The evening after this summertime’s main election for City Council, at a public forum on the appointment of a new representative on the Seattle School Board for South Seattle, it was back to business for Zachary DeWolf. The Primary candidate and Seattle School Board representative hadn’t provided himself much time to believe about the outcomes, which were frustrating. He’gotten 12.54% of the votes on election night, not enough to
make it onto the November ballot. “I probably didn’t get enough time to really type of sit down with the whole experience of it,” DeWolf says today. “By and large, I can state I’m truly grateful to have done it. There’s most likely an entire list of 10 or 15 things I could do in a different way, (…) strategy stuff.”
DeWolf had revealed he was running for City Council in April, a little over a year into his four-year term on the school board. He chiseled away < a href= "https://www.capitolhillseattle.com/2019/06/this-district-3-candidate-just-won-big-time-seattle-labor-support/"> a significant portion of labor support from Sawant’s base and was seen as among the frontrunners, the Seattle Education Association (the city’s public school teachers union) backed Ami Nguyen and Kshama Sawant in District 3. It also didn’t help that local blog writer and education supporter Melissa Westbrook composed a searing editorial dis-endorsing DeWolf on Seattle Schools Community Forum, calling out his “lackluster record and absence of neighborhood meetings.”
In a recent phone call, DeWolf didn’t actually feel like reviewing the concern.
“I’m not going to react to a blog writer [who] clearly does not understand my work and my record,” DeWolf said. “What this boils down to is who I serve: the students and the households in my district.”
DeWolf brought up the example of the student Luna, a trans student who had actually asked that Seattle Public Schools repair its databases so that all correctly determined the gender and names of gender-diverse and trans students. DeWolf said the problem is now fixed due to the fact that of her advocacy and his promoting it.
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There have been some other milestones too, DeWolf said. Seattle teachers authorized a brand-new contract with Seattle Public Schools in August, and SPS executed < a href ="https://www.kuow.org/stories/no-body-shaming-allowed-in-seattle-public-schools-new-student-dress-code"> a brand-new, inclusive gown code across the district.
As for his School District 5, which spans Capitol Hill and the Central District, DeWolf said he was likewise pleased that some “school leader issues” had actually been resolved.
“There were a number of schools where the school leader wasn’t a good match or a good suitable for that school neighborhood,” he said, including that Bailey-Gatzert and Washington Middle School now have brand-new principals.
Some problems in District 5 and across the school district have actually persisted. Trainee homelessness is still a substantial problem, DeWolf said. “It does keep me up in the evening.”
His aggravation around the concern– and the limitations of what one can do about it from a School Board seat, DeWolf stated, was one of the reasons he wanted to run for city board. “These are truly structural issues that can not be fixed by a School District alone.”
In an interview with CHS in March, DeWolf said he wished to start working on an internal Homeless Student Education Plan for Seattle Public Schools.
“We’ve definitely begun those conversations,” he said when asked how the strategy was coming along. “We’ve definitely hit some barriers and obstructions,” such as less staff due to absence of funding, DeWolf stated, “but we continue to take a look at ways to support those students.”
In the March interview, DeWolf likewise said he would end up the task he thought about most important– bringing ethnic studies to our schools– before running for City Council. That has actually not taken place yet.
There has actually been some (policy) motion on Ethnic Studies. This spring, the board has amended language to ensure that the district doesn’t have to entirely count on commercially available guideline materials and can establish its own. That means the district can start working to establish and adopt ethnic studies and Native research studies curricula (which currently can not be found commercially) and “created the runway,” as DeWolf puts it, for adopting ethnic research studies as a graduation requirement.
Depending upon your perspective, things can move slow on the School Board. In April, DeWolf informed us he ‘d be holding a work session on a Student and Community Workforce Agreement (SCWA), which will be targeting people from economically distressed ZIP codes for tasks in the trades or building in a “make while you discover” education design, which includes Pre-Apprenticeship and Apprenticeship opportunities for Seattle Public School students.
This month, after producing guidelines for a job force and summer applications, SPS is now assembling a task force of over a lots individuals to assist establish recommendations for how that policy will work within the district.
Some other things on DeWolf’s plate: a “Know Your Rights” panel and academic occasion for undocumented students and their families, arranged with El Centro de la Raza, NWIRP, and the state’s Attorney General’s workplace, is prepared for late October.
DeWolf likewise stated another “work session out in the neighborhood” (instead of in SODO’s John Stanford Center) would take place before completion of the year. DeWolf will exist at SPS community conferences throughout the fall (October 12 in the Greenwood Librarybranch with Rick Burke, November 16 with Leslie Harris at the Delridge Library and his own on December 7 at the Capitol Hill Library).
He states he’s likewise planning to look at the Seattle School Board’s 2012 “Green Resolution” this November to examine whether the board has followed through on their guarantees and whether more work around sustainability issues is needed.
Dewolf, who is a citizen of Chippewa Cree country, is likewise working on a children’s book about the climate. The inspiration: the mom whale Tahlequah, who notoriously carried her dead child around for days. The idea is “to give more of a native cultural viewpoint around the issue and give kids an avenue to check out a few of the much deeper questions around climate and flora and fauna,” and deal with an illustrator and partner with a not-for-profit partner to donate the proceeds to and work on education within the schools.
When we spoke, a number of days before the Climate Strike, DeWolf was composing a resolution in support of excusing absences for Seattle Public School trainees desiring to go to the Climate Strike. He said it was unlikely he might do anything, referencing the state law internal policies and internal superintendent treatments on excused absences. But, he included, it may simply offer the board a “begin the pants” to consider making “this policy to be more responsive and active in the future.”
“This is most likely gon na come up again,” he said. “Particularly if there is police violence versus Brown and black males (…), if there’s more weapon violence, which is highly most likely in this country.”
SUBSCRIBE TO CHS: APPRECIATE OUR BREAKING NEWS? SUBSCRIBE HERE TODAY. You can likewise sign up for < a href= "https://squareup.com/store/chs-capitolhillseattle-dot-com-advertising/item/chs-annual-subscription"> a one-time annual payment. His disappointment around the problem– and the limits of what one can do about it from a School Board seat, DeWolf said, was one of the factors he desired to run for city council. In the March interview, DeWolf likewise said he would end up the job he considered most critical– bringing ethnic studies to our schools– prior to running for City Council.