Sunday, January 16, 2011

Transition Plan Tie-breakers

Let's go through the Transition Plan amendments being proposed by Board Directors.

Harium Martin-Morris

I move that there be a one-year special program preference for Thornton Creek 5th graders applying to Salmon Bay as their first choice school, without transportation, with tiebreakers applied in the following sequence:
1.Sibling
2.Special program preference for Thornton Creek 5th graders
3.Geography
4. Lottery

So this would keep TC students flowing to Salmon Bay. Of course, without transportation, how many will be able to make this choice? Maybe someone at TC could let us know what they think the rough numbers might be. Salmon Bay is less difficult to get into than it used and if more TC students didn't go, there'd be more spaces for other students.

The accompanying chart shows that it truly varies from year to year where TC 5th graders go for middle school. Oddly, either the number got left off, but they give no numbers for how many TC 5th graders went to Eckstein for 2010-2011.

This amendment was reviewed by the Executive Committee and recommended to bring to full Board on the 19th. No staff input is included.

Kay Smith-Blum
I move that a portion of the attendance area for Stevens Elementary School be changed from the Stevens attendance area to the Madrona attendance area, as shown on the attached map (see below).

Capacity: Stevens and Madrona boundaries are adjacent. Repurposing the southern section of the Stevens ES attendance area to Madrona would alleviate overcrowding and future capacity problems with roll-up. Madrona has been significantly under capacity for a number of years, and can easily accommodate additional students. Additionally, this revision would help the current and future overcapacity problems at Washington MS. Further, the district does not have access to TT Minor to manage capacity because of lease restrictions until at least school year 2014.

This amendment was reviewed by the Executive Committee but the motion does not state that it was recommended to go to the full Board. There is staff input here but no staff recommendation.

Steve Sundquist

This would change the tie-breakers for West Seattle middle/high school. I need help with analyzing this one because, on the face of it, it seems wrong.

I move that the following tiebreakers be implemented for 2011-12 assignments

Middle School
First Choice Applicants for6th Grade at Denny/Madison

1. Sibling
2. Lives in attendance area and grandfathered at another school
3 Feeder School
4. LIVES IN WEST SEATTLE
5. Lottery


High School
First Choice Applicants for 9th Grade at Chief Sealth High School

1. Sibling
2. Lives in attendance area and grandfathered at another school
3.ATTENDING DENNY
4. LIVES IN WEST SEATTLE
5. Garfield Opt‐out
6. Lottery

High School
First Choice Applicants for 9th Grade at West Seattle High school
1. Sibling
2. Lives in attendance area and grandfathered at another school
3 Lives in West Seattle
4. Garfield Opt-Out
5. Lottery

First of all, it creates a feeder pattern for Denny-Sealth. While I understand this is a joint campus, the NSAP wasn't going to have middle to high school feeder patterns. Second, this really cuts off Sealth to many other students. So we make Sealth an international high school and an IB school and only West Seattle students can go there? How is that fair? What if you are coming from Mercer and don't want to go north to Ingraham?

This item was reviewed by the Executive Committee and recommended to go to the full Board. There is no staff input on this one.

Harium Martin-Morris

I move that Geographic Zone for Thornton Creek Elementary School be reduced in size with the following boundaries, as shown on the attached map:
East boundary: 45th Avenue NE
West boundary: 35th Avenue NE
South boundary: NE 70th Street
North boundary: NE 85th Street

The creation of the Eckstein Middle School service area shrank the multi-cluster attendance area for Thornton Creek. Families had to live in a smaller geographic area to be eligible to request an assignment with transportation to Thornton Creek. This change has made Thornton Creek less of a regional resource for Seattle families in North and Northeast Seattle than it has been in the past.

There is staff input on this one. Staff seems to think this change would impact their ability to manage capacity at NE schools. The Executive Board okayed this one to go onto the full Board. I need help on figuring out the yay and nay on this one.

Garfield
No amendments but here's something interesting:

Current 8th graders enrolled in APP at Hamilton or Washington (9th grade in 2011‐12) will be contacted and given the opportunity to get an early assignment (prior to Open Enrollment) to the new APP program at Ingraham. Students who apply for and receive an early assignment to Ingraham APP will forfeit their Garfield assignment. (If they reapply for Garfield, assignment will depend on space available and tiebreakers.)

So you can get the early assignment rather than waiting for Open Enrollment but you give up Garfield.

Also,
APP students at Garfield rising to 10th grade in 2011‐12 may apply for the new program at Ingraham. If there are not sufficient applicants to start a 10th grade cohort in 2011‐12, they will retain their seat at Garfield High School.

Anyone know the proportions of APP students at Garfield who are in the music program? It seems like those students would not move (nor would Washington APP music students) to Ingraham so if you know that you would be able to gauge how many students might come to Ingraham.

Lastly, I didn't get around to it but I still think the new formula for Open Choice seats is terrible. I think that claims that the NSAP is streamlined and easy to understand are negated by this one alone. It's convoluted and will change for parents and students almost every year. It will take years before anyone can tell the average number of Open Choice seats at any given high school. So you can still apply but good luck. Also, I can't remember; do you only get one school to apply for an Open Choice seat?

60 comments:

Anonymous said...

Surprisingly, I agree with the staff on the Thornton Creek Geo Zone. It only helps View Ridge capacity and harder to manage capacity at the overcrowded schools in the NE. View Ridge is one of the few NE schools that has not been overcapacity the last few years. Sand Point should help any future capacity issues they would have had. This year all siblings were allowed in, which made for very large Kindergarten classes.

32 out of 54 rising 5th graders from Thornton Creek choose Eckstein for the 2010-2011 school year. There is a column on the chart showing designated middle school attendees.

Parent in the NE

Dorothy Neville said...

Capacity management be damned, I disagree totally with any geozone around Thornton Creek except for perhaps a tiny tiny one for near neighbors.

The goal of the NSAP is to have an alternative option available to everyone in every middle school attendance area. But in the crowded NE, if one puts this geozone around TC, one eliminates any chance of getting in to someone not in the geozone. Therefore TC will get students based not on whether the student desires/needs the alternate education philosophy (with a fair lottery) but on whether the student's elementary school attendance area is overcrowded.

A parent at Michael DeBell's coffee hour brought up a similar issue with the Queen Anne geozone, that it is clearly designed to funnel capacity issues from Hay. For the long term health of the new school, it should be more neighborhood/walkability focused, the parent argued (and persuasively, for me, but not to Michael who admitted that geozones are being used for capacity management and that while sympathetic he has bigger issues right now with budget than to try to change that). He did say that he sees the geozones being temporary and that we really can't know what will happen, we don't have any data, this being a new thing.

Sarah said...

Some 6th grade students transfer into Salmon Bay because a large middle school is too much for them to navigate.

This, needs to be considered too.

Some eleven year old children aren't ready to function within schools with a thousand students or more.

Central Mom said...

Is it just me, or has Sundquist largely punted on West Seattle issues again?

SE Mom said...

The Open Choice seats for high school seem to have turned into a complete farce. Basically, the only seats avaiable are going to be those at less popular high schools. I thought the concept of Open Choice seats was to preserve realistic access to all high schools given the specalized programming.

I recall going to several new assignment plan meetings to give community feedback and hearing Tracy Libros reapeatedly state that choice for high school seats would be preserved.

The possible lack of access to Sealth IB to southend families would be troubling. With no access to Garfield without a sibling tiebreaker, Sealth IB is the only other rigorous program that appeals to a wide range of academic interests (Cleveland STEM having a science/math focus).

Melissa Westbrook said...

I think they are hoping the IB program at RBHS will exist. But is years off (at least 2, as there a long process to go thru). So what are kids in the SE supposed to do? Ingraham's IB might be filled with Garfield kids. Access to Sealth seems narrowed so how is that fair?

Olliesdad said...

Why does Tracy Libros still have a job?

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

sorry where is the map that shows what KSB wants changed from the Stevens attendance area to the Madrona attendance area?

dj said...

Yes, Stevens is overcrowded. But WTH is up with, "kick some kids out and make them go to Madrona"? No no, you first, Kay Smith-Blum. Cynically, i think she has just looked at who attends Madrona and realized that there are families to the south witting walking distance and along the #2 who were going to Madrona under the old system and a decided they will be willing to go there still. To the extent that the NSAP is "make kids from high social capital families go to undesirable schools", obviously it is not working. But it you wanted to take undesirable schools and put in ewe, desirable programming? Yes, that would get buy-in.

dj said...

That would be new, desirable programming. Autocorrect is aggressive.

Robert said...

ahhh... I see now. just need to follow the Directors name to get to the entire revision with a link to the map.

Maureen said...

Robert, here is the map. I got it by following the links from the 1/19 Board Agenda.

Robert said...

Thanks Maureen!

Maureen said...

If you look at the map I linked to above, you can see how pointless it is to use GeoZones in capacity management. The proposed TOPS GeoZone (Eastlake and Roanoake Park) only draws kids away from Montlake, when Stevens and probably McGilvra are in more need of relief. Almost every kid who gets into TOPS via the GeoZone tiebreaker will also be offered a bus, so little transportation money will be saved. Unless GeoZones are not contiguous with the Option School, they are very inefficient ways to balance capacity. They only save transportation costs if they are drawn inside the walk zone of the Option School. I also doubt that staff has considered the sibling impacts. If they draw GeoZones large one year to pull kids away from a crowded school, their sibs will also attend the Option school so short term capacity tweaks will have ongoing implications.

Speechless said...

Amen Dorothy!

Geozones should be for the block or two surrounding the option schools, and NOT for capacity management.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know what is meant by "Geography" with Harium's suggested Salmon Bay 6th grade admittance policy? Is this those who live closest? Furthest?

Anastasia

wsnorth said...

Under NSAP so far "LIVES IN WEST SEATTLE" = "You are screwed", so maybe this is a tiny attempt to give us a break.

Of course, there were so many other things that could have been done along the way that would have actually been equitable, predictable, and understandable.

cranky said...

If NE kids need a smaller middle school experience, they have both Jane Addams and AS1 to choose from. Make AS1 somehow more desirable for the TC families, I have to say. Why should TC kids get a preference to Salmon Bay, cutting out kids in the Salmon Bay service area (which includes both the Whitman & Hamilton service areas, already making it very hard to get in even before you add the TC kids).

Anonymous said...

Wrong speechless. We've got to have capacity management as part of the plan. Why do all these alternative school parents think there should be some sort of sacrosanct commitment to their vision in order for kids to simply attend an alternative school? They view the school to be "their school"... which is an incorrect notion. Lots of people pick alternatives to escape schools they don't like. When we have schools that are so full students in some grades are taught completely in the band rooms, we need options. Those students at the stuffed schools should get priority at their option school IF POSSIBLE. Some families would accept either the completely stuffed reference area school OR their nearby alternative school. We should encourage, by policy, (assignment priority) the UNSTUFFING of the overcrowded schools voluntarily. People who don't believe in the alternative schools mission won't choose it. Furthermore, it would be very easy to change a geo-zone if the capacity issue changes over time, because it doesn't effect default placements. This is really a no-brainer... and just shows how unreasonable some parents are when considering a system as a whole. Otherwise the district WILL simply have to return to some sort of secret, non-transparent way to solve the over-capacity issue and give those families preference somewhere else.

I too was at the Debell meeting. The woman was crying (literally crying) because the geozone for QA didn't include her street. (Duh!!!! The ONLY reason to open QA elementary is to relieve capacity at Hay) QA elementary has like 25 kids enrolled, and she was going to get in anyway. But she wanted to cry anyway. And then she was "threatening" private school. She was completely out to lunch. Look honey, the geozone for the private school doesn't include your street either! Don't let the door hit your sniveling butt on the way out!

-- Not persuaded 1 tiny bit

Dorothy Neville said...

Yes we need capacity management as part of the plan. That was supposed to be an important aspect of the entire plan. But using geozones to influence who gets to attend an alternative school is not the appropriate way. Capacity management was supposed to be handled by using good data to right size the boundaries. Alternative schools are supposed to be uniformly available as a choice.

Using geozone alternative school preferences to manage capacity is like removing senority from RIFs. Remediating and removing bad teachers is a part of the needs of the district completely separately from RIF. Managing capacity is a job completely separate from rigging the lottery for alternative school placement.

Speechless said...

I agree with Dorothee again.

Maureen put it very eloquently, "Unless GeoZones are not contiguous with the Option School, they are very inefficient ways to balance capacity."

Take TC, how are you going to draw the boundary to relieve the existing pressure on Bryant? View Ridge can add portables, and Rogers? I wasn't aware of any capacity issues there.

Option schools should either become attendance area schools to manage capacity, or remain accessible as an option to all students within the service area with transportation, and without transportation to those outside the service area.

Anonymous said...

But using geozones to influence who gets to attend an alternative school is not the appropriate way.
Why not? It seems like exactly the right way to me. Or at a minimum, I perfectly fine way.

Look, the district has competing priorities.

1) They want to be at as close to 100% capacity for each building as possible to save money.

2) They want to provide a neighborhood school guarantee.

3) They want to have some option schools, also operating at capacity.

There's no way to magically draw boundaries to resolve those priorities. You don't want to have shifting boundaries to guaranteed schools every year just to get all schools at capacity, but not over capacity.

Notice: "I want it really, really bad" and "I'm especially committed to the alternative mission"... aren't district priorities. Nor should they be. And, lottery really isn't fair either... if you don't win.

--Unpersuaded

Anonymous said...

Cranky,

Salmon Bay had no wait list last year for middle school, and it had the preference seats for TC grads. Everybody that picked it, got it. So what's the problem? The fact is, lots and lots of TC grads now have a guaranteed seat at Eckstein. Who wouldn't take that?

--Unpersuaded

Charlie Mas said...

The proposed change to the 10% set aside at high schools comes down to this:

Students from outside the area are free to enter a lottery for whatever seats are left after every student from within the area has taken a seat.

In other words, if the District screws up and draws the attendance area boundary wrong and the school is overcrowded, then they will put the entire burden of the solution on out-of-area students.

This is a dreadful reversal of the assurances that the Board and the staff gave people about choice and access all through the process and discussions about the New Student Assignment Plan. This is the worst sort of betrayal. This needs to be vigorously opposed.

Maureen said...

If GeoZones are going to be used for capacity management, then they should be drawn around the crowded school, not around the Option School. If no school in a MS service area is overcrowded, then the GeoZone around that area's Option School should be zero (or possibly limited to the families that can see the school from their house-as Tracy Libros first described GZs). So, for example, Thornton Creek' GZ should be drawn around Bryant, AS#1's around Wedgewood(?I'm not sure how crowded they are). Salmon Bays around JSIS. TOPS should just be the walk zone around the building (unless Steven's capacity issues are worse than I think) and so on. Otherwise, there is no point in using GZs for capacity management at all.

Maureen said...

The other tool SPS has had to deal with capacity on the K-5 level is open choice placement at uncrowded schools. But if the proposed Transportation Service Standards are approved, this choice will be limited to kids whose families have no problem transporting them for six years.


Melissa, you might want to consider opening a thread on these transportaion changes. Apparently SPS held a meeting with some PTSA reps this morning (at least that's what it says on the Community Engagement part of the intro item). So people may actually hear about it before it gets voted on February 2nd.

Anonymous said...

Wrong Maureen. Space in a middle school service area is space in a middle school service area. If people go to salmon bay instead of west woodland, then there is space at west woodland for familes who don't want to go to whittier. Insert the alternative school of your choice and repeat.

Walk zones are useless as geozone draws. They don't have anything to do with density of population. Or neighborhood affinity to a school. Or increasingly - after we see the new transportation plan on Wednesday - with transportation assurances.

The district did an ok job of balancing a bunch of interests in geozones - alt schools, neighborhoods, the district's capacity management issues and attempt at encouraging diversity of ethnicity and economics. In the case of Thornton Creek, their proposed solution would make the school even whiter and wealthier than it is. It is no better a proposal than the district's - just emphasizing a different priority. Same with TOPS whiners who won't let the neighborhood adopt the school already. Same with Salmon Bay which didn't even have a backlog at the upper grades yet still pushed back against its geozone.

And if Alt School shrill parents are going to get righteous and insist that The Mission is the only reason to attend a precious option school, then you can watch their attendance plummet and the district dismantle the programs even faster than you have already seen. Escape from an unsuitable neighborhood school, the desire to walk to a school, a specific program like alt inclusion within an option school are some of the many valid reasons a family may pick an alt school. I am tired of the "you must adhere to our philosophy" police that some of the alt school posters tiresomely repeat on this blog. Ahem Maureen. TOPS alt-ness is perilous at best anyhow, although it does seem to be a great example of a multicultural school that succeeds.

Oh, and want to make sure Alt Schools die a quick death. Refuse the idea of geozones. Then when a special program idea comes along that will take away neighborhood access to a building, the neighborhood will reject it. Eureka. Never growth of option/alt schools again. Geozones are actually a worthwhile idea of Alt School True Believers.

In any case, the time for comment has come and gone. Pick apart some other district issue. There are 10,000 to choose from.

"Fighting for Bigger Causes"

Anonymous said...

Wrong Maureen. Space in a middle school service area is space in a middle school service area. If people go to salmon bay instead of west woodland, then there is space at west woodland for familes who don't want to go to whittier. Insert the alternative school of your choice and repeat.

Walk zones are useless as geozone draws. They don't have anything to do with density of population. Or neighborhood affinity to a school. Or increasingly - after we see the new transportation plan on Wednesday - with transportation assurances.

The district did an ok job of balancing a bunch of interests in geozones - alt schools, neighborhoods, the district's capacity management issues and attempt at encouraging diversity of ethnicity and economics. In the case of Thornton Creek, their proposed solution would make the school even whiter and wealthier than it is. It is no better a proposal than the district's - just emphasizing a different priority. Same with TOPS whiners who won't let the neighborhood adopt the school already. Same with Salmon Bay which didn't even have a backlog at the upper grades yet still pushed back against its geozone.

And if Alt School shrill parents are going to get righteous and insist that The Mission is the only reason to attend a precious option school, then you can watch their attendance plummet and the district dismantle the programs even faster than you have already seen. Escape from an unsuitable neighborhood school, the desire to walk to a school, a specific program like alt inclusion within an option school are some of the many valid reasons a family may pick an alt school. I am tired of the "you must adhere to our philosophy" police that some of the alt school posters tiresomely repeat on this blog.

Oh, and want to make sure Alt Schools die a quick death. Refuse the idea of geozones. Then when a special program idea comes along that will take away neighborhood access to a building, the neighborhood will reject it. Eureka. Never growth of option/alt schools again.

In any case, the time for comment has come and gone. Pick apart some other district issue. There are 10,000 to choose from.

"Fighting for Bigger Causes"

Maureen said...

Fighting, I see what you mean-kids are fungible on some level, but it seems like a really inefficient way to do it--especially given the existence of siblings. I may be able to get my first kid into that open spot at West Woodland, but chances are my second would get assigned to Whittier. If Whittier is the overcrowded school, it seems more efficient to draw the GeoZone around it and then the sibs won't be an issue.

Walk zones are useless as geozone draws. I agree with you here. Too much variation from school to school. At TOPS it happens to be a decent proxy for "I can see that school from my front porch." But not at most schools.

I don't see that any thought was put into diversity in the design of the proposed GeoZones. Once again, the best way to do this would generally be to make the Zones noncontiguous with the schools.

I actually don't think that everyone at an Option School needs to support its Mission, but I do think there is a tipping point at which you might as well just close it down and reopen as a neighborhood school. I'm not sure what percentage that is. We'll probably get to find that out pretty soon. In some neighborhoods there are plenty of kids to fill the extra buildings, in others it will mean closing either the Option School building or the nearby neighborhood school.

Dorothy Neville said...

"Fighting for bigger causes" seems to agree with the unhappy woman at DeBell's coffee hour in that the geozone around QAE looks much more like a way to reduce crowding at Hay without accounting for the neighborhood of QAE. Her point was that folks in a completely different neighborhood would have preferential access while it is possible that closer folks who want to help create a strong school and feel a sense of neighborhood face too much uncertainty to get a seat. I do not know the geography of QA well enough to have an opinion about her facts, but her reasoning seems to match yours. She didn't seem opposed to geozones, just to the one proposed which seems to pay more attention to capacity management than the other two of the three goals of geozones.

As to her crying, which "Unpersuaded" seemed to find worthy of making nasty remarks about, well, this was a mom afraid about uncertainty, feeling let down by the district and trying her best to advocate her position. Whether or not you agree with her argument, slamming the fact that she got emotional is a bit much. If your body has never betrayed you and caused you to choke up embarrassingly while speaking publically when you are trying very hard to remain composed then I suspect you can't sympathize. But seeing a need to publicize this and be nasty doesn't help your argument either.

Regardless, DeBell remains unconvinced that it is a problem in QA, said the geozones will be fluid and perhaps temporary (needed only for transition years?) and besides, he has enough on his plate with the budget. So she's out of luck. Will she actually have trouble getting her kids in when they are old enough? Who knows.

Now Harium has taken a different tack and his amendment to shrink the geozone around TC seems like it wants to maintain some close neighborhood priority while making access to the larger community more equitable. Since there is crowding all over the Eckstein attendance area, it seems to me that this would still work for capacity management overall, but with less emphasis on one school. No matter, it's all a crapshoot anyway for who wants TC over the other schools, all of which have their benefits and issues.

I'd like to see geozones sized so that only a fraction of the school is concentrated in the geozone. My objection is that some of these larger geozones look like they will completely shut out anyone not in the geozone who would like the option program. Longer term ramifications with siblings down the road will reinforce that geozone even if it officially goes away. That could lead to longer term issues of nearer neighbors getting shut out -- trying to fix a short term problem with a large geozone seems too likely to have long term negative consequences for the alt school. Unfortunately, we won't know until after enrollment is over and analyzed if the geozone for any school did become the defacto boundary.

Anonymous said...

No Dorothy, I'm disgusted by her attitude. If alternative education of primal importance, then why shouldn't W. Seattle students get to go to QA elementary? ??? Why is she so special? She wanted it exclusively for her street so they would get some priviledged access. We already HAVE neighborhood schools that provide 100% certainty. For her, at Coe. A great school. She has absolute predictability with a guaranteed assignment to a really great school PLUS absolute certainty of access to the new school, QA elem, albeit without a guarantee. Furthermore, she wanted a specific principal. By the time she gets there (her child is 4) it's unlikely to even have the same principal no matter how they cut the "geozone" pie. I don't know what else the district could possibly do for her.

The person wanted the new school to be a neighborhood school(it's alternative, right?) AND she wanted it around her house a few blocks from Coe, AND she didn't care about ANY capacity issues in the cluster (the sole reason QA elem was needed). And then, to top it off, she used the ridiculous threat of "I'll just have to go to private schools." I could forgive the crying... but the rest of it is over the top. And her complaint unreasonable.

Notably, people like that would probably be first in the complaining/crying line if the new school WAS designed as a neighborhood school with a real attendence area. In that case, they'd LOSE the guaranteed access to the two wildly popular schools on Queen Anne: Hay and Coe. The district did ABSOLUTELY the right thing here. In a neighborhood with wildly popular schools, they created a nominal alternative school instead, to preserve everyone's certainty at very popular schools (how alternative is "tech focus" anyway?) with a strong push to relieve overcrowding.

--Still Unpersuaded

Dorothy Neville said...

Ah, Still Unpersuaded. Thanks for the clarification. While I am still very much unpersuaded against large geozones for capacity management that work against the other goals of geozones and while I am willing to give a newby parent a bit more benefit of the doubt for lack of political polish (and perhaps overloooking what may be arrogant attitude -- lord knows I am not always so tolerant about that), I do hear what you are saying in this particular case and find things to think about.


Back to the general issue of geozones. Does it make sense to have a geozone so large that it becomes a defacto boundary? This, more than the particulars of the QA situation, is what I oppose. Looking at the staff proposed geozone around TC, it looks large enough to do that and I do not think that is in the best interest of the NE or TC.

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

Still waiting for district staff to answer my questions on policies/rationale for having Language Immersion and Montessori programs as neighborhood and not option schools. Two board directors (Smith-Blum and Carr) responded they'd asked staff to follow-up with me (Enfield and Libros, respectively).

Jan said...

Charlie said:

In other words, if the District screws up and draws the attendance area boundary wrong and the school is overcrowded, then they will put the entire burden of the solution on out-of-area students.

This is a dreadful reversal of the assurances that the Board and the staff gave people about choice and access all through the process and discussions about the New Student Assignment Plan.

Thank you, Charlie -- for saying so elequantly what I also think. All those pre-NSAP parents who worried about school quality (knowing what school they were likely assigned to) or who wanted IB, etc. How many times did we hear about how the 10% choice solution would ease all these problems. And now, we have things like -- Garfield kids who want, say, the Center School, getting the ability to go there over RBHS kids trying to get to some school other than RBHS. It helps the district staff deal with the incredible, predicteable blunder that they made with the Garfield boundaries, yes, -- but fair to the RBHS kid (who, by the way, has no HOPE of getting into GHS, due to crowding)?

I love GHS, and my kids go there, but I would have gone to double GHS shifts before I started giving GHS attendance area kids priority over RBHS or other kids stuck in historically underselected schools who are seeking available choice seats.

Jan said...

Close your eyes and imagine, for a moment, an "other" MGJ, an "other" District Staff. A staff that gathered a lot of parent input on things like Montessori, LI, and alt schools before proposing the SAP, made ALL of them option schools, and started the process 3 years ago of siting them equitably. A superintendent who came to the board two years ago and said -- the SE Initiative has not had measurable results. I propose postponing the SAP for another year or two, until we have SE school choices that work for, and attract, the families who will be assigned to them. Otherwise, we risk an unfair and unstable school assignment process. A staff that had introduced IB (if that is the fix they are proposing) to RBHS 3 years ago as part of the SE Initiative -- rather than scrambling to start it up next year.

dan dempsey said...

WOW Jan ......

next you will likely have me imagine Board members who actually make evidence based decisions.

The Superintendent's planning is pathetic and her execution is worse ... the audit was a disaster so the Board extended her contract an additional year.

I like the imagining .... It really makes an impact. It is hard to envision "what doing things correctly" would look like after years of misfeasance, malfeasance, and incompetence. Thanks for the reminder that "this could be done". .... Just not by these folks.

Kelly said...

Wow, there's some capacity managment in action. Take away the all-city transportation for Salmon Bay middle school, and poof - no more wait list.

Maureen said...

Kelly do you know if any Middle School kids get Title-1/no-AYP busing? I wonder if there are kids who wanted to get to Salmon Bay but couldn't, so were bused to a different MS that made AYP instead? I expect this is true of many of AS#1's K-8th graders and know it will be true of about 1/4 of TOPS' K-5 kids if busing isn't grandfathered. And that doesn't even account for the additional tutoring costs for kids assigned to Title 1 schools.

When will SPS staff start thinking in terms of NET costs across the system instead of the gross costs inside each of their little silos?

Anonymous said...

The new QA elementary is about a quarter mile from John Hay, which is unbelievably oversubscribed. The capacity management plan 2 years ago was to actually put the 4th and 5th grades of Hay, into the "Old Hay" building... now renamed QA Elementary. Another plan had been to put the kindergarten of Hay into "Old Hay". The two schools essentially share what normal people would consider a "walk zone". It would be really hard to draw any type of zone or attendance area around QA elementary that didn't actually include Hay, or vise versa. That is, you'd probably wind up with a zone where the school wasn't even in it's own attendance area. If they did make all three school attendance area schools, the maps would surely be unbelievably weird, and people would be up in arms.

QA parent

Anonymous said...

The new transportation standards propose a three-tier bus schedule (changed from a two-tier schedule).

Does anyone know which schools will be affected for next year? Speaking personally, I would love it if my child's elementary went back to an earlier start time, but would loathe an even later start/end time.

Inquiring parent

Maureen said...

Have any PTSA leaders out there been invited to a meeting to discuss the proposed Transportation Service Standards?

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT PROCESS
Prior to Vote:
Opportunities for engagement at the “consult” level will be through public testimony at board meetings as well as submission of comments and suggestions through cards, letters, and e-mail to www.newassign@seattleschools.org
Brief community leaders of PTSA and other family groups Wednesday January 19th (A.M.)
 Community meeting during the week of January 24th (Tentatively at Mercer Middle School)
 Place proposed Transportation Service Standards on SPS web site.

joanna said...
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joanna said...

further comments for Kay on Madrona/Stevens
http://centraldistrictnews.com/2011/01/17/proposed-school-boundary-change-for-stevens-madrona-k-8

maureen said...
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Anonymous said...

I was just thinking about the last time I felt like crying in front of Director DeBell, and it was over the proposed late (9:30ish) elementary start times which would have made my family's life difficult in many ways. I have not heard of a plan to change the elementary start times again, but I would like to know if this is in the works.

Working Mom

Anonymous said...

As I read the Transportation standards, there will be changes to start times again.

Proposed Second tier elementary arrival/ departure: 8:35/3:00

Proposed Third tier elementary arrival/departure: 9:10/3:45

These are bus arrival and departure times, not school start and end times. The current arrival/departure times are 8:50/3:40.

Inquiring parent

Anonymous said...

OK, I just read the Transportation Service Guidelines and see that there will be two tiers of K-5 with the later tier bus arriving 20 minutes later than they do now. They are now by guidelines to arrive at 8:50 and allow 15 minutes for breakfast, I believe. So the new time is buses arrive at 9:10 for a start time of 9:25 or 9:30. Afternoon times are correspondingly later as well.

Working Mom

Anonymous said...

For those of you discussing QAE - some facts might help the thought process:

There are not 25 students but actually 115 students currently with K, K/1, 2, and 3/4/5
classrooms, all around 28+ kids.

QAE will likely have 2 classrooms each next year at the K-3 grades based on many factors, including overcrowding at Hay, excellent principal and staff, but also very high interest from parents who are waiting for the school to be located in the neighborhood. Two last minute open houses at a parent's home were packed - over 50 attendees each - and people are asking how to sign up for next year already.

So the tie-breaker scenario employing the geo-zone is real.

Why would a QA/Magnolia parent outside the geo zone be upset that they may be in a lottery with other students outside the McClure service area?

Because they were told over and over that the whole reason for opening the school in the first place was to relieve crowding in QA/Magnolia schools.

If all the district wanted to do was relieve crowding at John Hay, they should have used the split campus idea they had in the first place the poster above references.

If the idea was to open a 21st century learning technology option school for the district, then fine. But don't sell it as a capacity management play to the local parents while you are asking them to support it and make it come to life.

POL

joanna said...

my post it too long. Part I:
School Board members, I am basically forwarding you my letter to Kay Smith-Blum to you in hopes that you will care about not only the fairness of this situation but also the practicality of what is happening here. There has been neither any public engagement nor any public examination of the facts. I am disappointed in the fact that no attempt to publicly engage any of the affected families or the community. This change represents no community engagement and in no way represents the interests of the students and families. This amendment seems to have been drafted out of concern for only the Stevens/Lowell area families who want to attend Stevens. If you are serious about a plan for TT Minor begin it now with community engagement. After all it would have to be ready to go by 2013 for a choice, right?

joanna said...

Part II:
At the moment only 45% of the students at Stevens currently live in the Stevens area. The families near Stevens and Lowell have two schools that they can actually find walkable, Lowell and Stevens. Your work to accommodate all the a kindergarten classes at Stevens this year, 20 of whom live outside the area contributed to this problem. The students and families in the area of proposed change should not pay the price. Why no public engagement on this?

Are we serious about neighborhood schools?

Currently only 45% of the students at Stevens actually live in the Stevens area, a situation that has been exacerbated by the continuing of out-of-area siblings. Yes, this still means that the area drawn for Stevens has a few more students than it should. Nonetheless, Kay's plan would only shift that burden to Madrona and do nothing to serve the families in the area that she is proposing to change. This area deserves a stable assignment process, and definitely does not deserve to be shifted again with no public engagement. If in the 2014, we can work to get TT Minor back as a desirable neighborhood school then the discussion can be had. (I had thought that it could happen sooner.) 400+ students live in the area of TT Minor, a very walkable area. Many of the families here breathed a sigh of relief after TT Minor was closed. If we could not work on that school then at least the new assignment gave families a choice of a stable known quantity.

Only 33% of the students who live in the Lowell area choose to attend that school. A few of those may be APP. Nonetheless, this represents a program that is not attracting neighborhood students and allows a large number of APP students to dominate the school. It should probably be all APP. That is another discussion that can be had only if TT Minor is back as a school. Otherwise, leave this area alone and let the areas close to Stevens and Lowell divvy up their areas for balanced numbers. They can easily walk to either. These students also often chose TOPS or even Montlake, all quite close to where they live. Montlake and TOPS both are common choices for these students. In fact, Montlake might have a difficult remaining full if students from Stevens and Leschi did not choose it, even with the only a 250 student capacity.

The currently the problem with the enrollment at Madrona is not the number of students living in its area, it is the number who choose Madrona. Currently 22% of the students living in the Madrona area choose to attend the school. If a good popular program were to be placed there then the school would eventually be overcrowded with at least 260 elementary age students in the area plus the 150 that would come from the new area being proposed for the K-5 portion. This school was not designed to accommodate 500+ K-5 students. This does not take into account the number of students that might come out of private school. These families would not then necessarily choose the middle school portion of Madrona over Washington. Remember this is an attempt to force them to an elementary choice, not a K-8 choice. TOPS is supposedly our alternative school, though far removed. Most would still be looking to get to Washington if the historical patterns continued, and there is no evidence to contradict that pattern.

I know from experience that students west of 23rd have always qualified for transportation and have never been considered in a walk area. 23rd and MLK are both major arterials.

I am disappointed by this last minute attempt to force these families into chaos one more ti

maureen said...

The NSAP Transition has no provision for newly identified Advanced Learners to enroll in the Accelerated IB program at Ingraham. It only accounts for existing APP students enrolled at HIMS or WMS for 8th grade. When the program was presented (in December?), they said there would be a way for new students to enroll.

nacmom said...
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nacmom said...

you know what kills me about this list? it's EXACTLY what the NSAP was supposed to FIX - a bunch of ad hoc/band aid, school by school solutions/preferences designed as work-arounds for specific groups to skirt the system. They should all be dismissed on principle.

Oh and I don't have an opinion on geo zones for TC, but for those who say VR can just add portables (true, technically, on playground) at what # over 600 does an elementary school become too big? VR will exceed Bryant's 'biggest in system' size this year, for certain. The infrasructure - gym, auditorium, parking, etc are all for smaller #;s. These issues are front and center at almost every NE school, old hat at bryant, not just VR, TC's growth plan has similar constraints, but guess what - nothings really be fixed!

The issue is: no real data was used to draw boundaries, they are effectivley wrong in many cases and no one is copping to the problem or willing to fix it.

So, what to do? change the bell times. again. without input. grr. ignore capacity problems, hope they resolve themselves magically and that existing grade schoolers don't actaully rise up to middle school on time, or high school for that matter, b/c we won't be ready.

Yes, I'm ranting. who wouldn't?

Anonymous said...

The question about (non-APP) 8th graders qualifying for the APP/IB at Ingraham was specifically asked at the meeting held at Ingraham. Dr. Vaughan responded that, yes, students could test in for 9th grade.

Is this now different? It was one of the more appealing aspects of the proposed program - an accelerated pathway for those not choosing APP in middle school.

-?

Anonymous said...

No POL, splitting up grades at Hay is a particularly dumb idea, and it lasted for about 1 week. There are several programs at Hay that can't be split along grade levels. And, nobody wants to split up siblings, just because some other people want lots of choices. Yes, the district told everybody QA is getting another school because it needs it. That is true. So what? QA is, in fact, getting a school to relieve crowding. They never said other people couldn't attend it. And the crowding that needs relieving, is exactly located in the geozone. That's what it's for! The complainers are actually from schools that are NOT over-crowded. If the alternative issue is so important, then there should be NO special preference for QA/Mag residence at all. You can't really have it both ways. It seems you are arguing for middle school service area tie breakers. But that's no good either. All the alternative schools are pretty unique and many think you should get a choice and a chance at one that meets your needs. But the reality is, without transportation, it is highly unlikely that any school in QA or Mag will attract students out of the neighborhood.

I'm sure the 25 number was an exaggeration to make a point.

QA Parent

Anonymous said...

Lots of changes to the Transition Plan - posted to the Board Agenda on Tuesday.

-?

Anonymous said...

maureen is correct:

As it's currently written (Tuesday's posting), the Transition Plan does not allow newly identified students to enter the APP/IB program. They have to be current APP 8th graders or, if new to the District (from another school district), they have to show participation in a similar gifted program.

This is NOT how the new program was sold to parents at the Ingraham meeting. Parents were given the impression that students could test in for 9th grade, even if they hadn't opted in to APP for middle school.

Tired of Broken Promises

Anonymous said...

QA Parent,

My example of splitting up Hay was also an exaggeration just to make a point - like the 25 enrollment.

My point is, when SPS states they are opening a school with the goal to relieve crowding at other schools in that service area, then SPS should give kids from those crowded schools preference in the tie breaker via geo zone in order to actually meet that goal.

The accurate enrollment #s are provided since some commenters stated that the tie breaker scenario wouldn't happen anyway as it is a new school, all kids will get in, why is this lady crying? However - QAE will be full at many of the grade levels. So these tiebreakers could apply.

But the ship has sailed in terms of impacting the geozone size so time will tell how it plays out.

POL