Director Peters sent me these updates and I thought I would pass them along:
At the Nov. 19 School Board meeting, noting that the John Hay community members in attendance did not have the opportunity to give public commentary (the roster was already full), I addressed the topic during my Director's Comments and acknowledged that the district needs to do a better job at communication. I also stated that the district has an obligation to meet the academic, emotional and safety needs of all 52,000 of our students.
(I note there that at the last Board meeting one director - I believe it was Peaslee - said she wished that people who came to testify (whether they did so or not) would stay for Board comments as often members DO weigh in on issues.)
Also , she will attending Wednesday community meeting on Interagency at John Hay Elementary.
Here's her letter to those who wrote to her on that topic:
Thank you for sharing your thoughts about the plan to place an Interagency program in the Old Queen Anne Gym.
I have forwarded the letters and concerns I have received onto Superintendent Nyland and staff. I have also been in touch with the John Hay PTA president. I, too, would like to see more communication from the district with both the John Hay and greater Queen Anne Community, and have requested this.
To that end, at the John Hay Elementary PTA meeting on Dec. 10, district staff and Interagency Principal Kaaren Andrews will be available to answer questions. I encourage you to attend. I will attend as well. This will also afford the community an opportunity to learn specific facts about the nature and goals of the Interagency program and the district’s plans.
In the meantime, district staff has prepared a FAQ, gathered from community questions on this topic. If you have any other questions, please feel free to contact Tom Redman, Capital and Facilities Communications, Seattle Public Schools 206-252-0655; firstname.lastname@example.org.
In terms of background, this is considered a program placement (there are multiple Interagency sites throughout the district), not the establishment of a new school, and therefore was decided by the (in this case, previous) superintendent and staff. That also means this decision did not come before the School Board.
However, I understand the potential concerns about the proximity of the program to an elementary school, and the community’s legitimate need for more information and assurances from the district regarding safety and supervision.
As I’m sure you know, the district has a responsibility to meet the academic, emotional and safety needs of all of our nearly 52,000 students, and that includes both the students of John Hay Elementary and the students served in the Interagency Program.
Hopefully these objectives are not incompatible.
Seattle School Board Director - District IV