I was very disappointed to read Ann Heitkemper’s husband Michael Kennedy’s letter attacking Hilary Seidel’s involvement with Lincoln Options Elementary and public alternative schools. There are multiple public alternative programs in Olympia that are open to all students via lottery process or application. These programs are popular due to reasons such as dissatisfaction with current standardized testing regimens and requirements, interests in math and the sciences, interest in Montessori-style education, etc. These programs help meet the needs or interests of children in our district.
It appears from Michael Kennedy’s letter that Ann Heitkemper, a professor who touts being a teacher but with likely no experience teaching K-12 students, is perhaps displaying poor knowledge of what public alternative programs are and what they do. Hilary Seidel distinctly does not support charter schools. Heitkemper suggests alternative programs are elitist, but these programs are open to all students. Long wait lists indicate the need to promote and expand these programs rather than hinder them.
A school board member has the duty to represent ALL students. I fear that a win for Ann Heitkemper would add additional barriers and threaten the existing public alternative school programs in Olympia.
Hilary Seidel, candidate for School Board Position 4, is very knowledgeable regarding the policies and workings of the school system, but also has much investment in our schools with children of her own ranging from preschool to fifth grade. Hilary would be a great voice for ALL children in Olympia.