Race, Equity, and OH 2017 Boundaries: Community Meeting on 2/9


January 26, 2016

Olympic Hills Elementary Parent Teacher Association invite media to attend a Seattle Public Schools community meeting to discuss race and equity issues surrounding 2017 boundary changes February 9th, 6:30-7:30pm in the Cedar Park Elementary cafeteria.

The Growth Boundary Plan enacted in 2013 creates inequities and imbalances in the Olympic Hills and Cedar Park attendance areas for 2017-2018 when the new Olympic Hills building opens. This meeting offers an opportunity to address the following issues:

  • Significant over-enrollment at Cedar Park: CP is overcrowded at 300 students; the district anticipates 375 students assigned to Cedar Park in 2017.
  • Significant under-enrollment at Olympic Hills: the district anticipates only 214 students at Olympic Hills, built for 600+, in 2017.
  • The boundaries as drawn create an ultra-high-poverty school with a reasonable prediction of 90% of students receiving free and reduced-price lunch. When population heat maps superimposed over district-adopted 2017-2018 boundaries are reviewed it is clear that almost every student receiving English Language Learner services in the Lake City area is reassigned to Cedar Park for 2017-2018. While English Language Learner services are not a proxy for free or reduced-price lunch, there is a high correlation in our community, nearly 1:1.
  • The new Olympic Hills will house a health center for families living in poverty, small-group spaces for supports for our English learners, a kitchen space dedicated to families and community members, a large counseling area, and many other features specifically designed to support our school’s community. Every year just under 80% of our students receive free or reduced-priced lunch, over a third receive English Language Learner services, and approximately 20% typically receive special education services. The boundaries as drawn separate the new building from the population it was designed to serve.

This skewed enrollment will overwhelmingly impact our minority and high-poverty students, a violation of district policy as well as Seattle Public Schools best practice.


Helen Joung
Olympic Hills Principal

Kevin Hilman
Building Leadership Team

Maggie Cheung
Olympic Hills PTA Communications Liasion

North_End_ELL_with CP


Community Meeting 2/9 – We Need You!

The Olympic Hills community has the opportunity to have a face to face conversation with Seattle Public Schools staff about the boundary issues for 2017 and we need you to be there! Please come to the school cafeteria on FEBRUARY 9 from 6:30 to 7:30PM to give your feedback. This meeting will give families an opportunity to voice their concerns and let the district office know that all of our students deserve the best learning environment. Please come!

For background information, data, and maps on this issue, check out this previous post. Have questions? Email us! olympichillspta@gmail.com or call the school at 206-252-4300. If you’re wondering how you can advocate for our kids, the BEST thing you can do right now is attend the February 9 meeting to show your support. THANK YOU!


KING5 news covers coding camp

Over the winter school break, the PTA partnered to offer a FREE computer coding camp, and KING5 news covered it.  Watch the video and read the full story on KING5 (video starts with an advertisement).

Special thanks to Creative Coding 4 Kids who are running the camps, and the sponsor of the event, UW Alumni Katherine A. Hitchcock, whose recently released memoir, Atypical Girl Geek, describes her career as a programmer.

Buy a t-shirt! Show your support for Olympic Hills Elementary


It’s Olympic Hills T-shirt Time!
Es hora de que Olympic Hills camisetas!

When: ASAP! This order form and payment is due by Tuesday, December 15, 2015
Cuando: lo antes posible! Este formulario de pedido y el pago se debe martes, 15 de diciembre.

Cost: $5 per t-shirt, $7 per XXL Shirt, $18 per Sweatshirt, not available in XXL
sudaderas estan disponibles en tamaños para adultos y de los niños, no esta disponible en XXL

PAYMENT: Please submit cash or check written to Olympic Hills PTA with this order form,
Por favor, envíe efectivo o cheque escrito a Olympic Hills PTA con esta forma de orden.

***OHE PTA breaks even on the t-shirts offered to our families. If you are a community member, please consider adding a $5.00 donation to your order to support Olympic Hills PTA.


Safe and Active Transportation to Schools: Happy Hour and workshops for parent champions

Are you a parent or teacher with a passion for walking or biking? Are you looking for a launching pad for your ideas and resources to make them happen in your school community?  Join the Cascade Bicycle Club on Wednesday, January 13 near Magnuson Park for drinks and snacks and learn from experienced community leaders about what it takes to start a Bike to School program, and walking school bus, organize a community bike event (bike rodeo),  or how to start a student safety patrol.   Free and open to the public.
RSVP to Clarissa at clarissaa@cascade.org.

5-5:30 p.m.      Happy Hour/Networking
5:30 – 6 p.m.    Welcome/Resources for starting and sustaining programs
Concurrent sessions
6 – 7 p.m.         Starting a Bike/Walk to School Program—learn tips from experienced leaders about starting a program or a walking school bus or bike train
6 – 7 p.m.         Bike Rodeo Community Event—learn how to organize a community event and set up bike skills stations  (hands-on demo)
6 – 7 p.m.         School Crossing Guard training—learn how to serve this important safety role in your community or organize a student safety patrol (presented by Dan Coon from AAA Washington)

Reading Partners coming to Olympic Hills

Reading Partners is a nonprofit literacy organization that works to expand life opportunities for elementary school children by empowering them with strong literacy skills.  At Olympic Hills Elementary, Reading Partners has transformed a dedicated space within the school into a reading center. Reading Partners recruits and train community volunteers to tutor students one-on-one for 45 minutes each week using a structured, research-based curriculum.

The Reading Partners program is designed to work with elementary school students whose literacy skills are between 1 month to 2 and a half years below grade-level benchmarks.

Founded in 1999 in the San Francisco Bay Area by three retired teachers, Reading Partners is entering its second year of service in the Seattle area.

In its founding year they served 112 students at Beverly Park and Sanislo Elementary schools in partnership with 167 community volunteers. In the 2015-2016 school year, they have expanded service to 200 students, incorporating Highland Park and Olympic Hills Elementary schools to the programming.

In their founding year, 85 percent of students accelerated in reading and 67 percent were able to make absolute gains in closing their grade-level reading gaps. Teachers also noticed that almost all students in the program increased in their overall confidence.

Sixty percent of fourth graders in Washington State are not reading proficiently. By tutoring for as little as one hour each week, volunteers can make an incredible impact on the life of a child.

For more information please contact Volunteer Coordinator, Sigourney Gundy at sigourney.gundy@readingpartners.org or by phone at (206) 992-4484.

To sign-up today visit: http://readingpartners.org/volunteer/

OH staff, parents speak at school board meeting

The OH community is very concerned about the race and equity issues created by the proposed boundaries for the Cedar Park building, scheduled to be open in 2017 as a neighborhood school.

Last night OH staff and families gave public testimony at the Seattle School Board meeting sharing concerns about the proposed boundary for the Cedar Park building.

After the public testimony, the school board directors each have an opportunity to share some comments and/or responses to the public testimony.   During the board comments, directors Peaslee, Peters and Carr all expressed support for addressing the equity concerns we raised.  Hopefully they can bring up the issues with school district staff for discussion soon.

For reference, the maps we presented to the board are included here, as well as the Proposed Board Motion for adjusting the boundaries.

North_End_ELL_with CP (2) CP_boundary_overlay_with_Heat_map (2)

Cedar Park Construction Updates

Here is where you can find some minimal renovation updates about our temporary school site Cedar Park:


Once available, blue prints of our temporary location will be posted at Olympic Hills Elementary so parents and students can begin to familiarize themselves with the layout of our temporary site.

Olympic Hills Elementary will move into our temporary location of Cedar Park for 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 school years.

During that time, our current building will be demolished and a new facility built. We will return to our brand new facility Fall of 2017.