All posts by communications

SPS Capacity & School Location Community Meeting: June 1

Date: June 1, 2017 at 6:30pm
Location: Louisa Boren STEM K-8

Meeting Topic: Flip Herndon, Seattle Public Schools Associate Superintendent for Capital, Facilities, Enrollment Planning will present options to address capacity and enrollment issues that impact our school.

Why should I attend this meeting?

Seattle Public Schools formed a Capacity Management Task Force to address increases in current and projected enrollment, with a charter to prepare a report and set of recommendations to the Superintendent of Schools. An option under consideration by the District is the relocation of Louisa Boren STEM K-8 to the Schmitz Park elementary school building.

The Louisa Boren STEM K-8 PTA has serious concerns about the consequences of this option:

  • In its current location, STEM is able to serve all of West Seattle. By contrast, the boundaries of Schmitz Park’s northwest location would negatively impact equitable access to the school for students in the community.
  • STEM is the only option school in the Denny Middle School service area, and has a geographic zone aligned with West Seattle Elementary. That geozone would change if the school moves to Schmitz Park, which means placement of students from the less diverse, more affluent neighborhoods of West Seattle would take priority over students living in the central and south areas.
  • The current capacity of the Schmitz Park building is 216 without portables. The public voted to approve the BEX IV levy, in part, to get children out of portables. Moving a school from an adequate site to one where 60% of students would be in portables disregards the wishes of the taxpayers and the goal of the District to provide permanent classrooms for West Seattle’s growing student population.
  • STEM provides a unique project-based curriculum. The high demand for this type of curriculum, as demonstrated by our projected 2017-18 enrollment of 539 (and waitlist of 189), will continue to grow and can only be accommodated at Boren. STEM’s Special Education families depend on the valuable services offered at the school – any disruption to these services is unacceptable.
  • Schmitz Park was designed as an elementary school and does not have the physical infrastructure to support middle school programs and activities.
  • A move to Schmitz Park will create logistical hardships for families living in the southern neighborhoods of West Seattle, increase transportation costs for the school district, and increase vehicle traffic in the residential neighborhood surrounding the location.

In November 2013, the Seattle School Board acknowledged the value STEM K-5 provides to the diverse student population in West Seattle by voting to permanently locate the school at Boren and expand it to K-8. Since then, the school has continued to thrive and grow, expanding the programs and
services it offers to the community.

To remain accessible to all families who want a project-based STEM education for their children, the Boren building remains the right location for Louisa Boren STEM K-8.

To stay updated on this topic visit, follow Louisa Boren STEM K-8 PTA on Facebook, or send email to:

Open Discussion – Homework Policy 2017

From the Principal

Over the course of the last several months, our Instructional Leadership Team has been hard at work studying the issue of homework and crafting a policy that can make our approach to homework clear and consistently applied in every classroom. The issue of homework has received a lot of attention recently, and we started this process by doing a thorough review of the literature and research about different elementary homework practices. After reading parent comments on the Parent Conference Survey in November and aligning our current practice at different grade levels at Genesee Hill with what we read in the research, we were then able to identify the core values we wanted to craft a policy around. Our next step was to consider a number of sample policies from schools around the country so that we could think through what was practical and what the implications of our decisions at the building level would be.

The Seattle School Board requires that every school draft its own homework policy, and we have changed dramatically as a school since the simple idea of “ten minutes per grade level” was first introduced in the Eighties. We now have a strong policy draft that we are eager to introduce to families for additional comment. With your help, we will be able to ensure that the policy we approve for the next school year is one that will help build our home-school connection and will provide a coherent philosophy and expectation to support children in every classroom.

We invite you to share your comments. This is a trial run of a way to garner community input on an idea with transparent civic discourse. Our idea is that sometimes questions and concerns expressed on surveys can feel like they go into a black hole. We will commit to reviewing and getting all comments posted within 24 hours. Please take time to read the other comments posted, and I will endeavor to clarify and answer questions as needed.

The draft of the 2017 Homework Policy can be reviewed here.

Public Education in a Democratic Society – GH Equity Team Family Forum

How do we support democratic values in today’s classrooms? How does this connect to the conversations we are having (or not having) at home?

Join us for a conversation about the vital role public education has played—and continues to play—in our democracy. Free dinner and childcare provided onsite.

Date: May 4
Location: Genesee Hill Library

Dinner served at 6pm
Discussion and presentation begin at 6:30

First Grade Cohort – Before School Recess Volunteers Needed

1st Grade Cohort, it is your turn for before-school recess and Volunteer of the Day! This group is responsible from Jan 3–March 3rd. Take a look at the Sign-up Genius and help when you can. Our priority is covering the before-school recess slots!

Before School Recess 

Volunteer of the Day


Genesee Hill Book Fair – Starts 11/18 @ 2:15pm

We’ve spent the day getting ready for the book fair and  – WOW! – it’s going to be amazing!

image1Book fairs are a great way to build an incredible home library and support your school library! All proceeds are used to buy new books for our school library.

Come by the book fair before or after your conference or in the evening with your family! Students are more than welcome to stay in the library during your scheduled conference time.

Book Fair Hours
Friday, Nov. 18: 2:15 pm–5:30 pm
Monday, Nov. 21: 8:00 am–7:30 pm
Tuesday, Nov. 22: 8:00 am–7:30 pm


WE NEED VOLUNTEERS to help us make this event a success!

Sign up to volunteer here: Book Fair Volunteers


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Update: December PTA Social: Wednesday, December 14 in the Genesee Hill Auditorium, 6:15-8:00 PM

Venue and time change!

Due to an overwhelming response for the December social, it has been moved to the Genesee Hill auditorium. This event will be a dessert potluck. Look for a Sign-Up Genius inviting you to bring your favorite dessert to share with our community! And the theme? Well, dust off those caps, hats, and head gear, because we’re having a hat party! Whatever you use to cover your crown, it’s time to put it on display!

What did the Fox say?? The Genesee Hill Fox says it’s time to practice the lyrics on your favorite Kids Bop songs and join us for some social time and karaoke at the Eagles Hall! The kitchen will be preparing hot dogs, hamburgers and fries for purchase and the bar available for adult purchases.

The 2017 General & Special Education Conference

One of the largest science-based, educational learning conferences is coming to Seattle in March of next year. The 2017 General & Special Education Conference: Brain-Based Science, Learning & Achievement-Pre-K through 12th Grade will be held at the Washington State Convention Center on March 8, 9, and 10, 2017. Twenty-four, full-day courses will be offered on a variety of topics by some of the “giants” in educational research. Courses are designed for general education teachers, special education teachers, school psychologists, therapists, professional support staff and administrators. Parents are also encouraged to attend.

Go to the conference website at for all of the conference details, or click here to download a program and poster.

A Halloween update from Mr. Kischner

I want to take a few minutes to address the heartfelt concerns raised this week by our fifth grade cohort about our Fall Festival plans for Friday. This cohort is the keeper of the traditions we fostered at Schmitz Park, and they lead us in helping to create a new vision for our new school. The comments that parents have shared on this topic have ranged from focus on communication and decision-making, the importance of following rules, how to protest rules we don’t like, equity, inclusiveness and fairness, the importance of making memories and having fun at school. Every one of these issues is important to me and the rest of the staff at Genesee Hill, and I appreciate the good thinking and discussion on these topics. It would be easy to dismiss the questions about Halloween and costumes as not very important, but I actually take them very seriously because all of these essential issues are at stake. Please bear with me.

First, I want to explain how we made our decision around Halloween. The recommendation to “leave behind” our Halloween tradition at Schmitz Park was made this past spring by our Building Transition Team, a committee of parents and teachers. This recommendation was presented at our PTA meeting in May, and we proceeded with this understanding as we focused on opening the new building. As Curriculum Night approached, teachers started wondering what they should explain to parents about what to plan for Halloween, so we took a survey of the staff to identify what the concerns and preferences of the staff were. These concerns ranged from the difficulty of some families to provide a costume, the hassle of helping children with their costumes, the inclusiveness of a schoolwide celebration of a holiday that not all families celebrate (a few families in many classes have kept their children home every year because of perceptions of Halloween as a cultural or religious event), the sheer size of our numbers, etc. Complicating the issue this year is the fact that Halloween falls on a Monday – not a great set-up for the week if we were to do something that day. While we did not survey parents, it should be noted that a high number of teachers on the staff are also GH parents – another attribute that makes GH great.

Continue reading A Halloween update from Mr. Kischner

INPUT NEEDED: New Bell Times and Weekly Early Release/Late Arrival

As part of the Collective Bargaining Agreement process, SEA and SPS agreed to add 20 minutes to the school day in 2017-18 and provide one hour per week of teacher collaboration time.

To meet this agreement, our school schedule will be affected. The QUICK survey found on this page is a great way to make your opinion known. Please fill it out by October 21 to have your voice heard.