The Queen Anne & Magnolia News has a pretty interesting article from Feb. 4th that basically seems to imply that the parents are going to decide what program is at their school. Good for them but my question, after reading the whole article - is this what is happening at all the reopening schools? (And note, there is a link for 3 of the 5 reopening schools at the schools page at the SPS website but none describe any program.)
The opening header says "Decision on QA Elementary curriculum halted after parents voice dissent." There doesn't seem to have been anyone from the district there so I'm wondering if the reporter got the impression that the parents have more sway over the the final decision than it would seem likely (given that we know the district will have it).
From the article:
Though Seattle Public Schools Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson announced Queen Anne Elementary would have a Montessori program a couple weeks ago-a decision that caught many by surprise-that decision is no longer final.
At a Monday night meeting, the QA Elementary Design Team informed community members and parents that the program for the school could still change. And since Goodloe-Johnson's decision two weeks ago, the Design Team was presented with an entirely new possibility to relay to the community-opening the school next year without a definitive program in place.
Well, that would be in line with what is happening at the other schools. No one seems to be opening with a specific program. But the article goes on:
The question posed by the design team was: Would you be willing to attend a school in which the curriculum is not designed yet and be willing to be a part of picking and developing that curriculum in the first year?
The school district will also consider Montessori, a language immersion program and other program options, such as an expeditionary or dual-model curriculum, the design team said.
Be willing? Geez, that doesn't seem to be what is being asked at Sand Point or McDonald. Maybe they pose that question because it's an Option School but it almost sounds like they will decide their program.
To help gauge the community's preference, the design team will be distributing a curriculum survey until Feb. 13. Results will be collected and analyzed in the last two weeks of February to inform the final decision before enrollment applications are due March 31. The QA Elementary open house is March 6.
Again, I have no idea if this is what is happening at the other schools. I'd hope so.
If the survey comes back and not enough parents are willing to take the chance on QA Elementary without a predetermined program, the district will lay out concrete options to choose from-though what those might be isn't entirely certain either.
So the district is opening an Option school where the design team can come back and say not enough parents will come if you don't have Program X? Well, considering it's an option school, anyone can come. How come one area of the city determines what the program is for an Option school? (I must be missing something.) I think that even if parents in Queen Anne don't want Montessori, that doesn't necessarily mean the school wouldn't fill from around the region/city with those who do. (I understand that transportation would only be for those students in the McClure area.)
It almost seems like the attendance area reopens would have more control of their destiny than an Option school given that the parents who would have students assigned to that school could say, no Program X, we don't come. Meaning, the district really needs a solid core of students to operate a new school and if enough parents were able to escape (either to other schools or private schools), what would happen?
There was one other interesting part to the article:
The design team plans to take all the questions to the district and disperse information to the community as it comes. As answers are discovered, the design team will post them to its jargon group, groups.google.com/group/QAElementary. The design team also encourages residents to send questions, comments and concerns to them directly, rather than to the district, at QAElementary@googlegroups.com.
I think it is really great that they will keep the community updated and I know McDonald and Sand Point also have groups. But it's interesting that they ask people to contact them and not the district. Maybe the district wants them to be the conduit for all information so the district doesn't have to gather information themselves. Or would people be more likely to write/call a design team than the district?