Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Enrollment Report

For some reason, the District has not posted this year's enrollment reports on the District web site. They are posted by Research, Evaluation and Assessment which is led by Mark Teoh. The District has the reports; Mr. Teoh just hasn't posted them. Nice transparency.

Meg Diaz, however, got the October 1 enrollment report (pre-adjusted). You can see it here.

As I flipped through it, a few of the numbers jumped out at me.

* Rainier Beach High School
The 9th grade enrollment is only 93. The budget was based on a projected AAFTE of 169 in the 9th grade. Total enrollment was funded to 402 AAFTE while the October 1 count shows an FTE of 345.72. The actual AAFTE is coming in 56 students lower than the projection. That's got to have an effect on the funding and the staffing.

* STEM
9th grade enrollment at Cleveland is 277. That's in excess of the 250 student cap.

* Crowded High Schools
9th grade enrollment at Franklin is 411. Four years of that would be 1644 - way too many for the building. Garfield and Roosevelt are also well over 400. Hale has grown significantly and Ingraham's 9th grade is about half again as big as any other class.

* Less Crowded High Schools?
Chief Sealth's 9th grade enrollment was cut off at 388 - well below the 9th grade cohort size for Franklin, Roosevelt, and Garfield. Sealth was the only other high school where no out-of-area students were allowed to enroll.

* Funding inequity
NOVA has 340 students to Rainier Beach's 364. NOVA's staffing, however, is nothing like the staffing at Rainier Beach. Where's the equity?

* Middle Schools
Aki Kurose is still small. Only 266 6th graders. Mercer got 325.

Broadview-Thomson has only 166 middle-schoolers. It is not taking enough to address the capacity crisis for north-end middle school.

* Under-enrolled schools
Madrona has only 327 students in the whole school and only 102 in the middle school. That's not sustainable. Why hasn't the district put an attractive program there? Like, say, Spectrum.

Pinehurst has only 173 students and only 10 in the kindergarten. That is not a good use of north-end capacity. Something needs to change.

* Over-enrolled school
JSIS has taken about 100 students each of the first two years of the NSAP. The school cannot have six classes this size. The District could cut off the enrollment if they would make it an option school - as they should.

66 comments:

dj said...

Charlie, I don't think putting Spectrum in Madrona is any more likely to make Madrona attractive to area families than having Spectrum in Leschi made Leschi attractive to area families. I think you need a whole-school programmatic overhaul before neighborhood families will buy in. Language immersion, given its popularity, would seem like a pretty good way to completely overhaul the school, but if that is not feasible, something similarly dramatic. The families I know who decided to give Madrona a chance this year already have pulled their kids.

Anonymous said...

What happens when the counts are "adjusted"? i.e. what does it mean that these data are "pre-adjusted", and what will happen to them when they are adjusted?

(zb)

Rainier Beach Supporter said...

The equity comes from reviewing the students that are enrolled in each school. If one school has more ELL and SPED students then their Staff to Student Ratio will be higher.
Secondly, when you are trasnforming a school and bringing in programs that were taken away which ultimately caused lower enrollment you are going to have higher staffing levels. Build the programs and students will come.
What about over enrollment in other schools? How many studetns are being ignored due to this egregious acceptance of overenrollment at our Public Schools? Schools shoudl not be allowed to over enroll students. When will this misconduct be stopped? Blame the Interim-Superintendent for mismangement and poor leadership.

Po3 said...

Pinehurst's enrollment reflects what happens when a school is put under the threat of closure year after year. It is how Summit was destroyed. I think this is an important point to make, especially on the eve of charters coming to WA state and in Seattle they need buildings!

Po3 said...

NOVA's program is very different than RBHS and as a result so is its staffing needs. Not sure why you continue to compare the two schools?

mirmac1 said...

Interesting article on Huffingtonpost:

Early Draft Of No Child Left Behind Re-Write Reduces Federal Role In Education

Less Arne Duncan? Not a bad thing, at all.

Johnny Calcagno said...

Two questions:

How do we find out how many out-of-area students were allowed to enroll in a given school?

How do we find out the "cap" for each school?

kellie said...

The only thing I have seen from the District so far was this short presentation at the board meeting.

2011-2012 Enrollment Update

I don't know why there is this ongoing surprise about greater than expected high school enrollment. With predictable access, there is going to be a significant increase in enrollment from the former dead zones (QA/Mag) and summer transfer students.

I don't have access to the historical numbers of families that received mandatory assignments for high school but the district does. It should be fairly straightforward to extrapolate that a percentage of those families would be captured under a guaranteed plan.

Meg said...

The REA staff said that the enrollment info isn't posted due to a staffing issue, and that they hope to have the problem resolved in the next few weeks.

Patrick said...

How hard can it be to take a report that already exists and put it on the web?

Anonymous said...

It's interesting to me that McClure's numbers haven't increased more. I was thinking their enrollment would start to grow since QA families now have guaranteed access to a high school (Ballard). Jane

David said...

What are the options for dealing with high school overcrowding? Reopen Lincoln? Are other buildings available?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Boren and Lincoln are the only high school-sized buildings (unless you count Wilson-Pacific which would be smallish).

But as we hear from the Capacity Management meetings, it is likely Boren will be used for an elementary (hmm).

Lincoln is already slated for several uses but the district changes its mind all the time.

The only long-term area on the (way-off) horizon is the land swap with the City at Seattle Center. But that still has to happen and a school designed and built.

anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
klh said...

Lincoln is currently being used by the north end APP K-5 program that was moved out of Lowell. It doesn't look like they'll have a permanent home next year, so they'll be there. However - the district suggested(in it's presentation materials for the Community meetings on Capacity) that Lincoln was a possible interim site to relieve Middle School crowding.

Catherine said...

The district has to allow over-enrollment don't they? If 450 kids "prove" they live in the boundaries for school A, the SSD has to let them in that school right? Even if the building capacity is 400. OR am I missing something?

anonymous said...

Hale is growing! They took 305 freshman this year, and 319 last year. If they continue taking this many students the school will house about 1250 students in two years. That is up significantly from the 1000-1040 student enrollment Hale has had for the past 4 or 5 years. Still, the school was renovated last year, and it can now house 1400 students - so even with the additional students, Hale still has room for more.

Ingraham has grown substantially! They took 301 freshman this year, that's up from 219 freshman last year. If they continue to take 301 freshman per year, for the next 3 years, the school will have about 1200 students. Ingraham has historically had about 800 students enrolled so this is tremendous growth. What is this buildings capacity? Is the growth due APP arriving? Or the NSAP? Note the growth happened this year when it was announced that APP was moving in, not last year when the NSAP began.

Eckstein has 1278 students this year which is fewer than predicted. The principal told families that she expected about 1400 students this year, so 1278 is a relief. They took 448 6th graders this year, and 453 last year. If they continue to take this many incoming 6th graders, by next year the school will have over 1350 students.

Hamilton has also grown significantly in the past couple of years. They have historically had between 700-800 students enrolled. This year they took 348 6th graders. If they continue to take this many students, in the next two years, Hamilton will have about 1050 students. That is a lot of growth. What is the building capacity at Hamilton?

Jane Addams continues to grow! They are up to 533 students, of which 171 are in the middle school. They took 77 K students this year, that's what, 3 or 4 classes! Hopefully the district will allow them to continue growing and they will fill their building which has capacity for about 800 students!

gen ed

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

It should be noted that Whitman MS has also grown. They have historically had about 850-890 students. This year they took 336 6th graders, and last year they took 349. If they continue to take this many students by next year they will have about 1040 students. What is their building capacity.

All 3 comprehensive MSs in the NE have grown significantly. There is zero wiggle room in any comprehensive MS in NE Seattle. They are all over enrolled and growing.

gen ed

North Seattle said...

There are quality concerns with middle school instruction at Broadview Thomson, most of the K-5 students enroll elsewhere.

Steve said...

Does anyone know if the APP population is included in the "General Education" numbers for Hamilton, Thurgood Marshall and Lowell? In the capacity planning numbers last year, I believe this population was not included; it was as if they weren't in the buildings, even though they were. In the enrollment numbers that Meg posted, it appears the APP kids are included in "general education". Are there other students in programs like APP or Spectrum that might be included?

Charlie Mas said...

@ dj,
I think that placing Spectrum at Madrona will be a signal to area families that Madrona is ready, willing, and able to meet the academic needs of high performing students.

@ zb,
I'm not entirely sure how the numbers are adjusted when that adjustment happens. I do know that the OSPI uses the adjusted numbers.

@ Rainier Beach Supporter,
The staffing comparison between NOVA and RBHS is without regard to FRE, ELL, or SPED. There is additional funding for those populations. I didn't count that money in the comparisons.

Since the District is intentionally vague about the capacity of buildings, it is impossible to determine if schools are over or under their capacity. The District appears to shift the numbers to suit their short-term goals.

@ Po3,
I continue to compare the staffing at NOVA and Rainier Beach because the Weighted Staffing Standards are supposedly the people needed to operate the school. Traditional schools are funded in a standard way but non-traditional schools are shorted. The WSS is supposedly driven by student needs. The students' needs don't change when the student changes schools. The Weighted Staffing Standards should be STANDARDS. They should not be different for the non-traditional schools. The non-traditional schools may use their funding differently, but they should get equitable funding.

dj said...

Charlie, as I said, Leschi's spectrum program didn't make Leschi attractive to area parents (including the Madrona parents who largely live within easy walking distance of Leschi), so I see no reason to think that a Spectrum program in Madrona would make Madrona attractive to parents here. Putting a Montessori program in Leschi *did* make it more attractive to both Leschi parents and parents in the Madrona area.

Josh Hayes said...

Po3 sez:

"Pinehurst's enrollment reflects what happens when a school is put under the threat of closure year after year. It is how Summit was destroyed."

This is quite true, and the school would love to boost its enrollment. We consistently do well recruiting into the middle school grades (our ultimate frisbee team, for instance, is about 30 kids strong!) but struggle getting parents of kindergarteners to enroll - probably in large part because they fear that the school will close out from under them in a year or so.

It's inexplicable to me that parents would rather enroll their kids in, say, Northgate, or Olympic Hills, than at Pinehurst, unless they're driven largely by either ignorance of Pinehurst's existence, or fear that it'll be closed. I wish I knew how to improve recruitment, I really do, because we have terrific teachers (and, if you're worried about test scores, we have good results there as well).

But the building's too small and distant from the really burgeoning neighborhoods to do much to alleviate crowding even if it had more like 250 kids.

Seattlemomof3 said...

re: Chief Sealth's freshman enrollment cut off below Frank, Roos & Garfield - Sealth is a smaller school physically. The building capacity is maxed out & teachers have to give up their classrooms during their planning period for the new teachers that are being hired to handle class sizes that are over contract max.

jd said...

At BF Day's back to school night, Sherry Carr brought up needing more middle school space in the cluster. (And note, she brought this up out of nowhere)

My theory is that they're gearing up to relieve pressure on Hamilton by growing BF Day up to a K-8.

dan dempsey said...

Looking at the numbers a few points:

#1 Repeatedly enrolling 300 students at grade 9 may not produce an eventual enrollment of 1200.... consider students that drop out.

#2 About the Cleveland growth .... with the caps in place at Sealth, Garfield, Franklin, etc. .... Doesn't that give a lot of students a choice of RBHS or Cleveland only?

#3 Open choice seats under the NSAP ... another gigantic lie.

emeraldkity said...

that are being hired to handle class sizes that are over contract max.

What is the contract maximum for high school?

Jan said...

Charlie and dj: It is true that Spectrum at Leschi did not prove attractive, but (as a parent of a Spectrum-eligible kid -- two actually-- who avoided Leschi's program) the "reputation" of the program for many years was that it was "ok (but not great) for early grade/s -- but then took a significant dive in one of the upper grades -- to the point where many parents at that grade would remove their kids to Muir's program (which was highly thought of but further away). I don't know the teacher involved, and assume that person is no longer there -- but in the meantime, the school was beset with issues around uniforms, playground issues, principal issues (reportedly), etc. -- all of which further weighted down the perceived issues around the quality of their Spectrum program. I think that the introduction of Montessori (which also involved new faculty for that program and a different "feel" for the school, a new principal, AND the NSAP may have provided enough "gravitational pull" to finally put the school into a different, and more successful, orbit.

I think it will take something similar at Madrona. They could do Spectrum -- but only if it involved a pretty wide-scale "re-do_ of school culture, an understanding of how Spectrum would fit at the middle school level (I am assuming those folks would otherwise be sending their kids off to WMS's Spectrum program -- could a middle school Spectrum prove to be an acceptable alternative?) A disliked and divisive "contained" Spectrum program -- or a weak, Spectrum in name only program under the cluster model, but with all other current stuff left in place, seems unlikely to result in the kind of "big change" that dj is suggesting -- or that was necessary at Leschi to get it over the hump.

I can't imagine the District wants to do another language immersion program -- but it would be GREAT is they did -- and a k-8 would be a terrific place to put one, because you could run the immersion all the way through 8th grade without worrying about how to blend it into an international middle school model.

Charlie Mas said...

As Jan wrote, the presence of Spectrum, by itself, would not be sufficient evidence that Madrona is sincerely interested in meeting the academic needs of high performing students. There would have to be some other evidence as well. It would have to be part of a larger recharacterization of the school.

Melissa Westbrook said...

It seems to me, after a long period of time, that Madrona is slowly going the way of African-American Academy. Its model does not seem to be working well for the students there nor attracting neighborhood students. I wonder how long it will take the district to transform that school.

Alf said...

And the Center School continues to fly under the radar -- 278 students? You've got to be kidding me. This is the biggest waste of money in the Seattle School District and the worst example of the rich getting richer. It is smaller than many elementary schools and has a full time principal and even a career specialist, which the comprehensive high schools don't even get. But why no comment? I dare say because it is the whitest and richest school in the district so everyone keeps their mouth shut about it. I call for the closure of the Center School. It is little more than a glorified prep school for the wealthy and white, at great expense to the schools that are pulling their enrollment weight. Enough is enough.

Jan said...

Alf -- I am confused (probably, because I know virtually nothing about Center School, but haven't heard a lot of complaints over the years, either).
First -- kids. Since Center is an option high school, can't anyone go there if they want to? If so, and it isn't full, why don't more kids go there if it is such a great boondoggle? If the school were full and turning away kids, or had high selection criteria, I could see your point better, but since any kid in Seattle could go there, I am confused as to why you dislike it so much.

Second -- money: I thought that schools get money, based on enrollment. I have never been aware that Center School gets more per pupil than other schools. Does it? I thought they had some stuff because they forewent OTHER stuff (no athletic teams, no big bands, etc.) Are they really a drain (per kid) on the system? And -- if we close the school -- where do you want to send those kids, given that virtually every assignment area school to which they could be assigned is already exploding at the seams. Aren't they actually helping the situation by draining off some kids who would otherwise be at Ballard, Ingraham, Garfield, Roosevelt, etc? And -- if a few of them are RBHS kids -- wouldn't we want to provide at least that ONE possible outlet for kids otherwise consigned to RBHS with no hope of an option seat except at the option schools (NOVA, Center, Cleveland STEM?)

I have no dog in this hunt (other than a vague liking for option/alt schools in general -- if they are reasonable). If Center School is an outrageous misuse of scarce district resources, we should look at it. But I think yours is the first post on this issue I have ever read, and I would be curious to know more.

Anonymous said...

Went to the capacity meeting tonight at Hamilton- wow, that was a bunch of soft talk. Portables can change building capacity without any changes to adapt building services (lunch room, bathrooms, P.E. space, etc.) So now all the schools with portables have "new" capacity numbers.

Signed,
Looking for education in all the wrong places

anonymous said...

" If so, and it isn't full, why don't more kids go there if it is such a great boondoggle?"

What makes you think Center school isn't full? It is purposely a small school, housed in a small space inside of Seattle Center. I know they had a small waitlist for 11th and 12th grades this year, but I'm not sure if 9th and 10th grades were full to capacity? Historically Center has been a very strong, and popular school, and NEVER since it's inception been under enrolled ( that I'm aware of).

DM

Po3 said...

Alf, Interesting that you call for the closure of a fully or nearly enrolled high school that draws students from all over the city - but don't mention what you think should happen to RBHS, which has less than 350 students and capacity for 3x that number.

What are your ideas there?

And Jan brings up a good point, if you take nearly 300 HS seats offline, where will the kids go to school?

Josh Hayes said...

emeraldkity asks:

"What is [sic] the contract maximum for high school?"

A great question; I unearthed this from the 2004-2009 collective bargaining agreement, but couldn't find the more recent contract online to see if it's changed:

"Maintain an average SPS ratio of students to full-time equivalent teachers at no more
than 26:1 for grades K-3, 28:1 for grades 4-5, and 150:1 for grades 6-12 (when grade 6
is conducted using a secondary model), exclusive of Special Education and Bilingual."


There you have it: 150 kids. And I was complaining about my son's classes in the 40's!

WV says it's time for me to be EATING.

Josh Hayes said...

Now, why on earth did I "sic" that? It's perfectly correct! Dopey me!

Josh Hayes said...

Well, I DID find the more recent contract, and here's what it says:

"Secondary Class Size: Take actions to limit class size to thirty-two (32) students for core
classes in grades 6-12 (28 for grade 6 when the site uses an elementary model for
grade 6). Core is defined as including English/Language Arts; World Languages; Math;
Science; and Social Studies. These limits would not necessarily hold when staff have,
through their decision-making process, adopted a whole school model that results in a
variation in curriculum, instructional methods and staff organization. An example would
be the adoption of a block schedule...."


The agreement is available here, the above quoted part is from page 81.

kellie said...

There about 500 additional high school students over the pretty aggressive projected high school enrollment number for this year AND the enrollment growth at high school really starts in two years.

North of the ship canal is full for high school now. Things like the Center School and Nova drawing students from all over the city is the only thing that is keeping the 10% set aside alive as much as it is.

Frankly, we need to open a new high high, not close an option school.

anonymous said...

"I call for the closure of the Center School. It is little more than a glorified prep school for the wealthy and white, "

Huh? It's a public option school - open to all students regardless of race or socioeconomic status. There are no prerequisites, entry requirements, or barriers whatsoever. Any student who wants to attend can apply, and if more apply than there is space (as is the case most years at Center) students are chosen by lottery. It is true that the school attracts primarily middle class white students. Just like RBHS attracts primarily low income black students. How do you propose we balance that ALF? Any ideas? Less choice for families? Forced busing?

And to Jan's question "If you take 300 seats offline where will those students go?". The district would probably say that there is PLENTY of space for 300 students at RBHS. And logistically they are correct, but realistically, few (if any) of the Center School students would actually migrate to RBHS. Didn't the district propose moving Center into RBHS and co-housing the two schools a couple years ago?

doctor

Melissa Westbrook said...

Frankly, I don't know that I ever knew the capacity for Center School.

It does cost us money because we lease the space it is in from Seattle Center.

And, when Seattle Center gets remodeled (someday), a decision will have to be made about if we continue there. We would be charged for the remodeling and that would not be cost-effective for such a small school (the district doesn't like to spend money on remodeling small schools; they didn't remodel RBHS, did they?). And there would still be leasing costs (presumably higher).

But for now, it does have a purpose and the kids there really like it.

Again, we do need to think long-term as well as intermediate because the district has to have a plan and not just engage in constant crisis management.

Charlie Mas said...

It does look odd for the Center School to have an enrollment of less than 300, but that is close to the intended size of the school, so it is not, in fact, significantly under-enrolled.

Rather than questioning the school's enrollment, you could question the whole idea of the Center School. You could question housing it in a leased space - a leased space with millions of SPS capital invested in it. You could even question the wisdom of the district having a high school of that purpose and of that size.

Those would be better questions.

Charlie Mas said...

Once again, this time with feeling:

Congratulations to STEM for a second year of strong enrollment

ben said...

Re: Madrona: I don't know anything about what's happening on the ground but the numbers show a jump this year in the kindergarten size. Do folks think this is an aberration?
Ben

anonymous said...

First Center school has always had an enrollment of about 300 students. It is NOT under enrolled by any means.

Second, you'd have to look at the history of Center School to understand why it was created. Eleven years ago, under the "choice" system QA and Magnolia families did not have a high school in their neighborhood, nor did they have predictable access to any other high school outside of their neighborhood. Center school was created as an option for them. In fact if I recall correctly families in those neighborhoods had an assignment "preference" to the school for awhile (??).

Of course, we now have the NSAP, so QA/Magnolia families have predictable access to a "neighborhood" high school school, and the very reason Center was created, should no longer be a consideration.

That said, almost every high school in Seattle (with the exception of RBHS) is full to the seams and growing rapidly, with a lot more growth expected in the next 2-3 years. We can't afford to take one single seat offline at this point.

If anything, move Center, to a more affordable location, preferably to an SPS owned building. But closing the school should not be an option. Not just for capacity needs, but also because it is a very popular school, in high demand, with very satisfied families. Why would we even think about dismantling a school that is working, and working well. BTW, Center School had the highest SAT scores in the entire district!

doctor

Lisa Winn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gloria said...

The two kids I know who attend Center School are being raised by a single mother who works two jobs. Hardly the "prep school for the wealthy and white" that Alf mentions.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Doctor, I would agree with most of what you said. I know why Center was created but what parents wanted was a comprehensive high school, not a small arts high school. Once again, QA/Magnolia didn't get the high school they wanted.

Center School is a fine little school but if, in the future, we have to make choices about a new comprehensive high school and the resources need to go to that effort, Center School might not last. I can't imagine the district moving it elsewhere (and space is running out so I don't know where it would go) AND creating a new high school. There just wouldn't be the need or the resources.

I don't mean that in a cold or unfeeling way; I know Center works. But hard choices might have to be made in the future.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to see real numbers on the Center School. I heard M. DeBell talk about it one time and it was actually very cost efficient. Are the lease rates favorable? Do they beat the depreciation on a very expensive high-school remodel? Let's not make assumptions about what it must cost without the actual data.

I wonder if leasing appropriate space could offer more breathing room to SPS. It comes on line fast. Maybe it's a new way to think about schools...flexible, adjustable space you don't have to build and permanently own. More like office parks.

Just spitballin' here

Anonymous said...

What is the per student cost for the Center School? If it is more than the state allocation, it costs money. If it is less than the state allocation, it actually generate money for the district.

- north seattle mom

Jan said...

Jus' spitballin said: "I wonder if leasing appropriate space could offer more breathing room to SPS. It comes on line fast. Maybe it's a new way to think about schools...flexible, adjustable space you don't have to build and permanently own. More like office parks."

Good point. Besides, Melissa -- if we LEASE space, rather than owning it, we can't add to the maintenance neglect problem -- as we would be neglecting someone ELSE's property, instead! Hooray!

And to all -- I apologize for suggesting that Center is underenrolled. Somehow, I misread ALF's post as suggesting that was the case. Years ago (when it mattered to my own enrollment decisions) I knew it was in fact full, or pretty close.

Jan said...

Melissa -- to your point about Center School's future:

1. Currently, there are no other vacant seats for any of those kids -- unless they happen to live in the RBHS or WS Districts. It seems unlikely to me that the cost of continued leasing of space even approaches the cost of building new space or remodelling one of the remaining available buildings for Center School use -- but I am no expert on the numbers there.

2. IF you build another big high school -- you already have to accommodate all the extra kids coming for whom there are no seats -- PLUS the Center kids -- and again, there is no way to put them all at a new school. They would presumably return to their existing schools, or try for another option school. I suppose you could try to cohouse Center with another program -- but as we have seen at both GHS and Lowell (and maybe soon at Hamilton), trying to cohouse an assignment program with seat guarantees with any sort of option program does not work if the assignment program is popular.

And finally, while I don't trust the Board/Superintendent to not throw any option program under the bus at any time, for whim, convenience, or cost savings -- it would be one more shovel-ful of bad faith on the huge heap of broken promises relating to choice and options at the high school level to kill Center School. Of the kids I have known who went to Center -- not ONE would have attended a big comprehensive Seattle high school. They would have gone private, gone out of district, or dropped out. While I agree that we can't let option costs run amok, one of the critical points of option schools is to provide, well, options, for kids for whom traditional models do not work. As we work to elect better board members, those who care about alt education need to continue to push for clear, articulated support of the few remaining options.

Melissa Westbrook said...

"IF you build another big high school -- you already have to accommodate all the extra kids coming for whom there are no seats -- PLUS the Center kids -- and again, there is no way to put them all at a new school."

Okay, first of all, we wouldn't have that many new students to fill a high school. Most of those students would come from students who would have either gone to Ballard or Garfield plus the Center kids plus whoever else. I would not expect a downtown high school to be larger than 800-900. That's not a big high school but it would be large enough to be comprehensive.

Center School was NOT started to be an alternative school. It was just to be a small arts high school.

I didn't say this would happen soon but yes, someday Memorial Stadium and Seattle Center will be addressed and decisions will have to be made. We will likely need a new high school and that is the most likely place to put it. I cannot see how the district could afford two schools in that area especially if we were leasing space for one of them.

anonymous said...

Melissa is right, Center will have to be addressed at some point. I could see it being co-housed inside of a new high school -intact. Or being moved to Wilson Pacific or some other location. But I am ALWAYS against dismantling a successful program, and Center is by all accounts successful. That is NEVER in the best interest of the students and families of SPS.

doctor

Alf said...

Wow! I really hit a nerve!

A few points:

The comment that the Center School is open to everyone: Yes, of course it is, but did you know that the Center School is the only SPS school to my knowledge to REQUIRE two years of world language and three years of science including Chemistry to graduate? I know we all want kids to graduate ready to apply to 4-year college, but the Center School REQUIRES it. If that doesn't fit you, you'd better not go there because you will not graduate. Go to one of the other high schools.

I am not saying it is intentional, but this is a subtle sorting process. No application is required, but if you are a student or a family concerned about meeting these additional requirements, you just might want to consider going to that high school down the road which has a great college prep curriculum as a choice but has other choices as well and will help you graduate if that doesn't work out for you.

So I maintain that the Center School is operating by a different set of graduation rules that, by their very nature, discourage certain students from applying, a de facto "application" process based on self-sorting.

Please correct me if I'm wrong. If there is another SPS high school that requires 2 years of foreign language and Chemistry to graduate, you might also find it has similar socioeconomic make-up. This is what causes me to say The Center School is a college prep school for the white and wealthy. At least it is a college prep school (by its own definition on its website) that attracts the white and the wealthy.

And these students with the most resources at home get the benefit of the smallest learning community in the district, a part-time career counselor because it's an "option" school, etc. So to everyone who says "but it's working so we can't question it"-- of course it's working. Why wouldn't it work when everyone who chooses to go their must commit to meeting 4-year college entrance requirements? Of course their SAT scores are highest -- they have the lowest percentage of Free/Reduced lunch in the district and there is a direct correlation between those two stats. Don't confuse correlation with cause and effect.

Food for thought.

Jan said...

Alf -- yes. An interesting discussion you have started. In my case, you are right about one thing. I had no idea Center school had more stringent graduation requirements than other schools, and yes, I can see where that might have an effect on some kids -- those who are concerned that they are coming in sufficiently behind that they might not have time to get there over 4 years, those who don't want to take that rigorous a curriculum, etc. For the most part, kids I know have selected in or out on other grounds (school size, athletic offerings, band/orchestra offerings, etc.). But it is NOT the only school with a different program -- Cleveland STEM has different requirements (and requires kids to select in/out based on whether they want to "do" the STEM program or not). I am less sure about NOVA. I think the "deal," such as it is, is that option schools can, in fact, deviate from certain things that other schools require. Not everything -- they still take HSPEs, etc. And my guess is that the "unofficial" line is that they had better be deviating in terms of greater rigor somewhere (whether arts, STEM, or something). But you flag an interesting point.

Melissa -- you know your District so well, I suspect you may be right on what happens to Center School if and when the District builds on the Memorial Stadium site -- but maybe there is a way of preserving it (sort of), either as an "Arts Academy" within the school (the Ballard model), or as a second, separate site (much like NOVA and GHS used to be a block apart -- yet both justified their existences. Because at heart, I am with doctor. It just kilss me to watch this District use its limited resources to dismantle things that DO work, rather than working on things that don't.

Also, Kellie's post said: "There about 500 additional high school students over the pretty aggressive projected high school enrollment number for this year AND the enrollment growth at high school really starts in two years."

I read (or misread) this as: we have about 500 extra now, plus the ones that SHOULD be extra were the buildings not projected to be overfull, PLUS the really big bulge won't hit for another 2 years. Based on that, I guess I had assumed that even if we left Center School as an option school, we will have enough capacity to fill another comprehensive high school. But that was just me trying to sort of "guess."

Jan said...

Sorry, it doesn't kilss me to watch the District wreck stuff, it "kills" me to watch it.

Anonymous said...

Alf, so I'll bite.

What is the thought you are trying to feed because I have no idea what your point is.

They get the smallest learning environment? OK, they also don't get all the bells and whistles of a comprehensive school.

You can get college prep classes at a comprehensive school, so you shouldn't go to small learning environment?

It is white and wealthy. Is it more so than Ballard or Roosevelt? Is a public education not available to white families that are not FRL?

I am actually confused by your post. Center School is small. You made that point. What do you want here? Should it be bigger?Closed? If it is closed, where should those "smart" kids go?

- north seattle mom

Dorothy Neville said...

Other high schools have adopted their own more stringent graduation requirements than the district or state. RHS added that AP HG class. Hale has the most credits needed to graduate.

anonymous said...

"Please correct me if I'm wrong. If there is another SPS high school that requires 2 years of foreign language and Chemistry to graduate,"

I assure you Center is not alone here. There are plenty of high schools that have more graduation requirements than SPS requires.

Roosevelt requires all students to take AP Human Geography (that's a college level course).

Hale requires 23.5 credits to graduate when the district only requires 22. And they require 3 years of math to be taken at Hale, so if your kid took Algebra I in MS, they are required to go through pre-calc at Hale. And they require ALL students to take AP English for 11th and 12th grades (college level classes).

STEM at Cleveland which is a very diverse school follows the core 24 standards. Students there must have 4 years of science (district only requires 3) and math up through pre-calc (district only requires up to Alg II). And STEM students need 24 credits to graduate, when the district requires only 22.

Those are only the handful of schools I personally know about. I know many schools have requirement over and above the district requirements. Center is far from unique.

doctor

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

"And these students with the most resources at home get the benefit of the smallest learning community in the district"

I think you are forgetting RBHS when you refer to one of the smallest learning communities in the district.

momster

SolvayGirl said...

It was this "let's kill it" attitude toward Center that kept us out of public schools for my daughter's high school years. It would have been a great fit for her, and she liked it. And I loved Lisa Escobar (then principal). But, rumors of it ending up on the chopping block swirled.
After my experiences with SPS at Graham Hill (9 principals in 6 years-threatened closure) I was not about to go through that drama yet again.

Maureen said...

Roosevelt actually requires TWO AP classes to graduate now (Human Geography and Language and Composition). And it is a neighborhood assignment school. That seems much worse to me than an Option school requiring Spanish I and II and a non Honors Chem class for example.

Amanda said...

Melissa is right, Center will have to be addressed at some point. I could see it being co-housed inside of a new high school -intact. Or being moved to Wilson Pacific or some other location. But I am ALWAYS against dismantling a successful program, and Center is by all accounts successful. That is NEVER in the best interest of the students and families of SPS. doctor