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Traffic around TOPS@Seward School appeared to be busier than usual this morning as parents who live outside the school's transportation zone drove their children to school to protest potential bus cuts.
At one point, northbound traffic on Boylston was backed up from Louisa to Lynn as buses and parents tried to make a left onto Louisa to drop off children. Annoyed drivers on Boylston could be heard honking their horns and at least one bus driver yelled at a driver he felt was holding up entrance to Louisa, which is the bus drop-off zone.
Parents of children who live outside the Washington Middle School transportation zone, which covers TOPS, had been asked to drive their children to school today to demonstrate what might happen if bus service outside that zone is dropped. The Seattle Public Schools have proposed eliminating bus service beyond the Washington Middle School transportation zone as way to save money.
Parents at the school say the cuts could impact the school's diversity by making it harder for children who live outside the TOPS' transportation zone to attend. They also say they are concerned about the traffic impact in Eastlake if parents of those students had to drive their children to school every day.
One parent, Ginger Segel, said she usually drives her children to school on Fridays. She thought today's traffic was busier than usual. She said she usually never has to wait to get onto Louisa to drop her kids.
Lucy Kee, who lives near Green Lake, dropped two children off. She said there are usually two or three cars waiting on Boylston to turn onto Louisa but she had never seen traffic backed up to Lynn.
"My concern," she said, "is that there's no drop off zone here."
Wayne Duncan, another parent, said that the school district had implied there would always be transportation for TOPS students but "that promise is being taken away."
Parent Sheila Anderson said the TOPS parents will be reporting to the school board on how this morning's event went and will be engaging the board in a discussion about continuing the bus service.
Parents of students who are slated to lose their bus service to Eastlake's TOPS@Seward School in the fall of 2012 are being asked to drive their children to school on Friday to simulate possible traffic impacts if their service is cut.
The drive-to-school event would only be for the morning commute. Parents say arrivals would be between 7:45 and 8:30 a.m. Sheila Anderson, a TOPS parent, said in an e-mail that:
The parents have invited school board members, school district personnel and members of the media to come to TOPS on Friday to see what traffic might be like if bus service is reduced. Parents don't know how many may participate.
The Seattle School Board voted a year ago to discontinue bus service to the school for students who live outside the Washington Middle School transportation area after the 2011-2012 school year. TOPS draws students from a large part of the city and many arrive by bus. TOPS parents who value the school's diversity fear that element will be lost if bus service is cut for those who live outside the Washington Middle School transportation area.
The school district said last year it would revisit the issue in 2010 but has yet to do so.
In a letter Anderson sent to the school board on behalf of the TOPS parents, she noted that data gathered by parents showed that 40-50 percent of students at the school would lose their bus transporation in 2012. She continued:
Anderson's letter says that TOPS parents appreciate the expense of the bus routes and they feel there are alternatives that wouldn't increase district expenses.
The parents say that, if bus service is reduced, they fear the result could be "non-trivial impacts to the Eastlake community and the TOPS community as more families drive their kids to school." They that they feel "that the questions around traffic impacts have not been given full consideration."
The complete letter from the TOPS parents to the Seattle School Board is attached to this post.
Parents and students from TOPS@Seward School were busy Saturday with their fall clean up and planting project on the school grounds.
The parents and students usually gather twice a year to help beautify the school grounds. Last April, they were spreading bark. On Saturday, they were cleaning up planters around the north courtyard and putting in newspaper and bark to help control weeds.
Others were raking and cleaning out planting beds.
Thanks to these volunteers for helping to keep the school looking great!
Three students from The Option Program at Seward (TOPS) will join more than 40 young writers on stage at the Seattle Public Library 6 p.m. May 26. Marianna White, Olivia Liu and Seth Lambert-Vail will read poetry and prose crafted under the guidance of writers-in-residence Merna Hecht and Matt Nienow. Thanks to Seattle Art and Lectures' Writers in Schools (WITS) program, Hecht and Nienow conducted creative writing workshops with students at TOPS during intensive residencies.
Chosen for their outstanding creative writing, Marianna, Olivia, and Seth will read their works before a crowd of over 300 people during the WITS end-of-year reading and celebration. This free event is open to the public and celebrates the best student writing over two evenings. Elementary and middle school students will read at 6 p.m. May 26, and high school students on May 27 at 6 p.m. at Seattle Public Library.
The Writers in the Schools (WITS) program matches a local, creative writer with a school district...
McNerthney says the Seattle Police report says that in a French class, one seventh-grader asked another if he knew the "pen to skull" trick. When the victim said no, the alleged attacker reportedly held a pen in a closed fist and hit the victim in the head five times, drawing blood.
But, McNerthney says, there's a question about who instigated the altercation. See the rest of his blog post here.
The Eastlake Community Council Board last week sent a letter to the Seattle School District formally proposing a geographic zone for TOPS@Seward School.
The zone would be part of the new school district attendance plan. It will be used as a "tiebreaker" in determining which neighborhood children will be allowed to attend Seward, which as an "option" school draws students from all over Seattle, not just from Eastlake.
The ECC Board voted unanimously for the proposed geographic zone tie-breaker at its Nov. 18 meeting. The zone would cover the area of Eastlake from I-5 west to the houseboats at Lake Union, and north from E. Galer in the south to the Ship Canal in the north (see attached map).
The ECC had worked for several months with the TOPS@Seward Site Council to make a joint proposal of this geographic zone. The Site Council, which consists of staff at the school and parents of students, voted in November on whether to endorse the ECC proposal or a variation that would have also included Roanoke Park. Staff at Seward weren't able to vote on the proposal and, ultimately, it came down to a tie (previous post here).
In his letter (see attached PDF) to Tracy Libros, director of enrollment planning for the Seattle School District, ECC President Tim Ahlers said:
The ECC had hoped to present the geographic zone proposal jointly with the Site Council, believing that would give the plan more weight with the school district.
"The neighborhood also pressed for a shared agreement," Ahlers says in his letter, "because we would like to continue the improved community-school relations that have evolved during the 4-year history of the 20-percent kindergarten enrollment set-aside."
Ahlers says that even though the Site Council isn't signing the letter about the proposal, "the ECC is still appreciative of the tie vote, as it marks a positive step forward from the active and vocal opposition to neighborhood attendance that the same school community posited earlier in this decade."
Ahlers' letter for the ECC Board concludes:
Previous Eastlake Ave. Blog coverage of the TOPS@Seward geographic zone can be found here.
The Seattle School Board will vote on new attendance zones for city schools at their meeting at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday at school district headquarters, .
There don't appear to have been changes in the map for TOPS@Seward, Eastlake's local school, since it was released in early October. Students in Eastlake fall within the attendance zone map for Montlake Elementary. See our previous post for more information on the attendance map.
Still to come will be a school board decision on the geographic zone for Seward. Geographic zones are a new category of "tiebreaker" used to determine which children can attend options schools like Seward. The Eastlake Community Council has proposed a geographic zone that would include everything from I-5 west to the houseboats and from E. Galer in the south to the Ship Canal bridge in the north.
The ECC had hoped to make a joint presentation of that proposal with the TOPS@Seward Site Council, a group composed of parents and staff at the school. A vote by parents on the council (staff were ineligible) ended in a tie (previous post here), leaving the ECC to go it along.
For more information, see the school district's page on the new attendance plan here.
Parents on the TOPS@Seward Site Council have completed their vote on a proposed geographic zone for the school and the result is a tie.
That means that the Site Council and the Eastlake Community Council will not be presenting a joint proposal to the school board for the new zone as many in the neighborhood had hoped. Instead, says Jules James, the ECC's representative on the Site Council, the ECC will have to present a proposal to the school board on its own.
The ECC's zone proposal (see attached map) would have included everything from I-5 west to the houseboats and from East Galer in the south to the Ship Canal in the north. A second proposal would have included the triangle of neighborhood between Eastlake Avenue and I-5 and the Roanoke Park area.
Staff at the school weren't eligible to vote on the proposal. Since the first part of the vote, on the ECC's proposal, tied then the second part, on adding the triangle and Roanoke Park, was rendered moot.
As we explained in a previous post:
The ECC had hoped to make a joint proposal to the school board on the geographic zone, the assumption being that that would make for a stronger case with the board. The ECC is now working on submitting its proposal to the school board, James says.