February 25

McDonald School principal meets with parents

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A few dozen parents gathered this evening in the Lincoln High School library to meet Cheryl Grinager, the principal assigned to McDonald Elementary School, which will open in fall 2010 on the Lincoln site.

Grinager has been principal at nearby Green Lake Elementary School for the past 10 years, but she stressed she was not trying to re-create Green Lake. She told the parents that her focus will be on strong academics, and pointed out the Readers and Writers Workshop, a program she added at Green Lake, has dramatically improved WASL scores there.

The principal, who originally hails from Pullman, Wash., said she sought the opportunity to be the McDonald principal and likened the opening of a new school to raising the curtain on an empty stage.

No teachers have been hired yet for McDonald because RIFs (reductions in force) are expected soon, and Director of Elementary Instruction Pat Sander explained that they didn’t want to hire teachers who might get laid off.

During the question-and-answer period, Grinager and Sander responded to questions about program placement with the assurance that they would consider all potential curricula (e.g., arts, environmental, international) in the first year for future implementation.

Grinager announced that based on Seattle Public School’s enrollment projections, McDonald would have four kindergarten classes, two first grade classes, and the older grades would have combined classes in its inaugural year. A parent asked whether McDonald School could accommodate so many classes in all grades in the future; Grinager admitted that she hadn’t been to the school but said that with the ebb and flow of enrollment, all neighborhood children would find space in the school.

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