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Let Your Voice Be Heard on Transportation

As you may already know,  Stevens students living outside the new attendance area boundary will no longer receive bus transportation in the coming school year. Bob Westgard, the director of logistics for SPS, is currently looking into our request to change this policy and grandfather in bus transportation for these students for the remainder of the time they attend Stevens. It is likely our request will be forwarded to the executive committee and then possibly to the school board in the near future. Now would be an excellent time to write letters/emails to remind SPS leadership of our concerns prior to these upcoming meetings. A sample letter, followed by SPS leadership contact info, is BELOW.

Thanks for your efforts on behalf our community,

 Rusty Hibbert
PTA Co-President

 SAMPLE LETTER

Dear Seattle Public Schools Executive Committee Members:   

 It is my understanding that the concern the Stevens Elementary School community has about the change in transportation policy will be brought to your attention in the coming days. A large portion of our current student population will lose bus transportation next year due to the change in the Stevens attendance area boundaries and the new transportation policy. We are requesting that this decision be reconsidered and that the students that live between Madison and Cherry, who were assigned to Stevens as their neighborhood school in the past, continue to receive bus transportation for the remainder of the time they attend Stevens. The primary reasons we believe this is the right thing to do are listed below:

  1. This change in policy was poorly communicated. Students living in the affected area received a letter on February 28, five days into the open enrollment period and well after the school open houses had taken place, leaving inadequate time for families to consider this change when making a decision about school choice for the 14-15 school year. The process also allowed no opportunity for community input into the policy change.  
  2. Stevens has an incredibly vibrant, healthy community that values its diversity and is committed to meeting the needs of all students. The current Stevens student demographics very closely mirror the overall SPS student demographics (Stevens 46.2% white vs. SPS 44.0%, Stevens 15.2% special ed. vs. SPS 14.7%, Stevens 39.9% free/reduced lunch vs. SPS 41.6%, Stevens 10.1%ELL vs. SPS 7.5%). The area south of Madison, the section of the current Stevens boundary that will lose bus transportation next year, includes a much larger percentage of the minority student population than the area north of Madison. Thus this change in policy will affect minority students more heavily and have a negative impact on the Stevens community as a whole. 
  3. The neighborhood affected by this change is not in the walk zone for any elementary school including Madrona K-8, the future attendance area school. Therefore, SPS is obligated to provide busing to this student population. It seems there would be no cost difference whether this transportation was provided to Stevens or Madrona. 
  4. This neighborhood has now been assigned to four different schools since TT Minor closed (TT Minor, Leschi/Lowell, Stevens, and now Madrona) bearing an inequitable amount of disruption throughout the implementation of new enrollment plan and school closure process. This change in transportation policy will force those without the means to provide their own transportation to change schools, causing more disruption to a community that has already dealt with more than its fair share.

Thanks for taking time to address this issue. Please feel free to contact me if you have questions or need additional information.

 

Sincerely,

Rusty Hibbert

 

SPS CONTACTS

Jose Banda, Superintendent
jlbanda@seattleschools.org

Charles Wright, Deputy Superintendent
cewright1@seattleschools.org

Pegi McEvoy, Assistant Superintendent, Operations
pmcevoy@seattleschools.org

Flip Herndon, Assistant Superintendent,
Capital, Facilities&Enrollment Planning
ltherndon@seattleschools.org

Kenneth Gotsch, Assistant Superintendent, Budget&Finance
kcgotsch@seattleschools.org

Lesley Rogers, Chief Communications Officer
larogers1@seattleschools.org

Bob Westgard, Director of Logistics

bwestgard@seattleschools.org

Stephan Blanford, District V Board Director, stephan.blanford@seattleschools.org

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Carnival’s Coming!

Stevens Annual Carnival – June 6, 2014, 5-8 PM

It’s almost time for the Stevens Annual Carnival!  In addition to the GAMES, FOOD, and PRIZES we all love, our Ringmasters will also be presenting CIRCUS ACTS throughout the evening.  Mark your calendars!

 

Volunteers – Before the Carnival

We are looking for a two key volunteers to help in planning the event.

1)      We need a prize coordinator to manage the procurement of prizes ahead of the carnival and oversee the prize booth during the carnival.

2)      We need a volunteer wrangler to coordinate the 100+ plus volunteers that help us make the Carnival such a fun night for the kids (and adults).  We now do scheduling of volunteers online to make this job more manageable.

 

If you can take on one of these important roles, or want to help in the planning in other ways, please email Mike Smith (mikejsmith12@gmail.com).

 

A link to the sign-in sheet for the Carnival volunteer shifts will be posted in the next Stevens Speak.  

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Chess Success!

 

Congratulations to the Stevens Chess Team, which made a big splash in

its inaugural appearance at the annual State Elementary Chess  Championships, including a 6th-place team finish in the Kindergarten  Division. The event, held at the Smith Cove Cruise Ship Terminal

in April attracted1,200 of Washington’s sharpest chess players!

 

Kindergartners Walter Barr and Griffin O’Connor were nearly perfect

in earning the 6th place team trophy in their division. Individually

Walter was 3rd (4 wins and a draw in his 5 games) and Griffin 6th (4 wins).

 

Robert Baerveldt earned 2.5 points (2 wins and a draw), with his

losses coming to two players ranked in the top ten of the Grade 1 Division.

 

In the Grade 3 Division, Owen Bingham, Aaron Bossett and Ivan Guitor

each took home trophies for picking up 3 points. Along with Ana

Reppart (1 point), they faced and beat players with higher national

ratings. Schmitz Park ES’s Pixie Higgins (daughter of the team’s

guiding spirit, Ms. Britt) also won 3 games.

 

The team’s lone 4th-grade entrant, Zac Meyer, started strongly with a

draw and a win, but was then matched against far more experienced

competition. Despite ending with 1.5 points, he bumped up his national rating.

 

Big thanks to the Stevens instructor/coaches: Ethan Goldman-Quiest

and Bo Cao, who provided extra inspiration and advice at the tournament.

Chess at Stevens is a club-style activity on Thursday afternoons.

Featuring instructors from the Chessmates Foundation, it requires

enrollment through the PTA After-School Enrichment Program. Players are grouped by level (beginner to … future world champion!).

 

Families interested in receiving advance info about next year’s

ChessAtStevens@gmail.com.

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Stevens Speak April 30, 2014

Click on the PDF button here to view Stevens Speak from this week

Click on the PDF symbol to see this week's Stevens Speak

Auction Gratitude

The Auction on April 26 was an incredible success.

We are pleased to report, on the night of the event, we raised just over $119,000!  We expect this number to grow as we sell through some of the unsold items on our website (tinyurl.com/stevensauction-2014) and receive corporate matching for the Paddle Raise. We are on target to meet our goal!  

Of course, the whole event was powered by volunteers.

Enormous thanks to our amazing Auction Committee comprised of: Missy Zumwalt, Alexa Ingram-Cauchi, Amy Cooper, Michelle Weller, Margaret Duffy, Joy Southworth, Siri Davies, Suzanne Lear, Jill Kobayashi, Linda Casey, Megan Boyce-Jacobs, Robin Martin, Barb Chin, Sage McCotter, Emily Lieberman, Anna Finkenzeller, Sarah Edwards, Janey Petty, Linn Haralson, Kara Costa, and Alice Adams. This group of women can move mountains.

An extra shout-out to Kara Costa for the many hours of video production, assisted by Jennie Rhoads.

Special thanks to Sara Dickerman for always getting the word out.

It bears repeating that we are very grateful to our teachers and staff for supporting our efforts.  From concept to fruition, the classroom-created kid art was once again simply fabulous. Facilitating the video production throughout all classrooms was deeply appreciated.  Seeing staff members at the event itself helps build community and we’re grateful for your rubbing elbows with parents!

We couldn’t have reached our goal without the extraordinary generosity and commitment of many in our Stevens Community. So, if you bought a seat or captained a table; donated an item or procured a donation; bought a raffle ticket or participated in the wine toss and “heads or tails” game; bid on an item or outbid a friend; dropped off something or picked up something; set up or broke down; schlepped, kvetched or just hugged someone else who did, THANK YOU! We see you, we know you, we appreciate you.

Lastly, we acknowledge the expert organizational skills of Alexa Ingram-Cauchi in heading up procurement, who, along with Auction Goddess Missy Zumwalt, again pulled off the best social event of the school year. Grazie mille!

One of the highlights of the auction evening was the spectacular auction video starring our children!

If you missed the auction video (or just want to see it again) it will be played for the kids on Friday, May 16.  Stay tuned for all the details. Also, the 5th grade has requested the video for their graduation ceremony so if you’re a 5th grade family and can’t make it on the 16th you have an additional option.  Due to strict permissions on the video, it is not copied or distributed in anyway and only used for these special events for the Stevens community to enjoy.

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