Debate Season Ends With Top Participation

Most of the team gathered on break.

Most of the team gathered on break.

The Explorer West Debate Team faced stiff competition last Saturday at the Bush School. One of our teams; Jena, Makenzie, and Elsa; finished their three debates with three victories, narrowly being edged out of the final debate. This was by far the largest league debate tournament in the past two years that Explorer West has been debating and even featured a top debate team from southern California.

Friend gather post-debate!

Friend gather post-debate!




Our seven participating teams were one of the largest contingents of the schools participating and represented almost 25% of our total school population, which definitely puts Explorer West apart from the other schools. Additionally, nine of our twenty-one debaters are current sixth and seventh graders. Their experience and expertise will undoubtedly take our debate program even further next year.

We would also like to thank the adults who graciously came out to serve as judges for the debate. Amy French, Stacia Jenkins, Sabrina Kovacs-Storlie, Thomas Terance, Jennifer Cecil, and Phil Giammarino gave up a considerable portion of their Saturday to help make this event happen. Tim also recruited another WFFE board member, Heidi Siegelbaum, to serve as a seventh judge. Additionally, former debater and EW alum Addie Weeks came out to assist in judging and timekeeping.

Great work debaters! Here’s to another successful EW debate season!

2015 School-Wide Environmental Issues Slam

“No Ocean, No Us” presenters.

“No Ocean, No Us” presenters.

Four teams and a solo performance did an amazing job at last week’s school-wide Environmental Issues Slam. After learning about several important local environmental issues, students and staff selected their two favorite performances. It was a very close race with three of the five teams nearly tied for first place. When it was all said and done, one team emerged victorious and secured a spot representing Explorer West at the region-wide Environmental Issues Slam in April.

“Skiers for Sustainable Slopes”  - won the school-wide competition.

“Skiers for Sustainable Slopes” – won the school-wide competition

Our topics were the following:

  • “No Ocean, No Us”
  • “Skiers for Sustainable Slopes”
  • “Cruise Ship Pollution Solution”
  • “Picking Up the Trash”
  • “Wrong Bin, Wrongdoing”


“Cruise Ship Pollution Solution” team

“Cruise Ship Pollution Solution” team

Picking up a strong third place was Will with his original rap. Second place went to our four seventh grade students who educated us on the sustainability of the cruise ship business – Siri, Ellie, Jena and Anastasia. And first place went to students who focused on the sustainability of a local ski resort – Makenzie, Lewis, and Clara.

Our first place team will move on to the region-wide slam, and there’s a chance we’ll be asked to provide a second team as well.

Well done Explorer West!

Students Recognized in Young Playwrights Program

We are so proud of the 7th grade class of students who have all worked with a professional playwright via the ACT Theatre’s Young Playwrights Program (YPP) to create original plays over the past several weeks. On December 8th, all of the schools participating in the program were invited to come to a night of celebration where they announced plays that had been chosen to be read or produced by local theatre groups. It was very exciting to have three Explorer West student plays chosen:

Excited to get her name called.


  • Captured by Karen Casillas-Tapia will be an ACT Theatre 2015 YPP Festival play.
  • The Tree Huggers by Siri Greene will be having a reading at Live Girls.
  • What They Always Needed by June Oto will be having a reading at 12th Night Productions.
David recognized as a teacher in the program.

David recognized as a teacher in the program.

Three other students were recognized with “honorable mentions” for their plays – one of which was read by live actors at the event. Many of the 7th grade students and their families attended along with our drama teacher, David Kelly, and Head of School, Evan Hundley.

More info about The Young Playwrights Program:

Playwright instructor proud of her students.

Playwright instructor proud of her students.

The Young Playwrights Program (YPP), ACT’s flagship education program, sends professional playwright teaching artists into area schools for 10 weeks to teach the basics of playwriting to Puget Sound-area students. ACT’s YPP equips participants with tools for creative self-expression, endowing them with self-confidence and the sense that their ideas—about themselves, their world, and the challenges they face—matter, and their voices will be heard.

Thanks to all of the families who attended the celebration!

Thanks to all of the families who attended the celebration!




Debate Team Places Third!

One of six debate teams in action.

One of six debate teams in action.

Six Explorer West debate teams competed at The Overlake School on December 6th. Debaters took on teams from The Bush School, The Open Window School, Seattle Country Day School, Eastside Prep, University Prep, The Overlake School, and The Soundview School. Explorer West won 10 out of 18 debates, finishing third overall.

The topics were:

  • Standardized tests are accurate representations of students’ learning.
  • The I-90 bridge should be tolled.
  • A little knowledge is a dangerous thing (impromptu topic).

A special thank you also goes out to our parent volunteers who came out and assisted with judging and timekeeping duties. JR Jenkins, Stacia Jenkins, Sabrina Kovacs-Storlie, and Thomas Terance all gave up some of their Saturday to make this happen. Former debate team member and EW Alum Miles Farrow also joined us as an assistant judge! Tim even recruited three fellow board members from the Washington Foundation for the Environment to help out.

Our final debate is scheduled for Saturday, January 31st, 2015.

The topics for the final debate are:

  • The US Penny should be taken out of service.
  • The United States has not done enough to combat ebola.
  • Final Round (top 2 teams overall): Students should be allowed to choose what books they read in English classes.

Six Debate Teams Compete This Saturday

Following a successful first tournament where Explorer West finished tied for third, our debaters will head to The Overlake School on Saturday, December 6. This tournament has three rounds of debates. One impromptu debate will accompany the following debate topics:

  • The I-90 bridge should be tolled.
  • Standardized Tests are accurate representations of students’ learning.

The impromptu debate is a surprise topic that is generally an idiom like, “Blood is thicker than water.” Presently there are 26 students who dutifully sacrifice a lunch period each week to learn about debate and prepare for the tournaments. That’s over 28% of the school!

For this next debate, there are six 3-person teams. These Explorer West teams will take on students from The Overlake School, The Bush School, Seattle Country Day School, Open Window School, University Prep, Soundview School, and Eastside Prep.

Our debates would not be possible without volunteers judges. A special thank you goes out to Explorer West parent and alumni volunteers. Three of Tim’s fellow Washington Foundation for the Environment Board Members are also serving as volunteer judges. Thank you!

Tim Owens Joins WFFE Board

We are pleased to announce that our history teacher, Tim Owens, has joined the Board of Directors for the Washington Foundation for the Environment (WFFE). This organization supports environmental education and innovative projects focused on environmental awareness. Tim is looking forward to being a contributor to an organization that focuses on environmental education. He is one of two educators on the Board – the other is a retired elementary school teacher.

Explorer West at 2013 Environmental Slam.

Tim was selected due to our school’s participation (and leadership) with the Environmental Issues Slam. The Board appreciated the feedback he offered and wants assistance in recruiting other schools specifically for the Environmental Issues Slam. He has no doubt that the majority of his work and input will be around making this program better in the region. Specifically, he will be tasked on how to reach out to high schools and more middle schools.


Find out more about WFFE at:

Congratulations Tim!

Book Fair – December 12

Join us at Barnes & Noble on December 12, 4:00-5:30pm for the 2nd annual Explorer West Book Fair.

Please support the expansion of the Explorer West Middle School library by purchasing books the day of the book fair or anytime in store from 12/12-12/16 (online until 12/17 – by using the voucher number: 11484193.

In addition, during the book fair we will also be providing gift wrapping at B & N to benefit the 8th grade Rome trip. We will be recruiting parent volunteers for the gift wrapping table.

This is a wonderful opportunity to get your holiday shopping done and support Explorer West.

More information available here.

EW 2014 Bookfair Flyer

Thank you!

Family Resource – Seattle App Academy

An Explorer West 6th grade parent, Kevin Brown, has founded Seattle App Academy with the mission to: help kids acquire 21st century skills. They offer classes for middle school aged students that we thought might be of interest to our school community.

Program information:

Seattle App Academy is an independent, all-volunteer organization that is focused on helping our kids develop 21st century skills. We have a state-of-the-art computer lab and teaching facility in West Seattle. We “coach” kids by offering after-school and Saturday classes that cover a variety of topics in three primary areas: Computer Programming, Robotics/Electronics, and Entrepreneurship. We start at a basic level (starting with 4th through 8th graders) and grow to more advanced levels over time.


Next session – Session start date is 12/1/14 and enrollment is open now. 

Open House – The next Open House is November 11, 2014 at 7PM – 4700 42nd Ave. SW, Suite 467 (Jefferson Square above Bartell Drugs)

Please check out their website or contact Kevin for more information:

Kevin Brown, Head Coach, , 206-465-1047

Fall Open Houses

Please join us to “Try Out” Explorer West Middle School during one of our upcoming Open House events:

Oct. 15, 2014 6:30-8:00pm
Nov. 15, 2014 10:00-11:30am 
Dec. 9, 2014 6:30-8:00DSC_6782pm

School Calendar 2014-2015

Calendar 2014-2015