Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Jane Addams Rumor

***UPDATE***
This has now been confirmed by Debbie Nelson, the incoming principal of Jane Addams. See this story in the P-I.
***UPDATE***

It is possible that the District may have changed their mind about the capacity needs of Northeast Seattle. They may choose to re-open Sand Point as a K-5 elementary and convert Jane Addams to a comprehensive 6-8 middle school.

This is - I repeat - strictly a rumor and not confirmed.

If this is true, however, it raises a lot of questions about the District's processes for making capacity decisions.

First, when all the world was telling them to do it that way six months ago, why didn't they agree?

Second, how can they make these changes after open enrollment, after families have made plans and commitments? If you enrolled your child in the K-5 program at Jane Addams, how do you feel about the idea that the program will be closed in a couple years - possibly before your child leaves it? How do you feel about it if your child got a mandatory enrollment to the K-5 there?

Third, what sort of commitment can anyone expect to the K-5 program from any source? From the community? From the building staff? From the District? Who is going to enroll in the program next year or the year after if they know that the program is closing? Who will come and work there? What resources will the building or the District commit to the program knowing that it is closing?

Fourth, what will become of the students in the K-5 program when it closes? Will they be re-located to Sand Point? From the north end of the cluster to the south end of the cluster? Will the District find some place for them in nearby schools? Which ones will have space?

This would normally be welcomed as good news. This is what people were asking for six months ago. But six months ago the District was adamantly opposed to it - so what changed their minds and why weren't the voices of the community and the reasons provided by the community enough to change their minds six months ago? What new data has come to light? And why is that new data convincing and persuasive when the community's voices could not be convincing or persuasive? I guess this will reveal who the District listens to and what really does influence their decisions. We already know what doesn't.

121 comments:

lak367 said...

I just posted a concern about the new assignment plan on Harium's blog that may be relevant here, should this rumor be true. The kids in the K-5 portion of Jane Addams will simply be assigned to their attendance area school. And in the process, they will bump out current kids who are no longer in the attendance area of their school thanks to new boundaries.

The devil is in the details, but I am starting to sense that most families will be affected by the new SAP and it will be musical chairs on a vast scale.

Because siblings are not going to be grandfathered into the older child's school, BUT, the older child can be moved to his attendance area school in order to be with his younger sibling, we are going to see older children getting "bumped" out of their current school if it is no longer their attendance area school. The bumped child will then bump another student, and on and on it goes. Because attendance areas are going to be different and smaller than the current reference areas, we are going to see a lot of movement at all grade levels.

The district apparently isn't worried about massive school changes next year, so why would they care what happens to the Addams families down the road? They'll just get bumped too.

zb said...

"Because siblings are not going to be grandfathered into the older child's school"

Where's this from? I actually support this change, 'cause without it, the attendance areas continue to remain in flux, and "neighborhood" schools continue to have large groups of non-neighborhood attendees, who might limit the attendance areas of those schools (i.e. the families in the north end of the cluster who chose schools like Laurelhurst).

But, I had thought the school district *was* going to grandfather siblings.

Phinney Ridge Mom said...

I was under the impression that the NE Capacity issue was the driving force behind closing SUMMIT.

Why exactly was Summit closed?

zb said...

And, I was certain that children themselves would be grandfathered (i.e. a student would not have to leave their school).

I think Sand Point should be opened as a school, but what would happen to the NE Community College in that scenario (as well as the co-op preschools housed there)?

lak367 said...

From the 5/19 draft plan:

"Siblings are not “grandfathered” but are eligible for the sibling priority tiebreaker, which is always the first tiebreaker for available seats after assignment of attendance area students...

The phased implementation plan will specify transition procedures so entry grade siblings and older siblings have the opportunity to be assigned to the same school if requested. This does not assure assignment of the entry grade sibling to the older sibling’s current school.

If the parent/guardian indicates that the priority is to have the siblings attend the same school and space is not available at the older sibling’s current school (or for both siblings at any of the other schools requested), the siblings will all be assigned to the new attendance area school."

lak367 said...

zb, you are right. I just found the language about older children being allowed to stay at their school thru its final grade. Sorry for the alarm!! I've been talking to so many people lately in light of the assignments last week, that I can't keep track anymore!!

My apologies.

Although, the sibling situation remains as I posted.

zb said...

Where's the 5/19 draft plan?

lak367 said...

I didn't mean to hijack this thread for assignment issues! And even worse, I got my story wrong. Anyway, here is the 5/19 draft plan:


http://www.seattleschools.org/area/newassign/rulesdraft2_english.pdf

SPSMom said...

Just another great example of how our children's education is being mismanaged by Dr. Goodloe-Johnson.

Give that women a raise.....

zb said...

"Just another great example of how our children's education is being mismanaged by Dr. Goodloe-Johnson."

How exactly? the rumored change of heart on Sand Point? It would have been better if she'd stuck with the first bad plan?

Perhaps we'd get more effective results if we applied some learning theory, and reinforced positive behavior, rather than complaining that it came too late?

adhoc said...

I just went to the Jane Addams website and noticed that they They removed a lot of information from the website. And the PDF off of the website that had all of the information from the school tour, sample schedule for middle school, etc., off of the website.

NE Parent said...

I have a number of concerns about this rumor of opening Sandpoint & making Jane Addams not 6-8. One big one is that I think this gives us less elementary space in the Northeast. I'm not sure exactly how big Sandpoint is, but I think it only has 14 classrooms. That's not going to provide much capacity, whereas Addams can provide (I believe) more. This means that everyone up north who doesn't get into John Rogers (a relatively small school) will have to continue to come south for elementary. Not exactly a neighbhorhood school model or good for transportation dollars.

And I can only imagine the wacky attendance area lines since View Ridge & Laurelhurst both seem to be not overcrowded within the current reference area schools (which is why we see non-siblings getting into both schools in kindergarten). University Heights would have made more sense, but that is no longer an option. Is there another school over on the western side of the Bryant reference area that could be reopened instead? Otherwise I suspect lots of buses will be involved to get people to their new attendance school. If one goal of the new SAP is neighborhood schools & walkability, they need to look at an overall map of where the schools and people are--adding Sandpoint instead of Jane Addams to the elementary mix leaves the Northeast map very skewed to the south and will deprive the many families in the north of a true neighbhorhood school.

seattle citizen said...

You were right on, NE Parent, 14 classrooms: If anyone is interested in these days of adding and subtracting buildings and students, you can find this information (in addition to the information about schools on such things as the Meng report) on "school histories" which is located on the "Schools" part of seattleschools.org -
index of school histories:
http://www.seattleschools.org/area/historybook/index.dxml#s
Sandpoint:
http://www.seattleschools.org/area/historybook/sand-point.pdf

Sand Point size (and features! BOTH incandescent AND flourescent light!), " The architects’ plans [1956] called for 14 classrooms, a gymnasium, cafeteria and kitchen, a book room with audio-visual facilities, administrative offices, and faculty rooms. Additional features included
forced hot-water heating and both
incandescent and fluorescent lighting.

Sahila said...

why are there so many knickers being tied in knots over what has been admitted is just a rumour?

why not use that energy in doing something constructive about addressing the problems we have right now, today.... like Nova being moved sans District support and most of its furniture into a building that cant offer the resources a high school needs - science labs, for example...

like getting the District to rethink the crazy bell time and transportation changes....

like lobbying for the use of surplus funds that do exist to keep teachers in schools so that teacher-pupil ratios dont degrade even further than they are already...

Sure, if this rumour becomes a fact then there will be lots to think about and maybe do.... but why waste the energy unless that's all people want to do - whinge but not take action....

north seattle mom said...

To add to the capacity issues, Shoreline schools are no longer taking new Seattle students for the 09-10 school year. So unless you already secured a seat in Shoreline, you are out of luck.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I attended the last Board work session on the assignment plan. I had been waiting to write about it (as it is the last plan to the vote) because some revisions had been asked for by Board members. Director De Bell asked Tracy Libros to get the plan to the members, with revisions, before the vote.

I wrote and asked Tracy if it could be posted so we could all see it (and I can finally write this post with as much up-to-date info as possible).

Charlie Mas said...

If the District is going to have a sudden bout of rationality regarding capacity management, then I wonder if they will wake up and realize that Lowell is an inappropriate location for north-end elementary APP? A better location would be McDonald.

Opening McDonald would provide needed additional capacity in the north-end, would provide an excellent north-end location for north-end elementary APP, and would provide a neighborhood school for students squeezed out of the JSIS attendance area so space can be reserved for out-of-area students enrolling in the language immersion program.

McDonald is the almost-but-not-quite University Heights location that NE Parent was looking for.

north seattle mom said...

@Sahalia,

If you are really concerned about Nova then this is a rumor to pay attention to. Parents in the North end have been crying about there aren't enough slots already for the number of students. If they are right, then the closures were a wild over-reaction.

If this rumor is true, then this means that there was not enough excess middle school capacity to close Meany in the first place. Closing Meany meant that APP absorbs all of Hamiltons excess capacity and then some. If they really do need a whole new middle school in the NE, then there is just no reason to close Meany.

Sahila said...

north seattle mom:
I understand all those points, but what is the purpose in posting a rumour?

And what is the difference between a 'hot' rumour and a 'cold' rumour'...

There was not attribution as to the source of the rumour, so there is no capacity to assess its strength, validity...

And yet people are getting all riled up about something that has no basis in any verifiable reference...

I say wait and see and in the meantime, work on things we know about and that need to be worked on...

adhoc said...

This is no longer a rumor. It has now been confirmed by two school board directors and an SPS principal. There will be an announcement made on Friday, and a community meeting by Monday.

Jane Addams will become a 6-8 comprehensive middle school. The elementary students k-5 will move to a new building as soon as another building can be brought on line. They are looking at Sandpoint and/or Viewlands.

Sahila said...

adhoc - where did you get your information?

Butter Goats said...

When will this happen - next year?! Truly mind-boggling. Not only has the principal situation changed since tours happened, apparently the school we toured is now not even going to happen?! I almost put my 3rd and 6th grader there! I never though I'd say this, but thank god we got into Hamilton. Amazing.

NE Parent said...

Adhoc:

Thanks for the update. Do you know how many people were assigned to Jane Addams for kindergarten for this fall? What a mess! Those people aren't likely close to either Viewlands (by Carkeek Park!) or Sandpoint. I can't believe there are no better building choices for an elementary or a different middle school site.

Melissa Westbrook said...

If this is true, it is mind-boggling. How they can change their minds so far after the fact, make changes that are so far-reaching and affect so many is unbelievable.

I will wait until an announcement is made to say anything else (and obviously, Charlie and I will have to duel it out for posts).

Chris said...

Remember the line we got over and over again about opening Sand Point was the prohibitive expense. Did some money fall out of the sky? Or did the current fiasco start looking more expensive?

adhoc said...

NE parent, here are the JA assignment numbers

K - 70
1st - 53
2nd - 35
3rd - 25
4th - 21
5th - 24
6th - 53
7th - 33
8th - 21

Families signed up for a k-8, at the Jane Addams building. They did not sign up for a K-5 at Sandpoint or a large 6-8 at Addams. Once again the district make promises, we trusted them, and then they broke their promises. Big time.

And they make this announcement now??? A week after assignment letters go out? What??!X? AFter open enrollment What??!X?? Now when there are no options left for us?? Private schools are full. Shoreline Schools are full. All of the other NE cluster schools are full. What choices do we have at this point??

The only equitable thing for the district to do at this point is to grant a transfer out of Addams and into the school of their choice in the NE cluster to any student that requests it. They better get some portables. They better come up with some space for us. Period.

I was cautiously optimistic in listing Addams as our second choice for middle school. As it turns out my son was assigned there. I knew it would be rough being the first class in a brand new school and I was willing to give it a try. Especially, with Debbie Nelson at the helm.... she's a rock star! But, I am not willing to do it all over again in a year or two. I don't want my son to be in the first class in the K-8 and then be in the first class in new restructured 6-8 too. Middle school is only 3 short years, and to have him in a school that will be in a constant state of flux and chaos is just unacceptable.

To any SPS folks reading please get us a transfer us out ASAP.

gavroche said...

My guess is that application numbers didn't pan out as SPS had planned. Who knows what else is not working out with the rushed, poorly thought-out "Capacity Management Plan"? (Capacity Mismanagement is more like it.) I'll bet that this Jane Addams mess-up is not the only area in the district where the district miscalculated.

lak367 said...

If adhoc is correct, this is good news for the long-term for the middle school population. Of course, it's terrible news for the families who put their trust in the district and enrolled for the K-5 portion for the upcoming year, as well as for those who got mandatory assignments there, such as my neighbors who couldn't get into Bryant, despite living 10 blocks from the school.

There is clearly not enough middle school capacity in North Seattle. Folks who live more than a mile north of Eckstein don't get in and get bused to Hamilton instead. Rumor has it that in the new assignment plan, Bryant families will also get bused to Hamilton, even though we can walk to Eckstein! So, having another middle school in the north part of this cluster should allow us all to send our children to a middle school reasonably close to our homes.

I wonder if the new "insight" into capacity issues is a result of how screwy some of the assignments were last week.

Keepin'On said...

Wow. I always, always think that the district cannot top itself in half-baked, wrongheaded and messed up decisions, but then they always manage to come along and outdo themselves. I think at this point that there needs to be an immediate one year halt to ANY changes in SPS until the assignment plan is done. This means start times, cirrculum adoptions, RIFs, school closures, etc All this is unbelievable. We clearly need an immediate moratorium on major changes, because I think we have all now seen the district does not have a clue as to what they are doing.

SPSMom said...

To quote Director Bass right before she voted against this whole capacity management plan.

"If we could just have had a little more time, I think we could have come up with a plan that would have worked."

No, we have to move at this fast pace because if don't then....

then what, we won't be able to move kids around like chess pieces.

Bell times - another example of rush to vote, then vote again and again....

HS Math Adoption - the threat that if we wait one more year our students will crumble under the weight of these old tried and true text books.

Summit HS students - displaced all over town because?


Gross Mismanagement!

And does anybody think they can get the assginment plan right...not me.

gavroche said...

In our 5 years in SPS I cannot recall a more chaotic year.

Excellence for who?

jsouth said...

I was also looking on the SPS web site and the latest principal assignments has Chris Carter going to Hamilton International Middle School. Is that the same guy as the Christopher Carter who was supposed to be co-principal at the new Jane Addams K-8?

Charlie Mas said...

jsouth, yes, Chris Carter, the new principal at Hamilton next year is the same person who had been announced as the co-principal at Jane Addams with particular responsibility for the middle school part. No replacement for him at Jane Addams was ever announced. Apparently they needed him in that role but now they don't need anyone in that role.

So here's some more weirdness...

Debbie Nelson was supposed to have particular responsibility for the K-5 part of Jane Addams, but now that Jane Addams is going to be a middle school how does that fit? Will Debbie Nelson be re-assigned as principal at Sand Point when it re-opens and someone else will be the new principal at Jane Addams 6-8 when the elementary students leave?

North End Mom said...

Keep'n On-

I disagree. If this rumor is true, then I think the District is finally GETTING a clue. They are finally taking the numbers, especially the middle school numbers, seriously.

There's no way a new student assignment plan, built around middle school feeder patterns, would have worked with just Hamilton, Eckstein and Whitman as the only comprehensive middle schools in the north end, especially after the addition of APP to Hamilton.

Hamilton, Eckstein, and presumably Whitman are FULL. THIS YEAR! And we haven't begun to experience the wave (tsunami!), that is on its way in a few years. This goes way beyond fighting over who goes to Hamilton vs Eckstein. Its a matter of there not being enough seats in the north end, period.

I'm glad they are finally taking the north end middle school capacity issue seriously. I hope Jane Addams will become a great comprehensive middle school, and that by having it in place there will be logical feeder patterns developed.

I totally agree that this is mind-boggling, a horrible thing to do to the affected families, and yes, I wish they had come up with this plan months ago. Even being upfront about using Jane Addams as a temporary elementary site while prepping Sand Point would have been preferable to what is happening (if the rumor is true), but I honestly think that they thought the K-8 would be the miracle solution to both elementary and middle school capacity, and they are finally realizing that Jane Addams won't solve middle school capacity as a K-8.

Stu said...

Charlie Mas wrote: "If the District is going to have a sudden bout of rationality regarding capacity management, then I wonder if they will wake up and realize that Lowell is an inappropriate location for north-end elementary APP? A better location would be McDonald."

But then they wouldn't be able to combine the TT Minor and Lowell test scores!

What would have made even more sense than splitting the Lowell and WMS APP programs, at least before this latest rumor about a comprehensive middle school there, would have been to make a North End APP 1-8 program at Jane Addams. Or APP/Spectrum 1-8 program. Of course, another northeast middle school is the most important thing at the moment . . . that's what we were all screaming for last fall.

stu

north seattle mom said...

I have also had this "rumor" confirmed from several sources. The current plan is to make this announcement on Friday. This seems to have something to do with releasing information before the public hearing on the assignment plan scheduled for June 10th.

North end mom is correct. It is really great that the district has finally recognized the middle school issue. With Shoreline now closed to north end families the middle school issue is going to get bad really fast.

BTW, Shoreline added 3 additional 6th grade classes for the 09-10 school year to accommodate all of the seattle applications. That is 100 kids that are going to Shoreline for 6th grade on top of the typical number that Shoreline gets.

This plan though really erases the elementary gains that the K8 provided. Who is going to pick a school with so little stability? I imagine many families picked it so that they could walk and now they are going to an unknown location? Other families probably picked a K8 so that siblings could stay together but for how long? And what about those poor Summit families and staff that decided to stay put and help build the program? I guess the district has not missed on chance to make this year harder for the summit community.

Debbie Nelson is fabulous and if she were in charge of the middle school, I am confident it would be as good as Eckstein but you would need to be a superhero to manage this amount of craziness.

Without Jane Addams how are they going to handle elementary? Sandpoint is a very small school and would probably only hold about 300 kids which while better than nothing is still just not enough.

Stu said...

adhoc said "They are looking at Sandpoint and/or Viewlands"

Wow! Talk about transportation issues. Isn't Viewlands over by Carkeek Park? Yikes . . . now THAT would be a perfect thing for the school district to do. (I know that this is all conjecture at the moment but, come on, ya gotta admit that moving the K-5 students who are east of Lake City Way over to a building west of Holman NW . . . it just seems like such an SPS idea!)

But don't worry; I'm sure that some of the kids will get transportation and a few siblings will get to go 'cross town together . . . as long as parents drive them over to Wilson for the pickup.

stu

seattle citizen said...

North Seattle mom -
"Sandpoint is a very small school and would probably only hold about 300 kids which while better than nothing is still just not enough."

Sandpoint, as has been pointed out elsewhere, is (was?) 14 classrooms:
14 x 25 = 350

Seems like a good size elementary to me...assuming the capacity is still there in that building.

I always thought people argued for elementaries of just about that size...are you proposing they need a bigger building or TWO buildings?

WV SIDED with the kids, as usual.

seattle citizen said...

wait...din't they just close Viewlands two years ago?!

Stu said...

Hold on a second . . . I'm going to reference myself here.

Isn't Wilson Pacific available for a school? It's huge . . . seats something like 1200 students. Wasn't this Dick Lilly's thing (sorry if I got the spelling wrong) years ago? Make another comprehensive Middle School or K-8 over there 'cause it could draw from both sides of Aurora?

stu

north seattle mom said...

@ seattle citizen
14 rooms is not necessarily 14 classrooms. With PCP space, library and space for special ed OT rooms, etc, it is not very likely that the functional capacity would exceed 300. As the entire NE cluster was 300 students over capacity this year, and the cluster has grown once again this year, it seems that there would need to be at least two Sandpoints.

And yes, they did just close Viewlands two years ago. Viewlands and Marshall were both closed so that there was a sacrificial north end school to close in addition to the south end closures. I understand the politics but closing both of those schools created serious capacity problems in the north.

I suspect we will see both schools re-open in the next few years. The district moved driver's ed to viewlands so that they could keep the occupancy permit current.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I will wait for "official" confirmation but I did learn that Dr. Goodloe-Johnson did confirm this to one school group. Jane Addams will be a K-8 for a couple of years and then become a 6-8.

That gives the District time to get themselves organized (because God knows this is so very complicated) and expect that the K-5 students will stay for a couple of years. Seriously.

I'll save my rants, frustration and yes, anger for the official announcement. But for right now, this is so off the charts boneheaded thinking that those who thought there should be a Board recall for other reasons might have the ammo with this decision.

It doesn't matter if, at last, they are getting it right. They are getting it right on the backs of parents, staff, teachers and children who are going to suffer (and yes I do mean that word because of the stress, confusion and upheaval this will cause).

I'm sure the speakers list for the next Board meeting will be jam-packed. I'm certainly going to try to make the list.

adhoc said...

Melissa you took the words right out of my mouth when you wrote "It doesn't matter if, at last, they are getting it right. They are getting it right on the backs of parents, staff, teachers and children who are going to suffer".

Suffer is an understatement. The Addams children and teachers will be in a state of constant flux, chaos and turmoil for the next 3 years, minimum. It will be so devastating to so many families. How could the district do this??

It is so wrong on so many levels - don't they get that? Words can't even begin to describe my anger and frustration.

And the timing. Could it get any worse? How can they announce this after open enrollment? And the week after assignment letters were mailed? Did they plan it this way? After all they knew we would have to accept it because we have absolutely no other options now? Private schools are full. Shoreline schools are full. All of the other NE schools are full. We have no choice but to accept it. It stinks. It stinks big time. The more I think about it the angrier I get.

This administration has lost all credibility with this one. I don't believe a word they say anymore. They have proven time and time again that they don't have any idea what they are doing. They don't have any idea what they are talking about, and they care absolutely nothing about the children of this district.

This district is as dysfunctional as it gets. It is broken.

I feel for Debbie Nelson, she has tried so hard with so little. The district has thrown her scraps and told her to "make it work". I feel for all of the teachers who have accepted positions at the new K-8. What will happen to them? And of course I feel for the children and their families who are stuck there now.

This is the worst stunt I think I have ever seen this district pull in all of the years I have been in SPS.

I am just devastated.....but honestly, I'm not surprised.

adhoc said...

There are only two options that I can see to right this wrong.

A) offer all of the students currently assigned to Addams a transfer out of the school to a school of there choice. Get portables, convert stages, whatever. Make room for them.

OR

B) Open Jane Addams as a comprehensive middle school this fall (0910). That's right, this fall. It will be small this year, but with the new assignment plan coming next year it will grow. That would cause the least amount of transition and turmoil for the 6-8 students and staff. Then reassign the elementary students to any school of their choice.That would be the least amount of transition and turmoil for them too.

Stu said...

adhoc,

I completely agree with you with your Option B. This is gonna come out strange but better you sorta screw everyone now than try to make this school work for the next few years with this hanging over their heads. Middle School kids stay; elementary school kids get moved! Don't pretend or try to build a community and expect it to thrive . . . this just sucks.

What's sad is that this is just another chapter in the credibility story; this district has consistently made the wrong choices at every single turn and they've done it with no accountability while ignoring all timelines and promises. The problem is that they've screwed things up so badly this year that I have a hard time believing that this wasn't planned. Waiting 'til after the school assignments to make this announcement is more than dishonest, it's a breach of faith. Sure, they could've been surprised by enrollment numbers but that's only because they refused to listen to what EVERYONE was telling them. Everyone, that is, except their staff.

It's disgusting the way this district treats the families and I find it hard to believe that they're not deliberately trying to drive people away so that they can downsize and spend less money. I find it too hard to believe that educated people could be this incompetent. I almost prefer thinking of them as evil; the alternative is that they're just plain stupid.

stu

Stu said...

a bit more . . .

Obviously, we'll all see on Friday what they're planning, if they don't change their minds in the next few days, but Sandpoint isn't a solution to the problems in the northeast cluster. They need the seats up north so that they can have neighborhood schools without busing. Here's my solution.

Move the entire population of either Sacajawea or John Rogers into Jane Addams for three years; during that time, you tear their school and rebuild a bigger elementary, with seating for 500-600 kids. Then, when it's ready for occupancy, you continue with Jane Addams as a comprehensive middle school and move the kids back into their new building. During all this, the K-5 and the 6-8 programs act like separate schools. With this plan, you get to use the space that's currently available at Jane Addams AND end up with both a large middle school and bigger elementary school when the numbers need it most.

stu

nacmom said...

Oy!

Phinney Ridge Mom said...

Stu: That makes too much sense for the school district to even consider it !

As for moving the elementary kids that have selected JA this year to a school of their choice... the district will NEVER do that... they promised that to the Summit Seniors and many are on wait lists etc. Salmon Bay was unable to make more room for any of the Summit elementary kids - what would change there? There is no place for the kids to go.

adhoc said...

And to throw gasoline on the fire, the district has not communicated a word about this restructuring to the families assigned to Jane Addams. Not a word.

There is the story on this blog, MGJ telling "school groups" about it, board directors that know, principals that know.

But the families that are sending their kids to this school do no know.

Isn't that absurd? Surreal??

Phinney Ridge Mom said...

... adds to my above comment...

I thought I was beyond even thinking this, let alone verbalizing it on a public forum, ... but if the district can do such crazy things with the JA plans,.. why not keep Summit OPEN for another (couple) years whilst they plan that middle school and allow the Summit families to disperse as we had originally asked... with a bit of consideration...

Charlie Mas said...

I think I can understand the District thinking a bit.

First, the District did not close Summit because they needed the capacity of the Jane Addams building and Summit wasn't filling it. They closed Summit to reduce transportation costs. No other reason.

Second, they knew all along that adding the Jane Addams capacity to the North End wouldn't be sufficient to meet the capacity needs. They knew that they would have to re-open Sand Point at least and probably McDonald or Viewlands as well. They may yet need to re-open John Marshall or restore Wilson-Pacific and use it. They just didn't believe that it was politically feasible for them to close schools south of the Ship Canal at the same time that they were opening schools north of it. The decision - like all decisions in Seattle Public Schools - was based on political considerations, not data or sound rationale. So they closed the schools in the south in January and waited four months to announce the opening of the schools in the north.

The District doesn't freakin' care if they toss students around from school to school. They just don't care. You can complain about it all you like; they are deaf to your concerns and callous to the harm it causes. In their minds, you are whiners and the so-called "harm" is negligible. Get over it. Consequently, they don't see any problem with announcing all of this after open enrollment or after families make a commitment to a program that is announced as closing before it even opens.

The people who complain about these things don't seem to recognize that all of your complaints are falling on deaf ears. They don't care, so you might as well stop complaining. It's just annoying. It's like the noise made when adults speak in a Charlie Brown cartoon - bwah bwah bwah bwah. It doesn't matter because the district staff are not accountable to you. You can't hire them or fire them. You can't raise or cut their pay. Since you don't have any authority, your perspective is meaningless.

Until the community of students and families finds some mechanism to effect accountability, the community of students and families - and their concerns - will continue to be ignored. And rightly so.

Y'all should have opted your children out of the WASL and not allowed them to take the test until the staff fulfilled their promises. Maybe next year - unless you forget again.

adhoc said...

I didn't opt my son out of the WASL, I opted him out of the district. I sent him to Shoreline for MS. And, yesterday I secured the last spot at a nearby Shoreline elementary school for my younger son that was assigned to Addams (elementary is k-6 in Shoreline).

I am going to monitor the situation. If the district comes up with a sound, rational and equitable solution for the Jane Addams families then my son will stay in SPS, if they don't, and I have every reason to believe they won't, then they will lose another student.....though I know they don't care.

BTW NE families, I just learned that another nearby Shorline elementary school, Briarcrest, has made a few spots available to Seattle students in their 6th grade class, and they have several openings for SPS students in K-5 grades. Kellogg MS (grades 7/8) also has space for a handful of Seattle kids.

Have at it folks!

Stu said...

Charlie Mas said: Until the community of students and families finds some mechanism to effect accountability, the community of students and families - and their concerns - will continue to be ignored. And rightly so.

So? What is that mechanism? Do you have a proposal, or an idea of what you would do if you were on the board, that would increase accountability?

We've all been reading, and discussing, (and yes, whining), about the lack of accountability in the system but who needs to step and do what?

When reports or study deadlines are missed, or just ignored, who should do what?

When schools are opened and closed like old paint cans, who should do what?

It's great to demand change at the top but it's the change at the middle that'll really do something.

stu

north seattle mom said...

The NECC folks spent a lot of time last year contacting legislators at the state and city levels to "complain" about over-crowding. It seems that only when the city and state began to weigh in did the district even acknowledge the problem. As far as I can tell, the district only listens to folks that provide funds, so talking to the folks that provides funding seems to be the only logical choice.

Meg said...

In theory, Charlie, isn't our mechanism for affecting district staff the board? Elected officials who are supposed to put the interests of the children foremost, while thinking of their constituents?
Gah. When I look at this farce and math curriculum and transportation decisions, it's hard not to bang my head against my keyboard.
And North Seattle Mom, I have to disagree a bit (and yes, my frustration is probably causing me to take a more cynical view). The district is happy to listen to groups like The Sloan Foundation, and let their money talk, but resent PTAs and parent groups with money, even as they take it.

north seattle mom said...

@ Meg,
I agree complete and I should correct, The district only listens to organizations with money and never parents. The district will happily listen to the Alliance for Ed but never ptas.

While the board is elected, they are unpaid. It is the ultimate volunteer job and it is only part time. That makes it very challenging for the board to be the only group to keep a reasonable check against a full time staff that is paid.

Stu said...

Meg -

But isn't that really the big problem? The board either refuses, or doesn't accept, responsibility for anything. Only Mary Bass and Harium Martin-Morris seem to pay any attention whatsoever to the effect that board actions have on the public, and even they don't DEMAND accountability from anyone.

Every single time that a staff member promises something and doesn't deliver, or a report is not delivered, or a deadline is set but missed, there needs to be some sort of penalty. Trouble is, the board either has no teeth or refuses to step into the fray. (It doesn't matter if it's a volunteer position; if you accept the challenge, and run for election, you can't THEN hide behind it not being a "real job.")

When a report is supposed to be filed and it isn't, someone needs to say to the person in charge "ok,it appears you can't do this job and we'll find someone who will." No business in the world would accept the kind of crap that this staff offers.

To be honest, I think this is the true role of the Superintendent. She sets the direction of the district, and the tone of the debate, and makes sure she has the right people to carry out the obligations. Unfotunately, MGJ is a politcal creature who really only sees things in black and white.

The day we get a Superintendent who will look the staff in the eye and say "if this doesn't get done, you don't have a job here," is the day this district will turn the corner. To be honest, we need board members who will step up and say the same thing to the Superintendent.

Stu

adhoc said...

I really tried to believe in MGJ. Honestly, I tried.

I wasn't crazy about Manhaus, and I was glad to have a change in leadership. But, given what I have witnessed over the past year, I'd take Manhas back in a heart beat. He wasn't destructive, and he didn't keep us in a constant state of upheaval and turmoil.

To many things are happening to fast right now. To much change. Without the proper research, evaluation, community input, board direction. We are jumping into the water before we learn how to swim. And we are drowning.

We need a lifeboat.

hschinske said...

"He wasn't destructive, and he didn't keep us in a constant state of upheaval and turmoil."

Kind of a King Log and King Stork situation, isn't it? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Frogs_Who_Desired_a_King

Helen Schinske

Nick said...

Hi folks,

I'm Nick Eaton, the education reporter for seattlepi.com. I've been following this discussion since yesterday and have been trying to confirm specifics of the plan.

I am wondering if any of you would like to speak to me about how you feel about this plan. If you'd like to talk on the record, please call me at 206-448-8125.

Regards,
Nick

wseadawg said...

The next Board meeting will be extremely revealing. If the board does not, at that meeting, finally acknowledge the totality of the chaos and the insensitivity and disregard of famlies by the district and MGJ, then I will conclude as Charlie suggests, that they don't get it, and never will get it, because they don't care about getting it. They don't care about the impact of their decisions on familes, period. This is a sad circus and a cruel joke. Good grief.

TechyMom said...

June 3 is MGJ's evaluation, right? So, she had better get a very bad grade. The level of chaos she's created in this system is simply unacceptable. I'm not sure that yelling at her is enough at this point.

Can the board fire her? Cut her pay? Take away her car and make her sit on a yellow bus for an hour each way? I intend to write to them ask them to do something. Does anyone know what they actually can do?

Stu said...

"I'm Nick Eaton, the education reporter for seattlepi.com. I've been following this discussion since yesterday and have been trying to confirm specifics of the plan."

Charlie?

Dorothy said...

Stu, I am sure Nick already has Charlie's phone number. He needs more people. Anyone who can confirm that they heard this from reliable source. Any Summit high schooler did not get into their choice, anyone else who was displaced at Jane Addams, anyone who selected JA for next year and feels betrayed. More than just Charlie.

Stu said...

Dorothy,

I know. I'm just hoping that Charlie and Melissa will talk to him, in addition to individual parents.

I'm afraid that, while I fall into the "outraged" category, my son has another year at Lowell before we start trying to figure out what to do with our middle school years. We're in Northeast Seattle and, technically, we're in the Eckstein walk zone. I'mn ot entirely sold on Hamilton and would actually consider some sort of comprehensive Middle School with Science, Math, and Languages.

However, by the end of next year, who knows where kids in our neighborhood are going to be sent?

stu

gavroche said...

I think you may be right about this, Charlie:

"They just didn't believe that it was politically feasible for them to close schools south of the Ship Canal at the same time that they were opening schools north of it. The decision - like all decisions in Seattle Public Schools - was based on political considerations, not data or sound rationale. So they closed the schools in the south in January and waited four months to announce the opening of the schools in the north."

In fact, M. DeBell recently said that it would be very difficult POLITICALLY to open another high school in the north end when there is so much capacity in the south end of town. I think the same rationale applies to what the district is doing with Jane Addams. And there may have been some unexpected attrition or school choices made by parents.

I also heard that Steve Sundquist -- and others -- explained their vote to split APP as political. Rational? Constructive? Good for the kids? No, political.

And I've heard that the District wanted things to 'die down' after the closures uproar before tackling certain issues, so maybe the District is pacing itself on dropping little outrage-inducing bombshells on us all.

Which may mean that more are coming......

If the only things the District cares about are politics, perception and public image, maybe a mass rally at the John Stanford Center is what the District needs to clearly understand everyone's anger with this manipulative mismanagement of our kids' education.

And count me in for the WASL boycott.

Tom said...
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adhoc said...

Another day, and still no official word about the JA restructuring from the district. Nothing. Mum.

How can they be so irresponsible??

Melissa Westbrook said...

I think I said this elsewhere but I will say it again. The Superintendent called a parent group and told them this was the case. The district has between now and Friday (if that's when they make an announcement) to try to (1) decide what it is they are truly doing - going K-8 for a couple of years and then 6-8 or pulling the bandaid off and making JA a 6-8 and (2) decide how they are going to spin this.

Charlie doesn't make stuff up nor traffic in rumor mongering. I have to believe he had a good source that he couldn't reveal.

Tom, I only wish it was a conspiracy and not incompetency but sadly, that's what it looks like it is. I'd love it if I heard there was some out-of-the-blue, compelling reason to do this but I doubt it. I really doubt it.

Tom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
gavroche said...

Actually, Tom, many of us on this blog are not merely responding to the Jane Addams rumor/truth, but to at least months, in some cases years, of experience dealing with SPS. What you're seeing here is a cumulative eruption of many, many grievances against the School District which does not seem to know how to manage its resources.

And before you dismiss our concerns as overreactions, I'd like to add that many of us have been involved in countless meetings with school district members, City Council members, conversations, letters, petitions, rallies, research into the issues ranging from sound math texts to the power players in the national "education reform" debate, as well as hands on efforts to make our kids' schools good places for them to learn.

Some of us have also been involved in politics at various levels and know how to recognize the subterfuges and dishonesty that comes with political game playing.

Since we are also parents, we are genuinely and legitimately outraged that our children are innocent pawns in such games.

So yeah, we're ticked off. And rightly so. But it's not just about Jane Addams. The fact that so many of us are able to believe that this rumor may be true should show you how little credibility the School District has in our view.

Tom said...
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Tom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
gavroche said...
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Melissa Westbrook said...

Tom, that may be a good thread - who we are and why we write. But honestly, I'm not a reporter (not trained and certainly not paid).

You did miss my note - Dr. Goodloe-Johnson herself told a parent group that the JA format is, indeed, changing. It's not a rumor anymore.

Tom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stu said...

Uh, oh. "Tom" is gone! Now who's gonna keep us in our place?

stu

Nick said...

Thanks for your calls, everyone. My story is published.

http://www.seattlepi.com/local/406622_addams27.html

Nick Eaton
seattlepi.com

north seattle mom said...

Officially, no longer a rumor. The PI article confirms the change from Debbie Nelson the principal.

Sigh. What a mess. I just feel terrible for all the Summit families that decided to try the new school.

Stu said...

Yeah...saw that Debbie Nelson thing. It's really too bad they decided to do this but the timing's so indicative of the way this district has done things this year. Wholesale changes to the system one year before the assignment plan goes through; changes to the bus times during and then after school choices are made, and now restructuring a school just after assignments are set.

I wish they'd just do the change now instead of dragging it out. It's going to be very difficult to get any feel for community in a school where kids will be split up in a year or so. If they made the split now, at least there would be a tiny bit of predictability in their lives.

Of course, they do like to drag things out . . .

stu

PS - The fact that the district says they were surprised by the enrollment numbers is just more proof that they weren't listening to anybody during all those "hearings" they held.

lak367 said...

I like Director Martin-Morris a lot, but this statement in the article upsets me:

Martin-Morris said he did not know specifics, but said the district has unanticipated high enrollment in Northeast Seattle. What initially was thought to be a bubble of interest in the area is turning out to be a trend, he said.A bubble of interest? Interest? It's not interest. It's demographics! I have only been involved with SPS for 2 years now, but I knew that it was a demographic trend that would get worse every year, not some passing fancy in our cluster.

Well, if they want "interest" in NE schools to go down and drive folks to private schools or Shoreline, the level of incompetence on display here should be enough to do it.

north seattle mom said...

Well, I am reading this a slightly different way. What if they really were surprised? They were definitely surprised last year and needed to add extra classes and they were "expecting" the same. How much enrollment would there need to be for there to be another surprise?

Shannon said...

Could be demographics + the economy added a bit more 'surprise' to the expected bump in enrollment. Have any of the numbers come out yet beyond the school by school bits and pieces?

another mom said...

Hogwash! District officials know the extent of the lack of capacity in the NE and that this is more than a one or two year bubble. I cannot wait to hear how this is spinned by the Superintendent and Board. We will see if any of this doublespeak has an effect on who shows up in September and if those who have options actually do exercise them.

zb said...

"I wish they'd just do the change now instead of dragging it out. "

I cannot emphasize how important this is. What drove me out of SPS was not anything about the schools themselves. We had several that were good, and once again, I saw the kids walking home today and felt regrets, even though we love the school we ended up in. It was the uncertainty. We were making choices right around the time the first school closure round went around, and now the next closure round, new assignment plan, the potential of choosing a school that closes. A school cannot survive under that circumstance.

If they're going to reconfigure Addams K-8, they need to do it now, immediately, not create a limbo school. Frankly, as someone else has suggested, it would be preferable to reconfigure Summit, let those kids finish up a couple of years, and then switch to 6-8, rather than what they're doing now.

adhoc's number's suggest that Addams K-8 has 330 students, 200 less than Summitt did.

urgh.

Stu said...

"do it now"

Of course, as has been mentioned time and again on all these blogs, all these months, the district has never shown an interest in making things easy on the families. They refuse to plan ahead and, when things don't go as designed, act all surprised and make another rash decision.

When Mary Bass shook her head and said that she "wished we would just take a little more time," she was acknowledging this pattern.

One thing we can all do; let's make absolutely sure that the person who replaces Chow (yea!) is someone who'll LISTEN before acting. I don't necessarily need someone who I agree with all the time, as long as I know that they're listening to what the community has to say. There was nothing more annoying, or depressing, during the closure meetings than watching Chow not even bother to feign interest in what was going on.

stu

adhoc said...

I don't know if they could just leave Summit open next year?? The teachers have accepted new positions, their new schools are counting on them. The students have been re-assigned...what would that do to other schools assignment numbers? Not sure, maybe it could work, but it would be complicated.

My preference would be

A) Leave the K-5 students and Debbie Nelson in the JA building, and move the middle school kids to any NE middle school in the cluster that they want. Make room for them. Then in a year or two when Sandpoint is up and running, move the k-5 in tact with all of their teachers and principal to the new building. That would minimize their transition. Once the K-5 moves out, then open the new 6-8 comprehensive MS, and assign kids their based on the boundaries of the new assignment plan.

OR

B) Open Addams as a 6-8 comprehensive MS this fall with Debbie Nelson as the principal. Re-assign all of the k-5 kids to a school of their choice in the NE cluster. Next next year with the new assignment plan assign kids to JA based on the new boundaries. Then in a year or two when Sandpoint opens as a K-5 assign kids there based on the new boundaries.

Or

C) Re-assign every single kid currently assigned to Addams to a school of their choice in the NE cluster, and start JA all over again from scratch.

Note** For re-assignment I said "school of their choice". The district should not be allowed to come up with a mandatory placement for our kids at this time.

zb said...

Well, of course, "do it now" didn't mean do something really stupid right now. But, uncertainty is also bad, and delay to get more information, or to come up with the perfect solution is also bad.

But, I think we all said that JA, as a non-descript "choice" school in NE was simply not going to resolve the capacity problems in NE (look back at the threads on JA here, and at Harium's blog). Everyone said that in order to draw students it was going to have something special, since much of the capacity wasn't located nearby.

NE Parent said...

I don't think the District was surprised by the Northeast kindergarten enrollment numbers. Maybe other numbers?

This is a quote from Harium (on his blog): "As to the numbers, what I know so far is that we received about 400 kindergarten applications that what was projected. The problem is that is difficult to predict how many of these families will actually attend in September. What we do know is that Kindergarten enrollment, is estimated to be somewhere between 200 and 500 more than originally projected

o We received 400 more kindergarten applications than last year

o Usually about 200 new kindergarten students enroll after May 1

o Kindergarten enrollment is expected to be higher then originally projected in all clusters except: NORTHEAST, Queen Anne/Magnolia, and Southeast" (caps added).


No doubt about it, this is awful for the folks assigned to Jane Addams. I'm not sure I agree with adhocs suggestions, but I hear where he's coming from & don't have a good solution. Maybe if they do eventually open Sandpoint they can do what was suggested repeatedly for Addams & make it something unique, like language immersion. (As we all know that regardless of how they draw the new boundaries, no one in the Northeast is going to get a spot in John Stanford).

adhoc said...

In addition to the NE drastically needing elementary capacity, according to the district person that I spoke to we also drastically need middle school capacity. As the elementary bubble moves up over the next 2-3 years the capacity problem moves to MS. That's why they want Addams to become a 6-8.

What if the district left Addams as a K-8, but with the goal of making it a mushroom model k-8? In other words the middle school would be larger than the elementary, like Salmon Bay.

In addition, Hamilton will add 200 seats when they move into their new building. The old Hamilton had capacity for about 700 kids, but the new building can hold close to 900 students (if I remember correctly).

That's 200 extra seats available at Hamilton year after next.

And I understand that the district is discontinuing busing from SE Seattle to Hamilton year after next too. Currently the district buses about 250 kids to Hamilton from the SE. If they discontinued that there would be an extra 250 seats available.

That's 450 seats total, plus the JA mushroom model seats. Would that be enough?

And would the k-5 portion of Addams in addition to a brand new Sandpoint k-5 elementary be enough capacity for elementary in the NE?

And, still, no official announcement from the district. Nothing. And when we do hear, I'm betting will be a done deal, with mandates and no chance for the community to give input, ideas, opinions? No chance to hear our feedback.

How sad.

TechyMom said...

I just don't get why the district is so bad at predicting enrollment. 5 years ago, when my daughter was born, it was hard to find an OB, a hospital birthing suite, or a peditrician taking new patients anywhere in Seattle. Sales of baby stuff were through the roof. I went to 15 baby showers in 2 years. All the district demographers really had to do was look at births by address or car seat sales, to know that in 5 or 6 years, there wouldn't be enough elementary school seats. The private schools knew this, and many expanded during this period. How can this possibly be a surprise?

I'm really looking forward to the 2010 census. Those are numbers that SPS can't ignore. We'll know both how many kids live in Seattle, and can compare that to how many are in SPS to get real market share numbers.

Stu said...

The funny thing, well not ha-ha funny, is that we've had this discussion before. A few years ago, when they wanted to close Sacajawea, the district said that they just didn't need the seats in the Northeast cluster any more 'cause there were going to be fewer kids. It was the Seattle PI that sort of took them to task by pointing out that the City of Seattle had completely different projections about the area.

Of course, as long as there's capacity in the South End, the district will continue to close North End schools and then, after the spotlight's off, re-open them. They're so afraid of the racism/classism charge that every single move is political-based. Not only is this an insult to parents throughout the city, it does a genuine disservice to the all the students.

stu

adhoc said...

The ridiculous thing is that SPS has a demographer whose job it is to figure these things out.

What happened???

If SPS was a private corporation the sh*t would be hitting the fan and that person would surely lose his/her job.

Stu said...

Don't worry, adhoc. The demographer who's been doing this for years is safe. I'm sure there's someone newer in the office that they can fire.

stu

SolvayGirl1972 said...

STU said: "Of course, as long as there's capacity in the South End, the district will continue to close North End schools and then, after the spotlight's off, re-open them. They're so afraid of the racism/classism charge that every single move is political-based. Not only is this an insult to parents throughout the city, it does a genuine disservice to the all the students."

The saddest thing about this is that there are PLENTY of children in Southeast Seattle, but the District's history of generous choice has allowed savvy Southend parents to move their kids to northend schools. Ten years ago, the District saw it as a way to keep struggling NE schools (like Hamilton and McClure) fully enrolled. And, it kept the families who were unhappy with the quality of schools in the SE pacified.

That's all coming back to bite them now. The NE schools are packed to the rafters and many of the SE schools have deteriorated in quality—perhaps beyond repair.

When the new assignment plan comes into play, many SE families will find themselves back in neglected schools. WIll they take up the challenge and work to improve the schools? Some will. Those who have had experience trying to work with the District (and in some cases against) may not. Others will, as many are doing already, find creative ways to make the "address" grab them a coveted spot in one of the "better" schools.

As much as I am unimpressed with much of Dr. G-J's performance to date, not all of our problems can be laid at her feet.

Though my child will be "safe" in her private school from all this insanity, I and my family will continue to fight to create quality schools in ALL of Seattle.

WV: spyrogi (a "bugged" Polish delicacy?)

adhoc said...

I mean really, it's ridiculous. Was the demographer incompetent and not doing his/her job? Or, did the demographer know what was coming (as the parents in the NE did) and warn MGJ only to be ignored?

Either way it's incompetency at it's best, and utterly ridiculous. No, it's disastrous.

This really is the last straw for me. I have been pleased at the school level but I need some stability, and this district can't provide stability, anywhere, on any level. I am scared to leave my child's education in the hands of such a broken, incompetent, dysfunctional district. I don't trust them, with anything, and I certainly don't trust them with my child's education. I don't know what they'll do next? I'm done with the enrollment stress. I'm done with the chaos and confusion. I'm done.

And, the saddest part of all is that they do not care. They don't care at all about the families or the children of this district. They have proven that time and time and time again.

They shouldn't be allowed to get away with this.

North End Mom said...

I completely understand the frustration here, but imagine if a year or so had gone by, and THEN they realized they needed to convert the K-8 to a comprehensive middle school. That would be much more devastating than this! The families would be much more invested in the K-8 experience.

Adhoc- Even as a "mushroom" a K-8 can't be used as part of a middle school feeder pattern- you've argued yourself that kids shouldn't be assigned to a K-8. Perhaps they didn't think this part completely through when first planning a K-8 at Jane Addams, or perhaps the new projections are so great that in a few years the entire building will be needed to house a middle school. Either way, there needs to be an additional comprehensive middle school in the NE, and Jane Addams is the logical site, due to its geographic location, and its proximity to Hale.

jsouth said...

And the remarkable thing is that I made my choice back a couple of months ago to transfer my son to Jane Addams from AS1 next year. I made the decision by trying to "outthink" the SPS.

My reasoning:
AS1 has had zero support for years and is in a small building in fairly poor condition. Most of the energy of the parents has been dedicated to keeping the school from closing every two years or so and my son was pretty worried about whether his school would close next year.

My choices were either Rogers or Jane Addams. I chose Jane Addams because I was sold on it from the open house night and I thought that the "environmental science" idea was fabulous and that it would be safe from closure just as they would be unlikely to close one of the language immersion schools. I thought that Jane Addams could be a flagship type school. I also then assumed that John Rogers would probably close eventually as it's another small building too close to Jane Addams.

I think my real mistake was trying to apply any sense of logic to figuring out this district. On the bright side, my son will be well-versed in adjusting to change as he will attend 6 or more different schools before he's completed high school.

zb said...

"Though my child will be "safe" in her private school from all this insanity, I and my family will continue to fight to create quality schools in ALL of Seattle."

Me, too SolvayGirl

"And, the saddest part of all is that they do not care. They don't care at all about the families or the children of this district. They have proven that time and time and time again."

I simply do not believe this to be true. But, yes, if you do believe it, the only solution is to leave the system.

Charlie Mas said...

I also read that much of the surprise enrollment was outside the NE. That may be why Viewlands was mentioned as a school that might be re-opened.

As for their inability to predict enrollment, we shouldn't be so hard on them. You can ask people to RSVP for your party, but there will always be people who show up unexpectedly and people who become unexpected no-shows. Completing Open Enrollment doesn't obligate families to actually send their students and a significant number of students do not participate in Open Enrollment.

On top of all that you have a large pool of students in private schools who could show up without notice or, who could go through open enrollment but then attend a private school.

It's a lot trickier than you might guess.

adhoc said...

Successful k-8's with the mushroom model don't need a feeder pattern to fill them up. Look at Salmon Bay's MS, they take 320 kids, and have a 120 kid waitlist for 6th grade. There is no reason Addams couldn't do this too.

But, I agree with North End Mom, Addams would be the best site for a comprehensive MS. And a MS is exactly what I advocated for 6 months ago. Along with opening Sandpoint k-5. That would have been the all around best solution.
But to do it now is absolutely wrong. You can't market a new school, hire two principals, an entire staff, enroll 320 kids, and then dismantle it before it even gets started. That's just incompetent.

The only way that they could get away with doing this now is if they offer families spots at ANY NE school that they want. They owe that to us at this point. Eckstein can take 77 more 6th graders than they took this year, same for 7th grade. There are only 50 6th graders assigned to Addams, and 20 7th graders assigned to Addams - Eckstein CAN TAKE THEM. And for the families who want Hamilton they also have space. They are at Lincoln which can hold 1100 kids. And in 10/11 they move into their brand new 900 kid building.

Then leave the k-5 students at Addams until Sandpoint opens, with the staff and the principal, and move them in tact to Sandpoint. Some families won't want to do this though - they signed up for a k-8. Those families must be offered space at a school of their choice in the NE cluster.

Get some portables folks.

This is the only way for this district to save face, prove that they are human and care about their families, and right this wrong.

The excusable thing is that they have had the enrollment numbers at Addams since the end of open enrollment in March. Why didn't they address it then? Why assign kids there and then look at the numbers? Why dismantle it now? Why should 320 families suffer the chaos and turmoil of this districts repetitive, chronic, incompetence?

hschinske said...

I did hear a rumor that Greenwood had a waitlist for next fall, which surprised me. According to the district page I found (http://blog.seattlepi.com/schoolzone/library/2008assignments.pdf), it hasn't had a waitlist in the last few years, and usually has about 20 families who choose it first for kindergarten. I wonder if that's an example of a sudden surge in enrollment.

Helen Schinske

SolvayGirl1972 said...

ZB...you got the first quote right, but this:

"And, the saddest part of all is that they do not care. They don't care at all about the families or the children of this district. They have proven that time and time and time again."

...was ad hoc.

TechyMom said...

There were 39 kindergardners assigned to Lowell, quite a few more than were assigned to TT Minor General Ed last year. They may have a second K class, and fund it with pay-for-K. Central is full of kids born between 2003 and now, due to a combination of gentrification and a baby boom. The district seems to be surprised at this, though anyone who has been to Broadway in the last 10 years would say "duh."

Patrick said...

I am appalled. My daughter is in 2nd grade at Sacajawea and we signed her up for Addams next year for the environmental science-math focus, for the K-8 experience, for the earlier start time that is compatible with two working parents, and for Debbie Nelson as principal. Now at least two of those reasons are not really going to happen, after being promised just a couple of months ago. And she'd be on a waiting list to continue in Sacajawea now.

What a breach of good faith.

adhoc said...

Our friends have a 4th grader that they transferred from View Ridge to Addams next year- thinking he'd be there for the next 4 years, through middle school.

Instead, Her son will be in 4th grade at Addams, in 5th grade at Sandpoint or get this Viewlands, and then off to whatever middle school whose boundary she finds herself within. 3 schools instead of one. Not to mention no K-8, no earlier start time, no environmental science or math magnet, and no guarantee of Debbie Nelson either.

And, like Patrick, she can't reverse her decision to move to Addams and keep her kid View Ridge. She tried this morning.

another mom said...

Why can't the District leave Jane Addams a K-8 and reopen Wilson or Marshall as a middle school?

north seattle mom said...

@another mom
Geography and Money -- Marshall doesn't help with the lake city middle school dead zone and the building is due for a few million dollars in repairs.

jason said...
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jason said...

Not only were many more kindergartners enrolled at Lowell than expected for next year, but both APP and ALO have waitlists there. The main reason we APP parents were told to "embrace the split" was to give more kids opportunity to enroll in APP. Lowell APP is so full there is a waitlist for next year. So much for that.

Another reason we were told the split was needed was to save on the cost of an assistant principal. Lowell is almost at 500 kids for next year. Isn't that the magic number for an assistant principal to be brought in?

I wonder how full the other central area elementary schools are?

Charlie Mas said...

A wait list for APP?

That can't be right. There is absolutely not supposed to be a waitlist for APP. The rule is that every APP eligible student who enrolls is assigned to the program.

Where is the information that APP at Lowell has a waitlist?

Is the waitlist made entirely of APP students from areas that are assigned to Thurgood Marshall?

jason said...

This was sent out today by Lowell's new principal, Greg King:

"At Lowell, we are scheduled to have 45 Special Education students, 303 APP students, and 114 ALO students in grades 1-5. Of the ALO students, about half are from T.T. Minor and half come from around the city. In addition, 39 kindergarteners have been assigned to Lowell, so we may have two kindergarten classes. We also have a few students on the waitlist to get into Lowell's APP and ALO classes."

I was also stumped by APP having a waitlist. I thought that wasn't allowed.

another mom said...

What rule or policy states that a waitllist for APP is not allowed? If this is written somewhere, I'd like to know. There have been waitlists for APP in the past, perhaps as recently as the last enrollment cycle. I understand that students become eligible for gifted services via testing and believe that waitlists for either APP or Spectrum should NOT happen. But is there really a rule that prohibits waitlists for APP? The WAC only speaks to each student found eligible for services and providing an IEP that documents the needs of the student and how the district is meeting that individual student's needs.

Andrew said...

A friend mentioned tonight that APP kids are considered, by federal law, to be "special needs" students and, therefore, can not be turned away from the program. The district, I supposed, could change the test-in requirements to limit it but, at least for now, if you qualify, you're in.

That said, he also pointed out that, perhaps, there's a wait-list for Lowell but, if there's no room, those students could be assigned to Thurgood Marshall. There's a guarantee of APP, not a guarantee of which building.

Andrew

Dorothy said...

It's always been considered that app eligible kids who apply during open enrollment get in, no waiting list. Thus the enrollment fluctuations and no way at all for PTSA to buy down class size like at some other schools. Never. The only child I knew who was on the waiting list applied late. If that's changed, well, wow.

another mom said...

Andrew, there is no federal mandate for gifted education. The Feds may consider kids s/a those eligible for APP a special needs population, but there is no federal law requires that gifted students be treated as a special population.

Dorothy, Madrona and WMS had APP waitlists. Some students waited an entire year before gaining a seat in the program. Even Lowell-prior to the split- has had waitlists. The idea that every student who qualifies gets a seat is fairly recent w/n ten years or perhaps since APP elementary moved from Madrona to Lowell. The Enrollment Services web page does indicate that on-time applications for APP eligble students will be placed in their regional site. APP/IPP is 30 years old.

TechyMom said...

How many total APP 1-5 students where there last year? Are there more (Lowell + Thurgood Marshall) this year?

jason said...

Techy Mom -

The info we received today about numbers is around 220 APP at Thurgood Marshall and around 303 APP at Lowell. The numbers of APP at Lowell this year was about 498, so this number is a little higher.

WV - dismst. I wish we could say this is the fate of MGJ.

Stu said...

This was posted on the Seattle Schools site this evening:

"Over the past several days there has been speculation in our community that a decision has been made to move away from a K-8 at the Jane Addams building and to create one middle school (6-8) and a separate K-5 school. This is not accurate.

Over the past year, our work with the community to address capacity management challenges has included discussion about needs at the elementary and middle school levels for north and northeast Seattle. The possibility of a comprehensive middle school at Jane Addams was discussed as part of our capacity management planning efforts, and a decision was made by the School Board in November of 2008 to create a K-8 school at Jane Addams.

The work to develop our new student assignment plan and begin to create boundaries for schools is closely connected to our capacity management work. Our ongoing capacity management work requires that we plan for projected future middle school needs and continue to evaluate changes in enrollment and demographics that may indicate a need for more elementary capacity. Based on our current understanding of future middle school capacity needs, we will need additional capacity North of the ship canal in the next few years. Any evaluation of how we accommodate future growth would begin with an analysis of our current facilities in the areas experiencing growth. This work would occur following direction from the School Board and would involve an analysis of potential future options for students in North and Northeast Seattle.

We deeply regret that incorrect information is circulating about an issue that is of such importance to our families and staff. We want to assure you that no decisions have been made about changes to Jane Addams as a K-8. We also want our families and staff to know that informative presentations are scheduled for our June School Board meetings, which are televised. We will also continue to post updated information to our Web site."

Wow....talk about spin! It wasn't speculation, since Debbie Nelson confirmed it to the PI and others, and while I'd like to think they're backtracking because of the uproar, I really think they're going to try and let it die down before making huge announcements in the summer, when no one's paying attention.

stu

Andrew said...

I wrote to Gregory King, incoming Lowell principal, about the "wait list" thing. He, or an assistant, wrote back:

"I believe those are kids who are assigned to Thurgood Marshall due to their home address, but put lowell as their first choice and so, are on the waitlist in case some lowell APP kids choose private school, stay at their home schools, move etc."

Also, to add to the "guarantee" discussion. The current assignment plan, the proposed assignment plan, and the capacity management plan, all say that APP students, as long as they apply on time, WILL BE PLACED in the APP program. They go on to specify that Spectrum space is not guaranteed.

Andrew

Shannon said...

When I read the article I noticed that Debbie Nelson didn't actually confirm the rumor as it was interpreted here. She said something about needing more middle school space in the NE and ...

It was not explicit. I don't know what she said on the record or MGJ said to someone but there is nothing explicit enough to confirm in writing.