Friday, December 10, 2010

Integrated Planning Workshop of December 9

I wasn't able to attend the Integrated Planning Workshop of December 9, but here is the Powerpoint for your review.

I just have a few notes on the slides.

Integrated Timeline.

* I see the annual enrollment report has been pushed out.

* I wonder why the Tentative Funding for Schools Set and Tentative Central Office Reductions, which are scheduled for February 11, 2011, appear on the timeline ahead of some January things.

* I see that the report to the community on the Budget Survey is scheduled for tomorrow, a Saturday. That's odd.

* I see that the introduction for the Board motion on the Transition Plan is scheduled for January 5. That's before they even see the enrollment report or the capacity management report. They vote on the 19th, before they have had much time to consider them.

Academic Assurances

* Nothing on the whole first slide has anything to do with Academic Assurances. On the second slide only two items address the topic: curriculum alignment and "Equitable access to programs and services".

* We REALLY need to pay attention to this statement about "Equitable access to programs and services". I hear it a lot but I have yet to see the District take any action in support of it. On the contrary, the District concentrates programs geographically instead of distributing them geographically. Consider: the two elementary APP sites are less than three miles apart, and both in the Washington Service Area. The District wants to add another language immersion program in the north end, but they want to add it in the Hamilton Service Area, same as JSIS. How does this provide any access for students in the Whitman or Eckstein Service Areas? It doesn't. Likewise, they will add sister programs for Concord and Beacon Hill, but they will add them in the same middle school service areas as the existing programs. That's totally messed up. That is literally the opposite of equitable access, yet no one seems to question this plan or quit claiming this goal. Bizarre.

Program Placement

* The District says that they want to expand Advanced Learning programs by adding 5 additional sites. This is crazy since they can't operate the sites they have now. When the District added three ALO sites this year they promised that the new ones would not be "ALO in name only", yet there is no evidence that they are anything but exactly that. In fact, there is little evidence that any of the advanced learning programs actually exist and there is no evidence that they are effective.

* When did the District decide to offer IB at Rainier Beach? Who decided this? What community engagement was done around this?

* Focus on increased academic rigor at West Seattle HS/Madison MS. Why is this included in the Advanced Learning slide instead of the Academic Assurances slide?

* Name new elementary International School in Hamilton service area. As I wrote earlier, how does this represent equitable access to programs? How hard would it be for them to place the next language immersion program in a school in another service area, but adjacent to the Hamilton Service Area then create a feeder pattern to Hamilton?

Non-Attendance Area K Siblings

* Here's the long and the short of it: Surge capacity has been maxed out. Surge capacity was a one-year transitional strategy for 2010-11 and it would be unrealistic for us to expect that it will be possible to increase surge capacity further for next year in most schools. Conclusion: Non-attendance area kindies are S.O.L. for 2011-2012 (and going forward).

Capacity Concerns

* The District staff acknowlege that there are serious capacity concerns in various hotspots around the district. Their response? "Yeah, you just sit tight. We'll get back to you on that."

West Seattle Issues

* Four elementaries feed to Madison and West Seattle while six elementaries feed to Denny and Sealth. This could lead to dramatic imbalance between the schools. District's response: Donworryaboutit. There will be plenty of room at each school for all of the kids who want to go.

* There are 28 students on the wait list for Lafayette Spectrum. Eleven of those kids are from outside the area; the District thinks they should just go to the Spectrum program in their own neighborhood. Seventeen of the kids on the waitlist are from the Madison Service Area. The District staff have noticed that 22 of the kids now in Lafayette Spectrum are from outside the area, so they conclude that there would not be a waitlist at Lafayette Spectrum if people would just attend the Spectrum program in their own neighborhood. Consequently they conclude that there is no problem here at all. Next!

Garfield Overcrowding

* From the slides it appears that the staff is looking to adjust the Garfield/Franklin and Franklin/Rainier Beach attendance area boundaries to shift 200 students from Garfield to Franklin and 300 students from Franklin to Rainier Beach.

* From the slides it appears that the sentiment is to make an attractive program for APP students at Ingraham, but not to automatically assign students to it.

AS#1 Gets a Reprieve

* As has been discussed.

26 comments:

ttln said...

Don't worry about it? That is BUNK! Way to go to bat for us, Steve.

Bird said...

Name new elementary International School in Hamilton service area. As I wrote earlier, how does this represent equitable access to programs? How hard would it be for them to place the next language immersion program in a school in another service area, but adjacent to the Hamilton Service Area then create a feeder pattern to Hamilton?

Look, siting the programs in elementary schools in any middle school service area does not represent equitable access.

We'll have no equitable access until the schools with the programs are converted to option schools.

Charlie Mas said...

Bird,

I agree that the language immersion programs should be Option programs, but they will still have to be equitably distributed geographically as well so students can get transportation to the schools.

Even if the language immersion program at JSIS were an Option program, students in the Eckstein, Washington, McClure, and Whitman Service Areas would not be offerred transportation to the school. Without transportation, the access isn't equitable.

Bird said...

Without transportation, the access isn't equitable.

I'm just saying that the district has made no commitment to make them option schools. Not now, not in the future.

As long as they aren't doing that, arguing about the equity of where they are sited makes about as much sense as arguing over how to divide up slices of a pie that hasn't been, and may never be, baked. What's the point?

I guess what you are asking for is that when whatever tiny handful of people who are in charge of making this decision retire, quit or drop dead, that the schools are nicely distributed for a future in which kids will be bussed in from all around. If that's your point, then point well taken.

hschinske said...

The IB possibility at Rainier Beach was floated at a community meeting there about a month ago: see http://www.rainiervalleypost.com/rainier-beach-ptsa-wants-to-know-what-would-make-you-send-your-kid-there/. That's just one data point -- I don't know what other community engagement may have been done or how long that idea has been around.

If they're trying to do a turn-around a la Interlake (which used to be considered the worst school in Bellevue) they should keep in mind that IB didn't bring their reputation up for a long, long time. It was only after they brought in the gifted program AND implemented a lot of remedial measures that they saw much for results. See http://www.learningfirst.org/visionaries/SharonCollins (which is an article that I mocked as a miracle of spin over on discussapp.blogspot.com, but which does include descriptions of some supposedly effective interventions they used).

Of course, that article totally left out that the accelerated IB program for gifted students is separate from the other IB program (much, much more separated than anything ever has been at Garfield), and that the large increase in the number of students taking and passing IB exams dates from the introduction of that program. So calling all that "de-tracking" is pretty disingenuous (*cough*a lie*cough), though higher expectations were certainly part of the deal, and presumably some students did move up a good deal.

Helen Schinske

Bird said...

* Here's the long and the short of it: Surge capacity has been maxed out. Surge capacity was a one-year transitional strategy for 2010-11 and it would be unrealistic for us to expect that it will be possible to increase surge capacity further for next year in most schools. Conclusion: Non-attendance area kindies are S.O.L. for 2011-2012 (and going forward).

This may not be true for other schools, but our school, JSIS, is high demand with a fairly affluent population and a lot of rentail units near the school.

I don't think it matters if surge capacity dictates that there isn't room for siblings or not. I've talked to several families with siblings that will move to get in, and there are a lot of siblings entering next year.

The siblings are coming one way or another. If there is no "surge capacity", then the district better plan for that now. There going to a "surge" whether they have room for them or not.

Charlie Mas said...

The District has painted itself into a corner by making JSIS an attendance area school. The funny thing is that they can escape by making it an Option School.

No - wait - the District hasn't been inconvenienced by the overcrowding at JSIS. They haven't been discomfitted by it at all. What does it harm them to overfill a school? It actually makes their numbers look better!

That's kinda the problem, isn't it? The folks downtown can make decisions that make life in schools totally miserable but it never comes back to hurt them at all.

Maureen said...

JSIS should be an Option School. McDonald and BFDay have the capacity to take the kids who don't get in by lottery from the Geographic Zone (which could be sized to equal the current boundaries.) Yes it sucks for the people who paid a premium for that house on Latona, but the alternative is even worse.

Concord and Beacon Hill can be part neighborhood (the English language track) and part Option (immersion tracks). The Geographic Zones can equal their current boundaries. That is how it used to be done when Latona housed AE#3, "Escuela Latona." (Yes, I am very old in SPS years! And I have access to Google.). And since the VAX is gone (isn't it?) they won't have to sort all of the applications by hand (will they?).

This has to be done NOW. Since MGJ seems to think she is in charge of program placement, I guess the Board will have to get it done that way. But it has to be set before they vote on the Assignment Plan Transition in January.

seattle said...

"From the slides it appears that the staff is looking to adjust the Garfield/Franklin and Franklin/Rainier Beach attendance area boundaries to shift 200 students from Garfield to Franklin and 300 students from Franklin to Rainier Beach."

That should go over really well.

Anonymous said...

What does "adding 5 program sites" mean for AL? Were they specifically referring to ALO or IB? Or does this also include more moves/splits for elementary APP?

Signed, Change is hard

ttln said...

So, I have now had time to look at the PP on West Seattle. Love how they present stats in this district. Sheesh.
Slides 23 and 33 are the most misleading. The "out of area" student numbers for both schools represent the total out of area students including those who were grandfathered in. Under the new assignment plan, looking at numbers affected by the NSAP only, the balance is completely different. Less than 200 of the current 254 sixth graders are attendance area kids. Our normal 6th grade classes are 300.

Yes, historically, Madison has filled its roster with non-attendance area kids and carried a wait list because the district assigned students by CHOICE. By not presenting the previous enrollment numbers under the old assignment plan, the impact isn't as visible and makes it look insignificant in these presentations. It is imperative that the imbalance is corrected.
The wait and see tactic will only force us to dismantle the program and lose teachers who have worked hard to become part of our "team." Once we cut a positions in the initial budget based on what we are "given" that person looks for a job elsewhere regardless if the position reappears in the fall after the "real students" show up.

So, happy holidays. Thanks for the anxiety about next year. It is just what I wanted, affirmation that nothing will be done regardless of (WV) mytocken.

Charlie Mas said...

Adding 5 advanced learning sites probably means placing ALOs at schools that don't particularly want them. Those schools will probably be in the Madison, Denny, Mercer, and Washington Service Areas.

Of course, claiming that there is a program doesn't mean anything and since there is never any assessment of these programs (violation of Policy C45.00), there is never any need to do anything more than to claim that the programs exist.

Just the same, the district was shamed by the fact that 80% of the attendance area elementary schools in the Whitman, Eckstein, Hamilton, and McClure Service Areas have some kind of Advanced Learning program while only 25% of the schools in the Washington, Mercer, Aki Kurose, Madison, and Denny service areas do. So they are trying to improve the distribution of the programs by claiming to place them south of downtown.

Seattle Parent said...

Here's a couple of notes on the 1st half of the meeting-

Surprisingly, at the beginning of the meeting there were only 10 non-SPS employees in the audience that I could see.
Michael DeBell made a specific request, asking who was taking notes, and especially wanted to be sure that the minutes would include Board questions. That was good to hear (better yet would be an audio recording in addition, available online just like the Board meetings- why not?).

There were alot of questions & concern from the Board about the budget piece (especially Sherry Carr), as well as the timing of the Capacity Mgm Report (incl. enrollment projections) and the Enrollment reports, which were originally promised for the beginning of November. The best, vague answer from the district is that they will come out "sometime between Jan 5th (Board Introduction) and Jan 19th (Board vote)". How is the Board going to make informed decisions without these reports?

re: Academic Assurances & Program Placement (p. 8)-
The 1st bullet, "Expand Advanced Learning programs (5 additional sites)" was clarified as being for just Level 1 & 2 schools, but "not firmed up yet" as to which schools. Since all middle schools (a la SAP) are supposed to have Spectrum, I think they were just talking about elementary schools here.

2nd bullet, begin authorization process to offer IB at RBHS seemed to have full board support.

3rd bullet, "Focus on increased academic rigor at West Seattle HS/Madison MS (including AP at WSHS and exploration of high school science option at Madison)" was clarified as meaning that WSHS would get one AP science class. That's it! (they don't have one currently). You've got to be joking! Doesn't the Academic Assurance framework that the Board voted for last year require each HS to have at least one AP class in all the core subjects AS A MINIMUM?

So...One AP class (and a vague "exploration" of a high school science class at Madison) is supposed to make the difference in families deciding to choose their area school at WSHS over Sealth?
Unbelievable & not one of the Board members questioned this!

(slides 24-41 for West Seattle feeder patterns in next entry)

Seattle Parent said...

ttln says, " By not presenting the previous enrollment numbers under the old assignment plan, the impact isn't as visible and makes it look insignificant in these presentations. It is imperative that the imbalance is corrected."

You are right- the district was extremely deceptive in this powerpoint and did not dare compare last year's enrollment with this year to show the realistic picture of where the schools are actually headed.

There were 5 pages wasted on focusing on the district's 2010-11 "projected enrollment" and how we exceeded (by a small amount) these projections with the actual enrollment (after the artifical caps were removed, much too late to help undo the damage). Whoopie- all that means is their artificial enrollment caps were wrong. 2 of those pages just tell us that the 2015 projections need to be recalculated. We all knew that on October 1st. It's all a smoke & mirrors game.

In contrast, from the Key Facts & Data online (11/03/10) we can actually see that Madison & WSHS show the largest enrollment cuts in the entire district for MS & HS, while Denny shows the largest MS gain, and Sealth shows the 2nd largest HS gain (after Garfield, of course). Yet, there is not even a hint of this in the district's PowerPoint. No mention of the budgets being cut at Madison & WSHS, and budgets growing at Denny & Sealth. Budgets which drive programs and service for the kids.

How can the district reassure the Board members and conclude in their Power Point that the historic enrollment pattern from "south to north" in West Seattle is still holding? Yes, the general pattern is still there, but in much smaller numbers than before- thus creating the enrollment cuts at the north end and gains in the south end, which will create more enrollment imbalances with each year of the transition. We are just in year one of the damage, remember.

Where are the updated projections that are needed for any decisions by the Board?

PurpleWhite said...

From what I understand - they are forcing APP kids to go to Ingharam. Garfield is extremely overcrowded and looking to be MORE overcrowded next year- kids keep moving into the neighborhood. What are the solutions? Change boundaries? Expand the school day? Add portables? We've heard lots of solutions -what will the District do? Probably pretending like they care what staff thinks, but I bet they've already made their decision.

uxolo said...

Incoming APP 9th graders are being told that Ingraham will accelerate the IB program and then offer internships for senior year. The top colleges are not looking for kids who do internships their senior year. Bad idea.

These kids seem to think they can have Ingraham as an option but would choose Sealth over Ingraham for convenience, but Garfield is in their HS plan and they have not been told otherwise.

Offering up Ingraham created a big scare to see who would bite from what I can tell. District purposefully designed a wide geographic area for GHS enrollment knowing it would eventually force this conversation. Who is behind it - I cannot imagine.

Charlie Mas said...

Speaking as a parent of two APP students who chose high schools other than Garfield, take it from me that there are viable alternatives to Garfield.

The IB programs at Ingraham and Sealth, even without acceleration, are challenging opportunities and stong programs with broad acceptance.

The STEM program at Cleveland is new, but really promising. It looks like it has a very high ceiling. Students who take that opportunity and make the most of it could do a lot.

Speaking of high ceilings, The NOVA Project offers a similar opportunity to STEM but in the liberal arts rather than the sciences. The NOVA Project also offers a strong sense of community, lessons in self-management, and unrivaled academic freedom. Every year NOVA attracts APP students, every year NOVA ranks near the top for average SAT scores in Seattle Public Schools, and every year NOVA students are accepted into competitive colleges.

I don't know to what extent the peer group and range of advanced classes at Roosevelt and Ballard can substitute for those at Garfield. The experiences at these schools strike me as a sort of "Garfield Lite" but I have no direct knowledge.

I think it is strange that the District should consider Ingraham as an appropriate all-city draw location. Particularly since the program there is as likely to interest students from the south-end as students from the north-end.

I think the rather than create some sort of goosed-up version of IB at Ingraham, the District should have just designated and promoted Ingraham IB, Sealth IB, STEM and NOVA as APP alternatives and granted APP students preferred access to them. They wouldn't have to change the programs at any of these schools. That would have been a better service to the students and would have done a better job of relieving Garfield without hurting it.

hschinske said...

The top colleges are not looking for kids who do internships their senior year. Bad idea.


I don't see a problem with that part at all. You really think colleges aren't interested in someone who has already completed an IB diploma, and is therefore much more of a known quantity than someone who's only a bit over halfway through at the time of application?

I'm not sure that particular kind of acceleration is necessarily the way I want my kids to go (it sounds awfully stressful), but in terms of how colleges would look at it if they succeeded, it seems like a sweet deal.

Helen Schinske

wsnorth said...

@ Charlie.

"...the District should have just designated and promoted Ingraham IB, Sealth IB, STEM and NOVA as APP alternatives and granted APP students preferred access to them."

Charlie, I'm so glad your kids are so (APP) smart, but fail to see why that should give them privileged access to all the good schools over the rest of the school population. Arguably, kids who are struggling more (like only 97% percentile) should have privileged access to the best high schools so they can be challenged and prep for college and beyond.

Let APP stay at Garfield, but don't push the rest of the students out of the "choice" seats at all the other good schools.

Jan said...

I can't speak to all of the issues/opportunities at Ingraham, especially access ones (as compared to more central access at, say, GHS and RHS). But my sense, from having known many APP kids is that IF they worked the internship program right, it might be a very attractive option for some APP kids, who are sort of "marking time" by the end of high school. Some of the kids in that group go off to early entry at the U, or off to NOVA, where they get some of the autonomy they crave -- but give up certain of the attributes of a comprehensive high school to do it. For some of those kids, powering through a full IB program their Soph/Jr. years with the promise of being able to create and execute a more autonomous, almost "post high school" experience -- while still keeping the social aspects of high school -- it could be really great for kids who don't really want to graduate early and go to college at 16 or 17, but who are ready to be done with "6 classes a day" high school.
And it fits in well with Charlie's idea (which I also like) of giving APP kids routing to Cleveland-STEM, NOVA, Sealth IB (assuming it has room), and Ingraham IB. If kids really think they "need" the cohort model at GHS, they can keep it -- but as Charlie notes, some APP kids already opt for other schools. If, increasingly, groups of APP kids break off and head for the project based learning programs, or the IB programs (and if the APP population is growing as has been mentioned), it could be a good thing all around.

And I agree with Helen-- assuming these kids are already arriving at college admissions offices with IB diplomas and their traditionally good SAT/ACT scores, having a final year of internship experience won't, I think, look bad to college admissions staffs at all. (I am curious -- I wonder what Bellevue's college admissions experience has been with its IB/internship program?)

southmom said...

Charlie, who did the district talk to in the community about IB at Rainier Beach? Well, ME for instance, and a lot of other folks within the RB boundaries. Remember, there 1,000 kids in the area choosing to go elsewhere for a chance at an academically challenging education. We're sick of pressing our nose against the glass or having the kids here spend hours a day traveling across the city for their education. Again, sorry about the overcrowding at Garfield, but folks, down here, we have a CRISIS.

Jan said...

wsnorth: I don't see that Charlie's suggestion "pushes" kids out of anywhere! NOVA and Cleveland STEM are already option programs --and historically, neither is usually full or has a waitlist. Charlie's suggestion does no more than the few APP kids already choosing those programs are already doing -- but it daylights and legitimizes that path -- and hopefully -- since APP is a "program" that attracts federal funds -- will cause those schools to think deliberately and systematically about their course offerings and "program" for kids who arrive there 2+ grades ahead of grade level.
Ingraham ALSO isn't full -- same argument, except that your comment seems even MORE odd when applied to a school where they are actively trying to attract/place APP kids (and may even do so by "forcing" them there -- if that option is not already off the table). The only school where space is maybe a concern is Sealth. I can't speak to that one - but again, my sense is that Sealth does NOT have the waitlist issues of GHS, RHS, or Ballard.

What makes you think that allowing APP kids in any of these schools would keep out a child who wants and needs -- and would make good use of -- accelerated curriculum, but who just missed the cutoff (or who had the misfortune of moving here after our ridiculous 7th grade cutoff? Am I missing something in the way school choice works?

Charlie Mas said...

wsnorth has a valid point.

Maybe the APP kids don't need preferred access to IB at Ingraham, IB at Sealth, STEM at Cleveland or The NOVA Project. Maybe it would just be enough for the District to recognize all of those schools as equal APP pathways alongside Garfield.

Jan said...

Charlie: if they do that, I think that (1) the schools will have to "want" the APP kids, and (2) they will need to demonstrate that they want them by describing how the "cohort" program in those schools will work -- available advanced courses, 9th grade math/science placement, etc. I think it could work, but not in the "ALO in name only" way -- it would have to be more like the "APP in the GHS cohort way" or the numbers are not likely to rise above the current GHS APP attrition numbers. That was what I liked so much about the Ingraham IB program, if I understand it. There would be specialized placement of 9th grade APP kids in classes that prepare them to enter the IB classes their sophomore year. They would do 2 years of IB, and then a year of either internship or college courses. I am not saying that non-IB programs (STEM and NOVA would work the same way exactly -- because they are very different programs. They just need to give some thought to how their unique programs work to meet some APP kids' needs (NOVA already clearly does, as witnessed by APP eligible kids who choose it and thrive). STEM? It certainly SHOULD work for some APP kids -- but since it is a new program, they need to be able to articulate the plan and the vision.

wsnorth said...

I am glad the district accommodates APP students well and that they have a "pathway".

For the rest of us non-APP parents who don't want to or can't move, getting our kids in the schools that we feel are appropriate for them is random and stressful.

I just copied Charlie's list of schools, I do know Sealth let in everyone who applied, but just barely - demographics and gerrymandering will make it even more crowded in the future. If STEM takes off it could be full as well.

I just don't think one group of students deserves a "fast pass" to jump the queue anywhere they want, when others have to queue up, take their chances, and wait until almost the end of the school year to find out where they are going.

Jan said...

wsnorth: in one sense, no one "waits until the last minute" anymore, as everyone is guaranteed their neighborhood school, and we have excellence for all -- right? Unless kids want to go for option schools (many at the high school level don't have waiting lists to speak of) OR those slippery, elusive "choice" seats at attendance schools. But I hear you.

It would be fine with me if they don't give APP kids a smorgasbord of schools with the equivalent of a Disney fast pass to go to the head of the line. If they want to leave them all at GHS, and go to split schedules, I could easily live with that. And if they want to start up other optional APP programs in underenrolled schools - like Ingraham, I am fine with that too, as those programs don't supplant anyone without the "fast pass." Your point about Sealth is telling. It isn't an issue now, but it maybe would be in a year or two (especially if they maintain the unfair split of WS schools, and basically continue to bleed WSHS to support Sealth.

I concede to your and Charlie's point -- let them go to other schools, or not, based on whether they would rather do that than stay at Garfield, and whether there is room at the other school (or if it is their attendance school, and they just want to default to that at 9th grade). It keeps the current APP program (and the GHS community has always seemed to want it there), and eliminates the unfairness issue that you have noted.