Friday, November 19, 2010

Open Thread Friday

To note: if you are writing the Board about the NSAP and the transition plan, do try to use this address:

Apparently, those e-mails with the message line "NSAP" get more easily forwarded to Tracy Libros who is trying to get as wide a range of comments as possible. This doesn't mean that any comment you sent to an individual Board member won't get to her (the Board is trying to make sure she sees what they see) but the best way is to use the address above.

This Saturday sees 3 community meetings:

Carr - 8:30-10 am
DeBell - 9-11:30 am
Patu - 10 am -noon


ds said...
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ds said...

In the “Possible Outcomes for Garfield” thread, I proposed that, to provide the equity that the NSAP touts, SPS needs to offer honors and AP/IB classes in all grade levels in all standard academic subjects at all high schools, thereby allowing all students access to these courses: honors or AP/IB LA in 9th-12th; honors history in 9th, honors or AP/IB history in 10th, AP/IB US in 11th, AP/IB government in 12th; honors physical science in 9th (or the ability for well-prepared students to waive this course and replace it with chem or physics), AP/IB or honors bio and chem, and at least one more honors/AP/IB science course (e.g., physics, environmental science); honors geometry (emphasizing proofs), possibly honors Alg II and pre-calc (but these don’t seem as critical to me), AP/IB calc, AP/IB stats; and AP/IB courses in at least 2 world languages.

One poster commented, “What I have heard through the years is that Garfield's course selection is available ONLY because they have the numbers (# of students signing up for AP classes) to justify all of the sections/choices.” I have heard this, too, but, in looking at the current course offerings, this argument doesn’t really make sense for the majority of schools.

Ballard, Garfield, Ingraham, Sealth, and West Seattle have all or most of the classes in place already (see previous post), and most of these schools have master class schedules online which indicate that they are actually offering all or almost all of these classes.

From what I understand (someone correct me if I’m wrong), Hale and Roosevelt are not offering classes in certain subjects because administrators and/or teachers are philosophically opposed to stand-alone honors and AP courses. This has no place in the NSAP.

I could be wrong, but the numbers are in favor of Franklin having enough demand for honors and AP courses if they are offered. Franklin has a 9th grade class of 432 and, with a 4-year graduation rate last year of 78%, we can grossly estimate that 337 will graduate. With an estimated 48% of the graduates leaving ready for 4-year colleges (this is higher than Ballard's ready-for-college rate) and 53% taking at least one AP class, it seems reasonable that honors and AP classes would fill. Does anyone have any insight into why Franklin offers so few honors/AP courses? Are administrators or teachers opposed to them?

Given its low enrollment (110 freshmen this year) and low graduation rate (58% 4-year rate), it’s not surprising that Rainier Beach seems to be the only school that would have problems filling the standard set of honors and AP courses. I’m not sure what the answer is, but I think the families from that community need to be consulted. Perhaps there would be guaranteed access to Cleveland (with Cleveland being required to offer the full honors/AP curriculum); perhaps the kids should have preferential access to open choice seats at Franklin and Sealth. It is simply unacceptable that kids don’t have access to advanced coursework because of where they live.

Dorothy Neville said...

"From what I understand (someone correct me if I’m wrong), Hale and Roosevelt are not offering classes in certain subjects because administrators and/or teachers are philosophically opposed to stand-alone honors and AP courses. This has no place in the NSAP."

Yup, you have got that correct. And yes, your conclusion I also support. This has no place in the NSAP.

What happens to thwart the attempts by the district to insist on AP courses is that they simply require everyone to take the AP course. Pretty much defeats the purpose of self selected rigor, depth and accelerated pace that one would hope to get from an honors or AP course, but there you go.

This also means the school scorecard figures on percent of kids who take AP courses is misleading, to put it mildly.

Dorothy Neville said...

From Wednesday's Workshop on the Scorecard, see this presentation. In particular (Lori, Maureen, and other data statistical nerds, I am speaking to you) see slides 22 and 23.

Past performance is a poor indicator for future performance of test scores. Are we surprised? I suspect Maier was a little, because he actually asked how this would relate to the CBA. So why are we spending millions to use this exact data to suss out the wonderful from the crappy teachers?

none1111 said...

ds, it's all about money.

Sure, the district could push buildings to offer a bunch of AP classes, but how many kids need to enroll in order to make it happen? 25? 15? 10? At some point it becomes too expensive to pay the 1/6 FTE. It's exactly the problem the 8th graders face at Hamilton with Alg2 (although there's no excuse for blocking the 6th/7th graders from advancement).

I do believe there's a lot of room for improvement, and more AP/IB classes should be offered around the city. I just don't believe that a full range of AP/IB classes is practical in all buildings.

That said, what Hale and Roosevelt are doing is appalling. And I totally agree that it should not be allowed, especially with the NSAP.

Ironically, many of us are complaining about district mandates overriding decisions that we want the buildings to make. But here is a situation where the reverse is true. Scary, huh?

Lori said...

Yikes, Dorothy. I only looked at those two slides, but I'm confused! I'm not sure what they expected to see or how a correlation between one year's proficiency levels and the next year's percent making gains would work to begin with.

That is, would you expect that schools with low proficiency rates would make higher gains because there is more room for growth (hence, a best-fit line would run from upper left to lower right)? Or would you expect low growth because of low proficiency (thus a best-fit line running from lower left to upper right)?

But regardless of that, what I don't see in these scatter plots is either a correlation coefficient or a regression analysis, which is how you determine whether there is a relationship between two continuous variables and what the best-fit line is, respectively.

This is not my area of expertise by any means, but I find it odd that they draw conclusions based on the scatter plots alone. But I also don't understand the qualitative aspect either - why/how would proficiency level of a school predict future percent gains and what would you do with that information if the two were correlated? Maybe I'm missing something obvious that someone else can explain.

Jan said...

I agree with none1111 and ds. There should be a thoughtful, and comprehensive, rollout of more accelerated classes in high schools -- though with IB it might be tricky. I think those teachers have to be specially certified or something, and I think the school may have to offer the full program (leading to the certificate/degree) -- which might be a lot to try to roll out. I have a hunch, though, that at least some IB classes may be better (in my opinion) that some AP classes -- by better I mean, more in depth, more critical analysis. I haven't looked at the syllabi, though, so this is all hearsay.

As for RBHS, I think if they cannot offer ALL the classes, they should figure out which kids want the classes, and shuttle them up to Franklin. They could do half the day (3 classes) and take kids back to RB for the balance. It just is not that hard to get kids up and down Rainier Ave. S. Hopefully, eventually, the school will grow to attract its own large student base, but in the meantime -- it would make it possible for RB kids to take accelerated classes with enough other kids in them to provide the critical mass needed for discussion, class projects, etc.

Jan said...

Dorothy -- on the power point, I was intrigued by the later slides that show per pupil funding and student achievement. It indicates that lower performing schools are, in most cases, receiving a lot more funding per student.

Do we know if this is money that really reaches the classrooms in the form of more teachers, more instructional materials, counsellors, etc? Or are they including, for those schools, the costs of the "coaches" who coach the teachers -- but never have contact with a student?

Anonymous said...

Has anyone heard anything about paying (or rather not paying) for full day kindergarten? We have a kindergartner plus an older child. As we paid for full-day kindergarten for our older child several years ago, we've been expecting to pay for our second child as well. However, we haven't received any invoices from the District. 2 weeks ago, our child's school sent out an email to parents telling them to send their payments directly to the central office - but didn't include any info on how much to pay. I tried to find the info on the District's website in the families section - but couldn't find it. So we still haven't paid. My point here is that we are a family that expects to pay and is willing to pay - but haven't done so yet because we haven't been sure how much we owe or where to pay. Given the School District's financial crunch, it seems like they could use the revenue from the kindergarten tuition - but they don't seem to be doing anything to collect it. I emailed the District 2 weeks ago but never received a response.


Dorothy Neville said...

Ha HA! speaking of new initiatives that the district is completely blowing, the Pay For K thing is certainly one. This came up at a finance committee meeting a while ago, staff acknowledged that while they insisted! that they handle Pay4K dollars instead of schools, they have NOT got the infrastructure up yet in order to accomplish this!

JAKindergartenMom said...

RE: pay for kindergarten -
It's $207/month across district. We got a letter in late september with the amount and address to send payment to, but that has been the last we've heard from the district until there was a short note in the JA newsletter from the principal, encouraging parents to pay and again giving the address. In our note it indicated that the district WOULD be sending out first quarter invoices along with what sounded like a form for us to be able to set up automatic payments.

Dorothy Neville said...

Lori, I don't know any more than you do how to interpret those slides. Just that it is certainly telling that this is the sort of scatter one might expect given the limitations of the data. The explanation on the first slide is typical of Brad Bernatek's level of clarity, imo.

To answer the other question about how is the money going to the schools? Coaches vs direct support? Well, I can make an educated guess, but as I haven't seen any clear documents that explain how the performance management money is being used, I really cannot say for sure.

I did just read in the 2010-11 budget, the executive summary at the beginning says they are going to ask the board to approve the supplemental levy going to voters so that it could help "address the students' highest priority needs." So clearly, MGJ sees teacher raises, MAP expansion and evaluating teachers on junk science as the highest priority needs for kids.

Janis said...

I have twins in K and received a letter regarding pay for K in late August with instructions for paying by check that also indicated we would shortly receive a letter explaining how we could pay by credit card (which never arrived). Many K parents in my school have been confused since the District has not sent out any invoices or other communications. I have been sending in my check each month and at least they know how to cash it. However, I am very bothered to hear that staff admitted they have not set up the infrastructure for this since $7 out of the $207/month per child that I am paying was to cover the infrastructure.

Dorothy Neville said...

" I am very bothered to hear that staff admitted they have not set up the infrastructure for this since $7 out of the $207/month per child that I am paying was to cover the infrastructure."

Carr, DeBell and Maier are the finance committee. I hope you will let them know. This was an offhand item in a busy meeting, it was not talked about besides the fact that it exists. I don't even remember the context, it might have been related to audit and the need to improve financial controls and the need to improve internal training and the potential for future audit findings. The three committee members might recall the context.

Janis said...

You can be sure that I will let them know!

Anonymous said...

What bothers me about the change in how you pay for full day kindergarten was that the process seemed to work quite smoothly when we paid for our older child (we got monthly reminders from our school and could drop the check off at the school). I heard that the District will be sending out invoices in January along with a credit card option. I'm guessing there are going to be some surprised and unhappy parents who are suddenly getting hit with an $800 bill because they hadn't realized they were supposed to be paying. I also don't understand why the District doesn't include the info on how much to pay and where to send the check on their website in a place that's easy to find. Jane

wseadawg said...
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wseadawg said...

Jan & Others: There are nearly 1000 kids from the RBHS neighborhood going to schools other SPS High Schools. Rather than bus anybody out, we need to give that community what it needs and make that school as good as it can be, once again. The neighborhood has gone through a lot of changes over the decade, but this is still a Seattle School. It's unacceptable not to do whatever it takes to get neighborhood kids to start attending school there.

The district needs to be all over RBHS, but all they do is throw useless bones like the SE Initiative down Rainier Ave, hoping the folks in the SE will chase 'em. Well, SPS isn't fooling anybody. If we can spend 120 million on Garfield, we can invest some substantial sums in RBHS too. Excellence for All? Or not?

Maureen said...

Dorothy and Lori, Just glancing at them and reading (on slide 22):

The scatter‐plot below illustrates that past performance is a relatively poor predictor of the % of students making gains at a school the following year (although there is a mild relationship, particularly at the elementary level). This indicates that any school can achieve a high % of students making gains precisely because student growth is compared with academic peers.

I think his point is that low performance is no excuse for low growth and also doesn't automatically mean high growth is easier--it's his way of saying that neither high nor low performing schools have an excuse for low growth because there is no relationship between the two.

I'm hoping he at least ran correlation coefficients and just isn't presenting them because he figures the Board wouldn't understand that as well as a scatter plot. Wouldn't it be great if these things had links to technical appendices?

And wouldn't it be nice if someone on the Board had enough confidence with statistics to raise Dorothy's point? I'm hoping that the answer would be that when you look at time series data for Districts that have based their interventions on MAP scores then you can see how those interventions lead to high growth and therefore growing levels of proficiency over time for all schools.

I don't have confidence that an analysis like that has ever been done. I emailed Bernatek during the SEA negotiations asking basically that and never heard back (even though Kay Smith Blum asked him to get back to me.)

Melissa Westbrook said...

Jane and Janis, write your Board member and tell them all this. Your comment on suddenly getting a surprise late bill (like right after the holidays) would be unfair to families. If the district can't get it together, then send it back to the schools.

Maureen said...

If it gets thrown back to the schools right after the holidays, they will get stuck asking for the money just in time for school auctions to take the hit. I am so angry about this, our school tried to divert our Pay for K being taken over two years ago. We knew we could cover it plus one extra teacher for part of the day for less than $100 per month. But SPS wouldn't make an exception. The only positive part of it was that our parents wouldn't have to deal with collecting the checks and now I bet they will ask our room parents to appeal to their classes to pay up.

Just wait until they start sending these multi-month bills to collections.

Maureen said...

Do we have an idea about how much Pay for K money we're talking about? 46000/13=>3500 kindergarteners. About 60% not FRL => 2100. About $2000 per year each => $4.2 MILLION . Is that right?

SolvayGirl1972 said...

Re busing RBHS kids to Franklin...

And besides that it would take at LEAST a half hour to load the bus, drive to Franklin (Rainier Ave is a mess), unload...and that would be if all the kids had their classes at Franklin in the same block. Sounds like a logistical nightmare to me.

Anonymous said...

I emailed all the board members plus Don Kennedy 2 weeks ago. I've only heard back from Kay Smith-Blum - but this is also the same time period that the TFA, NSAP, and APP stuff has also been going on so I'm guessing the school board members are inundated. Maureen - I hadn't realized that the schools had wanted to keep admistering pay for K and that the District took it away from them. You're right - it makes the whole thing much worse. And what's frustrating is that you can totally predict the upset that will be caused in January - something that is totally preventable if the District had done a decent job of administering the program (or had let schools keep administering it). I'd love to know how much kindergarten revenue the District has collected YTD. It can't be much if you have parents like me that actually want and expect to pay - but haven't yet. Jane

Janis said...

Maureen raises another point about Pay for K and I am just as angry about it. At our school (and for the record, Maureen and I have kids at the same school), last year K families were charged $200/month, which was collected directly by the school. Parents had done the math and told the Administration that amount was too high, but they were concerned about making sure they collected enough money to cover their budget. So they assured families that if it turned out the school collected more money than needed, the families would be refunded the money.

Sure enough, our school has received a substantial amount of money which is being refunded to last year's K families because it did not cost $200/month last year to cover the cost of full day kindergarten. So why are we being charged $207/month this year? No one at the District has ever explained how the $207/month figure was calculated (and I have asked).

ttln said...

The correlation you want is what the MAP is sold on. However, in my own data, no such correlation exists. Where my classes improved on the MSP from 77% meeting standard at the beginning of the year to 91% at the end of the year, on MAP, they fell from 72% at grade level (I chose that as the point of correlation for sake of simplicity) in the fall to 68% in the Spring. If you ask me, one is not indicative of the other, at least on reading performance.

How this will be used in our evaluation, I don't know. I won't be surprised if grievances are filed.

owlhouse said...

When is open enrollment for the 2011-12 school year? Last year it was the month of March. I've heard it is shorter this this year, but can't find info on the website.

ttln said...

it is from march 15-31 and it is on the NSAP community meetings power point.

Sue said...

I have to say, when I heard this pay for k thing was happening last week, I started to laugh because of course this district is so incompetent they cannot even do a simple thing like collect money.

Makes me think to say, "Oh SURE we trust you on boundary lines, proper teacher evaluations, and spending all that levy money wisely."

Yeah, I don't think so.

I wouldn't said...

we would shortly receive a letter explaining how we could pay by credit card (which never arrived).

You trust the district with your credit card? :-O


owlhouse said...

Thanks ttln. I thought of digging into the NSAP stuff for the dates, but stopped, thinking if it wasn't on the enrollment pg, it probably wasn't up yet.

Jan said...

wseadog: I would like to RBHS improved too. I just don't know how to do it. I guess my thought had been -- if, for a few years, you could increase academic choice and rigor by having kids who wanted more AP exposure than the current RBHS population supports get a few (like 3) of their classes at a larger school that offered them -- AND at the same time worked on increasing RBHS offerings so that there were compelling reasons for kids to want to "go" to RBHS, it might be a way to grow the program to a size where its population is more diverse. To me, RBHS is the most compelling problem in the entire District (with the dismantling of workable Special Ed solutions a close second).

I never heard back the results of the RBHS community meeting a few years back. Do you know what the community's suggestions for improving the school were?

wseadawg said...

As bad as it's been, it's going to get worse for us all, financially. No state income tax, no candy or beer tax, and a two-thirds vote for any tax increases? Folks, we'll never pass another tax increase in this state in our lifetimes, so we selfish, greedy SOB's of this generation are screwing our kids futures. We're all guilty and we all bear the shame for letting this happen to our kids. Why? Because even the most liberal of us put our hopes in guys like Obama and Clinton instead of honest men like Nader. Obama caved on the Tax Cuts for billionaires at a time when the gap between the rich and poor in the U.S. is now worse than in most countries we used to refer to as "Third World." We did it! We finally supported enough tax-cuts for millionaires to put 34% of this country's wealth into the pockets of the top 1% of our population. We're there folks. We are officially a Third World country. Read Kristof article and weep.

Someday we all have to grow up, face the music, and realize that "public" doesn't mean "free."

Sorry to be such a downer, but the next time a supposedly liberal pundit scoffs and laughs at Joe Biden or anyone else who says it's patriotic to pay taxes, I want to punch them in the mouth.

It's that attitude that has people having to pay for kindergarten when every study and every statistic shows that investment will save us tenfold in the future.

But we can pay for jails, guns, security systems, etc., etc. And on to the world of Blade Runner we go.

Really, really depressing that people can't see that a stitch in time saves nine.

wseadawg said...

On the verge of throwing in the towel due to the systematic starvation of our public institutions by our selfish needs, I am delivered a pre-weekend inspiration! Joe Conason, Salon Columnist, writes about "Patriotic Millionaires." Good stuff. May just save my weekend.


Josh Hayes said...

I can't be sure this still happens, but historically (heh - I started to write "hysterically", which these days might be more accurate for our school) AS1 has picked up the cost of full-day K out of our in-house funds. The theory is, I think, that nobody should be denied full-day K because they're too poor to afford it, so we just provide it, period.

I'm not sure that's still true, but I think so. With the District allegedly picking up the moneybag, however, I can't be certain. I'll look into it.

Syd said...

What is the rational behind the regions represented by the board members? I just happened to notice that Patu has by far the most schools to represent. Does she also have the most students? Or is it roughly equal student numbers, and Patu and Sundquist represent smaller schools?

Patu - 22 schools
Debell - 10
Carr - 12
Maier - 14
Sundquist - 17
Smith Blum - 10
Martin Morris - 10

Maureen said...

Josh, TOPS covered full day K from in house (school discretionary, not fundraising) until two years ago and then word came down from on high that, since all the other schools 'like us'(i.e., not super poor) were charging, we had to too. We tried to have fundraising cover a sliding scale system but that wasn't allowed either.

wsnorth said...

"I was intrigued by the later slides that show per pupil funding and student achievement."

Those slides on funding are interesting - the district appears to be spending 25-50% more at "low achievement" Elementary schools per pupil than at "high achievement" schools.

If 25% to 50% doesn't close the "achievement" gap, what will? This difference in funding makes any amount of $$ (several hundreds of thousands of dollars) a "rich school" PTA raises (maybe 100k) look like a drop in the bucket.

Anonymous said...

From Crosscut an economist proposes 40% pay increase for teachers.

From the New York Times Gates meddling in a big way again:

wsnorth said...

Syd, isn't it obvious? The director split is like everything in SPS. The North and Central get 5/7 of the votes on the board, and about that same share of district resources.

And our director doesn't even advocate for us in West Seattle.

No wonder kids in the SW and SE can't get anything more than a moldy old portable to chew on.

Anonymous said...

The director split is the result of closed schools over time. The zones have not changed but the number of buildings have. The SE has the fewest number of closed buildings.
- seattle parent

cascade said...

Thanks for the Gates District Financial Restructuring Alert, Anon at 9:37 p.m.!

Every reader of this blog needs to read the latest and greatest stump speech from Seattle's own National Self-Annointed Education Poobah (emphasis on Poo) and cry B******T (emphasis on ***T)on it loudly and publicly. (Hey, you've got a tag with just the word in it Melissa.)

Oh, and mail the WEA and SEA too.

'Cause see...Microsoft's system of trying to compensate employees fairly for work has gone through iteration after iteration through the years and let's just say that in general it is highly politicized and also cutthroat, not to mention full of the most specious blah blah blah self-promotion-and-kiss-up-to-your-manager's a$$ Business Crap that it makes you and your loved ones want to poke their eyes out every time an eval cycle rolls around.

Yes, I really think Bill Gates' business prowess should entitle him to restructure teachers' compensation.


Anonymous said...

WSNorth, are you kidding. 25-50% more is a drop in the bucket! Of course that will not close any gap. How about 300% more. Now were talking. Big deal. A hundred grand. That pays for 1 techer. Sure good. But not good enough to do a lot. Get some perspective.

Another Seattle Parent

wsnorth said...

Another Seattle Parent, I guess it is obvious that spending 25 to 50% alone has not been solving the achievement gap, but I think you lost a zero in your sums. A 400 person school with 25% increase (over a baseline "achieving" @$5,500 per student) would be $500,000 and 50% is approximately $1 million.

School budgets are not going to double or triple any time soon.

Charlie Mas said...

I believe that the Director Districts are supposed to have nearly equivalent numbers of registered voters in each.

The number of schools or students doesn't correlate.

Syd said...

Is it silly to expect each director to have an equivalent work load.... to represent roughly the same amount of students?

StepJ said...

A reporter at King5 has an interesting blog post about the School Reports. She dug a little deeper into the numbers and highlights the parent involvement/school success aspect.

dan dempsey said...

Finally I have taken some time to report on the Recall Sufficiency Hearing of Thursday, Nov. 18th 2010.

Short story:
(1) Anderson and Martin lost as they failed to show any director intended to violate a law.

It is quite apparent that these directors consider lots of opinions but fail to evaluate facts and thereby do not produce evidence based decisions. Laws were violated and policies not followed.

(2)Judge Inveen ruled the petition insufficient for recall but thanked the Activists for bringing issues to light that would otherwise be buried from Public View.

The equivalent of the "Golden Apple" for Martin & Anderson from Judge Inveen,
while Maier et al. deserve Schrammies.

(3) The full story.

dan dempsey said...

Does anyone have a report on any of these meetings?

Carr - 8:30-10 am
DeBell - 9-11:30 am
Patu - 10 am -noon

Held on Saturday Nov 20, 2010.

dan dempsey said...

The Recall failure and Judicial Activism.

Anonymous said...

WSNorth, but the baseline isn't $5,500. Last I checked it was more like 4,000. There are lots of other funding sources that make an average of higher than than the basic. So ok. 25% on top of that is a few teachers. But there's a lot more needed than a few teachers. And obviously it has not been enough to put a dent in an achievement gap. Nobody is saying we'e going to double or triple spending... but we certainly could change the way we allocate if we really wanted to close the achievement gap. And we certainly could change the allocation to have some schools getting 3X what others do on a per pupil basis. Something like that is what it would take.

I happen to think people, as a culture and a society, LIKE having an achievement gap. If everyone was achieving, what would people say? If all schools attained 100% pass rate on HSPE, what would people say? They'd say the "standards are too low". The implication.. we need failures.

Another Seattle Parent

Maureen said...

I went to Sherry Carr's meeting,there were about sixteen parents there overall. Six were there about JSIS (boundaries/sibs); 3 from AS#1; 2 from Thornton Creek and one each for: Special Ed; general immersion/equity; TOPS transportation/Pay for K debacle; BHS northern boundry; GHS boundary (moving Montlake to RHS).

From my perspective (others may disagree) the whole JSIS thing kept coming back to: it should be an Option School. The boundaries are too big, they don't have room to roll up 100 kindergarteners every year. It's impossible to draw the boundaries small enough, people will just keep cramming in (families are sharing houses to get in the zone, someone moved from San Francisco just for the school.) I didn't hear any push back re Option from any of the parents in the room (they all had younger sibs, many were outside the boundary). Sheri's push back was about whether all the immersions would have to then be Options and how that couldn't work for the other two because of geography. I said why not have the immersion part of the school enroll like an Option and the nonimmersion like neighborhood? A parent said that's how Latona used to be an implied that was a bad thing(?).

Sheri is interested in the idea of making McDonald an immersion school (goal is to have two K-5s for each international MS and she is concerned there isn't enough critical mass at HIMs to make it strong).), but wants to give the McDonald families and staff a chance to choose their own program (she thinks they are leaning toward science). Sandpoint feeds to Eckstein so doesn't make sense (and HIMS is full given APP and its draw area).

I'll post more later.

Maureen said...

There were 3 parents and a kid from AS#1. AS#1 really has an organized campaign going this time. They had talking points and filmed their presentations and Sherry's response, presumably to post for their community.

They are consistently making the point (I've seen this 3 dift times now) that they are basically a different school than they were two years ago--they have a new principal, many new staff and families. They had their bus service slashed way back. Their test scores are way up (look at the segmentation map--their yellow diamond is way up high in the left quadrant). They are asking for support in building their enrollment, they can be a partial solution to the MS overcrowding in the NE, but not if SPS keeps threatening to close them. They point out that if they close, 7 classroom full of kids will have to go back out into overcrowded schools. They pointed out that they aren't even listed under Alternative Schools on the SPS web site. AS#1! That is ridiculous!

They incorporate a very strong experiential learning program that is generally not available in SPS and they have very strong support for LGBT kids and families--they have a unit in their 7th/8th grade classes on LGBT issues and local LGBT organizations are coming out in strong support of AS#1. (I think there was a 3rd program mentioned-but I didn't note it)

I hope they survive (and thrive) Seattle needs a school like their's.

Maureen said...

Sherry didn't commit to anything for AS#1, she pointed out that they are one part of a complicated puzzle and that she doesn't feel it would be right to take anything off the table given the major budget and capacity issues we are facing. (I believe one of the parents said that Kay S-B and Betty Patu are supporting them.)

Chris said...

I didn't go to DeBell's meeting but had to do damage control after he told the parents there they were discontinuing sibling preference...for options schools!

I doubt this is true because I asked Tracy Libros Wednesday, "What is the order of tiebreakers for option schools?" and she said "Sibling, geographic zone, lottery."

So unless it changed between Weds. and Sat., thanks Michael for the misinformation. It is an additional disappointment when the directors can't keep their info straight and/or never admit when they are uncertain. I mean, how hard it is? I have a job too.

wsnorth said...

I have also asked the NSAP email and directors individually about the sibling preference and gotten no response. Notice it is absent from this year's NSAP site, powerpoint, discussion, etc. DOes that mean, gone, guaranteed, or still on the table?

Chris said...

They are definitely saying they "can't" grandfather any siblings at neighborhood schools. People are still objecting.

I couldn't find anything on Option school tiebreakers on the website, that's why I had to ask Tracy.

Central Mom said...

Michael doesn't know what he's talking about here. Option school tiebreakers are Sibs, GeoZones, Lottery. Maybe he was mixed up with transportation grandfathering, or with neighborhood school out-of-area sibs.

And on that topic, I think many people still do not realize that the huge push from last year, grandfathering out-of-area sibs in neighborhood schools, is - as Chris says - most definitely off the table as far as the District is concerned due to lack of physical space.

WV says mensinkt. Yes, men sinked indeed.

Checking said...

I asked someone who was there and she said debell did NOT say that.

Jan said...

Central Mom: interesting, how the District is dealing with the sib grandfathering issue this year. Last year, because the NSAP was up for a vote, every board meeting was a forum for this issue, with LOTS of interested speakers, and they HAD to listen to and appear to be responsive to the comments. But -- what they gave was a "we'll do X this year, and then 'look at' what we can afford to do after that." The default, of course, was 'nothing' -- but people didn'
t really hear that. The implication, and what people "heard," because they wanted to, was that the issue would be 'revisited' this year. But, they won't revisit it. They aren't going to discuss it again. It's over. Because there is no new NSAP vote on the table, they have (and have taken advantage of) the luxury of just saying -- nope. No. We are done. Now, maybe they could do more, and maybe they couldn't. I haven't heard any discussion of how many siblings had to be grandfathered, what effect it had on option seats, school enrollmen, on overcrowding, etc. I guess I had thought all that would be reported on and discussed as part of the "decision" on whether the District could afford to do any further sibling grandfathering. But it seems clear to me -- as far as the District is concerned, the community engagement/discussion on this topic is over. So -- the NEXT time the District tells you they will work out something on a one year basis, and then revisit it "do see what we can do the following year," we need to remember this and see if we can't get the decision worked so that the District can't just stonewall the discussion, declare victory, and retire from the field the following year. What has really happened here is tantamount to the District having said, last year -- one year, and one year only of sibling grandfathering. Is that what people thought they heard?

wsnorth said...

I emailed the NSAP email address from the site and asked if sibling would remain the first tie breaker. The response: rule for next year are not finalized yet.

Looks like the sibling tie breaker is not a done deal going forward.

Bird said...

What has really happened here is tantamount to the District having said, last year -- one year, and one year only of sibling grandfathering. Is that what people thought they heard?

What I heard them say last year was essentially no grandfathering -- not unless there's room, which essentially means no grandfathering. Some sibs got in, some didn't depending on hard the school decided to try to fit them in.

Interestingly, I'm hearing an increasing call for switching JSIS to an option school amongst families in the school's reference area. The writing's on the wall, JSIS's reference area is too big, and people are starting to recognize that sooner or later this sib issue will visit them, even if they are now in the reference area now. No one (except apparently the district) believes that the current boundaries can hold.

I expect this will be a problem elsewhere. Sibs aren't a transition year problem. They will be an ongoing problem for this neighborhood system.