Friday, September 29, 2006

Cooper/Pathfinder "Clarifying" Remarks "Clarified"

Peter Daniels tried to undo the mess Raj created last week with his impromptu "clarifying" remarks on the Cooper/Pathfinder recommendation. (see Cooper/Pathfinder Confusion)

The result would be funny if it wasn't such a serious issue affecting many teachers, staff and families. The PI article, West Seattle schools 'merger' letters set, gives us these words of wisdom:
"No formal merger is planned"

"the two schools would have to work together to find common ground between the two programs and integrate them"

"see it [Pathfinder] adapt and blend elements from Cooper's traditional K-5 program"

"the resulting school at the Cooper site would still be an alternative K-8 school"

So, it sounds like we have an informal merger, which is really more of an integration with blending. Clear?

The district is promising letters home to parents next week to "clarify" this further. I assume this is the same letter that was promised, but never delivered, this week. It must be difficult to write a letter that can further clarify the already clarified clarification of Raj's recommendation.

8 comments:

jenny said...

I for one feel like my head is going to explode! I wonder if Orca is going through this with their move to Whitworth.

amy d-d said...

All I can do at this point is LOL !!!

Melissa W. said...

Brita Butler-Wall has "office" hours at a coffee shop near me every Monday morning. I had planned on stopping by to talk to her about BEX III but I'll be sure to get her take on this issue.

I think Charlie has mentioned this in the past but Raj is coming up for a performance review. The Board needs to hear about how people feel especially since this communication came straight from Raj. I think he was in his nice guy mode and made things worse. My read on today's article is that the district is trying to artfully find a way to have Pathfinder take over the building while incorporating a very different population with different needs.

Charlie Mas said...

You can talk to Brita, but I don't think that she or the Board have any clearer a vision of what the Superintendent has planned for Pathfinder at Cooper than we do.

The important points, I believe, are these:

1) Pathfinder at Cooper will NOT have a reference area. It will not be a neighborhood school and no one new students seeking a traditional experience will enroll there.

2) There is no way that Pathfinder will be able to quickly assimilate all of the Cooper students and teachers into their culture. As a result, the Pathfinder culture will be altered by the introduction of the Cooper students and teachers.

3) There are some Cooper students with academic needs that Pathfinder has never seen, or has never seen in these numbers. Pathfinder will be altered as it addresses these students and their needs.

4) Just being in a different space will alter Pathfinder.

5) The presence of the Cooper students and teachers, the new space, and the change will alter the sort of families who enroll their children at Pathfinder after this.

6) There will be no legacy Cooper students in the kindergarten classes and, as the years go by, the legacy Cooper students will fade away. Within a few years they will all either be gone or impossible to identify.

Finally, the Superintendent is not a good communicator - he's not even an adequate communicator. It is difficult to determine what he said and impossible to determine what he meant by what he said. We can be pretty sure that whatever he said, he didn't mean it. It is fruitless to try to derive meaning from most of the drivel he spouts.

Perhaps Peter Daniels can smooth this horrible misstatement into nothing more than a recognition that Pathfinder at Cooper will be different from Pathfinder at Genesee Hill. This is as it must be following a change of place, a large influx of new students, and the introduction of so many FRE, bilingual, and special education students.

Anonymous said...

As a Pathfinder parent, I and many of us, can see that this is a great proposal. Call it a merger, call it anything you want. Let’s face it, when Pathfinder with its 400 kids, large group of active, dynamic teachers, and financially well off-PTSA roll in, there will be next to nothing of Cooper left. Maybe a few teachers from Cooper will stick around for a year or two, but are they really going to want to be the one or two traditional teachers in a school of 20 or so alternative ed folks? There may be a few Cooper families stay, but why would they? They obviously want a traditional program, and they will have first shot at all the other schools around. This is a win for Pathfinder, even if it is a so-called 50/50 merger.

Roy Smith said...

Will Cooper kids have priority in being assigned to other reference area schools? My understanding is that this is one of the many unclarified points in this proposal. Unless something addressing this came out of the board meeting tonight, that is ...

Beth Bakeman said...

Yes, the proposal has enrollment priority for Cooper kids in other schools.

However, I disagree with almost everything else the anonymous Pathfinder parent said.

This proposal, if it goes through, will likely alter the Pathfinder program beyond recognition, with changes in staffing, focus, and approach to education. Not a "win" for Pathfinder according to teachers, staff and the principal.

Anonymous said...

What about enrollment priority for any Pathfinder kid who doesn't want to stay?