Category Archives: Local

Lunch available for students at 26 school sites beginning March 16

Starting March 16, 26 schools will begin serving lunch for all SPS students from 11:00 am – 1:00 pm Monday through Friday for the duration of the school closure. Grab and go meals are available for students, but students cannot stay at the school to eat them because of “social distancing”
guidance from state and local health agencies.

Students do not need to be present to get a meal. A parent or caregiver can pick up meals for the number of kids he/she has at home. If a person needs mobile accessibility support, staff are available to assist. Information on the 26 school sites and specific meal pick up information for each site can be found on the SPS site. The page can be translated into several different languages from the “Select Language” drop down in the top right corner of the page.

Please note SPS does not need volunteers for meal distribution since it is working to avoid community congregations.

Food assistance for families in need

As many of you are aware, closure of Seattle Public Schools means more than just a postponement of learning for students. Many families rely on the schools for child care, meals and other community support. Members of the Genesee Hill community are proud of the strength of our community, and we’d like to step up the level of strength and support during this uncertain time. We are taking donations that will be used to purchase Safeway gift cards for distribution to families that rely on the school for food assistance. If you would like to participate, please donate here. The PTA Board will purchase the gift cards on a weekly basis for the duration of our school closure and give them to Principal Kischner for distribution. Thanks in advance for this support and all other means of support our community is providing during this time and stay healthy and safe!

We Need Your Input On New School Name

This past week, Mr. Kischner sent a letter to parents and the school community and neighbors asking for feedback in helping to name our new school.  The district will ultimately make the decision on the name but we would love to give them our preferred considerations and have until April 26th to do so.  If you would like to participate, please register your preference (vote) here.

The Building Leadership Team has forwarded four names for consideration:

  • Genesee Hill Elementary School: Genesee Hill is the name of the original building, which opened in 1949.
  • Genesee-Schmitz Elementary School: Genesee-Schmitz recognizes the shared identity and history of the neighborhood and the two schools.
  • Dietrich Schmitz Elementary School: Dietrich Schmitz was the longest-serving member of the Seattle School Board in history, serving 32 years and multiple times as President.
  • Thelma DeWitty Elementary School: Thelma DeWitty was the first African-American teacher in Seattle, working first in West Seattle at the Cooper School.

You may also drop off or mail a hard-copy of your preference to Schmitz Park School, 5000 SW Spokane St., Seattle 98115.  We ask for just one vote per household.  This survey will close at midnight on April 26, 2015, and the results will be used to finalize a recommendation for the Superintendent’s report to the School Board of Directors.  Please note that while we would like to move forward to finalize the naming of the new building, we are also continuing to watch enrollment numbers that could affect the long-term plans for both our current and future school sites.

Social Thinking Parent Group

super flex

Would you like your child to have an opportunity to practice with Social Thinking concepts?  Lisa Schubert, a parent of a kindergartner at Schmitz Park, is organizing play groups for kids who are socially shy or have trouble ‘staying with the group.’  While Lisa is familiar with the Social Thinking curriculum, she says, “What we do with these groups depends on the families who sign up.”  She imagines paired play dates and small group gatherings for kids to practice communication and social skills and a chance for parents to share resources.

If you are interested in participating, please contact Lisa at or 206.276.1188.

West Seattle Community Invited to Submit Name Suggestions For New School at Genesee Hill

The West Seattle community, along with Schmitz Park Elementary families, staff and Genesee Hill School alumni, are being invited to submit suggestions for the name of the new school building being constructed to replace the old building on the Genesee Hill school site. This Seattle Public Schools Building Excellence IV (BEX IV) project was approved by Seattle voters in February 2013. The Schmitz Park Elementary program is scheduled to move into the new building at the Genesee Hill site in September, 2016.


“We hope to select a name that honors our legacy as Schmitz Park Elementary, while building a new tradition, in a new location, on Genesee Hill,” said Gerrit Kischner, Principal, Schmitz Park Elementary.  If you wish to nominate a name, including the current Genesee Hill School name, please email it to All nominations need to be received by March 31, 2015.  Please include the criteria for why the name should be selected.  Seattle Public Schools’ School Board naming procedure states that the naming of new buildings should be selected based upon: (a) geographical location or local community name; or (b) distinguished individuals who have served the local community, state, or nation, whether in education or other fields.

Once names have been received, a committee that includes a representative from the Southwest Seattle Historical Society will compile the names. The community will then be asked to vote for their preferred name. The results of the poll, along with other submitted information, will be used to make a recommendation that will be sent to the Seattle Public Schools superintendent for review and consideration. The superintendent would then make a recommendation to the School Board for approval. For more information, please visit

You can view the School Naming Process & Timeline here.

Naming Committee Members:

Cheri Carl, PTA Communications Chair and SP Parent (naming process lead)

Jim Abernethy, Community Member

Clay Eals, Southwest Seattle Historical Society Executive Director

Emily Giaquinta, PTA Legislative Co-Chair and SP Parent

Alice Thavis, SP Parent

Mark Wainwright, SP Parent

Kindergarten Playground is Open!

We’re happy to report the Kindergarten playground that was damaged this Summer by fire has been replaced and is back open for our young kiddos to enjoy!  Thanks to the Seattle School District for their swiftness in getting the playground replaced.  It’s great to have more space for our younger students to play.


 Image Courtesy West Seattle Blog

Future of Math in Seattle Schools: Will Singapore Prevail?

This is a Call to Action to Share Your Singapore Math Story

This is a critical time to voice your personal support for Singapore – Math in Focus to the Seattle School Board. Schmitz Park Elementary staff, teachers, parents, and the PTA board all agree that a Singapore Math program is the best possible curriculum for our kids—and over the last 7 years our kids math scores prove it. Please contact the School Board and tell them why you believe Singapore – Math in Focus is the right choice for your child.

What’s at stake?

The School Board is voting this Wednesday, June 4th, on which math curriculum will be adopted for all K-5 Schools over the next seven years. Now is the time to put all of our efforts into influencing the vote. We only have time for one last effort to reach School Board Directors and ask them to vote for Singapore – Math in Focus.

How did we get here?

During the Math Adoption Committee’s process, a Public Input period occurred and the results from parents were overwhelmingly in favor of Math in Focus. Schmitz Park Principal, Mr. Gerrit Kischner, our teachers, Schmitz Park PTA, and parents have each stated the same, over and over again. Our collective public opinion was not factored into the recommendation. Since then, more and more parents and schools are coming forward saying they want Singapore – Math in Focus as the preferred math curriculum across the District. What’s more, Seattle schools and Singapore Math advocates have challenged this recommendation. Fortunately, Singapore Math in Schmitz Park Elementary still remains a viable option. After the initial School Board recommendation, School Director McClaren submitted an amended Board Action Report which was co-sponsored by Director Sue Peters, outlining a “dual adoption” to provide schools a choice between enVision OR Math in Focus (Singapore). This amendment may be at risk, facing a potential legal challenge. Now, a new amendment is also in consideration which asks the School Board to adopt Math in Focus as a sole curriculum.

Here are Five Good Reasons why Singapore – Math in Focus is the Right Choice:

  1. Test Scores Prove It – Of Schmitz Park’s 70 graduating 5th graders, 51% will or are likely to bypass 6th grade math after 2014 Spring MAP Scores. (A score of 235+ qualifies recommended students to enter 7th grade math and 27 students scored 235+. A score of 228-234 qualifies a student to take the middle school placement test to confirm they will advance to 7th grade math. Nine students scored 228-234.) Of STEM at Boren’s 36 graduating 5th graders, 81% will or are likely to bypass 6th grade math after review of the 2014 Spring MAP Scores. (27 students scored 235+, two scored 228-234.)
  2. Buy- In: Schools Approve It – Singapore Math has backing from elementary schools (and middle and high schools) across the district. It was chosen 7 years ago as a “supplementary” curriculum by SPS. The problem was “supplementary” did not come with any district support in the form of professional development or materials for students. Buy in from parents is not easy to achieve and here is an example of where it is only growing, yet, SPS is ready to dismiss it. Read Testimonials.
  3. Anyone Can Learn It – Math in Focus is language neutral, ensuring “Equity for EVERY Student”. In contrast, the enVision curriculum is text heavy and will continue to present an English language barrier for ELL students. Children of ethnicity comprise 62% of the district (Bilingual children (ELL) have a 38% proficiency rate). Increasing their proficiency rates requires a program that has proven success for students struggling with text intensive math programs. Math in Focus would “Improve systems District wide to Support Academic Outcomes”, which has been proven by Schmitz Park Math scores and K5 Stem at Boren scores.
  4. Student Mobility-Consitency – There is frequent student mobility in the Southern sections of our district, where students may transfer in and out of Seattle Schools with the Highline School District. Highline uses Math in Focus and has achieved such strong results they are extending their curriculum to their middle schools. Math consistency during a transition into the Seattle School District will help make school transition easier for students.
  5. Teacher’s and Principal’s TestimonialsRead the testimonials made by teachers and parents who feel strongly about Singapore Math. There is a reason Singapore Math was selected at our newest Science, Technology, Mathematics & Engineering (STEM) School. There is a reason Schmitz Park Elementary achieves high middle school placement scores year over year.

Please Share Your Story on How Singapore Math has Benefited Your Student

Do not think for a moment that someone else will, or can, share your perspective. Every person (parent, student, teacher, principal, community member) needs to share their opinion on what is best for our students and families. School Board Members

School District Staff

For quick reference, these are the email addresses to cut and paste into your response;;; ; ; ;;; ; Shauna Heath ; ;

Mariners Update – fantastic success!

We had our biggest turn-out ever to the event this year, and even got to see the Mariners extend their winning streak!

If you were there or not there’s a few things you should know

1) They missed our call out in the Welcome section, yet made up for it with an extra special message as you can see in this picture

Mariners Welcome Schmitz Park Elementary
Mariners Welcome Schmitz Park Elementary





2) Congratulations to Dorienne Raynolds for selling the most tickets – please look out for your prize

3) A hilarious shout out to Robert Ruvkun (and family) for your awesome dancing that was captured on the big screen! If you missed it, here’s a link to a previous camera moment of his

4) We are very happy to say we raised over $2k from this event and had a lot of fun doing it.

5)  Be sure to join us next year!