Monday, January 26, 2009

If the Public Offered Amendments...

Following up on Sahila's earlier question, it is the Board who will propose amendments to the final recommendations for closure and consolidtion by the end of the day tomorrow. And, according to Michael DeBell, they will be posted on the district website by noon on Wednesday.

However, if we were able to propose amendments to the final recommendations for closure and consolidation, what would they be? I posted one idea on giving any displaced students choice and priority for placement. (see Priority Assignment and Choice).

What would you propose?

16 comments:

north seattle mom said...

I would amend to include Summit at Meany. Leave Nova and the SBOC where they are and give Summit a home.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Ditto on North Seattle Mom's amendment except that I would direct that in the next BEX that Nova gets a modest new building on the Mann site (a la South Lake) and that finally, SBOC gets a real home and that will be a priority with Facilities.

I also would ask for an amendment to table the idea of splitting elementary APP for at least a year. I say just elementary because Hamilton has Spectrum so I feel they are better able to deal with incoming APP students. But I just don't think 6-7 months is enough time to plan for the Lowell split (not if they truly want it to work).

Now, I had told the Board that I felt that Van Asselt should not go into AAA because (1) why are we creating such a large elementary (2) can such a large elementary keep up their good work and (3)a K-8 program should be in a K-8 building. I had suggested moving New School into AAA and moving Aki into the new South Shore building (which is to be finished and able to be moved into by August). Aki could then be revamped or recreated and work with RBHS (hey, it's a great plan for Denny/Sealth so why not here?) So that would have been another amendment I'd suggest.

However, I got some kind of busy this weekend and went through my files. (Amazing, isn't it, how much district paper we all have?) I found my copy of the MOU between the district and the New School Foundation. (Actually, I have the first one and the second one and had been focusing on the differences during my first read-thru a year or so ago.) Rereading it, I found out why the New School won't be going to AAA.

In the MOU it states that any building built at South Shore, as long as New School exists, they get it. So, the new South Shore building is being built as a PreK-8/Middle school but it'll be a PreK-8 because that's what New School is. So unless New School wanted to, for the greater good, move to AAA, the district can't make them. (There's also a few other interesting items in this MOU that yes, does make New School a little more than equal next to any other school but that's another topic.)

So much for that idea.

samdinista said...

Assuming the closure of Meany, then Summit should be relocated to that building. Nova's operating cost in the Mann building is low compared to the rest of the district. SBOC has no desire to co-locate with Nova, nor does that proposal make any sense.
I would amend to halt all recommendations concerning alternative programs until after the alternative school audit. This would not help Summit, which is officially homeless, but would give the other programs time to improve or create viable alternatives to for the continuation of their programs.

dan dempsey said...

The SPS believes in social promotion contrary to what SPS policy says.

It seems that 3rd and Lander is responsible for a lot of our academic mess -- Widening Math achievement gap for minorities over a ten year period etc.

I recommend that 3rd and Lander be closed before any school. Have we forgotten the State auditors assessment of Administrative bloat?

You might say 3rd & Lander can't be closed ... then lets leave the schools open for another year and see what Obama does.

Beth Bakeman said...

The plan for closing the budget gap does include a hiring freeze effective December 2008, and a proposed cut of $5 million from central office budgets.

I'm sure more could/should be trimmed from the central administration budget, but it's not fair to pretend it is untouched in this process.

none1111 said...

beth said: "The plan for closing the budget gap does include a hiring freeze effective December 2008, and a proposed cut of $5 million from central office budgets"

I heard this week that $1 million of that got taken back off the table recently. i.e. that the $5 million in central office cuts was pared back to $4 million.

This sounds appalling, but before we start ranting too terribly, can someone verify this?

Eric B said...

Samdinista said "I would amend to halt all recommendations concerning alternative programs until after the alternative school audit. This would not help Summit, which is officially homeless, but would give the other programs time to improve or create viable alternatives to for the continuation of their programs." Ugh! Remember, alternative schools have to attract each and every one of their students. The threat of closures makes this so much harder. (Can you imagine sending your child to a school that is likely to close in one year?) This process is particularly destructive to alternative schools, and stretching it out helps no one. There is not an alternative school in the city that could "improve" under those conditions. Can you imagine AS1 or Summit bringing in a large class of new students under the threat of imminent closure? Of course it would have been better if this process would have be done after the alt ed review and the assignment plan was figured out. But once the District started on this road, it basically becomes unstoppable. Either close the school or let them be for a long time. Don't be holding a knife to their throat for the next year.

Charlie Mas said...

Gee, I guess the Board will just have to rescind that part of the M.O.U. with The New School Foundation that grants them the South Shore building.

Charlie Mas said...

I would support three amendments:

1) Find an acceptable home for Summit. The plan to increase capacity in the northeast doesn't work if closing Summit causes former Summit students to fill most the capacity that is created.

2) Commit to putting north-end elementary APP into a north-end location with the new student assignment plan.

3) Leave Van Asselt in place, move The New School into the AAA building, allow AAA students to remain if they choose, open a new International middle school at South Shore, put the middle school B.O.C. there, and close Aki Kurose.

TechyMom said...

I would offer these:
1) Summit K-12 to Meany. Meany students, including rising 9th graders, assigned to Summit as a cohort, keeping the community efforts that have been improving Meany. They can, like all other affected students, choose another school, including a traditional high school, as part of open choice.

a) Leave Nova where it is. Unlike Melissa, I don't think we should replace this beautiful historic building which is so loved by the school. Put in double-pane windows and a new boiler, and give it a coat of paint.

2) Postpone elementary APP changes until after the Advanced Learning Vision has been developed. The middle school piece makes more sense, and should be enough to calm the political pressure to "do something about that elitist program."

3) As Charlie suggests, leave Van Asselt in place, move The New School into the AAA building, allow AAA students to remain if they choose, open a new International middle school at South Shore, put the middle school B.O.C. there, and close Aki Kurose.

Also consider whether the new middle school should offer IB. IB is used throughout the world, and is similar to the French system used in former French colonies. It might offer needed continuity to some of these students.

a) Put HS BOC at Franklin. Franklin is an ideal location for an all city draw, with a freeway entrance, two arterials with bus service, and a sound transit station. Consider making Franklin an International School or an IB school.

b) Close Old Hay, but keep the provision that it may be temporary. If APP is later split, consider this as a location for APP-North alongside a general ed program for Queen Anne.

4) Leave TT Minor open, move Central Cluster Spectrum there. There is huge population growth in this area. We need this building. If the principal supports Spectrum and makes a commitment to making a solid program, people in this diverse neighborhood will choose it over private school.

As for the Montessori, I can see arguments both for moving it to Leschi and for leaving it in place. In either case, grow it to K-5.

5) Close Thurgood Marshall, move its students as a cohort to Leschi. There is far less growth in this part of Central. Like Old Hay, treat this closure as potentially temporary, a potential home for APP South.

6) Make Jane Addams K-8 an IB school. Commit to replicating this program in various parts of town, including the new middle school at South Shore and Madrona as its NCLB restructuring.

The Word Verifier says "copprepi" There's a private school joke in there somewhere...

amsiegel said...

I just think the entire process is backwards. Particularly at the elementary school level, the district needs to make a series of pedagogical decisions about the number and kinds of schools it wants to have, then figure out how the current capital configuration comports with those plans. If the district makes intelligent long term education-based decisions and sticks with them, it should be able to identify facilities that don't fit the plans, facilities that need to be repurposed or renovated to fit the plans, and facilities that need to be built or acquired to meet needs that can't be met through the current capital inventory.

To be concrete, the district needs to decide how many alternative schools and of what models it wants, if it wants to replicate a program like TOPS, if it wants more Montessori, if it wants to change its service-delivery model for gifted education, if it wants some very traditional no-nonsense, no-recess, no-frills schools like Madrona, if it wants a largely selective advanced learning school targeted at minority and low-income students, how much choice it wants to build into the model, etc. Once those choices are made and publicly revealed, we can all work together to identify (and if necessary buildaquire) appropriate sites for the necessary schools. Until then, we are letting the cart drive the horse.

another mom said...

amsiegel-your suggestions are the most cogent that I have read. It is about nuts and bolts policy and the development of a clear plan with a clear set of objectives. Although I do think that the current proposal reveals the Superintendent's opinion of alternative schools. But until an overall framework is developed that we all understand and can work toward, this is all cart before the horse.

Robert said...

Yeah correct amsiegel, much like study, close, plan!

Ben said...

Ready, fire, aim!

Roy Smith said...

Off topic for this thread, but relevant to this blog: Washington lawmakers propose 4-day school week

Meg said...

The district is reducing the Central office cuts, per Don Kennedy's presentation to the board January 7, page 8. Here's the link:

http://www.seattleschools.org/area/board/08-09agendas/010709agenda/coopresentation.pdf