Principal’s Newsletter March 30th, 2021

Garfield Community,

So much is going on within Seattle Public Schools, I’d like to share with you some of the things that are happening right now. Please understand that though I will try to keep you updated once weekly, things are changing quickly.

First!!!  Thank you, thank you thank you to the PTSA for the wonderful Appreciation Meal last Wednesday. The PTSA greeting at Communion was wonderful and appreciated. The food was marvelous (I will be going back) and I don’t think I’m the only one, but it was the first time I’ve met some actual Garfield staff, face to face!  Thank you so much!

In-person learning:  (At this Moment)

  • The students who will first return to in-person learning at Garfield are our students in our intensive service pathways programs.  This week the teachers who serve those students are in training and getting their classrooms arranged.  Those students are doing asynchronous work Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.  They will be learning remotely Thursday and Friday.  Monday April 5th those students will return to school half-days.  At this moment we do not know if those hours will be in the a.m. or p.m.
  • Seattle Public Schools and Seattle Education Association have not agreed to a schedule for the return of secondary students.  I cannot, give you any information as to what it will look like.  Right now the date of return is April 19th .  If this date holds, the plan is to have secondary teachers come back on April 5,6 and 7 for training (asynchronous work for students those days) and back to remote on Thursday and Friday  on the 7th and 8th. Students who have chosen in person will return to the building on April 19th.
  • In-person Choice survey.  The survey to determine which students want to return to in-person learning will be going out to families once the secondary schedule is agreed to.

Graduation!:  Last week we received word that Graduating seniors will be able to be seated on the stadium field using social distance guidelines which include exceeding the 400 person limitation that other events are under.

Information from the district below:

“Keeping this in mind, the following is the emerging plan:

  • Based on designated seating and capacity, Memorial Stadium will be the only site we will use for comprehensive graduations.  We believe we will be able to hold space for a little over 2000 guests spread across both sides of the stadium. 
  • Garfield, Rainier Beach, and Ballard High Schools, we will need to adjust from 5:30 PM to a 5 PM start to ensure we can safely move students and families out and seat the new guests and students as we transition to the 8 PM graduations that same night.
  • Seating will be in pods, as noted above.
  • Each senior will be allocated up to a total of 4 tickets to provide to family members.  Tickets will have an assigned seat/pod, date, and time.
  • During the event, the  lower field will be reserved for seniors, admin and counselors, and limited dignitaries.  If we get clearance that we can add other faculty safely, without impacting how many can be on the field, we will notify schools.  We will not have bands, orchestras, choirs, or other student presentations due to the equipment, safety, and the spacing required for these groups.  
  • During the event, we expect the principal, a Board member, and designated guests or students to have the opportunity to speak.  Because of the need to keep microphones clean and safe, we do not currently anticipate any other student or guest presentations.  Again, if we get updated guidance and can add things safely we will let you know.
  • During the event, graduates will be announced by admin/counselors from their seat.  They will stand for a moment and then sit back down as another graduate is recognized.  We will not have students moving to the stage, shaking hands, or receiving a shield directly from an adult.  At the “turning of the tassel,” all seniors will be asked to stand and turn their tassel before waiving to their family, etc.
  • At the end of the event, we will have a controlled exit out the back of the grounds and encourage graduates and families to reconnect and depart quickly.  
  • We will need at least one hour between graduations for cleaning and one hour for seating of families, so our goal will be that each ceremony is one hour in length (based on prior graduations we know this can be done!)”

Finally:  Last week I sent out a letter about the tragedy in Georgia. The second tragedy in Colorado had not happened yet.  In the letter I talked about seeing each other as human and hard conversations.  Most of the responses were focused on what we can do together.  I appreciate that and want to work with you to move us forward.

There were a few that responded that I should talk about something relevant and that I spoke of hate.  

I apologize to those who thought hate was the agenda and those who felt the topic irrelevant.  Not because I believe you are correct, but because I was not able to express the importance of the work we must continue to do in a way you were able to understand.  But, as an educator, I will not stop trying to differentiate my teaching.  For those who communicated with me around these topics, I welcome continued dialogue.

One Garfield.


Princess Shareef


Garfield High