Friday, September 21, 2012

Friday Open Thread

I was unable to attend the first BEX IV meeting last night at Whitman.  Did anyone attend and have feedback?  I think a separate thread may be in order to suss out this issue.   From my eyes, I don't see a clear plan here and I'm not sure the district is thinking of all the things they could do instead of what they have laid out.

The NAEP writing scores came out with interesting results.  From their website:
  • first NAEP computer-based assessment in writing
  • about 27 percent of students perform at or above the Proficient level at both grades
  • about 80 percent of students perform at or above the Basic level at both grades
  • female students score higher than male students in both grades
The district is having five family discussions around student truancy, suspension and discipline.  The dates are Oct 4, 11, 17, 24.  Here's a link with specifics on where and when. 

What's on your mind?






78 comments:

Anonymous said...

Chicago Teachers Union President lays it all out on Democracy Now here: http://www.democracynow.org/2012/9/19/chicago_teachers_union_president_karen_lewis

-- Pro-Teacher Parent

Eric B said...

We got the most amazing email from Transportation on Wednesday. It started with those magic words "We apologize for giving you incorrect information..." You nearly had to pick my jaw up off the floor.

I went to Whitman last night but had to leave partway through the question period. Lots of people from Bagley wanting to get back on the levy, some from Jane Addams, and some wanting the JA building turned into a new middle school. Current plan is a $655M levy, and the staff recommendation is to make the new Wilson-Pacific elementary the new home for North End APP.

Putting Bagley back on the list is a tough sell to me. It's basically the cost of a new elementary school (500-650 seats) and only adds another 150 seats or so. You might be able to do it by making North Beach a wing addition only and using the savings for Bagley repairs.

The 500-650 seat elementary capacity was explained. They'll basically build the building core (restrooms, cafeteria, gym, etc.) for 650 students since that's relatively cheap to do at the outset. When they go out to bid, they'll have two packages for contractors to bid--a 500 seat school and an add-on wing that brings the school to 650 seats. If the whole enchilada is too expensive in the initial construction phase, they could come back and add the wing later at a relatively low costs, since the core is big enough.

dorainseattle said...

I know that anyone who reads this blog has been well schooled in Initiative 1240 and at this time I would like to add my perspective on this legislative proposal. See


The inconvenient truth about charter school Initiative 1240
.

Dora

Anonymous said...

A tag on from a post I just read on the previous charter thread: Any report from the Our Schools Coalition kickoff meeting this past week?

Our Schools Coalition is where The Alliance and LEV are getting a bunch of 'diverse' groups (in fact, most of them are funded by LEV which is funded by Gates and thus is just one big ball of Gates reformistas) to minimize the power of the Teacher's Union during contract negotiations.

It seemed like they tried to recruit a huge amount of believers as well as unsuspecting 'ordinary folks' and politicians to attend the event.

I was told that Knapp, SEA head, spoke at the event and stuck it to Our Schools - told them to quit hating on teachers. But I am hoping for a first-hand account from some non-LEVite who was there.

DistrictWatcher

JADad said...

I was at the BEX meeting. It was pretty well attended. DeBell and Peaslee were there. Obviously the plan keeps getting tweaked.

They all but officially announced that APP will end up at Wilson-Pacific. I really hope this works out for them. SNAPP has been treated disgracefully. If SPS can't find a home for its gifted student program, it should be ashamed.

With the new mega-school at W-P, there's no new NE middle school on the proposal, but that could change when they decide which demographic projection numbers to go with. As a Jane Addams K-8 parent, this was obviously my main concern. With JA K-8 enrollment potentially getting to over 800 students in a few years if things are allowed to proceed, it seems like the NE will need a new building, whether it's a new MS or a new home for JA K-8.

Some pushback against the new school at Thornton Creek. Nobody likes the new model of bigger K-5 schools (500-650 students), and the TC neighborhood is fighting it. (Personally, I think we're all going to have to get used to the idea of bigger K-5s.)

Speaking of, I can't remember if it was on the last proposal, but Olympic Hills is slated to be replaced with a large K-5.

The Bagley community showed up in force to get their crumbling building back on the proposal. Those guys deserve better too.

SLU got boos and hisses, but McEvoy defended the decision, saying they're projecting growth there.

Po3 said...

RE: SLU "they're projecting growth there."

Great then they can get on the next levy.

This is levy is to manage the existing student population.

Anonymous said...

I wasn't paying attention during other BEX run-ups...are they always so squishy on this stuff at this stage? I'm really dying for something definite, and some decisions, that can written on paper. The responses to questions last night were largely content-free, with a ton of equivocation and (to me) hidden meanings.

- Make a Decision

SPS parent said...

I wasn't able to attend the BEX meeting--it conflicted with our curriculum night. But my understanding of Thornton Creek's POV is that no one wants a *second* school of 500-650 students sharing the same lot. This concept makes little sense to me too. Enlarging the current school building/program is one thing, but what is the rationale for putting a completely separate (huge) school on the same property?

Lori said...

Until they grant APP@Lincoln school status and give us a name we can start using NOW, I remain skeptical about the long-term plans for our school.

It was wonderful to hear that their *intent* is to put these students at Wilson Pacific, but I want it in writing. And I want to know what the model looks like 5 years from now.

Pegi McEvoy mentioned that Wilson-Pacific could be an "anchor" program - what does that mean? That sounds like having an APP program at WP with smaller, "satellite" programs elsewhere in the district.

So, they plan to put small APP programs in various neighborhoods so parents have the option to keep their children closer to home? We sort of already have that option - Spectrum and ALOs are supposed to be the neighborhood-based options for advanced learning.

Why would this APP/anchor model be an improvement? Why aren't we investing in the infrastructure we already have and making sure that the Specturm and ALO monikers mean something, that they provide a viable option for families who want to stay close to home?

This really shouldn't be so complicated. Either the district understands how to meet the needs of its outlier kids or it doesn't. They either recognize the opportunity we have to be a leader in this field or they don't. They either grasp how important it is to expose outlier kids to as large a group of like-minded peers as possible or they don't.

Now's the time to put it all into writing for all to see. No more "we're waiting to see what a committee says" or "we want to understand what best practice is." Best practice is already known. We don't have to recreate the wheel. We need to commit to the self-contained model that is proven to work for outlier kids and bolster the advanced learning options available in neighborhood schools. Anything short of that indicates a lack of commitment to providing appropriate educational opportunities to a sizable proportion of the district's children.

suep. said...

Have any of the SLU school pushers addressed the fact that in other cities, such as San Francisco, for ex., the trend is, once people start having kids, they tend to move away from the city to the outer neighborhoods or suburbs (where they can have back yards, safe places for the kids to ride bikes, bigger living spaces, etc.)?

Even if there is a baby boom in SLU, it's entirely possible that once these kids reach school age, or the second or third sibling is born, these families will migrate away SLU for other neighborhoods, making the supposed need for a brand spanking new school in the urban corridor of SLU less convincing.

Has anyone done any demographic studies on these kinds of trends here in Seattle?

It almost sounds like Amazon and Gates or whichever business interests are backing this idea want to build a self-contained compound in South Lake Union from which their workers will never leave...!

mirmac1 said...

suep.

The only ones who've done demographic studies are the Gates/Amazon boosting Downtown Seattle Association.

Like I said, let them buy or build their own school.

Anonymous said...

Hey, they could build the school and if charters pass, with little enrollment there at the start, flip it to a charter. How convenient for Gates and LEV and their nearby offices.

If SLU is on BEX I WILL cut off my nose to spite my face. I'll vote no and encourage everyone I know to do the same. Think the Port CEO's mixed employment can't pass the straight face test? This is 10 times worse. A major stinker that shows the district can't change its behind-the-closed-doors stripes.

-skeptical-

Charlie Mas said...

A few random thoughts:

* There was a story in the Seattle Times about the Alliance for Education and their advocacy regarding the teachers' contract. Is no one else discomfitted by political advocacy by the organization that is a fundraiser for the whole district? How can people give money to support district initiatives or public education without that gift supporting political efforts?

* I didn't hear anyone report that superintendent Banda was any more candid or provided any more real answers to questions at the Rainier Beach community meeting than he did at Mercer. That's bad.

* The District is now claiming that they project growth for the downtown school even though they didn't predict that growth before. What other growth numbers are they correcting? I know that a lot of people are saying that the downtown students can enroll at Lowell - where there is tons of space - or the district can re-open TT Minor. But the District is going to move the World School into TT Minor, so it won't be available for downtown students. And I'm not all that sure that Lowell is as close at it would need to be - if there actually were any public school students downtown. I would still like to know why downtown only needs an elementary school - and not a middle school or a high school.

emeraldkity said...

They'll basically build the building core (restrooms, cafeteria, gym, etc.) for 650 students since that's relatively cheap to do at the outset

Interesting. Where I attended elem school, in the lake Washington school district the school was first built without either a cafeteria or a gym. Elementary schools had combination gyms/cafeterias. Are you saying the new building will have both separate facilities?

JADad said...

@SPS Parent - Yes, your take on Thornton Creek is what people were saying. With 2 schools, there could potentially be 1,000 kids on that site. It's a tough sell for families and the neighborhhod.

(And when I said we'll all probably have to get used to bigger K-5 schools, it was just a general observation. I didn't intend for it to sound like the TC community should just suck it up or something.)

Anonymous said...

There are unused classrooms/ reduced enrollment at Laurelhurst and Sacajawea. Why put two schools on TC lot? Obvious need of K-5 & 6-8 space in NE. Hope to see better plan.

- another confused NE parent

Anonymous said...

To have schools share a property sounds like a situation waiting to implode (Thornton creek site). Anyone seen the studies on recess? It's a good thing. Pretty unrealistic plan not even mentioning that the small streets won't be able to handle the thousand students (cars, unsafe walking areas...).

- Wedgwood dweller

Charlie Mas said...

Jose Banda wrote to me about a fun event scheduled for Saturday, September 29 called See it. Be it. Explore your Future Career.

This event provides a chance for middle and high school students to learn more about a variety of exciting careers they might work toward, while meeting people who can help them get there.

See it. Be it. will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on September 29 in the Seattle Center’s Northwest Rooms. Students can meet with an animation industry representative, a scientist, performers, doctors, and others who will share information about their careers, and showcase hands on demonstrations of their work.

This event is hosted by the Seattle College Access Network in partnership with the Seattle Center’s 50th Anniversary celebration, the Next 50. It is my vision that together we will build student success across the entire district by fostering a culture in which all students see a successful future filled with opportunity.

kellie said...

Eric's comments point to a fundamental question. What is the purpose of BEX?

Is it to replace outdated buildings like the previous BEX? The BEX 3 was the high school BEX with the notion that BEX 4 would be the middle school BEX.

Is it to replace failing buildings like much of the previous three BEX levies, particularly BEX 1 where lots of elementariness were replaced and to honor the promises to building in horrible shape that we tentatively promised to be on the "next BEX" once they were bumped off of a previous BEX (Arbor Heights, John Rogers, Laurelhurst, Bagley, etc)

Is it to provide additional capacity where there is already proven need for assignment schools as demonstrated by schools that are taxed beyond sense with ludicrous extended portable villages (Schmidz Park, Eckstein, etc)?

Is it to provide for the vision work of what could be possible with SPS - additional language schools, stem schools, performing arts schools, k-12 IB schools, community schools, etc?

Is it to provide for true neighborhood schools and add somewhat nearby assignment schools in neighborhoods where
- there hasn't been a school because it was not a traditional family neighborhoods. (SLU, Belltown, etc)?
- the nearby school is a full option/magnet school. (Eastlake, Delridge, Wedgwood, etc)
- there simple isn't a nearby school because of previous school closures and land sales. (QA/Mag high school, etc)

IMO, that is simply too many goals for one levy. I would guess that the price tag to do the entire wish list of what could or should be done is closer to $2 Billion and simply not possible.

My question is always - how to your triage such a list and is there a way to get money for something on this list from sources other than BEX.

Jan said...

kellie: I wasn't involved before BEX III, so I have no historical perspective, but it seems to me that the District does not take such a cerebral approach (defining an overarching purpose, and then designating needs within it). It seems to me more like buying a bunch of buckets of water, and putting out as many brush fires as you have pails to do it with. Unfortunately, we have more fires than pails, AND we are evidently allowing some communities (SLU) to set new fires (or pretend to), in order to get a bucket or two thrown their way. So, it all ends up a bit haphazard -- and those who shout loudest seem to get the most attention.

I absolutely think there is money available in SLU to help build/finance a school if they really want one. It would be great if the big money behind ed reform would put their money into dirt, bricks and mortar, all of which are useful things, rather than poorly vetted "accountability" projects that end up damaging schools.

Lori: they will never put what you want in writing, I think, because they want maximum flexibility to deploy resources in whatever way they think they need to. And frankly, even if they DID put it in writing, they would renege on it if they needed to. All it would take is a staff recommendation, and a board vote -- and any written plan can be changed as easily as any oral commitment. SNAPP is (through bungling and mismanagement, but oh well -- whatever works) FINALLY located north of the ship canal. Now it competes in an overcrowded part of town for space (AND -- NEW space at that -- if they do put APP at tne new WP building, just wait for the anti-APP people to howl about all the special privileges the "gifted" kids (their air quote marks, not mine) are unfairly getting). Unfortunately, the best chance APP has of getting a home for its entire community is to turn out, in force, at every community meeting, every committee meeting, every chance it gets. Take notes on everything. Forget nothing. Have your "best practices" research available at all times. And, advocate for all the good stuff -- not just the APP good stuff. There are people out there who will never like APP and its families, but there are also many predisposed to support APP kids as well as their own non-APP kids, and they appreciate it when APP families do the same for them.

mirmac1 said...

Here is what staff has told the board re BEX IV project selection:

The Seattle Public Schools (SPS) 2012 Facilities Master Plan will serve as the platform for project selection. The Board has developed policies and guidelines that direct capital planning staff to prioritize potential projects:
• Health and safety (seismic mitigation)
• Capacity
• Building Condition

I don't see helping business development or someone's mayoral campaign on the list.

Anonymous said...

Off topic from all things BEX-y, I wanted to take a minute to invite readers of this blog to a math discussion one.

Zeno, formerly known as Explorations in Math, has re-launched our Math Matters blog. Zeno is a local non-profit working with schools and community organizations to change the negative attitudes towards math that are pervasive in our culture. We try to make make fun and engaging for families so that they enjoy it and do it more. Some of you on this blog may be familiar with us via MathFest which is our annual (free!) math carnival we host each year.

Anyway, we hope to host weekly conversations about math (education, attitudes, experiences)and would love for parents, students, teachers and community members to weigh in.

Here's a link to our blog: http://zenomath.org/2012/09/20/the-math-matters-sandbox/#respond

Hope to see some of you there!

Mary C.

Anonymous said...

I wish they had put it in writing last night, but the SLU budget is $5M for tenant improvements to a provided space. It's not $30+M for a new build. Still $5M too much, but not anywhere near as bad.

Call me Ishmael

Anonymous said...

When a school is under-capacity and the surrounding schools are bursting at the seems, you have a management problem - plain and simple.

The management problem is either the boundaries are incorrect (insert silly, self absorbed, ridiculous or any of the other words parents used during the NSAP community meetings) or people are avoiding the school for academic reasons.

Sac is empty because people avoid it. There are lots of other schools in this category and the district knows exactly who they are but ignores this information.

Laurelhurst has room because it is an artificial island. Bryant and Sandpoint to the North feed to Eckstein and so to go to Laurelhurst is to put yourself in a different cohort. McDonald to the West has BF Day as the paired school if you don't want language immersion. So Laurelhurst is under capacity because the district made it very very challenging for anyone to go there.

So two cheap capacity solutions. Get new leadership at Sac. Get Laurelhurst connected to its neighborhood.

- ne parent

Charlie Mas said...

The problem with the SLU school is that there is no known need. There isn't even a credible projected need. All of the support for it is politically driven.

The school district needs to have the courage to say no to these powerful interests, including the Alliance for Education which is essentially a subsidiary of the Chamber of Commerce.

Erin from Bagley said...

They are sending mixed messages about an elementary at Wilson Pacific. A staff member I was speaking with implied that Bagley was taken off BEX because of the elementary at Wilson Pacific (essentially planning on closing Bagley). But they also said that they will recommend the new WP school to be APP. They can't have it both ways! There is currently 530 students at Lincoln and 410 at Bagley (and growing, we get one or two new students at least every week). They are only suggesting that the new building will serve 500 kids, but there are 940 kids involved.
Regardless of what they do with Bagley or WP, it's a poor use of taxpayer money to let Bagley crumble. If they close it, they will have to pay a fortune to reopen it again, and the neighborhood surrounding it is crawling with kids so we will have a capacity issue. If they don't close it but neglect it, they will end up getting sued for negligence when a child or staff member gets seriously hurt.

Keep in mind too, most estimates of Bagley's functional capacity is around 350-380. We are bursting at the seams. We have had to cut back on health and fitness time, the physical plant is overtaxed, there aren't enough bathrooms for all the kids, and instructional time is being lost because of how long it can take to do simple things like lunch and bathroom breaks. Personally, I believe we need to remodel Bagley and build an elementary at Wilson Pacific for APP (they really deserve a home!), and I live equidistant from both sites. However I am concerned about the Indian Heritage School. I don't feel like their voice is being heard at all.

An I admit, there is no way I will support this BEX if they put a downtown school on the levy.

Anonymous said...

that bagley mom, again:

I was at the BEX meeting last night. It was bad for my blood pressure. We at Bagley had a fair showing, will probably be remembered as the school with the falling ceiling tiles, and got no answers. Melissa, we weren’t cute this time, just vibrating with anger. Great turn out from APP – more power to them - they are absolutely right. Their kids who spoke were adorable and absolutely right.

The SLU option makes me FURIOUS. I don’t trust their projected growth there and as has been said above, we are unfortunately in a situation where the District should not get to be proactive about future kids when we have overcrowded schools and classrooms now.

I think Bagley and APP should start co-advocating for APP at wilson pacific and some sort of remodel for Bagley. It’s not in Bagley’s interest to have a much larger neighborhood elementary school a mere 10 blocks from it. We fear being shuttered if WP is designated as a neighborhood assignment elementary school (we can simply dust off our “Save Bagley” t-shirts from previous years of closure threats and show up at meetings in those). Also, I think APP has 500+ kids now and there are likely plenty of families with qualified kids who would more strongly consider moving their kids if APP seemed the least bit stable. Meaning, with a new building more children will come, so APP should shoot for a home that can hold much more than their current amount. If Bagley doesn’t get a remodel and some bit of expansion due to our current lack of capacity and increasing demand, the boundaries will be redrawn and some of our neighborhood will get peeled off and go to wilson pacific. If APP is also there, neighborhood kids who could have gone to Bagley will be competing with APP kids for space. Not good.

Eric B, we at Bagley never got to pick the previous price tag. I’m not sure where they got the 26 million. We’d certainly settle for a much more basic remodel. Our building score from the facilities master report is worse than half the elementary schools that remain on the current BEXIV list and we do also have capacity issues. We’ve got all kinds of negatives that qualify us for BEXIV! We are also an important part an aurora corridor and its safety increase. I support APP at wilson pacific, but I don’t think a school that draws from all over as APP would is as good a stabilizing and improving force on a neighborhood (not that I’m suggesting another focus of BEX funds – that is, neighborhood improvement. Agreed, kellie – it’s too much).

Speaking of neighborhood, weren’t we supposed to be excited about neighborhood schools, SPS? Oh, wait, not now, we’re on to shared site mega elementary schools. Whip lash.

Anonymous said...

June 2012 Downtown Seattle Association reports 4.104 residential units under construction in downtown neighborhoods with 11,000 proposed new units in pre-permit stage.In five years living in my current downtown building,I've watched the number of school age kids in my building go from one to six. School bus now stops in front of my building and just this morning noticed kids at another stop a block or so down the street for the first time.

Meanwhile, Amazon is likely to get permits for its new Denny Triangle complex in December. The developers aren't waiting for SPS to build a school. Seems wise for SPS to be planning ahead for once.

Just sayin'....

Erin from Bagley said...

It's nice to see them planning ahead too. However, there are many existing schools that have been waiting patiently for the last few BEX cycles. I could give two shits about downtown developers and their money when my kid is currently in a crumbling school.

The district should tell them to get in line just like they tell everyone else.

Anonymous said...

Why don't they make the Thorton Creek building bigger and then add 6-8. It is becoming more and more difficult to go to Salmon Bay for 6-8. Thorton Creek really needs to go K-8.

HP

Anonymous said...

HP - Regarding Thornton Creek. Essentially, they want more Assignment seats, not more Option seats. The more options there are, the harder it is to manage enrollment, or so they say ...

- ne parent

Anonymous said...

It must be Jane Addams gain then because most parents I know at Thorton Creek don't like Eckstein and really want to send their kid to Salmon Bay. I think the neighborhood would be much more supportive of an expanded Thorton Creek than they are of a whole separate school added.

Anonymous said...

It must be Jane Addams gain then because most parents I know at Thorton Creek don't like Eckstein and really want to send their kid to Salmon Bay. I think the neighborhood would be much more supportive of an expanded Thorton Creek than they are of a whole separate school added.

HP

Eric B said...

Bagley mom, my preferred solution would be to build a wing at North Beach to add capacity, rather than tearing the place down. That saves a whole bunch of money that can be used at Bagley to increase capacity and fix condition issues. It may also get the NB job done sooner, which takes pressure off of other Ballard area schools.

Anonymous said...

If the District won't put in writing a commitment to house APP at Wilson Pacific, then if the charter initiative passes, maybe the APP parents should become a charter school.

I'm against the charter initiative - but I'm starting to wonder what it's going to take to get APP students stability in a permanent location.


Also, was there any discussion of a middle school also at the W-P site? APP is going to outgrow Hamilton any year now.

Jane

Anonymous said...

that previous comment should read:

"If the District won't put in writing a commitment to house APP at Wilson Pacific, then if the charter initiative passes, maybe the APP parents should form a charter school."

Jane

Anonymous said...

The original charter initiative was written in a way that would exclude an APP (test-in) type charter.

fyi

Anonymous said...

Erin from Bagley,

Truly adequate planning would eliminate/minimize waiting in line rather than moving it from Bagley to Lowell and/or Hay and/or TOPS and/or Gatzert...There will be lots of families downtown one way or the other.

Just sayin'..

Anonymous said...

Will the Common Core Standards bring about improvements in writing instruction for Seattle Schools? Can we hope for more explicit writing instruction (and less Readers and Writers Workshop)?

The Writing Revolution

a reader

Melissa Westbrook said...

Well, as I mentioned before, I-1240 includes in its "at-risk" list, advanced learning students so someone who wanted to open a school for advanced learners would get that so-called (but undefined) "bump" for being in that category.

But that would have to be one well-prepared and organized group because I suspect the "charter commission" will know exactly which groups/companies they want to allow in. There will be very few home-grown charters.

mirmac1 said...

Just sayin',

It is clear from census data and building permit info that the XX units planned for construction in SLU are studios and 1 bedrooms. Don't know too many young families in the overpriced market for smallish bach pads near the Belltown bar scene.

Your anecdotal observations are not worth $5M-$30M.

Anonymous said...

Emeraldkitty,
The problem with having cafnasiums (cafeteria/gym combined) is that it really restricts the PE schedule. A school with 650 students is going to have 2 PE classes occurring at the same time approximately 4 half-days a week. Having to block out 2 hours for lunch and a half hour at the beginning of the day (presuming kids don't eat in their classrooms) makes scheduling an absolute nightmare.

Plus, when they're separated, the 2 rooms are often connected with a folding wall so that there's room for the entire school for assemblies.

Question which no one probably knows the answer for: For these large schools, are they accounting for the fact that there will be multiple music and PE classes happening simultaneously? This requires both space AND budget. Speaking from the perspective of the "other" music teacher, I can say that teaching 6th graders in the staff lounge or 1st graders in the cafeteria with no budget or supplies (because the supplies are being used by the full-time teacher, and even if I had my own supplies, there's no place to store them) SUCKS, not just for the teacher, but the students as well.

Signed,
It really was AWFUL!

Anonymous said...

I was at the BEXIV meeting last night at Whitman. I noticed some differences in how the data was presented, as compared to the Sept 11th scenario.

The project map and list was organized by middle school service area, instead of broader regions (North, Central, South, etc...).

The interim sites listed in the handout did not have schools assigned to them.

World School is now a "to be determined" high school (wasn't at TT Minor in the Sept 11 scenario?).

It was mentioned was that replacing the athletic fields at Eckstein was on the BEXIV list. The field is relatively new. Does anyone know why it would need to be replaced?

Links to the presentation are up on the District website ("Funding Our Schools" article).

Kim

Charlie Mas said...

Why is it that in other cities developers pay impact fees but not in Seattle?

These impact fees go to pay for the municipal infrastructure costs of the growth: things like streets, streetlights, traffic lights, sewers, water lines, power lines, parks, and schools.

It's a common practice elsewhere, why not here? Is it because the Seattle city government is owned and operated by and for real estate developers?

Anonymous said...

Mirmac,

You're somewhat correct about existing residential units, but the next surge is expected to be
multiple-bedroom condos and apartments because there aren't enough in the current market. Already have seen the two bedroom units in my building (condo)turning over quickly this year since Amazon announced their plans in February. And it's families that are moving in. Amazon expects to start building early 2013 and employ 17,000 people there by 2017 or 2018....This is the largest single downtown development in Seattle history. The impact will be huge.

Just sayin'



Jan said...

Kim: the link to the chart at the Funding Our Schools site still has interim school sites listed, along with the years and the schools that will be housed there. For the World School, since the new school (at its TBD site) comes on a year before Meany, and they are not assigned to any interim site, I had assumed those kids would stay at Meany until the move. In the meantime, the District will be populating a "new middle school at Meany," housed temporarily at the Columbia site. From the chart, I assumed that the World School will move out, giving them a year to remodel before the new middle school kids move relocate from Columbia (I must say -- knowing that Meany already started out as a middle school, years before, and much money was spent "retrofitting it" for high school, this all makes me a little nuts, but I suppose that ship has already sailed).

Finally, maybe I am just being a wuss, but if they manage to put together a "downtown interim school" for a mere $5,000 -- I would not vote no on BEX for just that reason (now, throw in no help Bagley and a few other things -- and, well . . .)

Jan said...

Sorry -- I meant $5,000,000, though $5,000 does sound much better!

Anonymous said...

If SLU gets a new school, then so should Ballard. The number of condos/apts going up now and in the future is CRAZY!! Plus it's already an area without wiggle room in terms of capacity. Lots of young families and more babies on the way...

NW sardines

Jan said...

Erin at Bagley: The current FAQ for BEX IV (updated as of yesterday) states as follows:

[End of answer to #30] The current BEX IV proposal does not include moving the Jane Addams
program/community to Cedar Park,
or establishing a comprehensive 6-­‐8 middle school program at
the current Jane Addams site.
31. How is elementary capacity going to be addressed without adding to Thornton Creek or expanding Jane Addams?*
The current BEX IV proposal includes a new K-­‐5 school of from
500 to 650 seats on the west end of the Thornton Creek site. The capacity of the proposed new middle school at Wilson Pacific has been increased to 1,250 seats (original proposal was 1,000 seats)." [The asterisk denotes material added to the September 20 update]

The Recommended Projects chart has APP leaving its interim space the same year that the elementary at WP opens -- so it sure seems to support a plan to move APP to that site (I know, Lori -- hardly the same as getting it in writing!). Unless somehow the opening of the new school at Thornton Creek or the increases in size at North Beach and QA create some space somewhere for Bagley, I see no relief for them in the current chart.

mitt said...

Melissa,

Where is the promised Creative Approach Schools thread?

My Creative Approach entry was deleted on the Charter Schools thread and I thought there was a promise to do a separate thread.

Nothing yet, and the Board vote is coming up.

Why the delay of a thread on this incredibly important topic, with family compact agreements, loyalty oaths, etc? It will be too late very soon to educate people about this topic, and expose the city power players and usual suspects that are influencing this intiative.

Please hurry. Or don't delete our off-topic comments if there isn't going to be a specific thread.

NESeattleMom said...

There is a lot of info on this blog that I agree with. I am glad someone posted the link to the interview on Democracy Now with the Chicago Teachers Union President. It was definitely enlightening when I heard it on KBCS (91.3 FM). Yes, I think that workers who live in SLU will move to bigger digs when #2 baby is born, or when #1 baby gets to 1st grade. It may be fun pushing the baby stroller in the Cascade district, but once you have kid activities, the dynamic changes.

NESeattleMom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
suep. said...

Does anyone know how many people ride the South Lake Union Trolley every day? I have never seen it very full.

I think it's legitimate to ask if this proposed SLU school for hypothetical children is going to be another taxpayer-funded ride to nowhere.

Erin from Bagley said...

Thank you for your support Jan.

I hate how the district sets this up so that it seems schools are competing with each other. The truth is we all share needs. Many former Bagley students are in APP, some current families are split between the two schools. I'm sure many other schools share this situation as well. Our school is officially in the Whitman service area, but due to our boundaries and central location our students feed into Eckstein, Hamilton, and Whitman. The same is true for the North End high schools.

Bagley will continue to advocate for itself. This in no way means that we, as a community, want anything less for other schools. It would be ideal if we can figure out a solution to address all the issues in the North End with regard to capacity.

I don't trust the district on the APP at WP issue. They may be planning it right now, but I do think the community deserves it in writing. If they ignore Bagley now, they will reach a crisis point and possibly renege on any "plans" for APP and move us to WP. The physical conditions at Bagley are really that bad.

Eric B - thank you for refining your statement. Adding 150 additional seats to Bagley would make it a 560 seat school, as large as WP. While our "functional capacity" is listed as 350, we have been at 380 to 410 for the last 4 years. 410 + 150 = 560.

Rufus X said...

Erin from Bagley said...

I hate how the district sets this up so that it seems schools are competing with each other.


And let the congregation say AMEN.

Pitting parents, schools or advocates against each other may not be the Board's or District's intent, but it is certainly the impact in many cases.

suep. said...

Coincidentally, the Times just posted this article about the SLU streetcar & Amazon's plan to add another car. It says 2,900 people a day ride the trolley. Sounds awfully high.

http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2019227494_amazon22m.html

But according to this Oct. 2011 Publicola post, it does get full, but only at rush hour, and packed primarily with Amazon employees. (Elsewhere I've read that UW and Hutch workers use it too.)

http://publicola.com/2011/10/04/guess-who-likes-the-south-lake-union-trolley/

Paragraphs like this are troubling: "According to the city, city hall still owes an unanticipated $8.65 million in outstanding capital and operating debt on the streetcar that it was never supposed to pay. There’s a provision in the upcoming city budget to extend the loan. Meanwhile, the city has to cover 25 percent of ongoing operating costs (about $2.5 million) and King County Metro covers 75 percent, for which we already gave up 16,800 bus hours in Seattle."

How this relates to BEX is, would an 'Amazon Elementary' be yet another boon to one SLU company at taxpayer expense?

It just seems hard to justify when there are so many existing school needs throughout the district that concern a broader group of families.

And I second the concern about the future of the American Indian Heritage School currently at Wilson-Pacific. How do they feel about all the W-P plans? What is the plan for them?

Anonymous said...

This whole thing is so political. Empty promises and back door deals.

City and state government have always given incentives to large companies for creating local jobs. Local jobs = tax revenue

What is the difference between the state providing tax cuts and other incentives for Boeing, Amazon, Microsoft, whoever to get them to create or keep jobs in this state and the proposed partnership for a SLU school?

Just asking

Anonymous said...

Wondering why Eckstein lost afterschool program funding. Did this happen to all middle schools?

We passed the levy.

-puzzled

Anonymous said...

I have several friends who work at Fred Hutch and they use and love the trolley.

My cousin teaches at the American Indian Heritage School and she and a lot of the kids have moved to Northgate mall and the middle college there. She said there is only one teacher left at WP helping the kids with online courses.
HP

Anonymous said...

Puzzled
We also have to pay $50 per semester for most of the after school programs at HIMS (academic programs are the only exceptions).
HIMS parent

Anonymous said...

Re: Levy funding for afterschool programs. I thought the levy funding was supposed to be targeted towards low-income and/or at-risk kids. Last year, I thought it was strange that the levy was paying for free afterschool programs for all kids at Hamilton regardless of their income level given that many Hamilton families can afford to pay. I support the change this year and would rather see the Levy funds targeted at families who can't afford these types of programs.

Note: I'm not saying ALL Hamilton families can afford to pay for afterschool programs. I'm saying that we shouldn't subsidize ALL Hamilton families since many of them can pay.

Hamilton mom

Patrick said...

The trolley's riders could be served at much less expense by a bus line. Meanwhile, while we pay lots of public money for this unjustified trolley line, other buses like the one I take have had their service cut drastically. The one I take was already standing room only during commute hours, now it's so full would-be passengers are often left at the stop.

Back around 1890-1930 when real estate developers wanted trolley lines to make their developments more attractive, the developer had to pay for them. Now they pull some strings and get the public to pay for them.

Anonymous said...

I wish they would put the trolley back along the waterfront.

HP

Rufus X said...

Re: Middle School OST programs -

I wish I could find the article/info on this, but I can't at the moment. However, I do remember reading in the time leading up to the F&EL vote that the money being doled out to middle schools for OST (Out of School Time) activities would only be for programs with an academic focus, ones for which the results could be measured. I know at our MS, that cut out funding for a few arts/music/performance activities. One of these activities was folded into the music program so it was not lost completely, but I don't know about the others - looking at this semester's offerings, they're almost all academic. I'm assuming this is due to the more stringent criteria for funding written into the levy this time around.

mitt said...

What is on my mind?

SO-CALLED CREATIVE APPROACH, CREATIVE APPROACH, CREATIVE APPROACH. What a misnomer!!

The "creative approach" plan requires ALL teachers and staff to sign a LOYALTY OATH to continue teaching at the school.

Result? You will LOSE the BEST, most confident teachers because those are the ones who know they can get another job in a second. They have PRINCIPLES and will NEVER sign such an oath.

WHO WILL SIGN SUCH AN OATH?
TFA, OF COURSE!

TFA recruits will be WILLING to SIGN WHATEVER, do whatever, to get a professional position without the necessary certification.

The Creative Approach MOU is a DISASTER and plays right into the TFA PLAYBOOK.

I call it the GROVER NORQUIST clause. Pledge your loyalty or we have TFA recruits who will.

What an absolute abomination.

mitt said...

What is on my mind?

SO-CALLED CREATIVE APPROACH, CREATIVE APPROACH, CREATIVE APPROACH. What a misnomer!!

The "creative approach" plan requires ALL teachers and staff to sign a LOYALTY OATH to continue teaching at the school.

Result? You will LOSE the BEST, most confident teachers because those are the ones who know they can get another job in a second. They have PRINCIPLES and will NEVER sign such an oath.

WHO WILL SIGN SUCH AN OATH?
TFA, OF COURSE!

TFA recruits will be WILLING to SIGN WHATEVER, do whatever, to get a professional position without the necessary certification.

The Creative Approach MOU is a DISASTER and plays right into the TFA PLAYBOOK.

I call it the GROVER NORQUIST clause. Pledge your loyalty or we have TFA recruits who will.

What an absolute abomination.

Anonymous said...

DistrictWatcher,

Yes, I attended the Our Schools Coalition lunch. There were a lot of speakers - a couple from their organization(s), Jose Banda, principal of South Shore, Jonathan Knapp. Then a breakout session where everyone voted on a priority.

Their main focus was teacher evaluation. Actually it was their only focus. They declared victory the last deal with the union. As proof, they had a whole bunch of posters up showing that many schools had moved from one level to another, postulating the teacher evaluation methodology as a reason. Of course, there was no mention of demographic shifts at the schools due to the NSAP or anything like that. Additionally, and most tellingly, they didn't seem to know that the new evaluation scheme hasn't even really taken effect.

Banda got up, and was completely unmemorable. In fact, I can't remember anything he said. The south shore principal was actually pretty good. She said the new evaluation scheme was motivating to her to do a better job of evaluation. And Knapp also spoke. He was pretty bumbling. After a whole lot of nothing, his message was that people needed to work with teachers because they are doing the work.

There was some audience q and a. Not very memorable. And a breakout session where feedback on priorities was gathered. Tables were asked to vote on a priority from a list of 6 or 7 apple-pieish values. My table voted for "accountability". How not? I think most of the others did too.

-reader

Josh Hayes said...

I haven't seen anyone link to this essay from the Chicago front line, but if it's already been linked, I apologize for the duplication.

Check it out: How Chicago's Teacher Strike Explains the Education De-Revolution".

Some points we've all seen made before, but made succinctly and well.

Anonymous said...

With Chicago teachers, it's their pension that 's going to take them and the city down. The strike is but a kerfuffle.

-dollars and cents

seattle citizen said...

@dollars and cents:
I know, right? The nerve of those public school teachers, desiring a pension! Allowing them a roof over their head and some food on the table in their retirement years would cut into Gov. Romney's 20,000,000 yearly income, for shame! Don't they know it's the job creators who should be able to retire? They work so hard at it...

seattle citizen said...

@dollars and cents:
I know, right? The nerve of those public school teachers, desiring a pension! Allowing them a roof over their head and some food on the table in their retirement years would cut into Gov. Romney's 20,000,000 yearly income, for shame! Don't they know it's the job creators who should be able to retire? They work so hard at it...

Patrick said...

Seattle Citizen, well said. You can't tell people they have a pension plan and then halfway through their working careers say "Just kidding!"

Anonymous said...

Washington Post opinion piece by Eugene Robinson. You can find it reprinted by The Everett Herald and The Columbian in our state.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/eugene-robinson-standing-up-for-teachers/2012/09/17/ad3ee650-00fd-11e2-b257-e1c2b3548a4a_story.html

Public School Parent

Anonymous said...

It isn't a question about teachers deserving a pension that they expect per contract. It's about a fund that doesn't have enough money to support the next generation of retirees, much less even the current crop. Cities just like the nation are running up huge deficits. They haven't been paying in full because they don't have the revenue. They cut, but where to cut because it's starting to get down to essential services now- health care for poor, closing more schools and more cuts to education, social services, safety, bridge/road maintenance, etc.

At least that is what we are being told. The exception is if you are a venture capitalist or a well connected developer who want a brand new sport arena, a new school, a 1 mile trolley, or a tunnel, then there is always public money and to finance such projects.

-dollars and cents

Anonymous said...

And there's always money for questionable curriculums like EDM...

Sped staffer

Anonymous said...

MSP scores are now on the Source.

SPS parent

Anonymous said...

Anyone know when the frequency distribution report for MSP will be available?
Clementine

Anonymous said...

HP said "My cousin teaches at the American Indian Heritage School and she and a lot of the kids have moved to Northgate mall and the middle college there. She said there is only one teacher left at WP helping the kids with online courses."

The District's Home School Resource School is still @ WIlson- Pacific for one more year. There are kids there!

WIlson - Pacific is also the temporary location of the new MCHS - Seattle University until the snafu concerning the memorandum of understanding between the District and S.U. is over. This means that there are MCHS-S.U. students at W-P.

HP, the actual MCHS-American Indian Heritage (AIH became a MCHS program roughly 10 years ago after having been a separate high school) moved to Northgate mall , yes.
However the name AIH was *NOT* allowed to go to Mall.
You are correct that there is now a MCHS- "AIH" program with one teacher working with kids doing mostly online courses.
This new development came as a result of concern expressed from members of Seattle's Native American communities about the ending of MCHS-AIH, Supt Banda made the decision in July to keep a MCHS -" AIH" at WP for just one more year.


Hope that helps. I think the letter about MCHS - AIH is on this blog. If not, it can be.

--Old School Music