After 3 hours the Work Session finally got to boundary discussions. This included the PowerPoint as well as a sheet which I haven't found yet online. One side as high school enrollment, overall and by clusters (which is very interesting) and the other side has what Tracy termed "dummy data" to illustrate what might patterns might occur because of the new SAP.
As Tracy said, this is very complex. They listed 8 steps to the boundary planning process (slide 53). Then slide 54 listed the first step - Identify Factors (like proximity, walk zones, demographics, etc.) As I have previously said, the Board is not going to rank or weigh any of these so you may think proximity is the most important but that's not how it will be for the Board. Keep that in mind.
(I'll have an update on the proximity issue. As Tracy ran through it, I had a scenario in my head. I e-mailed her to ask her if I got it right and I'm waiting for an answer. Basically she said they are going to give consideration to the boundaries for kids who may only have one school (any level) close to them versus another student who may have 2 school in proximity. So they would draw the boundary to allow the student with only one choice to get that choice even if it meant the first student might go to a slightly further away school.
Slide 56 was an interesting one simply showing the number of students who live nearest each high school in a straight line distance. There are a couple of schools that just couldn't fit everyone in their area, namely, Ballard, RBHS and Sealth.
Michael made a good point saying that under this new SAP that the district is no longer asking schools to compete for students and that's true. What a difference this will make to what schools do is unknown.
They seemed to talk a lot about high schools in this section. There was discussion about how classrooms are utilized and how if you only utilized a high school classroom for 5 out of the 6 periods that the 6th period could be a "passive capacity management tool".
Tracy mentioned how the City, the District and Feet First create the walk zones. They have not been replacing open crossing guard positions and that the money for the guards will run out in December. (I wrote to the Alliance for Education and suggested using the PIC court settlement money for crossing guards. ) Slide 58 had a district chart of the walk and no walk areas. Director Bass asked to see this with school superimposed which I thought was a good idea.
One of the key slides was Slide 60 about Variables and Assumptions. This is key because the question is "If students knew they had a guaranteed assignment to School A..." what would their choice be in terms of going to an option school? APP at Garfield? staying at an out-of-attendance school? The issue is, how many seats do we hold for students who may not go to their attendance area school? According to Tracy's cute Slide 62 (with 3 little bears, one too big, one too small and one, well, you know), the assumptions have to be specified so they know the size of boundary to build.
Jumping to Slide 64, this is another key slide as this is going from rough to specific as they get deeper and deeper to specific boundaries.
Mary asked about what if there were a high concentration of special ed but she got a vague answer.
Slide 63 was the one with the "dummy data". This was about high schools and trying to figure out, for example, what number of APP students would stick with Garfield. Their assumption was all of them same as it was for NOVA students. However, they "assume" that some Center students if they knew they would be assigned to Roosevelt, would not then choose Center. That's the kind of assumptions they are trying to suss out to build the boundaries.
Peter asked, because of Hale and Ingraham, whether these assumptions would be based on the schools today or as they will be in 2 years (after rebuilds/remodels). The answer was as they will be.
Okay, so some nitty-gritty. Tracy said they would not always use the same boundary patterns for the lines. Meaning on a larger street like MLK, the line might go down the middle and for a smaller street, on occasion, might go down the middle of the block.
Mary asked about capacity lids in the past for some schools. Tracy said that the functional capacity will follow a consistent set of standards and so that shouldn't happen.
Sherry suggested something they have at Boeing and for the district it would be a "surge capacity". Meaning, if they have a sudden increased capacity (on a short-term basis), they have a method to deal with it. She mentioned it in terms of dealing with the sibling issue for example. (She also mentioned a two-year window for grandfathered sibs. I'm thinking they are all thinking about the sibling issue a lot.) Tracy liked the surge idea.
Steve asked about diversity and Tracy said that the some segments of data would contain demographic info so that would be part of the boundary planning. Steve also said that he thought that when they generated the maps that there might a certain amount of suspicion about possible gerrymandering. He said the shape of the map might matter and asked about a "reasonableness test". Tracy was nonplussed and said (to laughter), "I have enough work to do."
Peter then followed up with asking if there could be multiple maps and she said no. (I agree; what a nightmare.) Peter also asked if when they created the maps if there were a way to show the percentage of current students to the percentage of new students as a result of the new boundaries. Tracy said yes.
Sherry asked about community engagement. Tracy said Communications was developing a plan but I don't know. I just feel like we are going into a lull here as Tracy and her staff work and then suddenly in the dead of summer they will have 3 back-to-back community meetings and call it a day.
Michael asked about physical barriers in the city. He was specific about bridges and high school travel versus elementary. Tracy agreed about this point.
And then the genie came out of the bag via Michael - Open Choice seats. He said he didn't want it to disappear and then he said well, we had been tentatively working with a 10% working model. Tracy said that had been her understanding. Peter said he thought it might not be a solid 10% at all schools (variation between 9-12%) and Tracy said that was possible. But she said a key thing which was if all the Open Choice seats didn't get taken, they wouldn't leave them open and would fill them (likely from any waitlist).
Michael asked for a read from the Board on this tentative number and no one disagreed. So unless Harium and Cheryl disagree, for right now, it is 10% for the Open Choice seats for high school.
Steve did say (and I agree) that they need to start with a firm number and it turns out to vary a bit school to school, fine but have a start number.
Just on the high school stats, I found some "new" functional capacity numbers and man, I wish they would get their stories straight. I think the Board should get to vote on them so they are solid until programs change. For example, there's Roosevelt at 1606. I've never seen this number before. Ever. They have Garfield, in their new building, at 1508. Huh?
What is interesting is that Sealth is more underenrolled than Cleveland and I wouldn't have thought that the case. (Cleveland by 266 and Sealth by 353). Also, it looks like Garfield has the most equal (more or less) share of all the clusters. West Seattle has the most students from its area (not a surprise) at 89.8% followed by Hale at 87.7%, Roosevelt at 85.6% and Franklin at 84.8%. According to this chart, Ballard is at 105.% of its functional capacity, followed by Roosevelt, (104.3%), Garfield at 111.4% (!), and West Seattle at 106.9%. On the low end, there's RBHS at 41.7%, Sealth at 70.1 % and Cleveland at 71.3%.
Okay, that is the last of my notes on this Work Session.