Saturday, October 17, 2009

Mercer Morning SAP Boundaries Meeting

So initially I had my doubts about this meeting. So rainy and there were more staff than attendees. It ended up being about even - I'd say there were 20 people there.

(FYI, I did draw Cheryl Chow aside and tell her about concerns about lack of books at RBHS. She said she hadn't heard anything but was glad to know about it. I did talk with the principal and still have a few more phone calls to make before I can say how we might help the situation. It's a little unclear about what the situation is and why it is the way it is. More on this next week.)

So the theme here seemed to be that people felt the district had been really trying with this plan and they appreciated the effort. But as one person who read for their group said, "We preface all our statements with "if the plan is done correctly".

But I did learn a couple of new things. Here's what came out here:
  • Everyone gets an attendance area assigned; we all know that, right? So if you choose a different school, you keep your attendance area assignment UNTIL your different choice comes thru. Meaning, if you choose an Option school and are on the waitlist, you don't lose your attendance seat until you get assigned to the Option school. In the case of APP 8th graders, their attendance seat will be at Garfield UNLESS they register differently. So they don't hold a seat at their attendance area high school and at Garfield.
  • On that subject, if your child is currently at high school A that is a non-attendance school and you want your child in your new attendance area high school B, they would have to apply for the Open Choice seat during the transition period.
  • I asked about the "informational" meetings coming up and couldn't they be feedback meetings since the maps will change by Nov. 3rd. The answer was yes, all the meetings (except the Work Sessions) are for feedback and comments.
  • Tracy actually said something a little different about the high school Open Choice seats. She said that they intend for the 10% to eventually come from the overall population of the school but in the transition period, it might only be 10% of the freshman class. That's a little more clear then.
  • There was also a question on the same subject about whether APP sibs might take a lot of the Open Choice seats at Garfield. Tracy said high school enrollment can be fluid so it might be less than the questioner thinks but yes, any sibs of enrolled students would get in first under Open Choice tiebreakers. I'll say it again, I think Open Choice seats should ALL be lottery. The need to keep sibs together at the high school level is nowhere near as great as in the lower grades and it just seems unfair.
  • There were a lot of questions about transferring out of a school not meeting AYP under NCLB. It seems that you get a list of schools to transfer to when the AYP comes out in August and your school is on it. However, if you only put 1-2 down from the list, the district could still assign you to one of the others. If you rank order all of them, you would likely at least get a little more control over the process. Tracy also said something I hadn't heard before which was that low-income, low-performing students get letters first before other students at the school.
  • Tracy was saying she thought that the STEM program at Cleveland would be very popular in a couple of years and would have a waitlist. There's a lot of things that would have to happen for that to be true and I don't think this district can make it happen. But if they do, it would be great.
  • Timeline for ALOs? It seems they will start, during the transition period, with those areas of the district that have little or no access to advanced learning programs.
  • Some people were worried that open-concept schools like Maple and Beacon Hill might lose those if they were underenrolled and the district wanted to move to a more traditional model.
  • There was worry about alternatives/Options changing because of the narrowing of the draw of their area. One woman was worried about TOPS and their social justice focus. I understand that the schools demographics might change but I'm not sure why it would change the focus of the school. I think the district would say that they can't afford transportation anymore.
  • More mapping concerns; John Muir area, Green Lake, Delridge
  • Inequity issues
  • Sibling grandfathering. Someone had a pretty funny idea which was to put portables in at all those schools until the sibling tail ends. Funny because not all schools have room for portables and how would we pay for all these portables? Not really workable.
  • This was the only meeting where the levy failure was not brought up (oddly, despite the low number of attendees, they managed to miss my question on that issue).
A few odds and ends. Someone mentioned elsewhere about the large costs of reopening the 5 schools and wouldn't it be cheaper to rebuild? Well, yes and no. Since we are getting into $7M+ for each (and one at $11M and one at $14M) and ALL these buildings are poor quality, it does seem sad to shovel so much money into them. The district could reopen a couple and then wait for BEX IV and rebuild a couple but only if they did it cheaply (and this district doesn't know how to do that). I'm sure they would say it would be at least $40-45M for an elementary but I'd love to see what a stripped down cost would be.

They had a feedback sheet on the meetings which I hadn't seen before. A woman at our meeting asked, since we were such a small group, could we just do a Q&A? No, that wouldn't be fair to the other meetings. So why bother filling out a form asking our opinion about the meeting format when they won't budge at all anyway?

Lastly, there was some discussion about South Shore being an Option school. The issues were (1) that they were created to serve the low-income kids in the Rainier Beach community and (2) their program revolves around lower class sizes. The concern was that by them becoming an Option School that more kids outside of Rainier Beach would get in, those kids might be from "rich white families" and that they would have to enlarge their class sizes.

The MOU (memorandum of understanding) between the district and the New School Foundation does have language about enrollment. It is somewhat vague but says that New School should get some input over the enrollment of students at South Shore. This was not acknowledged at the meeting (even though lead legal counsel, Gary Ideka, was there).

I appreciate that South Shore wants to serve a low-income demographic AND that they try to keep class sizes low for their program to work better. However, there's a couple of other issues like:
  • they have a brand-new building and they got it ahead of other buildings in far, far worse condition (and Laura don't even bother challenging me on this point, okay?)
  • their program gets funded an extra $1M per year via New School Foundation
  • they have smaller class sizes than most elementaries and K-8s
And so, they worry about their demographics and their class size and want the district to do something via the enrollment plan just for them? Just let that sink in. How's your building condition? Would your school benefit from $1M extra for academics? Would you like the district to manipulate the enrollment plan so you would have smaller class sizes?

Wouldn't we all? TOPS is going to have a very different demographic under this plan. Will the district change the plan for them? Nope.

The question came up so why not make South Shore an attendance area school so that the district wouldn't have to open Rainier View (because Dunlap in SS's backyard isn't full either)? Answer, no, Rainier View is too far away. But wouldn't it be worth busing some kids so that we don't have to spend the money on Rainier View?

I know some of you will think I'm being hard on South Shore. I understand it when they say they are trying to demonstrate to the Legislature what fully funding education would look like and how much it helps. I'd like to know how often the district or Board use South Shore as an example to legislators. But a lot has been given to South Shore and I don't see how their program deserves anything extra out of this enrollment plan that any other school doesn't deserve as well. Are they part of the district? Yes, well, then here's the enrollment plan...for every school.

80 comments:

owlhouse said...

Great notes, Melissa.
Adding to:

-Concerns I heard re:South Shore, as an option school- it's attendance area is much larger, now all of Aki's service area. This would seem to give parents "in the know" an option of applying at pre-k, essentially filling the school before the immediate neighbors (those the school hoped to serve) know to apply to it as an option.

-On options (and maybe everyone is already clear on this) students may apply to any, though transportation is only available w/in the MS service area. Tie breakers are 1. siblings, 2. geographic zone (walk zone?), 3. lottery
---As an aside, I introduced myself after the meeting and told Dr. Libros that I felt her assertion that the term "alternative school" was "not meaningful" to be dismissive of those communities and their hope that board policy C54 would hold some meaning. She clarified that she had been trying to express that SPS had to separate attendance and non-attendance area schools, and wanted to do so with out distinction of instructional methods. Does that answer which are option schools and why? Not really- but it's a step above the "alternative doesn't mean anything" bit. As to my question of the change/loss of meaning in C54, she said the "SAP changes lots of board policies".

-Mercer is set to become at international middle school

-No commitment was made as to when new ALOs and Spectrum will come online, but when the district is ready to grow those programs, the intentions to develop them in underserved areas is "quite strong"

-11/18 is the board vote on the SAP maps/areas; tie breakers and other issues will be a separate and later vote

- School design/autonomy, ie: will Kimball remain open concept? This wasn't answered directly. We did hear that the new SAP is a "conceptual change" away from every school being on its own, toward the "city and district" having responsibility for all schools. Schools in turn will earn autonomy by serving students well.

-Do some schools have a greater need for a more lengthy "grandfathering" of sibs? What of communities where a higher portion of the population has 3+ kids v. 2+?

- A question I asked that went unanswered, why weren't the "family connectors" SPS asked each school to identify brought into the fold before the first round of community meetings? The Family Connector meeting at JSCE is this Monday. The last boundary meeting is under way now.

In all, I found it a useful meeting- heard appreciation for the recognition that community/neighborhood involvement will help to improve schools. Of course this led to my favorite question of the morning- "What is SPS's plan to improve schools and prepare for increased enrollment at schools- aside from parent involvement?"

I found it interesting just how much power/authority Dr. Libros gave the Board in her presentation. Much was phrased as "the Board made the decision", "With feedback from the Board", "The Board will vote"...It'd be great to see the Board assume some of that power.

Also, I found it interesting that so many district staff were wearing both their badges and stickers identifying them as "volunteers".

Chris said...

A few things to add from Sherry Carr's community meeting this morning.

1)She did get a levy question and she said in the last BTA committee meeting the board had requested a "Plan B" from the district. So somebody is listening.

2) sibling, siblings, siblings. A few new things. One was that a year's notice would allow families to plan better than 1.5 months (mid Jan, when we finally get an answer on sibs to March, enrollment. Sherry pointed out that the amendment to punt the sibling issue to implementation was to avoid closing the discussion altogether in June.

The idea of portables came up, and Sherry said Tracy was considering some options with a name like "surge management" -although I'm sure that's not quite right- which would "make seats" where necessary to accomodate neighborhood and siblings. We have certainly seen the district "make seats" in this area in the last few years so it can be done. I'm just not sure that any of the schools needing more seats aren't maxed out already.

Finally, several people pointed out that this isn't a one-time problem; rather it will arise again every time boundaries are adjusted. Then one person suggested "buffer zones" on the edges of clusters where sibs would get priority in transition times. I have a feeling that's going to get derided as "too complex" either for algorithm-writing or people to understand, but I think it's worth thinking about. It was clear this crowd could and would move for schools and I'm just imagining the new real estate market and funky demographic patterns...

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

Oh, one other thing. One guy mentioned that the separation of process into parts (framework, SAP, boundaries, implementation) was somewhat artificial and limited community input. He compared it to health care reform - how could you know what you thought with less than the whole package before you?

I've had this feeling too, although I haven't been able to articulate it that politely. I would say it feels like they have made a lot of decisions (SAP vote) while parents have not had the information on how it would impact them. Then, when you start complaining, it's either dismissed as your problem in your corner of the universe or you're complaining about a "train that has already left the station." So I guess I'm saying it looks like a pattern of delaying the most potentially controversial parts of the plan (i.e. the parts that really impact people, boundaries and now sibs) as long as possible to the train is unstoppable by then.

I would also like detail more about the conventional wisdom that "for years everyone asked for predictability." At this point my first reaction to any district proclamation is extreme skepticism. Especially when they all (board & staff) use the same talking points. I've seen them manipulate community input at meetings. No one asked me. Apparently no one said "keep my kids together?" Did they ask what you liked about the current system? What was the sample size anyway? Why is the goal of predictability reached by SAP rather than capacity management or school quality improvement?

I do recognize that it's a "gi-normous" project that does need to be broken into pieces, but the need to write those pieces into stone after a week of discussion does seem artificial and a little too convenient.

OK, i'm glad I separated this out because it's about 5% notes and 95% rant.

Sahila said...

"The issues were (1) that they were created to serve the low-income kids in the Rainier Beach community and (2) their program revolves around lower class sizes. The concern was that by them becoming an Option School that more kids outside of Rainier Beach would get in, those kids might be from "rich white families" and that they would have to enlarge their class sizes."

What about filling up with kids from rich black families, a la the Superintendent's daughter, whom I understand (apologies if I am mistaken), goes to South Shore/New School?

Lucky Superintendent's daughter, with all those extra resources and small class sizes...

Now surely, the Superintendent is working day and night to make sure that her dream and promise of Excellence for All SPS children, not just for her own daughter, will become a reality any day now ...

If a rose by any other name is still a rose, is hypocrisy by any other name still hypocrisy?

Maureen said...

In the case of APP 8th graders, their attendance seat will be at Garfield UNLESS they register differently. So they don't hold a seat at their attendance area high school and at Garfield.

But this doesn't mean that APP kids who want to go to their attendance high schools will be competing for the same 10% seats as everyone else even if they live in the area does it? It just means that they have to decide and send in a preregistration(?) form before(?) open choice happens, right? Does that create another unique layer of paperwork, or are other kids doing this too? And could APP kids ever be turned away from their attendance HS? I'm getting so confused!

SolvayGirl1972 said...

Considering that South Shore's area includes homes along Seward Park Avenue and Lake Washington, it is already at risk of having to accept "rich white kids" and, as Sahila noted a few rich kids of color too.

This is, unfortunately, one of the problems in the South End. We are a veritable economic checkerboard where the value of homes and incomes of families go up and down with proximity to views and water.

Though some commenters on this blog have eluded to white families loving diversity until "their kids have to go to school with it," the same holds true for communities of color and/or lower income. They often do not want an influx of people with different values and needs into their schools. Consider Madrona K-8 as a good example of this.

These attitudes can do as much for causing groups (from all sides of the issue) to reject neighborhood schools, as low test scores and safety issues.

For the new SAP to work all over the city, the schools themselves are going to have to be ready to accept their new demographics with open arms and work extra hard to serve all of their students.

SE Mom said...

I spoke with Tracy after the meeting this morning and she used an arugment I've heard before to dismiss possible glitches with high school choice seats.

Tracy focused on the trading of seats back and forth between high schools as a mechanism for equalizing the number of choice seats at any given high school.

For instance, a student in the Garfield reference area applies for and gets a seat at Roosevelt. Their seat at Garfield is now available for another student. Tracy seems to think that this kind of fluidity, along with no longer having a distance tie breaker, gives students a good chance at open choice seats even in popular schools.

I pointed out that the theory holds true for desireable schools.
But it is not going to help much with the least popular high schools. Who is going to give up a seat at Garfield to go to RBHS instead? Did not really get a response on that.

I also asked her about the change in processing algorithms. Tracy did not have any advice for how families will know which high schools choice seats they should apply for: their real first choice or a less popular school that would likely have fewer applicants.

My overall impression of the meeting was that staff want to answer logistical type questions but really have no intention of discussing larger issues of equitable access or diversity. (Not surprised by that, but it saddens me greatly.)

Also distressing to hear that choice seats could be less than 10%
of the total school for next year.

Dorothy said...

"Also distressing to hear that choice seats could be less than 10%
of the total school for next year."

Well, of course it will be less. Each year you enroll only 25% of a high school, so you would have 10% choice on the 25% enrollment. Just like grandfathering in the kids already in an elementary of middle school, it will take time until 10% of the student body is from choice seats.

Example, RHS with 1600 seats, a freshmen class size of 400. There would be 40 spots "reserved" for open choice, certainly not 160. How many of those 40 spots ill go to siblings of current students who now find themselves not in the RHS attendance area? I'd guess all of them, but that's just a guess based not on real data. Seems like something Tracy ought to be able to answer.

SPSMom said...

So let see if I have this right. If you are an APP 8th grader you have this period of time to decide if you want GHS or your attendence high school. No other group of students have this type of enrollment opportunity, except those deciding on attendance school or Option High School. (and by the way, what is the criteria for getting into an Option high school?)

THEN, if you decide on GHS, your siblings get priority in the lottery. However, if you are a southend student who by chance happens to get a seat at BHS and then into the Bio-Tech program, your siblings do not have any priority in the lottery. Or if you are a student who opted for an Option High School, your siblings do not have priority in the lottery either.

I don't understand the logic of only giving what seems to be the only type of sibling preference K-12 to one group of students. Is there something I am missing?

SE Mom said...

Dorothy-

Tracy stated that the goal for open choice high school seats is 10% of the entire school number, not the freshman class. But that with the transition rollout next year, that number could be less.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Okay, I'll ask Tracy but I think I understand it clearly. It can't hurt to double-check.

BUT, everyone's siblings, APP kids, ELL kids, any non-attendance kids in the school already, their siblings will have preference over anyone else in the Open Seat pool. So it's not like APP sibs have more of an advantage than other sibs, there's just likely more of them concentrated at Garfield as non-attendance students'sibs.

If you are applying to an Option High school, I don't know. There are fewer of them so it seems unfair to give them a geographic zone. It almost looks like Center and Nova would have zones right next to each other. Good question to ask Tracy.

Chris, it would be good to have data on the predictability issue. To the best of my knowledge, there was NO survey of parents on any issue of assignment plan. I can say that for years, going to meeting after meeting, parents complained about predictability and that's what they base it on.

Under the old plan, 90% of people got their first choice. So you had a lot of people who got what they put down on the enrollment form. Now, you'll just trade the 10% who were unhappy under choice for the10% who will be unhappy under predictability. Except that when the boundaries get changed every 5 years (or rather, tweaked) that percentage could grow or the group will change.

just-a-mom said...

Not sure what Melissa's continued beef is with South Shore. The building is built, Melissa.

You have heard over and over and over again from Laura, parents, teachers, District staff and more that the old building was crap - that children were having to avoid buckets holding rain in the hallways while wearing their winter coats in their classroom. Your account of "worse" is based on a single number the District produces to measure building quality, but that doesn't speak to the ability of students to learn in that building.

Moving on...

I was at the Mercer meeting this afternoon where Tracy talked about Old Hay and New Hay, Old Hay hopefully becoming an option school. Tracy said that it would be difficult to have both schools have an attendance area when they are so close.

The same is true for South Shore and Dunlap, who even share the same backyard.

South Shore families, teachers and Foundation want it to be a neighborhood school. They work hard to educate people on the enrollment system to have a school that is reflective of the community - and that includes having some rich white families in it.

But Melissa, in all seriousness - what are you trying to accomplish in your continued anti-South Shore commentary? Are you hoping the school shuts down? Stops receiving funding (in which case the entire preschool would evaporate and class sizes would go up)? What?

Dorothy said...

I'm not following the distinction here. If the long term goal is 10% choice seats, then each year you would enroll 10% choice seats and then after four years would meet your goal. So, using RHS round numbers, that means about 40 choice seats each year, for freshmen at least.

I can see where the 40 choice seats might end up being lower if they get surprised with new families from the attendance area enrolling. Is that what you mean by fewer of is there something else I am missing?

I have also never heard a clear answer to: if there are 400 freshmen seats and only 300 kids from the attendance area enroll, then are the other 100 seats all lottery?

Also, bear in mind that the 1600 and 400 are rough, and probably too high. That would depend on how many special ed kids are assigned. We don't know about that, do we? That was a factor with figuring out the impact of AP HG, and it turned out that somewhere around 50 seats were special ed, not general ed. I have no idea how high school special ed programs are affected by the new SAP.

Sahila said...

Just-a-mom...

I cant speak for Melissa, but I sure have a beef with what's happening at South Shore/New School and the way this has all played out, including the failed funding of TT Minor, which funding pull out probably contributed to its closure...

I want all kids at all schools to have what kids at South Shore get (including the Superintendent's child, I hear), without having to sell out to private funding...

If the kids at South Shore deserve it, then all kids deserve it.

MGJ is certainly not doing anything to address this issue....

The District - and the Superintendent - ought to be ashamed of itself/herself at this inequity...

How can the Superintendent look any of us in the eye at all with her (high income) daughter benefiting from the extra funding and resources and class sizes intended to benefit low income/minority students?

If she was serious about showing her faith in, and commitment to, SPS and about bringing equity of programmes, resources and access to Seattle Public Schools, she'd have her daughter in a 'struggling' school and be working her arse off on the PTA to raise funds for that school... that's what many of the rest of us have to do, more of us with this new SAP...

Melissa Westbrook said...

Just-a-Mom, I have more than one figure to back up what I am saying. Do you have have any data beyond what you have said?

Yes, the building is built but New School knew that they could have waited and done a joint building with the City and didn't. Because they didn't, late down the line Cooper got picked on because Pathfinder needed a new building. Cooper lost its school because New School muscled in line first for a new building. So yeah, it's a "beef". I don't want to see ANY group do it again. That's why I hammer on it. Everyone should know it happened and not let it happen again.

I applaud New School for wanting to help the district and low-income kids. Personally, I feel if they had spread the $1M a year out over 4 poorly performing, low-income schools, it would have been more bang for the buck. But it's not my choice.

I recall a Board member who once said to me, about New School, "What is it about rich people who want to create their own schools instead of helping existing ones?" I've never forgotten that statement.

Someday that funding will likely be gone and then what? Will South Shore struggle just as other schools do? I'm not sure I get the point of what is being accomplished but no, I don't want it to go away.

What I want is fundamental fairness to ALL schools in this district and that no school, no matter their backing, can get a new building before others or manipulate the enrollment plan to favor their program. I absolutely do not blame any South Shore parents who likely have no idea how this school came about.

Dorothy, also a good question about whether a school doesn't fill with attendance kids, who gets in next?

SPSMom said...

Thanks for the clarity on the siblings at highschool. I get it now.

Maureen said...

Melissa you say It almost looks like Center and Nova would have [geographic] zones right next to each other

I'm wondering if you have the same misconception as a lot of people I talk to? Option schools don't have any attendance area--everyone who applies has an equal chance of being admitted EXCEPT (1)siblings and (2)People who live in a SMALL "Geographic Zone" in close proximity to the school. Geographic Zones are not the same thing as MS Attendance areas (the large area comparable to a cluster).

I haven't heard whether or not the Option HSs will have "Geographic Zones," but if they do, the ones for Nova and the Center School had better not be contiguous--that would contradict the idea of a SMALL proximate area.

I have heard Tracy describe the geographic zones as a way that people who can walk out their doors and see an Option School to get into that school.

(Of course I won't be surprised if these zones mutate into something entirely different over time.)

Charlie Mas said...

Just to keep the numbers easy, let's say that a popular high school has room for 1600 students. That generally works out to 400 in each grade. We know that 11th and 12th grade aren't usually as full as 9th and 10th grade but, again, we're trying to keep the numbers easy. The District wants 10% of the school to be reserved for out-of-area students we choose the school. So each year they look to register 360 incoming freshmen from the attendance area and 40 from outside.

The District knows that some of the attendance area students will enroll elsewhere - at service schools, at option schools, and at other attendance area high schools. So they draw the attendance area to include about 1,900 high school students. They fully expect at least 15% of them to be enrolled elsewhere.

So what happens if only 350 students from the attendance area choose the school? Can the District allow an extra 10 students from outside the area enroll?

I don't think they can. Here's why: although there are only 350 attendance area students enrolled at the school, there are another 60 or so who retain the right to enroll at the school because it is their attendance area school. Maybe NOVA doesn't work for them. We know that students leave The Center School. Maybe the S.T.E.M. program at Cleveland will prove a bust. Mr. Tolley has promised a strong effort to return students in service schools to their attendance area school.

The District can't give those seats away because they might need them later if any of the attendance area students return.

They also need to hold some seats vacant for families who move into the area after open enrollment.

It would only be in really extraordinary situations that we might see a school enroll more than 10% through open choice. The school would have to be really popular outside its area and really UNpopular within its attendance area.

Charlie Mas said...

Maureen, can you please provide me with your source for the idea that the Geographic Zones will be small and only include areas in close proximity to the school?

I haven't seen any official reference to the size of the geographic zones.

Here's what I have heard: living in the geographic zone does not guarantee assignment to the school.

Given the heavy tie-breaker offered to families in the geographic zone, the only way that a student living in the geographic zone would NOT get an assignment to the school would be if the school were over-subscribed by siblings and other students living in the geographic zone. It would take a pretty big geographic zone to fill the school, but that's what the district has been hinting at.

South Shore, as has been discussed, wants to serve students of a particular SES. To facilitate the desired school demographic, the District could draw the school's geographic zone so that it includes a lot of low-income neighborhoods and does not include affluent neighborhoods. Moreover, if the geographic zone is big enough, it would really cut down on the opportunity for students outside the zone to gain access.

Of course, that could mean a geographic zone for South Shore that covers much of the attendance area for Dunlap and Emerson, if not Brighton and Wing Luke as well.

owlhouse said...

Maureen- thanks for summing up what I understand about option schools and their geographic zones.

Adding to that, there are now 3 "option" HSs. I heard that Cleavland wanted and sought an attendance area. Nova on the other hand did not and lobbied for continued all-city draw status. (Not sure what Center wanted/asked for) The district said that in the interest of "equity" they could not have option schools with differing entrance rules/criteria- and that's how we landed with tiebreaker 2 of geographic zones at the HS level.

Charlie- I heard very clearly from Tracy today that once a student is placed in a school other than their attendance school, that attendance slot is no longer theirs. Then again, Gary Ikeda (?- I think) also said that if HS APP kids opt not to take/or to leave their spot at Garfield, they will have priority in enrolling at their attendance school. Not sure how this will all play out- but I didn't get the impression that the district plans to hold spaces for options students who enroll then change their minds. Though maybe they would then have an advantage in the lottery? Hmmm....

owlhouse said...

Another thing- I think it will be interesting to track the percentage of SPS students/families who apply to schools aside from their assignments.
I have no predictions- but will be curious to learn, to compare numbers cluster to cluster and to watch that number over the years.

Maureen said...

Maureen, can you please provide me with your source for the idea that the Geographic Zones will be small and only include areas in close proximity to the school?


No, Charlie, I can't.

I have twice heard Tracy use the words 'small' ("extremely small" once)and 'proximity' when she talked about the zones this fall. And last spring she said the thing about seeing the school from your house.

If you read the definition in the SAP (p.19), it starts out ok, with references to Walk Zones, and then veers off into let's use the Zones to solve all of the problems the rigid attendance areas are going to cause.

2.Geographic Zone

The geographic zone tiebreaker is for applicants to an option school who live within a defined area in proximity to the school. Living within the geographic zone does not guarantee assignment to the requested option school.

Each option school will have a clearly defined area that will be the geographic zone within which the tiebreaker will apply. Various factors will be taken into consideration in development of the geographic zones, and each geographic zone will be customized for the specific option school. As with the development of attendance area boundaries, various factors need to be balanced in establishing the geographic zones. Some examples are provided below.

In the case of a school with a walk zone encompassing a proportionately small number of students (in relationship to the school’s target enrollment), the walk zone might be used as the geographic zone. On the other hand, if the number of students living in an option school’s walk zone would largely fill the school, the geographic zone would be smaller.

If a service area has limited or no excess capacity, the geographic zone might be larger to accommodate more of the students who live in the service area. This could contribute to a more balanced enrollment among all of the schools in the service area.
In the case of enrollment shifts in certain attendance or service areas, it might be possible to revise the geographic zone and thereby prevent or delay the need to redraw attendance area boundaries. This provides a tool to increase the stability of the new attendance area boundaries.

Geographic zones could also be used to improve the diversity of a school’s population. For instance, if an option school has a high poverty rate, a geographic zone might be drawn to increase the likelihood of a more economically diverse population being assigned to the school.

The geographic zones will be approved by the School Board. Any future changes to the geographic zones would also be approved by the Board and publicized prior to Open Enrollment.

Johnny Calcagno said...

This document references "close proxmity" in footnote (b).

dj said...

OK, perhaps I am missing something basic here, but my understanding about the geographic zones is that you would get a guaranteed assignment still to your assignment school, and a preference for the option school that you are in the geographic zone for (which as Charlie points out, is not guaranteed to but is practically guaranteed to get you into the option school). Am I misunderstanding this?

sbw said...

I asked this question at the Mercer meeting this morning: What happens if all of the attendees of Title I schools not meeting AYP exercise their option to attend other schools in the district? What kinds of plans does SPS have regarding capacity/budget/transportation?

Tracy Libros responded without speaking to the heart of this matter. She said that budgeting for transportation would be no problem because it’s covered by Title I funds. She then went on to repeat what she said earlier, as Melissa reported, about how families will receive a letter in August stating that their school isn’t meeting AYP and listing the schools where their children may attend. I was also somewhat confused by what she said about children with low SES and academic achievement getting higher priority for placement at the schools offered in lieu of their failing school. She recommended that families rank all five of the schools they are offered. End of response.

My question was really about capacity and equity. Every child attending a school that is “in improvement”, that is, that hasn’t made Adequate Yearly Progress for two consecutive years, is entitled to attend another non-failing school within the district according to No Child Left Behind. According to the Washington State Report Card, the following Title I middle and elementary schools are “in improvement”: Aki Kurose, Emerson, Dunlap, Wing Luke, Graham Hill, Mercer, Van Asselt, Dearborn Park, Hawthorne, Kimball, Denny, Highland Park, Arbor Heights, Roxhill, Thurgood Marshall, Leschi, Bailey Gatzert, Madrona K-8, McClure, Hamilton International, Adams, Greenwood, Broadview-Thomson, and Olympic Hills.

I’m doing scratch-paper data collection here so I may be off by a school or two. Some schools will hopefully rise out of their status in the coming year. Many families probably don’t understand that federal law allows them to choose a better school for their children and will disregard the letter they receive in August. Other families, however, will take the AYP letter as the last option to fight the attendance-area obligation they have to their neighborhood school. In any case, enrollment at these schools currently totals around 10,000 students. Add that to “failing” Title I high schools (Rainier Beach, Cleveland, Franklin, Roosevelt, Sealth, and Ingraham) and we have a grand total of approximately 16,000 kids who are not really bound to the new school assignment plan.

Is anybody else concerned about this?

StepJ said...

To back up Maureen, Johnny and others...

I was at the Board Workshop on 10/06 when they released the boundaries. Tracy specifically said the geographic zones (2nd tie-breaker for Option schools) would be small.

I paid particular attention to this as other parents that I know were decribing the Geographic Zone to be equal to the entire middle school service area. I thought this was not correct from information heard first hand at previous workshops.

At Board Workshops prior to approval of the new SAP the Option School geographic zones were always described as small - such as a 3-5 block area surrounding the school.

owlhouse said...

dj said:
"OK, perhaps I am missing something basic here, but my understanding about the geographic zones is that you would get a guaranteed assignment still to your assignment school, and a preference for the option school that you are in the geographic zone..."

I think there is some confusion in the use of different terms.
Elementary schools have attendance areas.
Middle schools have service areas.

There is an option school w/in every MS service area. My understanding is that students do not have preference to the option in their service area and can apply to any option school. Transportation is only provided to the option w/in your service area. Additionally, those living in the as yet undefined geographic zone (said to be a very small surrounding the school) will have some priority as the zone is the second tie breaker.

Any more clear?

Texas said...

As I understand it students living in the service area of a middle school will have guaranteed assignment to that school at the entry grade only (at least for this coming year).

For Eckstein that means all 6th grade students living in their service area will be guaranteed a spot at the school. But what happens if 80 students all living within the Eckstein service area apply for a 7th grade (not the entry grade) seat next year, but Eckstein only has 10 spots open? How do they choose which students get in? Are there tie breakers for this?

Melissa Westbrook said...

I understand the zones will be small (and I did refer to them as zones). But since they aren't here, I was just musing about where Center and Nova's might be.

dj said...

Owlhouse, sort of. I guess what I am thinking is that there are multiple places where uncertainty is built into the assignment plan:

1. To the extent that the geographic zone kids have what looks pretty much like a guaranteed assignment to the option school they border, and have an absolute entitlement to their assignment school, attendance predictions are soft.

2. To the extent that (as I understand it) rising sixth-graders at K-8 schools have a guaranteed assignment to the middle school in their service area, as well as an entitlement to stay at the K-8 school, attendance predictions are soft.

SPSMom said...

Doesn't attaching a geographic zone to any option school just make it another attendance area school for that geographic area?

And once our alternative schools are no longer available to students city-wide doesn't that mean that all city draw alternative schools are no longer needed?

I think this is a pretty big issue slipping the radar of most families!

Tom said...

I have a question. I have been hearing the district is raising the bar for the percentage total population needed to qualify for Title I. For instance, with APP transferred to TM this year, TM will not qualify for Title I next year. This despite the fact that many children in the traditional program will still be just as poor and just as deserving of those dollars for their program.


I am not sure this is true, but if it is, then fewer children will be receiving AYP letters (since I believe AYP transfers only are required for Title I schools).


So if my assumptions are correct (and really that is the question) then schools will get less money and children will not be given the opportunity to transfer to a more successful school.

Tom said...

Also - I am going to be bummed if MGJ child is at SS. I certainty want low class size for my child (27 in 1st grade at GH). BTW I really think all our children deserve the same education Obama's children are getting.

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

SPS Mom, that does not appear to be correct. According to the Student Assignment Plan document, www.seattleschools.org/area/newassign/final_assign_plan_June17_Cleveland.pdf (or you can go to the new student assignment plan home site, the document "new student assignment plan pdf" pp. 16017), noone will be assigned to option schools, period, including people in geographic zones.

I agree with you, however, that the big issue of option school assignments is getting kind of fogged in the "move the attendance zone for X school one-half block to the left" type issues.

dj said...

Sorry, pp. 16-17, not 16017.

owlhouse said...

dj-
Agreed. Things are foggy. Evey time I think I have a handle on it, the thoughtful readers here raise an issue/situation that challenges my understanding.

All that said- my understanding is that no one is assigned to option schools. Though we know that kids wait listed at Garfield were encouraged by SPS to look at Nova as it is the nearest HS.

reader said...

Yes Texas, there are tiebreakers for non-entry grades. Evidently, "sibling at the school" is NOT a tie breaker for non-entry grades... and never has been one. I actually found this out the hard way. At some point, every student, entry grade or not, is supposed to be guaranteed a spot in the attendance area school. So, if you move into Seattle in 7th grade, you're in. But, evidently that is not going to be true for a while. My guess is tie breakers for non-entry grades is: attendance area, lottery.

reader said...

Yes Tom. If a school is no longer a high poverty school it isn't going to get title 1 funds. Title 1 is supposed to be for poverty. So, if the district rearranges schools so that there's less of a concentration of poverty in a given school, the school won't be needing Title 1 funding as much as some other school... Then, no, the students won't have the right to exercise a transfer out under NCLB. I'm sure the district hates to transfer students at its expense to comply with NCLB. Actually, I've heard of some people forcing districts to make out of district placements to comply with NCLB.

SolvayGirl1972 said...

The saddest thing about the jockeying of attendance areas to reduce poverty (and thus Title 1 status for NCLB) is that it also means those schools will not get much-needed funds that help pay for additional services needed by the low-income population.

An influx of higher-income families might mean more books for the school library or after-school classes, but it may not mean the funds for a Family Support Worker or full-time Counselor.

seattle citizen said...

Another sad aspect of Title One/NCLB/AYP rules is that schools that AREN'T Title One aren't effected by the whole AYP-transfer-school reorganization mandates.

It's crazy: students district-wide take a test. Some don't pass. But only those who are in schools that take T1 funds (higher amounts of poor children) are impacted?

If NCLB is supposed to help students who supposedly "aren't being served," what about all the students in non-T1 schools?! Why aren't THEY allowed a chance to transfer or whatever?

My guess? While the feds only have control over those schools that take a lot of fed money, it's also much easier to mess with, uh, "restructure" a school that is predominantly poor. Try telling the more middle-class and waelthier parent/guardians that you are going to restructure their school (fire everybody and start afresh) and there would be h*** to pay.

NCLB is a bludgeon, and my feeling is that it, through the absurdity of AYP, is being used to knock down poor schools so other "experiments" might be undertaken at the cost of the education of the poor.

Maureen said...

Seattle Citizen says If NCLB is supposed to help students who supposedly "aren't being served," what about all the students in non-T1 schools?! Why aren't THEY allowed a chance to transfer or whatever?

Exactly! Why is this true? I absolutely don't understand this. Every child deserves an appropriate education. Certainly poor children deserve more consideration, but why only poor children who go to school with lots of other poor children?

Sahila said...

Tom... that raising the FRL bar to get Title 1 Funding has already happened this year...

Last year, AS#1 got/took Title 1 funding cos its FRL percentage was 47%... taking that money put it on step 4 of NCLB...

This academic year, the percentage went up to 55%, so no Title 1 funding, although the school is still being restructured (even tho it was not at Step 5 of NCLB)... I dont know what the new FRL numbers are this year at AS#1... and too lazy now to go look it up... wouldnt imagine it has fallen much...

Someone at the District level told me it was a Federal move to increase the FRL % bar for Title 1 funding, but I havent checked that out for myself, and in my cynicism I no longer believe anything the District says first up/at face value...

southend girl said...

Tom,

It is true that Dr. MGJ's child is at South Shore this year.

dj said...

You know, I've spent some time communing with the FRE figures from the various maps, and this is what I find interesting. There actually is very little movement south of the shipping canal in terms of FRE populations, if what you are looking for is "district is looking to improve school by shipping in more affluent populations." Madrona is the only school that will be dropping its FRE population (according to the district's projections) both (1) significantly and (2) below 50%. Hawthorne and Leschi will have significant drops of close to 20%, but will both be majority FRE. There are modest changes in FRE populations -- in both directions -- at a number of other schools, but all of the other schools that are mostly FRE will remain mostly FRE.

But there are many more schools in the north end where the FRE populations of the schools will change significantly, moving from high to low FRE. I'm tossing out Hamilton because its changes probably primarily reflect the APP influx which (at least in theory) had nothing to do with the SAP. So aside from Hamilton, you have Ingraham, McClure, B.F.Day, John Rodgers, Broadview-Thompson, Greenwood, and Northgate all significantly reducing their FRE populations.

The reason I bring this up is twofold. One, I think that for better or for worse, there is a great deal less monkeying going on with assignment areas for the purpose of "propping up" schools by bring in more affluent populations than some people are arguing. But to the extent also that folks have argued that the reason south end schools are problematic is because more affluent families have "choiced" out of them, at least according to district projections, with a few exceptions, the populations at those schools aren't going to be changing much. So if anyone is counting on an influx of affluent parents to improve all of these schools, that hope is illusory.

West Seattle said...

Coming into this discussion late.

Melissa spoke about Option HS’s. I asked the question about Option HS at the Steve Sundquist meeting with Schmitz, Alki and Lafayette. He indicated that Option HS’s would have a Geographic zone around them but he felt it would be small and not fill up the whole school.

Not the answer I was hoping for. I feel since there are only three Option HS’s and all are extremely different they should be pure lottery (no sib tiebreaker)

BL said...

I went to the afternoon meeting at Mercer.
What a lame format for a meeting! The Q&A involves all 15 or so participants writing questions on index cards, one staff member compiles them, another staff member (moderator) reads them to Tracy, Tracy answers them, and a fourth staff member works defensive "crowd control" against any resistance to the format. When one parent quietly said that Tracy misunderstood her question and asked to rephrase it, the moderator and crowd control person were very resistant, but ultimately gave in.
The whole thing seems designed to avoid engagement and turn people off. Was this bs format in place before MG-J? It seems to have her stamp on it.

hschinske said...

The "bs format" is not new. I first remember it back in the early 2000s (certainly by the time of the proposed WASL boycott in 2003).

Helen Schinske

Dorothy said...

"The "bs format" is not new."

Agreed. I'm trying to remember if it existed back when June Rimmer was facilitating meetings, but I cannot recall for sure. One might be able to dig through old archives of the spectrumapp yahoogroup to see early complaints about it. In fact, someone posited that it is a specific format (like with an official name and all) that was designed (elsewhere, SPS not clever enough) specifically to thwart real public engagement on an issue.

hschinske said...

It overlapped with June Rimmer for sure. I do remember that.

Helen Schinske

hschinske said...

The Delphi Technique.

Helen Schinske

hschinske said...

http://www.eagleforum.org/educate/1998/nov98/focus.html

Helen Schinske

BL said...

Thanks Helen and Dorothy.

Interesting.

MontMom said...

Article on the Delphi Technique

http://www.eagleforum.org/educate/1998/nov98/focus.html

zb said...

dj:

I was also noticing what you've noted: that the FRL populations have remained relatively similar overall. That is, individual school's FRL's might have changed, but no real evidence that the variability in FRL in SPS has changed substantially. I've always been astonished by the degree of variability in FRL (i.e. schools going from 97% FRL to 3% FRL).

Do you have the numbers for the hard core analysis? i.e. the FRL in elementary schools, now, and predicted with the SAP? Is the variability in FRL the same as it was before? higher? Are more schools being brought to a median? or is there more variability, many schools with a broader deviation from the mean for the school district?

I was planning on doing the analysis -- one of my hopes is that the new SAP will reduce the variability in FRL among the different schools, but I will only have an opinion about seeing the real data.

Sahila said...

Doesnt it just make you livid that the District Staff actually use techniques to steamroll, divert, disperse, avoid, ignore difficult/inconvenient community input?

What is happening when a public service organisation thinks it has the right to use such techniques to avoid answering to its stakeholders?

dj said...

ZB, all I have is what's in the appendices, which have the 2008-09 and projected 2010-11 data. I don't know what the district is basing those projections on, and I don't have licensed statistical software that would let me see if the overall variance has changed.

BL said...

At the afternoon Mercer meeting, I asked Tracy Libros about the Gale-Shapely algorithm. She confirmed that it is doable to continue to use the Algorithm. I think it's important, and we should push for it.

SE Mom said...

I would love to push for it. Any ideas on the most effective way to do that? It feels like my emailed feedback on the district website goes into a black hole and cyberspace. I don't think individual comments here and there are going to make any impact.

Group communication?
Many individual comments?
Petition?

SolvayGirl1972 said...

I think it would be very good if we could get someone with the Seattle Times and/our KUOW to interview a number of parents about the SAP.

I believe the only people whoa re happy with the proposed plan are those that were on the border of a desirable school and now have them guaranteed (Garfield, Washington, etc.). Otherwise, I think the majority of people are either unhappy or neutral because it didn't change anything for them.

Central Mom said...

SolvayGirl...The Times and KUOW both did breaking news stories as the draft SAP maps were shown. They're both likely to do a (shorter) story when the SAP is adopted next month.

If you want to make noise about the effect of the enrollment changes, the upcoming levy is probably a more fruitful story to pursue, tying the SAP into that angle. The news organizations will be seeing the Levy as "new news" whereas the SAP is now "old".

SolvayGirl1972 said...

You're probably right Central Mom. I think we're seeing some of the direct impact the loss of the P-I is having on news reporting in the city, and the downturn in news reporting in general.

THE SAP is hardly "old news" to many of us in the city, but it is not going to show up as news. There doesn't appear to anyone reporters who are concentrating on education issues, which makes it so much easier for all school districts to operate under cover.

Central Mom said...

Luckily this blog is filling in a wee bit of the gap. Go team!

I'm starting to hear rumblings about the levy as people grasp the amount we're being asked to spend with no more explanation than "we need space for kids." I hope to see the smart parents on this blog shaping the public discussion and tying the SAP's strengths and weaknesses to that story.

kymmi said...

I had written a much longer post about the odd South Shore hatred around these parts, but I don't think it's worth it. You say that this is an inclusive blog, but you remain very dismissive about South Shore and angry about any success it has.

Honestly, I don't think you'll be happy until the New School Foundation is driven out of town and all the South Shore kids are redistributed to lower performing schools. Then it'll be fair, right?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Kymmi, that is all you on South Shore. There is no one here who ever said they hate South Shore or advocated for the school to go away. I'll wait; go check. Pull up every South Shore reference and show us where anyone says get rid of South Shore. You won't find it.

South Shore is doing good things for the community it is in. I have consistently said that.

What I, personally, don't like is New School Foundation and their heavy-handed ways. I have data to back up that assertion; whether others would agree their actions are neither fair to other communities nor good for the district could be up for argument.

Jan said...

Kymmi -- some of us (I at least) know very little about the New School Foundation, and have no notions, one way or the other, about the school. If you are a South Shore parent or advocate and are aware of good stuff about the school or the foundation that isn't being presented -- I hope you will chime in. It is the only way we will learn. Based on what others have said, I guess here is what I think (not that it matters, particularly, I guess):
1. It seems very odd to me that it is NOT an attendance area school, since they hope to draw from the immediate neighborhood. It seems to me that Foundation money could be used to keep class sizes small, without opening the school to an all city draw as an option school. The frustration of many over the District's seeming arbitrariness in placing schools in/out of attendance area status is not aimed specifically at SS -- it is aimed at the District's high-handedness.
2. As I read the posts, it appears that there is a fair level of concern (at least with Melissa, though she is probably not alone) over whether the process of building/funding SS was "fair," -- followed the District's stated priorities and procedures for determining where building money should have been spent, etc. That is coupled with a distrust, among many who post here, of the "strings" that may come attached to private money. Melissa is way ahead of me here, but I will say this -- if the "cause/effect" line leads from SS to the closing of Cooper, that IS a heartbreaker (not the fault of SS families, certainly -- it is a district failure) as Cooper families were very badly treated by the District last year when they lost their school and their building was given to Pathfinder.

At any rate, if you have good stuff to say about SS, or reasons why you believe that keeping it as an "option" school rather than an attendance school makes sense for the district or the New School Foundation -- I for one would love to hear what you have to say, as the district's decisions on this school's status under the SAP make no sense to me.

One of the great things about this blog is that it has allowed me to broaden my sights beyond my own kids' schools, to all the others -- including SS, the now defunct Summit and Cooper, the problems of Bryant families, the displacement of Madrona families, etc. The more I know, the more it makes me want to be in a position to advocate for ALL district kids and schools, including SS.

kymmi said...

Jan - naming South Shore as an option school has me and other South Shore parents puzzled as well. This is certainly not a choice we would make, as it's been stated before that the school is focused on the immediate community.

As for other things about South Shore, I'm only 2 years in and can only comment about the new building with second hand /fuzzy memories from old building, but from what I remember reading in the paper the building was a leaky mess that the New School couldn't grow into. How the decision was made on which school to rebuild, I have no idea. My beef is that every time the school is brought up, so are snarky comments about the sneaky way the school was built. There is definitely an axe to grind around here, and as a South Shore parent I find this blog more than a little hostile. Of course I'm a Seattle Public School parent as well, and the health f the entire district is of interest to me.

I have nothing but fantastic things to say about South Shore, the staff that serve it and the kids that make it what it is. I applaud the New School Foundation for their effort to improve early education and show through results that things such as early education resources, low class sizes and community focus make for healthy kids.

My kindergarten child has amazing opportunities - she's taking drumming during "after school club" and gets to perform for the community several times throughout the year. Her drumming instructor is the artist-in-residence, how amazing is that? I also love how the school allows itself to grow. When they took over the old Orca building @ Columbia, Orca left a beautiful garden and was interested in its continued upkeep - something South Shore hadn't done before. They stepped up to the challenge and found that the kids loved learning about plants and growing their own herbs and vegetables. They reworked their plans to build a garden in our new space and the kids are enjoying the process of building it up.

I am interested to hear how the new class added to the 6th grade does (brought by NCLB and South Shore making adequate progress I believe). I have no doubt they will thrive.

I imagine we are all proud of our own things, but I can't think of another school off the top of my head that draws so much snark as South Shore does, and I find it disconcerting.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Well, and it is puzzling that the district doesn't talk up South Shore as their example of a public/private partnership, the Board has never created a policy on public/private partnerships and that South Shore, as an alternative doesn't get much press in district newsletters. I don't get it if this is the model of what we want all schools to be (which is what the Foundation says about SS as an example to the Legislature to fully fund education).

Maureen said...

Prt of my concern about repurposing South Shore as an Option School is that even families who live in the immediate neighborhood will have to actively choose it to be enrolled. If they are with in the 'Geographic Zone' for the school they will have preference over people further away, but they will have to actively make a choice. I am afraid that this will close out the very demographic that the New School Foundation wants to help.

Sahila said...

Kymmi - look around you... how many other SPS children get the opportunities that South Shore kids get? None.... South Shore kids get what they do because the school gets an extra million a year to give them that... that's why some of us are snarky... we want the same for our kids and they're not ever going to get it...

kymmi said...

Sahila - keep in mind that the majority of the New School funding is for pre-K and then some for full day K. The majority of their investment is in early education and the partnership is supposed to (from what I understood) demonstrate what adequate funding levels could do in public schools.

Don't get me wrong, I'm so thankful that I live in Rainier Beach and can take advantage of South Shore, but it's a bit ironic thinking that we're living it up in the southend.

SPSMom said...

Actually I do not begrudge the SS funding like Sahila. My schools have PTAs that raise funds to help support the school.

My concern is what happens if and when the money dries up? The difference with PTAs is they are here to stay, know how much to raise and have a say in how it is spent. Schools dependent on private funding are subject to that funding disappearing.
That would worry me.

I also do not begrudge the nice new building. I have seen it and think is really adds to the nieghborhood, it is very cool. And I hear it came in under budget, which is great, unlike Garfield...whose cost overruns really upsets me!

Sahila said...

I just get p***ed off at the hypocrisy exhibited by our superintendent, talking about excellence for all, putting her daughter in a school set up to help low income kids, when her family is on at least $264K+ (that's her income alone)....taking a place another kid with much bigger challenges facing him/her needs more than her daughter does...

and the hypocrisy of using private funding to provide so much better resources, facilities, small classes only to some kids in the District, while at the same time closing schools, raising class sizes, rifing teachers, having kids at schools with no text books (or too few of them and most in disrepair) in all the others... the list of inequities goes on and on...

And then DeBell finally coming clean that SBOC wasnt moved out of their school to save money/solve a budget crisis, but to give a Montessori programme to his constituents... poor coloured kids who cant even speak English dont matter - hell, they'll probably not even complain, being so grateful for being in this country and getting education for their kids... whereas, DeBell, who's on The Alliance for Education Board and an advisor to one of the mayoral candidates, obviously has higher political aspirations and is looking to shore up future support...

It all stinks to high heaven...

And for those of you who dont know me, the tone is sarcastic/facetious/mocking and incredibly disillusioned that this degree of lack of integrity exists in SPS leadership... and that they probably dont even see it for what it is... or have a huge range of justifications lined up in their own minds ready to spout to the world, which justifications they have to believe because else they couldnt sleep at night and would have to resign... and we already know that our dear MGJ has no trouble sleeping at night - she told us that right in the beginning of the capacity management fiasco...

SPSMom said...

I do agree the MGJ benefitting from the SS is pretty sleazy, but she's an operator and we know that, no big surprises there. I still think it's a great program for the kids enrolled.

As for DeBell, I think you hit nail on head. Funny, people complain that Mary Bass can't "impact" board decisions. Well neither could DeBell on the Discovery Math. But he's running unopposed in that district, QA/Mag love him cause he gets them schools. So nobody is putting him under the microscope. I would like to know if he was on the board when Viewlands was closed and if so, how did he vote?

Interesting....huh!

agibean1958 said...

Perhaps it's just the focus of this conversation, but the (New School) South Shore is not ONLY for low-income children-and it never has been. It's always drawn from the population in that area, which is mix of low, middle and very high income households.

My daughter attended for two years, and during the first week she was there as I waiting for the school to let out, I listened to two mothers discussing shoes, and the $200 pair one of them was wearing. That same year, my family helped a family at the school that was very low income. I believe the school has worked hard to make it welcoming to ALL, and MGJ's family has a right to be there. And she lives in Seward Park, which is practically walking distance from SS, depending on where in that area she lives.

I'm not a MGJ cheerleader, but it seems to me that in this case, people are finding a conspiracy where there isn't one.

SPSMom said...

So do the higher income families pay tuition for PreK and full day K or is it free to all who enroll regardless of need?

agibean1958 said...

Pre-K and K are full-day only and there is no fee, according to the enrollment guide. We did not get in for either, so I have no direct experience with them. I believe, though, that they are able to offer these as they do because of the Sloan money.

SPSMom said...

Well I don't think there is any conspiracy on behalf of MGJ, I just think it's a bit icky that she has her kid in a free preschool program

I also thought she lived in Queen Anne, either that was not true or she moved to the southend in time to enroll her child in the only school offering free PreK and all day K as well as small classes.

But who knows, maybe she's making big donations to the school, hopefully!

Maureen said...

Has it been confirmed that her daughter is at SS? I was told by someone who would know that she has said that she wouldn't send her kid to a K-8 school (though the implication was in comparison to a comprehensive MS). If her kid is at SS that proves to me that she doesn't plan to be around for the long run (no surprise there of course).