Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Rigor at Rainier Beach High School

I was reading the comments in an earlier post about the new assignment plan and there were many comments about the rigor or lack there of at Rainier Beach High School. I would like to dispel the myth that Rainier Beach does not offer rigor to the high achieving student. If you have a high achieving 8th grader and are in the RBHS attendance area, here is just a sample of what you can expect:

In math as a Freshman, you will start in at least Honors Geometry with Ms. Lessig who is our best math teacher. Once you get through that, you will take Honors Advanced Algebra with me, then Pre Calculus with Mr. Bird (a math major in college) and then as a Senior, you take AP Calculus with Ms. Day, a highly experienced and skilled teacher. As a bonus, in either your Junior or Senior year, you get to take AP Statistics with me. All of these classes are demanding and well taught by teachers who know what they are doing and are passionate about teaching math.

In Language Arts, Freshman Honors is an incredibly fulfilling and interesting class taught by Mr. Moriarty. As a Sophomore or Junior, you will take AP Human Geography from Mr. Moriarty again. As a Junior, you will take AP English Lit from Ms. Burks. This class is all that an AP class is cracked up to be.

In Social Studies, you will get the chance to take AP American Government and AP American History, really interesting courses being taught by Ms. Ernst and Ms. Howell respectively, veteran AP Teachers

In Science, we are adding AP Biology (to be taught by Ms. Lin) and AP Chemistry (to be taught by Ms. Jones) for 2010-2011. These are great additions to our course offerings and fill in the gap in out AP offerings.

As you can see, a high achieving student will have plenty of great and interesting courses to academically challenge them. But at RB, we care about the whole child. That is why we also have a focus on the creative arts. We offer a full array of Drama courses, taught by Ms. Linefsky, a nationally known and respected drama teacher and a fledging music program, being built from the bottom up by Mr. Dyson, a dynamic, young teacher with a clear vision of where he wants to take the music program at RB.

I say all of this to inform the people of Seattle, especially SE Seattle. If you don’t want to come to Rainier Beach High School, I can live with that. If you don’t want to come to Rainier Beach High School because you don’t think a high achieving student will be served, then you are misinformed.

I look forward to meeting many of you at the RB Open House on Tuesday, February, 4th at 6:30 PM. I also would like to extend an invitation to visit my classroom (room 266) any time. You don’t need to call ahead, just check in with the front office and someone will either escort you up or I will come to the office and greet you.

81 comments:

dan dempsey said...

Bravo Mr. Rice.

Thank you,

dan dempsey said...

Unfortunately with only the WASL as a math evaluation tool we do not know much. Over the last three years the WASL math pass rates have declined at RBHS and rarely has anyone scored a level four (exceeds standard) on the tenth grade math WASL.

This is likely due to multiple factors not the least of which are the k-8 math programs in the district.

Go RBHS.

[Why does the district keep hiding the 2008 PSAT results? ... Does anyone know much in the Central Admin other than to keep achievement levels that can be compared nationally a really big secret?]

Bella said...

Mr. Rice, how many kids are in a typical AP calc or AP lit class? If they are very small, which I think they might be, maybe high achieving kids are served even better than in a huge Roosevelt type class?? Just wondering...

zb said...

Thanks for telling us what the school is like, from your point of view. I hope some of the families in the RBHS attendance area will at least give the open house a shot. I understand how vulnerable a parent feels risking their child's future. But, I also wonder what could happen at RBHS if a 100 "middle class" parents decided to give it a shot.

Folks have said that hasn't always worked (using Madrona as the example). But, RBHS has a new principle now, who has experience with a middle class population; everyone who posts here says that the staff is good. Perhaps this school can be made acceptable (as, apparently, Franklin has become).

Melissa Westbrook said...

Bella, define huge.

Michael Rice said...

I just talked to our AP Lit teacher. She has 16 students. I think we have 6 or 7 in AP Calculus. I have 11 in AP Statistics. I think Mr. Moriarty has 20 to 25 in AP Human Geography, but don't quote me on that.

SolvayGirl1972 said...

All those small AP classes are great once the kids hit the grade levels for AP, but what's it like for freshman and sophomores?

On other threads, MKD, a parent of high-achieving students assigned to RBHS because they moved into the District too late to access their neighborhood HS (Garfield), described classes that were out of control and teachers valiantly trying to teach to the few students who were there to learn. She talks about the lack of textbooks and history books that still have Saddam in power in Iraq.

And Michael...can you tell us how the staff and community are reacting to the insertion of Lisa Escobar at mid-year? Is everyone on board?

SolvayGirl1972 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bella said...

Huge, as in full. Max capacity per teachers contract.

Are Roosevelt classes full?

As opposed to 6 in AP calc and 11 in AP Lit at RBHS.

Limes said...

Few things...

While you might have a few AP classes, the non-AP classes are mediocre at best. Second, even in the AP classes, you have very few students who can perform at the AP level - even Robert Gary (principal) admits to that.

I have several issues with Rainier Beach, not the least of which are staff members who think that there are no troubles at the school.

When was the last time one of your graduating seniors went to a college out of state on an academic scholarship?

When asked this question of Betty Patu, she answered, "we had one girl who got into Harvard a few years ago".

Not. Good. Enough.

Limes said...

p.s. I would add that Ms. Lessig is one hell of a kick ass math teacher, and I think she's working hard to change the math department. The rest has much to be desired.

Michael Rice said...

Limes writes:

When was the last time one of your graduating seniors went to a college out of state on an academic scholarship?

I am at home right now, so I cant get the details but we had a large number of students who earned scholarships of all sorts, including the Mt. Baker CC MLK scholarship. I know one student who got 10,000 to go to an HBC, I don't remember which school. I will get the details on both last year and this year (I know two of our students are getting over 10,000 to go to St. Martins).

Limes then shows a total lack of knowledge about RBHS:

p.s. I would add that Ms. Lessig is one hell of a kick ass math teacher, and I think she's working hard to change the math department. The rest has much to be desired.

Limes is correct about Ms. Lessig. That is the only true statement in the post. You can be unhappy with RBHS, but to say that the math teachers has much to be desired is just the statement of someone who has never seen any of the math teachers at RB teach.
Come out from your screen name, identify yourself and come observe math. You will find that all the math teachers at RB line up with the math teachers at ANY high school in Seattle. I have received overtures from multiple North End schools asking me when there was an opening in their school, would I be interested in the position. That kind of flys in the face of me being someone who leaves much to be desired.

Come take a look and decide for yourself. It is easy to be a critic, I know, I was one. Then I decided I wanted to do something about it, so I quit my high paying banking job to become a teacher. Yes, I make way less and yes my job is now way harder, but I leave school EVERY day knowing that I am making a difference in the lives of these students and that is way more than the naysayers on this blog will ever do. I know the naysayers won't do anything because it is easy to be a critic behind a screen name but it is hard to find out what really happens and then do something to try and make a difference.

Bella said...

Michael, I have no doubt that you and most other teachers are doing a fantastic job at RBHS. I understand why many other schools try to recruit you. I'd be honored to have you as my child's teacher.

But the students that come to RBHS, for the most part, are ill prepared, and working below, and far below grade level. It is difficult for someone with a high achieving student, even with RBHS offering AP classes, and having great teachers, to put their child in an environment where the majority of kids are working below grade level. And then there are the continued reports of misbehavior in the classroom, gangs, violence, two alleged rapes, your drug and alcohol councelor being arrested for selling drugs........

It's a hard sell.

It's not the teachers. It's not the administration. It's the environment.

brown206 said...

Bella said: "Michael, I have no doubt that you and most other teachers are doing a fantastic job at RBHS. I understand why many other schools try to recruit you. I'd be honored to have you as my child's teacher.

But the students that come to RBHS, for the most part, are ill prepared, and working below, and far below grade level. It is difficult for someone with a high achieving student, even with RBHS offering AP classes, and having great teachers, to put their child in an environment where the majority of kids are working below grade level. And then there are the continued reports of misbehavior in the classroom, gangs, violence, two alleged rapes, your drug and alcohol councelor being arrested for selling drugs........

It's a hard sell.

It's not the teachers. It's not the administration. It's the environment."

Now we get down to it. It's not the actual quality of the education being offered at Beach, it's the demographics of the students to whom it is currently being offered, and the fact that the majority of them are "below grade level." (plus throw in some code words-- gangs, misbehavior, drugs, etc., and your image of the students at RBHS is called up pretty clearly).

The evil assumption that many middle-class, and, oftentimes, white parents make is that being around low-income students of color will BY ITSELF reduce the quality of education for their children. People throw a lot of sophisticated analysis into this to make themselves believe that this is not racism and/or classism, but folks, that is what it is. If you really think that RB has good teaching (I hear there is quite a bit of skilled teaching myself) and an abundance of rigorous coursework for your child, but you just fundamentally don't want your kid in that "environment," it is time for some soul-searching about why you feel that way. Michael, thanks for your posts, particularly the response to Limes.

reader said...

I love the south end. I love diversity... Oh. I just don't want to go to school with any of it.

reader said...

oh yeah... I love diversity that can get a scholarship to Harvard. That would be:

Good. Enough.

SolvayGirl1972 said...

Reader: Do your children go to RBHS?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Reader, watch that tone, okay? I'm not sure exactly what your last post meant but I would tread lightly.

zb said...

I've been wondering for a bit what the teachers or administration could do to change RBHS's reputation, and have been drifting towards the conclusion that the only think parents would be satisfied with is a change in the population.

But, the population cannot be changed by either the teachers or the administration (well, at least since changing mandatory assignments and reducing school choice can only change the population a little bit). It can only be changed by the parents. If RBHS is going to reflect the real diversity of the south end, people in the south end have to send their children there.

And, unlike the Madrona situation, where parents argued that the school administration actively wanted to serve a population with needs different from their own children (drilling phonetics rather than offering music enrichment, over-discipline, etc.), RBHS seems open to serving the diverse population that exists in the south end.

And, what will drive me away from this site is if anonymous posters start commenting on private individuals (i.e. teachers). I don't have a problem with non-anonymous posters posting about teachers but, I find anonymous comments about private people disturbing. The school board, superintendent, and high level administrators, are not, strictly, private, so I don't have the same views about them.

JvA said...

As a South End parent, I would worry about sending a child on the bus to the Rainier/Henderson intersection, a block or two from the school. The news reports about gun violence in the area frighten me. Example:

"A woman who was hit by a possible ricochet bullet Sept. 12 at a Rainier Avenue South bus stop was waiting for a connecting coach when she became a victim of an ongoing gang war between South Seattle and Central District gang members, according to police and court documents. ... Seattle’s Gang Unit is very familiar with Rainier Avenue South and South Henderson in Rainier Beach – one of the most dangerous gang corners in the city." -- http://www.rainiervalleypost.com/?p=17241

This report is one of many about this intersection, which seems plagued by gun violence. I hope this turns around and is not an issue in the future.

mkd said...

Pt 1 of 2
My kids attend RBHS. Despite my complaints regarding the unruly set sometimes, they are thriving at RBHS and have been promoted to all Honors classes next semester. Let me reiterate Mr. Rice's point, the academics are there if kids want to learn. He's right, the math staff is fantastic.

Let me tell you about Currently, my kids have Ms. Lessig and Ms. Day, are on track for A's (one has maintained a score above 100 for the whole semester).

The new music teacher is working miracles. I'll admit, I had my doubts at the beginning of the semester, but the new music teacher, Mr. Dyson, at 23 is the youngest teacher I have ever met However, the Winter Concert proves he knows what he was doing. In three months, he prepared, encouraged and inspired his classes to master numerous instruments in three months. They not only sounded good, the show was great. I was surprised when my kids brought flutes home. In three months, they sounded good, now they are pretty great. Moreover, the class has proven to be an excellent compliment to their guitar and fiddle lessons.

Preparing for an exam today, history teacher, Mr. Bursey, my son wrote a nine-page paper on Gandhi. While reviewing with my younger son for his final, I was amazed at that he could remember everything he learned this semester. In fact, thanks to Ms. Howell, I would never have learned that history is one of his passions.

For LA, Ms. Lucas and Ms. Finley have introduced my son to literature he would never have read on his own. Her assignments were tough, but the more she demanded, the harder he worked. He is continuing with her for Honors next semester and is excited about Julius Caesar. LA teacher, Ms. Steward, taught my younger son to write under pressure. Already talented, his persuasive essay last week on Gun Control surprised even me. And the Christmas Story was absolutely Hilarius. He is also moving to Honors next semester.

mkd said...

pt 2 of 2


Ms. Hendrickson, PE, had my boys running, jumping, weight lifting and introduced a nutrition component that was excellent.

I would also like to say that the science teachers, Ms. Lim and Mr. O'Connel, have a solid program and taught my kids just how interesting and fun science really is.

Mr. Jerdy, their counselor, comes in early and stays too late. Known as Jerdy, he takes a personal interest in the entire 500 or so student body, pushes, pulls and encourages students to reach higher than many students thought they could go. He seems to know exactly the right thing to say when kids need encouragement to reach the next level. For us, I am indebted to this wonderful man for putting up with my misguided comments and assumptions. He has cushioned my boys against the harsher realities of life.

I have seen how much the school has improved in just one semester - that is, September to January. Without the leadership of Mr. Gary. Any problems I've had, Mr. Gary has taken the time to respond personally, something that is not possible in larger high schools. Like Jerdy, he has cushioned my boys against the harsher realities of life.

The office staff call my kids by name. Overworked, they still smile. They work too hard, many coming in early, staying late and working without pay on days off.

The problem is not the staff, the school or even the environment. The school is not comprised of a bunch of hoodlums,just a very loud and divisive minority that make teaching and learning hard. Unfortunately, the school must serve their needs because RBHS is labeled too many times "the bottom of the heap." The staff, from teachers to administration is spread too thin. Overworked and overwhelmed, they need teachers, office staff, counselors, security> something else you've all heard me harp on before, pdated books wpi;d be nice. This way teachers wouldn't have to spend significant amounts of time copying from the one or two books available. The cost would be comparable compared to the wear and tear on the copy machines and reams and reams and reams of paper used. Think of the trees.

I want to thank everyone for making this first semester so successful for my two boys. After finals though, I'm glad we have three days until they start the second semester . . . Funny how a semster can totally change my preconceived notions that RBHS is a second rate school. They are first rate, they are hampered by many students whose needs exceed the resources available.

Go over and check it out. RBHS, despite some very real problems, is a good school and needs SPS support.

mkd said...

I understand parental concern regarding gang violence at RBHS. My kids take the metro from Central District to RBHS and back everyday. Yes, the bus stop near RBHS is debatable. My kids are always careful to stay with their friends. After dark, we have friends who drive us.

The thing is, gangs are a huge problem in CD where I live. The street where I live is relatively safe, but walk with my kids (teens 14 and 16)to any activity they have in the area after dark. The park at Yesler and 20th, Walgreens, Garfield High school, by the chicken stand and around the corner are just plain scary after dark. Garfield may look a little safer, but gang violence is prevalent everywhere in the urban areas of Seattle. It would certainly help if RBHS had a police substation like Garfield.

mkd said...

A note to Limes:

My two kids, a freshman and sophomore at RBHS, have carried a 4.0 averages in all classes all semester. One has been nominated for a $10,000 math scholarship. So are several of their friends.

If they kids keep it up, I see no reason that they will be able to attend any school they want. Without the resources offered at Seattle's "better" schools, they just have to work harder to prove their worth.

zb said...

mkd -- that's an amazing testimonial.

And, for those of you wondering how your school name looks on a college application -- without a doubt, a national merit scholar from RBHS will get a gazillion times more attention than one from Lakeside when that application hits the admissions table. Of course, the kid has to have taken advantage of the opportunities, made something happen for themselves.

From what I'm hearing, the issue that RBHS has to resolve is the safety issues.

zb said...

"Without the resources offered at Seattle's "better" schools, they just have to work harder to prove their worth."

And, that's what the colleges are looking for, evidence that the child's accomplishments weren't handed to them on a plate, but were earned.

seattle citizen said...

zb, I think a lot of the "safety issues" are outside the school. Comments here seem to reflect that, and "reports" of all sorts of terrible things happening inside the building could be, to some extent, matched with other crimes in other buildings. Fighting, etc, ain't limited to RB...
But that particular intersection is well-known to have had its share of trouble.

Question: whose job is it to keep the trouble out of the school? The community or the educators?

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

"But, the population cannot be changed by either the teachers or the administration "

While the population at Beach can't be changed the way the population comes to the school can be changed. As Charlie Mas has pointed out many times before, start interventions early. Identify kids working below grade level in elementary school and provide intervention and supplementation to them at that point, and continue that supplementation all through middle school, so they arrive at Beach working at grade level. That would be a good start.

Once the school is not a majority of under achievers then more families (of all races, and classes) with average achieving or higher achieving kids will be willing to give it a try.

You see, it's not just white, middle class families that flee from RBHS as reader and brown suggest. Many, many, low income, minority families choose to send their kid on 2 hour roundtrip metro bus rides to Ingraham and Hale every day to escape RBHS too. What do you make of that? Are they fleeing diversity too?

The majority of the kids are RBHS are performing well below grade level. The WASL pass rates at RBHS are abysmal and some of the lowest in the district. The school is grossly under enrolled. People don't seem to want it as is. Instead of constantly defending RBHS, perhaps it's time to look into why people, of all colors, and classes, are avoiding the school and look for ways to make it more attractive.

MKD, thanks for the update on the school. It sounds like there are many positive things happening for the families and students who look for them. And, Michael thanks for your hard work. You are doing an amazing job, and I know that you are making a difference.

It doesn't seem like that far of a reach to make Beach a great and strong school in the south end. It has issues for sure, but I believe they can be addressed. Is Seattle ready to take on the challenge?

Melissa Westbrook said...

So the City has no real oversight of schools. But they constantly say they want to help. Well, here's one way. Make the area around schools with real safety issue an SPD priority. Luckily, we don't need it everywhere (well, we do but not in the same way) so it would be a concentrated effort. Write to Councilman Burgess and Bradshaw who chair the Public Safety and Education committee for the City Council and tell them to make this a priority.

Let students AND parents AND community know that education matters and the school environment, in and around the school, is a key to that effort.

mkd said...

Like many schools in Seattle known to have gang issues, fighting in school leads to guns outside.

SolvayGirl1972 said...

The police in South Seattle are very aware of the problem corners and working hard to keep them safe, but they, like the teachers at RBHS are spread thin and have an over-abundance of issues to deal with. I have lived in this area for 17 years, and the crime—especially youth crime—has increased considerably, despite the gentrification of the neighborhoods. I wont allow my child to use public transportation after dark, and I drive her to the train station whenever she needs to go downtown.

There is some hope. Lake Washington Apts, across from RBHS, has improved considerably under new management. It used to be a beacon for problem renters and thus crime.

And my thanks to Bella for pointing out that it is not just white/middle-class flight from RBHS. That has also been my observation. Those of us who live down here really do love diversity, we just don't like crime and disrupted classrooms. Why should we?

TechyMom said...

There've been quite a few shootings at 23rd and Cherry, very near Garfield, too. That doens't seem to freak people out as much. I don't know why.

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

Brown206 says "throw in some code words-- gangs, misbehavior, drugs, etc., and your image of the students at RBHS is called up pretty clearly)."

This is not my image Brown206, nor are they "code words"..

You can reference many many reports of gang violence at RBHS. In fact the school district said they could not merge Cleveland and RBHS because merging their two rival gangs into one school would result in violence, and potential harm to the students.

As for drugs. I referenced the alcohol and drug councilor at RBHS, who was just removed from his job, for selling drugs during school hours.

These are not "code words", or my image of the school. They are facts that are easily verifiable. Check them out for yourself.

mkd said...

Seattle is an urban area. No matter how good the school, there will always be some level. How did we get so far off the subject? Certainly, RBHS has problems, but Mr. Rice's point (and mine, see above), is that RBHS isn't quite as bad as you'd think. I was happy when I wrote that post. Thanks to great teachers and staff at RBHS, my kids did a fantastic job and are actually looking forward to second semester. Please don't rain on my parade.

RBHS was not my first, second or even third choice, but it'll do. Improvements cost money, let's give them some.

Go to the open house February 4. You'll find academia if you look hard enough.

SolvayGirl1972 said...

mkd:
What are your thoughts about the insertion of a co-principal at RBHS mid-year? You seem very impressed with Dr. Gary; why do you think the District is taking on the expense of a co-principal? I asked similar questions of Michael RIce, but he has not replied.

I am very happy that RBHS is working out so much better for your sons; I had felt for you after reading your previous posts. But with all this positive talk about RBHS, I am curious as to why SPS saw the need to pull a successful, well-liked principal from a small, boutique school like The Center School to team with Dr. Gary mid-year. Personally I don't see how Lisa Escobar's experience (she had also been principal at NOVA) relates to the needs of RBHS.

I would really like to hear some thoughts from the RBHS community about this. If everything MKD and Michael Rice are saying is true (and I have no reason to believe they are lying), then why is the District intervening in such a heavy-handed and expensive manner?

mkd said...

I'm not sure about the co-principal thing. Unless Dr. Gary is planning on retiring or has accepted a better offer. Who knows, maybe they're moving him somewhere else.

If it was an attempt to appease the community and demonstrate that SPS is addressing the problems inherent in South End schools, I don't see how it is going to work.

The money would have been much better spent if invested in teachers, books for AP classes, security, or at least teachers aids to help maintain order in classrooms, a new counselor or two, tutors, a special program for failing students or those who cause problems . . .

reader said...

Ok Melissa, since you didn't understand what I said. I'll fill in the blanks. It's ridiculous for people on the one hand "to love their neighborhood, love their neighbors, love the diversity, love the south end".... until they go to school. Then... suddenly, they don't love those neighbors anymore. They can't stand to be THAT near them. The school is mostly about the students, as everyone has pointed out. If you don't actually like your neighbors, all of them... of course you aren't going to like the school. It's their school too. No amount of whining, improvements, remediation, etc etc etc will change who your neigbhors are fundamentally.

And then even more ridiculous is Limes complaining that "only 1 girl went to Harvard". That's plenty good enough. Patu isn't obligated to keep a list of colleges that students matriculate into. If he's so interested.... he can look up national merit semi-finalists. Lots of schools get relatively few. Again... more about the students than anything else. And if you don't like your neighbors, maybe you should move someplace with neighbors who are acceptable...to you.

Bella said...

Solvay, I wonder (and it's just me wondering) if the district is planning to move/co-house Center inside of RBHS? Why move the principal mid year? The district pays high rent for space at Seattle Center, when they have a building (RBHS) half full. I know Center is strategically located to partner with organizations in Seattle Center, but I doubt the district cares about that.

Just my thoughts and speculation.....

Bella said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SolvayGirl1972 said...

reader...it's not the kids we object to. It's the fact that the trouble-makers seem to get away with a lot at RBHS as described by some in other posts. Again, I ask, why shouldn't we expect our neighborhood high school to have a culture that results in safe classrooms that are not constantly being disrupted by kids who don't want to be there? To me, it's the administration's job to get this under control; that had not been a top priority at RBHS in the past.

Are you saying I should have happily sent my child to a school where two students were raped on campus and neither time the police were called? Or where a drug counselor gets busted for selling drugs on school time? I can love diversity without loving this kind of behavior. I know plenty of families of color who don't want their kids there either.

It sounds like RBHS is improving; it will take a while for people to trust the improvements and consider the school. Please stop implying that anyone who doesn't want to send their child to RBHS is a racist or classist. We just want our children to get a good education, be relatively safe and be able to focus on the teacher instead of trouble-makers.

SolvayGirl1972 said...

Bella: The District has 4 years left on the lease with the City. They may want out, but I doubt the City would let them off easily.

Some speculate that they think they moved Lisa Escobar to start a performing arts program at RBHS. She'll be the first one to tell you that The Center School is not a Performing Arts school, so I don't see the logic there. She's a terrific principal, who works well with her staff, parents and the kids. Friends with kids at TCS are sad to see her go. We seriously considered TCS for our daughter, but I was worried the District would somehow screw it up (they may be on that track).

I don't know Escobar's entire history, so she may have a lot of experience with "inner city" kids and diverse populations. I do know her recent history (TCS and NOVA) don't parallel RBHS well (or even the RBHS that may result from the new SAP). I've said before that I would have thought someone like Garfield's principal, who has experience with a large, diverse population might have been a better fit.

I'd sure like to hear Michael Rice's take on this.

JvA said...

Thanks, Solvay. I agree with what you're saying.

FWIW, I think RBHS and Cleveland are the only two comprehensive Seattle Public Schools that actually haven't had any National Merit semifinalists in the last 10 years. Might have missed a couple in here, but pretty sure I didn't see either one of those names come up--

2010

Ballard
Garfield
Hale
Roosevelt

2009

Ballard
Garfield
Hale
Ingraham
Roosevelt
Sealth

2008

Garfield
Hale
Ingraham
Roosevelt

2007

Ballard
Garfield
Ingraham
Hale
Roosevelt

2006

Ballard
Garfield
Hale
Ingraham

2005

Ballard
Garfield
Hale
Roosevelt
Sealth

2004

Garfield
Roosevelt

2003

Ballard
Garfield
Roosevelt

2002

Ballard
Franklin
Garfield
Roosevelt

2001

Ballard
Franklin
Ingraham
Roosevelt
Sealth

mkd said...

Hi SalvoyGirl1972:

I am the parent of those "high-achieving students assigned to RBHS because they moved into the District too late to access their neighborhood HS (Garfield)." I still resent the fact that my kids have to travel an hour each way to attend high school when there is a perfectly good high school four blocks away. They go to bed at 9:30pm and get up at 5:00am.

As for the "classes that were out of control and teachers valiantly trying to teach to the few students who were there to learn." Some of their classes are still out of control. As I stated previously:

"The problem is not the staff, the school or even the environment. The school is not comprised of a bunch of hoodlums,just a very loud and divisive minority that make teaching and learning hard. Unfortunately, the school must serve their needs because RBHS is labeled too many times 'the bottom of the heap.' The staff, from teachers to administration is spread too thin. Overworked and overwhelmed, they need teachers, office staff, counselors, security> something else you've all heard me harp on before, pdated books wpi;d be nice. This way teachers wouldn't have to spend significant amounts of time copying from the one or two books available. The cost would be comparable compared to the wear and tear on the copy machines and reams and reams and reams of paper used. Think of the trees."

"She talks about the lack of textbooks and history books that still have Saddam in power in Iraq." New history books would be a really nice touch. Africa has changed quite a bit since 1993.

Once we realized that Garfield just wasn't happening, we decided to make it work the best we could. As people keep pointing out, the school has obvious shortcomings, but all I hear are complaints that offer no solutions.

As for me, I'd like to see the school turn around and succeed.

JvA said...

Oh, maybe no West Seattle, either. Not sure.

JvA said...

MKD -- Wouldn't it be cool if your kids were RBS's first National Merit Scholar semifinalists of the century? :) It's great to hear they're finding success there despite the awful commute (I battle Rainier Avenue twice a day too, ugh) and other challenges. Thanks for sharing your family's experience.

SolvayGirl1972 said...

MKD: I too would like to see RBHS improve for all the kids who attend and for my neighborhood. The school is in a great location (imagine the neat science classes that could be conducted at the lake or the wetlands), and I know that many of the teachers are doing their best and beyond. And I am so glad it's working out better for you and your kids (despite the commute). Your contribution to these posts have been enlightening and helpful. Thanks.

WV: amess — unfortunately, sometimes SPS really is.

Michael Rice said...

Hello

For all of you who are interested in what I think of the Co-principal idea, I have to say that I don't know yet. I won't meet Ms. Escobar till next week. She will be at the BLT meeting and I really don't know how it is all going to work. I have lots and lots of questions. As for the rest of the staff, we are basically in the dark. Dr. Gary has not been able to tell us much, not because he does not want to, but I beleive because he is under orders not too. I'm sure we will find out more next week.

I do want to say that for the faculty members I talk to on a regualr basis, beyond the inital "What's up with this?", we really haven't talked about it because we have more important things to work on.

You me, at least, Dr. Gary was been a really good to work for. He leaves me alone to teach, but when I have needed adminstriation support, he has been nothing but 100% supportive. I have heard nothing but good things about Ms. Escobar, so I'm sure she will be an excellent addition to RBHS.

In the long run for me, I really don't have much day to day contact with the princpal. He has confidence in me, so he concentrate on other things, not if math education is going on in room 266.

I want to say thanks to MKD for all of her kind words. I don't know who you are or who your childern are, but from what you have said about them, I will get to know them real well over the next couple of years. I look forward to meeting them and meeting you.

SolvayGirl1972 said...

Thanks Michael. Do keep us in the loop if you can. I have many friends with incoming 9th graders and they are all eager to hear about what the District's pans are for administration at the school.

reader said...

You know Solvay, the hoodlums, disruptive kids, and trouble-makers are your neighbors and they have a right to an education too. If you don't like them, then why select that part of town to live in? Diversity means people will have different backgrounds than you have, and will have values (or lack values) that challenge yours. There isn't diversity without challenge. I agree with you that the school does need to be responsible for how that behavior is handled. And no, it can not be just suspend them all the time. Behavior, attitude, bullying, inclusivity, citizenship, etc... all that needs to be part of the education. It would be great if everybody had those skills by high school. Unfortunately it's just not the case. The answer isn't to just give up, or suspend everyone.

And as others have pointed out, for those who stay behind in that school, there are some advantages... you have an easier shot at being the valedictorian, or being in an AP class with 11 kids.

mkd said...

JvA: Thank you for your kind words. There are a few kids at the school who simply amaze me. A friend of my sons just turned 16 and is almost ready to graduate. He's a science "geek" and not afraid to show it. Who knows, maybe he'll get it this year.

SolvayGirl1972 said...

reader. Why are you so hostile? Why do I have to like kids who rape girls in school bathrooms? Why do I have to move? There are plenty of wonderful people in this valley; I like them. I don't have to like everybody.

I don't believe that diversity automatically equals different values. I think that's a cop-out. I know and am friends with tons of people from different cultures, races, religions, socio-economic strata and geographic areas. Common values include respect, regard for education, kindness, courtesy, etc. Claiming that a lack of regard for school and a culture of violence is part of diversity is absurd and exonerates the perpetrators from responsibility for their actions. That's like saying it's OK for some banks to lie, cheat and steal because it's just the nature of their diversity.

I will say it again. ALL children deserve safe schools and classrooms that have a minimum of disruption. If a school can't offer that then it should not be surprised when it is under enrolled.

RBHS is trying to change the culture there. I applaud that, but it's not my job to make that happen so reader, stop trying to vilify me.

Charlie Mas said...

I don't like listening to people whine, but I want to hear complaints. For me, the difference between whining and complaining is whether or not a solution is offered.

Any good letter of complaint seeks a solution and usually offers one. If you're not seeking a solution then you're just whining.

So...

If there is a problem with a few students disrupting classes at Rainier Beach High School - and at other schools - then we need a solution to this problem. The administration should determine and implement this solution. If it has been a persistent problem and the administration has not found an effective solution, then the administration is - at least in this regard - not working. If the problem proves debilitating to the school's function, then the administration is a failure.

I used to hear people say that they would not enroll their child at Rainier Beach High School because it didn't offer the challenge or advanced classes needed to address their child's academic needs. I don't hear that anymore. In this regard, the Southeast Education Initiative has been a success. It definitely paid for a set of classes to address this concern.

I also used to hear people say that they didn't enroll their children there because they didn't think the school was safe. I still hear this.

For all of the efforts made through the Southeast Education Initiative to make Rainier Beach High School a school of choice, I haven't seen enough focus on school safety - including student safety in the surrounding neighborhood.

There also used to be concern about the school culture, about the respect and value it showed for education. This concern is diminished, but not all gone. Perhaps it will be improved further by an influx of a broader range of students assigned to the school under the new plan.

It seems to me that if Rainier Beach would effectively address the safety concerns and the concerns about disruptive students, then it could be a school of choice. Which would be good for the District, good for the students, and good for everyone. I wish I could say that I have seen more evidence that the school and the District are paying attention to what people say needs to change at Rainier Beach for them to choose it.

Melissa Westbrook said...

"You know Solvay, the hoodlums, disruptive kids, and trouble-makers are your neighbors and they have a right to an education too."

Well yes, they do except they do NOT have the right to take some other student's educational opportunities away through bad behavior.

If talking to them and their parents/guardians and a series of escalating measures (points off for talking, sent to office, detention, suspension), don't make that message clear, then, no, they deserve to go to South Lake or some other reentry school. There are places where the teachers are used to and can work with students with issues.

reader said...

I see Solvay, somebody doesn't agree with you... they're hostile. Good for you. You like some of your neighbors. You enjoy the ones who are like you.. oh yeah, you probably are fine with the lesbians, the mixed race (mixing with the good part), the foreigners doing their best to fit in with your culture, and others with your standard of "decency" etc. But not those disrputive ones. Your neighborhoold is full of those too.

Maybe some people need to be able to learn even if there's a disrpution. That's a skill too. Maybe your child needs to develop it, especially since those are the people you've chosen to live with. If you need a perfectly quiet place, then maybe you should consider yourself the problem... not the noisy one. These are all cultural values, obviously you don't value them all. No, it doesn't have to be understood as "depriving others of an opportunity". That is the opportunity. These people are still your neighbors. And they... with their cultural norms of "disrputiveness" are the problem to YOU. The solution can not be: get rid of the disruptive ones. The solution can not be: fix everyone else. You said ALL children children deserve this, that, and the other.... they are part of the ALL aren't they?

The solution to counterproductive behavior is something besides punishment. It's education. Education on behavior in particular, education on tolerance, and inclusivity. And that needs to be effective and for everyone.

reader said...

Melissa, we can't just create another dump of segregation or send everyone to a re-entry school. Imagine that, another loophole to exclude people. Re-entry schools are for a re-entry from something... a re-entry from jail, not the re-entry from a regular high school. Those schools haven't been found to produce any results. Haven't we just closed one down? Teachers in all schools need to be educated on behavior instruction. Bullying curriculums are there for a reason. It's the job of the school to teach about that and to manage that across a diverse (truly diverse) population.

SolvayGirl1972 said...

Reader: You do not know me, so I do not see how you can make statements like this:

"I see Solvay, somebody doesn't agree with you... they're hostile. Good for you. You like some of your neighbors. You enjoy the ones who are like you.. oh yeah, you probably are fine with the lesbians, the mixed race (mixing with the good part), the foreigners doing their best to fit in with your culture, and others with your standard of "decency" etc. But not those disrputive ones. Your neighborhoold is full of those too."

Especially the "mixing with the good part."

My perceived hostility from you is not that you disagree with me, but that you purport to know what I think. You don't.

Melissa: I do not enjoy being called a racist, even in a round about way, and would hope you would discourage this type of personal attack on this blog.

Bella said...

First of all, Reader, re-entry schools are not only for children re entering school from jail. They are for SPS kids who have received a long term suspension or expulsion from their "regular" school. They also offer behavior modification classes to students who have been caught bringing weapons to school, or had other serious (violent) offenses. South Shore also offers a pregnant and teen parent HS program. In addition South Shore houses an alternative school, that serves, regualr kids seeking an alternative education and super small class sizes.

Now back to RBHS. Reader, are you really suggesting that it is appropriate and acceptable to have highly disruptive classrooms, and violence (rapes in the bathroom) at Beach? And, that everone should just accept and embrace this as a cultural norm?

If so that's a crutch. And, certainly not worthy of argument.

reader said...

I suppose I will require a stint on the re-entry blog for postings too disruptive.

Yes we all know that South Shore is deluxe with it's small classes. Nobody's calling it a re-entry program though. And, there's a waiting list. It isn't a dump for kids that other people don't like. Yes there are lots of ways that result in re-entry program placement. Sooner or later those dumps will be remerged with other schools.

Disruptiveness is a cultural norm. It's a dial of acceptability. Should we all expect somehthing like Catholic schools where everybody sits silently in rows? The only abusers were the staff? Is that what we expect? I think schools need to be inclusive, teach inclusivity, and the expectation of teachers is that they teach all students who are there... including the disruptive ones.

The idea that teachers teach "around" disruptive students is ridiculuous, not to mention counterproductive. Students need to be involved in setting the rules, and participating in community service. There are tons of ways to teach behavior... if you actually wanted to do this. Violent crime and weapons, those are law enforcement issues that need to be dealth with. However, if it gets to that point, it is a strong indication that the education around behavior has not been effective or even tried.

Lots of people think Salmon Bay is full of disruptive kids and behavior. Low and behold... there's no big outcry claiming that "Oh woe is me, I can't possibly go to Salmon Bay because there's no theater and lots of bad behavior." There's no hue and cry to remediate it, or improve it. It is what it is, and people accept it. Funny how a different standard is set for RBHS. It needs to be "fixed". Those other people need to be removed.


As Charlie points out... there's always something about RBHS... and it's always something new to dislike. Whu could that be? It's the community, and that isn't going to change any time soon.

Melissa Westbrook said...

"Disruptiveness is a cultural norm."

I absolutely disagree with this statement in reference to schools. I have been in many high school classes with loud and active discussion of the topic at hand. No one has to sit still and not be part of it. But again, no child has the right to disrupt a class repeatedly. Teachers are not there to teach behavior modification. If the student cannot meet the standards of that teacher's classroom, there's the door.

That IS how it is in life. Don't want to follow the rules at work? There's the door? Don't want to behave in a restaurant? There's the door. Don't want to behave at Safeco? The Mariners have some highly effective security people; I've seen them at work, keeping Safeco a place where families can go.

Reader, again I say. You tread on a fine line here. I find much of what you are saying in your first paragraph to Solvay to be distasteful. I'm trying to be fair to all voices but you need to dial it back.

Re-entry high schools ARE re-entry from regular high schools. Not jail. Kids who are suspended sometimes cannot go back to their regular school and their only choice is reentry. But no, not all kids at South Lake or other re-entry schools come out of jail.

Bella said...

Reader, I meant South Lake re-entry school, not South Shore. My typo, sorry.

Bella said...

FWIW Reader, since you bring it up, I pulled my kid out of Salmon Bay after one year. There were tons of disruptive kids there, drug and social issues on a big scale in the MS, plenty of bullying, and an attitude of kids will be kids, oh well.

You keep trying to make this about race. It's not. It's about a bad environment and whether that's acceptable or not. It's not. Not at RBHS, and not at Salmon Bay either.

Jo-Nate said...

I worked in SPS from'00-'07. I worked at RBHS from '03-'07 getting kids into college, or other post-secondary education. It was one of the best positions of my life.

Like many I heard all of the stories. However, I learned quickly, like everyone else that spends real time within the school, the place felt extremely normal in comparison to the high schools I had frequented. Actually, it was uncomfortably mild! It was uncomfortable because I was wating for the guns and knives. I came to find out that most of the drama came from a few squabbles related to female drama in hallways LOL! You don't think 'alleged' rape happens in other schools? I've seen far more shady stuff in other schools, urban & suburb, but somehow the smallest incidents are overblown on and headlined in the news.

Let's be blunt. Media has to sell. And like the show "Cops" they know how to pick their targets. RB, like it's demographic, is that same target for stereotyped propoganda. Yes, crime does happen in the area, but it's no more affluent than any of it's neighbors heading north to the CD. So why does the propoganda sell more effectively in the southend, and at RB or even Cleveland? We all know that these "hoodlums" that are being referred to are primarily black, Hispanic, and Pacific Islander, which comprises most of the school. That's why GHS can have favor if a shooting happens in their neighborhood. The demographics have changed in that community so much that the story no longer sticks.

Speaking of which, let's talk about GHS. For years the school masked it's numbers with it's
AP programs. It is well noted how grossly disproportionate the representation was for their students of color. Why is that? More importantly, why are the numbers still so similar? In the early to mid 2000 it was painful to hear that nearly 3/4 of the African-American students were failing at GHS. That's no embelishment! But we didn't hear about that in the media. Hmmmm... mabe The Times editor went GHS lol!

As for the co-prinicipal piece, this may sound offensive, but it's obvious that they're working to diversifying the leadership to create a look that's more... appealing for the skittish newbies that are being forced in. It has nothing to do with Dr. Gary's proven ability. People forget that in '07 & '08 RB was 1 of 3 high schools (Roosevelt & Nathan Hale) that were off the district's improvement list. What... no front page news? That didn't happen by luck either. Itwas a testiment to the character & effort of the staff and students.

WASL scores... we know that's a joke! They say that RB is 60% black, but if you visit there it looks a bit higher. The next biggest group is Pacific Islanders, then Filipino/Asian & Hispanic, and eventually you get to 5-10 white students that are mostly low-icome. Historically the numbers for those demographics are abysmal nationally, let along in SPS. However, what folks don't see is that the numbers for the WASL, rentention, graduation, and college admission among RB kids faaaarrrr exceed any other high school in SPS among those demographics.

Do these kids achieve? I've seen kids take the SAT/ACT from RB score tremendously well or competative for major colleges. Something is being taught right from somewhere. I work with lot of good pool of RB kids at my university, and with the exception of a couple, they've peformed many well. And yes, some of them came here with honors, merit scholarships, etc.

Thanks a lot Mr. Rice for your awareness, uncanny work ethic & advocay for those fortunate students.

Jo-Nate said...

Sorry for the grammar. I truly am educated LOL! I'll use spell check next time :-)

reader said...

Teachers are not there to teach behavior modification.

If it's needed, then absolutely that's the job. Sorry they (or you) don't like it. They can hit the door if they don't like the job. These people are public servants. There's a huge stack of resumes for those jobs these days. You know, in elementary school... all teachers would agree that it's their job. Students are routinely engaged on participation, on voting for rules, on establishing consequences, on rewarding citizenship, discussing bullying, discussing inclusivity, doing little community building things.. ad naseum actually. But somehow, when kids get older... the teachers have decided it isn't their job anymore... their job is "math" or "LA". I think they shirt their responsibility before the students are ready. They don't like doing those other things. They want to teach the "good students", the agreeable ones, the ones who "want to be there." (again, only high school teachers cop that attitude) But the kids are a package. And "desire to be there" isn't a requirement in public school at any age. They need engagement. They need teaching. We need people who can do it. And then... there's a big mystery as to why high schools are such a problem.

Dorothy said...

"Teachers are not there to teach behavior modification.

If it's needed, then absolutely that's the job. "

Gotta agree with Reader here. And ain't this the thing? Our government, laws and culture are set up so that we do have to accept just about any student in the classroom and it is up to the adults to deal with that, make it work. I wish I knew how, though. Sometimes it's tough. But sometimes, saying it's tough is a cop-out.

But on a fundamental level, even high school teachers all teach behavior. How much of your high school kid's grade is based on demonstrating that they've learned the content and how much on behavior? How much penalizing for skipping class, for chewing gum, for using the wrong color pen, or using pencil instead of pen, or forgetting your pencil or not turning in the homework, or not putting the colorful border on the title page? All through my kid's SPS career, he had teachers who cared more about these things than the content, and it showed on their rubrics. Look at a rubric for the RHS LA cornerstones -- the big projects that are supposed to prepare kids for upper class LA options. Never was the actual content (and I include grammar and punctuation here as well as demonstration of thought) even worth half the points. The bulk of the points are on following directions, sometimes in peculiar idiosyncratic ways, of the control freak teacher. You get graded for your behavior more than for your meeting academic standards.

I think that the teachers who insist on this behavior, that performance on mechanical task is more important than their skills, is actually something that turns teens off. Teens that otherwise could be engaged. Teachers with draconian penalties for not toeing the line on their arbitrary rules. They are just as much at fault for the disengagement.

Y'all remember that anecdote from a couple years back, that elementary school where kids' homework turned in late was ripped in half and tossed in the waste bin without being read? You think that teacher is more concerned about teaching behavior or ensuring that the kids learned the content? You think that sort of thing doesn't happen in high school? Or do you think it's fine to happen in high school?

reader said...

Do the garbage men constantly complain about the garbage? Do they wish and expect the garbage to be something better than it is? Do the scientists complain that the experiment isn't doing the right thing, and behaving correctly? Do firemen complain that the fire is hot? Or do we expect our public servants to accept the challenges of their jobs?


PS. I have worked at RBH.

mkd said...

Everyone complains: garbage men, fireman, scientists, zoo keepers, bee keepers, Stephen Hawking and Captain Kirk. Moreover, not everyone shares the same passion about trash. Mediocre for them is the best it gets. We sometimes forget that eachers are human like all the rest of us. Even the very best have good days and bad days, likes and dislikes and can sometimes be preoccupied with personal problems and tragedies.

By high school, kids should have learned the barest basics of "pleasant and polite" at home or somewhere along in the lower grades. By high school, most teens have learned that a little respect goes a long way.

Chrnoic tardiness, ignoring homework, texting when tests are being given, leaving in the middle of class, hitting other kids, choking students in the classroom, threatening kids forced to take a seat in the back row, doing all the work so the lazy group you were assigned to won't lower your grade, threatening the teacher, hanging out the back windows, not leaving when sent to the office, knives in class, lighters in class, cussing, knocking furniture over, attacking your classmate, stealing homework, stealing telephones, defacing books and the list goes on and on, these behaviors, whether a product of illness or society as a whole, are not going to be corrected by one teacher in a class of thirty in 50 minutes. Jerry Springer behavior belongs on TV, not in the classroom.

All good teachers can do is teach the ones who have learned the value of a good education. After all, even bad teachers can teach the value of staying awake, pretending interest, doing the homework in order to collect the grade. As one of my nephews, a trash man, pointed out, sanitation men need diplomas too.

Let's agree to disagree. The post was about "rigor at Rainier Beach High School." If your kids will have to attend there anyway next year, let's start now to figure out ways that overworked and underpaid teachers are actually able to teach. I bet if you checked, the chronic kids intent on revolt, are doing it in most of the classes they attend from time to time.

The truth is, by high school, kids who demonstrate the extremes of bad behavior have problems going on outside the classroom that need to be dealt with people in other fields before they are ready to learn in a classroom setting.

You all have a nice weekend, like other threads, I'm done with arguing. Some of us will disagree. Isn't it nice that people like Charlie and Melissa have provided a forum where we all can safely express our opinions?

reader said...

Yes, everybody complains about something. Firemen don't complain about the fire. Garbage men don't complain about the garbabe. Scientists don't complain about the experiment. You miss the point. Yes, we'd like some people to be different. But maybe we should view that wish as the actual problem. If you wish to address "rigor", you'll need to address the basic problem.

mkd said...

If I offended you, I apologize. If you really look at, we're not that far apart. Both of us want kids to succeed in the classroom. All I'm saying is that kids who act out are doing it for a reason. I want to find the reason. It serves the child's best interests, in school and in life.

JvA said...

Since I posted this comment on Thursday, just 3 days ago...

"As a South End parent, I would worry about sending a child on the bus to the Rainier/Henderson intersection, a block or two from the school. The news reports about gun violence in the area frighten me."

...I've randomly come across these additional news reports (not sure if I've missed others):

"A police report released Friday details a street robbery Monday near Rainier Beach High School in which at least one of the suspects may have been carrying a gun."

http://blog.seattlepi.com/seattle911/archives/192818.asp

Sunday: "A man who was shot in the head Sunday afternoon in the 9000 block of Rainier Avenue South [at Henderson] was alert and talking to officers at the scene..."

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/businesstechnology/2010946753_webshooting01m.html

I know that gun violence occurs near schools all over, but RBHS seems like it's located at the intersection with the most gun incidents in the city. (I'd love to hear that I am wrong.)

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

My kids attend RBHS, the teachers are great and they are doing very well. However, like you, violence in and around the city scares me also. Your blog made me wonder. What I found was rather interesting. Of the recent gun involved and gang events reported near the school, all of them took place more than three blocks away, between 10:00pm and 5:18am, times my kids are home with me in Central District or out with friends under the eagle eye of someone from church.

My own address is another thing. It is surprising to find the neighbor's kids transformed into armed criminals. The DEA, guns drawn, arrested four armed suspects, drug dealers, last week way too close to my house at 2:00pm in the afternoon. I know because I called the police on the police. Walking to church for a dinner Saturday night, I counted more than a dozen police cars cruising up and down on Jackson between Jefferson and Jackson looking for someone or something. I later heard that SWAT was involved. As for the police officer killed recently, that was about ten blocks away from where I live. The scariest thing lately (one of my neighbors was targeted) is a group using women to knock on doors in the middle of the night, claiming robbery, rape and worse, begging to come in. By the time police reply, the woman is long gone, although they have caught one. Two blocks away, another friend has noticed groups of young men knocking on doors in the middle of the afternoon. Thankfully, when she answered, they ran. My next door neighbors house was broken into while they were at work and ransacked. Except for a small amount of cash, nothing was taken. However, they broke the TVs and computers. At Christmas, we had a hostage drama play out within six blocks. And two recent car chases from other places through this area resulted in police involved shootings by the park at 20th and Jackson.

Certainly, areas of Rainier Beach are crime ridden. Lately though, I don't feel too safe at home either.

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

MKD just because Jva pointed out that the Rainier@Henderson bus stop was a high crime intersection doesn't imply that other areas are not problematic. It is true that we have many high crime areas all over our city, but this intersection is of particular concern because the children of RBHS have to use it.

I used to work in customer service for METRO. I can tell you that we received MANY calls about fights, weapons, drug sales, and vandalism, at the Rainier@Henderson bus stop. It's an extremely high crime intersection.

Apparantly the high crime rate at this particular corner is of big enough concer that families like Jva have not been willing to send their kids to RBHS. If the new SAP forces these families into the school, and the district truly wants to make an effort at turning the school around, then I think they should address this issue head on.

We can't sweep the issue under the carpet, and justify it, by saying things like "oh well, no place is safe, including my neighborhood".

There are things that can be done to make the bus stop safer....
The RBHS principal could send a security guard out to the bus stop before/after school. Or the PTSA could organize a group of parent chaperones to man the bus stop. Or, the principal and PTSA could work with the city to police that intersection better? Or call the METRO police (yup, they have them) and ask them to add security at that bus stop....

Theo said...

If you'd like to see some of the rigor and innovation we're bringing to RBHS go ahead and take a gander at one of the grants I have up.

http://www.donorschoose.org/donors/proposal.html?id=361071&verify=1371116424

JvA said...

Actually, the incident yesterday in which a 19-year-old was shot in the head happened around 4 p.m.

The new SAP would have my toddler someday attending Franklin, but I'm sure the lines will be redrawn by then. Over by Cleveland, I may be geographically closer to RBHS than Franklin, and would not be surprised if the SAP later put me in that zone.

It's not an immediate concern. But I still worry about other people's kids getting shot in the head in disproportionate numbers over there.

mkd said...

I worry too. The thing is, when we registered, Garfield, four blocks away, was full. Our only choices were RBHS or Cleveland. RBHS was more accessible by bus.

Limes said...

My apologies for not answering replies sooner. I often forget to check back to old threads; I obviously rely too heavily on my RSS feeds.

I have heard Mr. Gary say that the AP scores on tests are low. I have heard him say that there is work to be done there. So how is that untrue, when the principal himself has said it? What percentage of students taking AP courses tested well enough to receive college credit? How does that compare with other high schools in the area?

My point about college scholarships and schools was not to say that my data or Ms. Patu's was accurate or that it needed to be. It was to point out that college matriculation is a rarity. And for those who do go on, many end up taking remedial courses. Ask someone at Garfield or Roosevelt or Ballard where last year's seniors got scholarships, and they wouldn't be able to remember them all.

Don't we want that for Rainier Beach? Why would Mr. Rice be ok with anything less than that? Why is he so set on believing that there is no work to be done? That attitude worries me a great deal. I give much more respect to mdk who notes that there is work to be done.

I'm not sure why Mr. Rice is calling me to come out from behind the screen name, or why he believes that I haven't been inside the school. I have. I know many students recent Rainier Beach alumni. In fact, I had one cut my hair just last week. At least another dozen as friends of mine on facebook. (And you know if they are on facebook, they are my uber closest friends ever.) I have known the commenter Jo-Nate for over ten years. I've known teachers who have left (some of the best teachers I know) and other teachers who would like to teach there given the right leadership and circumstances.

Surely I can form an opinion from having actually talked to students and teachers without having spent 50 minutes in Ms. Lessig's kick ass math classes.

I think change is in the air for RBHS. I think the addition of the new principal is just one change happening at that school. The next six months will prove interesting.