Ever since last week's Board meeting at which Raj made an impromptu "clarification" of his Phase II recommendation for Cooper and Pathfinder, there has been great confusion.
The district has still not provided any written information to help clear up the confusion, but a parent has created an audio transcript of a rebroadcast of the sections of the Board meeting that addressed this subject. In the spirit of open communication, it is provided here below.
(Clarification on Phase II re: Pathfinder to relocate to Cooper)
Superintendent Manhas "I want to make a few comments on Phase II not only for the public watching the broadcast on TV, but also some clarification of some of the comments that have been made."
Superintendent Manhas "In order to assist with this transition and merger, I am recommending that both principals remain at the site for the 2007-2008 year..."Both programs will help each other grow so that it's not that one is taking over the other."
"In case we need some additional freestanding facilities we can use some portables for the the Middle school"
(Re Roxhill and Cooper/Pathfinder diversity standpoint)
"I believe ultimately looking at the numbers that they will make a much more balanced diversity once we merge these buildings and these school programs."
Darlene Flynn "Before we go on.. I have some clarifying questions based on what I hear you say, .........Second point that I think it is important to understand has to do with Pathfinder and Cooper. What I am hearing you say sounds like it might be not what has been communicated in the press or communicated in various ways, that Pathfinder will be moving to the Cooper building and people who want can to become part of Pathfinder, but that Pathfinder and Cooper will be creating a new program together and that has impacts on both programs?"
Superintendent Manhas "yes"
Darlene Flynn continues: "The impact is then on both programs, not just on Cooper which is quite a bit different from the impression that the community currently has, and so I want to make sure that I am hearing that from you and that is clear. My follow up question to you would be then, what are we doing to assure that one program doesn't dominate the other in creating the new program in the building?"
Superintendent Manhas "I am directing the principals involved to work together and make sure that it happens."
Sally Soriano "When you use the words that "we will do everything we can for the Cooper students we need to say we will do everything we can for the Pathfinder students as well. Do I hear you right that this is a 50/50 relationship that is going forward, so that as Darlene says one program is not dominating the other program. They are going to merge together and work out what that program will look like. Because that got really got really lost in the newspapers and I talked to Ms. Ferguson tonight and she says that is not the way that your report stated it, but I am still not hearing that and I think it needs to be made really clear.."
Superintendent Manhas "Yeah, I agree with Ms. Soriano. I don't mean it's just one school. Its working together and creating the right school for our kids, our combined kids."
Later quotes by Holly Ferguson "To reiterate what Superintendent Manhas has said..It is our firm commitment and we have said this to the Cooper Principal, and we will also work with the Cooper community, as well as the Pathfinder community.. It is our strong commitment that this not be any sort of takeover.. that this truly be two school program communities getting together and developing what will work for their new student body, and there is no question that the new student bodies will be different..because 2 different programs will be coming together."
(Streaming video online conversation.........)
Brita Butler-Wall (Regarding the new Alt ed policy) "I do have one more comment to make about the school closure issue, and coming out of having worked with the Alternative Education Committee, we did pass a policy that defined Alternative education. Sometimes in the District Alternative Education sort of means K-8 structure because K-8 structure is an alternative to the K-5 structure, but we know from the Alternative ed committee that there is much deeper, more philosophical educational definition than that."
"So I guess in this talk of merging the two programs of Cooper and Pathfinder, one apparently from what parents were testifying may be a Traditional educational experience, versus Pathfinder being an Alternative educational experience. I love the idea of building of a new "3rd" school essentially, educationally but I would want to see that that was being done very carefully. I'm not sure myself exactly how that might work?" So I am looking forward to Ms. Santorno giving us an update on why she might think that that would actually work. If people know what type of educational model really works for their child, I don't think they are going to want to give it up in either direction. So I just really hope we get some more information on the academic changes."
(More discussion about video streaming..)
Michael DeBell "I appreciate your comments about merging programs of different pedagogies Cooper being more traditional and Pathfinder being more alternative. I would echo those same thoughts, but perhaps because Carla is new to the district and doesn't have the same depth of experience, hearing the two principals together might be very useful. I know that they are both talented people and probably since they will share that building for a year have a chance to do something organically that has great possibilities. And just as a follow up on building capacity I am getting a pretty clear sense that portables are a non-desirable outcome to this process. If we had a better understanding of how many classrooms are available and what is our real capacity rather than planning capacity is I think that would be very useful."
Superintendent Manhas: "Our goal is to minimize, temporary but not for permanent until the school can get enrollment.. Especially in the case of Pathfinder and Cooper K-5's for some time coming together will give us that kind of (temporary) bulge."
"And onto the first one, definitely, as (we) I said I have met with the principals of these two schools. I know they are different programs, and we are trying to bring them together. The idea is.. what you said Dr. Butler-Wall is maintain the idea focus of the Alternative schools. And also I talked to the Director there, Ruth Metzker, that she and the principal and the community there have been kind of looking at their, what kind of alternative program they have there, and some soul searching was going on already. So I think it a wise opportunity with the different set of students and principals to kind of join forces and come up what is best for the combined student body there, that is the whole idea there."
Add to that Peter Daniels' comments in a West Seattle Herald article today that "The two programs should be able to coexist in the Cooper building," and you can understand why people are confused!
And, thanks to Amy D-D, here's the link to watch and listen to the whole Board meeting and see what you think.