Friday, March 25, 2011

Program Placement for 2011-2012

Apparently when no one was looking the District announced program placement decisions for the coming school year. The document is dated 3/17/2011, one day after the last Board meeting.

Nice start on the transparency effort.

Every single proposal that came from staff was approved. The staff must have all of the good ideas because all ten of the program placement proposals submitted by members of the public were rejected. Among them:

Relocate elementary Spectrum for the Washington Service Area from John Muir to Madrona K‐8; could also provide additional Spectrum capacity for grades 6‐8. Rejected because an ALO is being added at Madrona, which will increase access to advanced learning programs rather than just shifting services from one school to another. This same proposal was rejected last year for a different rationale, that the program should be located close to the students' homes. So the rationale changes from year to year.

Change Van Asselt from a K‐5 school to a K‐8 school. Rejected there is not excess capacity in the building sufficient to support such a change. Let's remember that Van Asselt is now located in the former AAA.

Locate a language immersion program at Sand Point. Locate a language immersion program at Wing Luke. Rejected because the Board has been clear that the current focus is on completing the three designated K‐12 pathways. Review of feeder patterns and service areas would be required. The Board, apparently, has been clear that they don't want students in the Eckstein or Aki Kurose service areas to have access to language immersion programs.

Change language immersion programs from attendance area schools to option schools. Change Montessori programs from attendance area schools to option schools. Rejected because it would require extensive boundary changes as well as review of feeder patterns and service areas. The District simply isn't interested in doing that much work just for the sake of equitable access to programs and services.

A new autism inclusion program at Schmitz Park Elementary. Rejected because capacity not needed in this area.

Some of the proposals were not outright rejected, they just weren't approved. It's a distinction without a difference.

Relocate elementary APP for north end students to a north end location and close a Washington Service Area school. The superintendent says that she will consider this in conjunction with capacity management work.

Other proposals that will be considered in conjunction with capacity management work are:
1. Place an attendance area middle school at Wilson‐Pacific
2. Reopen Fairmount Park with a language immersion program
3. Duplicate Thornton Creek at Rainier View, Roxhill, or Van Asselt
4. Duplicate TOPS at Rainier View, Viewlands, Roxhill, or Van Asselt

14 comments:

dan dempsey said...

Really!!!! :

Rainier Beach
ADVANCED LEARNING
Begin planning to apply for approval of an International Baccalaureate (IB) program at Rainier Beach. This is a multi‐year process. Begin planning process this spring. Subsequent steps are pending funding.
Begin planning for International Baccalaureate (IB) program at Rainier Beach.

---------
The 70+% of entering RBHS students that are currently below grade level should attend school in Renton.

David said...

This is the old pattern. District staff thinks the process of public input is where they let the public talk to them for a while, then the staff can go off and do what they were going to do anyway.

One would hope this is one of many things to change now that we have a new superintendent. The staff should view suggestions from the Board and staff with eagerness and excitement, as information that helps them better serve the needs and desires of students and parents.

Zebra (or Zulu) said...

There is an Autism Inclusion Program now at Schmitz Park. Were they going to add a second one or get rid of the current?

wsnorth said...

Yes to reopening Fairmount Park with a language immersion program.

There would be huge and immediate community support for this.

Maggie Hooks said...

what exactly is an ALO?

Charlie Mas said...

Maggie Hooks asked: "what exactly is an ALO?"

Let's, for the moment, assume that this wasn't a rhetorical question asked for the ironic effect. Ms Hooks can read what the District says about ALOs here and read the various ALO program descriptions.

The sad truth, however, is that an ALO could be a systematic response to the need for academic opportunities beyond grade level provided in general education classrooms, or it could be nothing more than empty claims made years ago.

Maureen said...

We're also having this discussion about ALOs under the Quarterly Strategic Plan Update post. Neither of these threads is tagged as being about ALOs. I'm thinking it makes sense to continue it here since this thread will stay on the front page a little longer.

The program placement decision about creating ALOs at Madrona confused me. About four years ago our asst principal showed me a very detailed and rational description of the Madrona ALO policy and procedure. Has anyone else seen it? I don't seem to have a copy anymore. As I recall, it really made sense and from what I understood, it was being applied at the time. Did ALOs go away at Madrona during the past four years? Or is the District just imposing from above without talking to the Madrona staff first?

Maggie Hooks said...

unfortunately, my question wasn't intended to be ironic. rather, it was imcomplete and a little lazy. but I read the link to the district's explanation and a couple of program descriptions. my (more complete) question is: how is an ALO, outside of a self-contained program, different from ho-hum differentiated instruction? particularly in a school, like Madrona, that has a wide range of achievement levels?

Charlie Mas said...

Maggie, at the heart of it, there is nothing that happens in an ALO that shouldn't be happening in every school and classroom anyway.

Some ALOs have a specific delivery model (pull out, skill level grouping, push in, do the hokey-pokey and turn yourself around, etc.) but most of them are nothing more that a restatement of the intention to differentiate instruction and a few additional worksheets.

"ALO in name only" is not just a problem at some schools, it is a problem at EVERY ALO school.

And, when Spectrum drops the self-contained classroom which is the distinguishing characteristic of the program, then Spectrum becomes nothing as well.

There are three Spectrum students at Hawthorne. So the classes that these students are in are the "Spectrum" classes? Are we supposed to believe that? And are we supposed to believe that those classes are taught to the Spectrum standards?

Riiiiight.

Jamie said...

I have a program placement suggestion, which I have said before but not officially to the district, since I have to agree with David above when he says " District staff thinks the process of public input is where they let the public talk to them for a while, then the staff can go off and do what they were going to do anyway."

Remodel McClure or Blaine and make it a high school. It doesn't have to house 1600 kids. It can house 800-900 kids. The smaller size might actually be a draw. Then you alleviate crowding at Garfield and Ballard. Whichever school is not remodeled is the area middle school. Then re-open Magnolia School as the K-8 (or keep Blaine as the K-8 and make Magnolia the middle school). The district has the property, and you know QA and Mag families would be all over having their "own" high school.

Anonymous said...

Wow. The district's response to a request for a special education autism inclusion program is corrupt to the bone.

District says:
Not recommended. Capacity not needed in this area. [Changes to Weighted Staffing Standards (WSS) formula for 2011‐12 provide a general education seat for all students receiving special education]

Well Mable, phone the neighbors! The kid got a seat in general education.

Only problem. THAT WASN'T THE REQUEST. The response doesn't answer the request. The requestor isn't asking for a paid "seat" to sit in. They are asking for an inclusion program so that their students gets BOTH 1) the special education they need AND 2) in the least restrictive environment.

They know that the denied inclusion program provides BOTH a seat and special education staffing. Why would anybody just want a seat? They wouldn't, and the district knows it. This is just more talk... to prop up the ridiculous think we now call ICS. (eg. No service.)

So, thanks for the chair. How about some staff to teach my kid?

The special education administration is again presenting false representations. This time in the form of a response that doesn't address the problem.

--sped Parent

Melissa Westbrook said...

Jamie, very intriguing thought. It might be worth investigating. You're right; there is no reason every high school has to be 1000+.

seattle citizen said...

Charlie wrote about ALOs and differentiation:
"Some ALOs have a specific delivery model (pull out, skill level grouping, push in, do the hokey-pokey and turn yourself around, etc.) but most of them are nothing more that a restatement of the intention to differentiate instruction and a few additional worksheets."

I'd be very curious to hear what people think about differentiation, which of the various delviery models they favor, and how we can get there. The term is bandied about quite handily: Everyone wants each student's explicity met, but of course that just ain't gonna happen as much as it SHOULD (due to various identification (or skill level), economic and scheduling problems.

So: What differentiations do people like? What would work? What is fanciful but worth consideration?

If, as Charlie says, "at the heart of it, there is nothing that happens in an ALO that shouldn't be happening in every school and classroom anyway" then what might work?

I include "below-level" srategies in this because we are talking about the whole range of skill levels in the classroom.

Might this be a thread?

SP said...

"Reopen Fairmount Park with a language immersion program”

Yes, I agree that there would be a lot of support for this as an option school, but the kicker is that those kids would funnel into the guaranteed Denny-Sealth track, further emptying out enrollment from the north end of West Seattle (Madison/WSHS). It would be the "back door" approach for all those families wanting to get their kids into the IB program at Sealth.

West Seattle north end needs another area/assigned school to take care of the capacity problems, that would feed into Madison/WSHS instead, but that means redrawing the maps and having to admit they totally blew projections with closures in the first place. It's a Catch 22 with putting a language imersion program at Fairmount because of that.

There's got to be a way to balance out the enrollments and programs so that each area has a "draw" and not just kids looking for "exit ticket" solutions. What happened to the promised programs at WSHS to attract more kids? Always just that- promises going nowhere and all the spotlight and resources go still to Denny/Sealth. And now families are told that there will be no set-aside Choice seats at Sealth, as promised.