I saw this as a sidebar to an article posted on March 28th in Seattle's Child:
Rainier Beach High School’s enrollment has been dropping for years. Now, with about 300 students, it is smaller than some Seattle elementary schools.
Seattle Public Schools estimates at least 1,300 high school students in the southeast part of the city pass by Rainier Beach and go elsewhere – many opting for north end schools. Rainier Beach is one of three schools “in glaring need of assistance,” says Carla Santorno, the district’s chief academic officer.
The district is helping with a new effort called the Southeast Education Initiative. They’ll spend between $800,000 and $900,000 each year – for the next three years – to increase enrollment and academic achievement at Rainier Beach, Cleveland High School and Aki Kurose Middle School.
Each school received $25,000 in September to figure out what their needs are. The schools have until the end of November to come up with a reform plan. In other words, decide how the rest of the district’s allocation will be used. The schools’ plans will include benchmarks, targets and all the usual accountability standards that tell educators if they’re on track or not.
Santorno says she has been involved with reform plans before that haven’t worked, but this one is different. “Reform efforts fail when people aren’t given enough time or resources to do the job. That’s not the case here where we’re giving these schools the support they need to pull it off,” she says.
If the schools don’t pull it off, then the district will “have to come up with an alternative solution which could be lots of things,” Santorno says. “If it’s not working we have to fix it.”
Given what the Board has been saying that they don't know if there is money for this and they don't know where the money is going to come from, I find what Ms. Santorno says here to be very troubling. Is there is or is there not the resources to fully and completely fund the SE Initiative? Ms. Santorno is stating that if enrollment does not increase, there will have to be an "alternative solution". That is fine. However, please don't promise a great new program and then not fully fund it. I know Mr. Mas has asked Director Martin-Morris what the outcome of this weeks meeting on the SE Initiative was, but as of 10:00 am on 4/14, Director Martin-Morris had not responded yet on his blog. I know the staff at Rainier Beach is very excited and fired up to implement this program, but given how the district has acted, you can safely say that the faculty and staff here are very skeptical of anything the district says or does.