School boundaries boil down to 2 options

Updated: The task force charged with drawing new high school boundaries in North Seattle has narrowed the maps down to two options, according to a report from KING 5 on Friday night. Then the school district followed up on Saturday evening by publishing the two new maps, and it said additional modifications may be made before the final selection.

Here’s scenario F version 4.2:

And scenario F version 6:

Both options draw the northern line at 85th St., not 80th St., including all of Loyal Heights, Whittier Heights and Sunset Hill (minus the Golden Gardens area north of 85th) inside the Ballard High School boundary.

Both maps also include most of West Woodland, drawing the line at 48th St. (we initially reported 50th St.), cutting off the southern portion of the neighborhood. Everyone to the north would go to BHS, everyone to the south would go to Lincoln High.

The eastern line is set at 3rd Ave. The only difference between the two options in our area affects a chunk of Greenwood between 3rd and Greenwood Ave.

Both options also retain Magnolia inside the BHS boundary.

What’s next? On January 10th, the school board is holding a work session with the task force and will determine which of the two scenarios to introduce before the board on January 17th. Then on January 31st, the board expects to make the final vote. Compared to earlier timelines, this extends the process by a couple weeks.

We’ll keep you updated.

Ballard gets squeezed by proposed school boundaries, parents fight back

With Lincoln High School opening in Wallingford and Ingraham High School expanding in 2019, the Seattle school district is redrawing the boundaries for North Seattle high school students.

Until last week, one of the recommended scenarios (.pdf) kept the vast majority of Ballard-area families inside the Ballard High School boundary, drawing the northern line roughly at Carkeek Park. But this option has fallen off the list, and many parents in North Ballard, Crown Hill, North Beach and Blue Ridge are not happy about it.

The new option, called scenario F (above), draws the line at 80th St. instead of Carkeek Park. (In the map, green is Ballard High, brown is Ingraham and purple is Lincoln. There are several versions of scenario F — this is version 2 .pdf — but the northern cut-off remains 80th St. in each).

That means any families to the north of 80th will attend Ingraham High School, which is located up at 135th St., above Bitter Lake. If you live at 24th Ave. and 83rd St., for example, that’s 4.5 miles away. Ballard High is 1.5 miles away.

Then there’s the other option, called scenario H version 3 (above and .pdf). While the Carkeek Park boundary is preserved, the southeastern boundary is at Ballard High School itself: homes to the south of 65th At. and to the west of 15th Ave. — the West Woodland neighborhood — fall inside the boundary for Lincoln High. You could live a block from BHS, but go to school in Wallingford.

“North Ballard parents do not support either of these plans,” explains a new site, North Ballard Parents, created to rally opposition to the proposals. “We support our neighborhood and community all being allowed to attend Ballard High School. Seattle Public Schools shut down the high school serving Magnolia and Queen Anne, and now Ballard is paying the price.”

The organizers of North Ballard Parents have created a petition on which has 1,290 signatures and counting.

Another site, Save Seattle Schools, urges parents to “tell the board and the superintendent you will be voting no on the operations levy in Feb. 2019.”

Seattle Schools says the new scenarios take into consideration the potential changes in the highly capable pathways at the high school level. “We heard overwhelmingly that families want increased and equal access to advanced courses offered closer to home,” explains a November post on the Seattle Schools site.

The Magnolia neighborhood has worked hard lobbying the High School Boundary Task Force — which is tasked with creating the proposed boundaries — to remain inside the Ballard High School zone. One of its primary arguments: the commute from Magnolia to Wallingford would be problematic — as much as 74 minutes each way on Metro.

The task force is expected to present its recommendations to the school board on January 3rd, and the board is slated to vote on the final boundary map two weeks later on January 17th.

Your thoughts on the boundaries? Let us know in comments…

Ballard film student wins top cinematic honor

(Scene from the short film Richard)

With one of the most prestigious high school filmmaking programs in the country, Ballard High has produced another national award winner.

Wylie Soltes is one of eleven high school students nationwide — and the only student from the Pacific Northwest — to win the YoungArts Foundation award for cinematic arts. The award recognizes his short film Richard, which you can watch here. Soltes’ film was selected from thousands of submissions, and YoungArts will fly him to Miami in January for a week of networking and mentoring with other promising young filmmakers and professionals.

Soltes plans to study film production in college, and YoungArts will help with the financing.

He’s the eighth YoungArts winner from Ballard’s Digital Filmmaking Program in the last five years. Congrats, Wylie!

Ballard loses a heartbreaker in league opener

(Photo from Ballard Basketball on Instagram)

Bishop Blanchet hosted the Ballard Beavers’ boys basketball team last night — cheered by the Beaver Brigade (above) — in our first Metro League game of the season.

Ballard led by 3 at halftime, and the game came down to the final buzzer. But Bishop Blanchet managed to pull ahead, winning by 3.

Ballard will take on Eastside Catholic at home this Friday at 8:30 p.m. Remember, the games are broadcast on KBFG Radio (107.3 FM) as well as streamed live online.

Ballard High School wins $100,000 for improved library technology

(Photo from Keven Wynkoop aka @theheadbeaver on Twitter)

Thanks in part to the community’s votes, Ballard High School has won a $100,000 grant from Farmers Insurance “Thank Americas Teachers” program.

Applying for the grant was the brainstorm of BHS teacher TuesD Chambers, pictured above with principal Keven Wynkoop at last night’s Ballard High School Foundation event.

“Our library has a bank of outdated computers that damper collaboration and stifle any flexibility,” explained Chambers in a video proposal for the grant. “The $100,000 Farmer’s Grant would change our school and community by having students interact with one another and interact with people in the world…. That would mean taking the space and making it light-filled. It means taking out the furniture that is making it so that students can’t collaborate,” she says. “In this day and age we have to teach our students to be digital citizens, but also how to be digital leaders.”

Well done!

Lights coming to Ballard High’s athletic field

After a public meeting and comment period last month, the city has approved plans to build floodlights at Ballard High School’s athletic field.

The lights will enable Ballard’s many outdoor teams — including football, soccer, lacrosse and track and field — more time to practice before school begins (8:45 a.m.) and after school gets out (3:35 p.m), especially during the winter. The lighting will also enable more community use of the field, according to Seattle Schools.

The plan is to erect 32 shielded LED floodlights on steel poles. The two poles on the west side of the field will be 70-feet tall, and the two poles on the east side will 90-feet tall. The school district says the heights of the poles were selected to “minimize light spillage outside the athletic complex.”

The lights will run automatically, turning on at dusk and running until 10 p.m. during field events. During the winter, the lights may also be lit during morning practices.

Construction is expected to begin this summer and take four weeks.

Ballard boys basketball tips off season with live radio coverage

The Ballard High basketball season begins tonight with home games against Glacier Peak. The freshmen (JVC) game begins at 4:15, JV is at 5:45 and varsity kicks off at 7:15 p.m.

If you can’t make the varsity game, you can still listen to the action live on the new community radio station KBFG (107.3 FM and streaming here). The new live broadcast will be hosted by former Ballard head coach Billy Rodgers and former Assistant Coach Jon Adams, who call themselves the “Coaches2x” broadcast team (pictured above).

As for the varsity hoop dreams this season, assistant coach Jaime Quick sums it up:

Coming off a thrilling playoff run last year, the Beavers are rebuilding after all 5 starters left that inspiring team from last season – however a young crop of hungry players have been working year round for the season upon us. A good time to be a Beaver fan!

Head coach and math teacher Mike Broom is back again this year to lead the varsity team. Ballard alum Brad Baker is coaching the JV team and alum Ron Coacher is leading the JVCs.

Here’s the schedule for the year:

Go Beavers!

Ballard High musicians warming up for Winter Concert Series

The Ballard High School music program is preparing for their annual Winter Concert Series on December 6 (orchestra), 7 (band) and 11 (choir), and tickets for reserved seating are now available.

The finale of each concert will combine the wind ensemble, concert choir and chamber orchestra — 210 students on stage — to perform Haydn’s Te Deum, composed in 1799.

All performances will be at the Earl Kelly Center for Performing Arts at Ballard High School beginning at 7:30 p.m. Admission is free.

If you would like to make a donation to Ballard Performing Arts, you can reserve seats. Tickets for reserved seating may be purchased online here — search for “Ballard.”

Ballard High bots battle it out

(Photo: Pacific Science Center)

More than 40 teams from high schools around the state — including our own Ballard HS — gathered at the Pacific Science Center on Sunday for a battle of the bots.

The Special Olympics Unified Robotics Championship, a partnership between kids with and without disabilities, featured four teams from Ballard. The students designed, built and programmed their robots over six weeks prior to the competition.

The robots’ names: Bulldozer 2.0, Ava2400, A Pair of Sox and Slicer and Dicer. The goal: to push the competing robot out of the circle. Here’s a video of Bulldozer 2.0 in a match:

A Pair of Sox made it into the semi-finals and lost to… The Purple Robot Eater.

The Ballard team took home two “Rising Star” awards as well as accolades for perseverance and sportsmanship. Well done!

Ballard High’s documentary for IMAX gets big screen premiere

Back in June, Ballard High’s short documentary, On the Backs of Salmon, was released by IMAX online. This Thursday evening, the documentary premieres on the big screen at Seattle’s Pacific Science Center IMAX theater.

“Can you believe it?” said the Ballard High film program’s Matt Lawrence. “My students are walking on air.”

On the Backs of Salmon tells the story behind the largest dam removal in world history – the Elwha on the Olympic Peninsula. Ballard was one of five high school filmmaking programs to be selected by IMAX and the United Nations to win a $5,000 grant to product the documentary.

Thursday’s screening will be shown at a private, members-only event, but IMAX reserved 75 seats for the Ballard filmmakers “and their entourage.”

Lawrence said one of his students explains the premiere this way: “Film doesn’t get any bigger than IMAX!”