Although no one in the District staff was bothered by the violation of the Policy, when it was pointed out to members of the Board, they took an interest and asked the Superintendent to explain.
The Superintendent initially replied that Policy D12.00 was superseded by other Policies, notably F21.00 and B61.00. I spoke to the Board and showed them, conclusively, that these other Policies not only do not supersede D12.00, they actually confirm it.
The Superintendent then asked the Board to interpret the Policy. The Student Learning Committee concluded that the Policy allowed the expansion of APP to an additional site if the Board conducted a review of the decision, so they wanted to schedule a work session of the whole Board. The Executive Committee, however, decided that this matter did not warrant a work session. The Executive Committee delegated the duty of conducting the Board Review back to the Student Learning Committee.
So the Student Learning Committee will conduct a review of the decision to split the middle school APP students between Washington and Hamilton at their regularly scheduled meeting on February 27 from 4:30 to 6:30. They will determine the format of that review at their next meeting on February 13.
The Student Learning Committee is chaired by Brita Butler-Wall and includes Directors Soriano and Flynn. They will make a number of decisions.
- They will decide whether the Board Review has the authority to reject the decision.
- They will decide whether the Policy requires Board Review AND substantial districtwide enrollment growth or if the Policy requires Review OR substantial districtwide enrollment growth.
- They will decide whether districtwide enrollment growth means program enrollment growth or district enrollment growth.
- If they believe they have the authority to say, they will decide whether to approve or reject the split.
There are about 1,300 students in APP, the program has as many students as a high school.
APP students attend elementary school at Lowell, middle school at Washington, and high school at Garfield.
APP is a community.
Lowell is also overcrowded, but the District deferred a decision on resolving that problem to the end of this year.
The Superintendent proposed dissolving high school APP in his Preliminary Proposal for Reshaping Seattle Public Schools; he later revoked that decision.
While there is strong animosity towards gifted education in Seattle Public Schools, it is highly regarded nearly everywhere else in the country.
Enrollment at Washington is not markedly greater this year than it has been over the past several years. Most of the increase in Washington's enrollment this year is not attributable to APP.
Enrollment in APP has grown in the past few years due to a number of factors including the District's efforts to expand the program through outreach, liberalized eligibility criteria and a liberalized eligibility process, and lost confidence in Spectrum programs and neighborhood schools.
The District spends no general fund money on APP, it is funded by a grant from the State. The grant pays for the eligibility testing, the administration of the program, and professional development for teachers.