I received an email from a teacher at Sealth in which a number of intriguing items were brought to my attention.
First, here is a mysterious statement from the minutes of March 9, 2007 meeting of the BEX Oversight Committee:
"Denny-Sealth at $125M is the most expensive project the District has attempted and is probably the first of a new model of addressing middle and high schools together."
What new model? Co-located campuses? And what high schools are they going to address together with a middle school? After BEX III, the only high schools that won't have had recent top to bottom renovations will be Sealth, Rainier Beach, and Ingraham. As Fred Stephens said at that meeting, "At the end of BEX III, every high school will have received improvements."
Here's another funny statement from those minutes: "This group [the BEX Oversight Committee] learns of every major BEX issue or concern before it goes to the Board."
Hmmm. Really? And how do they learn of it? From the staff and the vendors.
Check out this entry from the minutes of the October 12, 2007 meeting:
"• Director DeBell: There are community concerns around the interface between middle and high school. The design seems to reflect solving of those concerns. Eighth grade parents are especially concerned about safety.
• Robert Evans responded that there have been many public meetings and problems are being resolved."
Many public meetings? How many? Problems are being resolved? They don't look that resolved to me.
When the committee next met, in December, there was a lot more discussion about stakeholder opposition to the project.
Here's something interesting. It is a presentation that Don Gillmore, of Seattle Public Schools, made to the Council of Educational Facility Planners International (CEFPI) in October of 2007 in Toronto. It is titled "Planning Non-Traditional Schools - An Evolutional Process".
Here are some interesting quotes from that presentation:
Slide #3: "Planning process now involves all stakeholders in all school plans
Stakeholders analysis process involves all partners in a non-traditional school"
All stakeholders were not included in all school plans. What the heck is he talking about? The decision to co-locate Denny at Sealth was made before any stakeholders were consulted about anything.
It was interesting to see Mr. Gillmore characterize Denny-Sealth as a non-traditional school. I don't think we have heard that characterization locally. On slide #5 he notes that Denny-Sealth will be "District’s first combined major middle school and high school campus" that it will have a "2100 student population". He also noted "Community skepticism regarding 6-12 campus". But how could there be skepticism when all stakeholders have been involved in all school plans?
On slide #14, he again notes: "Community resistance to combining campus". Slide #15 has an eloborate and complicated "Goals Diagram". One of the four main goals on the diagram is "Project Support By the Community". I don't think that goal has been met.
On slide #24 Mr. Gillmore touts the benefits of his process including "People feel heard".
At the CEFPI conference in Toronto, the planning process for Denny-Sealth was put forward as a "successful planning process to identify stakeholders, establish goals, and develop and prioritize strategies for implementing objectives in a very efficient timeframe". The planning process for Denny-Sealth is being presented internationally as a successful process.