News Blog for Seattle's Wallingford Neighborhood


Still Looking For a Kindergarten? A New One is Opening Just You You!

January 30th, 2015 by master

I got an email from the Woodland Park Cooperative who are looking to get the word out about their new school! Of course, mywallingford, is happy to help!

Started by a group of parents in Ballard/Wallingford/Fremont/Phinney, they have worked for the last year to dream up and launch a new play-based Kindergarten as part of the Woodland Park Cooperative.

Their next Open House is Feb 14 at 1:30pm.

Contact Woodland Park Cooperative for more details.

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McDonald School triples enrollment, holds family dance Friday to raise funds

June 7th, 2011 by master

When McDonald Elementary School opened last year in its temporary location at Lincoln High School (4400 Interlake Ave. N.), only about 65 students showed up for the K-5 school. With its designation earlier this year as Seattle’s newest international and language immersion school, the enrollment has nearly tripled to 174 — plus a wait list — for 2011-12.

McDonald School at its current interim location. The school will move in fall 2012 to its permanent location at N. 54th and Latona.

The school will have six language immersion classes — four for kindergarten (three in Spanish, one in Japanese) and two for first grade (one class each for Spanish and Japanese). Nearby John Stanford International School provides the blueprint for McDonald School’s immersion program; JSIS employees and parents say the key to its success is having an immersion assistant (a native speaker) in each classroom to help with instruction.

Hiring immersion assistants for McDonald will cost $100,000 this year, and McDonald’s PTA is trying to raise the money — fast. They need all the funds by the end of July to hire for September.

One fundraiser is this Friday, June 10, and promises to be a foot-stomping good time — a family square dance complete with a caller. From the McDonald PTA website:

Come one, come all! Come on down for an evening of fun, dance, a silent auction, and more. Featuring Seattle’s raucous old-time string-band, the Tallboys.

We’ll also hold a silent auction with some pretty amazing items — Silent Auction details here.

The Stranger calls them “one of the hardest-working bands in Seattle,” Give ’em a listen here.

Friday, June 10 from 6PM to 8PM in the Gym at Lincoln.

PTA member Brooke Anderson is organizing the shindig and told us the invitation to the family dance extends to current and future McDonald families, plus anyone in the community who’d like to know more about the school. Anderson added, “For future McDonald families, I think any chance for them to see their community and know what the school was like this year. It’s been such a special privilege (and a ton of work) to be a part of a new school and we are excited to bring other families into that!”

A family ticket is $25; you can purchase them online or at the door.

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Final bell for self-contained bilingual classes

April 18th, 2011 by master

Changes in the English Language Learner (ELL, formerly ESL) curriculum is changing the face of many classrooms at Seattle Public Schools, including Hamilton International Middle School. Instead of having their own classroom to learn English, students are now in the traditional classroom learning along those who have a background in the language. The new policies are having an affect on staff and students.

Final bell for self-contained bilingual classes” is produced by students in the University of Washington’s Entrepreneurial Journalism class, which is taught by Next Door Media partner, the nonprofit Common Language Project.

Click here to read “Final bell for self-contained bilingual classes,” by Celina Kareiva, Mwiza Kalisa and Tiara Fernandes.

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Wallingford host families needed for Spanish teens

March 25th, 2011 by master

Host families are needed for 15 Spanish teens who will live and study in Seattle this July.

The students will be taking English classes at the Phinney Neighborhood Center (6532 Phinney Ave N) from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the week, and will spend evenings and weekends with families. The stay will begin June 29, 2011, and will last four weeks. Andeo International Homestays is looking for families in the all neighborhoods near the Phinney Center, including Wallingford.

“The teens come with travel insurance and spending money, speak English, and are excited to learn more about America, English, and Seattle,” Sarah Lam, Andeo’s local coordinator says. “This could be the summer of a lifetime, one that could open doors to life-long friendships!”

Interested? More information is available on, and Sarah can be contacted at sarah [at] or (206) 455-0022.

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Seattle Public Schools releases transportation plan

March 24th, 2011 by master

Seattle Public Schools has released its transportation zone plan for bus and walk zones for the 2011-12 school year.

From the SPS website:

In the new transportation plan, transportation eligibility for attendance area elementary and K-8 students will be based on transportation zones.

Students within the transportation zone and outside the walk zone for a school will be eligible for District-provided transportation.

Students outside their immediate transportation zone, but within their extended intermediary boundary, can walk to an attendance area school for bus pick-up if they live within a safe walk zone (up to one mile). Otherwise, they walk up to a 1/2 mile to a regular neighborhood stop. This is a temporary option to extend transportation for two (2) years (2011-12 & 2012-13).

  • Transportation Zones will include the entire attendance area of a school
  • Transportation Zones will extend to areas within a 1.25 mile radius from the school and within the middle school service area
  • Walk zones to schools will still apply.

Here are transportation maps for schools with boundaries in the Wallingford area.

John Stanford International School

B.F. Day

McDonald (Map is guidance for after McDonald moves to its permanent site at N. 54th/Latona. SPS Director of Transportation Tom Bishop told us that the 2011-12 transportation plan will allow for bus service for almost all students who live within the red line on the map. Please see the McDonald PTA page for more information.)

Salmon Bay (Students who live in Wallingford and attend this option school will be eligible for bus transportation.)

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Principal leaving John Stanford Int'l School

March 16th, 2011 by master

Kelly Aramaki, who has been principal at John Stanford International School for four years, will leave the Wallingford elementary school to become principal at Beacon Hill International School, JSIS parents read today in a letter from Aramaki.

In the letter, titled “A New Chapter for the Great John Stanford International School,” Aramaki wrote in part:

As you all know, international education is expanding in Seattle. Despite budget cuts and the different challenges facing our district, this is a program that remains in high demand across the city with families of all different backgrounds. It’s exciting to witness and be a part of. What Karen Kodama, the founding principal, started here at JSIS in 2000 with a dedicated group of pioneering teachers and families and what JSIS has become over the next 11 years with the addition of many new and outstanding staff members and families is nothing short of extraordinary. It’s with this utmost admiration and confidence I have in this school community that I have decided that the timing was right for me to leave the school at the end of this year in order to help our district continue to grow and strengthen international education….

Although I won’t be leaving until after this school year is over, there is much to do and think about now regarding the transition of leadership at JSIS. Our NW Executive Director, Bree Dusseault, and our Interim Superintendent, Dr. Susan Enfield, are committed to ensuring that JSIS continues with a strong and innovative principal who is passionate and dedicated to international education. Our school’s Building Leadership Team (BLT) will work with me and with district leaders to make sure the transition is smooth….

In the end, I want you to know that in making this decision, the one and only regret and source of great emotion for me is the thought of leaving such an extraordinary, extraordinary school community. We have the most positive, innovative and hard-working staff, the most supportive, positive and social justice-minded group of families, and the most incredible, compassionate and hard-working students. I absolutely love this place, and I have loved serving all of you over the past four years. As much as I will miss this community, I look forward to continuing with all of you to deliver on John Stanford’s dream of providing an education for students of all backgrounds that will prepare them for global citizenship and the fostering of friendship across cultures and languages.

Thank you all for your kindness and support of me all these years. I have appreciated that support more than you can imagine. And thank you all for your continued commitment and dedication to our school, staff and students. It’s because of you and the staff that I know the school will continue to be the very best of the best.

Seattle Public Schools spokesperson Teresa Wippel told us that the search for a new JSIS principal will begin shortly and will involve the school community. Wippel acknowledged that the JSIS community would find Aramaki’s departure “distressing.” “He’s a rock star,” she said.

Aramaki won the prestigious Milken Educator Award, the “Oscar of teaching,” in October 2010. See video of the surprise award here.

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Seattle Public Schools open enrollment begins

March 15th, 2011 by master

If your child will enter the Seattle Public School system this year, or if you want a school other than your attendance-area elementary, middle or high school, be sure to apply through Open Enrollment, which runs today, March 15, through April 15.

Forms and detailed information are available at the Seattle Public Schools site. Families may also contact an Enrollment Facilitator at the Service Center at the John Stanford Center, 2445 3rd Ave S (3rd and Lander), via telephone at (206) 252-0010, or via fax to (206) 252-0761. There is also a Recorded Information Line at (206) 252-0410.

Registration and application materials may be mailed, faxed or submitted in person. The mailing address is:

Seattle Public Schools
SPS Service Center
MS 11-174
P.O. Box 34165
Seattle, WA 98124-1165

All school choice forms received during open enrollment are processed together after open enrollment ends on April 15. There is no advantage to submitting forms earlier or later during the open enrollment period. The first few days and the last few days of open enrollment are the busiest. To avoid long lines, families are encouraged by SPS to consider this when planning their visit to the enrollment center.

Current students may drop off School Choice Forms in a 24-hour drop box in the JSCEE parking lot at 3rd and Lander. Forms must be filled out completely and signed to be accepted. The drop-off box is only for school choice forms for current students who already have a school assignment but would like to apply for a different school. New students must submit enrollment materials either in person, by fax or email.

Seattle Public Schools enrollment staff will also visit libraries and community centers around the city throughout March so parents may enroll new students and/or submit School Choice Forms for the 2011-12 school year. Staff will be at the Green Lake Library (7364 E Green Lake Dr N) on Monday, March 21, 5:30 – 7 p.m.

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Cost of full-day kindergarten could rise 50%

February 15th, 2011 by master

Update: KING5 did a story tonight on the possible fee increase for full-day kindergarten. They interviewed a parent whose twins will attend McDonald Elementary School this fall.

The Seattle Public Schools has sent out an urgent request for parents of future kindergartners to fill out a one-question survey about potential fee increases (of about $100 per month) for full-day kindergarten.

From Seattle Public Schools:

Please respond to this survey as soon as possible. Responses received by 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday, February 16th will be shared with the School Board during the budget work session that evening and will help guide budget decisions. We will continue to accept responses to the survey through Friday February 18.

The state of Washington funds only half-day kindergarten (there are a few exceptions to this for high poverty schools). For many years our district has added funding for a further half day to ensure there would be one full day kindergarten available in every school. Over the years schools added “pay for K” programs as more and more families wanted full day K for their children. For the 2010-11 school year, we implemented a standard $207 per month Pay for K program across the district. Students who qualify for free or reduced-price lunch receive tuition waivers.

With the severe budget crisis, we are considering various options to balance the budget and one is related to Kindergarten services. We want your feedback about these options. Thank you.

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McDonald School's reopening in "Seattle's Child"

February 11th, 2011 by master

In Fall 2009, the Seattle Public Schools announced that it would reopen five shuttered public elementary schools to alleviate overcrowding in some schools. Among the schools selected to reopen was McDonald Elementary (N. 54th and Latona), which was closed in 1981 because of falling enrollment.

This month’s Seattle’s Child magazine checks in on the three schools — McDonald, Queen Anne and Sand Point — that reopened this year, and find “it’s been a bumpy start.” The enrollment numbers for all three were significantly lower than expected.

Lisa Stiffler writes in Seattle’s Child:

Some families were so frustrated by the reopening process that they opted for private school instead. Parents complained that the district didn’t provide them with enough answers and information about the new schools in a timely fashion. So many unknowns proved too disconcerting.

But other parents stuck it out. They decided that the opportunity to help shape the curriculum and focus of a new school, in a building outfitted with new supplies in what – at least for now – is a small school setting, with a new cast of teachers and administrators, was worth a bit of uncertainty. For them, all of that potential trumped their trepidation.

Sarah Koch was among those parents. She has a kindergartner and second-grader at McDonald, where she is the PTA president.

“The families who are there,” Koch said, “are more frontier-minded.”

To some degree, the low enrollment was expected because of how the school assignment policy works. This year, the district only required kindergartners and students new to the district to attend the reopening elementary schools, so that older students were not uprooted from the schools they’d already been attending.

Parents who took the plunge say that despite initial challenges, the new schools are doing well. They offer rave reviews for the principals and teachers. They’re excited to have schools they can call their own.

“It’s a very active, engaged community group that is building this school, and that’s what’s going to make it wonderful,” Koch said. “If you’ve got a strong parent community, it’s a lot harder for it to fail.”

McDonald was recently selected as Seattle’s next international school, and language immersion instruction will begin in fall 2011.

Read the entire Seattle’s Child story here.

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Mayor to honor Hamilton students on Saturday

February 9th, 2011 by master

Mayor Mike McGinn and Seattle Councilmember Mike O’Brien will be in Wallingford this Saturday, February 12, to honor the top 15 winners of the 2011 Neighbor Appreciation Day Student Art Contest.

Hamilton International Middle School will host the 10 a.m. event, and three Hamilton students will be among the honorees on the 17th annual Neighbor Appreciation Day. Here’s more information on the contest and winners from the mayor’s office:

Every year, Seattle students enter the art contest with drawings depicting what it means to be a good neighbor.  The 15 winners were selected out of nearly 600 entries. To view the winning artwork, visit  The artwork of the two first place winners, Grace Corsi, an 8th grader at Hamilton International Middle School, and Angel Corpuz, a 4th grader at Dunlap Elementary School adorns 13,000 Neighbor Appreciation Day greeting cards distributed for free at Neighborhood Service Centers, libraries, and community centers. An e-card can be sent by visiting

Neighbor Appreciation Day began in 1995 when Phinney Ridge activist Judith Wood suggested that the City designate “a special day to celebrate the goodness in those around us and to reach out and strengthen our bonds to each other.” Mayor Norm Rice proclaimed the Saturday before Valentine’s Day as Neighbor Appreciation Day.

Neighbor Appreciation Day is a grassroots celebration. More than 50 public activities are happening around the city to recognize caring neighbors. For a listing, visit

Without further ado, the winners who attend Hamilton are…

Gold Medal Award ($100): Grace Corsi (her drawing, which is available as an e-card, is above)

Bronze Award ($25): Clara Dixon

Crystal Award (Art Supplies): Page Victoria Robinson

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