I am the president of Lowell Elementary School's PTA and a parent of a student who has attended Lowell for the past four years. I am contacting you to inquire about a situation that has come to my attention, which affects the quality of education Lowell is able to design for its students. As I hope you are aware, parents at Lowell and Lincoln APP spent much of last year trying to convince the school district that separating the two schools was in the best interest of both parties. Thanks to their enormous efforts, last spring Susan Enfield announced that both schools would be separated in the interest of offering students the best possible educational experience. It has come to my attention that this has not happened. Due to this oversight, Lowell now must contend with a number of issues related to designing a high-quality experience to our students; two of which have been brought to my immediate attention:
First, academic goals for both schools are aggregated as a single entity. This leads the state, district, and individual campuses to set academic goals based of skewed populations. Considering that the APP population is specifically generated based on academic achievement, it is logical to determine that academic goals for students at both campuses will not accurately represent their actual populations. In reference to Lowell - our enrollment is much smaller than that at Lincoln and so our goals will be affected to a greater degree.
Second - and of immediate importance - is that this lack of separation affects state and federal funding of Lowell. Our student population qualifies for from 50 to 55 percent (depending on which district employee communicates this information) for free and reduced lunches. As I understand it, this threshold qualifies students at Lowell for funding under Title One funding from the US Department of Education. When the two campuses are linked as a single entity, Lowell no longer qualifies for this funding - directly affecting the services Lowell is able to offer students. In short - our children are not receiving the quality education they deserve due to a paperwork connection that links our two schools.
My request is this. Please rectify this situation. Families and faculty at Lowell are committed to design a high-quality experience for our students and only seek a fair chance to do so. We seek your help in getting to the bottom of this matter.
Please reply to me so that I can help inform our parent community about the progress being made to our parents as Seattle Schools lives up to its commitments to our students and families.Mr. Garrick is gracious in referring to this failure to keep a commitment as an "oversight". The simple truth is that Seattle Public Schools has never kept a single promise that they have ever made to students and communities. Such a perfect record cannot be the result of series of simple oversights; it must be deliberate. Want to know why the District doesn't have the public's trust? It's because the District isn't trustworthy.
Mr. Garrick also fails to mention that Lowell is trying to become a Creative Approach School, and, if the two schools are still regarded as one school, then they will need the support of the Lowell at Lincoln teachers and staff to reach the 80% buy-in requirement. Such an approval would create a lot of risk for the Lincoln staff without offering them any benefit. There is good reason to doubt it.