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District News and Announcements

Fans are called to UNITE this weekend

Hope and HealingTo All,
Tragedy has struck two Washington communities in the last week. We have seen how Marysville-Pilchuck has been affected since last Friday, and earlier this week there was yet another fatal incident right here at home. A student from Aki Kurose Middle School, was killed in Seattle. The grief her friends, classmates and community feel today is immeasurable. It is with two significant events in mind, that we ask all of you to join us in honoring the students who lost their lives this weekend.

ALL Metro League school principals, athletic directors, coaches and SPS middle school levels are asked to reach out to their own school communities in an effort to pay our respects for those directly impacted by these recent events.

We ask ALL FANS attending any Seattle school sporting event this weekend to wear something WHITE signifying HOPE and HEALING. This includes fans, parents, students, administrators and staff attending any and all sports contests -- this includes playoff games.

It is at times like these that we must come together to support one another, even if we aren’t personally affected.  We express our thoughts and prayers by coming together as ONE and wearing WHITE as a symbol of hope for a better tomorrow.
In service,
Eric C. McCurdy
Executive Director of Athletics
Seattle Public Schools

Oct. 29, 2014 | Communications Office | Phone: (206) 252-0200

Eleven Seattle schools win 2014 School of Distinction awards

Mercer International Middle School buildingEleven Seattle schools are among the winners of the 2014 School of Distinction award, which recognizes schools with the highest sustained improvements in reading and math over the previous five years.

The award recognizes schools in the top 5 percent of improvement for their levels.

Seattle 2014 School of Distinction winners

Catharine Blaine K-8 School*
Cleveland High School*
Franklin High School
Greenwood Elementary School*
Hamilton International Middle School*
Ingraham High School
Maple Elementary School
McDonald International Elementary School
Mercer International Middle School*
Pathfinder K-8 School
Wing Luke Elementary School*

*denotes schools that have won in previous years


Oct. 29, 2014 | Communications Office | Phone: (206) 252-0200

Ballard filmmakers win at five-state festival

Ballard film program studentsSince its beginning in the fall of 2001, students from Ballard High School's film program have won hundreds of awards at regional, state, national, and international film festivals.

This month, three short films by students from the Ballard High School Digital Filmmaking Program were winners at Fresh Film Northwest. This competitive regional festival is coordinated by the Northwest Film Center in Portland, Oregon. It accepts entries from filmmakers ages 13 to 19 in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington. Only 10 films were winners at this year’s festival.

This is the tenth year in a row that students from Ballard’s Digital Filmmaking Program have been winners at the event.


Oct. 29, 2014 | Communications Office | Phone: (206) 252-0200

Seattle Public Schools seeking community volunteers for Special Education Advisory & Advocacy Council (SEAAC)

Seattle Public Schools is seeking unpaid volunteers from our ethnically, linguistically and culturally diverse communities to serve on the Special Education Advisory & Advocacy Council (SEAAC), for terms of one year.

The council advises Seattle Public Schools leadership and staff on Special Education issues and is comprised of up to 30 members. A minimum of two-thirds of the members must be parents of children with disabilities currently enrolled in a Special Education Program in Seattle public Schools. SPS students, families, community members, staff, community based organizations and representatives of higher learning institutions are encouraged to apply.

Nominations/applications are due by 5 p.m., Friday, Nov. 14. More information about the council, the nomination process and a nomination form are available through the Special Education homepage.

Learn more about Seattle Public Schools task forces and committees.

Oct. 28, 2014 | Special Education Services | Phone: (206) 252-0058

EVENT: 2014 LGBT Families Dinner scheduled for Nov. 13 at Nova/SBOC-World School

The annual lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Families Dinner will be held 6 to 8 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 13 at Nova/SBOC (old Meany Middle School). District leaders and members of the School Board will be there to welcome LGBT families and their friends. All District families and staff are welcome to attend.

Dinner and entertainment will be provided through community donations, and there will be craft tables for younger attendees.

For more information and to reserve your spot at this popular event, click here.

Oct. 20, 2014 | Communications Office | Phone: (206) 252-0200

Seattle Public Schools at nearly 52,000 students

This school year nearly 52,000 students – 51,988 to be exact – are attending our 97 schools, according to the October enrollment headcount. That is an increase of 978 students over last year, and marks the seventh consecutive year of enrollment growth in Seattle Public Schools.

Enrollment growth was within 1 percent of the forecasted enrollment of 52,379. Overall, district enrollment has grown by 6,726 students since 2007, a 14.9 percent increase.

Oct. 20, 2014 | Communications Office | Phone: (206) 252-0200

Meetings scheduled to discuss implementation of new boundaries in 2015-16

In November 2013, the Seattle School Board approved various changes to elementary and middle school attendance area boundaries (Growth Boundaries), to be implemented over time.
Community meetings are being held to provide basic information to those affected by the changes, answer questions about the 2015-16 changes, and receive community feedback. This includes a meeting at Dearborn Park International school.

An amendement approved during the Growth Boundaries vote tabled, for one year, discussion of changing Dearborn Park International to an option school. The Board will again look at this potential change as part of the 2015-16 implmentation discussions in November. The meeting on Oct. 29 is an opportunity for Dearborn Park International families to learn more.

When Where Language Interpretation
Oct. 28, 6:30-7:30 p.m. Dunlap Elementary
4525 S. Cloverdale St.
Spanish, Somali, Vietnamese
Oct. 29, 6:30-7:30 p.m. Dearborn Park International
2820 S. Orcas St.
Spanish, Somali, Vietnamese
Oct. 30, 6:30-7:30 p.m. Northgate Community Center
10510 5th Ave. NE
Spanish and Somali
Nov. 3, 6:30-7:30 p.m. Alki Elementary
3010 59th Ave. SW

Spanish and Somali
Nov. 4, 6:30-7:30 p.m. Beacon Hill International School
2025 14th Ave. S

More information, including maps of the changes, Frequently Asked Questions and copies of the letters sent to families are on the Growth Boundaries website. Feedback can be sent by email to

Updated Oct. 22, 2014 | Communications Office | Phone: (206) 252-0200

Public comment invited on revised Special Education policy related to Commencement Exercises and Certificate of Attendance

The public is invited to comment on draft updates to Special Education and Related Services for Eligible Students Policy No. 2161. This policy relates primarily to Commencement Exercises and Certificate of Attendance for special education students.

Deadline for comment is Oct. 31, 2014. The draft policy will introduced to the Seattle School Board at its Nov. 5 meeting.

The draft policy is posted on the district’s Special Education web page. Please send comments to, with “Policy” in the subject line.

Oct. 20, 2014 | Contact: Special Education Office | Phone: (206) 252-0058
Sealth Black Student Unionís powerful film about race to premier at the Social Justice Film Festival on Oct. 25

Graham Hill Green TeamStudents in Chief Sealth International High School’s Black Student Union had question for their fellow students: What questions do you have for us?
They didn’t shy away from the provocative questions they got back – things like:

  • Are you treated differently because of your race?
  • What is ratchet?
  • Is there a difference between dark skin and light skin?
  • What is Ghetto?
  • What are you afraid of?
  • Are you proud to be black?

In a film project inspired by a project called Question Bridge, 13 students sat down in front of a camera and gave their raw, unrehearsed answers.

The end product is a powerful film called “Riffing on the Dream,” one that was accepted into The Social Justice Film Festival. "Riffing the Dream" premiers Saturday, Oct. 25 at 3 p.m., at the NW Film Forum.

More >>

 Oct. 16, 2014 | Contact: Communications Office | Phone: (206) 252-0200

Help getting those college applications done

The SPS College and Career Readiness Department will be hosting a series of College Application Events throughout October and November. College Application Events provide one-on-one support for high school seniors navigating the college application process. At these events, students receive help researching colleges, filling out applications, and drafting personal statements. Volunteers, including local college admissions officers, are on site to provide support with college applications and answer questions. 

College Application Event dates and locations are listed below:

Tuesday, October 21st @ Garfield HS (2:30-5:30pm)
Thursday, October 23rd @ West Seattle HS (2:30-5:30pm)
Thursday, November 6th @ Roosevelt HS (2:30-5:30pm)
Thursday, November 13th @ Chief Sealth HS (3:15-6pm)
Monday, November 17th @ Franklin HS (2:20-5:30pm)
Wednesday, November 19th @ Nathan Hale HS (3:15-6pm)

For more information and to register visit

 Oct. 16, 2014 | Contact: College and Career Readiness | Phone: (206) 252-0130
Career academies boost struggling students to successful careers

Career academy classroom at Sealth High SchoolWhile bouncing from foster families to homeless shelters, a Chief Sealth student still somehow managed to find dressy clothes to wear to class. The girl knew that to stay in the Academy of Hospitality and Tourism, she was required to don business attire on Tuesdays.

That was three years ago. Through her commitment to the academy, she found that she loved hospitality, landed at a flight attendant training program in Vancouver, Wash., and secured a job with an airline.

 “Now here she is, she’s got a flight attendant badge on, and she is so excited,” says her teacher, Gary Perkins. “That makes it all worthwhile.”

This student is not alone: Statistics reveal an astounding success rate for Seattle Public Schools’ career academies. They boast a 99 percent graduation rate, with 96 percent of students going on to postsecondary education.

More >>

 Oct. 9, 2014 | Contact: Communications Office | Phone: (206) 252-0200

Frank Inslee: SPS teacher, coach and athletic director, father of Gov. Jay Inslee

Frank E. Inslee died Monday night. The father of Gov. Jay Inslee inspired thousands of Seattle Public Schools students as a biology teacher, high school coach and athletic director for the district.

In a statement, Gov. Inslee said: “We're proud of what he did as a teacher and coach, too. He was thrilled by taking unranked high school basketball teams into the state tournament. But he was truly proud of having helped his students build confidence and ambition. Today, wherever we go, my brothers and I get to meet those now 60-year olds who tell us tales of how our dad inspired them.”

Frank Inslee taught biology at Garfield High School and also served as assistant basketball coach. When Chief Sealth High School opened in 1957, Mr. Inslee became the school’s head coach for basketball and track.

In 1965, he became athletic director for Seattle Public Schools, where he strongly embraced implementation of federal Title IX to usher in women’s athletics in schools. In 1977 he was named the state’s Athletic Director of the Year.

Frank B. Inslee yearbook photo

Frank Inslee with basketball team

 Oct. 9, 2014 | Contact: Communications Office | Phone: (206) 252-0200

Seattle Public Schools does not renew contract with Graduation Alliance

District directs career-planning firm to destroy all student data

Seattle Public Schools previously partnered with a company to assist students, parents and school counselors in career planning and to create authentic High School and Beyond plans, a state graduation requirement.

The company, ConnectEdu, was in business from 2002 until April of 2014, when they filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The district immediately contacted them to request that all student data be destroyed per the contract; however, since they were protected under bankruptcy laws, the data was not destroyed at that time but was fully secured. Graduation Alliance then purchased ConnectEdu, and Seattle Public Schools contacted Graduation Alliance immediately to verify again that the data was secure.
In late September, Graduation Alliance contacted families about this data, which raised concerns. The district notified the company to cease all communications with SPS families and schools.

Please know that the privacy of our students is a top priority at Seattle Public Schools, and student data has remained secure throughout this process.


Oct. 15, 2014 | Contact: Communications Office | Phone: (206) 252-0200

District continues to improve overnight field trip procedures

Leadership at Seattle Public Schools understands the value of overnight field trips for our students. We also place a high priority on student safety both at school and on school-sanctioned trips. In light of recent events, the district updated our field trip policies and increased training for staff to help ensure student safety.  

This recent work stems from a 2012 overnight field trip during which a Garfield High School student said she was sexually assaulted. Investigations by multiple law enforcement agencies determined there was inconclusive evidence of a crime. However, on Oct. 3, Seattle Public Schools went into mediation with the parents of this former student. The district settled with the female student and her parents for $700,000.
The settlement must be submitted to the School Board for approval on October 15.

While the settlement does not hold the district liable for the incident, district officials do consider this a fair settlement that allows the district to focus its efforts on improving our processes to prevent and respond to incidents of sexual harassment, and provides funds for the student to pursue her education.


Oct. 8, 2014 | Contact: Communications Office | Phone: (206) 252-0200

Congratulations Washington State's Teacher of the Year: Lyon Terry of Lawton Elementary!

Lyon Terry, a 4th grade teacher at Lawton Elementary, was today named Washington State's Teacher of the Year. The announcement was made by State Superintendent Randy Dorn at a celebration at EMP that included Terry and eight fellow regional award winners.

“What makes Lyon and all the 2015 Teachers of the Year stand out is that they see the big picture of education,” Superintendent Dorn said. “They understand that great teachers and schools teach to the heads, hands and hearts of their students. Students must meet academic standards. But they also need to learn how to make things, serve their community, persevere through difficulty and treat others with kindness. Our Teachers of the Year understand that. And it’s why we lift them up as examples for all.”

Watch Lyon's students sing their congratulations to him in the video below.


Sept. 22, 2014 | Contact: Public Affairs | Phone: (206) 252-0200

Paraeducators share strategies for helping students with disabilities in P.E.

Paraeducators discuss special P.E. classroom issues for their studentsHow much should a student with a disability be encouraged to participate in physical education class? How much space does the student need? What if the student experiences sensory overload in P.E.?

These are some of the questions asked by the 38 instructional assistants who participated in training in the APP@Lincoln gym in Wallingford.

When multiple adults are working with a student, it can be tricky to sort out who provides the support – and how and when. "If we're confused about it, imagine that child," Toni Bader, adapted physical education specialist, told the group during the afternoon of professional development.

Instructional assistants, sometimes called paraeducators, may be assigned to help one or more students with disabilities through the school day. The training was designed to help instructional assistants support students in P.E. class, which can present particular challenges.


Sept. 19, 2014 | Contact: Public Affairs | Phone: (206) 252-0200

Flu shot clinics provided for all students, staff, and their families

Seattle Public Schools is partnering with the Seattle Visiting Nurse Association to provide flu shot clinics for all students, staff, and their families at no charge with proof of current medical insurance.

According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), the single best protection from influenza is to receive a flu shot each year. The CDC recommends everyone 6 months old and over be vaccinated against the flu.
For clinic locations and dates, and to download the parent permission form, click More.


Sept. 18, 2014 | Contact: Health Services | Phone: (206) 252-0079

Avoid the Flu This Season
There are news reports that the Enterovirus, which is causing illness in children across the Midwest, may be in the Seattle area. With cold and flu season upon us, it’s a good time to review how students can do their best to avoid catching or sharing colds and the flu this season.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Avoid kissing, hugging, and sharing cups or eating utensils with people who are sick
  • Disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as toys and doorknobs, especially if someone is sick
  • Catch your cough in your sleeve to reduce spread
  • Prevent other flu viruses by getting your flu shot
Also, please become familiar with the SPS guidelines on when to keep students home from school, including when they have a fever, persistent coughing, diarrhea, or vomiting. The full list is available here:

Here in our schools, we’re taking extra precautions against viruses by wiping down frequently touched surfaces including desks, keyboards, drinking fountains, as well as common areas such as bathrooms and cafeterias.
For more information on the Enterovirus, here is a helpful link form the CDC:

Sept. 12, 2014 | Contact: Public Affairs | Phone: (206) 252-0200

Many district schools moving to new assessments

Fourth-graders take the benchmark assessments in September at Rainier View Elementary.Many Seattle Public Schools students are taking a new test beginning this month – but the district isn't adding testing time to the school year.

The computer-based tests are designed to help teachers find out what students already know and what they need to learn early in the school year. These types of assessments are known as interim benchmarks because they "benchmark" student understanding periodically, which helps teachers adjust their teaching to their students' needs.

This year, Seattle Public Schools contracted with a vendor to supply benchmarks – called mClass Beacon – that match the state's Common Core college and career readiness standards. In the 53 participating schools, the MAP achievement tests will go away for students in Grades 3-9 in order to alleviate concerns about "overtesting."


Sept. 12, 2014 | Contact: Public Affairs | Phone: (206) 252-0200

DISTRICT: Students to have access to personal email from District computers

three girls using computerAll Seattle Public School students in grades K–12 will be able to access their personal email accounts from District computers beginning this fall. This change comes at the request of District principals with approval of senior leadership.


August 28, 2014 | Contact: Public Affairs | Phone: (206) 252-0200


TOPIC: Volunteering at Seattle Public Schools

Seattle Public Schools is grateful for each parent and community member who contributes to the success of students. We have thousands of volunteers who work in a variety of capacities in Seattle Public Schools.

If you are interested in volunteering visit, "
Volunteering at SPS" to read the Volunteer Handbook and access the required online course, along with other forms.

Past stories are posted in the News Story and News Release Archive

A selection of news articles and online coverage featuring Seattle Public Schools are posted in the News Coverage Archive

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