Monday, November 15, 2010

Possible Outcome for Garfield

::::UPDATE - I have changed the proposed APP cap at Garfield from 90 to 110.:::::

Let's not kid ourselves. The District is going to do something about Garfield and what they are going to do is limit APP access to the school. The full weight of reducing the overcrowding at Garfield will fall on APP. Even though the growth of APP has had almost nothing to do with the enrollment explosion at Garfield.

This was their intent from the start and it is the reason that they drew the Garfield attendance area as they did. They want to break up APP because the District improves school test scores by re-arranging the distribution of high performing students - not by actually improving outcomes for students.

So what do I think they will do? In the constrained universe that begins with the presumption of capped APP enrollment at Garfield, here's what I think would be the best possible outcome:

The District staff will recommend that high school APP be split and the Board will concur. They will claim - absurdly - that it will improve access and choice in the program. Seriously. The only question remaining will be the number of target schools, which target schools, and how they will mandate the split.

First, APP enrollment at Garfield will be capped, probably around 110 students per class (440 total). Historically, APP freshman enrollment at Garfield has exceeded 110 only during the past three years.

Since there are slightly more than 440 high school APP students (455 currently) and for the past three years there has been more than 110 freshmen APP students at Garfield, the District will have to identify additional "APP Pathways" through high school. We have already heard of one, accelerated IB at Ingraham. Of course, if there can be accelerated IB at Ingraham they can offer it at Sealth as well. They could also identify STEM as an "APP Pathway" - with or without acceleration. They don't need to do this, but it might help draw a few more APP students to STEM and boost the test scores there, which would further burnish the claim of a "turnaround" at Cleveland. Further, it would cost nothing and be easy to identify The NOVA Project as a liberal arts "APP Pathway" to balance the one at STEM. So there could be anywhere from two to five "APP Pathways".

APP students coming out of Washington will get a default assignment to an "APP Pathway" based on their home address. They will get a default assignment to Ingraham accelerated IB if they live in the Ingraham or Hale attendance areas - possibly if they live in the Ballard attendance area as well. If STEM is part of the deal, students will get a default assignment to STEM if they live in the Franklin or Rainier Beach attendance areas. If accelerated IB at Sealth is part of the deal it will be the default assignment for APP students living in West Seattle. Garfield will continue to be the default assignment for the remaining APP students.

Families will, of course, be free to choose any school during Open Enrollment, but once Garfield APP is full, it is full and they will have to accept assignment to another "APP Pathway" high school or another school altogether.

That's how I would do it if I were they. There are some elements of this scheme that, frankly, just make too much sense for the District to ever actually adopt it, so I expect that the real final decision will be some sub-optimal version of this.

Certain elements are sure to be present, however. The APP enrollment at Garfield will definitely be capped - hopefully at no less than 110 per class. Other schools will be identified - at least by designation - as "APP Pathways". Students will get default assignments to a pathway based on their home address but will, of course, be free to choose another pathway (on a space available basis). Whether there will be anything distinctive at these schools for the APP students or not is unclear. They will probably only get usual advanced placement that they already get in math, science, and world language because they already took the 9th (and possibly 10th) grade level classes in middle school.

Note to avert an inevitable comment - The District could justify putting another West Seattle attendance area elementary into the Madison/West Seattle zone if they make Sealth an APP pathway school. That way they will be doing it in response to an action they were taking instead of doing it in response to community demand.

100 comments:

emeraldkity said...

why is it that I can't dismiss that my concern than some of the instructors @ Garfield who had made a commitment to working in public schools, may find that when their talented pool of students declines, other areas become more enticing.


This will affect more students than APP.

David said...

Charlie writes, "They want to break up APP because the District improves school test scores by re-arranging the distribution of high performing students."

Yep. By shuffling students around, Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson can point to higher test scores at struggling schools and feign success. She is manipulating the metrics.

Of course, it does nothing to improve outcomes for students. If anything, it reduces them, by hurting high test score performers (or driving them out of the district) and reducing the pressure to take real actions that might actually help struggling students.

Charlie Mas said...

APP at Garfield has, for many years, had an enrollment of about 400. If the APP enrollment at Garfield is capped at 360 it won't be a signficant reduction from the traditional enrollment. It shouldn't cause harm to the program.

If the enrollment were, however, to be capped at 240, I think the change would be noticable.

Even if the enrollment WERE capped at 360, it is possible that the other pathways would prove enticing enough that Garfield would not have to turn any APP students away. That would be best. That would mean that students were pulled into the other programs, not pushed into them.

Charlie Mas said...

David, I absolutely agree. You have stated explicitly what meant to imply (and have stated explicitly elsewhere).

Anonymous said...

Our cynical, manipulative, hostile superintendant has to go. She was aggressively duplicitous about the Garfield boundarie, just as she has been aggressively duplicitous about 20 or 30 other things. What we need is a slate of school board candidates to run on a "Fire the Super" platform, not a wishy-washy "data-driven decisionmaking" platform but a genuine, easy to understand, in your face political platform. Then, we need 500-750k for the media blitz. And the backbone to stand and fight in a very non-Seattle way. Oh, btw, I'm in for $1000. Who's with me?

Signed, $ where my mouth is

Melissa Westbrook said...

$, working on it. KNow anyone to run against Peter Maier or Sherry Carr?

Maureen said...

Charlie, when you say 'cap enrollment' at a certain number, do you mean that literally, or are you saying that restricting the draw area for APP kids who are assigned to GHS will result in 240 or 360 (or whatever) APP kids assigned? I also noticed that you left the Roosevelt area APP kids being assigned to GHS. Is that because RHS doesn't need to increase its scores so you think SPS will allow them to stay at GHS? It seems to me that if they are going to split APP, they might as well mirror the HIMS/WMS split (since the coherence of the cohort is so very valuable.)

Maureen said...

Does Sherry Carr really have to go? What would she have to do to be redeemed as a candidate? (And is she definitely running again?) She is one I have actually heard say: "My constituents are worried about this."

Chris said...

Re: David's comment: Doesn't the reporting for the feds require APP to be broken out, like FRL or special ed? So it should be obvious she's not improving the school. But I guess it could move you up a score or two in the Seattle Rankings, to have better average scores but still significant gap. Maybe this is the purpose of the "new" school reports.

Meg said...

I have a question. The district receives a small amount of money for providing a K-12 program for academically gifted students. I don't know if that's only the $3500 per APP bus rider (which I think but am not certain they may get for the HS kids, even though they just issue them a metro pass), or if there's some additional cash on top of that. If it's just the transportation money, that's a couple million dollars a year, which, by the by, for those of you who hate us elitist twerps, the district does not plow into making sure that APP is fantabulous. They plow it into supporting transportation and programs for everyone else.

So what if those options, at least at the 9-12 level, become indistinguishable from general ed? Does the district lose all of the money, or just the 9-12 money?

justaparent said...

Hi, Meg. I don't know much about this, but I think it might be described in the Washington State budget here

http://leap.leg.wa.gov/leap/budget/detail/2009/co0911p.asp

It's the link for ESHB 1244. Go to page 151-152, Sec 511. There it says that $9.4M was allocated for highly capable students with a maximum of $401 in additional funds per student. Not sure how little the district can do before they lose those additional funds.

Maureen said...

Meg,I don't see why they would lose the money now if they haven't in the past. They can just say they have three (or whatever) cohort based models now. They never pretended to offer anything different in terms of curriculum or counseling at the HS level. If they allow APP identified but not enrolled by 8th grade kids to sign up for accelerated IB or whatever then maybe they will make even more money. Hurray!

rainin said...

"Re: David's comment: Doesn't the reporting for the feds require APP to be broken out,"

Yup, you are right. To the general pubic a school may look like it is doing better, but not to the feds. They look at the data, and break it down into categories. AYP is broken down by minority students, low income, and special education, to name a few. A school can't escape NCLB sanctions by simply adding a high performing population.But higher overall test scores could pull the wool over some families eyes and make MGJ's resume look good if an employer wasn't savvy enough to figure out what she had done.

Charlie Mas said...

Oh boy! Lots of good questions!

Maureen, when I write "cap enrollment" I mean to strictly limit the enrollment of out-of-area APP students at Garfield to 360. The 361st APP student is not enrolled there. Not by restricting the draw area but by restricting the number of APP students - from anywhere outside the Garfield attendance area - who can enroll. Access to Garfield APP, which has and will continue to have, its own enrollment designation, will be limited to 90 students per class.

Even in the most distributed model I could envision with the greatest number of pathways, APP students from the Garfield and Roosevelt attendance areas would still get a default assignment to Garfield. The reason for Garfield is obvious, the District can't keep them out. The reason for Roosevelt is because the District doesn't want them to choose Roosevelt (already full) and because it is close to Garfield. Same for Ballard.

If the District creates enough acceptable and legitimate pathways, they won't have to push people into Ingraham, Sealth, and STEM, the people will just choose them. Of course, the District needs to pour a little sugar on these schools by promising "accelerated" IB and STEM. The acceleration, of course, won't be anything more than the students would have anyway after taking high school level classes in middle school, but it's all about marketing.

I think the District's goals would be better served by a split other than a WMS/HIMS cohort split. First, because they don't really believe in cohort - not for APP. Second because they want to claim to offer choice. That was a critical element of Dr. Vaughan's pitch to the APP AC. In that proposal, families all over the city could choose between Ingraham accelerated IB and Garfield's AP classes.

Yes, Sherry Carr has to go. She doesn't represent her community to the District, she represents the District to her community.

Chris, while it is true that APP scores can be reported separately, almost no one examines the disaggregated scores. The lie will work. It has worked in the past and it works all the time now. Consider the example of the Hamilton CSIP in which they congratulate themselves for their increased pass rate without any acknowledgement of the replacement of 225 south-end students with 225 APP students.

Meg, the District will continue to report to the State that the students are in APP so long as they are in one of the many APP pathways. Either way, the state does not enforce any requirement that the District actually provide a program. If they did, there would surely have been years in the past when the state would have withheld funding for the absence of a high school program.

Actually, the funding from the state is based on a formula that is independent of the actual number of students in the program. It's just a dollar amount multiplied by a percentage of the District's AAFTE. The funding would be the same if there were 1,500 students in the program or 15,000 or 150.

hschinske said...

Most of the money for advanced learning goes on testing and on running the AL office. It pays Bob Vaughan's salary, Roger Daniels's salary, an administrative assistant, etc. I think the teachers occasionally get some professional development (but maybe that's out of another pot), not sure.

I don't know if that's only the $3500 per APP bus rider (which I think but am not certain they may get for the HS kids, even though they just issue them a metro pass), or if there's some additional cash on top of that.

The district gets the $3500 only for students who *actually* ride those yellow buses -- if your student is getting driven to school, and therefore isn't counted during the October week when they take a bus census, then even if they're in elementary or middle school, that money does not reach us. In any case, that's money that is almost sure to get cut from the state's budget in the current economic climate.

It's only quite recently that a transportation employee noticed that any high school students qualified for that funding at all (can't remember if we were already getting it for elementary/middle school or not) -- I think it started a few years ago, when there was still yellow-bus service to Garfield for APP students, and they made a point of allowing the piggybacking on WMS buses later because of that funding.

Helen Schinske

wseadawg said...

OT I know. But y'all gotta read this inspiring article from Ed Week. Why I Will Not Teach to the Test: It's Time to Focus on In-Depth Learning, Not Shallow Answers

IvyLeagueMom said...

This is why I fight the District. I am re-energized weekly by the misfeasance and malfeasance exhibited by our Super and her cronies on the Board.

If I had a gifted child in APP and were a parent having to deal with this Garfield APP debacle, I would immediately have my child apply to half a dozen need-blind admissions prep schools, like Phillips Andover, Phillips Exeter, Choate Rosemary Hall, Deerfied, etc. Then I would pray like hell they were accepted. I cannot even imagine having to roll THIS boulder up hill.

Support the recall. I am in it for the long haul.

dj said...

Charlie, I don't know what you are talking about. Over on the Discuss APP blog, the APP AC is saying adamantly that any possibility of another APP pathway is in its "early stages," and that an IB program at Igraham, if established, is going to at this point be "completely voluntary." Surely the APP community would not be fed inaccurate information about the immediate future of high school APP. Right?

dj said...

Oh, and I agree with emeraldkity. I am less concerned about the split as an APP parent than as a parent of non-APP kids who lives in the Garfield attendance area. I am concerned that if APP is dismantled, the course offerings there will be diminished, and the overcrowding problem will be -- poof! -- solved by the fact that many fewer parents with options will send their kids there.

Anonymous said...

IVY League mom, you don't need to go to a snooty east coast boarding school to get a low cost private school education. Lakeside already funds all students who are admitted if they demonstrate financial need. And, they are very generous. Bus is provided on metro for a relatively low cost. (way less than $3500, and the distance is further away for most living in Seattle ) You do have to get in though, and they don't use notes from the doctor in the admissions process.

Another Parent

Charlie Mas said...

dj, I'm going to presume that your comment about the optional APP pathway at Ingraham being only in the "early stages" was sarcasm.

I really mangled the answer to Maureen. In the scenario that I'm projecting, APP at Garfield will have only 90 seats per class. Those seats will go first to APP students living in the Garfield attendance area. Then siblings of Garfield APP students. Then out-of-area APP students chosen through a lottery. Review the Board work session on enrollment and capacity management and you will see it written there. There never used to be anything like that for APP because every eligible student was enrolled. There were no caps before. The enrollment plan for APP shown to the Board two weeks ago pre-supposes caps on APP enrollment.

wseadawg said...

Can someone explain why, with 199 open seats at Cleveland, and 147 open seats at Franklin (minimum #'s according to '09 Functional Capacity analysis), we are not simply discussing the simplest and easiest short term solution of adjusting the Southern Garfield boundary a few blocks North?

CD folks: Is Franklin that horrid? What's the deal? Seems like drawing the boundary along I-90 may not solve all the overcrowding, but would go a long way towards fixing it with the least amount of pain and controversy.

Folks: What am I missing here? Why, for example, is the North End of Beacon Hill assigned to Garfield and not Franklin, with the Interstate, bridges, major cross-town traffic routes, and congestion between that area and Garfield, including the SU/Providence/upper Int'l District traffic congestion, etc., when anyone from N. Beacon could practically roll down the hill to Franklin HS in 5 minutes or less? Why is I-90 not the natural south boundary for Garfield. Help me out here.

wseadawg said...

And please don't mince words. If the reason is because people think Garfield is awesome and Franklin sucks, please say so! Seems likely more can and should be done to improve schools, rather than tossing groups of kids here and there.

none1111 said...

Does Sherry Carr really have to go? What would she have to do to be redeemed as a candidate? (And is she definitely running again?) She is one I have actually heard say: "My constituents are worried about this."

They all say stuff like that. Then they go right on their merry way and blindly follow the superintendent with their votes. Harium sounds great in person as well, but he hasn't represented his constituents for a long time as well.

Words aren't worth squat if the votes don't follow.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Every single incumbent in ANY race needs to be challenged. That it did not happen in Michael DeBell's case is a shame. No one should get a free pass to public office.

Sherry is bright, hard-working and knows the district. She can sometimes say the right things but I have never heard her really stick up for parents nor follow-up on any disagreement with staff. She'll challenge them at committee meetings, take their stock answer and back off. That has to stop.

I wish she would do better. I wish she was the person that I walked her district with, doorbelling with her. But I haven't found that to be the case.

SolvayGirl1972 said...

WSEADAWG: Don't forget the 400+ open seats at RBHS.

Let's face it, the District has not done enough to make southend schools desirable for a big chunk of the people who live there (my family is one of those).

There's a number of reasons for this (based on talking to others who have chosen any other option—both public and private) that include (but are not limited to) lower expectations (this should be changing at STEM/Cleveland—but that's only good if you have a math/science kid), adequate college prep academics, safety concerns (in RBHS case the surrounding neighborhood is also a concern), lack of rigor, emphasis on sports over academics, fewer choice in course offerings (chicken and egg, I know), lack of quality arts offerings (orchestra, etc.), emphasis on under-achievers as opposed to at-standard or over-achievers, etc.

I realize that some of these reasons are opinions, and may not even be based on fact, but they are the perceptions people have and those perceptions are often reinforced when people tour the schools—especially true in the case of RBHS.

Charlie Mas said...

While there may be a number of available seats at Franklin right now, take a look at the size of the freshman class that came in with the new Student Assignment Plan. The November 1, 2010 number is 431. If that class size continues, Franklin will have over 1,700 students in a couple years. There's no space available at Franklin.

Charlie Mas said...

Here are some critical questions:

1) APP families living in the Hale and Ingraham attendance areas:
What would it take for you to choose an accelerated IB program at Ingraham as a high school APP pathway for your child?

2) APP families living in the Franklin and Rainier Beach attendance areas:
What would it take for you to choose an accelerated STEM program at Cleveland as a high school APP pathway for your child?

3) APP families living in the West Seattle and Chief Sealth attendance areas:
What would it take for you to choose an accelerated IB program at Sealth as a high school APP pathway for your child?

4) APP families living in the Ballard, Roosevelt, and Garfield attendance areas:
What would it take for you to choose an accelerated IB or accelerated STEM program at Ingraham, Sealth, or Cleveland as a high school APP pathway for your child?

5) APP families living anywhere in the city:
Would you consider The NOVA Project as a liberal arts high school APP pathway for your child?

I ask these questions as the parent of two APP students who each chose a different path than Garfield APP - one to NOVA and one to Chief Sealth. I didn't have any trouble with either of these choices, so I know that I'm the wrong person to ask about these things.

Do these other programs have no appeal at all? What could be done to make them as appealing as Garfield APP?

ds said...

I am not opposed to keeping APP at Garfield but I think parents of APP- and non-APP kids need to join together in fighting for all kids at all comprehensive high schools having access to honors, AP, and/or IB courses at all grades in all subjects. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think there are two primary components to the argument for maintaining the APP kids at Garfield: 1) access to advanced coursework in all subjects across high school, and 2) keeping the cohort together so that support can be provided for this group of special needs kids. I think a primary concern from the non-APP community and, perhaps from the district, is that argument #1 should not just apply to APP kids.

The district is full of bright, motivated kids who deserve access to advanced coursework in high school. The majority of these kids are not in the APP middle school programs (and thus eligible for APP at Garfield). Some are APP-qualified but not enrolled in Hamilton or Washington, some are in Spectrum middle school classes (which are often a joke…this should be discussed another time), some never tested but are exceptionally bright, and some did not pass the test but are nonetheless ready for more challenge than what is available in regular high school classes. Because these kids and families do not have a common voice and tool for organizing like APP parents do, we really need your help in fighting this fight. Parents of APP kids should by all means stand up for their kids’ needs, but please do not lose sight of the fact that kids outside of APP have an equal right to access advanced coursework in high school as the APP kids do.

If kids are going to be assigned to high schools based on an address, then ALL kids should have access to a full complement of honors/AP/IB courses (17 of them) in all subjects for all grades:

Language Arts: honors in 9th and 10th grades, AP/IB (or UW in the high school) in 11th & 12th grades

Math: honors geometry (with a full treatment of proofs!) and AP statistics and calculus (most schools also offer honors in Algebra 2 and Pre Calc, but I don’t see this as absolutely necessary)

Science: honors physical science (or possibly just the option for kids advanced in math and science to opt out of this course and replace it with chemistry and physics); honors, AP, or IB biology (this is currently offered at 7 of 9 comprehensive high schools); honors, AP, or IB chemistry (already offered at 6 of 9 high schools); honors, AP, IB, or UW-credit course in a fourth science

Social Studies: honors and/or AP history in 9th and 10th grades, AP/IB US history and American government in 11th & 12th grades

World Languages: at least 2 languages that culminate in a AP course

ds said...

...cont

I reviewed high school catalogs (some of which are a year old so may not be up-to-date) and here is what is currently missing from each high school (from highest to lowest):

Nathan Hale: Hale offers a number of honors or AP contract courses (where students do extra projects, reading, or other work outside of the class time in order to earn honors credit). This does not provide kids with the same resources (namely, instruction) that are being provided to other kids in the district, so I do not count these courses as true honors or AP courses (some may disagree, but please ask yourself if you would settle for this for your child if the more robust courses were being offered at all other high schools in the district…Hale adheres to an alternative educational philosophy, which is absolutely fantastic for some, but should not be pushed upon everyone living in its boundaries). With this consideration, Hale is missing a total of 10 courses from the above list (honors 9th & 10th grade LA and history; AP US History and American Government; honors physical science, biology, and chemistry; honors geometry).

Franklin: Franklin is missing 9 courses (honors 9th and 10th grade language arts and history, AP US History and American government, honors physical science, a 4th honors or AP science course, and a 2nd AP world language course). Franklin does offer an honors-by-contract 9th grade language arts course, but again, this is not equivalent to a stand-alone course with instruction. Franklin also offers two AP art courses. Although I’m sure Franklin has some great things to offer, I can’t blame families currently in the Garfield area who might be redrawn into Franklin for being concerned and possibly even resentful toward APP families. With a strengthened program at Franklin, this concern might be mitigated.

Rainier Beach: A number of courses have been added in recent years, but RB still appears to be missing 8 courses (honors 9th & 10th grade LA, AP LA in 12th grade, honors physical science, a 4th honors or AP science course, both AP world languages). The course offerings at RB are a bit unclear but, compared to the out-of-date course listings provided on their website last year, there is now much more information (kudos to them for getting that posted).

Roosevelt: This is a bit surprising to see, but Roosevelt is missing 6 of the courses (honors 9th & 10th grade LA; honors 9th grade history; and honors/AP in physical science, biology, and chemistry). Roosevelt does offer honors-by-contract for its 10th grade LA course. It also offers a 3rd and 4th world language, AP comparative government, AP Spanish literature, and the more advanced AP Calculus course (Calc BC).

cont...

ds said...

cont...

Ballard: Ballard is missing 3 of the courses (honors 9th & 10th grade LA, honors physical science). Ballard also offers a 3rd AP world language course and two AP history options for 10th grade.

Sealth: Sealth is missing 3 courses, all sciences (honors physical science, IB Chemistry, and a 4th honors/IB science). It does, however, offer IB art and theory of knowledge.

West Seattle: West Seattle does not offer a 2nd AP foreign language, but that appears to be the only missing course from the above list.

Ingraham: Ingraham does not offer an honors 9th grade history course. It does, however, offer quite a few additional IB courses (physics, world history, art, music, economics, psychology, theory of knowledge, a 3rd world language course).

Garfield: Garfield does not appear to offer an honors section of physical science, but I think some kids are coming into Garfield with credit for that course under their belts. Garfield offers both honors and AP chemistry and physics (the honors option is nice because kids must commit 2 years to a particular science if they want to go the AP route…one year of the same science is a prerequisite for AP courses). It also offers a 3rd AP world languages, AP art, and the more advanced AP calculus course (calc BC).

Making these additions would mean adding an average of about 1 AP/IB course per school and 3.5 honors courses per school. I don’t know what kinds of costs would be involved here (e.g., certification for AP courses; extra teachers because advanced classes are not filled at some schools), but I think that these changes are necessary to make the NSAP equitable and to make it possible for APP to remain together. Of course, there’s a lot more work that needs to be done than this (e.g., increased support to struggling students) …increasing honors/AP/IB is just one piece of the puzzle that happens to be timely in that it relates to the Garfield issue.

Please, let’s fight this fight together. I think APP families will gain respect from the community if they advocate for all kids having access to a full range of advanced coursework in high school, not just those enrolled in the APP program.

Anonymous said...

Cathy said...
Where can we get a copy of the APP enrollment plan? Where can we find the justification for the current Garfield boundaries?
The APP AC is supporting a "choice based" Ingraham IB option as a way of trying to head off a geographic split because Martin-Morris said the School Board would not redraw the boundaries to accomodate the "ever growing APP" numbers. According to Morris, to accommodate the numbers of incoming APP students over the next years would require a dramatic narrowing of the current Garfield boundaries and the Bd's first and upmost priority is maintaining the neighborhood school model. Dr. Vaughn has received the thumbs up from GLJ to pursue "accelerated" IB at Ingraham, whatever that means.

Charlie Mas said...

ds, is, of course, absolutely right.

Let's go further. All students should have access to more advanced work and courses in middle school as well.

And further still. All students should have access to as much challenge as they can handle in elementary school, too.

So how are we going to get there? Only when Education Directors are putting pressure on principals by asking them "It appears from the assessment that you have 16 second grade students working beyond grade level in math. What are you doing to provide them with additional rigor?"

SolvayGirl1972 said...

Excellent post, ds! If neighborhood high schools are the reality for non-APP families, then each school must offer a high level of college-prep work in a variety of disciplines.

And where does TFA fit into all this? Putting TFA into a school like RBHS MAY be beneficial to the kids who are below-standard, at-risk, but what will it do to attract or benefit the kids who are at/above standard?

Maureen said...

ds, Wow! Thanks for that exhaustive summary!

CCM said...

ds -- thanks for the summary and I 100% agree that each high school should offer the same range of AP courses.

Question becomes - how much does it cost to run each section if they are not full?

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.

If you remove those numbers and spread it around - choice may increase in some high schools but it will most certainly decrease at Garfield.

Maybe that's ok when you look at it from a "fairness" point of view - personally we aren't sure that having our kids take several AP classes in high school is absolutely necessary anyway as we certainly are not angling for a shorter college experience for them.

However - is it ok to say this list is "good enough" in the name of fairness when there are kids that have been in an accelerated program for many years and they will basically run out of options at the high school level if the course options are reduced?

I really don't know the answer.

SolvayGirl1972 said...

I think a lot of non-APP families in SPS look for honors or AP classes as a way to insure that their child will be in a cohort of motivated learners. Few people I know are motivated by the college credit aspect of AP (or even IB), it's more about the higher level of rigor and the idea that most , if not all, of the kids in the class want to be there and are willing and able to do the work.

That translates, hopefully, to the idea that the class will move at a somewhat accelerated pace, the coursework will be challenging, and the student will be better prepared to handle college-level classes when they're on their own and away from parental guidance, etc.

You'll note that many of the private high schools do not offer AP classes. That's because their level of rigor is already accelerated and they want the ability to allow their teachers to tailor their curriculum and materials to their students and, often, the school's philosophy. The majority of graduates from these schools seem to have few problems getting accepted at the colleges they apply to—everything from the state colleges to the big deal private universities.

Meg said...

Quick question - where'd Martin-Morris get the idea that APP is "ever growing?"

I was looking at OSPI's highly capable numbers, and while OSPI doesn't provide numbers for 2009-10 and 2010-11, high school APP enrollment has grown, but not at any kind of remarkable clip.

2005-06: 387 APP/1,595 total at Garfield
2006-07: 398 APP/1,607 total at Garfield
2007-08: 406 APP/1648 total at Garfield
2008-09: 415 APP/1684 at Garfield

APP grew by 28 kids from 2005-06 to 2008-09, while Garfield as a whole grew by 89 kids.

Every one of those years, APP lost kids in the transition from 8th to 9th.

So, long way of wondering out loud - how'd Martin-Morris get the idea that APP is "ever-growing?"

Jan said...

DS said:

Please, let’s fight this fight together. I think APP families will gain respect from the community if they advocate for all kids having access to a full range of advanced coursework in high school, not just those enrolled in the APP program.

Ds -- that is as great a call to action as any I have ever heard (with a nod to Charlie here, whose logical, no nonsense approaches also have huge appeal, at least for me).

I will confess, I doubt that "APP families will gain respect from the community" because I have watched with dismay for too many years while meanspirited, cranky aspersions are cast at the APP community from all sorts of folks with no regard for the well being of the students in (or who aspire to be in) the program. But regardless of whether it garners respect -- there is really only ONE "right" thing to do -- and that is to battle, together, for ALL Seattle's kids, APP, APP-eligible but not in the program, Spectrum, Spectrum eligible but not in the program, special ed kids who would be APP eligible but for their disabilities, "regular" kids who are behind, ELL, special ed, -- you name it. And you are absolutely correct that we should be expanding options for accelerated or higher level learning at all high schools.

Charlie Mas said...

Director Martin-Morris got the idea that APP is "ever-growing" because that is what staff told him and he didn't bother to verify that characterization by checking the data.

Like all of the rest of the Board members, Director Martin-Morris does not doubt or verify anything the staff tells him. Even after he has discovered a number of deliberate attempts to mislead him, he still does not question or them, double-check their statements, or ask them to provide data to support their assertions.

Anonymous said...

I would not choose any newly created program for my APP student (or my regular ed student) for one reason:

The district has a horrible track record with creating programs, especally when they split a program.

As a Ballard APP parent, my APP student will go to Ballard, if not allowed to go to Garfield.


Go Beavers!

Jan said...

Meg: Harium "gets the idea that APP is ever-growing" because that particular fiction suits his agenda to "solve" the Garfield population problem (that he helped to create when he ignored community concerns over the proposed boundaries and then voted to approve them as proposed by the District) in a manner least likely to "move" the boundaries for the schools in his district -- which would be a headache for him.

Director Martin Morris has an astonishing ability to just wave his hands and say whatever suits his current negotiating posture (see his comments last spring when challenged not to extend MGJ's contract, on how great a job MJG is doing), and his comments on the STEM contract.

WV says kill "thewabid" -- and I say, run, Bugs, run!!

Jan said...

Anonymous's comment on Ballard is interesting. Given the choice that her comment presupposes, I think I would make the same decision.

But it is interesting to note -- ONE of the proposals on the table would be to just simply "move" part of the program (incoming freshmen AND upper classes) to another location -- and since there is no automatic "right" to a neighborhood school for the upper class kids -- I am not sure that any oversubscribed school (Ballard, RHS, etc.) would even be an option. Given the arbitrary and dictatorial style that MGJ has adopted with respect to her decisionmaking, here is hoping the District doesn't just decide to take the choice away from the IHS APP middle school kids to select out of APP and go neighborhood at the 9th grade level. While this might seem extreme, it does seem likely to me that many Ballard/RHS kids will stay in their neighborhood schools rather than slog all the way to Ingraham. If MGJ wants to avoid further crowding of THOSE schools, who knows what she could do --and since a majority of the Board declines to supervise her, her power here seems pretty unfettered.

Jan said...

Here is another thought:

Why can't the District solve this problem by "reopening" Horace Mann -- possibly as a "9th grade academy" and using that facility to relieve crowding of Garfield. My recollection is that NOVA kids -- when they were at Mann -- used to have some ability to take a class or 2 at Garfield, so it is not like kids don't know how to navigate the one block between the two schools. So, 9th graders taking classes at the main Garfield building could get back and forth, etc. Then, potentially ALL of the current Garfield programs could stay at Garfield (which is NOT to say, as DS points, out, that we should not be working to add accelerated, honors, and AP classes elsewhere -- we certainly should). But why can't the District work to solve the problem they (and ONLY they) created last year in a way that is less painful for everybody.

Charlie Mas said...

After reviewing this data on historical APP enrollment, I have changed the projected cap on APP enrollment at Garfield from 90 per class to 110.

Eddie said...

Nowhere is all of these postings do I see an analysis of what happens to this group of 8th graders. Two years ago,these kids said good-bye to half of their friends. Middle school is considered a most difficult time emotionally for every child no matter where they are academically. This split had major emotional impact on the very group of kids that will be impacted again. Most kids will be ok because they roll with the punches. But some will definitely not be fine. Some students are (and I am sure I will get in trouble for saying this) fragile. These are kids who are brilliant but fragile. The APP kids have spent years learning to deal with some unique kids who will suffer true emotional damage in the new situation. Many APP kids have taken two years of French which would have counted as a year of foreign language. Wanna' guess how many of those schools offer French? Don't care about that? Many, many of this year's eighth graders are taking sophomore courses. They are in geometry and biology -- they are studying for an AP test next fall. Do I agree with this acceleration? Don't even get me started. When entering the program, we were lead to believe the kids would go deeper in the studies -- not jump two years ahead of their classmates, but jump they did and here they are. So, these eighth graders are supposed to do what next year while waiting for the possibility of taking IB courses in tenth grade? Most of these kids could take two years off then start as juniors in IB. I am distressed at how many reasonable people I know who are heading for private schools. I am distraught knowing how much these kids were told they would get to reconnect in high school -- it was promised and now, they will be torn further apart which, yes, will help other schools with test scores but will hurt human beings. Nowhere here has anyone asked how can we create the change we want to create while still keeping our integrity intact? The northend APP kids will have been in five different schools in five years -- Lowell, Washington, Lincoln, Hamilton for eight and anew school for ninth. Cut this particular group of kids some slack and offer them a drop of continuity by letting them have a normal high school experience at Garfield instead of continuing to experiment with them. I am not a northend APP parent. I know a family who has an APP kid who has some special needs...he has the need for routine. When everything changes around him (as it constantly has for the last four years), it is very difficult for him to learn. I will go to the Garfield meeting tonight to hear the district prattle on about their "great solutions" but I expect to leave feeling depressed, dejected and dumbfounded at their thinking. My plan? Take advantage of the chaos and figure out a way for my kid to NOT waist two years. Do they not get that we don't WANT to do running start? Do they not get that the reason we were committed to SPS and public schools in general is that we care about all kids? Who knew that when my kid entered APP, he could, for the first time, show his whole self without fear. He didn't have to hide who he really was. What next? He will be assigned to a school that does not have what he loves -- French and drama. I am worried about all of the ridiculous repercussions that this stupid political game continues to have on these young kids. Go see "Inside Business." Substitute what happened in the financial world for what is currently going on in public education and you'll get an idea of why these kids don't have a chance to get what they deserve. I thought "Waiting for Superman" was a simplistic film (and it is). See Race to Nowhere when it comes out later this year. Google it now. That will give you an idea of why when SPS says they want to emulate Bellevue Schools, it kind of makes me want to throw up. Maybe the APP parents will push back hard enough to grandfather these eighth graders...in any event, if my kid were in kindergarten right now, I would be very worried.

Charlie Mas said...

Jan, the Mann Building is not available for use as a Garfield annex (a purpose it has served in the past) because... the District has leased it out!

I know - it's amazing, isn't it?

This building that was too decrepit for occupancy by students but apparently it isn't too decrepit for tenants.

Of course the District will have to spend some money to fix it up for those tenants - money that they wouldn't pay to fix up the building for students.

Seattle Parent said...

DS-
Thanks for the listing of the HS courses, but keep in mind if the information comes out of the course catalogue (and not the current Master Schedule) that it is not the same as what is actually being offered at school this year.

The course catalogues usually are online in early spring before school tours for prospective 9th graders, with the "best case" scenario of offerings (plus the ones that the District told the schools they "had" to offer, especially for the honors and AP). These classes are a first step towards equitable offerings in the schools, but equitable quality of instruction is the bottom line and is more difficult to compare (especially when some teachers and administration equate Honors with "tracking = discrimination" (i.e. like MGJ at the last Board meeting).

The budget comes out after the course catalogues are released, and suddenly the offerings are narrowed down- drastically in many cases, especially if their enrollment was cut.

kellycar said...

I have been lurking on this board for a couple of years and I have to say that I find it shocking that Seattle's public high schools have such limited options for advanced learners. My high school, a traditional, comprehensive, run of the mill high school (in Las Vegas) had all of the classes DS listed (except statistics) 25 years ago AND I was allowed to take AP music theory as an independent study. I just don't understand why people are so invested in keeping kids' learning limited to what they think is "average". If you read the APP discussion board, it sounds like kids at Hamilton are being forced to take math classes that are too easy for them and parents criticized for "accelerating kids' math at home." Is anyone else appalled at this? What happened to being proud of, and encouraging, kids who are high achievers?

Okay. Rant over.

Meg said...

Jan - The district talks about "surge capacity" all the time, and several directors have said to me that Garfield's boundaries were drawn to be right in about 5 years (although... I call bullshit. Those boundaries are too big).

Mann would fulfill the need for "temporary" surge capacity - although it wouldn't be able to hold, say, the current 9th grade class - it's only got capacity for between 340-380 students. That could be a problem. But what if it was used as a math/science building, electives building or language arts (and 9th grade cafeteria)?

In total numbers, whether it was for the bulk of a single grade, or as a math/science building (and 9th grade cafeteria?), Mann could potentially relieve Garfield's capacity woes while the district actually does something wacky like plan pro-actively instead of reactively. And I can't help but snark: THAT's why it'll never happen.

Charlie Mas said...

Meg,

The Mann building doesn't have a cafeteria or a kitchen.

Besides, like I wrote, it's leased.

southmom said...

Hey Eddie, I feel your pain. My kid's southend cohert is not just going to be split into two groups, but many, many fractions because the middle school they're all assigned to is currently so unacceptable...kids last year from our school went to a BUNCH of different schools because parents were forced into splitting peer groups up to find a better solution. You have NO IDEA if you don't live in the southeast Seattle.

north seattle mom said...

I think it is just hard to escape that the heart of this entire problem is that QA/Mag just doesn't have a high school.

The QA/Mag families sued the district a lifetime ago at this point bc they didn't have a high school and rather than just put QA High School on the BEX, they sold it. So now, we are all dealing with the issue that those families need to go somewhere and the only geographically close schools are Ballard and Garfield.

So pretty much everyone associated with Ballard and Garfield has to deal with the damage of no QA/Mag school. Garfield is overcrowded and looking to push out families. Ballard has crazy borders and will be beyond full soon enough.

Since QA/Mag is now so full of kids that an additional elementary needed to be opened, how long is is going to be before there is no possible way that Ballard and even Garfield without APP can sustain the sheer number of kids.

There is some other Magnolia property in the district inventory. They can put a Magnolia high school on the next BEX and a new school could be open in 4-5 years.

If there isn't a solution to the QA/Mag high school problem, there never will be a solution to the APP high school issue. One of the fall outs from the NSAP is that only geographically isolated schools are going to be able to support special programming. I am just waiting for WSHS to be the new APP school.

SolvayGirl1972 said...

Eddie
The problems you outline are why so many parents in Seattle scrimp and save to be able to send their kids to private school?. I too wanted my child in a school that offered what she loved: music (not orchestral and not band), drama, visual art and challenging academics with a whole-child approach. I too wanted a school where my child could be her true self. We would not have had any of it if she had ended up in her SPS assignment MS or HS.

Welcome to Public Education in Seattle.

Charlie Mas said...

north seattle mom is, of course, right.

All of these problems are rooted in the absence of a high school for Queen Anne and Magnolia.

Lincoln could fill the bill. The District could use Wilson-Pacific as the north-end interim site.

The District could also build a new high school - either in the parking garage space they will get in the swap for the Memorial Stadium or they could easily get some land in Interbay in exchange for the Magnolia School property.

The District could - and should - address this problem at the roots.

I just don't think they will.

Melissa Westbrook said...

So true. All that fussing and fighting over the racial tiebreaker when all QA/Magnolia parents wanted was a high school. And they didn't get one and now, we have even more problems. This was all something to see down the road but our district can't see to the corner.

Kelly said...

They should add another floor to McClure and make it a high school. It doesn't need to hold 1600 kids a la Ballard or Garfield. It can hold 800 or 900 and be fine. The Queen Anne pool is there, the Queen Anne Bowl is down the hill for football practice, etc. Then remodel the old Magnolia elementary into a middle school. They already have the property. Or use Blaine for the middle school and make Magnolia the K-8. Seems easier than starting from scratch.

Apple said...

I don't support the "choice" element of the north/south split that is currently on the table. My preference (no matter how unpopular it may be) is to simply split along the north/south as has already been done at elementary and middle school.

No fuss, no muss, two paths: a single elementary, together with a single middle school and a single high school for APP at each end of the city.

The beauty in this plan is it solves the cohort concern, takes all the mystery out of assignments and is consistent with what already is in place.

This would also save us the risk of splintering APP students to all corners of the city.

Yes, we were all promised that there would not be a split at high school, but it did always seem to be coming, right?

Apple said...

Additionally, it seems clear that APP high school students already at Garfield should remain at Garfield. No question that students already in a school should remain there for all grades available at that school.

Anonymous said...

Apple -

When the district split the APP elementary and middle schools, the schools were supposed to be equal (we see how well that has worked out). I don't believe that they will split the high school north/south because district can't pretend that a new IB program is equivalent/same as Garfield.

-annoyed

Charlie Mas said...

Cool idea, Kelly!

Ballard in Ballard said...

I like Kelly's idea, too.

Frankly, I don't think the district has a handle on enrollment numbers. Every year, there will be a different issue.

Children need stability. Children don't transition well. Yet, the district closes schools, opens schools- while moving our children throughout the district. This isn't good for learning or well being.

Neighborhood schools were sold on predicability. There isn't any. Let's face it- choice is nearly gone.

Now, the district is destroying a flagship school.

Maybe, just maybe MGJ will take all that crap off her desk and clean up NSAP. Don't see that happening. MGJ will go on destroying our district.

We need another school.

wishful thinking said...

We need another school.

We need another superintendent.

lendlees said...

So, why is it that we can come up with great, innovative simple solutions but the district can't?

Someone asked me if it's evil or just incompetence and I wasn't quite sure how to answer.

Everyone's ideas here are great--they would all work and be better than what's currently on the table.

StepJ said...

I love Kelly's idea. Staight to the point for all the right reasons -- enrollment, location, fiscal prudence. I hope someone who can make a difference reads the idea and runs with it.

Other than that I predict nothing so complicated as Charlie suggests.

Nothing involving any sort of enrollment cap at any particular school.

Likely, it will be the same approach for APP used with Elementary and MS. If you live in area X you receive an auto assignment to your X Attendance Area school for Elementary/MS/HS. Then, if you want to apply for the APP alternative you apply during Open Enrollment for the designated Elementary/MS/HS for area X.

Same thing for area Y.

They won't alter the rules to make assignments to Option Schools. This would muck with the 'Board' approved enrollment plan, and would also be a medium to large amount of scope creep to transition from the VAX to the new enrollment system platform.

Just a prediction.

I also predict that most folks in the Lowell/Hamilton/HS X track will not opt for Ingraham (unless they live moderately close by) and will attend their Attendance Area HS instead.

Same for the Thurgood Marshall/Washington/HS Y track.

I don't presume the HS listed on this track will be Garfield. It might be another HS entirely (one with room - RBHS, WS?) And as with track X - if the locaction (horrible commute) and track Y school is less desirable than the gtd. local HS - families will abandon the APP track for their Attendance Area school.

I don't understand the District's opposition to APP (perhaps the unpredictabililty of how many smart kids will test in?)

Either through lack of understanding at the District level or outright intent -- this might mean the dismantling of the APP program from the HS level downward.

I can read the PowerPoint now -- based on enrollment numbers the APP community has no desire to attend HS as a cohort. (Nevermind, the options for them were dismal.) We therefore conclude it must be the same for MS and Elementary.

If the APP community does wish to live beyond the tenure of MGJ - you will need to respond to this current displacement in a manner no one downtown could predict.

Charlie Mas said...

Here's a funny thing.

No one at the District level, so far as I can recall, has clearly stated "Boy! We really messed up with the attendance area boundary for Garfield. Sorry! Our bad."

So far as I can recall, no one on the Board has said "Hey, superintendent, you really messed up with the Garfield attendance area boundary. That's going to count against you in your performance review. Moreover, we expect you to fix your mistake by re-drawing the boundary lines correctly, not by re-arranging programs that you were supposed to work around."

Central Mom said...

Charlie, Kay Smith-Blum may not have said those words publicly, but I'm pretty sure she's thinking them. She was at the Central Capacity meeting tonight. She had a huge turnout to her quarterly meeting. She's been all over Garfield on a number of visits and I know for a fact that she's pushed staff to come up with better solutions than dispensing with the kids already at the school. She is fighting to make the best of the situation.

Will other board members back her? Now THAT is a question for which I simply don't have a prediction. And it's a real pity that the answer can't simply be "yes" they'll back the one board member who has sunk her teeth into the nitty gritty details of the issue. Speaks volumes about the makeup of the current board.

wseadawg said...

Central Mom: You touch on a very important point: Will the other board members back her? Do the other board members respect that Garfield is in her district, and that she's working hard to represent and deliver for the people in her district, including APP, and that maybe, therefore, since she's doing her homework maybe they should show a little deference to her on the topic? That's supposed to be how representation works on a School Board, but we'll have to see if any such thing exists with this board.

Maureen said...

wseadawg, I absolutely agree that the other Board members should acknowledge and defer to KSB's ideas as they impact Garfiled, but the fact is, any solution she comes up with will impact other regions as well. I just hope the other Directors are working as hard at coming up with constructive solutions that work for all of the kids and not just reacting or voting MG-J's party line..

hschinske said...

APP families living anywhere in the city:
Would you consider The NOVA Project as a liberal arts high school APP pathway for your child?


No. This may seem odd, as I have an APP-qualified child at Nova, but those educational needs are not the reason she's there, and I don't see them being especially well fulfilled there for a variety of reasons. Also, while Nova's structure allows for informal acceleration, and thus may be a reasonable fit for a certain type of gifted student, I think it goes against the Nova philosophy and mission to have it be any sort of official pathway.

Helen Schinske

agibean said...

Charlie,

I'm glad you asked about STEM, because I have a question for you-you seem to be following it closely. Last year you posted multiple times that you were certain it would become successful because it would displace the low-performing students of color. I remember mentioning here that I'd spoken to several families of color (both already at the school and incoming) that were thrilled with the idea of a rigorous program and who planned to partake of the program.

Now, I'm no expert, so it's possible that I looked in the wrong place, but I was cruising the district's website yesterday and THIS year's Cleveland numbers look like your prediction was completely off the mark-that the population at Cleveland is STILL heavily minority-I saw 36% Asian, 44% black and 11% Hispanic.

So given that, and a plan in place for a rigorous science program that's a reasonable bus trip from my house, I'd certainly consider it for my daughter. She's biracial, is a science nut and in
6th grade, so she'd fit the demographics, have a program in her area of interest that wouldn't involve a long commute, and in three years we'll know how it's doing.

But I AM curious if I was looking at the correct numbers. The page I found was in a 50+ page report on enrollment, broken down as of October of this year. And in this case, I'd have to say I'm glad you were wrong.

You seemed so sure none of them would want a STEM program. But see, I actually TALKED to some of those folks and that's not the answer I was hearing.

Looking forward to your answer.

zb said...

"No one at the District level, so far as I can recall, has clearly stated "Boy! We really messed up with the attendance area boundary for Garfield. Sorry! Our bad.""

Well, they don't have to feel that way about the boundaries, if they don't see the preference to attend Garfield given to students enrolled in APP at the middle-school level as a given. As folks have pointed out here to the confused, there is no "APP" program at Garfield. There's an option for a certain group of students (and not all of those identified as APP-eligible within SPS, and not those who may not currently be in SPS) to attend Garfield. No other group of students has access to a continued cohort in high school.

I wouldn't be at all disappointed to see the Washington/Hamilton APP preference for Garfield disappear. I even there's a potential that might benefit other neighborhood high schools, and, furthermore, that arguments against it really mean a shift of challenging classes away from other schools into Garfield, which I see little justification for.

There's been some suggestion that there are certain tracks (math & science?) where children at Wash/Ham APP might not have available classes at other high schools. If so, I think this should be resolved by having those classes at those high schools. But, someone fill me in on the specific problem.

It would also relieve over-crowding at Garfield.

zb said...

Others have toyed with the idea that there should be "applications" for open choice seats in high school, with potential preference given to those students who qualify (say, for high levels of math or science, or orchestra, or drama). I'm philosophically opposed to this idea (and, if we think about it in sport, I guess it would even be against the rules?).

But having an application for academic challenge would be more reasonable than having a special track for students who are enrolled in a particular program. I simply don't believe that those students are the only ones (or even the most needy ones) who need access to the challenge.

Dorothy Neville said...

Agibean, I don't remember Charlie saying that no low-income minority students would ever choose STEM, just that over time, the school would probably be dominated by middle class kids whose scores will dominate and the district can be proud of increasing scores at Cleveland without necessarily having served the at-risk kids. Just like the Hamilton report card is congratulating itself on increasing scores but not mentioning that it replaced 225 lower performing kids with advanced learners.

One of the concerns was that a low-income, minority student is likely to start STEM with academic deficiencies compared to a middle class non-minority student. And that at first, the STEM materials proposed significant support for those students, but over time, the budgets and reality has meant the commitment to those funds seems tenuous.

The report breaks out racial status, but not income status. And it's the first year. We will see. I would love it if STEM serves all well, that it does provide the adequate supports such that any student, no matter their background, if they want to enroll can be successful. I think Charlie's suspicious of this district's ability to follow through. Dan's suspicions along those lines come from looking at the NTN data vs their hype.

If my son were younger and CHS were convenient, we would definitely have looked into STEM there. So it looks like you are in a good position to have that as a great option for your daughter. I hope it does prove to be a success. But, be clear. Your daughter, regardless of her race, is in APP and therefore someone who is guaranteed to bring in high test scores. Your daughter's high test score, (if she does attend STEM) would be considered by the district to show the program is successful, when a lot of the success as measured by test score would really be attributable to her education before CHS. Will STEM be successful with students who are not so advantaged?

Back on topic for this thread, will STEM be attractive to a higher number of APP kids? How many of the CHS freshman class were in APP? Would it be enough of a draw over the next few years to mitigate the need to cap APP at GHS or some other solution?

hschinske said...

As folks have pointed out here to the confused, there is no "APP" program at Garfield.

Yeah, well, some of us think we're not the ones who are confused, eh? As I've posted a couple-three times now (and others have said similar things), "The de facto policy at Garfield has always been to try to starve the APP students out by not providing any formal program, and then turning around and saying why do you need to be here, when there isn't any formal program? A lot of families have clung to the cohort at Garfield because it's all they've been allowed, not because they wouldn't rather have some more palpable accommodations."

WV: trashin.

Helen Schinske

Dorothy Neville said...

2008, CHS was 53% Af Am
2009, CHS was 46% Af Am (41% of 9th graders)
2010 CHS is 44% Af Am (39% of 9th graders)

Is that a trend?

TechyMom said...

It might be a trend. Even if it is, I'd be curious to see how the trend maps to trends in demographics of the surrounding neighborhood. I know my neighborhood (Madison Valley) has many fewer african american families than it did when I moved here 10 years ago. Is that also true further south? 2010 census data is coming soon, so then we'll know.

agibean said...

Techymom and Dorothy, I think the trend is more likely to reflect changes in the surrounding population, not a trend of AA deselecting the school. My own south Seattle experience, where I live, work, shop and engage in community activities has shown that the neighborhoods south of the Ship Canal are becoming whiter by the year. 10 years ago I was usually the only white person on the bus, the only white person in the store and the only white parent at my daughter's recreational classes. Things are very, very different now.

Many, many AA families have moved south-to Renton, Federal Way and Kent. Of course, that's what certain south Seattle blog commenters keep hoping will happen to ALL of them, but that's a whole other topic on a whole other blog.

And Dorothy, Charlie was pretty clear that he didn't expect the previous population to remain, so no, while he didn't say ALL AA students would be replaced, the blanket replacement of the population theory, for now, seems to have not held up.

And do I think APP parents (or any other predominantly white parent group) will choose STEM at Cleveland in large numbers? Nope, I do not. They won't as long as the population is the way it is right now. White parents stay away from south Seattle schools in droves, no matter what they have to offer-without ever setting foot in them. I don't expect Cleveland to be any different.

Anonymous said...

Kay Smith-Blum was talking about a staggered schedule that could accomodate all kids at Garfield at the meeting last night - sounds like an interesting option. What do people think about that?

owlhouse said...

Anonmyous @ 2:52
I LOVE the idea of a staggered schedule at the high school level. That is the kind of innovation that I'm looking for, not just as a solution to overcrowding, but as a step towards rethinking schools. Of course there are additional costs, but they may balance w/ the ability to serve more students at a single facility. Plus, it could address the biological sleep patterns of teens, allow more options for core academics AND electives, create scheduling flexibility for athletics and work... Done right
(with support staff and community involvement), this is my favorite "magic bullet" for improving high school outcomes.

Anonymous said...

I have never understood why high schools don't have flexible schedules. It would help with overcrowding, teen sleep patterns, work schedules, teen parents, catchup classes, in school homework help & tutoring, etc.

There should also be more course flexibility with online classes available and various classes to catch up or work ahead. There should be evening classes.

If we want more kids to graduate, we need to offer more options and more chances. Same thing for kids working ahead.

Rose M

hschinske said...

A staggered schedule could work, but it's not without any downsides: e.g., wouldn't truancy increase if lots of students were leaving the house after their parents leave for work? ("It's okay, Mom, I don't have class until ten," snore). Would students have access to only half the available activities, depending on which schedule they were on? Would students be separated from their friends? What about things like scheduling band/orchestra classes, which are likely to involve students from every grouping (early/late schedule, different grades, etc.)? How would athletics be affected?

Helen Schinske

Anonymous said...

Kay talked aobut how athletics, music, etc could for the most part be accomodated. And kids would overlap in the middle of the day - she suggested some kids would start period 1, some period 2, some period 3, etc - and kids could take more than 6 classes, or have extra study hall for tutoring. It would efficiently use the building - she was very excited about this option, and really sold it well -

CCM said...

This is exactly what I did when I was in high school. We had a building that was originally built for 10-12 -- but 9th grade was moved in without renovating. In 9th grade I went to school from 11am-4pm -- then gradually rearranged my schedule as I got older to going from 7:15am-1pm as a senior. I think we had something like a 8-9 period day.
I think it really worked well - and I participated in after school sports everyday so it wasn't a problem.
It could work - if the district is truly interested in solving the problem without heaving out APP.

Moose said...

But really, how can we justify running a double-shift at one high school when others are running at 1/3 capacity? That seems absurd.

Jan said...

Moose: why does that seem absurd, if in fact it gives the maximum kids the best (as determined by them) choice for a school? The goal here is not simply to get X bodies into X seats into brick building A or B. The goal is to maximize the learning of all the kids in the city (acknowledging that there are lots of different kinds of kids, with LOTS of different needs and strengths. Some programs work best (NOVA) if they are kept fairly small -- and we (at least I) don't begrudge that. I think it is fabulous that we HAVE a NOVA. Some programs (and a large school seeking to maximize the number of AP classes, access to a nationally known high school orchestra, etc. might well be one of them) may reasonably decide that to fit ALL its programs and serve the ridiculously large attendance area drawn for it -- its best option is to go with a split schedule.

Moose said...

Jan,
I get what you are saying and I think it is great that our district has made a place for NOVA and Center School. However, opening a double-shift mega Garfield – a comprehensive high school - does not fall under the same category. Double-shifting Garfield, or Ballard, or Roosevelt means that we will continue to run some buildings into the ground at a double-time pace (and we all know how great SPS is on facilities management!), while others are being heated, staffed, insured, equipped and secured at only 1/3 or ½ capacity. It does not make fiscal sense.

It also does not make sense from a standpoint of looking at the district as a whole unless SPS decides to double-shift all popular high schools. Go ahead and try to justify double-shifting Garfield to the folks in the Ballard areas who are now assigned to Ingraham. Why should those Ballard kids be shipped off to Ingraham when we can just double-shift that school too? Is that what you are advocating?

Some of this may stem from the question I have about this statement: “why does that seem absurd, if in fact it gives the maximum kids the best (as determined by them) choice for a school? The goal here is not simply to get X bodies into X seats into brick building A or B. The goal is to maximize the learning of all the kids in the city”. Can you clarify, because what I don’t understand is how you would draw the boundaries for such a school? What would be the “maximum” number of kids? If I am in the Franklin area and think that Garfield would maximize my learning, why can’t I become a Bulldog? If I live in Lake City, but want access to a “nationally known high school orchestra” can I go to mega –Garfield too? Unless I misunderstand you (entirely possible) what is described above appears to me to be our previous assignment plan – one in which people were free to TRY for a school that they felt would maximize their learning. The results though, were far from perfect.

Moose

TechyMom said...

My high school did this too, and it worked quite well. There were 10 periods a day, plus after school sports. "00" period started at 7, but most kids started at 8 or 9 (1st or 2nd period). 9th period ended at 3:15 or 3:30, and sports started after that. There were 2 lunch periods. Some kids had double lunch, others had free periods or study halls, or took an aditional elective. I had a friend who graduated a whole year early by doing 1-9 for 3 years and going to summer school. This school regularly had teen moms graduating on time after doing make-up classes (it hosted a multi-city magnet program for them). The longer day offered a lot of flexibility. A longer, more flexible high school day is not simply a capacity management strategy. It makes for a better, more inclusive high school.

Another thought...
If Garfield, Franklin and Roosevelt all did double shifts, would that free up enough capacity to close Rainier Beach? That actualy could save some real money, and give many families what they keep asking for: Access to Franklin and Garfield. With STEM in the mix, that would give every kid in the south east the option a good assignment school and a good nearby option school.

Roosevelt could then take part of the Ballard attendance area, and the Ballard boundary could move north a bit. Maybe Ballard could do double shift as well, but that might make too much capacity. I don't think either Ingraham or Hale is in bad enough shape to close, and some kids seem to really prefer these schools to the "big 3."

I would also beef up the liberal arts program at Franklin (it used to have a very well-regarded classics program, could that be resurected?) or add IB at Franklin, to make that a good choice for kids with a liberal arts bent. Franklin is a really good location for public transit, so it makes sense to have some sort of a draw there.

TechyMom said...

BTW, that high school, Berkeley High in Berkeley CA, had around 4000 students when I went there. 1700 is hardly "mega." The choice of electives was amazing, and many graduates went on to very good colleges.

TechyMom said...

Or you could go even farther:

7-4 day at Ballard, Roosevelt, Garfield, Franklin

Move IB from Ingraham to Franklin

Close Beach and Ingraham.

Now that would save some money, including the Ingraham remodel.

Probably too radical, but an interesting thought exercise...

Anonymous said...

Better yet, ditch IB all together. Isn't that just a gimmick to get kids to go to unpopular schools? A way to say, "You can go here but won't have to go to school with any losers." High schools where I grew up had around 3,000 students and had multiple shifts too. I like the idea if it expands the range of kids that can be served, and reduces number of buildings. But not if it is simply an extension of an entitlement program like APP for a select, but every growing, few.

Seattle Parent

Jan said...

It has occurred to me before (and I know for a fact that it has occurred to people in SSD management, though I don't have their permission to identify them) that maybe the right thing for RBHS, if the District really does refuse to commit resources in a thoughtful, intelligent way, to improve its academics and its draw, is to close it -- but boy, would I want to hear from the RBHS community before jumping to that conclusion as as solution.

As someone above pointed out, maybe we leave Ingraham and Hale because the "mega high school" option does not work well for everyone, and it is nice to have a smaller school option, especially if you put in some sort of program or draw that gives it its own personality/identity -- sort of like Hale with the radio program, the fewer class hours with more built in collaboration time for teachers (and more study time for students), etc. I don't know what the right program for that school might be.

But I know how much people identify with their schools, and I would sure want to think this one through with RBHS families and alumni, before making a decision. Given the performing arts center down there, maybe it should be turned into a smaller option high school with an arts and arts technology draw (everything from theater to dance, to music, to video game development, choreography, performance production, film and video, light and sound design, etc.). I know Ballard does some of this as well (at least video), but that is not an accessible school for a lot of kids.

And, with a little thought and planning, you could even have those kids take some of their classes (maybe core stuff, or more specialized AP classes that might not be available in a "small school" at Franklin -- using metro or shuttle bus service -- because it is a straight shot down Rainier Avenue from one school to the other. This would have three benefits:
1. It would keep the school and its resources (the performing arts center, etc.) "alive"
2. It would allow RBHS community kids who want to go there to continue to "choose" the school, while at the same time going to classes (like math, science, AP language arts, etc.) in a building that has more choices and (maybe) a better learning/discipline dynamic.
3. It even maybe does that "presto chango" test score thing that SSD likes so well where higher performing kids replace, or dilute lower scoring kids -- and the school test scores magically "improve" (sounds of applause). In other words -- we still need to keep track of the struggling kids, be they from RBHS, GHS, or Franklin, and provide intervention to help them learn. Except to the extent that going to classes with higher achieving kids might have a good effect (and the risk of getting lost in a bigger school might have a bad effect), I think the plan is neutral on that -- which of course is the most important thing. But with this administration, neutral is actually good, since so much of what they do is make good, working schools and programs bad or worse.

Jan said...

Anonymous: I don't think IB is inherently a bogus draw to lure snooty kids to otherwise bad schools. It is a pretty rigid program, doesn't start until 11th grade (at least that is my understanding), and isn't for everyone -- but there are lots of kids (and schools) for whom it has worked very well to provide challenging, rigorous courses.

It WAS put into Ingraham to help "draw" kids there -- but if they had tried to put it into a crowded school (like Ballard or RHS), people would have complained then that the "haves" were getting even more, while the "have nots" starved.

If people like and use the program -- and it seems they do, both at Ingraham and at Sealth, I think we should keep it. There is a lot wrong with some AP classes as well (many are a mile wide and an inch deep, offering very little time for in depth thinking or writing). And IB is not a "test in" program -- it is available to any student who can, and will, carry the workload.

TechyMom said...

IB is along the lines of the 'opt-in spectrum' many parents want. It is a curriculum that is internationally standardized and heavy on liberal arts and languages. It is based on the university track of the French school system. Teachers and schools have to be certified by the IB organization. One of the things I like about it is that they have to use IB math.

I have a relative who did IB in France years ago, and who was offered Junior standing at middle-of-the-road American universities (Foo State U, rather than U of Foo or name-brand private).

IB in Seattle starts in 11th grade, though the program is specified all the way down to pre-school. I'm guessing that 2 years is the minimum to earn the diploma. Seattle IB schools allow anyone who wants to take an IB class to take one. Some do have pre-requisites. To get the diploma you also have to do a senior paper (or project? not sure). It's more integrated than AP, and some think the classes offer more depth.

So, I don't think it's really about finding a cohort so much as about opt-in rigor -- which would be a good thing for Franklin, and might fit well with the humanties track they already have there.

Anonymous said...

And IB WAS put a Sealth to draw students to an otherwise sucky school nobody would step foot in. Why else would you have it?

So, what's wrong with "opt in" AP classes? Opt in anywhere and any way you like, not a school within a school concept. Much better than some hoaky diploma. What's wrong wrong with electives across a broad spectrum without the IB or AP or other prefab coursework? And, they only put IB at Sealth and Ingraham, 2 of the least popular schools around. That should give everybody a pause... because otherwise nobody would go to these schools.

Seattle Parent

Jan said...

Seattle Parent: I am not sure I understand your point. Do you think they should have put IB everywhere? Nowhere? At least at Garfield, AP classes are ALL opt in (again, you have to have done the pre-reqs; woe to anyone short of a math genius who "opts into" AP Calc without having done honors pre-Calc first). But I think that is the way they do IB. You can take the classes if you want. You can also "sign up" to do the whole program, and get the extra "diploma" if you want -- the advantages, I think, would be that if you have opted for the whole thing, the school needs to be committed to making sure you can be scheduled for all the classes, etc. But I think SSD tries really hard to NOT be exclusive (unlike some places, which I think require kids to test in and/or commit to the entire program, or they are not allowed to take the classes.

As for program placement, yes -- I agree it was drawn to try to make those two schools more attractive. It appears it may have worked at Sealth, but the jury is out (or worse) at Ingraham. Does that seem right?

Anonymous said...

We don't need IB, that's the point. If people need/want advanced classes or a variety of interesting classes, then offer them and of course, they're all opt-in. No, the district shouldn't have it's hands tied into doing some sort of diploma. We were talking about filling schools up with extended scheduling.. closing a few schools. So, fill them up and drop the IB. That would be my suggestion.

Seattle Parent

Melissa Westbrook said...

"Better yet, ditch IB all together. Isn't that just a gimmick to get kids to go to unpopular schools? A way to say, "You can go here but won't have to go to school with any losers."

It's hard to know where to start on that statement. First, IB is a rigorous and recognized program throughout the world. Any student within the school can access an IB classes so that rigor is available to all (and some may want the whole program). Ingraham's program is doing quite well from reports I hear from friends at Ingraham.

Second, well, Ingraham and Chief Sealth may not be the most popular schools but their students like them. Both are at least 2/3rd to 3/4ths full and probably will be full when both have finished their building.

Third, I think it unkind to call any student a "loser".

Anonymous said...

I agree. That's why we don't need a program to segregate students or create schools within schools. It is specifically a program to attract students who were otherwise uninterested. The appeal of segregation is strong, and the popularity of those schools AFTER segregation became available via IB is a testament to that.

Seattle Parent

Melissa Westbrook said...

"It is specifically a program to attract students who were otherwise uninterested. The appeal of segregation is strong, and the popularity of those schools AFTER segregation became available via IB is a testament to that."

And your data about otherwise uninterested is? You have the stats for Ingraham and Sealth before and after IB?

They are not segregated programs; anyone can take any of the IB classes. Ditto on AP. Sorry, this one doesn't hold water.