We had an outstanding turnout for our Highland Park Elementary Forum last week. We had dedicated folks there from the School, from the School District Offices, from the Mayor’s Office, from City Council, Parents, PTA Members, Community members without kids at the school, and even our amazing Community Police Officer. Tracy from the West Seattle Blog has written an overview that is more comprehensive than anything I could post here. The most important event that happened at the meeting is people meeting each other, people with a similar vision of a school with a healthy learning environment for all students. We will be posting here any opportunities that we hear about for our community to be engaged with the school, and doing what we can to support the efforts made there.
One thing we want to go ahead and get out there is that Connie Wolf started a group focused on families with toddlers in the Highland Park Elementary school zone called the “Future Parents of Highland Park Elementary” this past May. Their goal is to build community and excitement around the neighborhood school. Anyone who has an interest in Highland Park Elementary is welcome to join:
Seattle’s amazing ReLeaf program is about to be open for it’s yearly applications for free trees. Available trees this year include the Persian Parrotia, and Tulip Tree- two of my favorite trees! They offer free trees, up to 4 per household- and beautiful trees are a huge part of the equation when it comes to what makes a neighborhood livable- so apply, it’s that easy. Applications are available on August 4, they’ll teach you how to plant it, give you a watering bag, apply for a permit for you if you’re planting in the right of way, and even send you reminders to water it when it gets hot. Check out their website for more information, and see what trees are available and make sure you get your applications in right away, it’s first come first serve.
Tuesday August 5th, the City of Seattle will be celebrating the 30th Annual Night Out Against Crime. Last year, over 1,400 events were registered to participate- it’s a great way to build community on your block, get to know your neighbors, and have fun. Check it out here and register for a block party!
While we are not meeting over the summer during our regular meeting time, we are calling a special meeting in response to requests heard at our last meeting- Please join us at the Highland Park Improvement Club on 12th and Holden on Tuesday, August 12th at 7pm to discuss Highland Park Elementary. We sent the following invitation to school and city officials:
Dear Principal Cronas, your colleagues at Seattle Public School, City Council Members Burgess and Bagshaw, and Mayor Murray,
We are the Co-Chairs of the Highland Park Action Committee, a community group that advocates for the Highland Park and Riverview Neighborhoods in Southwest Seattle. Our role is to affect positive change in our neighborhood, and we have historically been active in bringing together a voice for our neighborhood, which has faced many challenges.
We hosted parent Peter Weiss at our May community meeting, who came to speak with us as a member of the Highland Park Elementary’s PTA. In discussing his ideas with us to organize a 5K as a fundraiser for the school, the community learned about the state of affairs for our local school- Highland Park Elementary is ranked last in the Seattle Public School System.
Some of our members were brought to tears with this news, exhausted by what feels like yet another blind eye turned towards our community from our leaders. We write to you in response to a request that night from the community to get some answers as to why our school is doing so badly and what the plan is for improvement. We have since discussed this idea with the PTA and have formed a partnership in our efforts. We, along with incoming PTA president Sol Mendez, would like to invite you to a meeting to discuss the school, and answer some questions from our community.
Please let us know if you can join us at the Highland Park Improvement Club on 12th and Holden on Tuesday, August 12th at 7pm.
Carolyn and Billy Stauffer (Co-Chairs, Highland Park Action Committee)
Sol Mendez (President, Highland Park Elementary PTA)
Invitation Sent To the following (confirmed attending are bold): Chris Cronas – Principal, Highland Park Elementary Marty McLaren – School Board member Israel Vela – Executive Director of Schools for West Seattle Michael Tolley – Assistant Supt for Teaching and Learning Shauna Heath – Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction Cashel Toner – Director of Early Learning Zakiyyah McWilliams – Executive Director of Special Education Bernardo Ruiz – Director of School and Family Partnerships, Equity and Race Mayor Murray Tim Burgess, Seattle City Council’s Education and Governance Committee Chair Sally Bagshaw, Seattle City Council’s Education and Governance Committee Vice-Chair Tom Rasmussen, Seattle City Council Member Kerry Wade, Neighborhood District Coordinator for the South Team, Seattle Department of Neighborhoods
Please join us for the last HPAC meeting before summer! We won’t be meeting again until September. Our agenda this month includes representatives from King County’s Wastewater Treatment Division to update us on the potential roadside rain garden project in Highland Park that we talked about in the fall. They spent the winter doing geotechnical testing and want to let neighbors know what they found out, and implications for a potential project. We will also be hearing from a representative from Highland Park Elementary’s PTA with an exiting collaboration opportunity. Potluck is at 6:30, meeting starts at 7 at the Highland Park Improvement Club on 12th and Holden.
We are canceling our regularly scheduled HPAC meeting for April, which was to be this Wednesday- instead, we would like to encourage our members to join in the first HPAC Greening Committee event on Saturday (4/26) from 9am-12pm at the Delridge and Myrtle Stairway, which runs west from Sanislo Elementary to Delridge. They will be cleaning the stairway of garbage and removing invasive plant species within the right of way and at the south end of the Parks property. This is part of a City wide effort to clean stairways throughout Seattle in partnership with FeetFirst and Seattle Stairways. Come help make Delridge more walkable and help restore native plants in South Delridge. More info and registration can be found on this website: http://seattle.cedar.greencitypartnerships.org/event/5144/