, the owners and the designers. The job is most successful when the workers have a good attitude and try to share in the vision of the project. It is time to open our eyes and at least try to see the big picture not just the ground on which we may fall.
    Thanks,

    Doug

    Comment by Doug — 7:20 pm February 5, 2008 #

  54. Doug, I appreciate your posting. Welcome to West Seattle wherever you hail from? In my business the most employees I have ever had to manage over was about twenty, including sub contract employees, what can I say, you have managed over more people directly than I. Though I have been self employed for over twenty two years, Fridays do not mean much to me… Yourself being a construction professional as you offer, should be well aware of construction contracts, or contracts in general. Also what can befall a project when there is a breach of contract. What we have in BEX 3, option 1 is effectively a breach of contract in case you are unaware of such circumstances. What was voted on is not what is being pushed forward! Yes I understand very well the “poison” that can befall a project when there is dissent among individuals. Dissent is effectively what has moved us from BEX 3, option 1, to BEX 3 options 2 and most recently BEX 3 option 3. Does it strike anyone curious as to why the District has proposed BEX 3 option 2? Does it raise any questions to anyone where the District is going to “magically” provide BEX 3, option 2 with an additional ten million dollars? That’s just chump change right? There is ten million dollars laying around everywhere! What motivation has caused the District to offer (bribe) us more with BEX 3, option 2? Dissent! Doug, like yourself I have also been involved with youth athletics, in my case for fourteen years, spanning baseball, soccer, basketball, football and wrestling. I have also volunteered countless hours to the local West Seattle Pee Wee and West Seattle PONY Baseball Associations and the West Seattle Soccer Club, not to mention my wife’s and other local churches. I try to remain a stealth volunteer for most every organization I have ever volunteered for, and anyone involved in any of them who know me know it!. However if you want to know more about what I have done, and not done in West Seattle, now you know. My son alone has played on over fifty different sports teams over the years spanning all of the aforementioned sports, not including all of my daughters sports activities, not to mention Summer marching Band, compliments of Marcus Pimpleton and Federal Way High School?. I am quite aware of the community in which I live. I suspect once you have a bit more experience in the community you now live, you may have a different view of the BEX 3 options 1,2 & 3 issue.. Your children are still relatively young, after they have left Denny and attended Chief Sealth for a while they and you will likely have a greater understanding for why myself, and many others have expressed what we have regarding BEX 3. Thank you.

    Steve Taylor

    Comment by Steve Taylor — 8:33 pm February 5, 2008 #

  55. Steve, stop trying to belittle people. I have lived in West Seattle for over 20 years. That is more than enough time to get to know the community I live in. You are not the only one that pays attention to what is going on here and participates in this community. With everything I have read from you, I can only deduce that you are an extremely bitter and paranoid person. I don’t feel the school board or the design team has tried to pull the wool over any ones eyes. A few people did express some concerns that the design team did put out some options based on finances, resources and their study of the situation. I am sorry if you don’t agree with their conclusions but that doesn’t make people evil, crooked, stupid or even ill informed because they disagree with you. I don’t expect them to get every detail approved by every citizen. That is totally impractical and unattainable. I did look up the pamphlet on BEX 3 and it clearly stated the intentions of the design team. You know as well as I do, if you do don’t understand something in the wording of the voting form you should ask the question. You were given plenty of time to study the information before you voted. When am I going to see evidence and not baseless accusations. You continue to mislead the people of Seattle when you constantly slam the good intentions of its citizens. In my opinion you are spreading a wild fire and ruining a very good opportunity for all the students of West Seattle.
    Doug

    Comment by Doug — 10:02 pm February 5, 2008 #

  56. Doug, and anyone else. You may want to read other excerpts on various “blog” pages within the WSB and you will learn what “we” studied in our voters pamphlets and ultimately voted on is not what we are getting with BEX 3, options 1 or 2. I encourage everyone to check for themselves, including you Doug, you may learn something. I have stated on related blog pages, you might consider reading a bit more Doug. I stated if the majority of people truly want BEX 3, option 1 or 2, then so be it. If not then we should get what the majority truly voted for, which is not BEX 3, options 1 or 2. Doug, you might want to educate yourself a bit more if you want to talk about something you actually know something about. Thank you.

    Steve Taylor

    Comment by Steve Taylor — 10:18 pm February 5, 2008 #

  57. Steve, I have read various blog pages and writings and still don’t agree that people were mislead. I still feel the plan could work well, maybe even better than expected. But please don’t keep telling me to get the facts from a blog when I can’t check the back ground or validity of most of what is written. I don’t get my news from talk shows, right or left wing and I can’t take as evidence peoples feelings about what things are or are not. Right now with the evidence in hand I have to put some trust in the the education leaders in our community and the design team.
    Until I see hard evidence of incompetence, deception or criminal activity I don’t have a reasonable option. You don’t have to believe me but I am a fairly intelligent person and well established in the community. Many Of the people I have talked with predictions of greatly increased violence from the high schoolers upon the middle schoolers. I have yet to see any evidence this will come to fruition. It is also my understanding that the reason most of the high school students are against the construction is because they don’t want to go to another location during the work. They will always feel this way. When will we be able to do the work? From my perspective, I have been extremely frustrated with Seattle’s lack of ability to move into the 21st century. A few people keep kicking and screaming and projects that are good long term investments keep getting washed down the tubes. It sickens me that generation that got it all handed to them can’t see any vision of the future for their kids.
    Doug

    Comment by Doug — 12:06 am February 6, 2008 #

  58. Seemed to me like there were more than “a few people kicking and screaming” about this project at the meeting Monday night. Doug, people want answers. The district is not giving them. Various groups of thinking, considerate people have been trying to engage the district for months now, if not years. I came in to this discussion late (Fall 2007). Perhaps having a Denny student, you heard about this earlier than most of the Seattle Voters. I don’t think you are showing much courtesy to the rest of us, even if you disagree with Steve. Funny thing is, all of our children are going to be in school together and I’m willing to bet if we met each other we would get along just fine because we are all involved in our communities. Please watch the name-calling and insinuations, even if you are frustrated-they detract from the points you are trying to make. (“I don’t get my news from talk shows, right or left wing” ,”It sickens me that generation that got it all handed to them can’t see any vision of the future for their kids” , calling Steve an “extremely bitter and paranoid person”, ” am extremely disgusted and disappointed that someone like you is in my community”, etc)

    Comment by Indaknow — 12:13 pm February 6, 2008 #

  59. Doug, Indaknow, what has been stated on various blog pages is not the worst that could be stated, likely we all know such. I have no doubt Doug is a caring and considerate person, or Doug would not have a care pro or conn regarding BEX anything. Believe me when I say I have inquired to many who are in a position to be able to educate most all of us about “certain goings ons” we all likely would rather were not, however still are. Unfortunately several of the people in such a position are not willing to speak publicly (yet) regarding such. They may in the future, and they may not. Such is their choice, and I respect their choices and concerns. I always ask permission before I provide anyones information to anyone! Anyone who knows me reasonably well, knows this. Doug when I have some information I believe may be compelling for yourself and other, I will post it, until then, you and others might want to consider what someone has to say, whose children have been where your children are, and are several years ahead of your children. You are a construction professional, do you delegate tasks to employees based on their experience? I do. In this scenario I have experience, and my children have been there, and done that in all of the best ways. I have not spoke much of my children’s accomplishments, however should you ever meet my children, or anyone who knows my children well, it is likely you will find I have some pretty good kids to say the least. In my experience Chief Sealth Students are not greatly opposed to taking “their” turn at Louisa Boren, however they do not wish such if it is related to Denny moving onto the Chief Sealth campus. No one I know of at Denny has any interest whatsoever to move to Louisa Boren for two or so years. Such is one of the reasons many at Denny support BEX 3, options 1 or 2, because then Denny only has to move from their old school into a brand new school at Chief Sealth, sounds nice, does it not… No “turn” at Louisa Boren as so many other students have endured. One Seattle Policeman very familiar with Denny told me he would prefer Denny was rebuilt even farther away at the old E.C. Hughes location, and moved the hardly known of Westside Alternative High School, not necessarily the school you might want your children to attend… And move the Westside Alternative High School down to Louisa Boren. This particular Seattle Policeman frankly states the farther away Denny is from Chief Sealth the better from an overall security perspective. Food for thought for us all. Chief Sealth Teachers do not want this, at least some Seattle Police do not want this. Who really does want this and why? Please educate us all. Thank you.

    Steve Taylor

    Comment by Steve Taylor — 1:35 pm February 6, 2008 #

  60. I must add, my children take greatly after their mother! As many have jested to me over the years. I know who the better half in my marriage is. Anyone who knows me, knows my wife must have felt sorry for me, or thought she would be doing society a favor in getting me off the streets to marry me. John Boyd would likely concur. Thank you.

    Steve Taylor

    Comment by Steve Taylor — 1:55 pm February 6, 2008 #

  61. I was recently able to speak with the previously referred to Seattle Police Officer regarding his/her willingness at this time to speak publicly regarding Denny and Chief Sealth? This Officer stated it would be “politically” in the Seattle Police Department’s best interest if his/her knowledge of Denny particularly and Chief Sealth to some degree was not expressed publicly as someone representing the Seattle Police Department. This same Officer stated if anyone in the community asked him/her of his/her knowledge of Denny and Chief Sealth s/he would be willing to elaborate s/he believed helpful. So, if you happen to cross paths with some of Seattle’s finest, ask them of their knowledge of BEX 3, options 1,2 or 3, and their views regarding such. Thank you.

    Steve Taylor

    Comment by Steve Taylor — 5:11 pm February 6, 2008 #

  62. Steve, I apologize for making the accusation that you are a bitter a paranoid person but that was not my intent. I do however feel that the things you have written have across as bitter and full of paranoia. Weather that is true of your character or not I will never know but when you talk about the educational leaders of the community with such disdain and don’t present any hard evidence then I begin to wonder what is behind all the statements.
    Indaknow, I can’t help but notice that you came to Steve’s defense when I misspoke but did not say a word when he made insinuations that maybe I wasn’t educated enough on the subject or that my family and I had not lived here long enough for my voice to hold as much merit. Rightly or wrongly, I found that offensive. This whole thing has seemed more like the Jerry Springer show than a spirited political debate. I have never heard so many unsupported character assassinations, misstatements and false accusations as I have on this blog. And yes I believe that this current generation has not given enough back to the community and that the name the “me” generation that it was given in the 80′s holds very true. It is time I end my time on this blog. Good luck with the rest of your ventures but I sincerely hope you fail at this one and are not able to sink, what I feel is a very worth while project.

    Doug

    Comment by Doug — 12:33 am February 7, 2008 #

  63. Steve Taylor, I think it is about time you stop with the who knows West Seattle more contest. “Westside Alternative High?” There is not such thing. Perhaps you are refering to South Lake High school, which is temporarily in the E.C. Hughes building until it moves back to the South Shore campus when its new building is finished.

    Comment by Sasha — 3:21 pm February 7, 2008 #

  64. Doug, it would seem at least two of each of our children attend Denny and Arbor Heights, we also live in West Seattle. It is very possible we will meet someday. The “disdain” you, and others may interpret comes from years of experiences. I do not express such with the intent of disdain, simply as information. If someone chooses to interpret various expressions of mine as disdain, so be it, and possibly I need to be re-educated as to what expression/s are disdain, and what expressions are not? It would not be “polite” of me to express such information in this format, likely only serving to bring out more (old) dirty laundry that is now effectively water under the bridge. Water may pass by, however people do tend to remember floods… I would happily voice my less than desirable experiences with you in person. I will be away this weekend supporting a Chief Sealth High School event. Should you choose to attend the Westwood Neighborhood Council meeting on the 12th? I will most likely be there (baring severe complications) and would happily talk with you in person of my experiences, and why I have come to the conclusions I have regarding BEX 3, options 1,2 & 3. Thank you.

    Steve Taylor

    Comment by Steve Taylor — 3:42 pm February 7, 2008 #

  65. Sasha, you might want to ask the students who attend school at the old E.C. Hughes location what many of them call “their” school? Also the “school” along Delridge South of the Delridge Community Center. In case you are not aware, there are “alternative” high schools in the Seattle School District, regardless of the latest name they may be given to politically correct their existence, or their latest street address. I personally only know of a few students who have attended the “alternative” high school in our area. One of the students I knew attending the “alternative” school was not what some might consider to be the “A” typical “alternative” high school student, however the student was there just the same for non academic reasons. In my personal knowledge of students attending the “alternative” high school, typically very disruptive, severely poor attendance, or just plain failing in the “regular system” for some reason were the students who attended the “alternative” high school until they could get back on track and get back into the better known of high schools. It does not matter to me who (exactly) knows the most about anything. We all know something. I have one child who is about to leave Chief Sealth High School, consequently I have seen just about everything Chief Sealth High School has to offer, both Pro and Conn. I firmly believe the Pros of Chief Sealth High School far out weigh any Conns of Chief Sealth High School. Chief Sealth High School definitely has areas that need improvement, and I am not talking about the building structure. However as a whole Chief Sealth High School is a tremendous learning environment for any student who chooses to apply themselves, and challenge themselves. The best and brightest of Chief Sealth High School Students I strongly suspect (though do not have specific facts to quote at this time) rank as high as any high school students in the country. Chief Sealth High School also has some students with great challenges to overcome academically, some with challenges simply of not being fluent in reading / writing the English Language as a result of their non English fluent family history (new to this country). These same “Language Challenged” students are expected to pass mathematical story problems, often without language aid. Then people point a finger and say Chief Sealth has low math test scores on an average. Yea, no kidding some of the students cannot read the mathematical story problem to even have a chance of passing. People really need to look deep before they presume to much about issues they may not fully be aware of (including myself). Thank you.

    Steve Taylor

    Comment by Steve Taylor — 11:16 pm February 7, 2008 #

  66. There are actually two non-traditional programs for high school student on Delridge at the community center and the old Cooper building. You are a parent, you have a view. But you certainly are not the only parent interested in this issue, and are certainly not the expert on all things West Seattle or Seattle Public Schools. I challenge you to look at what definition the Seattle School Board has given to alternative schools, because it certainly does fit your “quoted” ideas. Or talk to a Pathfinder or Center School parent. Just do something beyond claiming that you know everything because you live here and you have kids here. SO DO THE REST OF US.

    Comment by Sasha — 8:25 am February 8, 2008 #

  67. Apparently, Don Gillmore thinks that Sealth and Denny will become non-traditional schools as well. This comes as news to those of us at Sealth who are under the impression that we are a traditional school. Take a look at this power point from Gillmore who presented the information to Toronto in October.http://www.cefpi.org/posttoronto2007/PlanningNontraditionalSchools.ppt

    Comment by Marlene Allbright — 10:13 am February 8, 2008 #

  68. Thanks for that link to Don Gillmore’s presentation. It was an interesting glimpse of his perception of the project.

    Comment by Indaknow — 3:03 pm February 8, 2008 #

  69. Sasha, and anyone else, there are, as has been previously stated “non traditional schools” true enough, nothing new there. The “non traditional schools” that are not out soliciting parents and students to attend, are the “non traditional” (what a politically correct term) schools most parents would not want their child/ren to attend. The “non traditional schools” that are in existence for students who are currently excelling in school are not the “alternative” high schools previously referenced in earlier expressions. Should you currently have older students at Chief Sealth, a person would very likely know a fair amount about what goes on at Chief Sealth. If not, a person may not (very likely not). It can be dificult to know much about a place without having been there. The Chief Sealth Web Site is not that informative. Bye the way, a group of Chief Sealth Students, Coaches and Parents made it safely to East Wenatchee 02-08-08. Thank you.

    Steve Taylor

    Comment by Steve Taylor — 4:51 pm February 8, 2008 #

  70. Dear god, Steve. I have no reason to believe Mr. Boyd actually does ignore you as you say, but if your real life interactions are anything like your comments, I’d certainly steer clear. One does not have to post their resume to be interested in their student’s education.

    Comment by GenHillOne — 9:13 am February 9, 2008 #

  71. GenHillOne, I am glad to read you express religion, however as I suspect you know, religion is a relatively taboo subject in the Seattle School District, and we are all expressing about a specific school issue, therefore religion could be left out. Myself not being self proclaimed the most religious person on the plant (I am not perfect). I choose to leave religion out of this subject. This subject is about BEX 3, options 1,2 or 3. If you know information that has benefit to any of the options, please speak up. If you do not, you might be wise to listen to at least 93% of Chief Sealth Teachers, where all of our young enough children may attend school at sometime in the future. Do you know something about Chief Sealth High School Students as a whole that Chief Sealth High School Teachers do not? I am not so bold as to state such. And it is rather obvious I am not to shy about what I believe or express that I know. What do you know? Let me guess the answer to that one… Thank you.

    Steve Taylor

    Comment by Steve Taylor — 11:39 am February 10, 2008 #

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