Thursday, September 29, 2005

Task Force Meeting, 9-29-05

It has been a while since the Task Force has met to talk about the issues of clean air at our school. We had a two hour meeting this afternoon, and it was a good one. There are still unresolved issues, but all parties seem to be working in sync right now. I'll post some highlights this weekend.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Under way

School has indeed opened. We're still on bottled water, but the air is great. Now for some air conditioning :) Actually, on these warm fall days, I think the fans in the new univent heaters actually do help keep the temp down some (although it was 84 in the cool corner of my room this afternoon). It will be really nice when they put in dual pane glass and replace some window areas with walls next summer in these classrooms.

One classroom (16) is still not open yet, but I hear they are almost done sanding off the mold and sealing the wood. Sounds like the ground is almost dry as well. Interesting that there is a piece of plywood up instead of a door in the hallway leading to the room.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

School starts

Tomorrow is the first day of school, and Arbor Heights will open on time. There were some tense moments this summer when our very opening was in doubt. It is a tribute to several folks who worked extremely hard the past two months to overcome decades of neglect.

There is still a classroom where dehumidifiers are drying out the crawlspace. There is no class using that classroom, thank goodness.

Our rooms along the back hallway have cleaner air than they have had in many, many years. The new heaters should finally keep us all warm when the cold weather comes.

Most classrooms have new faucets and water filters, but we will have bottled water to start the year, because the results for the lead tests on the new fixtures are not back yet.

I truly hope that our district will now begin to reevaluate how it is spending money on its schools, that it will consider changing the focus from building brand-spanking new showcase schools to adequately funding the maintenance budgets on the schools we already have.

Friday, September 02, 2005

International blogging for disaster relief day

I posted this to my personal blog earlier today. I guess this means I'll make two donations :) - Mark (I will)

A couple of thoughts on Katrina and how to help. I came to school today hoping and trusting that something would come to me. I was up until a few minutes unsure of how I could lend a hand. Then an email came in from the Recording Academy (the Grammy people), suggesting donations to

We all are painfully aware of the devastation and destruction in New Orleansand the surrounding areas. As one of our nation's important music cities,it is not only a national tragedy, but a cultural one as well. Afterspending serious time and thought on an appropriate response and action fromour Academy, we have come up with an initial plan reflected in the attachedpress statement, which we are releasing this morning. Although we willcontinue to find ways to take care of those music makers in need, we feelthat the most important goal right now is to get our message out and to takea leadership position which we are uniquely qualified to fill at thiscritical time.

Thanks for your support in what we believe will be one of the mostsignificant and meaningful initiatives for The Recording Academy andMusiCares.

So I'm making my contribution today to - I think it's important that we contribute in ways and through means that are meaningful to us, that we have a passion for, etc. Below is the press release from the Recording Academy:

Neil Portnow, President
The Recording Academy
Statement on Hurricane Katrina Relief Efforts
September 2, 2005

The Hurricane Katrina disaster has been devastating, profound and life altering for its victims, their families, friends and the nation. This is the time when we must come together and take care of those who need our help. Therefore, The Recording Academy, the nonprofit organization that is the voice of thousands of music makers nationwide, along with its MusiCares Foundation, which provides a safety net of critical services for music people in crisis, is committing an initial donation of $1 million for music people affected by Hurricane Katrina.

The MusiCares Hurricane Relief Fund has been set up so these people in crisis can get help. Assistance includes basic living expenses such as shelter, food, utilities, transportation; medical expenses including doctor, dentist and hospital bills, medications; clothing; instrument and recording equipment replacement; relocation costs; school supplies for students; insurance payments and more.

Along with this donation, each of The Academy’s 12 regional Chapters will designate local programming that will continue the fundraising efforts to help the thousands of music people whose lives and livelihoods have been impacted by these tragic events. The Recording Academy, The Latin Recording Academy, MusiCares Foundation and the GRAMMY Foundation also have created a matching fund with their employees to help ensure that music continues to be the thread that brings people together and helps us all heal. We encourage the industry and the world to help in any way they can. To help music people affected by Hurricane Katrina, log on to

# # #

Media Contact:
Ron Roecker

Thursday, September 01, 2005

A dose of reality for Cinderella

So many people have worked so hard the last couple of months to fix problems at our school that have been there for probably many years. So much progress has been made, the air is so much cleaner, and our environment is worlds better than it was. It has felt very good to see those changes happen and be a small part of it.

Today our staff was off-site at another school for a workshop. Dunlap is a new (maybe 5 years old?) school. The school is stunningly beautiful. I have to admit that the inequity and injustice I felt, walking down gorgeous hallways looking into decked out classrooms - shocked me. All those bad sayings about envy....

Our staff and parents must act now to advocate for the future of our school. Arbor Heights is one of the most classically Cinderella schools in Seattle - a dump on the outside, but an inside with a heart, mind, and soul of gold. It's our turn to try on the glass slipper...