Wednesday, August 01, 2007

If I were King

This talk about creating a new high school at Lincoln has got me thinking. What edicts would I issue if I wielded absolute authority over program placement?

I think that I would use half of Lincoln for an 800 seat comprehensive high school. While this school would draw from the immediate area, it would provide the additional capacity needed for Queen Anne/Magnolia families at Ballard and Laurelhurst families at Roosevelt. It would be the natural choice for students coming out of Hamilton. It may have to be bigger than 800; we'll see. In the other half of the building I would put Summit K-12. Summit is an all-city draw and it should have a central location with good transporation access.

I would use the BEX III money allocated to Hale to rebuild Hale on the Jane Addams site. I have heard that the soil under Hale is not stable enough for 50-year construction, but the soil under Jane Addams, across the street, is stable enough. The Hale students will remain at Hale until their new school is ready. This means that the construction could begin as soon as Summit were moved to Lincoln. If the Jane Addams site isn't big enough, then some of the elements of the school could remain on the Hale side of the street.

Once it is a high school and home to Summit, Lincoln won't be available for use as an interim site, but Hale would be (in a couple years) and so would Wilson-Pacific. Hamilton students could use Wilson-Pacific as their interim site while their building is renovated.

I would use the BEX III money allocated to a K-8 at SouthShore and apply it to fixing up John Marshall for use as a special needs high school. I would house the Secondary B.O.C. and the programs currently at Marshall. The district says that they are closing Marshall because the space is under-utilized, so the solution is to utilize it. These are all-city draw programs and they need a central location with good transportation access.

I would fix up Columbia, make the AAA into a K-5, and put it there. The middle school of AAA should be closed - it isn't working. We need to be able to acknowledge failure - this is what it looks like. Plus, the school is SERIOUSLY under-enrolled and not making good use of the space. The AAA, as a K-5, can be housed at Rainier View while the work is done at Columbia.

I would put the New School in the AAA's building. The building is perfect for them. Why build a new K-8 when this one is sitting right there underenrolled? Does the District even own that Southshore property or is it owned by the City?

Speaking of that, I would move the Center School (enrollment: 284) from the Seattle Center to Old Hay. It is CRAZY for the District to pay rent when we cannot find tenants for some of our buildings. The Center School facility has been a SNAFU from day one. I only wish we could recover some of the millions that were pissed away on that property. To tell the truth, I'm not all that sure that I would even keep the Center School.

After the District changes the assignment plan for middle schools so that each student as only one reference area school, I would house APP grades 5-8 (550) at Meany along with a Spectrum program for all middle school Spectrum students south of the Ship Canal. The Spectrum students would get there on the APP buses. I would put APP grades 1-4 at McDonald. It has a central location with good transportation access and it is closer to the center of gravity of APP homes. Students could share buses with Summit students going to Lincoln.

Relocating APP would free up much of Lowell and 600 seats at Washington. The students now at Meany (497) could easily fit in the newly available space at Washington. The space at Lowell would allow the closure of Montlake and TT Minor.

Depending on how the high school reference area thing breaks out, I would be sorely tempted to find a new location for high school APP (400) to allow more room at Garfield. Candidates would include the new Lincoln high school (instead of Summit) and an academy at Cleveland. Another way to go would be for Garfield to expand its capacity by annexing the Horace Mann building (current home of NOVA) across the street. If NOVA were displaced it could go into Cleveland as an academy there, or into Lincoln or Marshall. I just thought of that idea this moment, so I'm not ready to issue a royal proclamation just yet. Also, the space at Garfield may not be needed.

Finally, I would allocate some BEX III money to renovate Fairmount Park for use by Pathfinder. I would seriously consider re-locating Gatewood to the Fairmount Park building and re-purposing Gatewood as Pathfinder because Gatewood is in a more forested location and the closure of Fairmount Park leaves a lot of territory without a school between the West Seattle North schools and the West Seattle South schools.

Down the road, I would be looking at re-developing Rainier View as middle school and I want to know more about the land that the District already owns at Interbay and the possibility of building a comprehensive high school there. I would also want to open discussions with Paul Allen, The Seattle Times, and the University of Washington about the possibility of creating schools in South Lake Union and Cascade.

Some funds for new land purchases could come from the sale of Montlake, Magnolia, M L King, and Gennesse Hill. I think we would hold onto TT Minor and Rainier View in case we wanted them as locations for middle schools or, in the case of TT Minor, special programs.

Of course, there may be any number of reasons why some of these moves would prove impractical or even impossible. They would all face resistance. But that's the beauty of fantasizing about having absolute authority; I don't have to worry about some of that. Feedback isn't really necessary since it is just pie in the sky. But I would like to know what other ideas are out there. What would you do if you had absolute authority over program placement? What schools programs and buildings would you shift around or re-purpose?

97 comments:

Anonymous said...

Move Summit K-12 in with a high school. How many parents sending their 5 years olds off to kindergarten do you think would be OK with 800 high schoolers sharing their building?

Summit is a k-12 but has a home grown high school population. Not to mention they only have a bout 150 high school students total.

I can't see this working, though I do like the idea of using Lincoln as a comprehensive HS. Perhaps it could accomodate a HS APP program for north end kids. Relieving some space at Garfield for more QA families to attend? I think Summit should move into Wilson Pacific, and it's bilding used for a north end middle school. Even though Eckstein is taking 1250 kids (largest MS in the state!!), we can all agree that this is far from ideal. Alot of N. end families turn to private school because of it.

Keep Nathan Hale on the BEX as scheduled for the 25 year re-build.

Roy Smith said...

Summit fought off the idea of being moved into Wilson Pacific a mere two years ago. I am not personally familiar with the details, but the central problem cited was that the building simply didn't have adequate space/and or configuration to support the Summit program.

Anonymous said...

Their argument was the state of disrepair Wilson Pacific is in.

They have a legitimate complaint. The district must maintain their buildings.

Summit does not fill the Jane Adams building. They enroll about 780 kids, but the school can hold close to 1100. With the over crowding in the NE cluster this hardly seems justifiable. Summit will have to move or grow to fill their space. Since growth has not happened for them, moving will be their only option.

Anonymous said...

Hale, should grow their capacity too. Especially after their remodel. I know they want their "academy" and "small school" environment. But you can't do that when Roosevelt has been forced to take an extra 150 kids (1700 total now??) and has 400 kid waitlist. We have to be realistic. Can't complain about overcrowding when we are not even filling our buildings to capacity.

Roy Smith said...

They enroll about 780 kids, but the school can hold close to 1100.

Or it can hold 2,200 if we double shift ... or maybe 900 is Summit is allowed to keep things like a dance studio and dedicated art rooms in the elementary school level, which they might view as being an integral part of their program.

My only point here is to say (again) that capacity numbers be used can justify almost anything depending on the assumptions used to create those numbers.

Anonymous said...

The district found that there was enough room in Summit to allow AEII to move into the top floor, and there would still be space leftover. How can you justify the excess (and by all district measurements there is a plenty of excess) when the NE cluster is soooooo overcrowded. Your ideals are sometimes so off center. I know you are a strong supporter of alt ed but come on, you have to be realistic sometime.

Anonymous said...

Why do you think Summit is always in the hot seat when it is time to close or merge schools? It is because of all of their excess capacity. You never hear of Eckstein being moved, closed, merged etc., because they efficiently use their space. Summit was a traditional middle school that housed almost 1600 students at one time (without portables). While I don't like overcrowding a school, I can't justify the huge amount of excess space that they have now. The district says that they can easily take 1100 kids. That seems like a realistic figure. How can we ask Eckstein to take 1250 kids, have tons of permanent portables, have a huge waitlist (read: turn kids away), when Summit sits half full?

classof75 said...

I feel sad for parents who are afraid of high school students. Its been my experience, that while upper elementary students can certainly be very squirrely- & that middle school students can be in the upper stratosphere, but high school students are often very responsible, mature & caring, especially when those behaviors are modeled and valued.

Summit recently had 29 students graduating- 8 who had attended since kindergarten. However- in 6th grade- they have 3x that many. When my daughter attended grade school at Summit- she had a great experience with mentors in the high school- they often were not students who had also attended Summit in elementary, but students looking for a smaller environment for high school.
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/
localnews/2003747137_summiteers14m.html


Many Summit students opt for a larger more comprehensive high school experience, even if they have been there since grade school-this opens up seats for students who are looking for a smaller experience which is why so many students in the high school may take some re-adjustment to a smaller calmer environment, but that isn't saying it can't be done.

The estimation of about 150 students in the high school, is probably pretty accurate- numbers from OSPI for 2005 is at 658.

While high school students can take electives with middle school students- expanding the opportunities for both- this is still limitied &I think both aspects of the student body would be better served with more choices.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry this is somewhat off-topic but I've been wanting to ask this question and thought this thread was as good an opportunity as any. When do contributors to this blog believe the assignment plan for elementary will be completed. I'm sure I'm like many parents with kids beginning kindergarten in 2008 - and beyond - who would like to know what rules we'll be applying by come February. It seems reasonable to me that the ground should be laid-out by, say, September for the coming year's kids, but the rhetoric from the district suggests a plan may be put in place quite late and still be implemented "immediately".

Any ideas what to expect?

Anonymous said...

"I feel sad for parents who are afraid of high school students. Its been my experience, that while upper elementary students can certainly be very squirrely- & that middle school students can be in the upper stratosphere, but high school students are often very responsible, mature & caring"

I agree that many high school students are responsible, caring and mature. However,there are many who are not. Many curse, smoke, experiment and talk openly about experimenting with alcohol, are promiscuous, some are experimenting with drugs, some with very serious drugs like meth.

My teen went to Salmon Bay for middle school. We heard complaints all year from the elementary kids parents that being exposed to cursing, boyfriend/girlfriend holding hands and even kissing was not acceptable. Most of the behavior was fairly typical for middle school, but highly offensive to the elementary families.

I just don't think 5 year olds and teens co-habitate well. But thats just my opinion

classof75 said...

Re:our experience at Summit- I didn't have a kindergartener there- but that was because that no seattle public school would have been appropriate- she has special needs- and a class of 30 would have been undoable.

However she did start in early elementary.
Elementary school is on the ground floor- while at Summit the entire school started at 9 am, most areas high schools start earlier & I would suggest that for continuity with other programs the middle & high school begin earlier.

Except for dedicated instruction- reading buddies etc- elementary school didn't commonly interact with high school. They didn't have lunch at the same time- etc.

It was a treat however, as a parent of a primary student to get to see performances of the middle and high school and to have something to look forward too.

I understand that some high school students have inappropriate behavior.( so do some middle and elementary students) However, that behavior would be inappropriate if they were in the neighborhood, if they were in a high school or housed in a K-12.

In a K-12, there are many more adults around as role models, serving as reading coaches, helping with art instruction, driving on field trips. These adults who may be there to supervise a 5th grade class, or to help a upper school art project, provide more adult supervision than your "typical" high school.

We need to set clear standards and have accountability for the actions of students- I understand if a parent of a 5 year old, is uncomfortable with their kindergartener being in the same building with 15 year olds.

If so, then a K-12 alternative school probably wouldnt make it onto their list of top choices.

Anonymous said...

A lot of the issues that we had at Salmon Bay between the younger and older students happened on the bus. They rode the bus together an hour each way, with no supervision (bus driver was ineffective).

It's not only inappropriate behavior, it's developmentally different behavior.

I would never choose a k-12 alternative school. Especially since many of the high school students choose alternative Summit because they had issues (many behavioral) and feel like it is a soft place to land. When we looked at the school, the principal told us they nicknamed the water shed across the street "happy trails" because all of the HS students went their to get stoned at lunch. While elementary kids have behavior issues, most of them aren't getting stoned at lunch. Just too big of a developmental gap for my comfort.

Anonymous said...

Reopen Lowell to general education students, splitting the APP program to more than one site. Start a second MS APP program at Hamilton, focused on humanities/languages/civics, refocus the Washington APP program on math/science. Create a second APP high school site at Ballard, focused on math/science/biotech, refocus the Garfield APP program on humanities/languages/civics.

Close the Pinehurst and Genesse Hill buildings, giving the AS #1 and Pathfinder programs an opportunity to either accept existing avialable space (i.e. for Pathfinder Fairmount Park or Hughes) or find another program to share space with.

Relocate the Center School to the Old Hay building, and move the SBOC to the RB campus.

classof75 said...

When we looked at the school, the principal told us they nicknamed the water shed across the street "happy trails" because all of the HS students went their to get stoned at lunch.

Wow- that is really unacceptable- but I suppose they still have the same security staff as they did when we were there, so not surprising.
If students abuse their ability to go off campus, by breaking the law, it should be a no brainer to make a closed campus.

My child was there for 6 years with three different principals.
Now that we are at a school with a focused strong principal with the ability to work with parents/students/staff, it is amazing how much difference that makes.

I hope that G-J will have staff to evaluate people and positions and help find appropriate places for them.

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 11:34

Re: Pathfinder "accept" space at Hughes or Fairmont Park.

Pathfinder facilities committee did a great deal of work working with the facilities and closures task force staff and found that Fairmont Park and Hughes were not large enough to accomodate the only K-8 Alternative School in W Seattle - oh they we wished they were. Certainly was not a case of "non-acceptance."

Leslie

Anonymous said...

This is that if I were King thread, but if you want a debate, I will give you one.

What is your If I were Queen vision for the Pathfinder physcial space?

I completely disagree with the idea that either the Hughes or FP site cannot be repurposed to meet Pathfinder's needs.

Also, I think it is premature to assume that Pathfider is going to be a K-8 program long term. I is bleeding middle schoolers as it is, and I don't think it is about just being in portables, it is lack of access to challenging and deverse electives. As the middle school offerings in West Seattle improve, the viability of Patherfinder as a K-8 is questionable.

If Hugehs or FR are unacceptable to the Pathfinder community, and the prior proposals for relcocation proposed in both 2005 and 2006 were unacceptable to the School Board and the public at large, then Pathfinder to be proactive about its future and start proposing solutions.

My point is that a new building in an area where there is excess space is an excess waste of money, repurpose the existing buildings, particularly as the program is most viable at the K-5 level.

Anonymous said...

Love the idea of moving the Center School into the old Haye. Is there room for it to grow into a more traditional school in that building?

I also love the idea of splitting the APP program, and getting it out of Grarfield. I love the idea of making Lincoln a comprehensive HS. APP could share HS space with Lincoln, and MS space with Hamilton. Then APP would serve both North and South ends, kid's wouldn't have to be on the bus for hours just to get APP services, and space would free up space at Garfiel for QA kids.

Roy Smith said...

I just don't think 5 year olds and teens co-habitate well. But thats just my opinion

I find it a bit scary that we have a society in which people are generally afraid of teens being a bad influence on 5 year olds.

If a lot of teens are really as bad as all that, I am not sure I want my teenager (when I have one in a few years) to be around these other teenagers, let alone let my five-year be around them. This really seems to be a classic case of setting low or negative expectations and having children fully live down to those expectations. We (as a society) expect teenagers to be out of control and to not be able to act appropriately around other age groups; then we bemoan the fact that some of them are living down to that expectation.

Maybe we should start expecting teenagers to behave appropriately around other people, whatever their age group. Is that so difficult?

Anonymous said...

Simply expecting other peoples teens to behave appropriately is just not real world Roy. We have extremely high expectations for our own teen, but unfortunately, many people do not. Even in our little sheltered world in middle class North Seattle, we see our freinds dealing with all kinds of issues with their teens. When we toured AS1 there were cigarette butts all over near the front entrance of the building, teens making out in the hall, crazy hair, and piercings. I just don't want my 5 year old exposed to that. And, I think judging by the fact that Summit is the only k-12, I think most people do not want that. You can argue all you want, it won't change my mind. Luckily, in Seattle there are alternative schools for those of you who do want that type of environment for your 5 year old. For the rest of us k-5 work very well.

Anonymous said...

One more mention:
Nice Sheltered, alternative, Salmon Bay had a major issue with teens cutting themselves while my son was in 6th grade. Last year in 7th grade we received a letter informing us that the "strangulation game" had caught on, and many kids were experimenting with cutting off their oxygen until they passed out.

Is this really the environment you want your 5 year old in??? Don't they deserve to be sheltered just a little bit longer, until we dump them into these types of situations. While a centered teen may be able to deal with these situations in a mature (enough) fashion, a 5 year old certainly is not prepared to do so.

Roy Smith said...

Simply expecting other peoples teens to behave appropriately is just not real world Roy.

Its not appropriate for a school to enforce appropriate behavior for all children, regardless of age?

When we toured AS1 there were cigarette butts all over near the front entrance of the building, teens making out in the hall, crazy hair, and piercings.

In your view, is this appropriate behavior for middle schoolers? If it is not, then the problem is the school, not the age range.

Salmon Bay had a major issue with teens cutting themselves while my son was in 6th grade. Last year in 7th grade we received a letter informing us that the "strangulation game" had caught on, and many kids were experimenting with cutting off their oxygen until they passed out.

Is this really the environment you want your 5 year old in???


No, and I wouldn't want my 6th or 7th grader in that environment, either. Again, it is the school not enforcing appropriate behavior, not the age range, which is the problem.

I have no problem with having a 5 year old in a K-8 or even a K-12 if appropriate behavior at all ages is enforced. On the other hand, I don't want my child in a middle school or a high school where appropriate behavior is not enforced. And finally, because I know somebody is going to bring it up, in my view AS#1 is a school where appropriate behavior is expected and enforced. Not everybody (or maybe even most people) agrees with me on what constitutes "appropriate" behavior, and thats fine - I'm not asking you to send your kids there. To each his own.

My real point is that, assuming appropriate behavior, whatever that means to you, is expected and enforced at a school, I don't really understand the fear of mixing ages. If a middle schooler or high schooler is consistently allowed to behave inappropriately with no intervention, I don't want my child in that environment, regardless of whether my child is a high schooler or a kindergartner.

If you are not comfortable with allowing elementary school students to be in the same environment as, for example, a representative sample of students from Roosevelt High School, then why would you feel comfortable sending your high school student to be in that environment? I wouldn't.

Anonymous said...

I completely agree with the comments about the problems of housing high-schoolers with elementary kids. However, they apply just as much to the K-12 nature of Summit itself.

Why not split Summit into a K-5 and 6-12 or a K-8 and a 9-12?

classof75 said...

Mayber I have a different perspective because my kids are 8 years apart.

So when my eldest was in 5th grade- my youngest was two . Although I had tried to get my oldest enrolled in Summit when she was in kindergarten/first grade- it was a very popular school, and she was put on the waitlist.

By the time her sister was admitted in third grade, the older was well entrenched into a 6-12 school & in 11th grade- too late to switch schools just so I could have them at the same one.

It isn't the age it is the behavior & how the parents deal with it.
If you don't want your 5 year old to see adolescents holding hands or doing inappropriate things- what do you think will happen?

Do you think observing behaviors by kids on the street will make them forget all the parenting that they have recieved up to that point?

I agree that our district doesn't have the demand for more than one K-12. But K-8s are certainly very popular & while kids need parenting through their late teen years-there isn't a magic doorway that 13-14 yr olds exit that makes their behavior all of a sudden unimaginable for younger kids to witness.

Kindergarteners are only at school a couple hours a day anyway- what are they doing the rest of the time- hanging out at the woodland park zoo?
Oh wait- that reminds me of the parents who wanted staff to get the giraffes to stop their mating behavior, cause his kids could see.
Right.

Anonymous said...

Expect the school to police teen behavior?? That's not even close to realistic. Perhaps their could be consequences for inappropriate behavior at school, but to expect that with a little rule enforcement teens will no longer exibit any inappropriate behavior is dilusional.

Every school, Roosevelt, Garfield, and AS1 has drug issues, alcohol issues, teen promiscuity, etc. It is a fact. Your rainbow and butterfly ideals are not going to change that. I trust (though am not disillusioned in any way) that I will have raised my teen to be able to navigate these issues when they are exposed to them. I do not trust my 5 year old to be able to navigate, or even comprehend these issues. Big, big difference. We can't shelter our teens from their peer group, but we can shelter our 5 year olds from situations that are not developemnetally appropriate for them. I know AS1 has that mixed age (3rd-8th) grade class, and that you support these mixed age environments. I just don't. Nor do most people, thus separate elementary, middle and high schools. In addition, there is not one parent I know that LIKES the k-8 model. They choose them because middle school is so dismal in seattle and a k-8 is sometimes the less of the two evils. But everyone I know who chooses them does not like the mixed age. Including Salmon Bay parents where the mix is said to work fairly smoothly.

anonymous at 10:55 said...

Every school, Roosevelt, Garfield, and AS1 has drug issues, alcohol issues, teen promiscuity, etc. It is a fact.

MOTO.

I do not trust my 5 year old

Hmmm .... that says a lot.

to be able to navigate, or even comprehend these issues.

Do you also not trust them to look to their parents or teachers for guidance when confronted with unfamiliar situations? Are you expecting that if your 5 year old is around teenagers, then they will be offered sex, drugs, and alcohol? Wow, those are some evil scary teenagers out there, and its a big bad scary world, too ...

98112 said...

If I were Queen, I'd create a centrally located, highly rigorous, 6-12 program where younger kids had options to take more advanced classes with older kids. I'd put 6-12 APP, 6-12 Spectrum, 6-12 IB, and 6-12 general ed in that building, and offer lots of academic, technology, and arts electives. I'd put it downtown, so all areas of town would have good bus access.

Roy Smith said...

Expect the school to police teen behavior?? That's not even close to realistic.

Actually, that's not only realistic, its expected.

Perhaps there could be consequences for inappropriate behavior at school, but to expect that with a little rule enforcement teens will no longer exibit any inappropriate behavior is delusional.

No, mis-behavior will never be completely eliminated, but it can be kept to a manageable level, and the expectations and standards can be clearly communicated and understood by everyone.

We can't shelter our teens from their peer group,

Why would we want to?

but we can shelter our 5 year olds from situations that are not developmentally appropriate for them.

I'm not sure what you mean by this. Can you describe a behavior that would be appropriate for a middle schooler or high schooler to display in school that would be inappropriate for a kindergartner to witness?

In addition, there is not one parent I know that LIKES the k-8 model. They choose them because middle school is so dismal in seattle and a k-8 is sometimes the less of the two evils. But everyone I know who chooses them does not like the mixed age.

I actually agree that the demand for more K-8s is driven not be desire for K-8 education, but by fear of SPS middle schools, which really throws into question whether or not creating more K-8s is appropriate. Maybe what really needs to be done is to fix the problems at the middle schools.

Snarky said...

98112: "I'd create a centrally located, highly rigorous, 6-12 program where younger kids had options to take more advanced classes with older kids."

Can't do that, you might expose 6th graders to 12th grade behavior that they wouldn't be able to deal with. And the school wouldn't have any power to do anything to deal with it.[/sarcasm]

Anonymous said...

An Anonymous (at 10:17) said "there is not one parent I know that LIKES the k-8 model"

I do. I remember being a little concerned when my son started at TOPS: the middle schoolers looked so BIG and some of them dressed strangely. But now his class is going into 8th grade and I can see them in 3 1/2 dimensions: they are the same kids they were when they were five, only with facial hair and makeup. Sometimes their behaviors can be challenging, but in a K-8 the teachers and administrators are much more likely to catch them and call them on it (I don't know what's going on at Salmon Bay). The middle schoolers are at their sweetest with their K-3rd grade buddies, and given their schedules and the way the building is designed, they really don't see each other alot. I think K-8 is good for all of the kids.

I can't speak to K-12. I would think that the academic limitations for the high schoolers (given a small cohort size) would be the real issue. Lots of private schools have K-12 CAMPUSES. Just because K-12 are in same location doesn't mean that the different ages even see each other much.

How do parents at Blaine, AAA, Madrona and Pathfinder feel? (and maybe more perspective from Salmon Bay and AS1?).

Do any of you with these K-12 concerns actually HAVE older kids, or are you all just watching them from the outside?

Maureen

Charlie Mas said...

I had hoped that this thread would be a brainstorming sort of thread with more original statements and less feedback and responses, but there's no controlling that sort of thing.

I will say, as I have said in the past, that the District's practice of deferring maintenance in their buildings until the facility in uninhabitable is not a good policy or practice. Consequently, when the District dismisses proposals for uses for buildings such as Wilson-Pacific, Marshall, McDonald, Old Hay, and others by saying that the buildings are not functional, that is no excuse. The District then needs to spend the capital to make them functional.

That's not a reason to dismiss the proposal, that's a reason to repair the building.

There seems to be some consensus that Summit should move to a right-sized building in a central location. I suggested half of Lincoln. That would give the school room for growth. Lincoln is so big that it can house two schools without mixing them.

Wilson-Pacific is neither right-sized nor centrally located. If the school fought a proposal for that, then good for them. It would have been a stupid move.

Do Summit high school students take any classes at Hale across the street? Do any Hale students come to Summit for classes? Would Summit high school students take classes at a co-located comprehensive high school at Lincoln? Would Lincoln students take any Summit classes? Only to the extent that the school's decided that they should. That would be a site-based decision.

An alternative configuration would be for Summit to have all of Marshall. In that case, the Marshall programs and the Secondary BOC could go in the other half of Lincoln along with the 800-seat comprehensive high school. Again, the opportunity for mixing students would be a site-based decision. Again, the building is big enough to keep the populations almost completely separate.

In either case, Wilson-Pacific could be the interim site for Hamilton, or, if that is unacceptable, then Jane Addams would be the interim site and the construction for Hale (regardless of the construction site) wouldn't be accelerated by two years.

I saw some good ideas. Yes, they present obstacles, but not insurmountable ones.

The SBOC could go at Rainier Beach, but we need to think about how to serve all of the southeast high school students under the new assignment plan. I know that Beach is seriously under-enrolled right now, but there are 1,840 students who live closer to that campus than any other. We need to assure access to that school for as many of them as possible.

There is a lot of benefit that could be realized by re-purposing Lowell as a neighborhood school. The idea was put forward to split elementary APP north/south. It should be noted that many in the community oppose that idea. There aren't any schools in the north with 250 empty seats, so it would probably have to go to McDonald (capacity 347) where is could co-house with a pre-school of some kind or, if we really wanted to fill the building, with a fully enrolled Spectrum program.

Which school in the south could be the APP school? The 200 or so students could fit into the available space at Leschi (capacity 413, enrollment 207). If it went there, then the now tiny Spectrum program at Leschi would probably grow to a fully enrolled program. That would only leave a about 100 seats - if any - for the school's general education program. It might not be enough for a viable program. Fortunately about 100 of the general education kids at Leschi could fit into the available space at Thurgood Marshall. The only question is whether Leschi is too hard to reach by bus to be a half-city draw.

The District proposed splitting APP middle school but backed away from the plan for two excellent reasons:
1) They discovered that it wasn't necessary
2) They discovered that they don't have the necessary resources to build a program

There was no proposal this year to split high school APP. That has not so far been seen as necessary or desirable.

The separate focus for each school - presuming that choice was part of that mix - would go a long way to address community concerns about splitting the cohort.

I think it presents challenges to try to add over 200 middle school students to a north-end schools when they are perceived to be short on space, and taking 200 seats at Ballard away from neighborhood students presents a special challenge. The 400 high school APP students could be half of the 800-student program at Lincoln, I suppose, but then I'm not sure it would leave enough room for all of the neighborhood students that we need to accomodate.

Another solution could be to put APP at Marshall. Marshall could be home to APP 1-8 or to APP 6-12. It would be hard to provide the full range of middle and high school classes at Marshall for just 400 students in each grade level. It would also represent a political challenge.

Other proposed solutions for APP have included:

1) A north-end APP/Spectrum 1-8 at Wilson-Pacific and a south-end APP/Spectrum 1-8 at Meany.

2) APP 1-4 at McDonald and APP 5-8 at Marshall along with a 300 student general education program.

3) APP 1-8 at Lincoln co-hosued with Summit 1-12

Anonymous said...

I admit- that parents of young children have a different perspective.

I remember almost 15 years ago- when we were looking at middle schools for my oldest.
There was one we really liked- but it was OMG on Capitol Hill!
It also required 11 year olds to walk on the streets from building to building. [eyeroll]Past the police station and liquor store.
Across from the middle school was a "gay" restaurant!
My daughter walked past the Crypt!
Read the Stranger!

But still just try to get your kids in there and pay $$$$$ for the privledge.

She didn't attend private schools because we were afraid of SPS, but she had already attended private elementary & the only public school we liked, TOPS , was both hard to get into and I felt that it would be easier for her to start at the same grade as everyone else.

I like the K-8s- I feel it is important for there to be strong community support for middle school students- I also like mixed grade classrooms.
http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/jamieson/
274906_robert22.html

High school mentors are important to elementary school students.
At my oldests school, the 7th grade tutors every week for an hour at TT Minor, it is a positive relationship.

Both my kids worked as counseling interns at Camp Sealth in high school- with younger kids- this summer , even with preschool age.

I notice many teens running day camp programs and supervising kids at the parks- when my oldest worked at Carkeek- ( as a college student) she had helpers that were in high school.

There is no end to the positive examples that teens are setting in our community.
Our kids are not just our 5 year olds- they are also our 15 year olds. While I respect someones phobia, of exposing her 5 year old to unpredictable behavior- I hope that she is still able to help her child learn to trust herself, instead of teaching her that teens are to be feared

Anonymous said...

I keep hearing that a letter sent home from Salmon Bay re: a strangling game is a sign that they let bad behavior happen, don't pay attention, or whatever. It seems to me that it actually might mean they were on top of it and clueing in clueless parents about it? Surely this "game" wasn't only happening at school...

classof75 said...

Do Summit high school students take any classes at Hale across the street?
They have in the past- however- dependent on space- and since the school day is not aligned, it is more difficult- not as many kids are able to take classes at Hale as would like to
Do any Hale students come to Summit for classes?
Again, schedule is not aligned, but some . Both schools do have Running Start students however.
Would Summit high school students take classes at a co-located comprehensive high school at Lincoln?
IMO the main reason why so many students leave Summit after middle school, including my daughter, is because of lack of course selection- especially in sciences and perceived, lack of rigor.

If that could be supported, by expanding high school offerings, I think more students would stay.
( there are Summit high school students, who participate on Hale sports teams- this is another reason that co- location could be a big plus for the high school kids)

Would Lincoln students take any Summit classes?
Summit does have some unique programs- Steel drum for example is easy to learn and a way for students to participate in a music performance without years of music instruction and rental.
They have also had Hale students ( former Summit students) come and teach classes ( with a supervised teacher) that were very well received. Some students are awfully talented :)

Also- from the perspective of a parent whose child was both a mentee at Summit & a mentor, there is a lot to be learned from both roles. As many teachers can tell you, one way to find the gaps in your learning is trying to teach it to someone else. While you are helping to tutor someone, you are also strengthening your own understanding.
We have fond memories of her reading tutor in 3rd grade, and when she was in middle school- her 3rd grade buddies idolized her, which was a new experience for her & possibly opened the door to think about herself in a new way.

I think there are certainly some exciting possiblities about reconfiguring an alternative school.

98112 said...

How about 1-8 APP at Madrona, co-housed with an improved neighborhood school?

That might go a long way to addressing the neighborhood's concerns about the quality of that school.

There's excess capacity in the building, so by adding a program and beefing up the exisitng program, you might be able to avoid political issues about displacing anyone. There's good bus service, including a direct route from Queen Anne. It's a nice building. And, Brita said her daughter was in APP in that building once upon a time, so there's a history of housing it there. Why not put it back? This would free up Lowell as a neighborhood school for all those Capitol Hill and Eastlake kids who can't get into Steven's and Montlake, and make room for neighborhood kids at Washington.

classof75 said...

Broad view Thompson was a junior high school
So was Wilson Pacific I believe.
Jane Addams was a junior high
James Monroe was a junior high school

Most districts have easily twice as many junior high schools or middle schools as high schools.

We have 12 high schools- two that hold a small # of students and a couple more than only enroll a small # of students

We have only 10 dedicated middle schools- but 57 elementary schools?

How would the numbers look if we added 6th grade to elementary school?
I liked that the 6th grade was in the elementary school at Summit.
I think we should look at what communities need. IF a community has underenrolled elementary schools, but crammed full middle schools- why not have middle school be 7th & 8th grade?

Why did we switch to middle schools instead of junior high schools?

Was that a curriculum decision? or did we need the 9th grade in the high schools to fill them up?

Anonymous said...

No offense to you kings and queens who want to repurpose Lowell for a neighborhood school for Montlake/Eastlake, but as a parent who lives in that area, my king dream would include no such change. Lowell is outside of most of our walkzones. A much more desirable dream is to make a bit more of Seward School (TOPS) available to us. That is walkable.

Also, I am a King who, unlike previous posters, likes the K-8 model. My conservative family sent my sister and I to a K-8 and we had great experiences. We would welcome being assigned to a K-8 school.

Anonymous said...

7/8th grade would still be over crowded and have to accomodate those children. It would just be a shorter two years, instead of 3. Doesn't really solve anything. Shorline still does k-6, 7-8, 9-12. I personally like this model, but don't see how it would make things better in Seattle. Complicating it further, in the NE where I live, no elementary school has excess capacity to house 6th grade, except Summit.

Charlie Mas said...

To answer 98112's question, yes, there is a history of APP at Madrona. I'm sorry to report, however, that the history is bad.

It proved an exceptionally bad idea to co-house elementary APP with a population so different from APP racially, economically, and academically. It was a freaking disaster. It was the current trouble there, but on steriods. Imagine the current situation at Madrona but with the White students in separate classrooms. Yikes!

I know that Eastlake/Montlake families want TOPS as their reference area school. I encourage you to continue working for that. In the meantime, while that just ain't on the menu, perhaps you could consider taking half a loaf.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Charlie, you make me dizzy but a couple of thoughts.

-Okay, so Facilities says their plan for Lincoln is one more year for Garfield, then Hamilton, then Hale and, if they are true to what they said, Ingraham. That's a long time off for any other use. Charlie pointed out other places these students could go in the interim. Possibly but then Facilities might have to admit that someone outside their department actually had a good idea. Not their way. (Yes, I do mean that in a sarcastic way - again, nice people but it's their way or the highway.)

Some of the ideas you floated, Charlie, like Hale moving to Summit for more stability (and cost savings in that we would end up spending money on a 50-year building, not a 25-year building that is still sitting on a bog) and moving AAA elsewhere to a location they could fill and having South Shore K-8 move into the AAA building were ideas I suggested earlier this year. (On the issue of ownership of the South Shore building, it is owned by both the City and the District with the middle being down one hallway. It might have made sense, if you had to renovate to wait for the City to renovate its side to recognize cost savings and architectural consistency but that isn't happening.)

I would have to defer to the parents and staff for APP decisions but it should be a joint decision.
The CAC did float the idea of moving Lowell APP so that would free up space for more Capital Hill/Eastlake parents. I see that one person who lives in that area doesn't agree but we heard from plenty who embraced it (although they wanted TOPS more).

So if I ruled, I'd move Summit to Lincoln as well and create another middle school (or K-8) at Jane Addams. (I don't believe they would ever move Hale so I'm giving up on that idea even though it makes sense and, of course, would be the easiest move in the world.)

I like the idea of a QA/Magnolia school somewhere around Interbay but we don't own property there, do we? No one can possibly believe the district would buy property and build a new high school. The public outcry would be deafening. No, I think we're stuck with finding a building (or land) and creating it that way.

Again, I think this QA/Magnolia is the most burning issue and solving it would be very useful for the creation of an equitable assignment plan.

What would really help in this kind of planning is deciding what programs are working, which ones are not, if they are not did they have a fair chance to succeed (and didn't) and what new programs are needed/desired.

Roy Smith said...

I like the idea of a QA/Magnolia school somewhere around Interbay but we don't own property there, do we?

Actually, Charlie mentioned in another thread that apparently SPS does have something (I'm not sure what) in that area. Also, I'm guessing that there are other government entities that have property in the area. A land swap that resulted in no cash changing hands might actually be feasible.

Again, I think this QA/Magnolia is the most burning issue and solving it would be very useful for the creation of an equitable assignment plan.

I think raising the quality of Cleveland and Rainier Beach and reducing transportation costs rank ahead of fixing the QA/Magnolia issue. Doing all three at once may be doable, but if they have to be prioritized, then that's how I'd do it.

Charlie Mas said...

Mel,

Here's the wacky thing:

The District DOES own property in Interbay.

I was looking at the District Facilities Map and there it is: Interbay Field.

In the Facilities Data Matrix it appears as the last item on the first page, site code 1002. According to the matrix it is 1.7 acres with a status of S;LL, it is under a long-term lease, but there may be a short-term lease there as well. The address is 16th Avenue NW and West Barrett Street. It is immediately north of the Interbay Golf Center, just south of the Dravus Street exit on the west side of 15th Avenue.

I know that field. It is a jewel of a soccer stadium. There is about a city block of space to the west and north of the stadium which is part of the property.

There is no room to the south - it is adjacent to the golf course.

There is no room to the east - it is right up against 15th Avenue.

There is no room to the west - it runs right to the railroad tracks.

There is no room to the north unless you cross Dravus Street and buy a spur of BNSF track that runs under the Ballard bridge. That might be a good spot for the school.

Anonymous said...

How big does a High School lot have to be? Catherine Blaine K-8 (in Magnolia) has 8.5 acres and 15 adjacent park acres according to

http://www.seattleschools.org/area/cac/schoolprofiles/blaine.pdf

from the CAC (closures) report.

(not that I want to advocate destroying a community!)

Maureen

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know what the district is planning, if anything, in reference to a new HS or repurposed building for the QA/Magnolia kids? I keep hearing everyones ideas, but have yet to hear the district commit or even speak about doing something for this group of kids.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Roy, I thought it went without saying that, of course, bringing up the level of struggling schools is the number one issue if we are to find success in any assignment plan. Academic success for all kids IS the goal. Sorry I didn't say that.

Didn't know about that Interbay property. Interesting.

According to what I understood you need at least 9 acres for a high school. Anyone else know another figure?

One interesting facilities note: Hale just got its roof finished. Part one was in 2003 and part two was finished last year. (Oddly, they tell me they can't do a high school roof in one summer - too big a job. These jobs were so far apart because they used money from two different BTAs.) The total cost for both is about $2M (and, good news, we got a 1-year warranty on the latest part). I was a little worried that this was a temporary roof given that they are going to remodel Hale either in late 2008 or 2009 (Facilities staff told me those dates). But I have been given assurances that the new roof will stay put and they will likely just gut the insides. I was surprised only because Hale's layout isn't the greatest but the architects will be working around that.

classof75 said...

According to what I understood you need at least 9 acres for a high school. Anyone else know another figure?

Is this a city or state requirement?

Roosevelts site wasn't expanded to 9.5 acres till 1961.
Lincoln was originally 3.5 and was expanded to 6.7 in 1957

Queen Anne didn't have 9 acres either when it was closed in 1981

Broadview Thomson does though-Its a little close to Ingraham for a high school- but it could be repurposed for a middle school.
In 1981- it only took them three months to convert it from a junior high to an elementary!

Anonymous said...

Charlie-

In referencing the Interbay property, you need to keep in mind that there are some wacky SPS/City land issues like the half and half South Shore property and the Memorial Stadium site which only belongs to SPS so long as it is used for athlectic purposes. There are also typically easements that run out from RR tracks that limit the ability to build near them.

Plus the noise factor, being at a meeting in the Stanford center when a train goes by is nuts, I can't imagine you would want to try to teach students in a highly industrial port area.

Unless the SBOC moves, there is nothing free in the area.

Charlie Mas said...

There is a huge retail development going into Interbay. Seriously, something on the order of Northgate. Otherwise, a lot more of that land would be available.

Yes, trains do run through Interbay, but, since there are no crossings there, they rarely blow their whistles.

The Interbay field is leased, long-term, to the city. The primary user are the Seattle Pacific University soccer teams.

I've done a very quick and dirty check and I think that a new school building could fit in the footprint of the driving range at Interbay.

This may sound dumb, but here's what I did. I went to mapquest and looked at an aerial map of Interbay. Then I scrolled over to Ballard and took a look at the size of the Ballard High School property. I cut out a piece of paper to match the size of the Ballard property (the whole property) and then scrolled back to Interbay and stuck that piece of paper over the driving range and Interbay Field. Voila! It very nearly matched.

Dumb? Perhaps. Cheesy? Almost certainly. But it seems somehow effective and convincing. And remember that Ballard is built to hold 1650. The Interbay High School may not have to be that big. Moreover, the Interbay High School could be built taller (if City code will allow it) to fit onto a smaller footprint.

So where would the driving range go? I propose that the District buy a bit of the parking lot across the tracks from the golf course - I think it's owned by the Port of Seattle and leased to First Student - and help the City to rebuild the driving range there, complete with the appropriate pedestrian overpass over the tracks for access from the golf course.

If I'm not mistaken, the City owns the golf course property.

So, between the City, the Port, and the District, I would expect some interagency cooperation to make it work.

What would it cost? A lot, I suppose. The District would have to first replace the driving range, that means the land, the landscaping, the structures (some could be moved, maybe), and the pedestrian and equipment access.

Then the District would have to build the school.

Finally, the District would have to break the long tern lease on the field with the City.

The benefits? The high school capacity the District needs. This school could be built for 1200 or 1600 and could be the site of The Center School, or the Secondary Bilingual Orientation Center, or some (or all) of the programs now at John Marshall.

I don't know if the Port will give the District a break on the cost of land. I would expect the City to accept a land swap (the parking lot space for the driving range space) if the District will rebuild the range.

Here's an alternative:
If the Port will give the District a good price, a portion of the parking lot by Pier 91 would provide plenty of space for a high school. The transportation access isn't quite as good (it is on the west side of the railroad tracks), but there is some access from under the Magnolia Bridge and perhaps an overpass over the tracks could be built from 15th or access from Dravus along 20th could be improved.

Roy Smith said...

What would it cost? A lot, I suppose.

Perhaps. Building the high school would cost a lot, but obtaining the land might be far cheaper than anybody expects. The city government has a strong interest in having a quality school system, so I think if the reasoning was clear and convincing for why it made sense to have a high school there, they could be convinced to work with the school district. Also, arranging no-cash-changing-hands land swaps between government agencies is much easier than trying to arrange land swaps with private owners, so it might be possible to arrange things with the Port to transfer excess land from elsewhere to the Port.

To make this really happen, the key element might be to get a city council member or two, or the mayor, to really grab hold of this idea as being something that is good for the city and getting the political leverage that way to make it happen. Obtaining the land might not cost SPS very much at all.

Next question: could the funds for construction be found in the current levy, or would we be waiting around for the next levy cycle a few years from now? If the current levy, what that is currently in the pipeline would need to be abandoned to free up the money?

Anonymous said...

How could you make a case for acquiring land and new construction with so many school buildings sitting empty and in disrepair??? What govt. agency would go for that??? It seems we have the space, it is just mis used, and in disrepair.

Anonymous said...

Interbay make even less sense for a school location than the Hale location. It is not a bog like Hale but as I understand it, it is basically geologically unstable tide-flats and land-fill. To quote from the geological survey of Interbay/Magnolia: "Thickest fill overlies tideflats of Interbay, where as much as 6 m (20 ft) of fill overlie 15 m (50 ft) of refuse." Around this city many of the places where they have put soccer fields and the like are that way simply because nobody could build on them.

Roy Smith said...

How could you make a case for acquiring land and new construction with so many school buildings sitting empty and in disrepair?

Because what we have isn't where we need it and/or is not suitable for what we need to use it for.

A high school to serve Queen Anne and Magnolia is a case in point. There is currently, enough high school capacity north of the ship canal to serve the student population that lives north of the ship canal. Queen Anne and Magnolia are south of the ship canal, but because they have no neighborhood high school, they end up overloading high schools on the north end. Every other solution that has been proposed for rectifying this situation involves adding high school capacity in neighborhoods that already have adequate capacity for their neighborhood. Trying to increase utilization of underutilized buildings in Wallingford or north of Green Lake or in Southeast Seattle are at best poor solutions to the problem, which is lack of high school service for Queen Anne and Magnolia.

Charlie Mas said...

anonymous at 9:39am asks:

"How could you make a case for acquiring land and new construction with so many school buildings sitting empty and in disrepair??? What govt. agency would go for that??? It seems we have the space, it is just mis used, and in disrepair."

Would it appease your sensibilities, anonymous, if we sold some unused buildings and properties at the same time that we bought land and constructed new ones?

What is the alternative? To perpetually lock ourselves into the current constellation of buildings and land without any opportunity to respond to changing needs?

What building do you think we could repair and repurpose to provide high school capacity for students in Queen Anne and Magnolia? I have suggested Lincoln; does that have your support? Perhaps you're thinking of Magnolia or Old Hay. Do you think either of those properties could be made useful as a comprehensive high school?

While I am grateful when people point out ways in which ideas can be improved, rejecting them on principle isn't very helpful unless you can suggest alternatives of your own which comply with those principles.

Anonymous said...

I think I did suggest an alternative when I said use existing buildings that are currently being misused and/or are in disrepair. I was not on the CAC, nor do I work for the district, so I don't have all of the facts and figures to re-configure the district, like so many arm chair statisticians on this blog.

I do like the idea of repurposing existing buildings, and would definately support the use of Lincoln as a comprehensive HS (to accomodate QA/Magnolia). I also like the idea of moving 1/2 of the APP students north of the ship canal (perhaps into Lincoln too) and open up space at Garfield for more QA/Magnolia families.

I think before we buy any land or build ANY new construction, we should repair and use, repurpose or sell, Marshall and Wilson Pacific.

Something also needs to be done with Summit. Their is no excuse for all of that excess capacity in over crowded NE Seattle.

98112 said...

Is there capacity at Franklin? Where does one find the capacity numbers? What would have to be done to make Franklin a school that QA and Magnolia families would like?

I just checked the Metro planner, and from Magnolia Library to Franklin is 40 minutes on Metro, with 1 transfer, just like Ballard. From lower Queen Anne (1st and Denny) it's 35 on a no-transfer route (#8 bus)

From upper Queen Anne(QA Ave and McGraw) Franklin is an hour on Metro, but Garfield is a shorter metro trip than Ballard, around 30 minutes, and has no transfers (#4 bus).

What about improving the program at Franklin and making that the reference HS for Magnolia and Lower Queen Anne? Upper Queen Anne could go to either Garfield or Ballard, whichever has more room.

Or, put upper QA in Franklin too, and get metro to extend the #8 route up to the top of Queen Anne. It ends at the Center, so that might be doable.

Anonymous said...

It's an awful long way from home. Franklin is in S. Seattle, near Mt. Baker/Columbia City. Pretty far to be a reference school for QA kids. That would almost hark back to the days of mandatory bussing.

But between Franklin, Cleveland and Rainier Beach, there could definately be a merger, with one building closed or sold.

Anonymous said...

Why does QA/Magnolia have to go together anyway???

Magnolia is in the shadows of Ballard, and seems that would be the logical school for them. QA is more spread out (Fremont to Magnolia to Seattle Center) seems they could be accomodated in the N end, or more central like Garfield.

Roy Smith said...

I do like the idea of repurposing existing buildings, and would definately support the use of Lincoln as a comprehensive HS (to accomodate QA/Magnolia).

What would have to be done to make Franklin a school that QA and Magnolia families would like?


The problem with any solution for Queen Anne and Magnolia that sends their high schoolers into other neighborhoods is that they either:

a) are locked into the schools that are considered less desirable by the rest of the city.

or

b) are displacing neighborhood kids from a school that is desirable and has demand in excess of its capacity.

Neither of these are good options, and these points both apply regardless of whether all the Queen Anne and Magnolia students go to the same school or if they are distributed among several schools.

The only way we avoid this lesser of two evils trade-off is if we drastically curtail choice (I actually think this is why there wasn't a huge uproar when Queen Anne High was closed in the first place - mandatory busing was still in effect, and there was little or no choice. Queen Anne and Magnolia students got Franklin, which at the time was popular, and nobody else was worse off for it). Is this an option people would support?

I think it is an achievable goal to make all the high schools adequate; however, I think we are living in la-la-land if we think that we will make the high schools so equally desirable that problems with deciding who gets priority of access to the more popular schools will never arise.

But between Franklin, Cleveland and Rainier Beach, there could definately be a merger, with one building closed or sold.

There are more than enough students in these neighborhoods to fill those three schools; it would be far more cost-effective to improve the schools so that they are acceptable to neighborhood families than to accept the status quo of "if you want a good education, go north".

Much of this debate hinges on whether there is actually spare capacity in SPS. As has been discussed elsewhere, capacity numbers are generally suspect at best, and include many assumptions, only some of which are explicitly identified. That being said, I found this capacity planning spreadsheet on the SPS website, which shows that planning capacity at the high school level is 16,423 and projected enrollment is 14,086. This means the excess capacity in the system is 14%. This is not very much considering that this excess capacity has to accomodate:

1) Demographic fluctuations
2) Allow enough open seats to make choice meaningful
3) Provide space for current private school students to be accomodated in SPS if we are actually successful in attracting significant numbers of them back into the public schools

Any one of these three points alone could justify 14% excess capacity; all three of them, frankly, probably is justification for more than that. No dynamic system can be operated for the long term at 100% capacity; that is a setup for system failures and it would be foolish to plan to do that.

It can be argued that we have other buildings that could be repurposed. Yes, we do; on the other hand, then we need to find homes for the activities that they currently house. Wilson Pacific is being used by a number of programs; John Marshall similarly is home to several programs; Lincoln is the north end interim site while schools are being renovated (and this requirement won't go away in a district in which the average age of the buildings is 50 years or so). If these buildings are repurposed, space will need to be found elsewhere for their current purposes. SPS doesn't have many, if any, buildings that are truly sitting around unused.

If we could magically move high school capacity to the neighborhoods we need it in, I could agree that we probably don't need to build a new one just yet; unfortunately the capacity and the need are not in the same place.

Charlie Mas said...

There is no reason that Queen Anne and Magnolia have to go together.

Magnolia could be included in the Ballard reference area (that will still push some Crown Hill addresses into the Ingraham reference area) and Queen Anne could be included in the Garfield reference area, but that presumes that there is room at Garfield for students from Queen Anne. I don't think there will be.

Starting at the southern edge of the district, there are 1,840 high school students who live closest to Rainier Beach. Beach has a capacity of about 1,250. That means that 600 of them will have to be in some other school's reference area. There are 1,213 students who live closest to Cleveland, but that school also has a capacity of about 1,000, to there are another 200 students who will have to be in another school's reference area. Altogether that makes 800 students looking for a home. There are only 1,028 students who live closest to Franklin, so the school has room for another 700 or so. Garfield as 1,592 living closest to it and a capacity of 1,600.

The capacity information is in the Facilities Master Plan, Appendix C, on the District web site.
Here's a link.

So, from this quick and dirty analysis from this arm chair statistician it appears that South Seattle has 100 more high school students than there are seats in the traditional comprehensive schools. Of course some of them will go to NOVA, the Center School, South Lake High School, and others, so there will be room, but there isn't any room for students from Queen Anne at Garfield or Franklin and there isn't any room for 400 APP students at Garfield either.

A similar quick and dirty analysis can be done on the north-end.

There are 1,161 students who live closest to Hale where the capacity is 1,255. Room for 100 more. There are 1,563 students who live closest to Roosevelt (some of them south of the Ship Canal), where the stated capacity is 1,554. That's a good match. There are 862 students who live closer to Ingraham than any of the other traditional high schools. Ingraham has room for 1,229, so they could fit another 350 or so in there. That's good because only 1,554 of the 2,387 students who live closest to Ballard can fit into it (at the stated capacity for the building). So north of downtown there are about 500 students - all of them living closest to Ballard - looking for a reference area school.

I didn't forget West Seattle. The enrollment and capacities there are a good match.

With 100 from the south end, 500 from the north end and 400 APP students, the District needs about 1,000 more seats if they are going to guarantee every seat they want to guarantee (reference area and APP). Of course, those 400 APP students are all included in these counts, but if the District is going bring them all together at a centrally located school (Ballard, Roosevelt or Garfield), they would have to push a lot of neighborhood kids aside to make room.

Statistically, it would be possible to split the program. About half of the APP high school students live south of downtown and about half of them live north of downtown. Roosevelt could have half the program. It would push about 130 students out of the Roosevelt reference area (not 200 because 72 students who live close to Roosevelt are in the program). 100 of them could be guaranteed seats at Hale. Maybe the other 30 could be relied upon to choose an alternative school. That would take about 100 students out of the Ballard list reducing the north end deficit to 400.

It's less clear how it would work in the South. It would push 140 students out of the Garfield reference area with no place for them to go except Franklin. In addition, it is unclear if a cohort of 200 APP students plus the neighborhood students would provide the necessary demand to drive the number and variety of AP classes that Garfield now provides.

I know this sounds like a weird factor to introduce, but would the change actually improve academics? I don't think so. Should these decisions be driven by academic priorities or by operational expediency? I would say academics.

So, to go back to the initial conclusion, the District needs about 1,000 more guaranteed seats and they need them in a central location where it can take some burden off of Ballard. It would also provide some necessary liquidity to the system. These counts didn't include any space for out-of-area choice or set aside seats for special programs.

Hmmm... I'm thinkin' Lincoln. An 800 student comprehensive high school at Lincoln with 400 seats for APP and 400 neighborhood seats would provided the additional capacity needed. It would also leave space in the building for Summit to move into the other half.

That would free up the Jane Addams building for Hale, for use as an interim site, or for a new middle school or a new traditional (as opposed to alternative) K-8.

Wilson-Pacific can be the north-end interim site.

I think the District should just leave the programs now at Marshall in place (they should admit that error) and add the SBOC, to make better use of the space, provide the SBOC with a more transportation friendly location, and to free up Old Hay. I know that SBOC has its eye on McDonald, but I don't think it is as good a match.

Alternatively, the Marshall programs and SBOC could take space at Lincoln and Summit could go into Marshall. Actually, that has a lot of appeal. It allows Summit its own building and keeps Lincoln completely 9-12.

I'll break it off here.

Anonymous said...

Charlie-

If you think closing Marshall was an error, I suggest you do to the PI's website and read the report done by the NDPC. It is a wonder that the District didn't pull the plug and close the whole thing down after getting this report, there is absolutely no way it should stay open so long as it is unsafe enviornment for kids where no learning is occuring.

Your quick and dirty misses a lot of students who may live near a school but do other things like Running Start, and alternative programs.

Anonymous said...

Following up on the prior poster, I went and read the report. I agree, there is absolutely no mistake in closing Marshall:

"Based on research-based evidence of effective practice, the
evaluation team does not think that Marshall High School is a
healthy environment for students.
There is false sense of concern and caring for students that is
overshadowed by actual policies and practices that are based
on control and management.

....

our conclusion and program recommendation would be to support the SPS decision to close the school and plan other programs for the
students impacted by that decision. This declaration is based not only
on the community’s “perceived” ineffectiveness of the school, but also
on the discovery and subsequent findings by the National Dropout
Prevention Center that document the school has been operating in
accordance with actual, or de-facto, policies and practices that are
not grounded in solid alternative school effectiveness research as
previously advocated by the SPS Alternative Education Committee
in their 2005 Report to the Board of Education. A summary of those
indicators of ineffectiveness follows:

The school has had no significant positive impact on school
dropout or graduation rates for the students it serves. There is
no evidence that the current model of alternative intervention
is effective.

Available student achievement data indicate a history of low performance that has not been positively impacted by the
alternative environment at Marshall High.

The curriculum and instructional delivery components are weak
and not very engaging to students. Consequently, students act
out and cause problems.

Students with drug and alcohol problems do not appear to
be getting the support services needed to recover and move
forward with their lives.

The Marshall facility is old and in need of a major renovation.
Likewise, it is not a suitable venue for the present program
structure.

The school and District Office relationship is dysfunctional and
appears to be beyond repair as currently operated.

There are some serious issues with the school leadership function
that appears to be a major factor in the school’s level of
effectiveness.

The school climate is not physically or emotionally healthy
for students. Likewise, the school climate is not inviting to
parents, or visitors.

The SPS is infusing tremendous amounts of dollars into Marshall
High with little return, as opposed to other alternative programs that receive less funding but are having much more impact in
terms of student retention, achievement, and graduation.

...

Before Marshall is repurposed for anything, it will need both a remodel and chance, for lack of better words, for the stench of horrific failure to be cleansed.

Anonymous said...

"These counts didn't include any space for out-of-area choice or set aside seats for special programs."

Did it include kids who choose private school or home school? Did it include kids who drop out of HS (sad, but reality)?? Did it include kids who choose alternative schools (Summit, Marshall, Nova)? Did it include SPED students that are assigned to school outside of their reference area for special services? Did it include kids who go to Garfield for APP?

There is a lot of fluidity in numbers, and you have to account for all of the fluctuation.

Anonymous said...

Charlie, If you put the troubled students at the Marshall program into Lincoln to share the space with a comprehensive HS, that school will start out with a bad reputation, and be doomed to unpopularity. Marshall is the last stop for many of the kids they serve. They serve students with major behavior problems, kids on probation, kids with drug and alcohol abuse issues, pregnant kids, etc.

Would you send your child to Lincoln if the Marshall program were co-housed there? I most certainly wouldn't want my child in that type of environment, and I think many parents would have the same fears and safety concerns that I do.

Anonymous said...

Marshall serves the kids that no other schools will take. Most of their students have been kicked out of their neighborhood schools, and Marshall is their ONLY option. This program should not be co-housed with another program.

Anonymous said...

All of the comments about Marshall mis that it is NOT percieved as the "last-stop" for many students.

There are other programs, Interagency espically, who exist to serve this student population who embrace the students rather than deem them "the worst of the worst."

The mistake is that Marshall gets the most funding and is still the least succesful place for these kids.

There is no way to salvage the existing Marshall format, it is not serving those students. The idea that it is "the ONLY" choice for re-entry (i.e. what happens after you get expelled from a school) is also wong. South Lake also has a re-entry program, and it is FAR more successful than Marshall.

There are more logical places to house many of the existing programs at Marshall. Evening school for example. It is primarily accessed by SPS students who already attend a school full time, and is primarily staffed by SPS teachers who are getting extra money to teach a class here and there. Makes far more sense for this program to be paired with a comprehensive high school, so that there is access to materials, reasources, ect. Given that you always hear that Garfield students have to take math at night school if they fail don't pass the first time, or students who take APP and Jazz band have to go to night school to get a requirement in tat the can't meet during the day because of scheduling issues, maybe Garfield is the right place.

The GRAD teen parenting program does not belong in a building with violent offenders and sex offenders. That this program was ever sharing space with that student population blows my mind. Given that only 4-5 students acess this program, and most pregnant teens choose to stay in thier home high school, perhaps it is time to stop stigmatizing the young women who become pregnant by trying to send them to the school for "bad kids." If this program is actually needed, it should be paired with a school that allows the teen mothers to have access to real coursework, while not segregating them (read the letters the former student kept sending about how awful the program was at Marshall).

Besides the special education programs which should be relocated by those with special ed backgrouds (which I don't pretend to have), that leaves the alternative school, in which students apparently watch movies and do independent work on computers.

There are many, many other options for these students (multiple Interagency sites, South Lake, Middle College) that not only exist, but are serving students better. Plus, I think that the history of the alternative program was that students in re-entry got pushed into it by Mr. Drake to keep his numbers up. Because they didn't take attendence (hello, wait for the bill from the state auditor on that one!), no one really can say how many kids are even in this program.

Co-locating anything at Marshall that currently exists is not smart. The district needs to shut it down, and then put some effort into repurposing the building or sell the land for gobs and gobs of money to support other projects that need to be done if there is nothing that is a good fit for a space that size that would not immeditately turn into another "Marshall is for bad kins" school.

The District should also explore any other proven options for this student population, to ensure that they are getting meaningful access to a quality education, not just being wearhoused.

Anonymous said...

As long as inequalities between HS's exist, and access to the "good" school is limited, parents will work the system, rent apartments, and do what it takes to get their kids the best education that they can. While I don't condone cheating, or lying, I honestly can't blame them.

Charlie Mas said...

Okay, let's see if I can address all of the responses without missing anyone.

First, the fact that Marshall had poor leadership does not mean that the school should be closed. Lots of school have had poor leadership; the solution is to install good leadership - not close the school.

Second, I believe that I acknowledged the fact that a number of Seattle's public high school students do not attend one of the ten traditional high schools. For the purposes of guaranteeing them seats, however, that doesn't matter. Even though a number of students choose to enroll at NOVA, the District - under the proposed new student assignment plan - still needs to have seats available for them at their reference area high school.

The data I used came from the District maps and data page from the New Assignment Plan web site, and it was a count of students enrolled in Seattle Public Schools in grades 9-12.

So it does not include private school kids or home school kids or drop outs. We will need more space if any of them come back. It does include students at alternative schools, SPED students and APP students.

To the person who asked "Would you send your child to Lincoln if the Marshall program were co-housed there?" The answer is yes. Both of my kids are in APP and I suggested that high school APP be housed at Lincoln. So I think that makes it pretty clear that I would, yes, send my child to Lincoln if the Marshall program were co-housed there.

Lincoln is huge. The programs can be kept completely separate if that's the choice of the site-based leadership. Do you think that there are not similar students at Garfield under less close supervision?

Will the presence of the Marshall students ruin the reputation of an 800-seat comprehensive high school where half of the students are APP? I don't think so.

For those who are intent on keeping these "bad kids" in their own little Devil's Island, what building do you suggest they use? Or were you expecting the students to disappear when you close their school? What building is centrally located enough and right-sized for a program of less than 200 students? The only available ones that come to mind for me are Sand Point and M L King. Montlake, if closed, would be about the right size but I have a hard time envisioning that.

Please try to remember that there are a number of programs at Marshall. Yes, there is a re-entry program for students who were expelled or incarcerated. There is also a Special Education program for the District’s most severe and
emotionally handicapped students, but there is also the night school, an alternative program students can choose and a program (GRADS) for students who are
either pregnant or parenting.

I think anonymous at 9:27 provided some excellent ideas. The night school could go almost anywhere. I suggest whatever school has the best transit access. The GRADS program is unnecessary and should be dissolved. The students can be assigned to general education programs. The Alternative program seems largely bogus and another candidate for dissolution. In the past five years I don't see even one student ever naming it as their first choice for assignment.

So the Devil's Island that people want to build for the re-entry and Special Education students really is very small. M L King, a building too small for a comprehensive elementary school, would not be too small for them.

I wrote that closing Marshall was a mistake because the District said that the students would be better served at their new location without knowing (and they still don't know) where that new location will be. That just doesn't make sense.

It turns out that the problem wasn't the building or the programs or the mix of programs but the leadership. Not just the leadership at the building, but the leadership at the District who allowed Joe Drake to continue as the principal there without properly managing him.

If the Marshall programs are either dissolved or moved to M L King, then the Lincoln could house have a 1,000 seat comprehensive high school plus the Secondary B.O.C. Of course, it might also prove to be the best site for the night school. It strikes me as a more wholesome neighborhood at night than 23rd and Cherry and Lincoln has excellent transit access.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Charlie, I'd have to look at the stats about the GRADS program before dissolving it. It seems worth it to have one in a district this size to try to keep students with babies/toddlers in school and that can only be done if they have on-site/nearby daycare.

Secondary BOC co-housing with another high school sounds good to me. I think that the access that the Secondary BOC kids would have to other kids and other programs would only serve to help them integrate more easily. What we (the CAC) had been told about its current location on Queen Anne is what Charlie spoke about; namely, that the QA location wasn't the easiest but safer than one in the southend. It's a yin and yang to have the program where more of the students are located but to have it be a safe location.

I can only speak for myself on the subject of Marshall. I got very mixed responses from teachers and staff there but I knew something was not right and the data looked troubling. Because those programs were not (and likely wouldn't ever) fill up Marshall, I voted to close the building and move the programs. However, because they were specialized programs, the CAC said the district had to make the placements. For the district to be so slow on solving this situation (and thus perpetuating their rep as not really caring about these kids or programs) ends up making the public wonder what the real problem is.

Anonymous said...

"or students who take APP and Jazz band have to go to night school to get a requirement"

Being an APP student and in Garfield's Jazz Band has no bearing on a student's ability to meet graduation requirements. Check your facts please.

Anonymous said...

Anon above-

I know my facts, what are yours? I am specifically speaking about 20+ studnet who didn't get around to meetin Oc Ed and other requirements who had to get the credits via night school. What, I ask, are your facts?

Charlie Mas said...

Wow. I was expecting a sort of firestorm of protest at the idea of putting the Marshall high school re-entry program and the Marshall SPED students at M L King, but it didn't come.

Hmmm. Maybe it isn't such a tragically bad idea.

So let's see where that leaves us in the If I Were King Scenario...

Lincoln re-opened as a comprehensive high school, home to high school APP (400 students), a 600-800 seat neighborhood comprehensive high school program, the Secondary B.O.C. (300 students), and the night school. It would be the natural feeder high school for Hamilton students - another plus for having Secondary B.O.C. there.

The Center School moves to Old Hay to save on rent.

Some of the programs at Marshall get dissolved, such as GRADS (the students and their children are accomodated in their neighborhood schools) and the alternative choice school (that few if any students chose). The re-entry high school and the SPED programs from Marshall move into the M L King building.

Summit moves from Jane Addams to Marshall, a better location for an all-city draw and suitable for use as a K-8. They get the money and freedom to re-design the building to suit their needs.

Jane Addams either becomes the new Hale site, a neighborhood K-8, or an interim site for schools under construction.

Wilson-Pacific definitely gets fixed up to the point that it can be used at least as an interim site. This will allow the District to accelerate their construction schedule and save money.

Pathfinder gets the money they need to remake Gatewood, Fairmount Park, E. C. Hughes, or Genessee Hill into a suitable site. If it is to be Gatewood, which I would recommend, then the Gatewood program moves to Fairmount Park.

Elementary APP grades 1-4 move out of Lowell to McDonald. Grade 5 APP (135) along grades 6-8 (420) moves to Meany along with one middle school Spectrum program for all neighborhoods south of downtown.

Montlake and T T Minor are closed and their programs merged at Lowell along with the Special Education programs there. There isn't quite room for everyone, but there are 300 empty seats at Leschi and Thurgood Marshall.

The New School moves into the AAA.

The AAA downshifts to a K-5 and moves into Columbia. It can meet at Rainier View while Columbia is getting renovated. Afterwards, we need to look into re-purposing Rainier View as a middle school. The property there is certainly big enough and Aki Kurose isn't really that close to the far south end of the city.

I think that's everything. Thanks to everyone for their help in honing and improving this Vision.

Concerned on Capitol Hill said...

Close Montlake and TT Minor and you now have even more children riding buses rather than walking. That's in direct contridiction to the neighborhood reference school plan that many of us support. And you now have to move quite a few of the Stevens families over to Lowell. You've made even more of a mess of North Capitol Hill than before. Seward is a better solution.

concerned parent said...

Charlie, I love your scenario. It makes sense!

The only concern that I would have would be housing 5th grade APP students in a middle school, especially Meany, which has some challenging students.

Otherwise, if I were you, I would forward this plan on to the school board, and our new action oriented Dr. Goodloe Johnosn for review.

Well done!

Anonymous said...

Since APP kids are supposed to be working two grades ahead in at least one subject, I think it makes sense for the 5th grade (and maybe 4th?) to be sent to Meany with the 6-8. (Actually 8th grade should probably just be sent to Garfield or wherever) since they are operating at 9th+ level)

Charlie, is 1-4 to McDonald based on capacity? Are you counting on the increase in north end parents who are willing to test (and pay to private test)their kids into APP once they are faced with (1) shorter bus ride and (2) over crowded (guaranteed access to neighborhood K-5) N-NE-NW schools?

APP = 2% advocate

Charlie Mas said...

Concerned on Capitol Hill, I recognize that my suggestion, repurposing Lowell as a neighborhood school and closing Montlake and TT Minor, represents a very big change. It will certainly be a big change for the families who bought a house close to Montlake specifically with goal of having their child enrolled at that school.

I didn't write it, but you noted that I presume a change in reference areas so that much of what is now the Montlake reference area would become the Stevens reference area and much of the Stevens and TT Minor reference areas would become the Lowell reference area. So, yes, that is a lot of change.

I expect, however, that changes like these will be happening all over the District, not just in Capitol Hill.

While this may result in increased transportation by taking some students out of the walk zone, the over-capacity in elementary schools in the Central cluster remains. The District still wants to close one more school in that area. So the idea of making changes that would move some kids out of a walk zone has already been accepted.

Montlake, despite the program's success, continues to be a candidate for closure due to the building's condition and limitations. Moreover, while the cluster as a whole has too much capacity, the District needs more capacity in that part of the cluster. Re-purposing Lowell as a neighborhood school would provide the needed additional capacity in the north and west sides of the cluster. It would also make the Montlake building superfluous. NOT THE PROGRAM - THE BUILDING.

I think your suggestion, to re-purpose Seward as a neighborhood school (if that was, in fact, your suggestion), represents even a more drastic change. What, if anything, would happen to The Option Program? Say what you will about TOPS, it is a successful school by every measure and the building suits it in a way that few others could.

I keep hearing "Seward and nothing but Seward will satisfy" from people in that part of town. I can see how Seward would be the optimal solution from their perspective, but I don't see how it is the best solution from a broader perspective.

Concerned parent will note that in this scenario the only APP and Spectrum students will be at Meany. The school might also have some Special Education and bilingual students, but only if they could get their inclusion time (least restrictive environment) in the classes with APP and Spectrum students.

APP =2%, the reason for only moving APP grades 1-4 to McDonald is based in the capacity of the building. There are 470 elementary APP students. The capacity of McDonald is about 350 (400 with portables). All five grades won't fit, but grades 1-4 will fit. I hate for it to happen, but the decision is driven by operational limitations rather than academic priorities. McDonald is closer to the center of gravity for APP student homes than Lowell. Although it is further north, because the transportation access is so much better (about four blocks off the I-5 offramp at 50th), it may actually be a shorter commute from the south-end than Lowell.

When re-locating APP, it is important to avoid displacing other students whenever possible. This is still Seattle. There will be accusations of racism when the incoming population is higher performing, richer, or Whiter than the students who are leaving. That means that APP can't displace anyone. My greatest concern will be relocating the Meany students to Washington for an all APP/Spectrum school.

Even if Meany does not become an APP/Spectrum school, concerned parent should think about who will be there when the District goes to the new assignment plan with feeder patterns and one reference area middle school per household. The schools feeding Meany will be Stevens, McGilvra, Montlake and TT Minor (or Lowell instead of Montlake and TT Minor if the District goes that way). The neighborhood around TT Minor has been changing and that school may also see a changed population when student assignment is more strongly neighborhood.

concerned parent said...

"Since APP kids are supposed to be working two grades ahead in at least one subject, I think it makes sense for the 5th grade (and maybe 4th?) to be sent to Meany with the 6-8."

I wasn't suggesting that a 5th grader could not keep up academically. I was suggesting that a 10 year old amongst some pretty challenging 11-14 year olds could have a hard time socially. There is a fairly "rough" crowd at Meany, and I don't personally think a younger student would fare well their. Especially a younger APP student. Just my thoughts. I don't have an APP student, so I may be way off.

concerned parent said...

Sorry, Charlie, I didn't read your post above where you clarified my concerns about 5th graders in Meany.

Thanks

Roy Smith said...

charlie mas said . . . When re-locating APP, it is important to avoid displacing other students whenever possible. This is still Seattle. There will be accusations of racism when the incoming population is higher performing, richer, or whiter than the students who are leaving.

Right on the money, and a perfect illustration of why changes are so painful in SPS. This is exactly the same reason that moving alternative programs is difficult, as well.

Concerned on Capitol Hill said...

Charlie Mas said: I keep hearing "Seward and nothing but Seward will satisfy" from people in that part of town. I can see how Seward would be the optimal solution from their perspective, but I don't see how it is the best solution from a broader perspective.

If you take a look at a facilities map, Charlie, you'll see that making Lowell the 2nd reference school for N Capitol would push most of Montlake and all of Eastlake out of the walk zone. This is directly in opposition to one of the key ideas in a neighborhood-based reference system: walkability. Montlake is a MODEL neighborhood school. It works in every way, including closing the achievement gap.

Closing Montlake equals losing the neighborhood feel of the program. The program will change and not for the better.

Some of Montlake could walk to Stevens, but then you're moving traditional Stevens students into Lowell. And Eastlake still would need to be bussed. So, you are actually upsetting more, not fewer areas with moving the Montlake program to Lowell than with relooking at Seward.

You'll also lose, not gain marketshare in North Capitol Hill with that move...and another district goal is gaining back marketshare in that area.

In addition, the Lowell building is also in cruddy condition and has limitations. Close Lowell or repurpose it if another building has to go (and I'm not convinced it has to in this area, since central district facilities are logical choices for both all-city programs and temporary housing of students from all over while schools are being rebuilt.)

BTW I didn't recommend making Seward a neighborhood K-5 school. I do recommend making it a traditional program K-8 or a much more limited draw K-8. That would absorb excess students from the neighborhood and would result in a much less drastic tuneup of the reference areas in that area.

concerned parent said...

Where would TOPS go?

Concerned on Capitol Hill said...

concerned parent said...
Where would TOPS go?


I would like to see the K-8 program stay and just decertify TOPS as alternative. This goes back to an earlier thread on this blog. Perhaps someone else could insert the link to that thread.

A second choice would be to take the TOPS program, and its students, to the Southeast or Southwest clusters. Again, Seward would remain a traditional K-8.

I offer the 2nd choice in deference to the TOPS community, but my personal preference is the 1st choice because I don't see that TOPS is an alternative program. Parentally involved and high achieving, yes. But so are Seward and Montlake, and they aren't alternative.

Anonymous said...

If TOPS remained in it's building, dropped the alternative designation, and became a neighborhood school to serve the Montlake/Eastlake communities, what would happen to all of the all city draw (out of neighborhood) kids that count on going to TOPS? Where would they go?

concerned on capitol hill said...

Well, TOPS isn't an all-city draw. It's a multi-cluster draw based on old criteria of the clusters who should be offered this particular school choice. The current clusters are Northwest, QA/Mag, Central, Southeast, South.

NW kids would have Broadview/Thompson (and possibly Catherine Blaine) K-8. QA would have Catherine Blaine. South and Southeast would have The New School. Southwest needs an offering. That's why moving TOPS program south would serve the south end quite well. Central area would then have Seward. Or keep Seward for Central and South and put TOPS (or a regular K-8) for the Southwest and Southeast. Etc.

Of course current families and the sibs of those kids would remain at Seward if they so desired.

Charlie Mas said...

This is the plan to minimize upset?

If families in the Central region want a traditional K-8, why don't they enroll their children at Madrona K-8? I understand that there is space available there.

If Broadview-Thomson should be acceptable to families in the Northwest cluster and Catherine Blaine should be acceptable to families in the Queen Anne/Magnolia cluster and The New School should be acceptable to families in the Southeast cluster, then why isn't Madrona acceptable to families in the Central cluster?

In addition, the central cluster already has too much neighborhood elementary school capacity. We should not add another 350 seats (presuming that about 30% of the 524 students at TOPS students are from the Central cluster) to a cluster which already has surplus capacity. Some schools will have to close.

The Eastlake / North Capitol Hill neighborhoods can't fill Seward. It would be horribly inefficient to make Seward a neighborhood school if Montlake and Stevens are still open. We can't have so much excess capacity in the Central Cluster, so which schools will close and which students will lose a school within their walk zone? I'm thinking it still has to be Montlake that closes.

You think the Lowell building is cruddy and limited? Compared to Montlake? Lowell isn't such a cruddy building - it was good enough for my kids so it's good enough for yours. Besides, re-purposing it as a neighborhood school will trigger the District to fix it up a bit. Perhaps even renovate it. That would give people time to adjust to the idea of the change.

Closing TOPS is a non-starter. TOPS works just as well as Montlake. It does, however, have the same problem as Montlake.

The fact is that Montlake is NOT working well. It is not working well for the families who are in the school's reference areas but cannot enroll their children there because the building is full. Montlake is not working well because it is too small.

Anonymous said...

Charlie, Lowell worked for your kids because APP was your top priority. You went where it was. Well, neighborhood schools are my top priority. As such, Lowell doesn't work for my Montlake family, when I have the school that best closes the achievement gap, is walkable, and keeps me from going private, right here. Montlake will fight even harder than last time if closure is part of the reassignment plan. Which it isn't from absolutely everything I've heard from staff.

Anonymous said...

I didn't say that TOPS should be closed. I said that Seward should be a K-8 that draws from the neighborhood. With plenty of seats left open for choice. For the central, south and southeast as preferences, if the cluster system remains. With grandfathering for current families.

My nuance is that if TOPS' program is truly so spectacular and alternative and social justice oriented, and is its community's top priority, and especially wants to reach the FRL crowd, then another K-8 building in the south end could accommodate its program.

We come back to the reason that TOPS makes so many people crazy. The loudest voices want it both ways. The facility and the program in that school. Neighborhood schools can't move. LOCATION makes them neighborhood schools. Alternative schools should be able to move to the audience that it most wants to address, since they are defined by their PROGRAM. But, in the case of TOPS, its program is no longer alternative. It isn't a leader in closing the achievement gap. It isn't a leader in FRL placement. It's an excellent school. Not alternative. Therefore, it should be open as a regular K-8.

The crime is that neighborhood children don't have reliable access to that facility.

concerned on capitol hill said...

Sorry, that previous post wasn't meant to be anonymous. It was from me.

concerned on Capitol Hill said...

One other thing Charlie. If John Stanford becomes an alternative school, which it really should be, then Seward could also draw from the Wallingford and U District neighborhoods. For many of those people, it's the nearest school. So, yes, Charlie, the school could easily be filled with, say, 60 percent neighborhood capacity and 40 percent choice capacity.

Lowell, again, would not work as a nearby facility for Wallingford and the U District.

Anonymous said...

Madrona doesn't want half of their neighborhood's potential students, let alone other north capitol hill students. suggesting that parents send their kids to one of the more troubled programs in the area, with lack of WASL achievement and a hostile administration, isn't exactly constructive.

Proud Montlakian said...

Montlake isn't working well? That's hilarious. It's one of the top performing schools in the District. And we happily take out-of-area kids as enrollment allows. We're not an enclave.

You missed the boat on this one Charlie.

concerned parent said...

"I didn't say that TOPS should be closed. I said that Seward should be a K-8 that draws from the neighborhood. With plenty of seats left open for choice."

If TOPS looses it's alternative designation as you suggested, they are sure to loose their all city draw status and transportation. So who will fill all of those "choice" seats that you mention?

By the way, when you undesignate TOPS as an alternative school would you make any changes to the philosophy or school culture (criminal justice focus)? Or would you keep it just the way it is?

concerned on capitol hill said...

To Concerned Parent:
I believe the mission at the school is Social Justice, not Criminal Justice. And no, I wouldn't propose to change it, anymore than I would propose to change the culture of any other neighborhood K-5 or K-8 school. Any change in emphasis would only happen if the community within the school, over time, wanted to change it.

As far as Seward hypothetically not being able to fill its seats because of loss of transportation when deemed non-alternative, I don't think it's an issue. If it remains a K-8, it's certain to have transportation to a regional neighborhood (I'm guessing one or two clusters.) So kids from those areas, in addition to nearby kids (picturing Wallingford and U District here) as well as parents who use choice to attend but also provide their own transportation, could easily fill the school. (This school generally has a very long waiting list of potential students.) In fact, perhaps students from throughout the whole district, not just today's select feeder clusters, would fill those "choice" seats.

Anonymous said...

Wallingford and the U District??? They are across the ship canal from Seward. Isn't that counter productive to the neighborhood schools moveent?? None of those students could walk, they would all have to ride the bus, and it is not in their neighborhood. It just doesn't make sense for them.

Anonymous said...

who says clusters are going to stay the same? i've never heard that. if reference areas change, why not clusters? in fact, what are clusters anymore if transportation is changing too!

i took a look at a map on the school assignment revamp and that previous poster is right. latona (JSI) is closer to seward than to other schools in its current area (if the district decides to make JSI more of an alternative school)

Charlie Mas said...

Proud Montlakian will do me the courtesy of reading what I wrote:

"[Montlake] is not working well for the families who are in the school's reference areas but cannot enroll their children there because the building is full. Montlake is not working well because it is too small."

Yes, of course it is working well for the 236 students who are enrolled. Good for them. But what about all of the other students in the Montlake reference area, such as those in Eastlake, for whom it is not working at all because the school is too small to hold them?

If what makes Montlake work is the fact that nearly every student enrolled there lives within a few blocks of the school, that is a thin basis for success. Would not the same students be equally successful with the same teachers and the same community in another nearby building? Would the addition of some other students, teachers, and community members ruin the mix? Couldn't these students learn just as well at Stevens? Why is the quality of their education so dependent on location? Or is the quality of their education dependent on the exclusivity of their current location?

In my proposed re-allocation of resources, the effective part of the Montlake reference area would become part of the Stevens reference area and no part of any school's reference area would be ineffective - as the majority of Montlake's reference area is now.

Charlie Mas said...

I have to say that I absolutely love the word "Montlakian". My home is on Beacon Hill and we don't have a word for people who live here.

Are there Ballardites? Or are they Ballardegians? What do you call people who live in other neighborhoods? Are people from Columbia City called Columbians?

NE mom said...

OK Charlie, you, Melissa and Beth have asked parents to use a made up screen name in lieu of posting anonymous. Now that people are getting used to that, and taking on names such as Proud Montlakian did, you make fun of their choice. That's not encouraging. No need to go there. Making the comment that Beacon Hill does not have a name like that they use, makes it sound as if you think Montlake is "entitled" and "elitist". Try to follow Melissa's "Why can't we all just get along" advice. Stick to the facts, state your case, and leave the rest of the mess out of it.

Charlie Mas said...

ne mom,

You're kidding, right?

Why in the world would you presume a sneering tone on my part? Was there anything in my response to Proud Montlakian that indicated that I was not discussing the substance of the issue with them? Was there anything in my response that was ironic? Was there anything in it that gives the impression that I'm the least bit shy about discussing the exclusivity of Montlake Elementary school? I'm not using coded words or subtle rhetorical devices. I'm not sniping at people. I'm writing plainly.

I think I was pretty clear:
"I absolutely love the word 'Montlakian'." That's not making fun of it - that's praising it! How could you read me so wrong?

Why in the world would you presume that I meant anything other than what I wrote? You jump from your first incorrect and unsupportable conclusion to another incorrect and unsupportable conclusion that I'm making some point about elitism.

Use your own advice and stick to the facts - not your inaccurate and unsupported conjecture about my intent.

You will know when I'm being sarcastic and trying to take digs at people. It will not be subtle.