Friday, March 25, 2011

High School Open Choice Seats for 2011-2012

The District has quietly announced the number of open choice seats available at attendance area high schools in the fall. Nice transparency.

This represents a clear failure to keep the commitment of maintaining choice by reserving seats for out-of-area students at every high school.

Here's a link to the table.

High School Open Choice Seats for 2011‐12
School. . . .Grade. . . Seats. . .%
Ballard. . . . 9. . . . . 21 . . . 5%
Ballard. . . .10. . . . . 41 . . .10%

Franklin . . . 9. . . . . 38 . . .10%
Franklin . . .10. . . . . 21 . . . 6%

Garfield . . . 9. . . . . 0. . . . 0%
Garfield . . .10. . . . . 0. . . . 0%

Ingraham . . . 9. . . . . 32 . . .10%
Ingraham . . .10. . . . . 32 . . .10%

Nathan Hale. . 9. . . . . 32 . . .10%
Nathan Hale. .10. . . . . 6 . . . 2%

Rainier Beach. 9. . . . . 31 . . .10%
Rainier Beach.10. . . . . 31 . . .10%

Roosevelt. . . 9. . . . . 43 . . .10%
Roosevelt. . .10. . . . . 21 . . . 5%

Chief Sealth . 9. . . . . 0 . . . 0%
Chief Sealth .10. . . . . 13 . . . 4%

West Seattle . 9. . . . . 28 . . .10%
West Seattle .10. . . . . 28 . . .10%
Notes:
See Appendix B in the 'New Student Assignment Plan Transition Plan for 2011‐12' for the methodology used to calculate Open Choice seats.

The number of Open Choice seats shown is a minimum. More Open Choice seats will be added if actual attendance area enrollment is less than projected, or if more attendance area residents go to another high school.

The open choice seats for 10th grade are additional seats for new assignments, and do not include any current 9th graders assigned by choice who will be continuing into 10th grade.

There are no established minimum numbers of Open Choice seats for 11th and 12th grades, but students may still apply for any available space.

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

Points of interest:

Garfield has no open choice seats available. This is a clear violation of the commitment the District made when introducing the New Student Assignment Plan. Someone needs to be held accountable for this failure. I'm thinking the Board. More than an apology, they need to fix it immediately.

Chief Sealth has no open choice seats available for incoming 9th graders. This is a clear violation of the commitment the District made when introducing the New Student Assignment Plan. Someone needs to be held accountable for this failure. I'm thinking the Board. More than an apology, they need to fix it immediately. This zero marks the end of Steve Sundquist's re-election hopes.

It is particularly sharp that the two schools without Open Choice seats available are Garfield and Chief Sealth as these are the two high schools with the greatest amount of out-of-area interest. These are the two high schools that were particularly promised to have seats available for out-of-area students.

Does it strike anyone else as odd that 10% of Rainier Beach enrollment (31) is more than 10% of the enrollment at West Seattle and about equal to 10% of the enrollment at Nathan Hale and Ingraham. How can that be when we know that Rainier Beach has less than half of the enrollment of these other schools?

113 comments:

Patrick said...

What would fixing it immediately look like? As has been noted before, even if there's space for portables that doesn't add to the bathrooms, cafeteria, or auditorium. The District has dug this hole that everyone within geographic boundaries will be admitted, now they can either keep that promise or the 10% choice seats promise.

zb said...

Yes, what would fixing the issue at Sealth & Garfield look like?

I'm actually surprised that they've maintained the 10% spots at Roosevelt.

Are you asking for a larger number of students at Ballard, Sealth and Garfield in the 9th grade class next year? Or do you want to redraw those boundaries so that open choice can be maintained by moving some of students at Ballard, Sealth & Garfield to some other school?

Should Ballard's northern boundary be shifted further south? Should Garfields southern boundary be shifted further north? Could Ingraham & Franklin manage those student loads?

Should Sealth's boundaries be shifted to shift more students to WSHS?

My main hope for the NSAP was consistency, and thus I'm opposed to changing boundaries -- I see that as effectively moving back to the old NSAP, but with even more inconsistency (since distance would no longer even be a determining factor). So, I'd rather see the choice seats used to manage enrollment than yearly shifting boundaries (though I know Garfields boundaries are already being shifted).

Eric B said...

re: RBHS, I suspect that the 10% number is based on the number of assignment area students who might show up at RBHS if they don't go somewhere else. Last I checked, the RBHS assignment area has plenty of students to fill the school, they just don't go to RBHS.

NB This is my thought based on a quick read. I haven't gotten into the referenced rules for assigning open choice seats or done any math.

zb said...

Oh, and I guess there's also the APP preference at Garfield. That could be modified to maintain additional choice spots at Garfield.

I really would like to hear if there are any other immediate fixes out there to keep open choice seats.

Peon said...

Yes, I'm curious too. What would the fix look like? Garfield is already drastically over enrolled (may be a safety hazard at this point). Can't stuff more kids in without kicking some out. So who goes?

Last I heard the district was at least working on some options. There was talk of shifting boundaries, and I thought they moved forward with adding a HS APP program at Ingraham too (in hopes of drawing some north end APP students away from Garfield).

But what else? What else do you suppose the district or board could do at this point?

I don't like broken promises either, but doing away with open choice seats in the most over crowded schools seems like it might be the best option at this point.

Jan said...

Well -- for starters, the District could approach the lessee of the Horace Mann building to determine what would be required to terminate that lease and use that as Garfield expansion space.

Or, they could expand the day to 9 periods and have kids attend on a staggered basis, hard on the kids and the school, admittedly, but not as hard (if you are an RBHS kid) as being shut out altogher, and not as damaging as destroying existing programs that parents and kids like and support (like APP).

Patrick is right -- at this point, they have two competing promises, and it is hard to keep both (they are keeping neither). But my sense is they just picked the easiest promise to break (choice seats and a tweak to boundaries) rather than looking for more expensive solutions that MIGHT have allowed them to keep BOTH promises (AND not destroy the program for APP kids either).

Every time I stop to think that the "success" of the NSAP was one of the reasons for extending MGJ's contract, I want to jump out a window. It is one thing to like the NSAP concept. But its implementation was anything BUT successful.

Peon said...

And I do applaud the transparency. I don't recall seeing these number last year.

Not Curious Anymore said...

With Charlie the district is damned if they do damned if they don't.

If the created the promised open choice seats not everyone within a geographic boundary would get in or they would change the boundary.

Both broken promises which would get Charlie leaping with his "accountability now" hammer.

Curious More said...

Not Curious Anymore wrote, "With Charlie the district is damned if they do damned if they don't."

Oh please. This is a problem of the district's own making. The district planned poorly for demand, closed schools only to have to reopen them, and failed to expand successful programs to other schools.

The public, including people on this blog, have been warning about these issues for some time. Don't kill the messenger.

Charlie Mas said...

I don't know if I'm more bothered by the charge of guilt for an imagined crime - what I would write if the District did something else - or by the pettiness of the projected crime. Couldn't you imagine me as a war profiteer or a terrorist?

If the District is damned if they do and damned if they don't, then they over-promised, didn't they? They messed up. Could we focus on that for a minute instead of focusing on the person who noted that they messed up?

How could they fix it? A couple ways. They could re-draw the boundaries correctly. They could create surge capacity at Mann. They could make a very close examination of the actual address of people who claim to live within the Garfield boundaries - starting with those who recently arrived.

How they fix it isn't MY problem. It is THEIR problem. I can suggest solutions but in the end it is THEIR responsibility to meet their commitments.

Sue said...

I don't think it's the board's fault alon. I think the demographer, Rachel Cassidy and Enrollment Head, Tracy Libros, both need to be held accountable as well.

Rachel Cassidy in particular is pretty notorious for not seeming to be able to predict enrollment.

Peon said...
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Peon said...
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Can't we move on? said...

How about a statement like this:

Due to unanticipated demand, some of our schools will not have seats available to set aside for those outside the geographic boundaries.

We regret that we have not met our goal of having 10% of seats set aside for students living outside a particular school's geographic boundary.

If they make a statement like that then everyone can move on. Otherwise you're right back where we were several years ago and we get to go through the whole boundary line drawing process again.

SolvayGirl1972 said...

To me, the real issue is that kids in the RBHS area are being shut out of desirable schools. Neither Sealth nor Garfield are options for them. RBHS is on the road to having an IB program, but it's not going to happen overnight.

Add that to the security issues at the school (check out the Rainier Valley Post to read how gang members entered the school looking for girls who had witnessed a shooting) and you will see that families in the south end have very few quality options for high school unless their child is a STEM candidate.

Melissa Westbrook said...

It would be nice to hear the district admit a mistake. And apologize.

Because Charlie is right; it's their fault. Admit fault, apologize and go forward figuring out if you can fix it next year or admit you will never have open choice seats at all the comprehensive high schools.

Because yes, there are programs at some schools that some kids would like to access and never will be able to because of their address and because the district made a promise they can't (for now)keep.

dj said...

I don't see how you can guarantee access to neighborhood kids, maintain constant boundaries, and have a predictable percentage of choice seats, at popular schools, all at the same time. I'm surprised if anyone -- staff, posters here -- sincerely thought it would be so. The "promise" of choice seats was to get people to accept the NSAP, not an actual promise.

Peon said...

Yup, this is a problem of the districts own making. They took on a pretty hefty project in the NSAP and I think it is perfectly reasonable to expect plenty of bumps and glitches during the first few years of implementation. In other words I expected some issues that would need ironing and sorting out. Some that may even impede the district from keeping all of the initial commitments they made. Some that are out of the districts control.

Garfield and Sealth may not have set aside seats but there are set aside seats at Roosevelt and Ballard. And plenty of seats in addition to set aside seats at Ingraham, Hale, WSHS, and Franklin. There are also seats available at options high schools, STEM, Center and NOVA. It's not like families in the RBHS boundaries have no choice. Lets keep the facts straight.

Sue, I hear what you are saying. Surely Rachel Cassidy and Tracy Libros have some accountability in the matter of the over crowding, but I'm not sure how much?? The NSAP is a new plan, and I don't know if anybody could have accurately predicted just how many families with the means would move into the boundaries of popular schools, how many families would cheat and use fake addresses, or how many families would move their kids from private to public. That was all guesswork at best. Not sure anybody could have accurately predicted that.

I think the important thing to watch now is how the district handles these types of situation. I like that they are willing to explore shifting the boundaries for Garfield, and I like the addition of an APP option at Ingraham (putting north end HS APP in the north end and relieving the over crowding at Garfield at the same time). I also think cutting back the set aside seats, at least temporarily, until they get the over crowding under control is reasonable.

SE Mom said...

Well, if you're a math/science kid entering high school and live in SE Seattle and/or want rigorous academics, the options are now very limited. Only STEM at Cleveland might fit the bill. Franklin and WSHS don't have a strong course of studies in those subjects. Having the south end IB program at Sealth no longer available to students outside of West Seattle is particularly troubling.

Peon, driving from SE Seattle to Ingraham for IB is really not a viable or fair alternative.

Again, the programming at Seattle high schools has become specialized and all schools are not equal in terms of what they offer. You can't swap music at Garfield for the finance academy at Franklin. Or sciemce at Sealth for arts at Center School.

SE Mom said...

Just curious...does anyone have first hand information about how things are going at STEM at Cleveland?

wsnorth said...

This is outrageous! So much for honesty and accountability!

In West Seattle, the district "fed" 6 elementary schools into Sealth, and only 4 into WSH. They purposefully stuffed Sealth to the gills with their gerrymandering and left hundreds of open seats at WSH.

How can there be 43 choice seats at Roosevelt and NONE at Cheif Sealth?!

I guess the lies continue.

Charlie Mas said...

dj gives us the Animal House blame-shifting response: "You f***ed up; you trusted us."

We never should have believed anything the District told us or promised us in the first place. They have no fault here - the fault is ours for ever thinking that they meant anything they said.

Good luck to the District leadership and their effort to restore the public's trust in Seattle Public Schools.

Charlie Mas said...

Peon writes:
"The NSAP is a new plan, and I don't know if anybody could have accurately predicted just how many families with the means would move into the boundaries of popular schools, how many families would cheat and use fake addresses, or how many families would move their kids from private to public. That was all guesswork at best. Not sure anybody could have accurately predicted that."

Actually, the overcrowding at Garfield was predicted and was, in fact, very predictable. The attendance area boundaries for Garfield were drawn bigger than the limits of the old distance tie-breaker line. In other words, the District already knew that, even under the old plan, there were more students who would choose Garfield than Garfield could hold. Under the rules of the new plan, with guaranteed enrollment, the demand was, predictably, even higher.

Eric B said...

If we take the old distance tiebreaker lines as gospel, then where would Magnolia kids go? Ballard is already full (see reduced open choice seats there) and Garfield is stuffed. If they move the Ballard line any further south, there will be riots in the streets as students within sight of the school are bused an hour away. Likewise if they move the Garfield-Franklin and Franklin-RBHS boundaries north.

Way back when, I did draw up a boundary where Magnolia was gerrymandered into the Cleveland zone, but everyone knew that that wouldn't work. Plus Cleveland became STEM. But even without the influx of former private school students into Garfield, it was extremely hard to draw realistic boundaries. If I fixed Ballard's issues, Roosevelt or Garfield would cry bloody murder.

SPS has a fundamental problem that the high schools are largely in the wrong places to accommodate current demographics with rational boundaries. They have four high schools worth of kids in a triangle between three schools.
They could certainly have done a better job in some areas, but they're damned if they do and damned if they don't on this.

kellie said...

Eric is absolutely correct. The issue with Garfield (and by extension all choice seats) is that when high schools were closed way back when, for some inexplicable reason, the decision was made to close two geographically contiguous high schools - Queen Anne and Lincoln.

Those closures made it nearly impossible to return to a geographic system. This is simply because the students that would have been geographically served by Queen Anne High School have to be sent to either Garfield or Ballard. This means that the students that would be served by those schools need to shift to other schools and so on, and so on.

The issue with Garfield is that there are simply not enough centrally located high school seats.

Peon said...

Charlie why do you think the district drew Garfield's boundaries so large? There were so many changes in the district last year that it could have been due to any number of reasons. Perhaps they were counting on STEM drawing a fair amount of the Garfield area kids away from Garfield? Perhaps they were counting on STEM drawing more of the APP kids away from Garfield? Perhaps they were hoping that with the NSAP, and guaranteed access, more APP students living in the Roosevelt and Ballard boundaries would choose those schools over Garfield? Perhaps they knew that they would be adding a north end APP site in the near future and were counting on that relieving pressure at Garfield?

The district, under the previous leadership, obviously miscalculated and drew the boundaries to large. What to do about it now? What options does Dr. Enfield have?

She could redraw the boundaries, but that may be a bit hasty.

Personally, I think not offering the choice seats at Garfield, at least for this year, is a reasonable, though admittedly not ideal, option.

I also like the idea of temporarily using Mann as an "addition" to help handle over flow at Garfield, though that would cost a fair amount of money. Money the district doesn't have. So though it would probably work well I'm not sure it is viable.

Why do I like these temporary fixes as opposed to redrawing boundaries? Because I think three things are going to happen to naturally relieve pressure on Garfield in the next 2 - 3 years.

The first is offering an APP alternative at Ingraham. This is not only an ideal option, I think it is a brilliant one. It kills two birds with one stone. It naturally relieves pressure at Garfield, and provides north end APP kids with a north end APP site.

The second one is STEM. This was STEM's first year open, and families, understandably, had a wait and see attitude about the school. But I am optimistic that STEM will grow and turn into a very strong option for central and south end students. I think it will draw many motivated, advanced, and APP students, away from Garfield. This will naturally relieve pressure.

The third thing that I think will relieve pressure on Garfield, is that as families living within the boundaries of popular high schools get familiar with, and confident using, the NSAP they will begin choosing their neighborhood schools more. Especially families living in the Roosevelt and Ballard boundaries (as these schools do a great job of meeting the needs of advanced learners).

I have a lets see how it all shakes out attitude. And I want to keep an eye on Dr. Enfield, and see how she handles things from here?

dj said...

Charlie, I am not blaming people for trusting the district. I am suggesting that we had a lot of conversations here about the NSAP and the fact that this exact thing was going to happen, so pretending that it is surprising is disingenuous. In other words, I don't think people really did trust the district on this, so complaining about broken trust seems misplaced.

dan dempsey said...

It seems to me:
"The Forest is missed because of focus on the Trees."

There was only one motivation put forth for NSAP: "To make every school a quality school." .... which was rarely mentioned initially and is never mentioned now.

Charlie Mas said...

Regardless of what people expected or didn't expect, the facts are the same: the District made a commitment and the District failed to fulfill that commitment.

The District was warned that the attendance area boundaries for Garfield were drawn too big, but they assured everyone that was not the case.

If this is a temporary problem, then using the Mann building as a temporary solution would be appropriate. Making a permanent change in the Student Assignment Policy (as they did) was an inappropriate response.

A statement that acknowledges the broken promise and apologizes would go a long, long way with me. I thought we had gotten rid of Dr. Goodloe-Johnson and her hubris, but maybe we just got rid of Dr. Goodloe-Johnson.

Charlie Mas said...

For what it's worth - and it ain't much - I did advocate the re-opening of Lincoln as a high school and placing APP there along with the Hamilton middle school service area and the Queen Anne half of the McClure service area.

That would have relieved Ballard, Garfield, and Roosevelt.

If the District had drawn realistic boundaries for Garfield they would have shifted the south end north to Massachusettes. The south end of the Franklin area would also have to be shifted north. Since only about 30% of the students who live in the Rainier Beach attendance area choose to enroll there, the attendance area for Rainier Beach could be huge - half again as big as it is. It could encompass over 3,000 students.

Peon said...

"Regardless of what people expected or didn't expect, the facts are the same: the District made a commitment and the District failed to fulfill that commitment."

Yes, you are right, there is no arguing that the district is not keeping a commitment that it made. However, I am a bit forgiving on this one. The NSAP was new. There were a lot of variables in capacity planning. They not only had to calculate how many families currently living within the Garfield boundaries would choose to attend Garfield, but they also had to calculate how many new families they would get (how many families would move into the boundaries now that they had guaranteed access, how many would use fake addresses and cheat to get in, and how many families would move from private to public)? At the same time they were trying to predict how many new families they might get, they also had to predict how many families they would lose to neighborhood schools (Roosevelt, Ballard, options schools, the new STEM school, and a north end APP site.

That's a whole lot of variables.

I don't think there is any way the district could have accurately predicted capacity at Garfield. It was guesswork at best.

Should they have drawn the boundaries smaller around Garfield and run the risk of Garfield being under enrolled 3-5 years from now?

But I digress....back to the broken commitment. Perhaps it would have been better if MGJ did not commit to the 10% set aside seats up front. Perhaps she should have said "where capacity is available we will have 10% set aside seats" and taken the heat for that at that time. Would that have made a difference? Same outcome, but at least it would have been honest and no commitment would have been broken.

Melissa Westbrook said...

As Eric said, we have high schools scattered in a somewhat unhelpful way (and, we live in a geographically challenging city). If Lincoln and QA were still around, it would be different.

I'm thinking that some of you do not yet have teenagers.

Neighborhood schools are good for elementary and even middle school. It is not the same thing for high school. There are some students that DO just want to stick close to home and be with kids they grew up with.

A lot of kids, however, want programs and activities that interest them. You, as a parent, will want that as well. One, because it keeps them in school. Two, because they get into a lot less mischief if they are engaged at school.

If SPS has a quality school in every neighborhood, that's great. But you as a parent might find that your child chafes at the school before them. They want a program at a school somewhere else and they relentlessly as you "why can't I go there?"

You may have forgotten the stats I put out from one of the recent capacity management work sessions. The high schools are going to get crowded so I suspect these Open Choice seats will definitely wax and wane. So one year, you might get lucky or one year, the year your freshman wants a choice, you might get nothing.

The point is that the NSAP should be amended because anyone moving here could read it and believe they understand the rules. Then they will be told, there's a transition plan with other rules that will change for at least the next 3-5 years. Not much for clarity, our district.

Peon said...
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Peon said...
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Peon said...

And I do agree Charlie. An acknowledgement, and apology from the district would go a long long way. Along with an analysis showing what went wrong with their initial predictions, and why? What the future predictions are for Garfield, and what if any fixes they are working on to correct the situation.

And for the record Melissa, I have two teenagers. One a sophomore, and one will be entering HS year after next. I'm not in any way advocating for the 10% set aside seats to go away. Just trying to analyze the situation and figure out how it happened, and how it can be corrected.

No way to predict said...

Let's not forget, the district had to absorb an additional 1000 students this year.

There is no way to anticipate the amount of private school students that will re-enter public high schools.

There will be an enormous bubble of kids entering our high schools in 6 years. The question remains...will this figure be a blip, or is it indicative of higher growth in the north-end.

Po3 said...

When you think about it, GHS is the only school that is way beyond capacity. I think that the idea behind the boundaries was to eliminate APP from GHS and move those students (slowly) back to attendance area schools. The whole APP cohort 1-12th grade does not make sense when you think about logically, not emotionally. As Melissa points out, by high school many students are picking programs that fit their interests versus staying with friends. APP is the only group (now that Summit is gone) where a group moves as a 1-12 cohort.

The start of the IB/APP program and the possibility of a north end 1-5 APP school weaken the argument that APP students ALL need to funnel to GHS.

Once you no longer have this cohort at GHS, I believe the school will be right-sized and the Choice Seats may become available.

So I do not believe that the district botched the boundaries, made promises that are to be broken yes, but I believe the intent is to make GHS an attendance school first and Choice Seats second. Within five years I would bet that the APP 9-12 cohort is a distant memory.

Peon said...

Melissa you are suggesting that some kids are willing to travel outside of their neighborhoods to get the type of program they want. And I agree with that.

I would say that a kid that really really wanted an IB program who could not get into Seatlh would be very happy to get into Ingraham. Ingraham had almost 200 empty seats in their building last year. They took every student who applied and still had left over space. No problems with access to an IB program.

As for Garfield, it's a typical, traditional school, only with a lot of AP classes. I would think an advanced student who wanted a large amount of AP classes could get their needs met at either Ballard or Roosevelt. Both of those schools have 10% set aside seats.

There really are a lot of options for kids to choose from. It's not like all choice has been taken away. We're talking 2 schools. That means students still have 7 neighborhood high schools to choose from, and 3 options schools. That's not so shabby.

none1111 said...

Peon,

The Garfield boundary was not just a little bit off, but off drastically. So bad that even a single year's worth of kids in the building using those boundaries was enough to bring the school to its knees. And this was pointed out in advance repeatedly to staff by many people, not just the normal crowd of gripers. I don't believe for a minute that it was accidental, it was just too egregious.

Something else that you've mentioned a couple times, but is incorrect: the APP/IB at Ingraham was most definitely not in the plans until after they found out just how bad the overcrowding at Garfield was. So that was not part of the mix (or mixup) when they drew the original boundaries.

I am not nearly as forgiving about the ineptness of staff in drawing those initial boundaries.

But... c'mon Charlie. I gotta side a little bit with the earlier comment that now they're damned if they do and damned if they don't. They absolutely needed to make the boundary changes, and at least for the moment, I think they needed to back off on the 10% as well. Maybe not all the way to zero, but I'm sure you've seen the building #s, it was beyond disastrous. I hope it's not a permanent change, and it can grow back to 10%, but it was an ugly but necessary action.

For those of you talking about taking back the Mann building, do you not think the current tenants have a contract? I know almost nothing about this specific situation, but one cannot unilaterally break a contract. Speculating that the district could somehow buy their way back into that building right now is a stretch. They never should have relinquished it in the first place, but that's another story.

David said...

Once again, the knives come out for alternative programs like APP, as if the solution to all our woes in Seattle Public Schools is destroying anything that is working well.

The answer to our capacity problem at Garfield and elsewhere should not be to discourage parents from attending Seattle Public Schools. The answer to our capacity problems should be to expand popular and successful programs. We should be seeking to attract more parents and students to our public schools.

hschinske said...

Should they have drawn the boundaries smaller around Garfield and run the risk of Garfield being under enrolled 3-5 years from now?

But Garfield is so popular that there would be no question of any *real* underenrollment. They'd be full regardless. Granted, some people who live pretty close might be mad about not being able to get in, but the same is true now and has been for many years.

Helen Schinske

none1111 said...

Oh, and I'm completely in agreement with Charlie that an acknowledgement of the broken promises would go a long way.

Peon said...

"And this was pointed out in advance repeatedly to staff by many people, not just the normal crowd of gripers. I don't believe for a minute that it was accidental, it was just too egregious."

OK, none111, if it wasn't accidental, then it would be planned. Why would the district purposely plan to over crowd Garfield in such a way to be disastrous a year later? What would their motive be for that?

And I do believe that the district was planning on a north end HS APP site back then, though they certainly hadn't chosen to house it at Ingraham at that point. I remember them talking with Hale during that time, they were considering housing APP in their building after the remodel was complete (which is coincidentally next year, the same as they are moving forward with north end APP at Ingraham). I believe this was always in their plans.

zb said...

"Perhaps she should have said "where capacity is available we will have 10% set aside seats" and taken the heat for that at that time. "

I would have preferred this. But, I always saw it that way. For me, the bigger promise was that of keeping the boundaries stable. So I would be far more frustrated if "surge" demand was handled by changing boundaries frequently than by other methods (including decreasing availability of choice seats, moving programs, . . . ).

I also think there are very good arguments for altering the APP preference at Garfield. In effect, what they've done is decrease availability of choice seats at Garfield in order to continue to accommodate the APP program. Presumably hat's why Roosevelt (also crowded and popular) can accommodate the choice seats while Garfield can't.

I question the absence of choice seats at Sealth. Is that a capacity issue? Or does it have to do with the Sealth preference being given to West Seattle? I saw that as a serious equity issue when it was proposed, and if its consequence is that it means no choice seats at Sealth, it's an even bigger issue. It seems to me like that's the problem at both of these schools -- that city wide choice seats are being promised to a subgroup of students.

Is that also an explanation for Ballard? Is there a program at Ballard that some group of students is getting access to that eats up choice seats?

none1111 said...

Peon said: "The third thing that I think will relieve pressure on Garfield, is that as families living within the boundaries of popular high schools get familiar with, and confident using, the NSAP they will begin choosing their neighborhood schools more. Especially families living in the Roosevelt and Ballard boundaries (as these schools do a great job of meeting the needs of advanced learners)."

You're far more optimistic about this that I am!

Roosevelt and Ballard have been popular and in demand for along time. Other buildings, not so much. What changes about that now?

And with regard to Garfield overcrowding in particular, you must be thinking of the APP kids. I'm sorry to say, that even the mighty Ballard and Roosevelt (let along the other buildings) don't do a great job of meeting most of those kids' needs. This is pretty obvious if you think about it, because the APP families living in those areas by and large choose Garfield, year after year. Sure, there are some kids that prefer to go to their neighborhood high school, and more power to them, but that's not the case for most. It's not by accident, nor ignorance.

Besides, are you advocating for those kids to return to two other buildings that are also already full?! Not a good plan.

basically said...

Just for information's sake, the northend APP/IB program at Ingraham has alleviated Garfield of approximately 40 students for next year. Maybe a handful more, by now.

none1111 said...

Po3 said: "The whole APP cohort 1-12th grade does not make sense when you think about logically, not emotionally.

Why, oh why, must we hear these ignorant comments, year after year after year. I'm not going down this path again other that to say:

Breaking up the program in high school makes no sense when you think about it logically, not emotionally.

This has been discussed so many times over so many years, and I'm assuming you don't have an APP student, since you obviously don't have a deep understanding of the issues. To be honest (and fair) few people who are not in the program really understand the issues and needs. If there was a wonderful program for, say deaf students, that most of them agreed worked wonders for their kids, would you complain and advocate for dismantling it based on the notion that you know more about those kids' needs than their own families?! How arrogant.

I can't engage on this now because I've wasted countless hours in the past, but it's still so frustrating to hear.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Peon, did you read my last post? Because I didn't talk about this year, I talked about the future. The district is telling us that the high school population will grow. Not me, them. So yes, it's fair to extrapolate that the Open Choice seats might another distant memory.

"What would their motive be for that?" Thank you for the laugh. The district ALWAYS has its own agenda and motives. Always. Dr. G-J wanted to break up APP at high school. What better way?

none1111 said...

Sorry, I should not have posted that last comment. It was merely out of frustration, and justified or not, I don't want to see this conversation go down that path yet one more time. It never seems to help.

none1111 said...

Melissa is right. MGJ wanted to break up high school APP. So officially, they weren't (couldn't be) considering Ingraham in the original boundary plan (and the existing Ingraham option was absolutely not planned out in advance - it was chaotic), but that's not to say that they weren't lying about it publicly and trying to artificially force the issue with ridiculous boundaries. I think many of us believe that's what happened.

Patrick said...

I'll agree with Charlie that the District made promises that could not be kept, and owes an acknowledgment and apology for that. I just don't see any possible immediate fix.

Ingraham is not very well-served by Metro and makes for a long ride from anywhere outside the north end.

In the longer run, maybe the District should consider a new high school in the Queen Anne, Magnolia, or Interbay area.

bbbb said...

Patrick, and others, the fix is obvious and logistically easy (if not politically easy).

Ballard, Roosevelt, Franklin and WSH all have "open" seats. neighboring Garfiled and Sealth apparently don't.

If the assignment areas were drawn more realistically, using a true "data driven" process, this wouldn't have happened. I and numerous others who actually passed 5th grade math tried to warn the district this would happen, but we were ignored in the planning and then after the first year.

In West Seattle there are 10 elementary schools, of roughly equal size (pre portable invasion). 10 divided by 2 = 5. 5 elementaries should feed to WSH, and 5 to Sealth, but the district split it 60/40 instead!

The fix is easy.

Po3 said...

I think it would be wonderful to have any kind of great program for students with disabilities, such as the deaf. But we don't, so we can't even talk about the comparison in terms of dismantling a program that does not exist.

If the priority is to keep the APP cohort together 1-12, then yes the solution is to redraw the boundries.

If the priority is to have GHS a neighborhood school, with choice seats, then APP must end at the school, as a cohort.

Is there a third option that keeps the boundries as is, give Choice Seats and continues to enroll APP students? If so, then yes it should be considered.

Mann has been mentioned, but it is leased. (yes a short-sided mistake) Are portables an option?

Anonymous said...

Garfield is overcrowded for the same reason that Bryant and other popular schools are over-crowded: MGJ and her gang over-promised seats in popular schools in order to buy support for the NSAP. Particularly in areas where they expected big pushback if people realized that they would be locked into a less desirable school, they erred on the side of big boundaries, figuring that they could fix the problem later. With regard to Garfield, the goal was to set the Garfield and Franklin boundaries as far South as possible to reduce the number of high social capital parents with an assignment to Rainier Beach. From their cynical perspective, mission accomplished.

Signed, amsiegel (having a hard time signing in to wordpress)

wsnorth said...

Well, here is a cynic's view on APP and Garfield. Now that there is a North End APP, move the South End APP to RBHS. That will show how important families think it is to maintain 'the cohort'. This would solve a lot of the Garfield overcrowding problems, and part of the RBHS problem all at once. It would probably create msny other problems, but makes an interesting thought experiment.

gettingtired said...

It would be really nice if people would stop using APP to raise average test scores of low performing schools. All moving APP to RBHS would do is take the pressure off helping the struggling students at Rainer Beach. It would do nothing to improve academic outcomes for the struggling students at RBHS.

The solution to our problems in public schools shouldn't be to shuffle students around. Parents will leave public schools if you try to coerce them, and we should be trying to attract as many parents and children as we can to our public schools.

Just a thought, and I know it is nothing like what we saw under Maria Goodloe-Johnson, but rather than tear apart anything that seems to be working, maybe we should try responding to what parents want and expanding our most successful schools and programs? Perhaps we could take our most successful programs and schools, look at why they work, then expand, duplicate, or launch new programs and schools based on those ones that worked well for us in the past?

Seems basic to me, building on and expanding what has worked, but I keep hearing all this talk of destroying anything that works well, or at least cynically using it as a tool to accomplish other goals.

Charlie Mas said...

Hey! I know! Let's put high school APP on the moon. Then we'll see how important the cohort is to them.

Yes. It is possible that Garfield was intentionally overcrowded to create political backing to break up high school APP.

Yes. It is possible that Garfield was intentionally overcrowded to create political backing for the New Student Assignment Plan.

Yes. It is possible that Garfield was overcrowded through ordinary incompetence.

Regardless of the reason, Garfield IS overcrowded and the District has a responsibility to fix it. That's their job. There are solutions available, but they aren't even trying.

Patrick said...

bbbb, it's not as easy as that. The problem is that the District over-promised choice seats. But the District also promised a guaranteed seat for anyone within the geographic boundaries announced a year ago. Faced with breaking one of those promises, it seems to me the better one to break is a chance at a choice seat, instead of a guaranteed seat. For the choice seats, families knew there'd be a lottery anyway, so at best they just have a chance.

Peon said...
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seattle citizen said...

APP 6-8 in the John Marshall building.

seattle citizen said...

oops, I meant APP 6-12 in the John Marshall building.

Peon said...

"There are solutions available, but they aren't even trying."

What gives you the idea that the district isn't trying to relieve the over crowding Charlie?

I know of at least three things that the district is considering and/or trying, and these are just things that I know about.

They are considering shifting the boundaries for Garfield.

They are adding an APP site at Ingraham.

They cut out the 10% out of area seats from Garfield for this year.

Whether you agree with WHAT they are trying, or not, you have to acknowledge that they are TRYING.

Give credit where it is due.

Anonymous said...

Of course, the district could have drawn natural boundaries for all the other high schools and run a couple of buses from Queen Anne and Magnolia to Rainier Beach, Cleveland, or Ingrahm. How's that for a thought experiment?

--Sick of the whiners

dj said...

Sick of the whiners, but that wouldn't involve trying to fix things by moving APP kids, which violates the first principle of district policy.

Anonymous said...

Sick of the whiners,

SPS did that many years ago with their social change effort. It failed. Realistically, we need to stop spending so much on buildings like JSCEE or Garfield reno, and build a new HS for the QA, Magnolia, interbay, Lake Union and downtown neighborhood.

If the money was not from the public coffer, you can built a new HS for far less than $100+ million (what we are spending on Garfield).

Taxpayer

Jan said...

The thing that most bothers me about where we are now is that the process was so obviously dishonest and manipulative -- and that MGJ and the staff was so stubborn.

Given how obvious the errors were, and how much time and trouble countless parents and Board members (I KNOW at least one of them talked very bluntly to MGJ about the Garfield boundary problem) took to try to get a more workable plan -- I can't just get to where some of you are, saying, in effect: "oh well, it was a hard job, so now let's just see what we can do to move forward."

Had they been honest -- it would have highlighted the abandonment of the SE Seattle kids -- who were supposed to have had their school made "academically excellent" BEFORE the NSAP, but of course, that never happened, because MGJ had no interest in it. But no, visions of academic rigor at Garfield, Sealth, etc. were extended -- and they refused to discuss what would happen if Garfield and Sealth got too crowded. We were assured that the choice seats would be there, in all schools, for kids that wanted the special features of a school and who would otherwise be locked out.

They were asked -- point blank -- about the possible peril to the APP program, and they ASSURED people that there would be plenty of room for ALL the city's APP kids to continue at GHS. So, NONE of the issues, good or bad, about splitting the APP cohort, or what school to use for a north end cohort, etc. were ever vetted, until the scramble to add the Ingraham site -- which hopefully will work out well -- but what a screwed up process!

Cont'd

Jan said...

As much as I am lured by Peon's down-to-earth reasonableness, I just can't go there.

If they are going to put their fingers in their ears, and essentially say "la la la la la, I can't hear you. We are doing this OUR way," then they don't get a pass the next year when, one by one, the concerns prove out, the problems all happen, the deceptions and dishonesty are exposed.

At that point (which is where we are now), what else CAN we say except -- "ok, fine. You refused to listen. You had nothing but contempt for outside concerns. You blew us off -- totally. Fine. You got exactly what you wanted. -- So now -- make it work LIKE YOU SAID IT WOULD."

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

Jan said "Had they been honest -- it would have highlighted the abandonment of the SE Seattle kids"

Abandonment of SE Seattle kids? Really, Jan? Under MGJ, under enrolled, low performing Cleveland was transformed into STEM. And RBHS is slated to turn into an IB school. Not saying that she couldn't have done more for the SE, but transforming both of their schools is a far cry from abandonment. And it is 100% more than MGJ's two predecessors did for SE schools, before her, combined.

In addition to her attempt to improve both SE high schools, MGJ moved popular New School into a new building where they can grow. She transformed an elementary school into a new International school in SE Seattle which now has a waitlist. She added a south end APP elementary site. Aki Kurose's test scores improved under MGJ. And she closed the AAA, which was a horribly under performing school.

There was progress in the SE under MGJ. There is no denying that.

Then Jan says "who were supposed to have had their school made "academically excellent" BEFORE the NSAP, but of course, that never happened, because MGJ had no interest in it. "

I just want to point out that the NSAP was not MGJ's idea. It was in the works before she arrived, she just carried it out. Same for school closures.

If anyone had no interest in SE school improvement it was MGJ predecessor, Raj Manhas. He did absolutely nothing for SE schools.

Jan said...

Peon: I can't really speak to SE elementary and middle schools -- and I acknowledge that Aki seems to be making some progress, but I stand by my accusation at the high school level.

Cleveland to STEM: this was ONLY done AFTER the bleak failure to improve ANY Cleveland scores during her first three years (in fact, math scores dropped -- just ask Dan). STEM is not a SE Initiative solution, it is an all city option school, opened to give the illusion that something had been done for SE kids, when in fact the solution was to just replace the school population with a new cohort of kids who select STEM education. To my knowledge, the District has done nothing to track the whereabouts of, or progress of, any of the kids who were formerly at Cleveland to see whether STEM (or anything else) has been done about the fact that they were failing the WASL/HSPE, and in many cases failing to graduate.

That said, I hope STEM succeeds for ALL of the kids who choose it, and I hope that many of them are South Seattle kids. But it is way too early to tell. What we DO know is that the NSAP could NEVER have worked with Cleveland as a neighborhood attendance school (even throwing all that area into RBHS has produced one, woefully underenrolled high school -- we would have had TWO). If STEM had been an effort to help SE Seattle kids, there would have been more of an effort to make sure that SE Seattle was involved in choosing it, and that SE Seattle kids were served there. It was an NSAP fix. It was also wildly and needlessly expensive, underplanned, and hastily thrown together by someone with subpar management skills. But I hope the money (and the concept) are sufficient so that it thrives and is successful.

Jan said...

As for the IB program -- as far as I can recall, there was NOTHING -- NADA -- about that as part of the SE Initiative. It only surfaced when the glaringly ridiculously horrible RBHS attendance numbers this fall made it clear that something HAD to be done, no matter how much the District wanted to ignore it. I believe MGJ hoped that once she drew the lines, people would just sigh and go there -- and she could declare success. Well, they didn't. In fact, those that couldn't go private all seem to be crowded into apartments in the attendance areas of other schools (like GHS). Poor MGJ. What could she do? So -- she tossed in a quick "we will start the many year process of an IB program." Bunk, I say. Actually, I say a lot worse, but I really shouldn't say that stuff here.

If that was her solution, she should have started it four years ago -- so maybe there would BE an IB program at RBHS now. Virtually NOTHING meaningful has been done for RBHS during her 4 years (except foisting off a second principal on the school). NONE of the kids that will (or won't) graduate this year were helped by the SE Initiative. She never wanted to talk about it. Didn't report to the Board on it. She gets ZERO credit, in my book, for the IB decision at RBHS (for one thing -- it is still just a promise -- it is not a program yet, and certainly not one that has in any way "helped" RBHS at this point.

Jan said...

As for the New School -- it came by an MOU before she got here. And they got a "new school" by waving lots of private money in front of the District's nose, which played total havoc with the capital funds that were supposed to have gone to any number of other schools, and the absence of which has caused LOTS of heartache elsewhere.

That entire initiative was Sloan-driven, not MGJ-driven. The scores there are still sub par, and (if they have to live by the same rules as the rest of the District) may get even worse. I bear the New School (and its privately funded Foundation) no ill-will. I hope it succeeds. But I wish the private money had not distorted the District's capital renovation schedule. And I am not willing to give MJG any credit for Stuart Sloan's longstanding efforts to try to help Seattle schools. I hope they all work out.

Jan said...

As for APP, I don't recall a single APP parent asking for a site further south (lots of north elementary APP parents -- patiently waiting for something NORTH, but never mind). Again, the APP program move had NOTHING to do with "helping" a single student to do better. It was done to facilitate the closure of TT Minor, to make TM suddenly look like a successful school (by boosting its test scores) and filling another anemically empty school up as part of the NSAP. It was done against the advice of the APP review (which warned against trying to co-site elementary APP with a neighborhood program). I am not aware that a single child's education was furthered in any way by the move -- and in fact, it resulted in denying funds to the OTHER TM kids, who no longer qualified for funding they had gotten before).

Are the APP kids at TM happier now than they were at Lowell? Not that I have heard. Have any of the non-APP kids at TM benefitted as a result? Not that I know of. Did MGJ keep her promise to provide two equal programs? No. The Lowell program is much larger -- something she specifically agreed would NOT happen. And, of course, the north end families never DID get north end APP. They are still spending an hour a day getting to Lowell (or keeping their APP qualified kids in neighborhood or private schools). No matter which way I look, I see NO successes here fir MGJ. Lots of half-baked moves to further the NSAP, but nothing to help SE Seattle, and certainly nothing done in the best interests of APP students.

Jan said...

I totally give you AAA. Dreadful failure of a concept (I know parents who tried so hard to make it work for their kids -- they ALL bailed). If there were success stories there (not just a few one-year ones -- but real long lasting ones), I never heard of them. Kudos to MGJ for ending it.

I would give you Beacon Hill if it was in the SE, but it is not. I would also give it to you if MGJ had made it an option school or program, but she refused -- so it does nothing to help SE Seattle kids, though it is lovely to have 2 programs, and is something parents had clamored for -- and that Manhas and Olschefske had never gotten done.

As for Aki -- their scores have improved. I am willing (conditionally) to credit MGJ, but I have no idea whether it was because of her, in spite of her, or just random (i.e. -- some good things happened at the elementaries, before she came, and the results just happened to show up under her watch).

I concede NSAP was in process before she arrived -- but it was her job to execute that plan, and she certainly tried to take credit for it -- even though it was NOT her idea. I am not an NSAP fan, but have never laid blame for the idea of the NSAP at MGJ's feet. I do blame her for bungling the implementation (horrible boundaries, failing to make LI and Montessori programs options, etc.), dealing dishonestly with parents regarding it, and shamelessly using it to further Reform Ed goals (standardization of curriculum, school reconstitution -- like WS Elementary), dismantling of alt schools, damage to the entire alt school philosophy, etc.

And I have no reason to defend Raj Manhas's treatment of SE Schools either. I can't really concur with you because I don't know the Raj Manhas years very well -- but given the mess MGJ inherited, I am willing to assume you are correct in saying that he badly neglected the SE Schools.

But -- pre-MGJ, SE kids could leave for better schools, and got transportation to get to them. Now, they can't, and don't. The bit "vote-o-confidence" in MGJ's handling of the SE schools happened this last fall when school started and enrollment happened -- or didn't. And as far as I can see, she failed. Miserably.

Peon said...

You may not agree with how or why MGJ went about trying to improve SE schools, but you can't deny that she did attempt to improve them.

And I didn't say that the improvement came about because of the SE Initiative. Those are your words.

none1111 said...

wsnorth said: Now that there is a North End APP, move the South End APP to RBHS. That will show how important families think it is to maintain 'the cohort'.

Peon said: They are adding an APP site at Ingraham.

Everyone needs to understand that there is NOT a "north end APP". There is an accelerated IB program in the north end that has been made available to APP-qualified students. The programs are very, very different.

Garfield is still the only APP high school site, so yes, it needs to remain central.

Murray said...

Bravo, Jan, and thank you.

David said...

Peon wrote, "There was progress in the SE under MGJ. There is no denying that."

The data says you are wrong, Peon. There is an old post on this on this blog, "Southeast Initiative Accountability". See the data in the last half of the article, especially the data at the end showing a drop in academic achievement at all the SE schools over the time period.

As you can see, and contrary to your claim, it is very clear that there was no progress in the SE under MGJ. That is what the data says.

By the way, do you work for the district, Peon?

charlestontoseattle said...

Maria Goodloe-Johnson did not attempt to improve SE schools. What she attempted to do was manipulate the measures of performance of the SE schools by moving students around.

That was the purpose of the school closures. She closed schools with low tests scores, moved some of those students to schools with higher test scores, and moved some students with high test scores to other schools with low test scores.

The goal was to reduce the number of schools with a high percentage of students failing to meet minimum standards, increase average test scores at schools with low averages, and reduce the difference in achievement between schools (one measure of achievement gap).

Of course, none of this did anything to help struggling students in the SE. It was all just a cynical attempt to manipulate the metrics and create the appearance of gains rather than actual gains. None of it did anything to help children in SE Seattle.

Anonymous said...

Another idea that was bounced around on this board during the fall that is worth considering:

The district could run extended day split schedules at Garfield,, Roosevelt, Ballard, and perhaps Franklin, close at least two high schools (presumably Rainier Beach and Ingraham), save $, and substantially increase the percentage of students who get to go to the most desirable high schools.

Amsiegel

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

"None of it did anything to help children in SE Seattle."

That's a pretty big statement.

Having a STEM school and an IB program in SE Seattle will certainly be helpful for families of high achieving students that live in SE Seattle and are currently forced to go private, or stay public but use what choice is left to find seats at out of area high schools that can better meet their kids needs. So I'd say having two accelerated programs will be a huge benefit for the many families in SE Seattle that were looking for rigorous academic options for their children.

For the struggling students, I agree that they need more. They need direct, individual, intervention. I hope Dr. Enfield will acknowledge this and move in the right direction.

That said, even if Dr. Enfield does not move toward direct intervention, I still believe having two high schools that attract higher performing students will have a good effect on struggling students.

First of all if the higher performing students choose STEM and RBHS, both of those schools will grow. That means more resources, more classes, more services. It also means that both schools will have a a more balanced student body. Struggling students will have higher performing peers and the atmosphere at the school may shift a bit. Parents of high performing kids tend to be very involved and they will demand more. They will strengthen the PTA's. They will advocate for rigorous classes, more plays, and musicals. Stronger bands and orchestras. They will fundraise to support enrichment, and hopefully some of that fundraising will be used for in-school, individualized, support and intervention for struggling students. All of this adds up, and the struggling student may benefit from the overall environment shift.

Melissa Westbrook said...

"In the longer run, maybe the District should consider a new high school in the Queen Anne, Magnolia, or Interbay area."

Agreed and this should have happened years ago (like right after the district lost their Supreme Court case). It may happen once the sale of part of the district's property at Seattle Center occurs and they take possession of the parking structure. But that is years off and many millions off and here the problem is today. But, like maintenance, many Boards and Superintendents just didn't want to deal with it.

Peon, you must not be recalling some of the history at Cleveland. Under Olchefske, Cleveland got set up with several academies.

As for RBHS, please. They don't need an IB program. They need safety (like not having gang members come into the school - all the IB in the world will not bring more students into the school with that going on). They need direct intervention for students. They need to listen to the RBHS PTSA. But the district has just got a deaf ear when it comes to RBHS and it's puzzling. So it continues to twist in the wind.

"...MGJ moved popular New School into a new building where they can grow." One, this started before she came. Two, New School could have moved into AAA's building, thereby allowing Pathfinder to be rebuilt and not closing Cooper. Really, I wouldn't use that as an argument for MGJ considering the damage that rebuilding New School caused to other parts of the district (and they were not even in one of the worst buildings in SPS). Three, popular? If it's so popular, how is it that a school that gets extra funding, has free pre-school and a spanking new building isn't full? Odd.

The NSAP was an idea and desire before MGJ came but yes, it was her design.

wsnorth said...

For those of us with upcoming 9th graders going through choice enrollment right now, what does this mean? Is it a wasted choice to put Sealth or Garfield first?

Does anyone have first hand experience with a 9th grader at Cleveland STEM? How is the program doing? Is the school environment welcoming?

This didn't occur to me until just now, but - through our children's extended group of friends - we know families with experience all SPS High Schools except Cleveland and RBHS.

David said...

Peon, lack of progress in SE schools under Goodloe-Johnson was discussed in a previous post on this blog, "Southeast Initiative Accountability":

http://saveseattleschools.blogspot.com/2010/01/southeast-initiative-accountability.html

As you can see, academic performance was flat or declined in SE schools. Go look at the data.

dj said...

WSNorth, I think that it is indeed a wasted first choice to put down Garfield or Sealth, as there is no reason to expect that either will have a single choice seat. And under the new algorithm, a wasted first choice is a real . . . er, waste. Not that you would necessarily know that if you weren't an astute follower of the NSAP, as the enrollment folks told the person in line ahead of my husband, picking up this year's choice form, that you are still to put your "true" choices in order and that doing so will not affect what you get.

SP said...

(WSNorth- do you have a way that I can contact you?)

I have closely followed the Cleveland STEM transition, and took the tour recently. Unfortunately, I was not favorably impressed. No principal or VP present, and the major emphasis of the tour was a sales pitch that all kids get laptops. The extended learning myth was perpetuated (30 minutes more each day, but for 8 classes instead of six does NOT equal more instruction per class- infact it boils down to about 30% less when you factor in all of their additional PD days off also). The only exception is an overcompation for math: All algebra students and geometry have to take a double dose, meaning a 85 minute class for a full year to cover the same amount of material that other schools use 50 or 55 minutes per class for (all other classes just go for one semester). This was explained to us as necessary because "a lot of students come to us still struggling from poor math skills, so ALL kids will take double math doses to catch up for algebra and geometry." Apparently there are no regular or accelerated math classes at those levels, which is very strange for a STEM focused program!

As for choice seats, because of West Seattle's penninsula/isolation, the choices are very limited and will only get worse with road construction in the coming years. It's insane to have one high school (Sealth)projected to have no choice seats, while the other having to cut programs due to enrollment cuts.

Instead of redrawing the boundary the way they should have in the first place, why not draw all of West Seattle in one area and have one of those two schools as a guaranteed choice?

Melissa Westbrook said...

"...a sales pitch that all kids get laptops."

I'm not even sure STEM at Cleveland still has that. There was some reference to it at Michael DeBell's last meeting and Michael said, no, it wasn't happening. I don't know if he meant next year or what. The above statement just jogged my memory to e-mail him and ask.

basically said...

But if you put your first choice down anyway, won't it show the continued interest in the school/program? Otherwise they will think no one wants it. I believe we should ALWAYS put down our real first choice, so they know where the interest is.

Someone please correct me if I am wrong.

zb said...

"But if you put your first choice down anyway, won't it show the continued interest in the school/program? Otherwise they will think no one wants it. I believe we should ALWAYS put down our real first choice, so they know where the interest is."

It makes sense to put down the 0% open choice schools as a choice if you would prefer those choices but find your reference school (to which you are guaranteed admission) acceptable. If, on the other hand, you want to an opportunity to enter the lottery for in demand choice slots at other schools (Roosevelt, for example), I think you disadvantage yourself at those schools. They would draw the lottery based on those who put Roosevelt first, and odds are, since it is also popular, that there would be no spots left if they drew a lottery later for people who hadn't gotten their first choice earlier.

(Now, maybe they'll make an exception for Garfield & Sealth, which are projected to have no open choice seats. But, I'm guessing not, 'cause there could be theoretical spots available, if either of those schools ended up underenrolled).

(I know that this change in how preferences will be treated is part of the new NSAP, but don't know whether it will be implemented this year).

dj said...

Basically, if it is more important to you to signal interest in a school than to get into a school, by all means. But since they will process all first-choices before any second- or third- (etc.) choices at each school, you may well preclude your kid from a school where there actually are slots. I don't think anyone in the district is laboring under the delusion that no one wants to go to Garfield.

wsnorth said...

SP, I would love to hear from you at helllouthere@gmail.com, but Cleveland has such a lingering reputation my spouse pretty much said "no way".

We have a lot of years of high school in front of us. I wonder what this crazy plan will do to real estate values over time? For us, it is to the point we are actually discussing moving from a house and 'hood I never in a million years thought we'd move from.

none1111 said...

SP, that's really good info, thanks for sharing. It's something I've quietly been afraid of, but hadn't started digging into yet.

What it sounds like is the "new" Cleveland is more like a program to help struggling kids get up to speed in math and science, rather than a magnet to attract kids who do (or likely will) excel in math and science.

There's nothing wrong with that goal, but it seems rather disingenuous to tout it as STEM.

and Peon said: "But I am optimistic that STEM will grow and turn into a very strong option for central and south end students. I think it will draw many motivated, advanced, and APP students, away from Garfield. This will naturally relieve pressure."

For reasons discussed here, as well as the general reasons why an APP cohort model works, I think your conjecture is way, way off base. If this report on Cleveland is even 1/2 accurate, the program won't draw any talented math students away from Garfield, let alone APP kids.

gavroche said...

Peon, you are rewriting history. I agree with Jan. MG-J's Southeast/Central efforts were just a shell game that did nothing to help the kids of Thurgood Marshall, T.T. Minor, APP, Meany Middle School, NOVA or the African American Academy, to name a few (Cooper of course completely got the shaft in West Seattle). Instead, kids & test scores got disbursed, Title 1 funds lost. Just cause Goodloe-J and co declared she was making a school "STEM" or "IB" doesn't make it so and doesn't ensure its success. APP at Thurgood is unpopular and shrinking (only 12 kids in 1st grade this year) and the existing kids at both Thurgood and TTM lost their Title 1 funding thanks to Goodloe-Johnson. The list goes on. It isn't pretty. We were all better off before she came to Seattle. Everything she did was for show, not for truly helping kids. She may as well have hung a banner across RBSH that declared "Mission Accomplished."

Anonymous said...

Gavroche-

I really wish you wouldn't call out the APP program at TM as "unpopular and shrinking"....the #'s you are quoting are for 1st grade only and my guess is that it was primarily due to the initial-year challenges and problems that resulted from the co-population last year and a "wait and see attitude" from parents of 1st graders.

Everyone that I have talked to this year that is attending the school has said that the environment is so much more positive and the school really is working much better. Many do appreciate the cohesiveness of 2 classes/grade versus an overcrowded school.

I would ask that we refrain from speaking negatively about a school of which we are not a member and therefore have no direct experience.

Thanks.

-Defensive

Anonymous said...

Just to put in a positive word about TM - we have heard from some families that moved as part of the APP split and they have been happy overall. The more reasonable class sizes and lack of overcrowding (compared to Lowell) are definitely a plus.

parent of 2

Anonymous said...

To all you bloggers,
What can we do to make STEM at Cleveland NOT a shell game? As I sit and ponder the future for my kids, I want a real STEM there for my 7th grade son who is obsess with all things science. Even in schools that has successful programs such as Ballard's biotech, they have a cap of 32 kids. APP in high school is limited to kids already in the APP cohort for fear of any split or dilution would do away with APP.

Why do we limit opportunity for kids who are capable and have the desire to pursue the academics? Some kids come into their own later or did not have parents/guardians/teachers who pursue ALO testing for them.

It is this uneveness and limited opportunities among high school programs that create much of the distrust and fuel the competition for seats in "successful high schools and their programs".

Late to the game

Maureen said...

It seems to me that if at least 30 kids entered STEM at or above grade level in math they could be enrolled in nonremedial math and use the extra time to either take advanced math or an elective course. Are those kids (some of them must exist) really being foced to sit through remedial math now? I have heard (3rd hand) of at least one Bryant/Eckstein grad who has enrolled there and is happy. Does anyone have first hand experience of how kids who are advanced in math are tracked?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Late to the Game, I'll try to look into this issue and start a thread later this week.

SP said...

Late to the Game,
Check out Aviation HS for math & science fanatics. I've heard only very positive reports directly from families with kids currently attending there. And it attracts those kids who are motivated!

Anonymous said...

I have a question about the open choice seats at Sealth. It was my understanding that Steve Sundquist made an amendment to the NSAP giving West Seattle families tie breaker preference to Sealth and West Seattle HS regardless of where they live in West Seattle. In other words, north end WS families could choose Sealth and south end WS families could choose West Seattle and have preference to these schools over students living in other areas of the city. Why would Steve Sundquist propose such an amendment when there are no open seats at Sealth?
Does this mean that families living in the north end of WS and attending Denny will not be able to go to Sealth? I thought the tie-breaker was for all West Seattle families regardless of middle school or where they live in WS. Clementine

Maureen said...

Here's a link to Sundquist's Amendment.

I think Clementine is right, it's pretty pointless as far as getting into Sealth is concerned, given the fact that no option seats will exist. Maybe Sundquist didn't know that would be the case when he proposed the amendment? Note that the preference also only exists for "First Choice Applicants for 9th Grade," so for 10th-12th, or if you put STEM or Center School or something first, it doesn't apply.

zb said...

Late to the game:

As Maureen suggests, I think an important part of whether a program succeeds is whether parents choose the program for their academically-able children. That's true for STEM at Cleveland or the APP program at TM. So, I think that it's important to make the information one passes on about programs fact-based.

It's also important not to be fraudulent cheerleaders for programs that aren't working. SP's impression of a tour of STEM actually taken: great. Information about the size of the classes at TM: also great. But, we can kill programs at their inception if we pass on rumors/innuendo/unsupported opinion/unreliable second hand info.

If I were interested in the Cleveland program and had a 7th grader, I'd be checking out the tour now, and every year until we were making our decision.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the suggestion of Aviation Academy. I have not heard of it. And yes, you are right we need to be checking out the schools now and not wait until next year. So will check out the Cleveland web site and hopefully I can trade my workdays to make a tour.

Late to the game

Charlie Mas said...

I suppose Thurgood Marshall APP deserves its own thread, but let me just add this data from the school report:

48% of the students are Advanced Learners. The school has a reported enrollment of 447, so that's 215 in APP.

The school's goal for the year is to reach at least 80% of students will meeting or exceed state grade level reading standards on the
Measurements of Student Progress (MSP) reading test. Since 98% of the advanced learners are already passing the test, and they are about half of the school, then we can deduce that the target pass rate for the non-APP students is about 63%. Not very ambitious.

On the math portion the goal is even worse. The school wants to get least 75% of students to pass that test. Since half of the kids are APP, who pass the test at a 97% rate, that would be a pass rate of about 55% for the rest of the school.

Lowell has a stated enrollment of 441 of whom 68% are APP, for an APP enrollment of 300, which is 1.4 times the size of the Thurgood Marshall program.

wsnorth said...

And once again, note the "North/South" divide.

North of the ship canal, 4 directors, 4 high schools, 120+ Choice seats, including many good choices.

South of the ship canal, 3 directors, 5 high schools, basically no decent choices.

lendlees said...

Charlie-

Lowell has 570 students this year - a mix of APP, ALO, special ed and preschool. We are most likely around 75% APP (don't have the exact number) or a bit more...or at least it feels that way.

Charlie Mas said...

lendlees, I don't doubt you, but those aren't the numbers on the school report. I see that the school report enrollment data is from October 1, 2009.

For October 1, 2010, Thurgood Marshall had a total enrollment of 411 (plus 4.5 pre-school), and Lowell had a total enrollment of 523 (plus 12.5 pre-school).

There is no programmatic breakdown available.

Anonymous said...

In terms of student numbers (and 570 is about right), Lowell is currently around 65% APP, 25% ALO, and 10% Special Ed. (In terms of classrooms used for each, the numbers are a bit different)

A parent

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

wsnorth, if it helps, all three of the Option High Schools (so about 350 seats for 9th grade), with their geographic zones, are located south of the ship canal.

dj said...

Charlie -- if you start a thread for Thurgood Marshall, I will weigh in there, but in brief, my third-grader is doing just fine there. There is no upside for her for moving, and she lost friends and stability in the process, so the split was a net negative, but in terms of her current experience in Thurgood Marshall, she is challenged, happy, and safe, so I am still happy with the program and would send another child to it.

Of course, importing APP into the building, as everyone knows, caused the other kids to lose their Title One funds, without any up side that I can see (certainly the Thurgood Marshall APP parents don't raise $200,000 in private funds, more like a quarter of that). Also, and this is a non-obvious point, the kindergarten is not free, because, while the kindergarten itself has a FRE percentage that would make it free, the whole school no longer does, which is . . . interesting. And the notations about how the APP student scores are used to make the whole school look "improved" have been made ad nauseum. But I would hate for parents not to take advantage of a great program because of comments like Gavroche's (and I usually agree with much of what Gavroche posts).

wsnorth said...

There is an updated "choice seats" file on the district website. This looks much better and more rational.

choice seats