The fact that we are asking this question after three years of the Southeast Education Initiative is conclusive proof that the Initiative was an abject failure. The primary purpose of the project was to make Rainier Beach, Cleveland, and Aki Kurose schools of choice. Neither Rainier Beach nor Aki Kurose are schools of choice and Cleveland is closed. STEM has moved into the building.
So what would fix Rainier Beach so that families and students would choose to attend it?Rabbit wrote:
What could the district do to make it attractive?
Isn't it to some extent a case of it not being well attended because it's not well attended?
Since most of the families living in the RBHS attendance area choose not to send their kids to RBHS, the first thing I'd do if I were in charge would be to ask those families what it would take to get them to send their kids there. And then offer what they want (within means).Which clearly demonstrates the difference between Rabbit and the District. The District never bothered to ask anyone what they wanted. Not at first or ever. Instead, the District decided that people were leaving the neighborhood for other schools because they wanted a strong performing arts program. So they made both Aki Kurose and Rainier Beach into performing arts schools.
The District also increased the number of AP and honors classes available, but I never heard about how many kids enrolled in those classes. They extended the school day at Aki Kurose, but there was never any report on the results of that effort. The school saw real pops in the WASL pass rates for reading and writing in 2009, less so for math. However, the improved pass rates were not sustained in 2010. Pass rates at Rainier Beach steadily fell over the three years of the project. Pass rates at Cleveland were generally flat, with some improvement in science and writing.
For all of the changes, there is no evidence that the schools ever became more popular choices in the community. None. Aki Kurose's enrollment actually shrank until 2009 when Meany closed and Southeast students lost their access to Hamilton. The entire increase in enrollment can be attributed to those changes, not anything at Aki. Even then, the enrollment in 2009 was LESS than the baseline enrollment in 2006.
Enrollment at Rainier Beach stumbled along 457 in 2006, then 361 in 2007, and 453 in 2008, and finally 500 in 2009. So, like Aki, all of the increase came last year and may be attributable to changes at other schools more than changes at Rainier Beach. Let's remember that the building has a functional capacity of 1150.
Rainier Beach has, inexplicably, two principals. At the time of the appointment of the second principal, a press release said:
"Progress has been made over the past several years at Rainier Beach," said Dr. Goodloe-Johnson. "This has been possible due to Dr. Gary’s leadership and to the hard work of students, staff and families working closely together. We are committed to continuing to invest in the success of Rainier Beach High School. Thinking differently about the leadership model at the school will help support the work required to ensure Rainier Beach is an excellent school."I have no idea what she was talking about. I don't know what progress she meant and I don't know what she meant about the leadership model at the school.
The last update to the Board and the community on the Southeast Education Initiative was in October of 2008. The District never publicly spoke about it again or offered any report on the results or progress.