West Seattle as Its Own Micro-District
Second, I really like the West Seattle Blog. They do such a great job of covering that whole area like a little mini-city. There seems to be such a sense of community over there. They also getsome pretty interesting reader comments on their stories.
I was checking out what was being said about the departure of Bruce Bivens, the current principal at WSHS. Just as you would expect there are differing thoughts about his departure but then some tension crept in over the differences between Chief Sealth High School and West Seattle High School. Here's what one commenter had to say:
Currently have students at both schools, like both schools for different reasons. My family’s experience summarized through my students:
*more classroom disruptions/poor behavior
*energized teaching staff
*district publicity for school bordering on “cult of personality” status
*staff does excellent job of presenting opportunities (scholarships, internships, career ideas etc) to students of all different levels
*often perceived as the “underdog”
*history of administrative decisions made unilaterally by principal
*many different opportunities for a kid to fit in
*possible unintentional segregation of students due to IB program
*racially and economically diverse
*very strong history and alumni involvement
*seems to have more drug and alcohol usage (or perhaps it is more noticeable?)
*seems to be a bit in flux with the hybrid period schedule
*strong PTA, possibly more parental involvement
*my student here seems to have many more projects and homework, although both students took “honors” classes
I know more about Sealth than WS due to the time my children have been there. The one thing I am certain of; any student could fail or succeed at either school. If, as a parent, you are concerned enough to be reading this blog and researching the schools, your child has the advantage right there. Parental involvement is the key.
And another parent:
As parents of a Madison 8th grader, we’ve been looking into high schools a lot this year. West Seattle High under Bivins has a reputation as the lesser of the two Westside high schools. Self-motivated achievers can do well at both, but while Sealth has purportedly a bit more of a “gang presence”, it also…rumor has it…does a better job of getting it’s legions of slackers, “ghetto”(their words not mine)wannabes, and immature misbehavers interested in its academic offerings, and not letting them steal the show from teachers who want to teach instead of manage behavior, and kids who want to learn…really the great unspoken truth of modern public schools. I definitely hear a lot of “I wouldn’t send my kid to either of those schools”, but private school isn’t an option for us, nor do we want to become one of the growing number of West Seattle parents sending their kids to Vashon.
SW/West Seattle are more isolated areas in our district and thus the comparisons between schools become sharper. It probably makes for good competition in sports. But it is interesting to see how the district's initiatives and decisions play out in one distinct area. (I do like that "cult of personality" status named by one commenter; I have to say that the district does seem to spend a lot of time on saying how great Denny/Sealth will be together.)
With the closure of Cooper AND the new SAP AND the massive remodel/rebuilt at Denny/Sealth, it makes for an interesting place to watch it all unfold.