Thursday, October 15, 2009

Ballard SAP Recap

Well, we squeezed in like sardines in the Ballard library last night. (Apparently the cheerleaders had the Commons area so we had the library. Hard to believe.) I guesstimated the crowd at over 200. Directors Carr, Maier and DeBell were there (I think Sherry and Michael may be trying to attend all these meetings). Dr. Goodloe-Johnson was not in attendance.

There was quite a different focus at this meeting than the Eckstein one I attended. And that focus was the high school boundaries.

So first, did you know that the Ballard area goes north almost to N 125th? I didn't but several Blue Ridge, Crown Hill and other far northwest parents assured me it did. (I should have asked, "When people ask you where you live, you really say Ballard?") I don't mean this in a snarky way, honestly, but it's just not what I always thought.

Many people did not like the format for the meeting (big surprise) although somehow, this meeting had a much longer Q&A at the end than did the Eckstein one.

Focus points from the reports out from groups:
  • high school boundaries - number one with a bullet. People were incensed that QA/Magnolia got to keep together as a group and not Ballard kids. This was mentioned several times. [I had been surprised, when I saw the maps, that they didn't send QA in one direction (Franklin) and Magnolia in another (Ballard). Franklin was a big choice for QA in the early '90s when Ballard was (gasp!) a terrible choice. Franklin also has room. ] But I digress. This lead to the number two issue....
  • splitting up neighborhoods. It was felt that there are mapping issues that split up neighborhoods. One woman in my group said that she felt it would be fairer to at least divide the kids up 50/50 (or close to it) so that it wasn't 25% in one direction and the other 75% in another, leaving the 25% feeling punished. People were very firm in their belief that it hurts schools to break up communities built in elementary/middle schools.
  • grandfathering siblings, again an issue
  • not enough option high schools. Parents from Salmon Bay felt their kids get pushed off in all directions. I did point out that there was Center School and Nova but they shrugged at that. Not sure if they meant they wanted a new one or not.
  • Huge Metro concerns over the assignment of "upper" Ballard to Ingraham. And they have a case. There's one bus that takes kids from upper Ballard to BHS. All the kids in upper Ballard would have to take two buses - one stopping at Aurora to change - to get to Ingraham and it's a long ride. This is an issue of considering that our traffic moves better from north to south than west to east.
  • Thorton Creek got a mention as to where they would go for middle school.
  • Maple Leaf is now assigned to Green Lake instead of Olympic View. I hadn't noticed that and it is weird.
  • Many parents said high schools should be open choice and that there shouldn't be assigned high schools. They seemed to get that kids need that choice.
  • Equity issues should have been solved first (I almost laughed at that one because it makes sense in a perfect world but won't happen before the new SAP.)
  • Someone liked the font the district used for the presentation.
  • People said they bought a home in Ballard to be at Ballard. My reply to that is that buying a home based on getting into a school, for a view, etc. is dicey. Things change. I repeat, things change. It's life. It's not that I don't get buying into a neighborhood but to believe that it will remain the same forever is just not realistic (and fyi, Ballard has changed about 180 degrees from when I moved here - I wonder how old time Ballard folks feel?).
  • Huge outcry over the announcement that the high school boundaries in particular are fluid at this point. Tracy did her best but people were not happy. They are all realizing that if the new maps don't come out until Nov. 3rd, then everyone - whatever your boundary beef is - has just 2 weeks to convince the Board of their point AND show a workable solution.
So a few thoughts:
  • those Ballard folks are feisty. They spoke out during questions, lots of applause (Don Kennedy didn't even try to tell people not to applaud as he did at Eckstein).
  • I will say that I did hear one very unkind remark which was "Why don't QA/Magnolia parents fight for their own high school instead of taking ours?" Wow. Well, they did. They went all the way to the Supreme Court for somewhere to put their children. They have advocated for YEARS for a school and nothing. The district HAD to find somewhere for them to be. Is it the best solution? I can't say but no damning parents for something you want as well.
  • I said this elsewhere but it bears repeating especially for parents of elementary students. They grow up. They get opinionated and they will want a choice of high school. And guess what? It may not be where all their friends go. (This idea that kids have to go to school with ALL the same people from K-12 is a mystery to me. Are you still best friends with someone from kindergarten?) They may want to go to a different high school than big brother or big sister. It happens. And then you may be kind of rueful over your fight to make sure they all stay together. Pick which is more important to you and fight for it - keeping sibs together all along the way OR the ability to get into a high school that has the programs that most appeal to your student. You can't have both in this SAP.
Last, my husband told me about this new website (started by his very own students) that gives you real time info on Metro along with exploring options for riding Metro (which would help with figuring out how long it might take your teen on a bus to get to high school). Here are their goals:
  • Arrival info for every bus stop, not just a few timepoints.
  • A telephone number you can call to quickly get real-time arrival info when you're waiting at your stop.
  • An updated website that makes it easier to find arrival info when you're waiting at home.
  • Enhanced mobile tools for iPhones, text-messaging and other mobile devices.
It's called One Bus Away.

66 comments:

SPSMom said...

"Dr. Goodloe-Johnson was not in attendance."

She was at the Alliance for Ed event.

SolvayGirl1972 said...

So much more important...

Keepin'On said...

Yes, we are a fiesty group. I think the remark about QA/MAG getting their own high school is born out of frustration that those neighborhoods sued to get BALLARD high school, not one of their own. Well, looks like it worked. they got it.

At my table, Director DeBell stopped by and said that the solution to the busing of Ballard residents to Ingraham would be solved, possibly by...wait for it - yellow bus service. Yes. Isn't this a step backwards?

And it was pointed out that the Superintendant apparently feels Eckstein and that neighborhood deserve her presence at a meeting, but those of us in Ballard do not. We stand with you Sounthenders. She is dismissive of both parts of town. Nice that she is consistent at least.

ArchStanton said...

So first, did you know that the Ballard area goes north almost to N 125th? [...] it's just not what I always thought.

I don't quite buy that one myself. People that live north of 145th like to say they live in Seattle. As far as what the city defines as Ballard, check here. http://clerk.ci.seattle.wa.us/~public/nmaps/html/NN-1170L.htm

Making a priority of keeping kids/siblings together from K through 12 seems a little misguided. I went to a different HS from my sister (different interests, different programs) and certainly didn't go to HS with anyone that was in my elementary school.

buying a home based on getting into a school, for a view, etc. is dicey.

That's one thing I have taken away from the past year. It's impossible to plan long-term with regard to SPS, even more than about three years is pushing it.

SPSMom said...

Yellow bus to IHS is not a step backwards. There is no cost savings with the Metro, So it makes no difference costwise how they transport students. Yellow bus or Metro. I think this could be a reasonable solution to a bad situation.

Roy Smith said...

Wasn't there a requirement in the guidelines for drawing the attendance areas that each attendance area be geographically contiguous?

If so, that would prevent including QA as part of Franklin's area, and it would mean that QA would have to be in either Garfield or Roosevelt (both obvious non-starters, as those schools will be packed as is), or Ballard. Ballard will be packed, but by drawing the northern boundary far enough south, some of the pressure is relieved by sending a bunch of students to Ingraham, which has plenty of room.

No matter how feisty the Ballard folks are, I really don't see how the northern boundary of the BHS attendance area is going to move north. The geography and the demographics of the city simply can't support it.

On the plus side, Ingraham has IB, it likely will get a big influx of students from the area that considers itself north Ballard, and within a few years, they will have at least a partially renovated building. IHS, like Hamilton Middle School, may become much more attractive than it used to be.

Central Mom said...

MGJ has a lot of constituents. Do I get it that she went to the big dog and pony last night instead of the Ballard mtg? Pragmatically, yes. Do I wish she could have done both? Yes.

But I'd really really like to know why there was no appearance at Aki. This is homebase for the SE Initiative. This is homebase for folks concerned about RBHS. When she can't be somewhere, it would be good for Staff to explain the "other engagement" yada yada. Sick kids and triple bookings, people can digest. No explanation comes off as imperious and not caring. One round of coffee hours last month isn't enough to dispel the impression.

I live in the central area but I absolutely want to see her appearing at as many south end QAs as possible during this process and during the transition planning, even if 5 people show up. The district needs to take every possible opportunity to show its executive is listening, really listening and absorbing, both the historic and new concerns down there. Senior staff attendance doesn't substitute for the superintendent in this time of huge change.

I know the SPS communications dept reads this blog. Take the engagement feedback and run with it.

lak367 said...

"...the Superintendant apparently feels Eckstein and that neighborhood deserve her presence at a meeting, but those of us in Ballard do not."

I was at the Eckstein meeting, and she was not there out of concern for the NE part of town. She was probably there because it was the first community meeting. It doesn't sound like she's gone to any others after that (am I wrong?)

And that meeting was not devoted to our unique issues in the NE region, which was a little disappointing to me because there doesn't seem to be other opportunities to make our voices heard. At my small group table, we had families from Graham Hill area who drove up for the meeting and families from Ballard area and along the Aurora corridor in the north. Many at my table weren't that interested in or knowledgeable about my concerns with the Sandpoint boundary or families living near U Village. In the end, the Eckstein meeting addressed all sorts of concerns, not just issues in the NE that some of us went to the meeting hoping to talk about.

I don't think we should be pitting ourselves against each other in this. Every part of town has unique concerns, from lack of quality to lack of capacity and beyond. Please don't imply that some of us are getting special treatment from the district because it isn't true.

Karrie said...

I attended last night's meeting in Ballard. It was packed and people were fiesty and paying attention to every word. My notes:

1. I agree with Melissa - how far north is Ballard? What about Loyal Heights? Crown Hill? Greenwood? North Beach?

2. Elementary School boundaries - there was a lot of talk at our table regarding unsafe walk zones/crossing 1 or 2 major arterials, etc. Given the streets in that area, I'm not sure how you get around it. Taking a closer look, I agree the new vs. old aligments are problematic looking at busy streets.

3. As a QA resident, it was interesting to hear the comments. I totally understand the frustration of not getting the school you want (Ballard), that is closess, and being assigned somewhere else less convenient and/or desirable (Ingraham). The QA and Magnolia community has been living with this frustration for years WITHOUT the predictability element of Ingraham that exists in the SAP. The three HS students on my block go to Ballard, Garfield, and Roosevelt - all by bus, all long rides - only one got first choice.

4. Bus rides - it isn't going to be a fast bus ride for anyone outside the walk zone going to Ballard HS. Where we live on southeast QA, it is a 2 bus ride also.

5. Unsafe bus ride - there was a lot of talk about "it isn't safe for our kids to take the bus up Aurora to Ingraham" but then statements made to send the QA/Magnolia kids there. So it's safe for those kids?

6. Queen Anne/Magnolia get your own HS. As Melissa states, that has been pushed for for years... to no avail. As long as there is a net surplus of seats at the HS level in Seattle, I don't think it will happen.

7. Not all QA/Magnolia parents wanted Ballard - I was hoping for Garfield or Roosevelt, frankly. I'm hoping the 10% open choice number goes way up so we have a shot to get in there when our time comes.

8. If you look at the McClure service area map, not ALL of those students will go to Ballard. Some are assigned to Garfield so the assumption that the QA/Magnolia cohort gets to stay together into HS is incorrect (given current maps, anyway).

I do understand the frustrations in the Ballard community about the issues at all school levels. It will be interesting to see if those frustrations go up or down when the revised maps come out.

RB1986 said...

Maybe someone already posted this but if not I wanted to let folks know that there are some new answers posted in the FAQ section of the SPS website. Under the topic of Reopened Buildings is this:
Pending School Board approval, we anticipate that students within the attendance areas of Old Hay and McDonald would attend school at the Lincoln interim site until the Old Hay and McDonald buildings are ready for occupancy.

Students in the Rainier View attendance area who need an assignment will be assigned to Emerson for 2010-11; then the Rainier View building will open in fall 2011. Students may stay at Emerson or apply to Rainier View if they choose.

Students in the Viewlands attendance area who need an assignment will be assigned to Broadview-Thomson for 2010-11; then Viewlands will open in fall 2011.Students may stay at Broadview-Thomson or apply to Viewlands if they choose.

methyl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
methyl said...

Karrie - very well thought out and articulated argument. I'm almost embarrassed by posting this, but:

We live in Broadview, which no one has ever heard of, so sometimes I refer to it as North Ballard (with apologies).

My eldest son is a kindergartener (!) and even though he's a long way off, we are still interested to see what happens to the SPS at the High School/ Middle School levels.

I just compared the Metro Trip Planners for routes from my house to either Ingraham or Ballard arriving by the school start time.

At present, my son would have to take 3 buses through the Northgate Park and Ride or downtown (!) over a 1.25 hour period to get to Ingraham.

The Ballard Route also shows three transfers (the 28, the 48 and finally the 15) but is half an hour faster so he only has a 45 min bus-time.

Maybe the problem can be resolved by Metro adding additional routes and times to focus on high-schools?

I really like the idea of having a more open high-school assignment if they focus on interesting programs (art/music, math/science, IB, etc.) High-schoolers are old enough to bus longer times/distances, especially if they are motivated by the program offerings. But 45 min to an hour and a half by bus to my CLOSEST school? Yuck.

lak367 said...

I have a naive question. Do high school kids ever drive to school? Is parking available?

Not that I want to encourage more cars on the road, and I know there are risks to having multiple teens in any one car, but I'm just wondering what the reality is here in Seattle.

Where I grew up on the East coast, there was almost no public transportation, and parents were glad when their kid turned 16 and could drive himself to school.

(and this is an honest question - please don't tell me that not everyone can afford a car for their kid, etc. I know that. I'm really just curious whether our schools support or encourage teen driving and how that might impact school assignment.)

hschinske said...

Some teens drive, but the high school lots are mostly fairly small, and I get the impression most kids who arrive by car are dropped off (either by a parent, or as part of a carpool).

Helen Schinske

Eric Blumhagen said...

To Roy's comment, it is absolutely possible to fit all of the kids in to the North End while having North Ballard in Ballard. Here's how:

By SPS numbers and the current maps, Roosevelt is about 400 students underenrolled in 2015, even after the 10% open choice seats are factored in. The "Green Lake Finger" is transferred to Roosevelt from Ballard, say about 50 students. The Roosevelt Boundary moves south to add another 250-350 students to its assignment area from the Garfield area in the Montlake/Eastlake areas. These areas have great bus service to the Roosevelt area on the 48 and 73 routes.

Those 250-350 seats will accommodate most of the high school students on Queen Anne and the Denny Triangle, currently in the Ballard zone. We now have enough space to seat most of North Ballard at Ballard.

Ellie said...

There are only nine comprehensive high schools (and middle schools) in the district; no matter how lines are drawn there will always be neighborhoods left feeling frustrated. As those in closed schools heard time and again, we must also think of the whole district, not just our presonal concerns.

The district and ALL Seattle citizens are left to live with the consequences of how we dealt with the QA/Mag high school issue of past years. We can't lose sight of the fact that what happens in one part of the district most definitely affects the entire district.

The sale of QA High School was not finalized until maybe four years ago, and Chris Jackins was begging then for help in preventing that sale. Now some are set on Lincoln as a potential location for a comprehensive high school to serve, among others, the QA/Mag population. This idea has and will continue to prevent the potential use of Lincoln as a multi-purpose campus as had been suggested by advocates for alt ed, APP and bi-lingual students.

Also, you can't court private school families (like those on QA who have traditionally chosen other than SPS) and then villify them for wanting access to a reasonably close high school. Ballard HS is reasonably close to QA/Mag just as Ingraham is reasonably close to families from NW 80th and up. Both are fine schools with healthy support.

One more thing: when we rented a home on 21st NW & NW 83rd in the mid-ninties, we were chastised by neighbors and local vendors for referring to our home as being in Ballard. It was Crown Hill -- with pride -- not Ballard, not North Ballard, but Crown Hill. And to make this work for the whole, Crown Hill may need to go to Ingraham for now.

Dan Landers

Roy Smith said...

By SPS numbers and the current maps, Roosevelt is about 400 students underenrolled in 2015, even after the 10% open choice seats are factored in.

With all due respect to whoever made these projections, I think that Roosevelt is going to be swamped within a few years (certainly before 2015) with families taking advantage of guaranteed access to attendance area schools. These will be families that in previous years would have gone private rather than take their chances with SPS, and families that will specifically make a relocation decision based on guaranteed access.

So, it seems that those 400 seats are probably illusory.

hschinske said...

Roosevelt will be underenrolled? Where the heck did that come from? Hasn't Roosevelt had, like, 300 kids on the waitlist in recent years?

h2o girl said...

Helen, yes they have, but look at the Appendix C of the assignment plan. Their projections have Roosevelt 300 or so under capacity by 2015.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Two things.

One is the perception of all other high schools besides Roosevelt, Garfield and Ballard. All the other comprehensives are not "bad" schools. Someone tried to tell me that about Ingraham. Are their graduation rates lower than the top three? Yes. Does that make them a bad school? No. They are working on their scores and have a top-rate IB program to boot. Not everything is either or. We do have high schools in the middle who, I believe, are striving to do better all the time.

Two, I meant nothing by acknowledging that the Superintendent was not there. Someone had mentioned she wasn't at the Aki Kurose meeting so I just pointed out she wasn't at the Ballard meeting either. It was just an observation. My opinion is that it really doesn't matter if she is there or not. She has never much cared about parents' and our concerns or thoughts so why would she start now? Work on the Board because that's who votes on these maps.

another mom said...

methyl,
Ingraham is quite walkable from most areas in the Broadview neighborhood. There is a pedestrain overpass at 130th so no unsafe crossings of Hwy 99 are necessary. Kids walk to and from every day. Not sure why Metro's trip planner routed you downtown or through Northgate but it sounds downright bizaare. If a kid can get to Greenwood Ave., there is no need for a busride to Ingraham lasting as long as metro's trip planner suggested. And as for Ballard, take the 28 to 65th get off and walk the 7 blocks W. I think it is much easier than the trip planner suggested. I do it all the time

hschinske said...

Oh, I believe the district SAID that. I'd believe they said anything at this point. Not sure I'd believe anything they said, though.

Helen Schinske

methyl said...

Thanks, 'another mom', I agree that own two feet are best; I never had a car/mom-bus when I was in school. Transportation to Ingraham still has problems for me, but I agree the neighborhood walk to Ballard is quite pleasant. However, transportation is a discussion for another forum.

Thanks to all for the SAP recap from Ballard. Hope that by the time my kids are in high-school ALL programs will be better.

emeraldkity said...

One more thing: when we rented a home on 21st NW & NW 83rd in the mid-ninties, we were chastised by neighbors and local vendors for referring to our home as being in Ballard.


Between 1981 & 1983 , my husband and I and all our married siblings bought homes, not only were we the only ones to buy in Seattle, but Ballard?

( our house has appreciated more than any of theirs- however we didn't move here because we wanted to live in Harbour Pointe, we liked the fishermen and the Bardahl sign-when we were looking at houses in Ballard where my husband grew up in the 1950-1960, the real estate agents were so funny about classifying all the neighborhoods- " it's right next door to Olympic Manor! O.M.G !"
( we preferred the semi industrial- east of 8th- south of market-)

adhoc said...

"One is the perception of all other high schools besides Roosevelt, Garfield and Ballard."

Melissa you are spot on here!

My son goes to Hale and we couldn't be happier. Honestly.

*We have found the teachers at Hale to be top notch and very responsive.
*It is a very personal learning environment where teachers really, truly, know every student well.
* There is tons of parent support and volunteers. Plenty of fundraising too.
*Though classes are integrated and there are no stand alone honors classes, students have the option to earn the honors designation on their transcripts for almost all classes. For a motivated student (which most honors students are) it is not very difficult to do the extra work to earn honors.
*They offer the following stand alone AP classes: LA 11 & 12, Japanese Language and Culture, Spanish Language, Calculus, Statistics, Environmental Science
*They have the radio station, a strong drama dept which does a play and two musicals each year (I think their musical won an award this year), and a strong sports program
*They have two to three colleges visit the school each week to present to students.
*Their test scores are as high as Roosevelt in Reading and Writing, and very close in math and science.

Further, the new principal, Dr. Jill Hudson is FABULOUS! Did I say FABULOUS! I mean rock star fabulous. She doesn't mince words and she gets the job done. I really like her, and think she was a fantastic choice for Hale.

And, for whoever asked earlier. Many kids walk or take Metro to Hale, but some Kids do drive. They have a small parking lot (200 spaces maybe?), and Hale students also use the Jane Addams parking lot next door.

SolvayGirl1972 said...

Melissa
Those of us in the southend would be happy with schools as "bad" as Ingraham and Hale. As a matter of fact, many carpool their kids up their right now. I don't think anyone ever said those schools are bad; they just have a different slant and offerings than the three true comprehensive high schools. Some people want what Roosevelt/Garfield/Ballard have to offer. Others are happy and prefer Hale. So why should they have to send their children to the high school the District has deemed best for them just because of geographic proximity?

Jan said...

SolvayGirl -- I would love to go all "choice" too (frankly, I think Hale might have been a better choice for my youngest than Garfield is), but I thought there was a decision, made some time ago, to move away from the Stanford/Olschefske "choice" model to something that offered predictability. And, in any case, not enough kids will ever choose RBHS and Cleveland (unless/until they are "fixed") to make the system work. There isn't enough room in the system to take both of those schools off line, and both are SEVERELY underenrolled.
But I agree with the idea that it would be great to go on encouraging each high school to flourish and do "different stuff" -- biotech at Ballard, the music programs at Garf/Roosevelt, IB wherever, the more inclusive model at Hale, -- because our kids really need the choices, but how do we do that and give any parents ANY predictability?

emeraldkity said...

And, in any case, not enough kids will ever choose RBHS and Cleveland (unless/until they are "fixed")

Isnt' that why they put APP into Garfield in the first place?

They should have handled TAF/RB and the community better IMO.

GreyWatch said...

Having done the public to private to public school thing, I don't think parents will automatically jump on the SPS bandwagon because of predicability. It will help, but it's not the only reason people opt for private, probably not even in the top 5.

Class size is a huge reason why many people opt for private schools. Even at the most desirable public schools, a child can have a wasted year because they got the one bad teacher at the school - or maybe the teacher was great but it was a year in which they had several high need kids in the class so yours didn't get the attention they may have needed.

We are in the very desirable West Woodland boundary (or I should say were as we are now zoned out by 1/2 a block in the new plan) and I know 3 families w/in 3 blocks who didn't even consider this an option. They are all at different schools for different reasons - none of them have anything to do with predicability or the quality of the neighborhood schools.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Well, Grey Watch, I would agree. I've been told that predictability was the likely reason (by staff) but just talking to people, it was class size. But you point out something that is part and parcel to public school - we do have more high needs kids because public school takes everyone. Private does not. You pay for not having those kids in your child's classroom.

adhoc said...

On the other hand Melissa I remember looking at some private schools in the north east for my older son when he didn't get into Eckstein, and I was appalled at how many kids had behavior problems at these schools.In fact remember thinking it was disproportionate, and that some of the kids must have been expelled from public school! So Melissa I think it can go both ways. Private schools can be used as a shelter, or they can be used as option or an escape hatch for kids who are not thriving, or doing well (behaviorally) in public school. And BTW there are many Kids with behavior problems who don't wear baggy pants - they aren't who you think..... they are from good families but for some reason have a problem with boundaries and consequences, and who have not yet learned to control themselves. Indeed, looking at private schools was eye opening....

Melissa Westbrook said...

Oh I get that. I've seen it too but many people believe that all the non-problem kids go to private school. Most private schools will try to "exit" those kids with behavior issues.

reader said...

Yes Melissa, lots of kids in private school are pretty high needs too. That is, the go to private school because they have to have small class size. Most run of the mill kids can survive the larger class sizes of public schools, and even thrive in them. But, if your kid has a problem, and is likely to fall through the crack, for any reason... then private school becomes a necessity. Sure, private schools won't deal with true behavior disorders, but there's a lot of problems that they do deal with, and the do tend to have a disproportionate number of "fall through the crack" boys, in particular.

Maureen said...

This idea that kids have to go to school with ALL the same people from K-12 is a mystery to me.

Me too Melissa, I actually think that is one of the strengths of the SAP--that the cohorts don't move piecemeal from MS to HS. It seems to me that when kids all move to HS together they lose the opportunity to reinvent themselves, to reach out and expand their horizons.

My kid is in a class of 400 with only two of his friends (about 10 kids total from his 8th grade). It's a little weird since the vast majority of the kids came from the same MS and don't seem to know how to make new friends, but he has
made friends at HSs all over the city (and Mercer Island). His world is so much bigger than if he had stayed with all of his K-8 friends.

Can someone who has multiple HS students explain the value of keeping their kids together with all of their friends? Is this one of those things that just sounds important when you have a 6 year old? (Like PG movies?!)

Eric Blumhagen said...

Re: Demographics for Roosevelt

No matter how big Roosevelt's assignment area is, it will be at capacity, because it's a great school in a district with some open choice.

If you look at the number of students in the Roosevelt area itself, you'll find that the District numbers are not too far off, even for 2015. If you want the detailed numbers, I can get them for you.

The District's numbers of 400 underenrolled assumes that only 10% of the total capacity would come from open choice seats, around 170 students. If the boundaries are left the way they are, the actual number of open choice students would be 570 (30+% of the capacity) or so, filling the school.

My contention is that it is more important from a policy standpoint to accommodate the nearby students in their neighborhood school than to have large open choice cohorts filling the school.

Of course, reasonable people can disagree on this!

Melissa Westbrook said...

One reason to keep kids together (beyond the obvious of only one school to keep track of) that seems prevalent in the NE is a legacy thing of having kids go from one of the elementaries to Eckstein to Roosevelt. Many of the parents themselves did this and want to continue the tradition.

old salt said...

I am not concerned with keeping the cohort together so that kids are with their friends. However, I am concerned with vertical alignment between middle & high school. Perhaps it can not be accommodated, but should at least be considered.

This year there are kids taking Alg 2 at Eckstein. Some of them will go to Roosevelt where there is 4 years of math for them to take. Some will go to Hale where they can not take 4 years of math.

There are kids at Eckstein who have made huge commitments to orchestra. Some hoping to pursue that as a career. Those who continue to Roosevelt will have the opportunity to continue that education, those who continue to Hale will not.



Perhaps in the future, kids at Eckstein will need to make different decisions about whether to take higher level math classes or whether to join the orchestra based on their future high school. But the kids in those programs currently are in a bind.

hschinske said...

Okay, so has Roosevelt historically had some kind of huge parcel of set-aside seats for open choice that's NOT determined by sibling or distance? Because I thought the whole point was that it DID fill from right in the neighborhood (except for maybe some special needs programs). I've always been told that there was NO realistic chance of getting in from Ballard, for instance, not anywhere near a 30% chance.

In any case, I think Roy is right, and neighborhood demand for Roosevelt is only going to go up with guaranteed access in place.

Helen Schinske

Melissa Westbrook said...

No, I didn't say they had set-aside seats. It has been a feeder pattern for kids to go from Bryant/Laurelhurst, View Ridge to Eckstein to Roosevelt. I have been told this by numerous parents. Roosevelt and Eckstein were the closest schools for those neighborhoods.

hschinske said...

Oops! I didn't mean you, Melissa, I was responding to Eric Blumhagen's posts about the prospect of underenrollment at Roosevelt.

Helen Schinske

Adhoc said...

I don't understand why Eckstein students can't take 4 years of math at Hale? Hale offers Algebra, Geometery, Algebra II, Pre-Calc I and II, Calc I and II, AP Calc I and II, and AP statistics?

What math classes does Roosevelt offer that Hale doesn't?

Historically many kids that go to Hale live in the north part of the NE cluster, and consequently they went to Hamilton MS, not Eckstein. Up until this year Hamilton had NO MUSIC PROGRAM at all -no band or orchestra. And they didn't offer INT II math.

Hale has continually tried to strengthen their music department but there has not been enough interest from the kids coming up from Hamilton. My guess is that this will all change now that Eckstein will feed into Hale. With a critical mass of (Eckstein) kids interested in orchestra and band, Hale will surely have a much stronger music department! And if there is a critical mass of kids needing higher level math my guess is that Hale will offer that too.

We've only been at Hale a short time, but admin seems very open and supportive of what the community wants. And the new principal is a real mover and shaker.

I think schools will have to serve a broader range of students now that families can't pick and choose where they will send their kids. It will be inevitable that schools diversify their offerings to meet a wide range of student needs/wants.

hschinske said...

If I'm reading the course catalogue right, it looks as though Nathan Hale doesn't offer the second year of AP calculus. My understanding is that AP Stats is considered a softer option (precalculus level).

Helen Schinske

Jane said...

I'm a little taken aback by LAK367's comment that she was unhappy that other families outside the NE area came to the Eckstine meeting. You do realize that there aren't any North cluster meetings? There's one at Eckstine and one at Ballard and that's it for the north end. And I ended up staying away from both because I figured that no one would want to hear about my concerns regarding proposed changes to Bagley.

old salt said...

Kids who start Pre-calc in 9th grade are offered 2 years of calculus & one year of statistics after that at Roosevelt. That is not the only way to offer 4 years of math. But there are not 4 years of math succeeding Algebra 2 at Hale.

Carolyn said...

Jane - I hope you'll go to Sherry Carr's community meeting. It's at 8:30AM this Saturday, at Bethany Church, just across the street from Bagley

Adhoc said...

"Kids who start Pre-calc in 9th grade are offered 2 years of calculus & one year of statistics after that at Roosevelt."

How are kids taking pre-calc in 9th grade at Roosevelt? That would mean that they took INT I/II/III or
AlgI/Geom/AlgII in middle school?

Are kids really taking 11th grade math at Eckstein, and coming into Roosevelt ready for 12th grade math? And, if so, how many are we talking about? Four or five kids? Or a large group?

Charlie Mas said...

Adhoc expresses a sentiment that I hear a lot:

"Hale has continually tried to strengthen their music department but there has not been enough interest from the kids coming up from Hamilton. My guess is that this will all change now that Eckstein will feed into Hale. With a critical mass of (Eckstein) kids interested in orchestra and band, Hale will surely have a much stronger music department! And if there is a critical mass of kids needing higher level math my guess is that Hale will offer that too."

I really don't see evidence to support this belief. There are some schools that are responsive and there are some schools that are not. It depends on the principal, doesn't it?

The principal at Hale is Jill Hudson. I know and respect her. She's really, really good at a lot of things, but she has well-formed views on a number of topics and cannot be convinced otherwise.

Jill Hudson, when at Madison, got a lot of kids out of the Spectrum program at Lafayette, yet refused to open a Spectrum program for them at Madison. She is and was philosophically opposed to Spectrum. Instead, she created an ALO, which is a good thought, but I don't know any Spectrum family who found it satisfactory.

The District cannot be shaken from a naive belief in the premise that if they build it, people will come. That simply hasn't been shown to be true.

Likewise, there are members of the community who will not be shaken from the belief that the District or schools will respond instantly to a demand whether it be for advanced classes or art or music. Again, that simply hasn't been shown to be true. Certainly not on a reliable basis.

Melissa Westbrook said...

No middle school really "feeds" into any high school (at least not according to the district). Half of Eckstein's area is in Roosevelt's if you look at the map.

I'm with Charlie; the principal really has to lead the way. Parents can certainly agitated for more but if the principal won't go there, the Board seems reluctant to force the issue.

Adhoc said...

Currently, it appears that the ONLY math class that Roosevelt offers and Hale doesn't is AP CALC 2. If a critical mass of kids come to Hale that needed AP CALC 2 then I believe Hale will add that class.

I don't see this as a major reason why a student couldn't go to Hale..... seems like an easy fix to me.

Adhoc said...

The small band at Hale was no doing of Dr. Hudson - she just got to the school. Further, Hale has always offered band, it's just very small. There have not been enough students interested in band to grow the program. This year there was not enough interest in orchestra to even form an orchestra.

Hamilton kids had no exposure to music, band, or orchestra at all while they were at Hamilton, so naturally when those kids graduate to Hale most of them have no band experience and are beginners. Worse, by high school, and without previous exposure to band, many are just not interested. Most kids who do join band are those who just want to "give it a try". They are not competing for a seat or aspiring for Duke Ellington competitions.

So, what could the school or principal do about that?

If 1/2 of Eckstein now comes to Hale Hale will naturally have a larger, stronger band, as more kids will choose to participate, and will come with greater experience.

As for Dr. Hudson, I'm not well versed on her personal philosphies, and appreciate Charlie sharing his experience with her at Madison, and her refused to offer Spectrum. My guess is it has to do with her passion for the principals of the coalition of essential schools, where inclusion and integration is paramount. I don't agree with this at all. I think all schools should offer a wide array of stand alone advanced (honors and AP), at grade level, and remedial courses.

I can see why she chose Hale, a CES school, and do hope that she is open to growing and strengthening the programs that need strengthening. Thus far, I have been more than impressed with her, but time will tell.

Dorothy said...

Yes, at least a few kids take precalc in 9th grade at RHS. And some do UW Summer Stretch to jump ahead a year in math. In fact, many APP kids use Summer Stretch to accelerate in Math as well. Note that this is *true* acceleration because it compresses a year's worth of curriculum into 5 weeks.

A friend of my son took Int3 at Eckstein, Precalc in 9th grade at RHS. In 10th grade he found AP Calc AB so tediously slow, he taught himself the course by the end of the first semester and switched to BC Calc. Since AB Calculus is really only a semester of college Calc, this isn't really too surprising. I guess what's surprising to me is that more kids, the kids who truly need and want acceleration, don't do this more often.

MapleLeafer said...

When my older son started Hale in 2002 they actually had a thriving music program run by a dynamic music teacher who has since left -he was Washington State Music Teacher of the Year at one point. Unfortunately for Hale, the District eventually placed the former music teacher from Hamilton at Hale and let's just say that didn't help the vitality of the program. There is a new music teacher this year who I have heard is very good so things should be looking up for the future of the music program at Hale.

old salt said...

There have typically been a couple of Int 2 & one small Int 3 classes at Eckstein. I do not know this numbers this year. Formerly Hale has told these students that they will not accommodate them in math & they will have to go off site.

I wonder if they split those math kids between Hale & Roosevelt, if Roosevelt will have too few kids to justify the classes.

If 20 kids from eckstein's senior orchestra go to Hale next year, they will not have a big enough group to play the orchestra music, no matter how good the teacher.

Of course things can change as the schools adjust to the new feeder patterns, but it will be too late for the current crop of kids.
These are only examples of alignment problems that may happen with other programs/subjects as well.

I am curious if the district cares enough to put some thought into it. I know that the orchestra teacher at Eckstein is desperately trying to find a solution for his 8th graders headed to Hale under the new plan.

Adhoc said...

Jill Hudson was doing something right at Madison. When it was announced that she was leaving Madison and going to Hale, the Madison community spoke out about what a loss it was to their school and community. They did not want her to leave. And I have heard that they continue to mourn her absence. I don't know all of the circumstances around the Spectrum issue at Madison but I do know that she was a very popular,well liked, and highly respected principal there. She was also a principal at Kellogg MS in Shoreline the school my oldest son attended, and she is remembered fondly there too (I asked)!

I have always believed that AP, Spectrum and honors classes should be offered as stand alone classes, but I think they should be opt in and open to any motivated student.

I was always opposed to the integrated approach to advanced learning. However, the more I see at Hale, the more I am coming around to it. Since my son has been at Hale he has been much more motivated! I didn't think he would ever take on the extra "honors" work that teachers give out, but he is. On his own. And he is proud of himself for doing it! Right now he is on track to receive honors in both Geometry and Science, and he has had to work every bit as hard for it as he did in his stand alone honors classes in middle school.

So I think I am seeing some of the benefit of the inclusive model. If done right, and "right" is the key word here, I think it can and does work. Perhaps Jill Hudson was working toward this at Madison? Perhaps that's why she went with the inclusive ALO model opposed to the test in Spectrum program?

Adhoc said...

"If 20 kids from eckstein's senior orchestra go to Hale next year, they will not have a big enough group to play the orchestra music, no matter how good the teacher."

But it wouldn't only be the 20 Eckstein kids in the orchestra. There will be other Hale students that will participate too. Our neighbors son was very disappointed that Hale didn't have an orchestra (he plays the violin) he'd be happy to play with them, as would other students.

And I don't see why it won't work for "this crop" of kids? Hamilton went from no music program at all to a stellar band and orchestra program in one year. Why can't Hale do the same?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Ad hoc, all AP classes (and probably honors) classes ARE opt-in except for the few that require prerequisites (like foreign language). Why this keep being said about AP, I have no idea.

Also, again, any honors or AP earned at Hale doesn't go on your transcript sent to colleges (unless they changed things in the last few years). It might appear on your report card but not your transcript. If the district goes to a weighted GPA (as it appears they will), either Hale changes their mind about separate classes or your child's extra honors work will not be part of the transcript and thus, his GPA will appear lower. Most colleges and universities only accept separate honors and AP classwork, not as an addition to a regular class. I'd ask a counselor.

Eric Blumhagen said...

Roosevelt Numbers:

As of October 2008, 845 of Roosevelt's 1675 students are from the following 2008 elementary reference areas: Bryant, Green Lake, John Standford, Laurelhurst, View Ridge, and Wedgewood. View Ridge and Wedgewood are only partially in the proposed Roosevelt assignment boundary, but the proposed boundary also covers a little bit of the old BF Day and West Woodland areas.

To answer the question above, roughly half of Roosevelt's current population comes from outside the proposed assignment area.

The next few assignment areas by population at the school are Bagley, BF Day, Olympic View, Olympic Hills, Sacajawea, and Northgate, which are the next ring of schools outward from Roosevelt. Added to the core listed above, these schools account for 1231 students, or about 75% of the population.

To me, that means that the assignment area is too small as drawn.

Adhoc said...
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Adhoc said...
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Adhoc said...
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Adhoc said...

"If the district goes to a weighted GPA (as it appears they will), either Hale changes their mind about separate classes or your child's extra honors work will not be part of the transcript and thus, his GPA will appear lower."

Melissa, can you explain this further. I don't really understand? How are kids in stand alone honors classes able to get higher GPA's than kids in an inclusive honors class? I don't understand how grades are weighted and how this affects GPA or how inclusive or stand alone classrooms play a role in it all.
Thanks.

Melissa Westbrook said...

The way it was explained to me is that just putting an honors designation on a regular ed class was doesn't make it an honors class. So therefore if the class isn't called Honors or AP (even if a student gets the honors designation which appears on the report card, maybe the transcript), the weighted part of the GPA doesn't follow with it. You certainly can take the AP test without the class but you cannot get credit on your transcript for an AP class if it wasn't self-contained. I think the College Board is fairly strict on their trademark so that schools can't bandy around the AP name. Again, you get a higher GPA if you took an AP class (rather than the "inclusive" AP class).

I'll have to ask Dr. Enfield about this but this is how it was explained to me when my son was at Hale. At the time, it didn't matter so much but if they go to a weighted GPA, it will.

Maureen said...

Melissa, you are familiar with Roosevelt's system. Would the system they use for LA Honors count toward a kid's GPA?

I'm in the process of figuring it out for my sophomore. There is no self contained Honors course, but the kids can do extra work (tutor, write film reviews) and get Honors 'credit.' Does this show up on their transcript in a meaningful way? (no general information sheet was distributed--I have only seen the descriptions of the extra work my kid could do to get an Honors designation.)

I'm finding it confusing--RHS has very clearly defined Honors Math courses--I'm assuming that those classes would 'count' on a transcript. The LA designation seems quite different. How does this compare to what happens at other High Schools?

KSG said...

As an upper-ballard parent my primary concern is the commute to Ingraham. Ballard and Ingraham both look like fine high schools (both are a lot better than the high school I went to), but I will not have my child spend 90 minutes every day commuting to high school.

That ends up being about 1 hour per day they lose, and frankly makes probably another hour less productive (as I know when I commuted it would take me a little bit of extra time to just get back up to speed).

Part of the problem is the placement of Ingraham. It's just in a terrible location on the map. To fill up the school, you need to extend way too far south.

I do have a suggestion for a plan that I will send to the Seattle School board. The basic idea is to bring back a distance function as a tiebreaker for 50% of the open slots. The formula would be:

distance to area school / distance to selected school

The higher, the better your chances of getting into your selected school. The idea being that if you're close to the selected school, but far from your area school then you should have top choice.

adhoc said...
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RheaMom said...

Melissa - What happened to the comments correcting information on Hale's AP program? Adhoc's responses to your statements appear to have been deleted. These are important clarifications and are consistent with my understanding.

Your information on Hale's AP program is consistently inaccurate. Perhaps your information is outdated but the clarification is important.