Monday, November 16, 2009

Policy on New Schools

There is a Capacity Management item on the Board agenda for Wednesday. Here is one of the new Superintendent Procedures about new schools. In total, it says:

"The new Capacity Management Policy (H 13.00) contemplates actions that might be taken to
address fluctuations in enrollment, including the possibility that new schools may need to be
opened to accommodate enrollment growth.

While all final decisions about a new school’s programmatic direction, budget, facilities
modifications and principal selection are the purview of the Superintendent, it is important to
gather community input on the new school. The level of public participation is defined as
“Involved” indicating the District will work directly with the public through the process to
ensure that public concerns and aspirations are consistently understood and considered.

If and when new schools are opened, the following actions shall occur:

• An Instructional Director will be appointed to guide the opening process
• A hiring process and timeline shall be established for hiring the principal and staff
• A Design Team will be created to help identify the school’s programmatic direction,
to establish the initial Parent-Teacher Association, and to participate in the various
decisions that must be made
o The Design Team will include the Instructional Director, representatives from
the budget and facilities departments, representatives from academic
departments as appropriate, and community members from the area that the
new school is expected to serve. After the principal and staff are hired the
design team shall be expanded to include the principal and representative staff
members.

The design team shall develop a communications plan, including how to keep the broader
community and School Board updated on the work. In addition, design team shall develop an
engagement plan to engage their anticipated community in the work."

"...to ensure that public concerns and aspirations are consistently understood and considered." And we'll know this how?

7 comments:

Central Mom said...

Again, again, again...

This is all well and good, but FIRST where is the Equity for All District roadmap showing CITYWIDE, geographically distributed Master Planning for alt programs like Montessouri, Language Immersion, non-standard class sizes, non-standard class configurations, etc.

This management policy makes it seem that if you yell loud enough you, too, can get a program in your neighborhood if you have the time and literacy to advocate.

For those communities not as organized, good luck to you. For those communities who don't have new facilities opening, but are really lacking in access to specialized programs, good luck to you too.

Forecasting a year: Gee, NW Seattle. Gee, Central District. Gee SW Seattle. We'd like to give you a language immersion program, but it's expensive to bring them online and difficult to hire for them. And (oops) we just put one into a quadrant that already offers a similar program last year as a way to appease that community, and so we don't have time or funds this year.

When the District fails to provide actual programmatic vision, the inevitable result can and will be communities pitted against each other to claw for resources.

Charlie Mas said...

It's interesting that the only reason they recognize for opening new schools is to accomodate enrollment growth.

Nevermind opening new schools to accomodate demand for specific programs. So the only way that they will duplicate successful programs is... what? Oh, right, NEVER.

Central Mom said...

The design team shall develop a communications plan, including how to keep the broader
community and School Board updated on the work. In addition, design team shall develop an
engagement plan to engage their anticipated community in the work.


And there's a stellar use of resources. For a District enamoured of centralizing every last thing, cannot a Best Practices community engagement plan be designed, vetted with the whole Seattle community, then rolled out at each school, so that everyone is on the same page about how to interact w/ the District and the Board regarding new programming, no matter the location of the facility?

No? Seems like a wayyyyy better plan to DIY-it each time? Maybe it's just the rain today, but BAH. Even when the District's heart is in the right place on public engagement too often it just...isn't...quite...able to carry it off on the project management front.

dj said...

Two quick things.

One, I say amen to everything Central Mom said. You know what? There are all sorts of schools in this city that parents avoid (not just newly-opening schools) that would really benefit from this sort of, say, planning, community engagement, etc., now that the district plans to try to force people to attend them.

Two, and I am not saying this as someone who thinks the APP split was a total disaster or anything -- I am not so impressed by what the district provides by way of support for "design teams," nor by what the "design teams" concretely produce.

SPSMom said...

Ugh, more design teams.

Charlie Mas said...

Didn't we learn already that design teams, sold as super-heroes, can't actually do anything?

Charlie Mas said...

I think it very strange that the Montessori program at Old Hay isn't going through the established program placement process.