Thursday, January 15, 2009

Functional Capacity numbers are posted

The District has completed its survey of school functional capacity. You can find the results here.

Some interesting tidbits. Here's one: the functional capacity of Thurgood Marshall is 366. There are 264 students currently enrolled. The District intends to add about 240 APP students to the school. Some E.B.O.C. students will be moved out of the building, but the new total enrollment will still be close to 500 - in a school that can only hold 366? You might think that they will have to use every available space as a classroom, except that they also expect APP families to support a whole bunch of art and music at the school. How is that going to happen without space for it?

After the 240 APP students are in the building there will only be room for 126 general education students - essentially one class per grade. One class per grade is actually more like 146. There won't be any room for any self-contained special education or bilingual classrooms at all. If there is a sibling for even 1 out of 4 APP students, the number of seats for neighborhood students will dwindle to 86. Remember that under the new assignment plan every student will be guaranteed access to their reference area school. How small will the reference area have to be to restrain the capture to less than 90 students? What if APP siblings exceed a 1:4 ratio? What if the District is right and the location increases participation in APP? Then how small will the reference area have to be?

Thurgood Marshall shouldn't have a reference area at all. It should become a choice school. That will go a long way to making sure that it won't become Madrona II.


Kirsten Wild said...

Wow. The space issues at TM with the Lowell cohort has been a concern from the start. This really brings it home. Not a good way to start a harmonious relationship between the APP and the General Ed cohorts (if the General Ed population that's left after APP pushes them out can be called a cohort). Thanks for bringing these numbers to people's attention.

none1111 said...

Speaking of siblings, here's another concern.

What about siblings of current Thurgood Marshall kids? Can you imagine the fallout from "Sorry, your little sister can't go to school here because, um, er, the building is already full. Of APP kids" (!!)

Would this happen? I don't know, does anyone know for sure? You might think there would be some kind of exception, but remember at the twins who got split up last year? Rules are rules, and they are there for a reason, but wow.

Read these two articles for a glimpse into the complexities the district has to deal with and how exceptions are not made even in the most extreme cases. Oh, and for those of you who don't want to bother, the end of the story is that the twins went back to preschool for another year because the situation was never resolved.

URLs broken onto two lines for the blog, paste them together.

emeraldkity said...

I thought I already posted this but- aauggh dial-up

forgive me if this has already been addressed- and I think it has- but in the Utilization analysis I have from four years ago, it states that capacity without portables for Thurgood Marshall is 455 ( which is same # capacity with portables? ) at the time this was done- using October 2004 enrollment #s of 318.

So perhaps they are allowing for fewer rooms to be reserved as classroom space?

Is it just me, or does it seem like every time a new sheriff ( meaning shift in administration) comes to town, we run ( and pay for- with time & money) new numbers to back up our plans?

This is the Legend of how they arrived at capacity for the 2005 figures.

Original Design: E - Elementary; M - Middle; H - High; this is the original design usage of the building.

Program Type: CE - Comprehensive Elementary; CM - Comprehensive Middle; CH - Comprehensive High; K12 - Summit; K8 - K8; AE -
Alternative Elementary; AM - Alternative Middle; AH - Alternative High; this is the type of school/program occupying the building.
*The foundation for calculating building capacity is class size by grade span (K-3, 4-5, 6-8, and 9-12). In this example, class size is set at the
number specified by the current SEA contract, which is K-3: 26; 4-5: 28; 6-12: 30.

*Capacity for each building is the number of teaching stations multiplied by the class size for each teaching station. If the building also has
portables, the portable capacities are added to the building capacity. Portable capacity is calculated at 25 students per portable teaching

*The sum of building capacity plus portable capacity is then multiplied by 75%. Using only 75% of the total capacity allows for variations in
class sizes and teaching stations based on program requirements such as special education, six periods at high school, PCP time, and other
types of space usage that cannot be generalized in a formula. This conservative approach underestimates actual capacity to account for
these needs.

*Utlization Rate is then calculated taking the current enrollment in the facility divided by the buildings capacity. This rate is a general
measure of how effectively a program is using the space within the building.

IMO, they don't need to split the cohort to get a gifted program in other parts of Seattle, they need to have administration and staff ( and a community- inc curriculum) that support it.

( and if anyone has a recommendation for a faster internet provider that plays well with Macs?)

TechyMom said...

And don't forget that TM may get a second look from other folks in the central cluster. If you think there's a good chance your child will test into APP and you live in Central, you might just enroll them at TM for K. Probably not this year, but in a year or two, if TM starts changing its general ed program to accomdate APP sibs, it might start filling up with the overflow from Montlake, Stevens, and McGilvra. One could argue that that's a good thing for Central, but it will not help diversity efforts, and could cause some friction with current TM families.

TechyMom said...

Another thought...
Something that might help, both with diversity of APP-North and with space at TM, would be to put APP kids from Central at Lowell instead of TM.

seattle citizen said...

I posted this elsewhere, but I feel it's important enough to post here, (I'll use the rationale that capacity is related to and impacted by class-size; teachers are helped by coaches; ergo ipso facto, loss of coaches relates to capacity...?)
Here's what I posted elsewhere:

Equity issues vis-a-vis loss of staff:
Coaches, while often benefiting entire schools, do a lot of work that is remedial, particularly around WASL.

Any loss of educators is bad (well, almost any: analysis might reveal efficiencies to be had in some areas, where educators are better utilized, and therefore loss is "right-sizing") but the loss of coaches will, no doubt, disproportionately hit struggling students.

This is unfortunate, indeed. ALL students need the right resources; struggling students need more.

Charlie Mas said...

The situation is a bit more nuanced than described in the original post.

Check out page 80 of this report for a more detailed projection of the post-reassignment students at Thurgood Marshall.

It shows a new total enrollment of 434, of whom 236 are APP (101 of them are from the Central cluster, so the cohort isn't viable without them), 105 kids in the regular program (including both all day K and half-day K), plus 72 kids in bilingual programs (is that self-contained or inclusive?) and 21 kids in special ed (again, I don't know if that is self-contained or inclusive).

Even if the bilingual and special education students are integrated in the general education classrooms, there's no way that 434 students can fit into the building. By the way, if the bilingual and special education students are in the regular ed classrooms, the regular education students will make up 53% (105/198) of the students in those classes, special education students will be 11% and bilingual students will be 36%.

If any of the special education or bilingual students are in self-contained classes, then there is absolutely no way that the school can hold 434 students.

What is the District playing at?

How do they propose to make this work?

Charlie Mas said...

Let's presume that the District has some way of actually making room for these 434 students at Thurgood Marshall. As you will recall, only 105 of them are regular education students.

If there is one elementary sibling for every four APP students (a ratio I pulled right out of the air - I have no idea what the actual ratio might be), that would be 59 siblings. If these 59 siblings come to Thurgood Marshall as well, then there would be only 46 seats available in the building for regular education program students from the neighborhood reference area. I think the reference area couldn't be any bigger than about six square blocks - particularly if there were some apartment buildings nearby.

Seriously, it would be better if the school just didn't even have one.

Charlie Mas said...

I just noticed a little note in the Capacity Management Plan that I had not noticed before.

In Appendix G of the Report, on page 4, in a section titled "Accelerated Progress Program (APP)" it says:

"APP students could apply for available seats at either site, but transportation would be provided only to the designated stie for each cluster. Assignment tiebreakers would be (1) sibling and (2) lottery."


So elementary APP families in the Central Cluster could choose Lowell instead of Thurgood Marshall.

Is anyone concerned that they might choose Lowell in large numbers, thereby creating an inequity between the two elementary programs?

Of the 236 elementary APP students expected at Thurgood Marshall, 101 of them are from the Central Cluster. Without those students, the program at Thurgood Marshall would not be viable, yet they are sure to consider Lowell a preferable location. It will be closer to home for most of them and it would not require a transition for their children.

This further emphasizes the need for a north-end location for the north-end program.

zb said...

emerldkity tried to describe the "Legend of Capacity" (which sounds awfully lot like the "Legend of Lochness", or something else like that, but I am (I don't think this surprises anyone) completely confused.

Charlie -- you're analyzing these capacity numbers as though they referred to the number of seats in an theater, or one of those signs they put up in elevators & meeting halls ("Maximum capacity: 1200 pople"). But, the numbers clearly aren't that.

For example, Laurelhurst, with a planning capacity of 389 students and a functional capacity of 384 students has an actual enrollment of 504 students, 115 or 120 students over "capacity" depending on which number you use. So, clearly neither planning nor functional capacity means the number of students you can actually have in a school.

TechyMom said...

But, isn't Laurelhurst terribly overcrowded? I thought that was one of the reasons we needed to do capacity management right now, instead of waiting for the assignment plan...

hschinske said...

The numbers are so confusing that I'm no longer sure of anything, but wouldn't Lowell be pretty full already, and unable to take very many students from the Central Cluster? I should think you'd end up with just the ones who live within walking distance (last I heard from Julie Breidenbach there weren't a lot of those, though the numbers may have changed).

Helen Schinske

Central Mom said...

If the District says the special ed kids at Lowell need a typically developing cohort, then they would need to apply the same standards at TM wouldn't they?

If so, then Charlie's point that APP/TM needs to be a standalone program based on the functional capacity numbers means that the 2 dozen special ed kids couldn't go there.

I believe, but again do not know for sure, that ELD (bilingual ed) aside from the BOC centers means that the child has a seat in the general ed classroom as well as additional teaching services available during "pull out" sessions. Again, my supposition is that without a general ed class there, ELD couldn't be at the facility.

Following this train of thought, this would lead to 1) relocating all of those kids to, well I guess Bailey Gatzert and Leschi, both of which are historically underenrolled, and leaving TM as the standalone facility that Charlie describes. (Doesn't do much for the idea of exposing more socio-economically diverse students to APP) or 2) cobbling together the crowded gen ed/APP program described by Charlie and, yes, greatly reducing the draw area of TM in the new assignment plan.

Both scenarios seem, as an understatement, less than optimal ESPECIALLY with the stated District goals of equity and access in programming.

Meg said...

The numbers do seem confusing. But unfortunately, if you plug through them carefully, and compare them to previous capacity numbers (from the fall and from 2005) they're not so much confusing as disappointing. I've been looking them over carefully. If you were to make your most cynical bet on what the functional capacity numbers would come out looking like, you would have a good estimate of what they are.

At the high school level, the summary paper explained that high school seats at the functional capacity level were reduced by about 10%. This is true, in total. However, Rainier Beach's empty seats dropped by 334 seats and Franklin by 261. Ballard? By 4. Guess which school is running at/over capacity? It rhymes with "Mallard."

At the elementary level, the NE cluster has suddenly become LESS crowded, by 100 seats. They had a total seat INCREASE. But the SE had its empty seats DECREASED.

At the middle school level full schools are suddenly less full- Washington, it appears, has 55 more seats than we realized in the fall (despite the fact that they're going to be moving medically fragile special education students in there, according to their plan), and Aki and Mercer turn out to be less roomy than previously thought, with 132 and 161 less seats, respectively.

Across the board, capacity balancing has been done by juking the stats.

Thurgood Marshall would have been over-capacity before, using the planning capacity, and it was a real issue, particularly in trying to suss out how that aligned with the district's own adherence to the idea of neighborhood schools. By these numbers, it will be untenably full.

I am sure that the staff who tried to create the functional capacity tried hard. But their likely inexperience in the arena of capacity analysis didn't help them. And given that the numbers came back almost exactly as the district needed them to (with comic exceptions in cases like Thurgood Marshall), it's very hard to believe that these numbers are anything but opportunistically engineered.

Central Mom said...

PS: Those of you who were involved in capacity issues the last time around will remember that the movement of TOPS to TM was ultimately negated by the ill-fit of enrollment to TM capacity. Which is to say that the Board did refuse to accept a proposed program change when the numbers were out in the public and didn't work.

CS said...

The Center School is listed with a planning capacity of TBD. Are there still plans in the works to move the school? Lease more space? Or are they just being indecisive?

SPS Parent said...

I have a third grader at Lowell. There are 27 students from the South, SE, and SW clusters (we're in South.) There are approximately 25 in the Central cluster, at least four of which live within walking distance of Lowell.

If everyone returns to fourth grade APP next year at T.M. there will be enough students for two classrooms. If some Central cluster students apply for seats at Lowell and are accepted, then the fourth grade cohort at T.M. will shrink, making it less viable. I certainly hope they use cohort viability and geography in their decision making process regarding placement.

Charlie Mas said...

I notice that according to the functional capacity, there is almost TWICE AS MUCH space available at B.F. Day (191 seats) - a reasonable choice for north-end elementary APP - than at Thurgood Marshall (102), the District's choice for south-end APP. Yet the District claims exactly the opposite, that there is room for the APP students at Thurgood Marshall but not enough room for the APP students at B.F. Day.

Also, the District rejected the idea of Summit by itself at Meany because they didn't think that Summit could fill the building, duplicating the situation at Jane Addams. Now we have the functional capacity number for Meany and it is 683, a good size for Summit.

At 683, however, Meany is too small to house both NOVA (312) and the S.B.O.C. (about 300) especially when it loses classrooms for a second set of offices for the second school and when the S.B.O.C. nearly doubles in size when they don't exit students after a year or two.

Central Mom said...

For the Central District elementary situation: Below I culled the functional capacity, current enrollment and what the district deems to be the number of students over/under filling the building.

What's become clear to me is something that others have posited previously and those of us on Capitol Hill have known for years: A huge inequity in the perceived quality, and therefore enrollment, in North Capitol Hill schools vs. South.

The District probably, politically, does not want to close 2 additional central schools in this round. Ergo, the splitting of APP into 2 and putting the south end at TM. Charlie calls it the simple theory of butts in seats and I tend to agree. Equity and Access are 2nd to Capacity.

Here's a reasonable conjecture of what might happen if APP-to-TM goes through: In the upcoming redraw of assignment areas, most if not all of the general assignment kids at TM this year get dispersed to Leschi and BG to shore up those numbers. Some specialized program goes alongside APP at TM, or perhaps the district leaves it vacant as "proof" that APP central/south enrollment should grow. Suddenly, BG and Leschi are much closer to capacity and that only leaves Madrona as a perennial thorn in the side of enrollment numbers.

Conjecturing further, I'd guess that the assignment plan will attempt once again to close Montlake, shift that enrollment area toward Stevens, move south-of-Stevens families into Lowell alongside most of the TT Minor draw area, and move APP into another facility. I'm still thinking Old Hay, alongside one gen-ed class from QA.

Do I think this will better the quality of any of these programs: Montlake, Stevens, Lowell, Bailey Gatzert, Leschi. No, I don't. But I think it will right-size the Central Distict according to the Central Office's current standards and program quality will be contemplated secondarily.

Gatzert FC 467; Enrolled 298; +/- seats available (+)169
Leschi FC 394; Enrolled 274; +/- seats available (+)120
Lowell FC 472; Enrolled 528; +/- seats available (-)56
McGilvra FC 288; Enrolled 250; +/- seats available (+)38
Minor FC 332; Enrolled 206; +/- seats available (+)126
Montlake FC 240; Enrolled 237; +/- seats available (+)3
Stevens FC 356; Enrolled 342; +/- seats available (+)14
Thurgood Marshall FC 366; Enrolled 264; +/- seats available (+)102
Madrona K-8 FC 538; Enrolled 411; +/- seats available (+)127
TOPS K-8 FC 524; Enrolled 523; +/- seats available (+)1

Charlie Mas said...

The reason that a school might have a lot more students than either the planning capacity or functional capacity would indicate is simple. The school, to address the need to find space for classrooms, used the available space. At Lowell, they made a classroom out of a hallway and split a large classroom to turn it into two small classrooms. Art rooms or music rooms or other special purpose rooms have also been pressed into service as classrooms.

If, however, only legitimate classrooms are used as classrooms and if they school is alloted the appropriate number of special purpose rooms, as the functional capacity reflects, then the capacity would be less than the number of students actually in an overcrowded building.

AutismMom said...

Marshall has 3 self contained autism programs. These are not being moved. Students are actually in regular ed at various points during the day. It also has a "devlopmental" preschool, that is, a preschool required for students with disabilities. I belive it also has a lot of "stuff" for physical disabilities. And of course it has a resource room... like every school. I thought they were moving the EBOC out.

Central Mom said...

Autism Mom...
If the District says that the special ed kids at Lowell need access to "typically developing peers" (and I understand you disagree that APP cannot fulfil that role) would they not have to be consistent with that supposition at TM...or is the Autism Program different enough that they could say APP meets the needs of academic access at TM w/out a gen ed cohort?

Dorothy said...

How many years ago was it that both WMS and EMS were so overcrowded that there was going to be serious shuffling, including moving programs? IIRC, my 10th grader was in elementary school at the time. But at the last minute, when the staff was supposed to present the plan for board approval, they said instead, "My bad, we redid the numbers and there's plenty of room at WMS and EMS!"

deja vu all over again.

SeaGalBaker said...

NO TITLE MONEY FOR TT MINOR?According to the latest capacity management plan from the district, it looks like the free and reduced lunch numbers are expected to be 33% at the T.T. Minor/Lowell site. That means next year the T.T. Minor kids will not receive the $187,000 they got this year in Federal/Title funds because you need 40% FARL to be eligible for that. So while the district is "saving" $600K by closing TT Minor, they immediately forfeit $187K from the federal gov.

AutismMom said...

Central Mom, all students with IEP's have the same requirements as everyone else, they are entitled to a LRE (least restrictive environment). That is a requirement at all placements, and all schools. That is, they are entitled to access to non-disabled peers, and curriculum. They are entitled to participation in every activity available to others: including all art, music, enrichment, advanced learning, afterschool activities, sports, camp... etc.

TechyMom said...

SeaGalBaker, is that true for T. Marshall as well? Seems like it would have to be, since the school will be more than 2/3 APP.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Don't forget Charlie that the district says it is closing Summit because even if they put them in Meany (and you say they fit which is what I suspected), that the transportation costs would be MORE than busing up to Addams. But that's based on who is in Summit today. Many more families would likely try to access Summit in a Central location and thus negate this perceived higher transportation cost.

Time to fire up those e-mails to the Board.

SPS Parent said...

TechyMom, the enrollment projection for next year at T. Marshall indicates 40.6% FRL (see Appendix H, page 80), so that is really close to the cut off.

I'll point out that while not many Lowell kids qualify for FRL (6.3%), there are almost four times the number who do qualify who come from the Central, South, SE, & SW clusters (26) as compared to the North, NE, NW, & W (7). There's a reason North end families are perceived as being more affluent.

Central Mom said...

Autism Mom...
Thanks for your input, and sorry, but I wasn't being clear in what I was asking you. I understand the IEP requirements...just not how the District currently seems to be thinking about them. If it believes that it has to have a gen ed class at Lowell to comply (and again, I understand you think this is hooey) then would it also follow the same way at TM? Or would it (again, I assume you'd think wrongly) be able to justify the autism programs as co-existing w/ an APP-only cohort.

What I'm getting at is whether the district would allow an APP-only cohort at TM, as Charlie suggests could happen.

TechyMom said...

Thanks, SPS Parent, that is really close. I can think of quite a few ways that the same thing could happen to TM (APP sibs, pre-APP kindergardners from central, the program is successful and affluent central parents come back from private school, to name a few). Again, most of these things would be good for Central as a whole, and probably for the school too, but would loose that money for TM.

I wonder if Summit-at-Meany would be able to share busses with TOPS and APP, further reducing costs? I'm not sure where to look for numbers on bus utilization.

hschinske said...

Wasn't the prospect of losing Title I money a big deal at Madrona as well?

Helen Schinske

AutismMom said...

Central Mom, as far as I know, this thing at Lowell is a one of a kind proclamation based on nothing. It is not based on any published "notion" of a specific LRE requireement. And certainly no notion of some special academic LRE requirement. I've never, ever heard of that... usually they like to stick to recess/lunch/art. EG. There's nothing that says a school must have a K... or must have instruction at a specific level... or must use a certain curriculum or other. All of that could be modified. And, they never make them do inclusion in any case. I do know of 1 Lowell family has complained that there has been lots of resistance from staff for wanting time with non-disabled peers for academic classes. Which staff? I do not know. Perhaps it's the special education staff. Lots and lots of special educators oppose any sort of really meaningful inclusion. That is, they don't believe in any differentiation... even though it is key to their jobs.

As far as I know, the district has never made any other school do anything for LRE, for students in self-contained placements. And people have been wanting it forever. The district is happy as a clam to completely ignore setting information on IEP's. Usually SPS says, "Hey, recess is LRE... or Hey, the lunchroom is LRE... or Hey, we send some general ed kids down to visit." Occassionally we hear, "Hey, we let them to do art with us."

EG. AE2-TC has refused (at least many times, possibly not every time) to do any LRE ostensibly because their general ed classes were full. So... sorry kid, no room for you. We don't care about your IEP. I've heard similar things about McClure.

Lots (almost all) schools will not provide support required, and certainly make no requirements of the general ed teacher who is supposed to be teaching them. That is, disabled kids are allowed in general ed classes with space, only when the kid is not disabled. And that would be, almost never.

AutismMom said...

Central Mom, perhaps you're asking if the particular students in the existing autism sc classroom could be somehow included into an APP program instead of the traditional program at TM... and that everyone... district, teachers, staff, parents, kids would think it great and appropriate. ??? No, I wouldn't think so. But I'm also sure the district doesn't care about that issue (which will vanish after the split). The kids at TM are not appreciably different from the "low incidence" kids at Lowell. That is, many/most are quite disabled. Kids in autism sc programs often get bounced to Lowell... and then back again. I know of this bouncing happening between AE2 and Lowell. AE2 and TM have exactly the same programs. The TM program is much more popular though.

If those kids were high functioning, and able to work on APP material in a more or less expected way, they'd be in an inclusion program (autism or low incidence)... and not at TM.

Ben said...

I believe this is what CentralMom is asking:

If one of the rationales given for splitting APP was that the special ed kids required a gen ed cohort, then what happens to them if APP comes to crowd out Marshall?

Would the District still argue that special ed required a gen ed (or at least non-APP) cohort at the same school? Would Marshall's special ed student body have to move somewhere else?

AutismMom said...

Would the District still argue that special ed required a gen ed

No. The real goal (splitting APP)will have been accomplished, so no need for to argue anything.

Central Mom said...

Thanks to Ben (yes, that is what I was asking) and Autism Mom (I've learned so much more about special ed issues because of your posts).

I don't understand how the more discerning board members, the APP community and the larger educational community would let the arguement fly that APP/Lowell needs a gen ed program to accommodate the special needs students, but that a similar program at TM wouldn't need that same cohort. That leads to either dispersing the special needs kids at TM to make APP a full choice school (which doesn't seem a good idea for some of the most fragile kids in the system) or putting a very crowded gen ed/APP partnership together, or...could it be that the functional capacity numbers indicate APP at TM isn't as workable as the District would like it to be...

Ben said...

"I don't understand how the more discerning board members, the APP community and the larger educational community would let the arguement fly that..."

I don't think the Lowell parents have been letting any of the bogus arguments fly.

Melissa Westbrook said...

TechyMom, you make a good point about bus sharing. In fact, I was told that one of the main reasons that Ballard and Hale have later start times is because of bus-sharing with Salmon Bay and Summit. I know that the district is to standardize middle and high school (possibly as soon as this fall) in order to do more bus-sharing. I think the district's use of this argument of "it'll cost more to transport Summit at Meany" is a red herring and I plan to tell the Board that.

Charlie Mas said...

The Functional Capacity numbers have had a signficant impact on the quality of the recommendations and their rationale.

The claim that there is no room for 261 north-end APP students at B.F. Day while there is room for 236 south-end APP students at Thurgood Marshall is revealed as complete hooey. B.F. Day has 191 excess seats (70 less than needed) and Thurgood Marshall has only 102 (134 less than needed). It makes more sense to put the north-end program at B.F. Day and leave the south-end program at Lowell.

Of course, that leaves the Central Cluster with a lot of excess capacity. There is a chain of schools that runs from Madrona (127 excess seats) through Leschi (120), Thurgood Marshall (102), Muir (114), to Hawthorne (188) that are all under-subscribed. It makes sense to close one of them. The problem is that they are all fairly new buildings in excellent condition. Thurgood Marshall should be the choice for closure because, as the one in the middle, it would make it easier to reallocate the reference areas. Perhaps it could be renovated for an alternate use.

The claim that Summit would not adequately fill Meany is revealed as false. Summit has an enrollment of 511 and Meany has a functional capacity of 683. That's a pretty good fit and it gives Summit room for growth - which may be possible at a Central location for an all-city draw. The cost of transportation can be reduced by having Summit students share buses with APP students. Unfortunately, I don't think the District really wants to find a new home for Summit.

The plan to put the 6-12 S.B.O.C. and NOVA into Meany doesn't look practical anymore. There are 311 NOVA students and 244 students in the S.B.O.C. That's a total of 555 students, so you might think that they would fit just fine in Meany, BUT... Some of Meany's capacity would be lost as classrooms are converted to offices for the second school and the S.B.O.C. is supposed to double in size as students will have the option to remain in the school until graduation instead of leaving after a year or two. There won't be room for both schools at Meany yet neither school could fill it on their own as well as Summit could. So that might make it seem that the deal is off and Summit should take Meany... but not so fast.

It's not much mentioned, but the bilingual audit recommended that the District divide the S.B.O.C. into a 6-8 portion and a 9-12 portion. The District should move only the high school element of the S.B.O.C. to Meany to co-locate with NOVA. The middle school element should go elsewhere.

The New School (enrollment 387)doesn't come anywhere near making good use of the South Shore building (functional capacity 760), leaving it with 373 empty seats. Honestly, they wouldn't fill the AAA (functional capacity 728) much better. While Van Asselt (enrollment 492) can't fill the AAA either, a new middle school might be able to fill the South Shore building. It would certainly make better use of it than The New School could. Then the District could close Aki Kurose. The Sharples building (Aki Kurose, functional capacity 842) could either be closed, used as an interim location in the south - the District really needs one.

A new middle school at South Shore with a capacity of 1,000 would have room for the 6-8 element of the S.B.O.C. That would give the new immigrant students access to native English speakers as the bilingual audit recommended and it could be an international middle school (as suggested in the bilingual audit), which would bring an attractive program to the southeast.

To sum up... The new data suggests these changes to the proposal:

1) 9-12 element of the S.B.O.C. to Meany as proposed.

2) NOVA to Meany as proposed.

3) North-end APP to B.F. Day instead of staying at Lowell. There IS room - about twice as much as at Thurgood Marshall and the north-end program should be in the north-end.

4) South-end APP stays at Lowell instead of moving to Thurgood Marshall. There isn't enough room at Thurgood Marshall.

5) Thurgood Marshall closes.

6) Van Asselt stays at Van Asselt instead of moving to the AAA building.

7) The New School moves to the AAA building instead of moving to South Shore

8) Aki Kurose closes; a new international middle school is created at South Shore

9) The 6-8 element of the S.B.O.C., co-houses at the international middle school at South Shore instead of going to Meany with the high school element of the S.B.O.C.

Net change in closures: Van Asselt isn't closed, Thurgood Marshall and Sharples are.

A) If Summit will fit at Meany, then shouldn't the District put it there and save the school? NOVA could stay at Mann and the S.B.O.C. high school could be located in Cleveland.

B) If Summit were relocated to Meany, how could the District reduce transportation expenses?

C) Will the District divide the S.B.O.C. a 6-8 program and a 9-12 program? It won't all fit at Meany with NOVA, but the District proposal might work if the 9-12 portion were at Meany and the 6-12 portion at South Shore (or Mercer). The audit of bilingual programs recommended this division (see page 76), but no mention has been made of it.

D) What is the District's weird reluctance to put The New School into the AAA building and a new middle school into the South Shore building when the benefits are so big and obvious and the flaws with putting Van Asselt into the AAA building are also so big and obvious?

E) Will the District co-house the 6-8 portion of the S.B.O.C. in a southeast middle school and turn it into an international middle school?

Sharon R. said...

Functional Capacity numbers are based on programs currently in the building. If you read the overview document associated with the Functional Capacity report you see that these Functional Capacity numbers are based on how spaces are used to support the specific educational programs in each building at the time. SpEd classrooms require a lower teacher to student ratio and require more space per student than traditional classrooms. EBOC classrooms - because of their transient nature and service delivery model - also have fewer students per classroom that traditional classrooms. If the programs in the building were to change the functional capacity of the building would change as well.

AutismMom said...

The special ed kids at Lowell and TM don't "disperse". They are in a self-contained programs. They could move the program... but then there would need to be a school receiving the programs, and lots of other services and equipment. Those programs are mostly at capacity everywhere in the district. Further, the board has heard tons and tons of hue and cry over last year's whimsical special ed placement by a person who truly does NOT get it: Tracey Libros. A repeate this year of last year's problems would be a real liability.

dj said...

Here's a question, for those of you who have been at this longer than I have.

Is it possible that what is going on here is that the district *does* plan to put the northern end of APP in B.F. Day . . . next year? Close Montlake next year, put Montlake students in their redrawn schools (mostly in Stevens), put much of Stevens into Lowell with the former T.T. Minor students (reference lines can be redrawn so that the school is at basically appropriate capacity). Voila.

TM at that point is mostly APP because of the capacity issues noted upthread. TM general education shifted next year and the following year into Leschi and Bailey Gatzert.

So yes, it is inconsistent to say TM has room but Day doesn't, but not if the district is planning to move the north-end students in there anyway (once they do the Montlake closure at the same time as the reassignment plan, which would remove all of the problems folks noted with the fact that Montlake students generally are closer to Stevens than Lowell).

The "diversity" rationale for all of the moving drops out, but I don't think many of us think that the split was ever actually about diversity.

Melissa Westbrook said...

dj, you hit on a key point. District staff have long range plans on their own. Things that can seem mystifying become clearer as time goes on (or not). However, the district hasn't shown a lot of concern for putting schools on and off of closure lists and Montlake has a big target on it. If your thesis is correct, better to give people time to get ready for a change than to throw it at them.

But again, who knows?

Megan Mc said...

It will be sad if the new Jane Addams program draws less NE, N kids then Summit does now.

Josh Hayes said...

Megan, you're right, but since it's a complete black box, it would be completely unsurprising.

Prospective parents can't tour the school, meet the teachers, meet the administrators, talk about the curriculum and/or pedagogical approach -- why the hell would anyone sign up for what could be a pig in a poke?

This just points up the absurd hurry-up of this whole process, and it's completely wrong-headed: when enrollment falls, there ought to be two questions asked: what do we do in the short term to address lower enrollment, and what do we do to shore up enrollment - something nobody at SPS seems to be talking about in any but the vaguest of terms.