Thursday, January 29, 2009

Final Vote on Closures

Updated amendments (Sundquist & Maier) and the Superintendent's Update presentation are posted on the web site. Maier apparently listened to Charlie today.

******************
9:00 pm The emotional intensity tonight at the Stanford Center was overwhelming. I feel sad and exhausted and I'm going to bed.

8:20 pm Meeting adjourned.

8:10 pm Moving on to rescind School Board policies as listed in the agenda and making changes in reference areas. Unable to continue due to crowd shouting. Now continuing but I can't hear a thing. DeBell speaking about SBOC co-location with Nova at the Meany building. "Wish we had a newly rennovated stand-alone building for the SBOC, but we are at a period of scarcity and we cannot do that." Could not hear votes, but it sounds like both recommendations passed.

8:05 pm Sundquist reading revised final motion. Vote: Yes (5): Sundquist, Carr, Chow, Maier, DeBell; No (2) Bass, Martin-Morris; revised closure plan passes.

7:50 pm Board members making final statements. So far Chow and Sundquist have spoken and clearly support closure proposal. DeBell says that if the audience keeps interrupting the Board meeting will have to move. Bass near tears. "We do have solutions that I think could have been found with just a little more effort and time." Says public are willing to accept closures based on a rationale that makes sense. Tells audience its time to start learning about the assignment plan and all its details and to fight for change. Will be at Casey Center, Monday 6 pm if anyone wants to talk with her and ask her questions.

Preparing to read new motion back into the record.

7:40 pm Maier reading his amendment (1.a.6) regarding providing priority assignment of any displaced students. Vote: Yes (5): Sundquist, Carr, Chow, Maier, DeBell; No (2) Bass, Martin-Morris; amendment passes. Maier hopes that amendment will "help ease the transition." Bass doesn't want to do this now because changes to the assignment plan should be done when the rest of the assignment plan is discussed.

7:35 pm Sundquist reading his amendment (1.a.5) regarding reassignment of Cooper students to Gatewood, Highland Park and Arbor Heights. Vote: Yes (5): Sundquist, Carr, Chow, Maier, DeBell; No (2) Bass, Martin-Morris; amendment passes. Sundquist: Trying to assure that we have room at the West Seattle Elementary building for students coming into the High Point development. Also trying to move larger cohorts of students with teachers.

7:30 pm Harium Martin-Morris reading his second amendment (1.a.4). Vote: Yes (2): Bass, Martin-Morris; No (5) DeBell, Chow, Carr, Maier, Sundquist; amendment fails."I've already said what my feelings are about Cooper...for me to say to the students of Cooper that you've done a good job but you are not worthy to keep your building, that doesn't work for me...After being there and seeing those families, how could you not think it's the right thing to do." Bass: "It's the right thing to do." Sundquist: I cannot support this amendment. I think I have a better one in number 5.

7:25 pm Harium Martin-Morris reading his amendment (1.a.3). "...my attempt to keep as many of the Summit K-12 students intact...this is the only way I could see doing it without displacing another group of students." Vote: Yes (2): Bass, Martin-Morris; No (5) DeBell, Chow, Carr, Maier, Sundquist; amendment fails. Maier says not enough time to study this proposal. DeBell says Summit is a very caring community that has succeeded with little support from the district. But need to cut transportation costs and don't have another building that could house a K-12 program.

7:15 pm Sherry Carr reading her amendment (1.a.2) regarding Lowell walk zone. Asked Tracy Libros to speak to this. Vote: Yes (5): DeBell, Chow, Carr, Maier, Sundquist; No (2) Bass, Martin-Morris; amendment passes.

7:05 pm Mary Bass reading her amendment (1.a.1) regarding impact on Central cluster. Harium seconds it. Vote: Yes (2): Bass, Martin-Morris, No (5); Sundquist, DeBell, Chow, Carr, Maier amendment fails. "The reasoning behind this amendment was not to throw a wrench in the closure process, but to say to everyone that there is more work to be done, particularly in the Central cluster." Public has come up with creative solutions but too late to be vetted by the district staff. Came from a "marathon session" on Sunday and Monday. Even though AAA is not included, want that community to know how proud she is of their work. "I took the time to make sure your voice was heard on this piece...but we are where we are no matter how the vote comes out." Chow speaking about history of AAA and the goal of that program. "Unfortunately, the program is and has been underenrolled." Current AAA K-4 students will be assigned to Van Asselt program and can stay in that building. Name will remain the African-American Academy unless the school community chooses to change it.

7:00 pm Moving on to business section of meeting; introducting and voting on amendments and overall closure plan. Sundquist making formal motion by reading out full closure proposal text. Print version given as handout packet to audience. Motion seconded. Now moving onto each amendments.

6:30 pm Board comments before deliberation

DeBell making historical comments. Says central administration is having a $4 million cut including staff layoffs.

Sundquist: "This is happening in the context of the strategic plan." Two "cost-related problems" we are facing: 1) structural budget deficit (costs rising faster than revenues; and 2) economic situation in the country. Structural budget problems cannot be resolved with "one-time" actions, like using budget surplus.

Carr: "This is about closing schools or eliminating classroom teachers...annual savings is equal to about 42 teachers." As painful as this process is, there is no good alternative. Voicing respect for Dr. Goodloe-Johnson as a strong leader while crowd jeers.

Martin-Morris: "My personal belief that the district does indeed need to close schools...It is indeed time for us to take action to remove the excess capacity from the district...Many of the components in the proposal, I agree with. Some I do not." "One of the reasons I personally have offered up amendments to the proposal is to address some of those concerns." Discussing population at Cooper and the academic and enrollment gains made without much support from the district. To Summit community, my goal was to find a more central location for Summit students but "I have failed to do that." Pledging to "work tirelessly" to make sure all students receive a quality education no matter the outcome of the vote.

Maier: "Overall, I believe we must close schools" in order to have a stronger school district. Believe final recommendations have improved during the process. "These decisions have been deferred for too long...Tough times demand that we make difficult decisions." "These changes fit in well with possible changes to the student assignment plan."

Bass: Speaking to the audience "I don't want to let you down." Asking for all of you to believe that we are working together to improve education for all. Believe that we should reduce excess capacity but that assignment plan should have come first. "I also am very clear that we have a hole in our finances." Encourages audience to work to change education financing.

6:25 pm Board members have been asking questions of Dr. Goodloe-Johnson but I can't really hear anything because of chanting in the lobby. Michael DeBell said James Bible was removed because of where he was standing (no one is allowed in the aisles) and has said he is welcome to return.

6:15 pm James Bible from the NAACP was just removed from the meeting for no apparent reason. Other audience members have been interrupting and one has been removed from the room. Michael DeBell says staff will look into what happened with Mr. Bible but has told audience that if quiet is not maintained, the meeting will be moved to another location with only the media in attendance.

6:00 pm The meeting is starting. The security presence is overwhelming. The room is at capacity and security is keeping many people in the lobby.

Superintendent's Update: "...opportunity to correct longstanding imbalance in capacity..." "Our view includes students in every school throughout the city." "We know that the single most important factor in student learning is the quality of teaching...I believe that the recommendations we made will improve Seattle Public Schools overall." "These are the hardest choices School Boards are asked to make." "Continuing the status quo of underenrolled buildings...is unacceptable."

71 comments:

Eric B said...

Thanks so much Beth. It is so nice to feel like I am there without dragging my daughter to the Stanford Center.

Priya said...

Beth - Thank you so much! This keeps me from yelling at the TV for a few hours.

TwinMom2003 said...

Beth -- Thank you so much for being there in person. As it has unfolded -- very grim process. Very sad tonight for all the school communties and children, as I suspect there will be an impact to all. Due to employment circumstances we need to stay public, so will roll up our sleeves and do our very best, for our best, our children.

Beth, I so much appreciate your strength in this situation -- hey, what is tougher -- raising twins or live blogging a round of school closures? ;-)

All the best

Very best to you. :-)

Tom D said...

Beth, thanks so much for the live blogging

Syd said...

It looks like the only school board members listening to the "wisdom of the crowd" were Bass and Martin-Morris. I am just not sure what the other board members are thinking. This is so far from the concepts of leadership. When you lead, you take time to understand all the options, you persuade, you build support and buy-in. These are our children. We need to be able to buy-in. This has been made almost impossible in this process.

Thank you Ms. Bass and Mr. Martin-Morris.

a mom said...

Definitely deeply disappointed that things didn't go a different direction. For awhile last week, I was almost hopeful...

Thank you Mr. Martin-Morris and Ms. Bass for your votes.

Thanks so much Beth for this blog and for all your efforts -- I really appreciate it.

Robert said...

echo Thank you Ms. Bass and Mr. Martin-Morris

That said I just searched the net and sps' pages directly...

Nothing described as walk zone for Lowell.

adhoc said...

Thank you Beth for live blogging!

I have some questions about Peter Maier's amendment - assignment preference given to displaced students in the form of an assignment tie breaker which would come after sibling and region.

For elementary and middle schools that have reference areas does that mean that if for instance a displaced student chooses Bryant but doesn't live near Bryant or in the Bryant reference area, that all kids in the reference area that choose Bryant get in first? And do families that live outside of the Bryant reference area but in the NE cluster also get in first? Would they too be considered in the "region" and get assigned before a displaced family that did not live in the NE cluster? If so then displaced students would have no chance of getting into Bryant or other popular schools.

And, how exactly does it work for HS, where there are no regions or reference areas? Does it go by distance? If so, what is the distance that would be used? Or is the region tie breaker eliminated and only sibling comes before the displaced students at HS?

And what about alt schools that have a multi-cluster draw. Are all of their clusters their regions? For instance if a displaced student chose TC, but didn't live in the N or NE cluster (TC's draw clusters) would all kids from the N and NE have to be accommodated before the displaced student tie breaker kicked in?

Maybe it's just me, but it didn't seem very clear??

BL said...

To Robert:
Here's the url to the Lowell walk zone map:

http://www.seattleschools.org/
area/transportation/walk/
downloads/lowell.pdf

The boundaries are Broadway/E 10th, Aloha, 15th, and E John.

Melissa Westbrook said...

That was exhausting. I have a lot of thoughts about this meeting but since (a) you know the outcome and (b) I'm tired, I'll leave the analysis for tomorrow. A few thoughts.

Tt was a wild one. Maybe my memory is failing me but even the last meeting of the CAC vote didn't get that loud and aggressive (although nothing really beats having something like 600-700 students and parents staring you down at a gym).

I went out the door when James Bible was ejected and got an interview with him. Interesting guy.

There was a little bit of patronization, pandering (some people are coming up for relection this fall - Bass, De Bell and Chow), some meandering, and self-serving talk from the Board.

I felt Michael De Bell did an outstanding job being calm and trying to keep things under control.

Thanks to Beth for the up-to-the-minute blogging. I note that Tracy from West Seattle Blog was there as well.

More tomorrow.

AdHoc, yes that Maier amendment needs to be sussed out. I kind of agree with Mary Bass on not doing assignment things now. But you do raise an interesting thought; Summit high schoolers likely have a pretty good in to whereever they want to go (at least for overenrolled high schools) because at the high school level the first tie-breaker is sibs and then distance (since there are no regions). Maier wrote this such that after sibs and region, the placement priority would go to displaced students. So high school is a pretty good deal for Summit (if they care to look at it that way).

Megan Mc said...

Beth, thank you for the live blogging and for providing this forum.

Robert said...

thanks BL... but i have been looking at those maps all day.

they are not correct. or not logical

why can you walk to/from Lowell to Stevens but not from/to?!?!?!

Seriously those are not the maps... i do believe that the public records states from staff they are online. NO! and if this is the map ... Readily explainable to parents... NO! This is a bureaucratic footnote for a non reference school.

This is another error in a highly failed plan.

Robert said...

should i say plan?????

Central Mom said...

Thanks Beth.

TwinMom2003 said...

Hi Adhoc,

I can't speak to the HS tiebreakers, but for current "traditional" elementary schools such as Bryant the current and tie breakers for 2009-2010 are:

1. Sibling
2. Reference school
3. Distance
4. Lottery Number


D. Maier’s amendment proposes to change the tie breakers for a school like Bryant in the following way:

1. Sibling
2. Reference
3. Special Program Preference
4. Distance
5. Lottery Number

Where region is mentioned in D. Maier’s amendment I believe would apply to alternative schools that have a region tie breaker vs. a reference tie breaker. Regions for each alternative seem to be unique to each school. As an example Thornton Creek has the current and to be tie breakers for 2009-2010 of:

1. Sibling
2. Students in the North and Northeast Clusters
3. Lottery number

Under D. Maier’s amendments as I read it would be:

1. Sibling
2. Students in the North and Northeast Clusters
3. Special Program Preference
4. Lottery Number

So, to go back to your questions…a student in the Bryant reference area would get in before a displaced student that did not live in the Bryant reference area. However, a displaced student that lived further away from Bryant regardless of cluster, could get into Bryant before a student that lives closer to Bryant, but outside of the Bryant reference area, than the displaced student. (Say that three times fast.)

A displaced student that did not live in the North and Northeast clusters would not get into Thornton Creek ahead of a displaced student that lives outside these clusters.

Central Cluster Mom said...

The Lowell walk zone is bordered by Aloha, 15th, John and Broadway.

The Lowell family that literally lives across the street is not in the walk zone - because they have to cross Aloha. SPS would pay for a yellow bus to pick up their kids to shuttle them across Aloha? Will the madness never end?

dan dempsey said...

Encouraging that the vote was not 7-0. Harium again is on the short end. Congratulations to Harium. I agree that this happened too fast and that more planning was definitely necessary. Thanks Mary.
[shades of the Denny/Sealth fiasco]

On a slightly different note:
"We know that the single most important factor in student learning is the quality of teaching...I believe that the recommendations we made will improve Seattle Public Schools overall." --- MG-J

The quality of that teaching is greatly influenced by instructional materials. The High School math adoption is coming up.

MG-J said that the last HS Math adoption proceedings were just fine but it got politically derailed. The last adoption process gave us Interactive Math Program for proposed adoption which the board did not accept. IMP just came in dead last in the State's Instructional Math Materials rating.

----------
Good luck on that quality instruction with the math garbage that our math experts buy. Oh wait Ms. Santorno bought EDM and she is not a math expert.
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Oh WOW!!! I can hardly wait for the 5-2 vote on High School Math materials.

Who is the treasurer for Mas for School Board donations?

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Many thanks to all who contributed to the coverage.

TwinMom2003 said...

Oops - to correct that last paragraph...

A displaced student that did not live in the North and Northeast clusters would not get into Thornton Creek ahead of a student that lives inside these clusters.

Maureen said...

…a student in the Bryant reference area would get in before a displaced student that did not live in the Bryant reference area.

But isn't it also true, that a displaced student who lived in the Bryant ref area would be assigned BEFORE any non displaced student in Bryant's ref area (regardless of distance)?

And what about younger sibs of displaced students who enter K in Fall 09? Do they get Special Program Preference?

TwinMom2003 said...

Hi Maureen,

If a displaced student lived in the Bryant reference area then they would have preference over another student that lived in the Bryant reference area -- regardless of distance.

The next tie breaker to kick in after reference area is distance so the "new" program preference tie-breaker will win out over distance within the reference area.

However, sibling is the first tie breaker. If a younger sib. is applying to a school for an entry level grade and an older sib. currently attends the same school and will attend next year - then the younger sib. is guaranteed a placement under sibling preference.

If the younger sib. is applying to a school that an older sib. is currently enrolled in, but will not be attending next year, you can qualify for sibling linkage -- but only if you list this school as your first choice.

You will still have a first tie breaker (sibling linkage) above a displaced student, in reference area, with no siblings at the school.

TwinMom2003 said...

Maureen,

To expand further on your child entering K for next year.

D. Maier's amendment does not reference that at all, so you would very likely be back to the basic tie breakers.

However, if your displaced student is assigned to a school through either the early placement process for dis-placed students or through the regular open enrollment process you can still qualify for sibling linkage (a part of the first tie breaker) provided you list the school which your dis-placed student has been assigned as your first choice school for your K child.

Very sadly, sibling linkage only applies to your first choice school. I hope you will know and like the school which your older student will be assigned so you know which school to list as your first choice for your K child.

I extend my sympathy and empathy if this is your situation.

Maureen said...

Twin Mom I'm not asking for myself--my 'baby' just turned 11 and goes to TOPS :). I'm just trying to get clear on the details and using Bryant (and Summit) as examples.

I was looking at it from the other direction:

For Example: If a current Summit 2nd grader (say) who lives in the Bryant reference area has a sib who would be in K next year: the 2nd grader will get into Bryant IF there are spots open that aren't filled by any incoming sibs of CURRENT Bryant kids. BUT will the incoming kindergartener have preference over all non sibs coming into K or do they only get sibling linkage with the 2nd grader? I.e., does the program preference apply to sibs who would have attended Summit next year, but didn't this year?

It looks to me like there are over 250 TTMinor, Summit and AAA kids who live in the five clusters that feed TOPS. We have few open spots in the upper grades and most of those will probably go to current TOPS sibs, BUT if the program preference applies to incoming kindergarteners that would have been enrolled at Summit or AAA or TTMinor, then I'm thinking that they could get all of our 'open' K spots next year. Any of the displaced kids would be welcomed with open arms--I'm just trying to figure out what to say to all of the families who come to our next tour--do they have any chance at all of getting in?

A different point: Why are TTMinor Montessori kids given program preference at alt and neighborhood schools when Lowell South and Washington APP North kids aren't? All of them are in programs that are moving intact to a new building. Did Meier just overlook the Montessori program?

Magua said...

It may be safe to assume that Maier overlooked the Montessori detail. Among others.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the blogging Beth.

This is all very sad.

There are a few key points that I hope the board directors and the staff will read (but I doubt it).

1) The fact that you have to do something does not mean that you had to choose this plan. It's a poor plan.

2) The poor decision making and utter opacity in some cases, is going to result in less community support for you and for the schools. Don't be surprised when Directors are not re-elected. Please don't be surprised when the next levy fails. I have watched enough of your process to not trust SPS or the board with my kids, and not trust them with my $.

3) Don't confuse a transparent process with transparent decision-making. Did anyone articulate a clear vision and then defend it?

4) You sell your way out of tough situations, you don't cut your way out of them. This whole process was full of justifying cuts rather than selling a vision.

Time for another Manhattan.

TwinMom2003 said...

Hi Maureen,

Whew! Glad is wasn't you and hope it isn't anyone out there.

The incoming K kid (as I read it) will not get the "Program placement" tiebreaker.

In the currently enrolled in Summit - but lives in the Bryant reference area example - if the current Summit kid got assigned to Bryant, then the incoming K kid would have sibling linkage, provided Bryant is listed as first choice for the K kid on the enrollment application.

As the current Summit kid did not attend Bryant last year there will not be a qualification for Sibling Preference.

As D. Maier's amendment did not specifically address the situation of granting Sibling Preference to a dis-placed and now re-assigned child with an incoming K kid I'm sadly confident that everything will be processed as it is written, and as the D. Maier amendment did not specify this provision....

I didn't pay attention to the TT Minor and APP portions of the amendment so won't speak to that now...will look at it in the morning if someone doesn't beat me to it.

Anonymous said...

Twin Mom - Maier specifically took APP out of consideration.

If a child was in APP and the parents want to move him because they do not trust the district (go figure), they get no help moving into a stable school.

jamie said...

I have an enrollment question... if I am looking to move my student to a closer elementary school (say wedgwood) but have a spot at bryant, would I risk losing the spot at bryant if I tried for a spot at wedgwood and didn't get it, or would it be a guaranteed backup? I can't seem to find a conclusive answer to this anywhere. With lots of displaced students to place, it seems like all grade levels might be tighter than usual?

dj said...

APP was removed from Maier's amendment because (1) from what it seems, he did not understand how APP enrollment worked in the first place, and relatedly (2) the fear is that if you give parents the option to keep their kids at their current school rather than move them, they will in general and if possible choose not to move.

TwinMom2003 said...

Jamie,

For 2009-2010 if you applied to move your child to a closer school you would not have a guarantee to keep your seat in your current school. You could list the school closest to you as your first choice, your school of current enrollment 2nd, etc. -- but no guarantee you could get back into your current school. Your application would be processed in accordance with the tie breakers.

The new assignment plan is supposed to roll out for 2010-2011 enrollment. They are talking about giving you a guaranteed place at your reference school then. However, they will be redrawing the boundaries for reference schools as a part of this change so your current reference school may not be your reference school for 2010-2011.

SE Mom said...

Jamie -

My understanding is that if you apply for another school and get in, then that's that, you are enrolled in the new school and lose your spot in the old. If you don't get into the new school, you
keep your spot in the current school. If you are waitlisted, and you get called for a spot in the new school, then you have a choice and can opt to stay or go.

We decided to try and switch schools for this year and applied to only one school. We didn't get in and automatically kept our old/current school assignment.

jamie said...

Those are the two answers, which is correct? I've poured over the enrollment page and can't find anything in writing, or get a consistent verbal answer. If SE mom is correct, it would be quite a relief.

If they redraw the reference areas so we have to bus away instead of walk two blocks I will be very sad indeed, I hope it doesn't come to that.

adhoc said...

I'm not so sure about that twinmom. If the child is already enrolled at Bryant and wants to move to Wedgewood the child would be guaranteed a spot at one or the other. The enrollment form should only have Wedgewood listed as 1st choice. Don't list any other schools, 2nd choice etc. If the child does not get into Wedgewood, he remains at Bryant.

At least this is how it always has been.

We faced this issue when our son was at Salmon Bay and we wanted to move him to Eckstein. This is what the enrollment center told us. We listed only Eckstein, and he didn't get in. His enrollment remained intact at Salmon Bay.

But things change from year to year, so best to verify with enrollment.

SE Mom said...

To provide more info:

We are at a K-8 and applied to a middle school Spectrum program. I just dug out a copy of our enrollment form and we did only apply to one school. We did not list the current school as a second choice, as we were told it was not necessary.

I don't see why this process would be different for elementary school than middle school. I guess the best thing to do is go to an enrollment center in person.

h2o girl said...

Beth, thanks so much for blogging this. Very grim indeed.

Jamie, my kid was at Green Lake for K, then we moved three blocks from Whittier so I applied there for 1st grade, and was told the same as AdHoc; if we didn't get into Whittier she would just stay at Green Lake. However that was several years ago. I thought there was a spot on the registration form to tell them to keep your kid in their current school if they don't get into the one you're applying for - however I just looked at the enrollment forms on the SPS website and it does say that, but only if you're currently in an out of cluster school. Very confusing. I'd definitely call the enrollment office and verify. Good luck!

jamie said...

I will definitely call and ask, probably several times, since I haven't always gotten super accurate info (like when they told me AS1 was full for kindy last year.)

Gabriel said...

I was there and took photographs of the event. The set is located on flickr at http://flickr.com/photos/gabrielcain/sets/72157613108451351/

Sahila said...

To the Directors of the SPS Board...

I would like to thank Director Morris and Director Bass for working so hard to do what you could to handle this capacity/budget issue with common sense and sensitivity to the needs and wishes of the community you serve.

I admire your willingness to listen and to be open to points of view - particularly when they are supported by data - that run counter to the information provided to the Board by the District. I particularly congratulate you on your final decision to do the only sensible thing left and vote against the Closure proposal. That decision demonstrates to me that you have personal integrity and a sincere commitment to do the best you can for Seattle's public school children.

To Directors Chow, Bell, Carr, Maier and Sundquist - I am saddened and sickened by the actions you took last night. Your decision to vote for such a flawed plan - despite the fact that its numerous shortcomings had been plainly revealed and other more viable options had been suggested - suggests that you have forgotten whom it is you serve and whose interests you represent.

In the face of overwhelming community opinion that this process needed to be addressed in a more creative manner and after other factors affecting the capacity issue had been dealt with, you decided to turn your back on your constituents and to give the Superintendent what she wanted.

It appears to me that this matter and its unfolding - the first contentious issue that has arisen since her hiring - was more an exercise in demonstrating loyalty to the Superintendent you hired than in holding out until the best possible solution emerged from further research and consultation with the SPS community. I am appalled that the politics of bureaucracy got in the way of clear vision, courage and integrity.

Each of you, in your pre-vote comments, demonstrated a lack of understanding of the issues involved. I wont deconstruct each contribution, but just to exemplify my point, Director Carr said that: "This is about closing schools or eliminating classroom teachers...annual savings is equal to about 42 teachers."

Director Carr - closing schools does eliminate classroom teachers - closing schools forces larger class sizes in the fewer schools left, reducing individual instruction and support opportunities and negatively impacting learning outcomes for many children, which surely is not Excellence for All and definitely is not educational best practice.

This issue was never about extending educational excellence to more children. It was about saving money and it was a step towards standardising Seattle public education - another economic/finance-driven move - pure and simple and to argue anything else is simply false.

The path this process has taken and its outcome has destroyed a further portion of the slim slice of of trust SPS parents have in the District and the Board. No doubt there will be challenges to this decision, which will cost the District time and (public) money to defend, which is ironic considering the closure plan was justified to be necessary to save money.

Many, many parents are looking at other educational options. Even if they are forced to stay within SPS because of immediate economic considerations, as soon as that tide turns they will leave the District because they have no trust that their children's needs and interests are being protected.

And parents will be wary of the way other issues yet to be dealt with will be handled by the SPS District, so you will find it much more difficult to secure community support and buy-in on even the most innocuous measures. The ramifications and negative consequences of last night's decision will continue to manifest for a long time. The District may save a few dollars over time, but the tangible and intangible costs and damage to children, families and the community will far outstrip any monetary figure.

Sahila ChangeBringer
AS#1 parent
To the Directors of the SPS Board...

I would like to thank Director Morris and Director Bass for working so hard to do what you could to handle this capacity/budget issue with common sense and sensitivity to the needs and wishes of the community you serve.

I admire your willingness to listen and to be open to points of view - particularly when they are supported by data - that run counter to the information provided to the Board by the District. I particularly congratulate you on your final decision to do the only sensible thing left and vote against the Closure proposal. That decision demonstrates to me that you have personal integrity and a sincere commitment to do the best you can for Seattle's public school children.

To Directors Chow, Bell, Carr, Maier and Sundquist - I am saddened and sickened by the actions you took last night. Your decision to vote for such a flawed plan - despite the fact that its numerous shortcomings had been plainly revealed and other more viable options had been suggested - suggests that you have forgotten whom it is you serve and whose interests you represent.

In the face of overwhelming community opinion that this process needed to be addressed in a more creative manner and after other factors affecting the capacity issue had been dealt with, you decided to turn your back on your constituents and to give the Superintendent what she wanted.

It appears to me that this matter and its unfolding - the first contentious issue that has arisen since her hiring - was more an exercise in demonstrating loyalty to the Superintendent you hired than in holding out until the best possible solution emerged from further research and consultation with the SPS community. I am appalled that the politics of bureaucracy got in the way of clear vision, courage and integrity.

Each of you, in your pre-vote comments, demonstrated a lack of understanding of the issues involved. I wont deconstruct each contribution, but just to exemplify my point, Director Carr said that: "This is about closing schools or eliminating classroom teachers...annual savings is equal to about 42 teachers."

Director Carr - closing schools does eliminate classroom teachers - closing schools forces larger class sizes in the fewer schools left, reducing individual instruction and support opportunities and negatively impacting learning outcomes for many children, which surely is not Excellence for All and definitely is not educational best practice.

This issue was never about extending educational excellence to more children. It was about saving money and it was a step towards standardising Seattle public education - another economic/finance-driven move - pure and simple and to argue anything else is simply false.

The path this process has taken and its outcome has destroyed a further portion of the slim slice of of trust SPS parents have in the District and the Board. No doubt there will be challenges to this decision, which will cost the District time and (public) money to defend, which is ironic considering the closure plan was justified to be necessary to save money.

Many, many parents are looking at other educational options. Even if they are forced to stay within SPS because of immediate economic considerations, as soon as that tide turns they will leave the District because they have no trust that their children's needs and interests are being protected.

And parents will be wary of the way other issues yet to be dealt with will be handled by the SPS District, so you will find it much more difficult to secure community support and buy-in on even the most innocuous measures. The ramifications and negative consequences of last night's decision will continue to manifest for a long time. The District may save a few dollars over time, but the tangible and intangible costs and damage to children, families and the community will far outstrip any monetary figure.

Sahila ChangeBringer
AS#1 parent
tel 206 297 7511

Charlie Mas said...

Okay.

This has been decided.

While the primary moves of this plan (closing AAA, TT Minor, Cooper, Meany and repurposing the Jane Addams building) were sound and defensible - if debatable, many of the secondary moves (Van Asselt to AAA, splitting Lowell, Pathfinder to Cooper, NOVA and S.B.O.C. to Meany, splitting Washington APP, and discontinuing Summit) were bad and indefensible.

So it goes. That battle is over.

Now I believe that we have to stop pushing against the plan to stop it or change it, and have to start pushing the plan forward to make it work. There is very little time between now and the first day of school and there is a whole lot to do.

Now is the time to contact the District and volunteer for a design team.

Now is the time to contact the school and ask how you can work to make the transitions successful for the students.

We should not sabotage our children's education - or any other child's education - to score a political point with the District. Instead, we need to make our children's education as effective and successful as possible. That remains true whether our children are enrolled in their current school or in a different one.

zb said...

I disagree with Charlie about his characterization of the "defensible" and "indefensible" parts of this done deal, but agree that this is the time to move on.

What should we advocate for assuming that none of these decisions can be reversed? How do we assure the smoothest transition for the APP split? How do we smooth the path of the students to be dispersed at Cooper & Summit & AAA & promote the new K-8 at Addams & integrate the population from TT minor into Lowell?

TwinMom2003 said...

Jamie,

Definately, verify with enrollment -- and if you can Tracy Libros.

This past year parents told me of the following two situations...a child enrolled at View Ridge tested into Spectrum. During Open Enrollment they listed View Ridge Spectrum, and Wedgwood Spectrum. The child was assigned to Wedgwood regular and could not get back into View Ridge.

In another instance a mom that lives two blocks from View Ridge moved into the area mid year and her daughter was assigned to Wedgwood. For open enrollment she also had a child entering Kindergarten. She listed View Ridge as first choice for them both. The incoming K kid was assigned to VR, the daughter at WW was assigned to Laurelhurst. She filed an appeal to either place her daughter at VR so her children could be together or WW for the sake of continuity. Her daughter was then placed back at WW. But, only after an appeal.

I say try to verify with Tracy Libros personally as both moms received advice from enrollment in completing their forms

TechyMom said...

Two things I can think of to hop mute the damage in Central. These won't surprise anyone who has read my posts...
1) Make Madrona a viable community K8. This would give Meany students who don't want a tracked program somewhere to go. Ideally, I'd like to see Madrona be a Math and Science magnet or an IB school. If Jane Addams is made into one of these, Madrona should be the same. That would get twice as many staff members working on designing this new program on a tght schedule. Failing that, replace Madrona's principal with either Meany's it TT minor's, both of whom have shown capacity for creating diverse quality programs.

The second is to fix Central Cluster spectrum. Ive heard that Leschi has 'blended' spectrum classes. That is not acceptable. Mandate separate spectrum classes at Leschi. Hire teachers with training working with gifted students. Give the principal clear direction that this program is to be supported, the teachers listened to, make it part of the principal's evaluation that the teachers give good feedback and that spectrum enrollment increasses over several years.

There's another thing active parents can do to help... If you're in Central and picking a school in the next few years, put the general ed programs at Lowell and/or T Marshall somewhere on your list. If you land there, be active in figuring out how to make the co-housing work. I plan to do this.

adhoc said...

I agree with Charlie that this is now a done deal now, and the schools and commmunities that can should move on and work hard to get the best possible outcomes for the children they serve.

Of course the Summit community can't move on, as there is nowwhere or nothing for them to move on to. They are the community that I am most saddened for. It is wrong on so many levels to let a program with 560 kids, that was successful against all odds, just end. A program that despite year after year of closure threats has not only survived, but stayed strong and committed. A program that serves a population that needs what they offered. How could this board allow this to happen? I totally understand moving the program - they weren't fully utilizing the building, but closure? While most of the other affected communities will move forward and begin to rebuild and work toward a positive end, I don't know how Summit can do this? There is no new building for them to go to, no split to work on, no school to merge with, no cohort to follow, not even a predictable assignment preference. They get absolutely nothing out of this deal. It's a sad day for Summit, and for me too.

While I understand closure, and I get that we are in the midst of a budget crisis, and I acknowledge that the proposal changed and morphed to reflect community input which is a positive, but in the end the proposal was flawed and far from perfect. I truly expected the Board to come through and make sensible amendments - but they didn't.

I am also very sad to think that now that we have eliminated the excess capacity and we have fewer schools there will never be an opportunity for Seattle to reduce class sizes. We are now stuck with our 30+ kid classrooms, and will likely remain 42nd (or lower) in the nation for class size. That is sad, and very disapointing.

Sahila said...

I disagree with Charlie's assertion that the battle's been lost so its time to get on and make an unsatisfactory plan work...

We're not at the end of this process and stopping resistance now will just give the District the idea that it can do/push through whatever it wants...that we'll bitch and moan more or less loudly but they dont have to listen and change anything, including very dumb ideas...

There'll be another round of closures...we at AS#1 will be in the firing range again next time around... we've had a year's reprieve - we've been told to restructure (which means diluting our alternativeness), to up our (soon to be gone) WASL scores, our enrolment and transportation for about 1/3 of our students has been taken away, leaving many of them without the means of access, causing a further drop in our numbers that we are supposed to make up with new enrollees....

Upping our enrolment with Summit families? Yeah right... Aside from hating to have be the ambulance chasers here, to try to ensure our own continued existence, we've already been told that some Summit families are reluctant to enrol their children in a school they think will be back on the closure list next year...

And I dont blame them - children need stability and I wouldnt enrol my child in our school either if my other preferred alternative programme had been disappeared from under my feet, only to face the prospect of disruption again a year later...

And since I dont want to go mainstream and the other (less) alternative schools are full, that means going out of District, going private or home schooling, which is my guess many displaced families will do...

Such limited vision on the part of the Board and District... sees what it wants to see and ignores the rest...

You're right adhoc - there will now never be a move to reduce class sizes down to educational best practice recommendations and just watch how ugly schooling will get when population numbers increase in the various clusters...

Jesse Hagopian's Orwellian example of economically efficient education being best facilitated by bussing all the kids to one of the (under-utilised) stadiums and teaching them all via the large screens there, is not so ridiculous... why, you could partition off the field and stands into 13 areas, group the kids according to age/grade, have one screen each and rotate through all the subject areas during the day. You wouldnt need teachers anymore - you would just need "monitors" (security guards) to keep all the kids in their places and maintain order... there you go, budget crisis problem solved!

Mercermom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
seattle citizen said...

So..movnig on to other concerns and interests:
Director Carr said that "This is about closing schools or eliminating classroom teachers...annual savings is equal to about 42 teachers."
Let's be honest: It's about closing schools AND eliminating educators. The district is purportedly asking that four million be cut from building budgets. IF buildings decided to trim their budgets by cutting staff, this would be quite a few people: Assume, say, 60,000 average per staff (cert and non-cert). That goes into 4 mil...about 66 times.
So we might lose 66 staff members anyway (and note to Director Carr, and EVERYBODY: this is about staff: educators, custodians, IAs, secretaries...not just certs. These are communities, not classroom silos.)
Loss of 66 staff, plus any non-school funded staff, such as Pathways teachers, deans and other support staff that is centrally funded.

So now that they've made a decision, let's keep our eyes on the prize: continued vigilance and discussion about how to maintain excellent services in the face of diminishing funds.

Sahila said...

Excellent services cost money... pay peanuts and get monkeys...

There is money there - in Seattle, in Washington, in this country - its just being spent on other priorities...

I dont understand why people appear to be willing to accept such falsity and to allow it to continue...its simple logic - money for jails but no money for education equals, 15 years down the track, needing more money for more jails...

So, we just accept this battle has been lost and make the most of a bad situation, for the situation only to get worse, which we then fight, which we then lose, which we than accept, which we then make the most of a bad situation....

seattle citizen said...

Sahila reminds us of an interesting point: $ for jails, not schools...on of the bills before the legislature is to decriminalize marijuana. This would save a considerable amount of money. How about if the savings were split fifty/fifty: half to budget reduction, half towards funding schools?
Make a statement, demand from your legislators that they find money to fully fund schools.

adhoc said...

Summit and AS1 families you should know that Shoreline has a wonderful small alt school called The Room 9 Community School. They are looking to increase their enrollment and have space for Seattle children (though I don't know how much). For Seattle families living in the N and NE this may be an option for you. You don't get bus service from Seattle, but you could get bus service from right over the Shoreline border (145th st), The school is located on 175th right off of the freeway. It is a wonderful litttle public alt school that has been able to hang on to their alt culture and perform very well. You have to have a tour before you can apply, and if interested you let them know and voila you are enrolled. No enrollment center, no waiting until May, nothing. You will need to fill out an out of district transfer form so the state pays Shoreline instead of Seattle for your child but that's it. The only downside is Shoreline does not want to take on children that will cost them extra money, so they generally don't take special ed students, or kids with behavior or attendance problems.

http://www.roomninecommunity
school.org/

Josh Hayes said...

dagnabbit, darn browser lost my first post.

Thanks for the link, adhoc. I know one of the teachers there, and I should ask her if it seems like a good fit for my kids.

I hate to flee AS1, and I don't PLAN to, but to survive it appears we'll have to both a) become more mainstream, and b) attract lots more students, probably from the ranks of displaced Summiteers.

I can't see us being of much use if we do a), and I sure can't blame Summit families if they don't want to lay themselves open to having another school close out from under them. So I'm not real sanguine about AS1's future. A shame, but that's reality.

zb said...

I second TechyMom about considering Marshall & Lowell general for your kids in Central (though my opinion has to be mitigate by the fact that I don't live in Central). I think there are enough families in Central (who didn't make it into the big 3 + TOPS) who might find that with their presence, combined with the APP families, those schools could become vibrant, diverse communities.

But, the success depends on buy-in from the higher SES central folks who now do everything they can to avoid the south-end central schools.

(and, what they do with the "non-standard" Marshall general program, like uniforms?)

zb said...

PS: moving forward doesn't mean that we can't continue to advocate for more funding for the schools, to fight for better processes for future closures, to advocate in the new school assignment process, to support alternative/non-traditional schools.

seattle citizen said...

Call me an idealist, but it's sad to see people bail out of the district. The students here are the city's children, and me personally, I'm stickin' with 'em through thick and thin. Nothing's ever perfect: there's plenty of stuff in my life (and in children's lives) that is highly dysfunctional. But this is what we have and by staying we work with it to make it better.
Not blaming anyone for going, it just makes me sad. It's a loss to the community as those that can leave, leave, and those that cannot are left with a further diminished district due to the flight.

zb said...

"It's a loss to the community as those that can leave, leave, and those that cannot are left with a further diminished district due to the flight."

I see the sadness, but leaving to make the best decision for your child doesn't have to mean that you leave the community of people who care about the children in all of Seattle and try to advocate for positive change. Even if one isn't motivated by altruism, families spend a lot of years in school. The decision you make today isn't a decision forever. One might advocate today out of altruism and find oneself benefiting five years down the road.

dj said...

My view is that it is time to get geared up to deal with the assignment plan, in addition to making the program/school changes work. I'd like to get as much information now as possible and establish priorities for engagement. I am a newbie, but my armchair view of what just took place is that communities that were organized early fared better than those that were not.

Techymom, I have a strong interest in what happens with Madrona because I have a child who will be school-aged for the 2011-12 school year and I can see Madrona from my house (if you'll forgive the Palin reference). I'd be interested in working up data and support for the proposition that the current model would not serve the students who will end up being sent there under the new assignment plan, and in coming up with concrete ways in which that school can be transformed (other than just, "get a different principal," particularly since the district is very happy it appears with her work).

And ZB, It is in my view highly unlikely that TM will continue to have uniforms. Possibly the school will continue to have them next year, because I know a lot of Lowell parents coming in (and you can put me in this category) are both not happy about uniforms but also not wanting to come into a new school with established programs and start demanding changes with respect to really really annoying but ultimately comparatively trivial things.

seattle citizen said...

True that, ZB. Frankly, most of the people, in here at least, that are "deciding" (having it decided for them?) to leave the district are adults that are thoughtful about all kids, not just their own, so I see that they may continue to advocate anywhere, including here, even if their kids are "there."
It's just easy to picture a stampede, and easy to realize that if a kid is at Shoreline, that's where much of the adult's attention will be.

seattle citizen said...

New Thread (?)
Whither Goest Non-Traditional Schools and Programs?

This train is coming:
1) common assessments of some type, besides the WASL or other state tests: ways that the District can use common tools to evaluate both students and teachers;
2) some increased common curriculum, shared across schools;
3) less transportation around the city - cluster-only, perhaps
4) "earned automony" (see #1): where schools demonstrate success, they get to branch out away from commonality, if they can show curriculum and assessment meets the common standards (GLEs)

Given the above, the days of a hodge-podge of various and sundry non-traditionals are numbered.

Personally, I see:
One "alternative" per cluster or region, probably a K-8 ("alternative" high schools are a bit more freed from transportation, as the students can get themselves to the school..but now we have only one, anyway.)

"Codified"" alternatives in each cluster - more standardization of what an alternative is. This negates the argument that each alt is unique, because, it will be argued, it is impossible to offer students a choice of a variety of alts because it is impossible to get them to the schools around the city. (parents might argue that they will drive them, or whatever, but since ALL of the potential students can't get there this way, the district will make the alts similar, so if a student wants an alt, they can get it in their cluster or region.

Other non-traditional programs, such as APP, Safety Net, ELL, etc will face similar issues: how will all students be allowed access, around the city, and across class/race lines etc.

It would, methinks, behoove interested parties to address some of these potential issues and work towards ways to work with the district to address them in meaningful ways.

Central Mom said...

Seattle Citizen...
Don't forget the International programs at Concord, JSIS and Beacon Hill. And the Montessouris.

And yes, this should be a new thread. And the time for input is now. The district has some idea of how assignment boundaries are going to fall (even if they aren't ready to release them). They're still working on how to overlay Alt, K-8 and International schools onto that grid. But they want to have the plan together yet this spring.

seattle citizen said...

"Don't forget the International programs at Concord, JSIS and Beacon Hill. And the Montessouris."

Hence, Central Mom, my "etc." !

Yes, ALL non-tradional programs/schools (hence, CM, "non-tradtional"!) would, in my opinion, do well to work hard to define what they are, how they can show what they are and how they "fit" into some common metrics, and how they can have an active voice in discussion with the district to reconfigure systems to meet needs.

This can be a good thing. SOME change is good, and where people can advocate articulately for good programs, maybe these can grow and serve more students in a more efficient way.

We always need to be moving forward, and making things better. How can we do this and also be economically efficient?

(and, of course, how can we do all this and make sure funding is available from sources beyone SPS, make sure that good things get the money they need?)

Brian said...

This is my favorite part of the discussions last night:

"Current AAA K-4 students will be assigned to Van Asselt program and can stay in that building. Name will remain the African-American Academy unless the school community chooses to change it."

This is an example of school board "leadership". Shut down the program, but punt the naming issue onto the new community, which will have a hard enough time getting along.

seattle citizen said...

"Current AAA K-4 students will be assigned to Van Asselt program and can stay in that building. Name will remain the African-American Academy unless the school community chooses to change it."

You're KIDDING.

This is very disrespectful of the current AAA....they are being closed, but the name might continue at the new group's whim?
And the new group is left to discontinue tjhe name? Will they also have to mail the old AAA people and tell them if the name is then discontinued?

Unbelievable.

word verifier: "dednit" is what I want to do to my screaming psyche after reading of stuff like this...

SPSMom said...

What I don't understand is that if Director's Bass and Martin-Morris were opposed to the plan, why didn't they put forth an admendment that stopped the closures until the assignment plan was in place And called for the district to tap into the rainy day fund to cover expenses that they had due to not closing schools?

Director Bass's admendment, which took all her schools off the table appeared to be self-serving, yet last night she revealed that she felt that the entire plan was rushed etc.

Now it really feels like we will have a huge territory war on our hands.

Sahila said...

That lovely little gem of insensitivity about the AAA name also stuck out like a sore thumb for me, Brian...

The breadth and depth of the ignorance being displayed is just bone-chilling, spine-tingling, mind-boggling...

I am struggling with huge levels of disappointment... came to this country to be with the father of my youngest child... people said, if you have to go live in the States, Seattle is probably the best place possible for a anarchistic/socialist-leaning/democratic liberal like you, with such a mix of mainstream and alternative life views/experiences...

Seattle, they said, is the least conservative/reactionary, most tolerant/accepting/diverse/socially aware, progressive city in the country - you should fit right in, they said...

Wow - if this is progressive, enlightened, accepting, socially conscious and diverse, what does the rest of the US look like?

seattle citizen said...

I might get chewed up and spit out for this, Sahila, but many in Seattle aren't "progressives" touted so globally. Many are "merely" working moms and dads, immigrants, people struggling with a variety of issues that bear little connection to progressive thought.

It was said years ago, of the hippie movement, that it was a bunch of wealthy children who could AFFORD to do thigs differently, who could AFFORD to be progressive.

Many can't.

And, unfortunately, I believe that it's a sad bu ineveitable fact that when one has children, one's focus often becomes laser-sharp in regards to those children, but loses the larger focus on how the whole system effects the whole: People advocate for their own. A form of tribalism.

There are plenty who advocate for ALL; many are in here. But while the wealthier amongst us can AFFORD to advocate, and also, possibly, have the knowledge to advocate, there are many in the city who don't have that luxury.

The squeaky wheel gets the grease.

Some are progressive. Some are merely getting by.

Ben said...

"Other non-traditional programs, such as APP, Safety Net, ELL, etc will face similar issues: how will all students be allowed access, around the city, and across class/race lines etc."

I don't know if I understand. Right now, all students are "allowed" access to APP if they pass the APP test. They get transportation from anywhere in the city, and the testing is free.

Sahila said...

seattle citizen...
thanks for your input...

I understand the problems of immigration, blue collar social and economic status, English-as-a-second language, cultural differences, survival mode etc... I came from that background and remember that experience very well...

Having been an 'outsider' all my life, in five countries, I have had the opportunity to observe while participating and havent had any strong ties to any particular group...and perhaps having had that detachment has given me the opportunity to see how the system in each of those places works...what the relationships are and where the power and equity imbalances still play out...

And in my passion, I forget that others have been immersed in it so long that maybe they dont have that perspective...like ants scurrying on the ground with a limited field of vision, rather than eagles flying above with the change in perspective height brings... and then I dont understand why such system failures arent more obvious to more people, or why people allow them to continue...they are after all, only systems, created by people and so they can be changed by people....

Except then you run into the reality that when a system works for some people, its hard to enlist their support to change it, even though its not working for a good many others... why give up security and comfort and privilege in order to re-establish balance and equity?

I incorporate quite a lot of Buddhist teachings in my world view, but in issues of social justice, find it very hard to develop equanimity!

steve in west seattle said...

Charlie,

I'm confused by your statement:

While the primary moves of this plan (closing AAA, TT Minor, Cooper, Meany and repurposing the Jane Addams building) were sound and defensible - if debatable, many of the secondary moves (Van Asselt to AAA, splitting Lowell, Pathfinder to Cooper, NOVA and S.B.O.C. to Meany, splitting Washington APP, and discontinuing Summit) were bad and indefensible.

The primary decision wasn't to close Cooper. The primary decision was to close Genesee Hill Building and move Pathfinder. Closing Cooper was collateral damage.

Steve

Danny K said...

I think Charlie is right, the ship has sailed and now it's time to hold the district to its promises and figure out how to make this work.

I also can't help thinking how much the national and local situation has changed just since MG-J came on board. WAMU is gone, Starbucks, Boeing and Microsoft are all laying people off right and left, and the international trade that keeps Seattle thriving is drying up. I think 2009 is going to be a really terrible year economically, and the public at large is not going to have much interest in our troubles in the District.

Beth Bakeman said...

I agree, Danny K. And I have proposal for one thing we can do to help make sure the district keeps their promises.

See An Invitation to Hold the District to Their Promises

seattle citizen said...

Ben,
I was trying to suss out (in this and other posts in other threads) how a future SPS would continue to improve services to its students.
In one sphere of contemplation, we have the "non-traditional" programs and services that, hopefully, meet the needs of students who aren't at-level in a traditional setting, or ARE at-level but need and/or require other services (alt, APP, SpEd. ELL, safety net...)
So "non-traditional" is one sort of service.
Another discussion is how we have, and how will we, serve students in terms of academic levels? Some students are "ahead", some are "behind": how do we/will we serve the academic needs of these students?
Yes, APP is a test-in, all-city draw (or north/south program draws?)
Is this good? Not saying yes or no, just looking for the conversation.
What about Spectrum? Why is there not a uniform access in every school to Spectrum?
AP or IB? ALO or Honors?
SpEd inclusion, pull-out, or resource room?
Safety net: do we want students with discipline issues in the trad schools? Should we put them in separate rooms? How will THEY learn?
Big picture: what's best for meeting the needs of the students? Maybe APP should have these "walk-overs" mentioned in other posts. maybe Gen Ed teachers should be more trained in inclusion and differentiation?
Let's build a better district.

word verifier: "nonsupe"?! Of COURSE I'm not the Supe! If I were, I'm sure I could do all I mention above in less than two weeks! (ha!) PLUS I'd be really enjoying that 240 or 260 thousand...

Sahila said...

Students arent 'ahead' or behind'... they are where they are it that is 'normal' for them...

If we had vertical curriculums and varied learning opportunities delivered through various styles and experiences, (AS#1 - a school attuned to all kinds of minds) where students could learn at their own pace - 2 grades ahead or 2 grades behind or whatever, via the medium that works best for them, we would be accepting people as they are and dealing with life as it really is - unique - and we wouldnt have this problem...

TwinMom2003 said...

Maureen,

In case you are still checking this thread...I read this post from Director HMM over on his blog,

"Dear Central Mom

This is what I heard from the staff on siblling preference:

There are actually three different categories of students:

1. Students at the same school (in the same grade band of elementary, middle, or high school) are being reassigned to the same new school. Reassignments as part of the closure process are based on reference area, so siblings will be reassigned together. No application is needed.

2. For a student reassigned as part of the closure process, a sibling from another school who applies to the reassigned school will receive sibling preference as long as the sibling is listed on the standard application form.

3. If an incoming entry grade sibling applied through the early sibling application process and the older sibling is being reassigned due to the closure process, the incoming entry grade sibling will automatically be reassigned to the older sibling’s new school. No application is needed."

I'm so happy that in this instance enrollment will be processed with common sense and consideration vs. strict adherance to what is written and nothing else.