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District News and Announcements

Washington MS music teacher on the short list for an Educator Grammy

Washington Music Teacher Beth FortuneSeattle’s music programs have won a lot of well-deserved awards, but a Grammy? It could happen.

Beth Fortune, who teaches Orchestra and Eclectic Strings at Washington Middle School is one of only 25 semi-finalists nationwide for the 2015 Grammy Music Educator Award. She was selected from 7,000 applicants.


Oct. 1, 2014 | Contact: Communications Office | Phone: (206) 252-0200


Math in Focus for parents

Want to learn more about Seattle Public Schools’ new elementary math program? We have scheduled a “Parent University” at five locations around the district on Thursday, Oct. 9, just for families who want to know more about Math in Focus. Trainers will share the framework for the Singapore approach to math, the basis for the Math in Focus program. They also will provide strategies families may use at home to support students in their learning.

“Parent University” runs from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 9, at the following schools:

  • Eckstein Middle School Auditorium
  • Washington Middle School Lunchroom
  • West Seattle High School Auditorium
  • Whitman Middle School Auditorium
  • Van Asselt Elementary School Auditorium
Oct. 1, 2014 | Contact: School-Family Partnerships | Phone: (206) 252-00693


Yummy or yucky? Students test school food

More than 150 students visited the John Stanford Center for Educational Excellence today to taste test the food that could end up on their lunch trays.

Fifth-graders from John Hay Elementary and 3rd graders from South Shore PK-8 were invited to try the new concoctions and offer their opinions. Options ranged from turkey dogs and bean and cheese burritos, to lentil sloppy Joes and chicken Tikka Masala. Interim Superintendent Dr. Larry Nyland stopped by to get the students’ opinions and sample some of the school lunch fare himself.

Want to know the early winners? Click here.

Sept. 26, 2014 | Contact: Communications Office | Phone: (206) 252-0200


Seattle Public Schools Interim Superintendent Dr. Larry Nyland to host meet and greet opportunities for families, students, staff and the community

Dr. Larry Nyland, who was appointed by the School Board in June to serve as Interim Superintendent, has outlined several opportunities this fall to meet with community members.

  • Tuesday, September 30 at New Holly Community Center
  • Wednesday, October 1 at John Muir Elementary
  • Monday, October 27 at Yesler Community Center
  • Tuesday, October 28 at Northgate Community Center

Interpreters will be available at all of the meetings. Click "More" for location details, times and which languages will have interpretation services.


Sept. 23, 2014 | Contact: Communications Office | Phone: (206) 252-0200


Seattle Public Schools releases its Facility Condition Assessment Report for 2014

Seattle Public Schools continues to see an increase in students every year, with more than 53,000 students attending our 97 schools in the 2014-15 school year.

To help the district ensure enough classroom space for all students – current and future – as well as to keep up with maintenance for many of our aging school buildings, the district hires a firm specializing in the architectural, engineering and planning of K-12 schools to study and provide a detailed report on the condition of our school buildings. The 2014 Facility Condition Assessment report is a great tool that helps us identify work to be done by ranking buildings in need of maintenance and repair. Please click here to view the report.

For more information on past BEX capital projects, please visit              
For more information on BTA projects, please visit 


Sept. 23, 2014 | Contact: Public Affairs | Phone: (206) 252-0200


Congratulations Washington State's Teacher of the Year: Lyon Terry of Lawton Elementary!

Lyon Terry, a 4th grade teacher at Lawton Elementary, was today named Washington State's Teacher of the Year. The announcement was made by State Superintendent Randy Dorn at a celebration at EMP that included Terry and eight fellow regional award winners.

“What makes Lyon and all the 2015 Teachers of the Year stand out is that they see the big picture of education,” Superintendent Dorn said. “They understand that great teachers and schools teach to the heads, hands and hearts of their students. Students must meet academic standards. But they also need to learn how to make things, serve their community, persevere through difficulty and treat others with kindness. Our Teachers of the Year understand that. And it’s why we lift them up as examples for all.”

Watch Lyon's students sing their congratulations to him in the video below.


Sept. 22, 2014 | Contact: Public Affairs | Phone: (206) 252-0200


Seattle Public Schools to Form Bell Time Analysis Task Force

Recent sleep research indicates that adolescents’ normal sleep patterns and health may be supported by later school start times. Seattle Public Schools is forming a year-long task force to analyze a potential change in bell times throughout the district.

Task force members will consist of Seattle Public Schools staff and community members including parent representatives. Click on "more" to learn about joining the task force. 


Sept. 22, 2014 | Contact: Public Affairs | Phone: (206) 252-0200


Paraeducators share strategies for helping students with disabilities in P.E.

Paraeducators discuss special P.E. classroom issues for their studentsHow much should a student with a disability be encouraged to participate in physical education class? How much space does the student need? What if the student experiences sensory overload in P.E.?

These are some of the questions asked by the 38 instructional assistants who participated in training in the APP@Lincoln gym in Wallingford.

When multiple adults are working with a student, it can be tricky to sort out who provides the support – and how and when. "If we're confused about it, imagine that child," Toni Bader, adapted physical education specialist, told the group during the afternoon of professional development.

Instructional assistants, sometimes called paraeducators, may be assigned to help one or more students with disabilities through the school day. The training was designed to help instructional assistants support students in P.E. class, which can present particular challenges.


Sept. 19, 2014 | Contact: Public Affairs | Phone: (206) 252-0200


Flu shot clinics provided for all students, staff, and their families

Seattle Public Schools is partnering with the Seattle Visiting Nurse Association to provide flu shot clinics for all students, staff, and their families at no charge with proof of current medical insurance.

According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), the single best protection from influenza is to receive a flu shot each year. The CDC recommends everyone 6 months old and over be vaccinated against the flu.
For clinic locations and dates, and to download the parent permission form, click More.


Sept. 18, 2014 | Contact: Health Services | Phone: (206) 252-0079


Avoid the Flu This Season
There are news reports that the Enterovirus, which is causing illness in children across the Midwest, may be in the Seattle area. With cold and flu season upon us, it’s a good time to review how students can do their best to avoid catching or sharing colds and the flu this season.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Avoid kissing, hugging, and sharing cups or eating utensils with people who are sick
  • Disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as toys and doorknobs, especially if someone is sick
  • Catch your cough in your sleeve to reduce spread
  • Prevent other flu viruses by getting your flu shot
Also, please become familiar with the SPS guidelines on when to keep students home from school, including when they have a fever, persistent coughing, diarrhea, or vomiting. The full list is available here:

Here in our schools, we’re taking extra precautions against viruses by wiping down frequently touched surfaces including desks, keyboards, drinking fountains, as well as common areas such as bathrooms and cafeterias.
For more information on the Enterovirus, here is a helpful link form the CDC:

Sept. 12, 2014 | Contact: Public Affairs | Phone: (206) 252-0200


Many district schools moving to new assessments

Fourth-graders take the benchmark assessments in September at Rainier View Elementary.Many Seattle Public Schools students are taking a new test beginning this month – but the district isn't adding testing time to the school year.

The computer-based tests are designed to help teachers find out what students already know and what they need to learn early in the school year. These types of assessments are known as interim benchmarks because they "benchmark" student understanding periodically, which helps teachers adjust their teaching to their students' needs.

This year, Seattle Public Schools contracted with a vendor to supply benchmarks – called mClass Beacon – that match the state's Common Core college and career readiness standards. In the 53 participating schools, the MAP achievement tests will go away for students in Grades 3-9 in order to alleviate concerns about "overtesting."


Sept. 12, 2014 | Contact: Public Affairs | Phone: (206) 252-0200


Preschool programs begin soon

While classes have begun for students in Grades K-12, the youngest students in Seattle Public Schools are waiting for their first day. Families of preschoolers can click "More" below to find September start dates and times as well as contact information for SPS preschool programs.


Sept. 5, 2014 | Contact: Early Learning Department | Phone: (206) 252-0127


Advanced Learning Office enhances service and program designations, web pages

As school begins and the nomination window for Advanced Learning services opens, the Advanced Learning Office has initiated several enhancements to benefit Seattle Public Schools families: changing some service and program names and streamlining its series of web pages.

These changes are designed to help the Advanced Learning Office more effectively communicate with families of current and potential advanced learners. Strengthening school, family and community engagement is the third goal of the District’s five-year Strategic Plan.

The Advanced Learning nomination window for eligibility testing opened Sept. 1, with an information packet, including required forms, available for download. The parent permission form deadline for eligibility testing is Oct. 2.


Sept. 3, 2014 | Contact: Public Affairs | Phone: (206) 252-0200


DISTRICT: Students to have access to personal email from District computers

three girls using computerAll Seattle Public School students in grades K–12 will be able to access their personal email accounts from District computers beginning this fall. This change comes at the request of District principals with approval of senior leadership.


August 28, 2014 | Contact: Public Affairs | Phone: (206) 252-0200


Families told Title I schools did not meet No Child Left Behind goals

Seattle Public Schools recently sent letters to parents/guardians at Title I schools telling them their school has failed to meet the requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. While this news may raise concerns, it does not mean these schools have suddenly had a change in performance. In fact, most schools continue to show improvement in percentage of students meeting the standards in reading and math for their grades. 


August 21, 2014 | Audience: Families, Students, Staff, Community | Contact: Public Affairs | Phone: (206) 252-0200

TOPIC: Volunteering at Seattle Public Schools

Seattle Public Schools is grateful for each parent and community member who contributes to the success of students. We have thousands of volunteers who work in a variety of capacities in Seattle Public Schools.

If you are interested in volunteering visit, "
Volunteering at SPS" to read the Volunteer Handbook and access the required online course, along with other forms.

Past stories are posted in the News Story and News Release Archive

A selection of news articles and online coverage featuring Seattle Public Schools are posted in the News Coverage Archive

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