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Capitol Hill Seattle has all the details ont the lockdown of Lowell Elementary, 1058 E. Mercer, this afternoon (Wednesday, Dec. 14).
From CHS' report:
The suspect, Donald Vasser, 39, fled after police were called. SPD says he turned himself in to the King County Jail shortly before 6 p.m..
According to a press release from the school district:
Parent volunteers at Seattle schools are supposed to be subject to a criminal background check, but the district's press release said that, due to a miscommunication, that wasn't done in this case.
UPDATE: This post has been changed since it was first published to include information that Donald Vasser has turned himself in to authorities.
What started with a realization that her kids might not be allowed to attend the school just blocks from their home has lead Eastlake resident and activist Michelle Buetow to a run for the Seattle School Board.
Buetow recently formally declared as a candidate for board position 3, currently held by Harium Martin-Morris. Martin-Morris is seeking re-election to the position.
Buetow and her husband, George Heynen, moved to Eastlake in 1994, first as renters and then, in 1998, as homeowners. Buetow says she was surprised to discover that her children might not be allowed to attend TOPS@Seward School, which is just a few blocks from their home. TOPS is an alternative school that draws from all over the city and there were very few slots at the time for Eastlake kids.
Buetow soon connected with Jules James, a long-time Eastlake resident who had been working on the TOPS@Seward issue for years, trying to find a way to get more Eastlake kids into the school. Because local kids couldn't easily get into Seward, the neighborhood in 1998 had few families with children.
"I only knew two families with kids," Buetow recalls.
So began a seven-year odyssey as Buetow joined James on a quest to find a way to allow more Eastlake children to attend TOPS@Seward. The two went to countless meetings, talked to parents and district staff and cajoled anyone who would listen, trying to find common ground between the neighborhood and parents of TOPS students.
It was her initiation into the politics and bureaucracy of the school district, Buetow says. She was hooked. She learned how the school administration works and how people can have different yet valid positions on the same issue.
In January, the school board approved a new geographic zone for TOPS@Seward that will allow more Eastlake students to attend the school, and Buetow and James celebrated.
"This is still an alternative school," Buetow says of TOPS, "but now it's an alternative school with neighborhood support."
Buetow says people in Seattle don't tend to think of their neighborhood school as part of a whole system. She wants to change that perspective and strengthen the whole system while she's at it.
"A good school does not make a good system," she says. "Out city can't be healthy if the schools are not healthy."
Buetow is a former journalist who worked at the Seattle Times in addition to smaller papers in the city. She also worked in marketing for high tech firms both domestically and internationally. She intends to bring her organizing and analytical skills to the board.
She also brings something she says no current board member or currently running candidate can bring: She has children in the kindergarten to eighth grades. Those years are crucial to a child's education, she says, and they need to be better represented on the board.
Two areas she particularly wants to focus on if elected are K-3 literacy and the role of special education in the district. Her goal is that children in the third grade will be reading up to standards for the grade.
"It doesn't sound like much," she says, "but it would be huge."
Special education families are a large group, say says, that aren't able to advocate for themselves well. She'd like to be their voice to the board and the district.
She also cites accountability and transparency as a goal for the district as well as community and collaboration.
Buetow wants to be sure everyone is heard by the school district.
"We have to be welcoming and respectful of the diversity of opinion," she says. "Bringing in many voices makes things messier but that's part of the democracy of our schools."
You can learn more about Buetow and her campaign at her website, www.buetowforschoolboard.com.
UPDATE at 3:48 p.m.: Meant to post this sooner. Traffic moving fine on Eastlake Avenue E. It seems to be bare and mostly dry. Side streets still icy and tricky. Roanoke E. isn't closed at Boylston but the sign says it's restricted to "Local Access." You can get through but take it slow!
UPDATE at 7 a.m.: It's 24 degrees on my deck in Eastlake. Seattle Schools are closed again today. After saying it would be open, the UW changed course and will be closed again.
The city won't be picking up garbage today. If your garbage wasn't picked up Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday, you'll be collected on those days next week. You will be able to put out twice the usual garbage. There's no pick up on Thanksgiving day either.
Add your weather related observations in the comments. We also accept reader photos! Send them to curtmilton (at) comcast.net. Thanks and stay warm!
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...
Shaw reports that the parents are upset that, despite their intense lobbying efforts, the transition plan, which the board is set to vote on tonight, doesn't guarantee that siblings will be assigned to the same school:
As we've reported previously, Eastlake parents and activists have been seeking better access for neighborhood kids to TOPS@Seward School, Eastlake's local school. A plan to offer a geographic zone for Seward in the transition plan was dropped. An amendment restoring a provision setting aside 20 percent of the kindergarten seats at Seward for Eastlake kids is on the table this evening.
Read the rest of Shaw's story here.
Meeting tonight: The Seattle School Board's meeting begins at 6 p.m. at school district headquarters, 2445 3rd Ave. S. You can also watch on Comcast channel 26. The board is expected to vote on the transition plan this evening.
This report was written by Neighborlogs intern Lucas Anderson
Health officials say it is only a matter of time before Seattle's elementary schools face outbreaks of illness from the H1N1 flu virus. Last year's outbreaks that closed multiple Seattle schools including Capitol Hill's Stevens Elementary are still on the minds of Public School officials as the new school year begins. This school year, according to Seattle Public School's David Tucker, prevention is the priority.
Over the summer, King County Public Health (KCPH), in coordination with the Center for Disease Control, finalized a plan continuing and strengthening current school programs that are already in place, such as weekly absentee rate reports, every-day monitoring, and extra attention for at risk students that are "medically fragile." Tucker said that families are the first line of defense. "If a child is sick, then the parents need to make sure the child stays home," said Tucker.
Cases of H1N1 have been reported in the area through...