Community & Parents for Public Schools of Seattle

CPPS is a local, grassroots network of parents and community members working together to support and advocate for excellent public schools in our communities, and at the district, city and state levels.

Community & Parents for Public  Schools of Seattle
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There is a lot of talk about change in the education world at all levels, from our neighborhood schools to our national policy, and everything in between.  What is the parent community's role in the changes we face?


The Annenberg Institute for School Reform recently affirmed the promise of community organizing for educational change, in a report which states, "Through negotiation, public awareness, and pressure, organizing creates a political environment in which demands for equity can gain traction," and "Community capacity enables organized communities to both support and hold districts and schools accountable for improvement...(which) should create a stronger learning environment for students, which results in improved student learning outcomes (Shah, Mediratta & McAlister 2009).  This is a founding belief of CPPS: that the community and parents around our public schools can and should be effective voices for quality neighborhood schools -- voices for change.   


As we have asked parents across the region, "What Parents Want?" we have heard that our communities want to engage in the change process, rather than hearing about it after the fact.  Parents want to use their skills to provide multiple perspectives and fresh ideas.  They want to learn how to make a difference in students' lives.   


Both last month and this, we have featured letters from Seattle parents expressing concerns about district changes that haven't considered important viewpoints or the community's desires.  By engaging in the processes of negotiation and pressure, asking for school district accountability to policy promises and equitable action, these folks are working for improved student outcomes, and they CAN make a difference.   


Last year, many of you participated in a petition drive encouraging the district to consider teacher performance in determination of RIFs (Reductions in Force).  That outpouring of our parent and community voices contributed to a growing call for change that has had ripple effects beyond Seattle.  This week, state legislators introduced both House and Senate bills to support that goal statewide.    

CPPS strongly supports such community efforts and encourages you to join us, connect to others and lead change!   

Do you have an issue you'd like to make others aware of?  Would you like to form an advocacy team in your school or neighborhood community?  Contact Stephanie



Students and families of Seattle's bilingual communities have been eagerly awaiting the September launch of a true high school program to support newly arrived immigrant and refugee students on a path to graduation.  However, we were stunned this week to learn that the District is recommending that the School Board halt the Secondary Bilingual Orientation Center (SBOC) project approved last year by Superintendent Goodloe-Johnson.


The new school program plan was created by a design team of district and community leaders, after a year of research and visiting successful programs throughout the country.   The essential components of the plan were approved last June, and the School Board praised the work. Partnerships around the new SBOC have been formed throughout the city, with public & private investments secured based on the new model.  The vision of this school has been embraced because it makes sense and will result in outcomes we have been seeking for years.

In good economic times and in bad, SPS has NOT provided what our immigrant students need to succeed.  In 2008, The Council of Great City Schools reported, "The bilingual education program in the Seattle Public Schools, in short, is one of the weakest such programs that the Council of the Great City Schools has seen." It specifically recommended overhauling the SBOC program into a fully functioning high school.  Now the promise for this change is in danger.

Did you know that SBOC students come from all over the world, often from war-torn countries and refugee camps, and sometimes with no formal education?  They collectively speak over 30 languages, are 95% free & reduced lunch and 100% English Language Learners.  Yet they: 

  •  Don't get basic services that other SPS middle and high schoolers get because the "orientation program" isn't considered a school
  •  Don't get graduation credits for most classes taken at SBOC
  • Have no Family Support Worker and no PTA
  • Get transferred to new schools unprepared, and often end up failing or dropping out

SPS cannot afford to keep spending money on what hasn't worked for years. To improve graduation rates, close achievement gaps, and prepare these students for success, scarce public dollars must be invested in a plan that will work.


The new high school for English Language Learners provides that plan, with targeted support for students' success. The District's cost to implement the plan is $500,000. Government and community agencies have already committed resources to enhance this investment.


The District has a choice - table the program and let students continue to flounder, or take action to support their academic success and their future lives as productive participants in our community.


Please email the School Board before the  February 9th Board vote and urge them to move forward as promised in launching this innovative high school for our immigrant and refugee students. 



Someireh Amirfaiz, Executive Director, Refugee Womans' Alliance

Minh Duc Nguyen, Executive Director, Helping Link

Vu Le, Executive Director, Vietnamese Friendship Association

Hoang Nguyen, Khanh Nguyen, Hiep Quang, Jade Nguyen, Loreen Huynh, Emily Wong,Rudolfo Cureno, Sylvia DeForest

SBOC redesign project team members: Dr. Bob Hughes, Seattle Univ.; Marjorie Lepley; Sindy Nguyen, Vietnamese community representative; Maria Ramirez, Founding Executive Director, Campana Quetzal; James Lovell, Vietnamese Friendship Association; Hassan Wardere, Horn of Africa Services; Cheryl Clark; Diane Steen; Jeff Sikora, Refugee Womans' Alliance; Paul Lepley, Helene Mansfield, Terri Johnston



from a conversation with Tom Bishop, Transportation Manager


Transportation access is in transition because of Student Assignment Plan transition, but also because of new state rules for transportation funding.  In addition, state and district budget crises have caused SPS to look for savings.  As a result, a new plan has just been proposed. 

While the plan will save up to $4million, equivalent to 45 teacher jobs, some elementary and K-8 students currently receiving transportation this year might not next year. In addition, some bell times may change.  The School Board is scheduled to vote on the plan Wed, Feb. 16, and community feedback sessions have been scheduled for Feb. 3 at Hamilton MS and Feb. 8 at Chief Sealth HS.  

Proposed transportation changes will remove 80 buses from the roads and decrease the bus ride time for attendance area schools to 25 minutes or less.   Middle schools, high schools and option schools will retain current grandfathering, and no changes are planned for English Language Learners (ELL), Special Education, Spectrum or APP students. 

New 1.25 mile radius Transportation Zones will be created for attendance area elementary and attendance area K-8 schools.   Students within the transportation zone and outside of walk zones will be eligible for district provided transportation to their neighborhood schools.  As well, Larger Intermediary Boundaries for each Attendance Area school will be drawn to automatically extend transportation and or walk boundary eligibility during transition years 2011-2012 and 2012-2013.


Students outside their school's Transportation Zone (e.g. those not attending their Attendance Area school) will have the following options: 

  • Students who live within a half of a mile from the Transportation Zone boundary could walk to a bus stop within the zone and gain a seat on a space available basis.
  • Students can access shuttle stops outside the Attendance Area (usually at nearby schools) 
  • Students can apply for space available transportation on ELL, Option, Special Ed or APP buses.

Questions or comments? Contact the Transportation Department.


Transportation Zone Maps will be available soon.




Transportation Plan Changes - Community Feedback 

Thursday, Feb. 3rd  6:30-8 pm, Hamilton International MS 1610 N. 41st


Wednesday, Feb. 8th  6:30-8 pm, Chief Sealth HS  2600 SW Thistle

SCPTSA General Meeting - Budget Process Nuts and Bolts

with Council Board member Andrea Baumgarten and District officials present to help answer questions.


Tuesday, Feb. 7th 6:30 to 8:30 pm  JSCEE room 2750.


Seattle Town Hall - How are Seattle Public Schools Doing? Hosted by Seattle Channel, CityClub of Seattle and Town Hall

Thursday, Feb. 10th 7-8:30 pm Town Hall 1119 8th Ave (at Seneca)
Registration and Audience instructions from 6pm. 

Seattle Channel host C.R. Douglas will lead a live televised interactive discussion with Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson, Olga Addae (SEA), PTSA leaders and others.  You can participate in person (with instant polling devices) or online via email, Facebook and Twitter.   

Free, but registration required.  Call 206-682-7395 to sign up.

NELA: Center for Student Success College Planning Webcasts -
Register   More info 

FREE Online College Planning Workshops are every Wednesday at 6pm. Most are no longer than an hour.  You will need  INTERNET access and a telephone for a toll free call. Contact Jenn Bowman with questions at 1-877-635-2669.

FAFSA Filing -- February 16th-6:00 pm
Winning Scholarship Strategies -- February 2nd-6:00 pm
Understanding Financial Aid Packages
March 2nd-6:00 pm
March 23rd-6:00 pm
    NEW SPS WEBSITE:  Check it Out!

The Office for Public Affairs has announced the launch of the new Seattle Public Schools website - one that is easier, faster and more intuitive to navigate.

  • The site will be much easier to navigate
  • New tools will be available so families and community can communicate more easily with district and school-based staff
  •  Many links from old site will automatically redirect to the new website
  • More content areas will be available and accessible
  • Users can synchronize their personal/mobile calendars with the SPS District calendar
  • A new Web tool automatically translates Web pages into Spanish, Cantonese, and Vietnamese

The district has been incorporating suggestions into our design, adding a separate category for option schools and a department directory in response to community feedback.  There is still time to make suggestions.  

Through forums, study groups, newsletter communications and more, CPPS brings parents and community members together to discuss issues, get informed, engage, advocate and lead for excellent public education in Seattle.  

We need your participation.  Contact us for more info: 

CPPS Announcements
Community & Parents for Public Schools of Seattle