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District News and Announcements

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.

Updated 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.

Updated Oct. 20, 2014 | Contact: Special Education Office | Phone: (206) 252-0058
Advanced Learning public comment deadline Oct. 22

The public is invited to comment on draft updates to Highly Capable Services and Advanced Learning Programs policies and procedures until Wednesday, Oct. 22. The drafts are Policy No. 2190 and Superintendent Procedure 2190SP.

The documents, which have not been significantly updated since 1993, reflect revised Washington Administrative Code requirements about serving students identified as Highly Capable. The state now requires that a continuum of services be provided K-12, and that every school offer a plan for serving Highly Capable students. The drafts also reflect the program and service name changes that were announced in August.

The draft policy and procedures are available through the link in the right hand column on The Oct. 22 public comment deadline will provide time for the Advanced Learning Office to edit the documents if necessary before they are introduced to the full school board at the Nov. 5 board meeting. A vote is expected at the December 3 meeting. Community members who would like to submit a comment should email it to and be sure to include POLICY – in all caps – in the subject line.

Updated Oct. 20, 2014 | Contact: Advanced Learning Office | Phone: (206) 252-0130
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

Washington MS music teacher on the short list for an Educator Grammy

Washington Music Teacher Beth FortuneSeattle’s music programs have won a lot of well-deserved awards, but a Grammy? It could happen.

Beth Fortune, who teaches Orchestra and Eclectic Strings at Washington Middle School is one of only 25 semi-finalists nationwide for the 2015 Grammy Music Educator Award. She was selected from 7,000 applicants.


Oct. 1, 2014 | Contact: Communications Office | Phone: (206) 252-0200

Yummy or yucky? Students test school food

More than 150 students visited the John Stanford Center for Educational Excellence today to taste test the food that could end up on their lunch trays.

Fifth-graders from John Hay Elementary and 3rd graders from South Shore PK-8 were invited to try the new concoctions and offer their opinions. Options ranged from turkey dogs and bean and cheese burritos, to lentil sloppy Joes and chicken Tikka Masala. Interim Superintendent Dr. Larry Nyland stopped by to get the students’ opinions and sample some of the school lunch fare himself.

Want to know the early winners? Click here.

Sept. 26, 2014 | Contact: Communications Office | Phone: (206) 252-0200

Seattle Public Schools Interim Superintendent Dr. Larry Nyland to host meet and greet opportunities for families, students, staff and the community

Dr. Larry Nyland, who was appointed by the School Board in June to serve as Interim Superintendent, has outlined several opportunities this fall to meet with community members.

  • Tuesday, September 30 at New Holly Community Center
  • Wednesday, October 1 at John Muir Elementary
  • Monday, October 27 at Yesler Community Center
  • Tuesday, October 28 at Northgate Community Center

Interpreters will be available at all of the meetings. Click "More" for location details, times and which languages will have interpretation services.


Sept. 23, 2014 | Contact: Communications Office | Phone: (206) 252-0200

Seattle Public Schools releases its Facility Condition Assessment Report for 2014

Seattle Public Schools continues to see an increase in students every year, with more than 53,000 students attending our 97 schools in the 2014-15 school year.

To help the district ensure enough classroom space for all students – current and future – as well as to keep up with maintenance for many of our aging school buildings, the district hires a firm specializing in the architectural, engineering and planning of K-12 schools to study and provide a detailed report on the condition of our school buildings. The 2014 Facility Condition Assessment report is a great tool that helps us identify work to be done by ranking buildings in need of maintenance and repair. Please click here to view the report.

For more information on past BEX capital projects, please visit              
For more information on BTA projects, please visit 


Sept. 23, 2014 | Contact: Public Affairs | 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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