I attended the PTA meeting at Lowell@Lincoln. Good crowd, I'd say about 50+ people (not including the FACMAC and PTA leaders). And they had brownies.
Opening the meeting, the investigation was topic one. But they felt it imperative to keep to the agenda because this meeting had been previously postponed. They said that Ms. Geoghagan and Nancy Coogan would have a coffee hour soon with parents. (I hope it's an evening coffee hour because clearly you would not draw as many parents in the morning.)
Frankly, everyone in the room seemed fine to move onto the agenda.
I really enjoyed the presentation by several teachers about bringing in more project-based learning. Those are some sharp and caring teachers. They were so energize by this idea and had good answers to many questions. I loved the explanation by one teacher about studying owls (and owl pellets!). They spoke wistfully about the desire for more collaborative time and more professional development.
Principal Geoghagan stood by,arms crossed,as the teachers spoke; she looked exhausted. You had to feel for her.
The main event was a discussion about a home for their program. They do face down many issues, including capacity management issues throughout the district, fewer building options, a possibility of another split, and a place with room for their own growth as Spectrum continues to change and weaken in an unfettered manner.
Members of the FACMAC committee had just come from their meeting and had seen a preview of some preliminary BEX IV ideas. It seems that the Capital staff had ideas and were eager to listen to FACMAC members' ideas.
The main wish/demand/hope (depending on what part of the room you were in)is to stay together as a cohort in a self-contained building. That would be what I would advocate for them as well.
And it's not about wanting their "own" building. They've endured splits, moves and uncertainty. They are not the only program in the district to experience that but this is a program that works for many, many students and is growing.
They could split but you'd have to find them places to be above the ship canal.
There are two choices in the northeast. One, if Thorton Creek is rebuilt (good chance), they have a large site and it could be made bigger. Two, at Jane Addams, which could be built-onto with new addition.
In the NW, they could co-house at Broadview-Thompson (I'd have check their site size) or Salmon Bay (if SB were renovated).
But it is not as easy as finding room. Granted, you can control the enrollment at an option school (that might let B-T out). However, these are established schools with their own vision. You can certainly ask them what they think but it would be a short timeframe. It's kind of like when you go to visit your grandma in the summer, you get there and she says, "You're going to be with your cousin, Suzy, in this room." You don't know Suzy from Adam but there you are. Sure, you can make the best of it but it sure wasn't what you planned for the summer.
One other distant thought is if they built a new K-8 at Wilson-Pacific, they could include K-5 APP. That would mean growing a new school together, a shared vision. But I suspect the district wants a middle school more than a K-8.
There was a poignant moment (at least for me from my vantage point of going through SPS twice) when one woman asked if maybe people will think them elitist to be advocating for their children's school.
I had the opportunity to say that every single parent in this district can ask for their child's academic needs to met, no more and no less. No one is elitist for asking for that.
The evening ended with a reminder of the upcoming BEX IV community meetings next week.