Sunday, November 14, 2010

Questions About if APP is Split Off From Garfield

I have no doubt that the district's first choice to ease the overcrowding is to move the APP students to one school, say Ingraham, or just say, go to the high school that is your attendance one, we'll have AP for everyone there. Maybe that would be the easiest and fairest thing to do - just send kids to their neighborhood high schools.

So "Anonymous" wrote this questions which I thought were good (but Anonymous, give yourself a name - no anonymous posts here).

1) How did the district decide that IB and AP are equitable options? Are they not 2 completely different teaching styles of advanced academics? Yes, both can provide quality accelerated acadmics, BUT aren't they very different philosphical / learning models? What if you have a north end student that does not want to follow the IB model? What if they prefer AP option? Will Ingraham be adding more AP classes for these kids to choose from?

I don't know that I think the district thinks they are equitable but that they are the most rigorous courses they can offer. You do not have to do the whole IB program to take an IB class so it is somewhat like AP in that measure. I know that elsewhere in the country there are high schools that have the IB program AND several AP classes. So they could just have more AP at Ingraham (and likely would if APP was relocated there). I am certain of that point because they have to have some kind of bone to throw to those families given what they will give up leaving Garfield.

2) If the district mandates, regardless of how we feel because this is what they do, that there be the 2 north south programs, are these indeed OPTIONS or will it simply be assigned by student address? North = Ingraham. South = Garfield.

Good question, don't know. I think it would likely be by address with the same kinds of concerns that occurred with parents who had to leave Lowell for Thurgood Marshall. The problem with Ingraham is how far north its location is and that it is harder to access by bus (see below).

3) If Ingraham is the location of the northend advanced learning option, how will the district handle the transportation issue? Clearly it is not easily accessible by bus. We live 2.6 miles away and it takes a combination of 40 min. of walking plus a 5-10 minute bus ride to get there = 45 min - 1 hour. Or, just 45-50 minutes of straight walking, no bus. That seems insane given how close we are.

That is a very good question and has been pointed out multiple times (from the issues around moving some Ballard students to Ingraham). I almost think to make it work they would either have to have yellow bus service OR get Metro to commit to another line. Again, this is another bone the district would have to throw to APP parents if they want to move half the program to Ingraham.

4) Will there be preference given to music programs students to attend Garfield? Or, will they replicate the music program at northend location? If so, what about all other extracurricular classes? Will music, once again, get all the attention? I have a daughter who is intensely involved in the visual arts. Garfield has one of the top art programs in the city, even offering AP art for 2 semesters. Will this option be available at Ingraham? What about Photography? Theater? Let's face it, these extracurricular programs have INCREDIBLE strength at Garfield and took time, energy, fund raising, etc. to develop. There is NO possible way Ingraham can replicate this in less than a year's time.

Short answer, probably not. The NSAP did not grant music auditions for truly talented musicians to get into the elite Garfield and Roosevelt Jazz bands. So I can't see why they would do it for APP students. It's not like these things can't happen at Ingraham, they just can't happen overnight. But if you moved half of APP to Ingraham, you would see the strength of those involved parents making a big impact at Ingraham. (Likewise, you might see Garfield weaken somewhat. I wonder what Principal Howard thinks.)

The other wild card is what APP parents will do if they don't like the decision. (That would be funny if SPS moved APP out of Garfield only to find that the high school APP numbers go down because of parent unhappiness with that decision.) If they just end the preference for APP students at Garfield and send everyone out to their home address school, what impact would that have on all the other high schools? Would more parents flee to Cleveland or fill Ingraham in order to have greater numbers? Will large numbers leave SPS for private schools? I think that could happen.

I would be very interested in what the APP group thinks but maybe they don't want to reveal their hand just yet.

I do think that APP parents will handle this quite differently than the Lowell split. High school is the big time and parents are not going to just go gently into that good night.


Anonymous said...

So much turmoil for so long can only make an A.P.P. family look for other options, especially this 8th grade class. It came as no surprise that many, many fellow classmates were also in attendance at the private school open houses this last week. I have no idea how many families attended in years past. But, it just seemed like there were many familier faces. Can't speculate on final outcomes, but with so many families looking ......

Tippy in W.S.

Anonymous said...

The Northwest School's open house for the Upper Grades is THIS Wednesday, Nov. 17 from 7 to 8:30 PM. Get their early as parking is an issue.

Bird said...

I know that there are strong feelings amongst different parent groups about being "kicked out" of "their school" (be it Ballard or GHS).

I do think, however, that if you were going to design a rational system for how an all city draw program works that you would put it in high school in a central location and then draw boundaries around that high school to maintain access.

Sticking a program like APP in the most northerly and inaccessible high school is not the rational choice when removed from the politics of the respective neighborhoods.

The district rarely takes a rational approach to these issues around program placement however. They always seem driven to try to fill their enrollment gaps using this or that program or population of students (cf. sped students as well)

The district throws around a lot of rhetoric about "equity and access" but when push comes to shove they look for ways to fill unpopular or under-subscribed schools, damn the equity and access.

I wish that the district could find a reasonable solution for this. I don't think they will, and I don't think things are helped by the fact that the district always seems faintly embarrassed that APP even exists (such is my perception).

Certainly the failures of the middle school split (in preserving access to advanced math for very high performing students) is not going to help them make their case to the high school families.

Anonymous said...

I think that it was all part of the original plan (with a large Garfield attendance area and admitting every sibling) that splitting APP would be the perfect solution to relieving the pressure. I am just waiting for the other shoe to drop. Someone will suggest that all the south end APP kids go to Rainier Beach HS. Even if only 50 kids show up, it would still raise the Rainier Beach HS scores, wouldn't it? Garfield Mom

perspective said...

"Sticking a program like APP in the most northerly and inaccessible high school is not the rational choice"

Sure, but where else could they put APP north of the ship canal, without opening a building? Ingraham is the only school with space. Hale may have a bit of wiggle room after the remodel, but not much, and they are not much more central than Ingraham. Ballard and Roosevelt are stuffed.

So where?

Charlie Mas said...

Let's begin by remembering that the District promised that exactly this would not happen, and now it is happening.

Let's remember that the District said that they drew the boundary around Garfield in a way that would only capture as many students as would fit AFTER the APP seats were taken.

Let's remember that the District drew the attendance area boundary around Garfield in a bigger circle than the limits of the distance tie-breaker were - an attendance area that was practically guaranteed to overcrowd the school.

This is a manufactured crisis. A crisis made for the express purpose of breaking up high school APP.

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

Sadly, you are right Charlie. I'm not opposed to splitting HS APP, if done right, and moving north end families to a school in the north end. But I am adamantly opposed to moving it based solely on a manufactured crisis/shortage of seats at Garfield, that was 100% preventable.

Meg said...

There are many struggling programs and students in the district that deserve attention and resources. Splitting APP will take time, money and staff resources.

I understand that Garfield's over-crowding problems must be addressed, and that it will be very hard to agree on how to do that (kicking half of APP out will not, ultimately, solve the over-crowding, because the boundaries are badly drawn). But devoting resources to breaking up a healthy program, rather than finding ways to constructively support struggling programs and students is unfair to more than just APP students.

emeraldkity said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
lendlees said...


I think all of your predictions will come true. My guess is that those that can will opt for a 'good enough' choice at Ballard or Roosevelt, thereby exacerbating the overcrowding experienced at those schools. Many will go private that can scrape up the funds and some might look more closely at the option High Schools although STEM is pretty far away for north end parents.

I wonder if many are feeling like I am, which is resigned and dejected that the district can shove APP around AGAIN. Last time we had more leverage and could advocate for at least some equitable funding, but I would bet good money that the district will not fund anything this go around.

What leverage do we have this time? I'd be interested in other folks' opinions.

Anonymous said...

delay the decision for the year and vote other people onto the board. that's the only way to stop it, i'm convinced.


Bird said...

Can someone point to the current enrollment data for the high schools?

I don't remember where it is.

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't it be easier for the district just to tighten up the Garfield boundary vs trying to move out APP and build the program elsewhere?

Is there a reason why the district isn't considering this option?

- CD Parent

wseadawg said...

CD parent. The only answer I can think of is animosity toward the APP program. It's always a convenient target, for some reason.

wsnorth said...

This is the biggest bunch of whining I've seen in quite a while! This is pathetic. Talk about white privilege.

1) Q: What if you have a north end student that does not want to follow the IB model? A: Oh, sob, those poor north end students. What if South and West End students are stuck in terrible school assignments? Ah, who cares about them, anyway. Sorry.

2) Q: ...are these indeed OPTIONS? A: No, get used to it.

3) Q: We live 2.6 miles away and it takes a combination of 40 min. of walking plus a 5-10 minute bus ride to get there. A: Maybe mommy will drive you, or maybe you will get a bike for Christmas.

4) Q: Will there be preference given to music programs students to attend Garfield? A: Yes, there will be a preference for everyone, so everyone gets what they want. Of course, that's perfectly plausible.

Real question: why does the district even think of messing with programs as successful as Garfield? Leave the good stuff alone, focus on the broken stuff!

Melissa Westbrook said...

Cd, boundary changes are indeed one solution the district lists.

Anonymous said...

I don't quite understand WSNorth. There is a real issue. Garfield is overstuffed, and APP is growing without bound into Garfield. The issue isn't "thinking about messing with a successful program", it's about capacity, access, and APP growth.

Another Parent

Joan NE said...

About the difficulty of getting to Ingraham -

I was told by a parent who was looking at the metro options for getting her child from NE seattle to Ingraham: she noticed in her research that there are multiple dedicate metro bus routes serving Lakeside school. They are inbound to the school in the am, and outbond in the pm.

Seems like Lakeside is getting extraordinary preferential treatment from Metro.

ArchStanton said...

This is the biggest bunch of whining I've seen in quite a while! This is pathetic. Talk about white privilege.

Oh, please. Here we go again.

It's fine when other parents and communities complain about sibling preference, transportation issues, access to arts programs, etc., but when it's APP related, it's time to break out the "white privilege" card. Give me a break.

When we fought the elementary splits, we were labeled racist and elitist and portrayed as white separatists that didn't want our fragile hot-house flowers around "those kinds of people". Now, with the high school splits, there isn't as stark a difference for people to point to. But, some will still look for ways to troll APP parents, get in few digs and stick it to the program.

You'll have to try harder than that.

SE Mom said...

Joan NE,

The Lakeside parents pay for those routes and it is not cheap. Somehow there are custom bus routes available for schools through metro. I know that another private school is also considering similar arrangement.

Moose said...

I agree with what you say in general, and I dislike seeing parents pitted against one another. However, for many families there is precious little joy in looking at their high school assignments. Families who have been assigned to what some (many?) consider an undesirable school, who don't have the APP ticket to a high performing high school, and who don't have the werewithal for private school and can't afford to move -- well those folks are not going to have much sympathy for "it's a long commute" (remember that APP comes with yellow bus service) or hand-wringing about the music program. Just saying...


SE Mom said...

Two zone bus pass for 10 months for
Lakeside custom routes: over $1200.

Stu said...

The Lakeside parents pay for those routes and it is not cheap.

Lakeside, The Evergreen School, and UPrep, share the routes that cover all over the region. (These private schools have kids coming from the Eastside, as well as the local Seattle area.) They've hired Metro buses as private buses and, as SE Mom pointed out, run around $1200 per student. (That includes a morning and after school bus, as well as a "late" bus that has a more limited route, for kids who stay for sports.)

It's one of the things we factored into the equation as we looked at private schools. There are a lot of carpools at Lakeside as well.


JRines said...

What concerns me most about this proposal is that APP was told that this would not happen, one year ago.

So for those of you not enrolled in an APP school this means that anything could be done to your school as well, depsite being told otherwise.

For example, I wonder how Thorton Creek is feeling about the "portable" village coming to their playground. Or how is AS1 feeling about having their school closed, depsite the fact that three schools were opened this year and have less than 300 students total enrolled.

Today it's APP, Thorton Creek and AS1...tomorrow it could be your school or program!

Anonymous said...

Consider's a 20-minute drive from the southend. There's a couple of existing carpools and the #9 goes there without a transfer.

WV: apmourn (hmmmm)

Maureen said...

The Lakeside parents pay for those routes and it is not cheap....

Two zone bus pass for 10 months for
Lakeside custom routes: over $1200.

There you go, the state pays $3500 per APP student for transportation (for now-may be cut in upcoming budgets.) SPS currently runs yellow buses from the SW corner of the Ingraham attendance area, but (Peter Maier told us at his coffee) very few kids choose to ride them (something like five in the afternoon). If SPS pays for a dedicated route and gets enough APP kids signed on it might actually cost out (I'm guessing High School kids are much more likely to ride Metro than yellow buses.) A standard yellow bus costs something like $40,000 per year. Maier says they need 20 kids to keep a route. (Note that is something like $2000 per kid, and I believe they only get $350 per gen ed kid per year from the state. Orca passes must cost them something like $300 per year?)

SEMom and Stu, do you know if there is a minimum number of kids they need to commit before they get a Metro bus?

Ingraham and Lake Side look to be about a mile apart. Think they would like to share a Metro route with SPS?

hschinske said...

remember that APP comes with yellow bus service

Not at high school it doesn't! The ONLY yellow bus service available to Garfield is piggybacking in the WMS buses on a space-available basis -- something that's available to any student in the areas WMS serves. It is in the MORNING ONLY -- you still need a Metro pass to get home. It does not serve students from the north end any longer, as the north-end APP kids go to Hamilton.

Helen Schinske

spsmarketshare said...

Moose wrote, "[those] who don't have the werewithal for private school and can't afford to move ... [don't] have much sympathy"

Moose, the problem is that, if you drive away from Seattle Public Schools everyone who does have the ability to go private school or to move, you guarantee that the public schools all will be undesirable schools.

High market share is critical to have community support for public schools, to be able to pass local taxes that fund the public schools, and to maximize the involvement of parents in helping the schools. Seattle Public School funding from state and federal sources also is directly tied to enrollment.

We have already gone too far down this path of driving middle class kids and parents away from Seattle Public Schools. Only about 68% of Seattle children attend public schools compared to the norm of 80-90% for major US cities. The key to boosting the success of all our public schools is to engage more of Seattle in our public schools, not less.

Moose said...

That's interesting Helen. I know for a fact that APP kids who live in Queen Anne are getting a yellow bus to Garfield. My friend's son rides it each day.

Anonymous said...

I would just gently say, to all the APP parents having issues with Ingraham, and the long commute, etc: "Where were you when this was done to Ballard parents and kids last year? Where ARE you, now that we are going to have to shift our boundaries again, all in order to accommodate Garfield High School?"

Ok, I was not gentle about it, but I would remind APP parents that other communities, with no voice, or advocacy group, are regularly jerked around by the district as well. Regardless of what happens to APP-it looks like multiple neighborhoods have to re-draw their boundaries again, re-splitting our communities even more than they were split last year- all because of Garfield High School.

And all for a program which doesn't even let new 9th graders have access. Open the program up to all incoming 9th graders who can do the work-and you might have some traction. Keep your program closed off after 8th grade, well- you've lost me there.

Signed -

Open Lincoln!

Charlie Mas said...

Open Lincoln! asked:"to all the APP parents having issues with Ingraham, and the long commute, etc: 'Where were you when this was done to Ballard parents and kids last year? Where ARE you, now that we are going to have to shift our boundaries again, all in order to accommodate Garfield High School?'"

I'm an APP parent, Open Lincoln!, and I was right here, advocating for APP at a Lincoln with an atttendance area of Queen Anne, Magnolia, and both sides of the Ship Canal including, Laurelhurst, Montlake, and Wallingford.

There were others standing with me and standing with you and other Ballard families advocating with you for access to Ballard for Ballard. Just because we don't always identify ourselves as members of the APP community, doesn't mean that we aren't.

Please don't presume that APP families don't advocate for others. We do it all the time. We are also generally pretty good about looking for solutions to OUR problems that don't cause problems for other communities.

Meg said...

Open Lincoln - Garfield's over-crowding won't be solved, it will be moved - to Ballard and Roosevelt. Odds are high that many APP students who have that option will choose Ballard or Roosevelt over working to get an accelerated IB program up and running at Ingraham. This will affect Ballard.

Whether or not you feel we stood up for you (and it would be fair to ask in return: which programs did you fight for during the 2008-09 closure debacle?), if this makes it to a board proposal, it's going to happen. And it will adversely affect over-crowding at Ballard.

hschinske said...

I know for a fact that APP kids who live in Queen Anne are getting a yellow bus to Garfield. My friend's son rides it each day.

You'll have to ask your friend how that happened; I'm curious to know the answer. I have no idea why that would be, unless your friend's son has special needs of some kind -- I am unaware of any other reason for exceptions to the general policy. Queen Anne is in the Hamilton service area, so you wouldn't think there would be a Washington Middle School bus from there.

"What transportation is available for APP students?
School bus transportation is provided to for elementary and middle school students enrolled in APP in their pathways. Transportation for high school students is provided via Metro pass."

Helen Schinske

Anonymous said...

Helen, There's a yellow bus driving around Magnolia every morning that says "Garfield" on it. And, only "Garfield". It drives right past my kids' stop every day. Doesn't this mean it's a high school bus going to Garfield? Is it lying?

As to Lincoln. Great idea! Better yet, let's get a real Magnet school like other great cities have. Boston Latin. Stuyevesant in New York. And keep the name: Lincoln to honor a great leader. Let's have a test that everyone sits for going into high school, with a high bar across the board. It shouldn't matter if you were in APP, or not, or in Spectrum, or transferred from another district, or went to an alternative school, or were homeschooled, or have a note from the doctor in Kindergarten (a perennial favorite). This should be the school for the true highest achievers not an entitlement program. It should be capped at a reasonable capacity with no endless growing or watering down, no Lake Woebegone effects, no free pass entitlements. Yet still a strong cohort. I think this idea is something the whole community could really get behind.

Another Parent

Anonymous said...

No, it's not a special needs bus it's an APP bus. The special ed busses are the short busses.

Another Parent

hschinske said...

Helen, There's a yellow bus driving around Magnolia every morning that says "Garfield" on it. And, only "Garfield". It drives right past my kids' stop every day. Doesn't this mean it's a high school bus going to Garfield? Is it lying?

I have no idea. I'm just telling you what Transportation says and how the situation has been presented to me. If there is some loophole for students in Queen Anne and Magnolia to get yellow bus transportation to Garfield, other than special needs (not that I would call that a loophole), I don't know about it.

Wait, here's something:

• High School students shall generally be assigned to Metro.
Yellow school bus service will be provided to grades 9 - 12 at the regular high schools only when it is the most cost effective form of service. Generally there must be a minimum of twenty (20) or more student riders in a common service area and it is feasible to tie the route with a bus all ready in-service. Determination will be made based on student assignment data available to the Transportation Office on July 1st. If actual ridership drops below the minimum in the 2009-2010 school year, this service may be rescinded after the following actions have occurred:

* School administrator is notified
* Students/parents are notified"

So, has this happened for Garfield students in QA and/or Magnolia? Moose, your friend probably knows if such a special arrangement was necessary.

Helen Schinske

hschinske said...

I agree that it's not especially likely that the buses you're talking about are for special needs students, but not all special needs bus assignments require short buses. It depends on the disability you're talking about.

Helen Schinske

Moose said...

You can bet that I will be asking my friend that question. What I can say is that he is not a special needs child. Stay tuned for the answer...


Jessica said...

Some parents like to threaten to take their children to private school if APP doesn't do X, Y or Z - but that argument doesn't go far these days.

District enrollment is up, not down. APP enrollment is up, not down, despite warnings that it would fall after the elem and MS splits. The economy sucks, private school is expensive, and Seattle has long had a high % of families choosing private schools. So the district isn't going to cry in its soup if a handful (a dozen?) of additional APP families go private.

So if APP parents want to advocate for keeping Garfield as is, I say it's better to talk in the language the district will understand: that keeping the Garfield program intact will save money on teachers and transportation and will keep a successful academic program together. Or, conversely, since APP seems likely to keep growing and will keep putting pressure on Garfield's enrollment, parents can get in front of the train and, as Charlie has, propose a second high school arrangement they can live with and possibly even support.

G said...

Funny thing re: the dedicated yellow bus from Magnolia to Garfield in the morning. A Garfield APP kid, Magnolia resident, was at our house last week. We were talking about how he got to school, and he said he takes the yellow bus in the morning and has an Orca card for the Metro in the afternoon. I wondered how they got that arrangement, and he said, no kidding, that "all the APP parents in Magnolia are lawyers and they basically get what they want". The perceptions of a 10th grader. Talk about a sense of entitlement being passed down from one generation to the next!

So yes, there is a dedicated yellow bus in the morning for APP students in Magnolia to transport them to Garfield. He said it has about 15 kids on it, at most, when I asked him if it was full.

none1111 said...

parents can get in front of the train and, as Charlie has, propose a second high school arrangement they can live with and possibly even support.

So let's talk about that. What would it look like? Any ideas? Or counter-ideas that we think won't work at all?

Personally, I think the worst solution will be one that breaks the kids up into more than 2 locations. Unfortunately, with any solution that rips apart the Garfield cohort there is a big risk that happens anyway with lots of kids going to Roosevelt and Ballard. That's bad for APP, bad for those buildings and bad for the district.

That means any solution that involves a split has to be reasonably attractive to APP families. I don't think this accelerated IB is going to do it. From what we're hearing so far we're not interested in it.

What other possibilities exist that would be tolerable and not drive families back to Ballard/Roosevelt?

Maureen said...

At his coffee this weekend, Peter Maier said that the Ingraham yellow bus from the SW corner of the attendance area would probably have to be cancelled mid year because of low ridership (<20 in a.m., about 5 in the p.m.) He said 20 kids was the cut off sustainable number. RHS has had a yellow bus from Laurelhurst in a.m. or p.m. (can't remember which) because of poor Metro coverage. Not sure if it still exists or what the ridership is.

Do we know if nonAPP kids ride the Magnolia bus on a space available basis?

Maureen said...

none, as the parent of a RHS kid (and another slated to be there in 2012), I wouldn't necessarily agree that a policy that sent more APP qualified kids to Roosevelt would be a bad thing. I have hopes that a critical mass of advanced learners could lead to the creation of a more reasonable science pathway and some Honors classes in areas other than math. As is, RHS seems determined not to group motivated kids in any way. The general level of motivation is reasonably high, so it isn't tragic, but it is kind of sad when only two kids in a Biology class vote to do dissections (and yes, why were they voting on that?) Not to mention the fact that all 9th graders are expected to sit through Physical Science whether or not they have already covered the material in MS (there was a test to place out for about three years, but that is gone now.)

We are actually right on the RHS border, so my 2nd will probably be assigned to IHS if RHS gets too crowded, but I still think it would do RHS good to have to acknowledge advanced learners in some area other than math.

G said...

Given the distance to Garfield from Magnolia and access to Ballard HS, I believe there are few, if any,non-APP kids at Garfield from Magnolia. In the last two years, at least, getting into Garfield from Magnolia as a non-APP student would have been impossible, unless they used a fake address. Most upperclassmen drive, which would explain the low ridership.

Anonymous said...

Maureen, one would hope so. Most of the Garfield students on Magnolia probably are already APP students. Might be a moot question.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Open Lincoln, do you believe that APP parents control APP? Very funny.

Let kids in at 9th grade? Fine, go tell Bob Vaughn. APP parents have no control over who gets in when. There are no free passes and I'm still waiting for those who say that to show me the data.

"Some parents like to threaten to take their children to private school if APP doesn't do X, Y or Z - but that argument doesn't go far these days."

Jessica, if enrollment is up this year and goes down next year, yes the district will take notice. It would be a major embarrassment.

hschinske said...

"Do we know if nonAPP kids ride the Magnolia bus on a space available basis?"

There probably aren't a *lot* of non-APP students from Magnolia left at Garfield, though there could be some -- siblings of APP students, siblings of those who got in when Garfield was less crowded, families who've moved from the Garfield area to Magnolia, etc. But anyway, anyone may apply for a space-available seat on an existing bus.

Helen Schinske

none1111 said...

Short of opening a new north end building for high school (Lincoln really needs to come back online), what physical locations are available in the north end?

Roosevelt has a great physical location, but I think we all know Ballard and Roosevelt are off the table. Unless they boot the SBOC kids out of Meany for a Nova/APP building (no, I'm not serious), we're left with Ingraham and Hale.

Is there any reason to think Hale would be a better option than Ingraham? Neither school is a great fit for APP right now, but if it comes down to a choice between dispersal and having fully 1/2 of APP brought into one of those buildings, would we take 1/2 a cohort over none? I think our family probably would, but it would depend a lot on what everyone else does.

As for comparing Hale/Ingraham, Hale will have some extra capacity as well as Ingraham. Hale is farther east, which might not appeal to the north Ballard families, but it is right off Lake City Way, with good bus coverage. And with all the complaints about bus access to Ingraham, would it be any worse coming from mid-south Ballard or Magnolia? I don't know the answer, but I'm curious.

One potentially nice thing for APP families, especially with all the recent grousing about math, is that Hale has at least one excellent math teacher who had a history of serving ALL kids extremely well at Eckstein, including those who were 3 or more years above the norm. My understanding is that it was because of him that Eckstein was able to support those kids for many years.

Let's start gathering and sharing as much info as possible so we can make educated decisions. The district isn't going to give us straight answers, they'll give us whatever answers they think will sway us to their goals.

hschinske said...

From my house in Ballard, you can take one bus and then walk 0.4 miles to Hale -- would have to leave at 6:50 to get to Hale by 8 AM. To get any closer you'd have to take three buses and start at least 20 minutes earlier.

Helen Schinske

none1111 said...

Maureen said: "I wouldn't necessarily agree that a policy that sent more APP qualified kids to Roosevelt would be a bad thing. I have hopes that a critical mass of advanced learners could lead to the creation of a more reasonable science pathway and some Honors classes in areas other than math."

Depends which side of the fence you're on! ;-)

I don't think it would be a bad thing for Roosevelt, as your points have good merit. But it would be a bad thing for APP because it's hard enough to keep things strong and robust as it is. The more kids we lose, whether it's to RHS/BHS or to private or whatever, it's bad for the APP program and its kids.

And while it's possible that a small group of high-achievers could help push an already strong school like Roosevelt/Ballard over a hump, a similarly small number of high-achievers wouldn't have the same effect at most other schools. They would just get squashed down to fit into the existing program. Which would be a total waste.

This is why I would advocate for keeping fully 1/2 the population at a single location over any other solution. Other than keeping the full cohort at Garfield, which I think most of us would prefer over anything else.

none1111 said...

Helen, how does that compare to the bus route to Ingraham? And are you in north or south Ballard (or does that make any difference?) At least it's only one bus, which sounds better than multiple buses with transfers.

How about families in Magnolia? How do the bus routes compare between getting to Ingraham and Hale?

none1111 said...

would have to leave at 6:50 to get to Hale by 8 AM.

Oh, oh, oh! I just looked at the Hale web site and I see they have an 8:30 start time! So push that forward 1/2 hour! Does that affect bus routes/times?

I wouldn't let this dominate the equation by any means, but 8:30 start time is a big plus in my book!

h2o girl said...

I am in Ballard as well (on 83rd St) and find it rather ironic that my kid can get to Hale, Garfield, Roosevelt, NOVA, and the Center School via Metro easier than to Ingraham, which seems likely to be our assigned school next year. Ingraham would require two busses with an (annoying at best, dangerous at worst) transfer either on 85th & Aurora or at Northgate. The other schools mentioned she would only have to ride one bus to. And of course she can walk to Ballard in 20 minutes.

Ballard for Ballard said...

Busses from SW Ingraham area are empty because families opted for private school over Ingraham.

H2O girl- don't give up.

Maureen said...

FWIW, my 12 year old daughter takes two Metro buses to school everyday. She gets on and off two blocks from Aurora on 85th and changes in the U District. It helps that her dad or brother are often on the same morning bus. The worst part has been crossing the streets and the fact that we felt we had to spring for a cell phone! It takes her a lttle less than an hour door to door.

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Anonymous said...

I am back-

My post was snarky and mean spirited-just what the district wants from parents these days, I suppose. If we fight each other - we are too distracted to fight them as a group, right? My aplogies. this set of questions will try to be more thoughtful, and less thoughtless.

I am just infuriated that lines are on the table again, and that soon Ballard high school will appear to only be available for students in Queen Anne/Magnolia and the Central District. Especially if the APP parents are split, and don't go to the hypothetical program at Ingraham. Clearly, Ballard residents did not go to Ingraham in the droves the district expected, so why would we assume APP students will go there?

Charlie-Thank you for being an advocate for all students

Meg-I was at numerous meetings, wrote letters, harangued board members about all closures, sped issues, etc, etc for at least the past ten years. Fat lot of good that did.

Melissa-I know the APP parents do not control APP. You are right.

So, then. The problem is this. We do not have "predictability" in the high schools. Our boundary lines appear poised to move significantly every year. Not exactly predictable.

Why don't we have predictability, and why can't we open Lincoln? Is it because the district feels it has to fill Ingraham and Rainier Beach, and therefore cannot open a high school at Lincoln, which would go a long way to solving the Queen Anne/Magnolia/Garfield problem?

I don't have a solution, -but I feel like this boundary line adjustment every year, because everyone wants Garfield High School is going to be so disruptive to all students, all over the city. That is a lot of students. Is not the least chaotic solution to split the high school APP so at least some of that group can remain intact? Or do we keep them together,and change all the other high school boundaries, at the expense of all the other students in the city? I just can't get over how many high schools will have to adjust their lines because the Garfield pull/draw is so huge.

Personally, I would prefer APP stay intact at Garfield - but not at the expense of other schools

I don't have the answer to this one

Open Lincoln!

hschinske said...

Lincoln needs a ton of work. It is acceptable as an interim site, but if closed and reopened as an actual permanent school, the work to get it up to code would cost a pile. The district also needs interim sites for various things it has in mind over the next few years, and has been planning to use Lincoln.

I did hear a rumor the other day on "For what it's worth, yes the city is considering asking SPS to use property vacated after the Mercer Corridor Project (a teardrop-shaped piece of land currently on Broad St) for a new school. We're talking about at least a decade out though."

Helen Schinske

Melissa Westbrook said...

The district likes having Lincoln as an interim space and Helen is right about the need for work to reopen it.

However, the district is going to own a parking garage across from Seattle Center (if the plan goes through to trade some of the Memorial Stadium land for the parking garage). That land could be used for a new high school and that could really solve a lot of the Garfield/QA/Magnolia situation and leave Ballard largely for Ballard.

BUT, it is quite a few years off to build anything, the problem is here now, blah, blah. However, if the district made the commitment in BEX IV, then it could happen in 5-6 years. But BEX IV looks to be a middle school/elementary capital projects bond.

Jan said...

Well, then -- what about this as an idea to solve the following problems: (a) horrible access for many (especially many who want to go to Ballard) to Ingraham, and (b) insufficient capacity for many in QA to go to a neighboorhood school without pushing out already full populations at Ballard or GHS:

1. Take Ingraham OUT of the current neighborhood school picture. Reconfigure the boundaries to include an "imaginary" school, either a totally new one on the Mercer property, or one that would "permanently" be housed at a renovated Lincoln. Site an IB program there (since this plan would essentially "close" Ingraham).

2. "Site" the new school somewhere temporarily during construction/renovation (at Lincoln if we are building a new school on the Mercer site, but maybe at Ingraham for a year or 2 -- most high school renovations seem to take 2 years -- if it is Lincoln being renovated) during school renovation/construction.

3. In the future, use the (now emptied) Ingraham for an interim school site. All the interim sites require huge amounts of bus transportation anyway, as they temporarily house programs that are sited miles from them. Heck, maybe it would even save those darn trees, AND it would end up siting an IB program in a location where it might conceivably be WAY more popular than the current program is at its current site.

Under this plan, the current Ingraham area would be split between Hale (a little at the top -- assuming Hale has capacity) and Ballard. The QA kids would go to the new school, either at Lincoln or at Mercer. I am assuming they would grandfather all Hale/Ballard kids who were in the IB program into the moved one -- so that they can finish the program they signed up for.

Somewhere, there has to be something really wrong with this that I am overlooking -- because I am a central Seattle resident, not a north Seattle one. The obvious one is "removing" the Ingraham school as a neighborhood option -- but that school has been so underenrolled for so long, I am not sure how bad that would be (I assume some north seattle resident(s) can enlighten me if I have all too glibly tossed a baby out with the bathwater.

Charlie Mas said...

It is not necessary for APP to be kept perfectly intact at Garfield for APP to continue to make Garfield what it is and for APP students to continue to get what they need.

A cohort of 400 APP students at Garfield will ensure that Garfield has the learning community it needs to continue to provide all of the advanced academic opportunities it now offers. Four classes of 110, 440 APP students, would certainly be enough.

The question comes: where will we find suitable assignments for about 67 of the 177 current 8th grade APP students in an "APP Pathway" program other than Garfield so that only 110 of them go to Garfield?

First, some of them will choose another school anyway without any added incentive, just as about 15% of them do every year. So let's say that 25 of the 177 choose another school without any change.

Now we need to draw another 42 of them into other programs. The obvious and right thing to do is to go to the families and ask them what kind and how much sugar we need to pour onto those programs to make it worth the switch.

But this is Seattle Public Schools, and they just ain't gonna do that. Instead, they will make a wild guess based on no data at all. This being Seattle Public Schools, they will also look for a way to do it without spending any of their own money.

The answer that they appear to prefer: "accelerated IB". The acceleration comes from allowing the students to skip high school classes that they already took in middle school. Given the number of kids they need to pull - nearly half of the 8th graders - they better have more than one place to put them. So that means "accelerated IB" at Ingraham AND at Sealth. I reckon they would love Love LOVE to bring APP students to STEM and boost the numbers there, so an "accelerated STEM" could also be an option. All they have to do is designate these schools as "APP Pathways", which only costs a little ink and doesn't need to have any meaning or require any effort to maintain - kind of like the Spectrum designation at Aki Kurose.

Will it be enough? I think so. But it will be close. I think the District should also designate The NOVA Project as an "APP Pathway" with a liberal arts focus to balance the STEM one. No additional effort will be required by the District to make this happen since NOVA already creates an individual learning plan for each student. Then the District will have to invite all of these schools to make presentations to the 8th graders at Hamilton and Washington - as high schools routinely market to 8th graders now - to promote their "APP Pathways".

Will it be enough? I think so. They can definitely try it for a while and, if it proves insufficient, they can just cap high school APP at Garfield at 110 per class.

Meg said...

open lincoln - I shouldn't have snarked back. Sorry about that. It was petty of me.

I don't want APP favored at the expense of other programs. But I don't want it to be a favorite scapegoat, either. And being on the block in 2010-11 after being on the block in 2008-09 feels a lot like being a favorite scapegoat (although not the only one - hi, everyone from AS#1, sorry you're getting put through the wringer again, too).

The current proposal will:
a) not solve Garfield's capacity problems
b) is likely to create additional capacity issues at Ballard and Roosevelt,
c) is likely to cause harm to the APP program and
d) will eat up resources that could have been spent in any district classroom. And if you say "it won't cost much," go ask the principal of your school what they would do with $10,000, because I'll bet that any principal in the district has 5 things they could do with even that small a sum.

Given all that, how is the proposal to split HS APP a good solution for anyone?

Having looked over growth at Garfield and APP growth, the problem isn't with APP growing and gobbling up the school. HS APP has grown, but the rest of Garfield has grown more. The problem is with the boundaries (as was pointed out many, many times last year). Kicking half of APP out would only be a temporary fix for Garfield, and as I've said (again and again), will likely just move Garfield's current capacity issues to RHS and BHS. Even if half of HS APP is moved out, unless the boundaries are fixed, Garfield will be looking at capacity problems again.

Jan said...

Charlie: I think Meg has a point. Even if you "saved" the GHS APP experience by retaining only 110 (and drawing away 60 or so to other programs) each year, my recollection is that Garfield's increase this year exceeded 200 kids (and presumably NONE of that increase was APP related -- as those kids were a known and counted 8th grade commodity, NO one joins at 8th grade (which is unjust and has been pointed out before by any number of folks). If you continue to pull in an extra 200 per year, and you only "exit" 67 from the APP program -- you end up with about 130 extra kids per year, which means over 500 extra kids by the time the NSAP is 4 years old.

This is not sustainable in the current building. Unless the District moves ALL of the APP kids out to an underpopulated school (and there are none that are centrally located), the only answer that does not involve moving boundaries AND programs means that the District needs to commit to reopening Horace Mann -- and going to a 2 building GHS campus.

Jan said...

And one more thing -- whatever happens, it seems pretty clear to me that the only REAL reason that kids can't test into APP after 7th grade is that there was never room for more at GHS, and the District did not want to piss off the Central District parents any further by crowding more CD kids out to fit more APP kids in. It never made a lick of sense otherwise, and has been an utterly indefensible position.

If we are going to fiddle with APP pathways, etc. -- it would be BEYOND great if the District could, at least, own up to the intellectually bankruptcy of that position, and continue to admit kids into the APP program after 7th grade, if in fact there are more places to take them in.

Charlie Mas said...

Lincoln isn't the only option for an interim site in the north end. The District also has Wilson-Pacific and John Marshall.

This idea that they need to preserve Lincoln as an interim site is simply false.

dj said...

Meg, I hope you and your data have a hot date at the Garfield meeting tonight.

Moose said...

FWIW my friend confirmed that there is an APP bus leaving from QA each morning. Kids get a metro card for the afternoon commute. I pressed for details but she didn't know much -- they just got a letter from transportation over the summer saying that there would be transportation, and they were only too happy to put him on the bus. Most upperclassmen (APP or not) drive themselves or catch a ride with a friend.

Meg said...

dj - I wish. I just got home from a different hot date about school district issues, which unfortunately came with a parking ticket at the end.

Did everyone see the link Charlie posted on the other thread about APP enrollment? I was really happy to snag some current data. Thanks, Charlie.

WV thinks that the whole situation is: lously.

uxolo said...

Two other suggestions (from the meeting last night) for making more room at GHS until the district creates inviting programs elsewhere:

split session- for example, an 8 period "day" where some go kids go 1-6 and others go 3-8;

a simpler one: use the Teen Life Center and Community Center for additional classrooms.

another mom said...

Thanks for the link to the APP enrollment data. 'Twas interesting. Did anyone notice that if you track an APP class from their freshman to senior year that there is a net loss of students? Interesting. The class of 2011 began the 6th grade in 2005 at 146. In 2007 -8th grade- the numbers are 154. However by their Jr. year the numbers are only 117. If I am looking at these numbers correctly, APP does not grow at high school, it loses kids every year. Hmm.

Anonymous said...

Right Meg. Harium was right on the money. Elementary APP has grown a whopping 33% in 5 years. Of course that's going to show up in the high school in just a very few years.

Of course APP loses high school students. Nobody is admitted by policy, else it would surely grow too.

Another Parent

hschinske said...

All I can conjecture about the bus thing is that before the split, there used to be buses going from QA/Mag to Washington that then went on to be elementary school routes, and the transportation office has found that most of the people who were using the "Washington" bus were in fact Garfield students -- so it became worth it to keep that route going and get the state funding per APP student, given that they had to hire that driver and run that bus every day anyway, so the marginal cost wasn't so great (an extra 50K+ a year for 15 students probably does pencil out with the amount of increased driver hours, gas, and wear and tear). I suspect that these buses will go away if and when that funding gets cut.

They must be routes that segue into elementary school routes, given that they're not available in the afternoon.

I'm speculating -- but does this explanation make sense to anyone else?

Helen Schinske

Moose said...

I have no idea how this came about, but what really intrigues me is that yellow bus service is not (or is it?) equally available to APP kids going to Garfield. What about the APP HS kids in the Lake City or Wedgewood or Rainier Beach areas -- are they getting a yellow bus? Anyone?


Anonymous said...

I thought yellow bus service was only provided to those for whom there is no Metro service.

Also, the district's transportation is heavily reliant on the additional funding received by busing APP students. If the extra funds were not provided, all students would probably see drastic cutbacks in service.

Transportation is a service and not a right. In tough financial times, the district could simply discontinue all yellow bus service for gen ed students.

Thanks APP bus riders!

hschinske said...

According to Transportation's site (, yellow buses for high school students may sometimes be provided when it is cheaper to do so than to have students take Metro, as well as to areas not well served by Metro, or "designated safety areas" (not sure what that means, but I don't think it applies to the neighborhoods in question).

I don't know a lot about the economics of busing, but I should think the only time it could be more cost-effective for the district to bus students themselves (Metro costs, what, $27 a month per student?) is when they get a subsidy *and* the route would be compatible with the driver going on to an additional elementary route. There must be a limited number of elementary routes that are compatible with a bus coming from Garfield, and perhaps they've used them up.

Helen Schinske

Meg said...

Another parent - is Harium spending much time talking about elementary growth, generally? Maybe he has been talking in a more balanced way; I haven't been in meetings with him, so I don't know.

You're right that elementary APP has grown - but View Ridge, for instance, grew as much over the same period.

There is growth in APP, but I think there's considerably more context to that growth than APP being some giant, ever-growing Elitist Blob.