Thursday, January 10, 2013

Director Peaslee's Community Meeting Tonight

As we previously stated, Director Peaslee is having her Community Meeting tonight from 6:30-8:00 p.m. at the Lake City Library.  However, I received an e-mail notice that it was a "capacity management" meeting that included Pegi McEvoy.

This is NOT a new meeting on the short-term interim plan but merely Director Peasleee's regularly scheduled community meeting.   Any number of topics might be discussed.  (It is not typical to have a district administrator attend a director's community meeting but Ms McEvoy stated that she is going to listen.)

In terms of last night's Board meeting, I was only able to stay for the public testimony but it was overwhelmingly against the co-housing of a new middle school in the JA building with JA K-8.  

A number of parents especially from John Rodgers and Sacajawea stated they had been "promised" at the last couple of capacity meetings that there would be NO changes to the assignment plan for 2013-2014.  I myself did not hear this as a promise but yes, it was stated no changes would be occurring for next year in the NSAP.

More on this topic later.


62 comments:

Anonymous said...

Does anyone have an update about last night's board mtg relating to student assignment and capacity plans? I can't find anything anywhere. Thanks.
interested

Anonymous said...

http://www.seattleschools.org/modules/groups/homepagefiles/cms/1583136/File/Departmental%20Content/communications/news%20releases/2012-13/20130104_capacity%20management%20intro-FINAL-2.pdf?sessionid=2064d65dd01a02bdedd85201af462dc4

"School Board to consider annual short-term capacity management, new student assignment transition plan
The main proposals for student assignment changes include:
Simplifying tiebreakers used for school choice. Adding a distance tiebreaker for elementary and middle schools. Implementing a Geographic Zone for use as a tiebreaker for K-5 STEM at Boren. Designating the Jane Addams building to become an attendance area middle school. The new attendance area middle school and the current Jane Addams K- 8 environmental science option school will be temporarily co-located in the Jane Addams building. Moving the Laurelhurst Elementary attendance area from Hamilton International Middle School to Eckstein Middle School."
HIMS mom

Anonymous said...

"The recommended plans, approved by the School Board’s Operations Committee Dec. 19, were developed following input from the Facilities and Capital Management Advisory Committee (FACMAC), from public testimony at community meetings in December 2012, plus more than 700 written comments."
I don't remember if in fact these changes were discussed in December on any meetings.
MS mom

Anonymous said...

Dear Hamilton Families,

Last night Seattle Public Schools introduced its short-term capacity management and new student assignment transition plan to address enrollment growth. The plan was introduced at the School Board meeting and board action on the plan is scheduled for Wednesday, January 23. The specifics of the plan can be found in the District's presentation.

The impact to our Hamilton community for next school year is that all incoming sixth graders and new students from the Laurelhurst Attendance Area would be shifted to Eckstein Middle School. The plan also proposes to address Eckstein capacity issues by designating Jane Addams as a comprehensive middle school to be co-located with the K-8 environmental science option school and drawing from Olympic Hills, Sacajawea and John Rogers (who currently feed into Eckstein). Under the plan, current fifth grade APP students at Lincoln would continue on to Hamilton.

We know that many of our families have been closely following the evolution of the capacity management recommendations and we wanted to share this most recent information with our Hamilton community. You can find background information and updates concerning the recommendations on the Capacity Planning & Management page.

Sincerely,
Hamilton PTSA Board


HIMS Parent

Anonymous said...

Melissa, I think the meeting will be a "capacity" meeting, one of which the staff's ultimate recommendation will be based. Then staff can say that they had community engagement in the 12 days before the board vote.

I am just now hearing about a proposed 6th grade academy at John Marshall beginning in the 2013-14 school year. (The previous proposal was to have it beginning in 2014-15). This is insane to be coming up at this late date.

Because this proposal has not been specifically recommended by SPS staff at this time, most parents at Eckstein and HIMS have no idea that a 6th grade academy is even a possibility for next year, and therefore have not even thought to provide the Board and Staff with their opinions. If these parents are surveyed, I believe you will find that the vast majority of these families do not support an Academy.

The vast majority of people pushing for an academy DO NOT have a child that will have to attend such place. The people who are most directly affected - those with kids who will be 6th graders at Eckstein or Hamilton in the next few years - are just finding out about it.

A few hastily cobbled together "community meetings" does not make for effective input. Everyone I have spoken with is completely against this proposal, and mad as hell that it's being daylighted at this time.

-Fuming, yet again, at SPS planning

Anonymous said...

Is the 6th grade Academy still in the plan for next year? There was no word about it in the previous HIMS letter even though there was a discussion about it in December.
HIMS mom

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

I am deeply concerned about the equity of any newly designed middle school at JA. Will they take some of the fabulous teachers from Eckstein to make it more attractive (e.g. math, music, etc.) or are they going to say the people on the north end get what they get. I think it is a shame that this is becoming an issue of the vocal rich get a good deal by going to an established school with established flourishing programs.

Concerned North Northeaster

Anonymous said...

There are plenty of people at Eckstein who know about the sixth grade academy proposal. They just don't like it and so refuse to aknowledge it. That doesn't mean it isn't a good idea. We all need to share the pain, not just those of us north of 85th. The Ravenna crowd can holler all they want and the Laurelhurst crowd can hope that they can sneak back into Eckstein unnoticed. But those of us north of 85th are noticing the disproportionate impact of the proposal on our neighborhoods and you can bet we are going to keep shouting.

Hey Eckstein and Hamilton I'll send my 6th grader to an academy if you will. Will you? I thought not.

True North

Melissa Westbrook said...

Everything is still on the table but the staff has put forth their belief in co-housing a new middle school with JA K-8. My understanding is that yes, they would take some of the Eckstein teachers (although I wonder if they could fight it via their contract).

The testimony last night, mine included, pointed out a very short timeline to create a new middle school and how parents in the far north had been told, repeatedly, this would not happen.

Here's what I said:

- Dec. 19th- last day of classes, 5 new scenarios were presented at a Board work session and yet were not presented to parents
- the one picked does not provide substantial relief to Hamilton and will now overcrowd JA (which has 3 classrooms of high-needs Special Ed students). If this is about capacity management, it needs to look like that.
- my experience is that co-housing schools doesn't work and I believe this one will do poorly as well. Parents have been told there will be ONE principal for both schools. Nonsense.
- it creates a middle school with a high free/reduced lunch population (and endangers Eckstein's ability to get grant funding for an after-school program)
- it is far easier to create a temporary 3-year 6th grade academy than to try to throw together a permanent middle school in mere months.

I absolutely agree about the transparency of ALL these ideas. Shame on the Board and the district because all their efforts at outreach are for nothing if they pick a plan that no one had a chance to even consider in context.

Anonymous said...

At last night's meeting, director Sharon Peaslee directed staff to do an in depth, side-by-side comparison of co-location of JAMS and JA K-8 at Jane Addams -vs- 6th grade academy for Eckstein and Hamilton students at John Marshall.

SB directors, notably Marty McLaren, expressed being confused and uncomfortable about the various scenarios that had been presented, especially scenario 5.

There were comments made for and against both co-location and the 6th grade academy.

Most directors expressed the need for a more detailed analysis of capacity numbers and costs of the two scenarios.

- North End Mom

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Melissa, the idea of a 3 year 6th grade academy, if approved, was to begin in the 2014-15 school year, and bridge until new buildings were up and running. It was never proposed for this coming school year - 2013-14.

All your points about putting together a new school in "a matter of mere months" apply to the 6th grade academy as well. There is simply not enough time to do it well, and it will just be a weigh-station for a year.

Spend the next year really developing the plans for a new school or a new academy, and look for implementation in 2014-15, as originally conceived.

not enough time

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Re-posting Anon at 4:39pm so it doesn't get deleted (please include some type of name designation, as anonymous entries are deleted):

Anonymous said...

Any solution at this point will be implemented without enough time for proper input from parents, and will anger some group of parents. But something must be done.

The current staff and FACMAC proposal -- create a comprehensive Middle School and Jane Addams and move Laurelhurst students out of Hamilton -- is a move toward what already is the longer-term plan. Parents may be angry that it would be happening sooner than expected, but it was the plan already.

A sixth-grade academy is a complete curveball that does nothing but put a Band Aid on the situation while causing even greater disruption for the students impacted. Why a greater impact? Because you have to try to cobble together some semblance of a comprehensive middle school experience (serving all academic needs, getting kids to clubs and sports, etc.) in a building that only houses sixth-graders. Oh, and then they'd all move to a different building the following year.

1/10/13 4:39 PM

Reposter

Anonymous said...

Reposting Anon at 4:48 for the same reason:
Anonymous said...

Melissa said, "it is far easier to create a temporary 3-year 6th grade academy than to try to throw together a permanent middle school in mere months."

You are kidding yourself if you think a 6th grade academy will materialize as a strong school. It's fractured from the start. I won't deny the concerns with the middle school at JA, but at least it's a middle school that would exist the year after and the year after that. There's some incentive to make it work. Families aren't just passing through for a year.

for those grumbling about JA - physically, it is situated in a much better place than JM. There's outdoor space. It's not right under the freeway. Be careful what you wish for.

1/10/13 4:48 PM

Reposter

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 4:39 said

"The current staff and FACMAC proposal -- create a comprehensive Middle School and Jane Addams and move Laurelhurst students out of Hamilton -- is a move toward what already is the longer-term plan. Parents may be angry that it would be happening sooner than expected, but it was the plan already."

This is true - it is the solution that is most closely aligned with the district's intermediate and long-term plans. I know that doesn't make it any easier, but it is clear that it is coming. I agree that the timing and the process are lacking, to say the least.

I agree with the equity concerns stated, and families are absolutely entitled to appropriate resources, and not have to start a new MS entirely from scratch. However, I think the fight should be around getting those resources in the new middle school, not in refusing to acknowledge that a new comprehensive middle school is desperately needed in the northend.

It is also not a surprise that when a new comprehensive middle school opens, it will be located farther north of Eckstein, and will logically draw the families that are geographically closer to that school. That was the whole point of the New Student Assignment Plan. Again, I acknowledge the equity point, but unfortunately it is inherent in the NSAP.

From the NSAP, which was passed in 2009 and to which the district has been "transitioning" ever since:

School Board Policy on Student Assignment—D 03.00

Adopted April 22, 2009

It is the policy of the Seattle School Board that students shall have the opportunity to attend an elementary, middle or high school in a designated attendance area based upon home address, unless the school designated by a student’s home address does not have the appropriate services for the student’s needs, as determined by the school district. In such instances, the student shall be assigned to a school that has the appropriate services. It is expected that most students will have the opportunity to attend their attendance area school.

Families may apply for assignment to a school in a different attendance area or a school that does not have a designated attendance area, but admission to such a school is not guaranteed. Assignment to these schools shall be based on an open application process and, in the case of more applicants than space available for students, an established set of tiebreakers shall apply.

The Superintendent is directed to provide an annual enrollment report to the School Board."

Trying To Look At The Long Term

kellie said...

IMHO, it is important in this conversation about capacity management to acknowledge that there are no "good" or "easy" options on the table. Moreover, there are no options that keep things the same as they have been.

This is not a case of an over-crowded school sitting next door to an nearly empty school. The fundamental issue here is that there is no significant amount of space anywhere north of the ship canal, with the exception of the interim space at John Marshall.

Also notable at the meeting last night was the authorization for the purchase of over 30 portables to be placed for the 2013 school year. There were over 30 portables placed district wide for this current school year and there are going to be another 30+ portables placed next year.

To give some sense of proportion, the numbers of portables on order is about the same as the number of rooms in a typical middle school or two elementary schools. These are very large numbers and there are more changes to come.

Also, some of last night's conversation focused on the impact of next year's boundary re-draws.

Melissa Westbrook said...

"...but it was the plan already."

It was A plan, not THE plan.

Anonymous said...

Melissa, I think what Anon at 4:39 was saying is that establishing a new comprehensive middle school in the north has been part of the long-term plan for quite some time, and that re-drawing of boundaries as a result is a part of that plan.

It's the currently proposed timing that is a surprise, but not the new MS nor boundary re-draws themselves.

Reposter

Anonymous said...

Why on earth is this being decided at the last minute? I honestly don't get it. I go to every one of these meetings and the over-capacity situation was well-known last year and the year before. Why are they just now deciding things for next year?

HIMS mom

Anonymous said...

http://www.king5.com/news/education/Seattle-schools-plan-to-ease-overcrowding-angers-parents-186248522.html

Melissa, it seems to me that there will be angry parents in any case, the only question is how many and how this will influence their voting for the Levy.
Still, the decision of the changes should come earlier than later...
HIMS mom

Anonymous said...

I would like to point out that for "Spectrum" schools, Wedgwood and View Ridge, this is just as complex.

Since assignments will be based on address rather than feeder pattern this means splitting up groups that were expecting to continue on together. The feeder pattern schools are still not made up of families from attendance area.

Anonymous said...

An idea not proposed but probably one that would help the APP community stay together until the move to Wilson Pacific in 5 years would be to move 6th-8th APP to Lincoln. Because of growth, there seems to be enough student mass to offer quality programs including music for APP@Lincoln and the remaining program at Hamilton. I fear otherwise another split at middle school could be on the horizon. This proposal could allow Laurelhurst and possibly two other elementary schools such as Adams and Green Lake to fill Hamilton and reduce overcrowding, avoiding the need for a Jane Addams Middle School next year that would be poorly planned. The 6th Grade Academy would be a disaster on all fronts due to the split between HIMS and Eckstein that would occur in 7th Grade.
APP Family

Anonymous said...

An idea not proposed but probably one that would help the APP community stay together until the move to Wilson Pacific in 5 years would be to move 6th-8th APP to Lincoln. Because of growth, there seems to be enough student mass to offer quality programs including music for APP@Lincoln and the remaining program at Hamilton. I fear otherwise another split at middle school could be on the horizon. This proposal could allow Laurelhurst and possibly two other elementary schools such as Adams and Green Lake to fill Hamilton and reduce overcrowding, avoiding the need for a Jane Addams Middle School next year that would be poorly planned. The 6th Grade Academy would be a disaster on all fronts due to the split between HIMS and Eckstein that would occur in 7th Grade.
APP Family

Anonymous said...

Can someone confirm if there is an official SPS press release or other written info available that confirms this new option as a Fall 2013 possibility (removing all 6th graders from Hamilton)? We need that in order to reach out to our Hamilton parents via the PTA. Appreciate any help on finding where this info is posted.
- HIMS parent

Anonymous said...

The meeting with Director Peaselee tonight at Lake City Library was another in a string of parents getting a bit outraged at the clear lack of foresight by the district. The main common theme was that almost everyone there thought that both the academy plan (#3) and the JAMS plan (#5) were both too abrupt. Another common sentiment expressed by the parents was that if we wait another year (according to the FACMAC person both Eckstein and Hamilton could handle it) then we could really plan a proper execution of a new school in the NE end without singling out a small population that would be unduly burdened.

The saddest part of the meeting was that it was very clear that Seattle folks are being put in the position of going up against each other instead of being unified toward a common positive goal.
Another NE Parent

p.s. did you hear about the meeting next week at Laurelhurst?

Anonymous said...

I'm curious to know how the NNE families define their vision of a comprehensive middle school. What programs, courses, activities are you looking for? I, myself, have ideas of how that is defined, but I would really like to hear from parents from John Rogers, Sacajawea and Olympic Hills.

~wondering

kgroth said...

Melissa, thank you for including Pinehurst in your testimony at Wednesday's Board meeting. I know you can't be at two places at one, though Sharon Peaslee's meeting was interesting. It was standing room only with mixed support for Scenarios 3, 5, and other possibilities.

Below is the speech I wrote and spoke during the meeting for Pinehurst K-8 since we were allowed to make one comment per school. I am encouraged by how well-received our speech and cause was by the Northeast Seattle parents.

"We recognize that you need our location to relieve all of the overcrowding in Northeast Seattle and that building at Pinehurst is the linchpin of all your plans. We ask that Pinehurst be discussed now in the scenarios for 2013/2014 since whatever is decided affects Pinehurst's fate. Pinehurst should co-locate with Jane Addams starting in 2014 either at Jane Addams or the John Marshall interim site until we move back into the new Pinehurst building with Jane Addams in 2016. We should retain our alternative program with experiential learning and multi-age classrooms for no additional cost to the District so we can continue to serve kids best served by our alternative model. With uncertainty about our future at Open Enrollment, we will lose some families and have difficulty attracting new families. If we join forces with Jane Addams, we can combine our numbers and survive the transition period. All we are asking is for a school for our kids."

Anonymous said...

HIMS parent,

It is incredibly optimistic of you to think that SPS would have a press release or any other official information about this proposal. It's changing minute by minute, and the sheer ineptitude by the district pretty much demonstrates that it's a pipe dream to expect them to convey info in an official manner. If you are going to wait for official word, it will come in June when they tell HIMS there is no 6th grade there. Goodbye to 1/3 of your PTSA funding sources, not to mention the blow to music, sports, HOST, enrichment, etc. Also, expect some unhappy 6th grade teachers when they are moved without notice to a new fledgling and foundering "academy". Lincoln parents know that if you're waiting for the district to follow through on promises of equity or resources after a "temporary emergency measure" you'll be waiting forever.

-still no cafeteria, playground, other resources at Lincoln

Anonymous said...

For me, the general theme that emerged from last night's meeting it that parents simply don't trust the district to thoughtfully manage any of the proposals put forth. If we could look to examples of successful one-year transitions, perhaps there wouldn't be such indignation expressed with each proposal.

I can't believe the 6th grade academy concept is even on the table. Some suggest that it could ease the transition to middle school. Well, that's what sixth grade is - transitioning to middle school so by 7th grade you can hit the ground running. Since the cohort then gets split as they move to 7th grade, it adds yet another transition year. The logistics of transportation and program implementation really seem beyond what SPS has shown they can do well.

On that note, if I had had the chance to speak last night, I would have urged everyone there to vote for the levy. No matter how frustrated I am with the various proposals, if the levy doesn't pass it could mean even crazier situations for our children.

NE parent

Anonymous said...

Random article on 6th grade "academies":

6th grade academies: Fad or fix for our schools?

Some reader commments from the article -

- Recycled fad. I went to a seperate 6th grade school well over 30 years ago. Made 0 difference one way or the other. Actually, if pressed, I’d have to say it was the worst school year I had instructionally.

- We moved our 6th graders back to elementary school two years ago and our middle schools are now 7th and 8th grade. The two 7th grade classes that have come to us after spending the 6th grade in elementary school are the most immature bunch of kids I’ve ever seen. They are also more innocent which is nice, but their immaturity and inability to do for themselves is ridiculous. We have got to stop babying them.

If anyone comes across actual "research" related to 6th grade academies, please post. What are they going to bring back next? Open classrooms?

NE parent

Melissa Westbrook said...

Actually we do have some schools still with open classrooms and I also wonder about that.

I am not wedded to the 6th grade academy idea BUT I think it far better (and fairer) to ALL than a rushed middle school.

As I told the Board and Superintendent, I think it is far more within the grasp of staff to create a temporary academy than a full-flown middle school that limps along for years before it gets the attention it should. (And they will also be planning one for Wilson-Pacific.)

Because of the district's poor communications, I'm not even sure an academy could work (but they put it on the list). I do not think it is worth all this hair-pulling -it's one year. I actually believe there could be some really interesting things done with it.

Again, everything is still on the table until the Board votes. I have NO idea why anyone thought any one idea was a done deal. Maybe it's time to do another public disclosure e-mail request and see why that might be so.

Lori said...

Melissa, I want to understand your train of thought. Why would a new middle school starting up at Jane Addams "limp along" for years without sufficient resources, yet a temporary 6th grade academy would not also limp along and be short of resources? If "interesting things" can be done in a temporary academy, why can't "interesting things" also be done at a brand new middle school?

In fact, I actually see it exactly the other way from what you envision. A new middle school co-located at JA or put in an interim site at JM would have all the incentive in the world to build a strong program from day 1. They would hire a principal and staff who would be committed to teaching middle school and building a solid program. A new PTA could form, without requiring 100% turnover each year. There would be no end date to the school or the PTA. I'm not a 5th grade parent and won't be directly affected next year, but I would be much more excited to help build my new middle school then to spin my wheels building a temporary academy.

Besides lack of parent enthusiasm, a temporary 6th grade academy may have trouble hiring staff. Who wants to take a job that has an expiration date, and you don't know where you'll be principal or teaching 2, 3, or 4 years later? What PTA is going to support an academy that comprises all of the elementary schools feeding into Eckstein and Hamilton? And they will need PTA support because as a temporary program, that might not have school status (see Lincoln situation), how will they get all the resources they need? Ask Lincoln parents what they've had to do to make Lincoln a success after a hasty move to temporary digs.

And if the academy needs a new PTA, how will that work? Are parents going to do the hard work of setting up a new non-profit org for a few short years? How will they recruit for each subsequent year's positions when so many families are only there for a single year? Lots of logistical challenges to consider.

Then of course there's transportation. I have an email someone forwarded to me from district personnel that indicates there is waning support to even continue busing APP kids to Lincoln because we use too many buses and it costs too much. So how in the world does creating a 6th grade academy that will by necessity require over 700 kids to be bused past their nearest school to Marshall make economic sense? Board members have said to Lincoln families that they want elementary APP at multiple locations in part to save on busing. How is creating a 6th grade academy consistent with that goal? It's not. This really, really seems like an idea borne of desperation, not part of a thoughtful process at all.

Anonymous said...

For APP parent who suggested leaving 6-8th at Lincoln:

The district, FACMAC, and many others, including SNAPP PTA, have looked at that many times. It's neither workable nor desirable for many reasons. Basically, the vast majority of middle schoolers and their parents want a comprehensive middle school experience, not a continued elementary. There is a reason K-8s are neither the standard nor overwhelmingly popular in the Seattle north end. Comprehensive middle schools are the norm, and the district does them pretty well. APP students want and deserve what other kids want and deserve, and that turns out to be a comprehensive middle school with choices for their individual needs and lots of kids.

APP students are not different in this respect - most do not want a K-8 experience, nor a small, limited 6-8.

I understand the response: But this plan sends NNE kids into a k-8! I think one of the FACMAC suggestions actually moved out the k-8 from Jane Addams and started a new comprehensive MS right away, by dividing Eckstein deeper into two buildings, so that the new school had 6-8 in it already. But even starting them alongside JA k-8, and just incoming 6th from the affected attendance areas, as long as a significant number of students are there, there would be a closer replica of a comprehensive MS than would be available in a 6th grade APP sit-in-place at Lincoln.

Another reason for not leaving 6th grade APP at Lincoln is that APP students need many advanced levels of coursework, but not all the same -- as an APP parent you certainly know they don't all work at the same level, and some can work 2 or even 3 grades above, most especially in math, but also in languages, music, etc. Sufficient teachers and classes to meet these needs are available in a comprehensive school, but it would be impossible to replicate that in a K-8 or standalone small 6-8. (and despite its growth, an APP 6-8 or 6 alone in Lincoln would be smaller than the plused up 6-8 portion of JA).

SPS also considered whether students or teachers could shuttle between HIMS and Lincoln - not safe for the students, and a waste of educational time; for the teachers, the time in transition would decrease how many classes they could teach, and of course they would not have their materials. Algebra in a cart? History in a backpack? It can be done, but it's not desirable, esp. since an APP k-8 is NOT the long term plan, much like the 6th grade academy is NOT the long-term plan.

Many people strongly believe that interim steps should be on the path of the long-term plan. A 6th grade academy is not. The district does not indicate that it wants to make that switch in educational philosophy and delivery of services. If they do want to move to 6th grade academies as a district-wide model, that should be studied, outcomes from other districts looked at, public and teaching staff consulted, etc. But it should be done as a well-planned educational decision, not merely as a knee-jerk short-term capacity decision.

PLOP, here are some kids for a couple years - have at it, school with no future that we'll shut down as soon as we have new buildings. No, that doesn't make sense.

My bottom line: the comprehensive model WORKS. Why monkey with it? If it's not broken, don't fix it. Right now capacity is broken, especially at Eckstein, but for the most part the middle school educational experience isn't -- so ripping it apart for a few years makes no sense. The only thing that I think makes sense is to work toward the roll out of a new comprehensive middle school.

-- Another NEnd parent

Melissa Westbrook said...

Starting a permanent, 3-grade level middle school is much harder than a one-grade level temporary school. That's my belief.

I also believe that the 6th grade teachers at Eckstein and Hamilton could work together (because they are already good schools) and create a good academy. It is easier to recreate the music at Eckstein/Hamilton for one grade level than to create a new music program for an entire school.

I also think the options of having Roosevelt nearby as well as Green Lake might be interesting.

What I don't like is the vibe I get that Eckstein wants to shrink at any cost. And that cost is at the hands of other students/parents who were told no change was coming. The new middle school idea does virtually nothing to reduce the capacity issues at Hamilton.

And you think they would have trouble hiring staff for a 6th grade academy? Tell half of Eckstein's teachers they are moving. I'll bet you'll hear from them. (I read this could be the case.) I would love to hear from teachers.

The greater good should be what the district is aiming for, not who is applying the most pressure. This already happened once at Eckstein and it was not pretty.

But, in the end, the district is going to try to pull off a hat trick of sorts. Good luck to all.

Anonymous said...

What about keeping APP sixth grade at Hamilton, since they need access to the more advanced classes and can attend with the 7th and 8th graders? Would that work for APP students even if the other 6th graders went to an academy? I know there's a lot of opposition to the academy, but I'm trying to tease out the issues - and I do think the academic issues of APP are different than the other 6th graders.

This would also drop the enrollment capacity needs at JM so that APP could be at Hamilton all 3 years (2014-15, 15-16 and 16-17 - until W-P comes on line and a final APP placement decision can be implemented) and the sixth grade academy can be 2014-15, 15-16 until the NNE comp MS is fully ready and the boundaries are implemented (so we know which other schools besides Olyhills, JR and Sac are going to go to JAMS.) This might still require a co-location in the JA building for 2014-15 and 15-16....

~running through alternatives and seriously wanting a discussion outside the box.

Lori said...

Thanks, Melissa, it helps to get your clarifying comments. You're right that perhaps they wouldn't be hiring entirely new staff for an academy. In any scenario, they might be moving current teachers from Eckstein/HIMS to new locations to get things going.

And I totally agree that we need to look at the greater good. But, I understand too how these constant moving parts tend to make all of us respond emotionally in the short-term. There's got to be a better way to bring stakeholders together and build consensus. What we are doing now isn't working.

And I wanted to recognize Kgroth's comment from earlier about Pinehurst. It's appalling that they continue to get "overlooked" in all these discussions. So thank you for speaking up, last night and here.

Anonymous said...

District - Everyone hold tight one more year. Next year we are going to redraw all the boundaries and feeder patterns.

Parents - Eckstein must be fixed now.

District - Any fix would only be temporary because we are doing all the boundary and feeder pattern work next year.

Parents - Eckstein must be fixed now.

District - We have 5 plans that could be done next year, all of them bad and none of them fits with 2014 boundary and feeder pattern work.

Parents - Eckstein must be fixed now.

District - Scenario 5 is the least bad plan but it is still a bad plan because we are doing all the boundary and feeder pattern work next year.

Parents - Eckstein must be fixed now. Wait. Not my kid. Somebody's else's kid.

- north seattle parent

Melissa Westbrook said...

North Seattle, that's one way to look at it except that "parents" would not include all north end parents. And that's the problem.

The parents at John Rodgers, Sacajawea, Pinehurst, etc. have just as much voice (or should) than anyone else.

I think the way you put it points out the folly of doing anything major in the next year when even MORE is to come. I may borrow this model from you when I write to the Board.

Anonymous said...

It is easier to recreate the music at Eckstein/Hamilton for one grade level than to create a new music program for an entire school.

Respectfully disagree. Please stop downplaying the Herculean effort it takes to build a music program - whether it's at an "academy" or elsewhere. Without a critical mass of students and the efforts of parents, volunteering both their time and money, you would not have such strong music programs. They don't just materialize because the district says they will have a music program.

---

Also, it's not clear to me how the 6th grade academy would be categorized. Would it not be a school, but rather an extension of each school - Eckstein@JM and Hamilton@JM - so that the students are technically still categorized as students of their home school even though they are located elsewhere? How in the world would budgeting and administration work? Would Eckstein and Hamilton PTAs be supporting the academy as well?

jd

Anonymous said...

And that's it in a nutshell.
Also, though, it wasn't parents that pushed for immediate relief at HIMS, was it? Wasn't it the district that said 6th grade APP can't fit next year? I felt like that was part of what set off this mad scramble to change things for 2013.

I agree with whoever posted that N/S divisions are going to be inherent in the NSAP, and that JAMS must logically draw northernmost NE families. It also seems outside reason that this kids could end up at said school NEXT YEAR.

--Not enough time; no way.

Anonymous said...


"I think the way you put it points out the folly of doing anything major in the next year when even MORE is to come."

But that's exactly the point, Melissa, with either a 6th grade academy or comprehensive middle school being slapped together for the 2013-14 school year.

It is clear that parents have no faith in the district's ability to pull off either successfully with so little time to plan.

What about not making any significant changes for 2013-14, but make decisions now for 2014-15+ and announce them? Then there is 18 months or so to really thoughtfully plan, hire, etc. for a comprehensive MS or 6th grade academy.

I think the best idea, and the one that aligns with long-term planning, is to start a full comprehensive MS at the Jane Addams site in 2014-15, with grades 6-8. Make that decision now, and announce what the redrawn boundaries will be. That gives 18 months notice to parents - not 2 weeks. No roll-up of one grade at a time - that's awful for the first two grades that have to go through it.

I do not support the academy generally, but I certainly don't support it for next year. I agree with what many posters said above about the drawbacks. It may be that "interesting" things can be done, but the fact is they will not be, at least not for next year. And if you are a parent with a child who would be in that academy next year, then it is worth all this hair-pulling.

No more last minute whiplash

Anonymous said...

No more last-minute; THIS!! Do this, please.

Are there preliminary boundary redraws worked up already? If they could announce a plan NOW, I do believe people would have time to grouse, come around, support a new school near their home, support the levy, etc.

~No changes for 2013.

Anonymous said...

I can live with a short term 6th grade academy until a proper comprehensive MS has time to get off the ground. You can still offer math and LAs at varying levels of needs. If neighborhood schools can offer accomodation fo a 6th grader to take algebra, then a 6th grade academy can do the same with a proper class. Many school districts have their elementary go to 6th grade. Just saw my niece and nephew this past holiday and they go to one and don't seem any less capable socially or academically than my kids.

to and fro

Anonymous said...

Sixth Grade Academy CAN'T happen: it won't fit!!! So, please, can we stop wasting our time with this false premise?

District handout says grade 6 next year for both Hamilton and Eckstein is 954. Marshall building holds 760 (and that is being very generous, the Addams K8 is ADAMANT that their 585 student school cant fit in Marshall --really?!).

The sixth grade? IT WON'T FIT EVEN FOR NEXT SEPTEMBER, EVEN IF YOU ADD THE MAXIMUM NUMBER IF PORTABLES TO THE MARSHALL PROPERTY!!! The enrollment numbers only GO UP from that year, so, it won't work, regardless of what anyone wants or doesn't want.

Sorry, but this discussion is wasting valuable time with an unworkable, unrealistic 'option'.

--look at the numbers

Melissa Westbrook said...

Marshall did and can fit more than 760; again, the district decides what it wants a school to fit.

So Look, you can shout away but if the district wants to do it, they will.

However, I agree with what seems to be coming out - they need to wait a year to do anything big.

Anonymous said...

The Pinehurst closure/JA space and the proposal to move APP 6th out of HIMS have now snowballed into some ill-advised, unnecessary changes for next year. Of course south Eckstein parents started salivating at the opportunity to ease crowding as early as 2013! They jumped on this opportunity to put the "pressure" on but that doesn't mean it has to happen NOW. It can happen thoughtfully for 2014.

Waiting for Thoughtful

Anonymous said...

HAMILTON’s (HIMS) capacity problems aren’t solved by any of these proposals. Even if we push Laurelhurst out, we still have 4 feeder schools & a growing APP program, and HIMS is simply a small building. If you live in this area & have elementary-age kids in your family &/or APP kids, you know that both the upcoming classes & the APP community are growing, so we need much more than “70 or so xtra spaces” here and there if we don’t want to have to go through this every few years. In the last re-mapping of boundaries 3 years ago, it was clear that HIMS was too small to for the 5 neighborhood feeder schools AND the many special programs including the Language-Immersion & “North-end APP” (APP w/ 300+ kids & growing). HIMS families aren’t coming from far away, we simply need more building space in this neighborhood if we expect to continue the very successful neighborhood middle school we built AND house all these special programs. I DISAGREE that incorporating the Lincoln bldg into a “2 bldg HIMS campus” is too disruptive or dangerous. It is a large building that is only separated by the Wallingford Park athletic field that HIMS currently uses, and we already go there for other things such as music. As a family who has had several kids at HIMS & in APP, and seen the transition over the last 5 yrs and the growth we’ve made, I think it would be preferable for our strong HIMS community to work out in-house scheduling to make this work rather than breaking up our community into a half-baked temporary “6th grade academy,” parsing out our APP teachers AGAIN, or pushing our neighborhood families to further neighborhoods when we have good space right here. We would still be one school that can keep our music, arts, sports programs, PTSA, and fundraising intact. I really think joining the facilities makes way more sense. Many of our kids already take the Metro, walk blocks to/from school alone, and there would be hoards of other kids walking at the same time, but it could also be structured to have mostly 7th or 8th grade core classes over there or the highest level math classes so text books wouldn’t need to be “carted” anywhere. Lincoln already houses the north-end elementary school APP families, so it would seem a natural solution to also house some of the APP middle-school core classes there since most of the APP LA/SS & science teachers only teach APP classes & are rarely, if ever, "shared" resources for the other kids- it would be like how many schools use portables in their back yard, only much nicer. We could also do this with music since we have such ongoing space problems with our huge music program & lack of space. We would still be “one school” just within a “2 bldg campus” setup that would allow us to keep our successful school intact which seems much cheaper and less disruptive, and would allow us room to grow. However, if push comes to shove over space, even though we are an “APP family in walking-distance to HIMS,” I would support completely moving APP out of this congested neighborhood, and leaving the bldg for the real “neighborhood families” who are walking or taking easy metro routes to school since the APP kids are coming from all over & get nice “yellow school bus” transportation anyway.

Confused NE parent said...

I am hearing suggestions that Hamilton does have capacity for their 2013 class. Is this true? Have we seen the district's numbers? Pegi Mcelvoy reports they need room for 4 more classrooms but the Laurelhurst parents (w/kids currently at Hamilton) at last night's meeting seem to think otherwise. Has the district posted specific numbers?

Anonymous said...

At Sharon Peeslee's community meeting last night, Peg Mcelvoy stated that Eckstein has indicated they can handle the incoming 2013 class, even with the additional Laurelhurst kids. the total enrollment would be about the same as this year. So why are they pursuing the colocation scenario?
I know - Eckstein overcrowding - but that has been there for years and numbers are lower now than in past years. It does not justify this reactive crisis oriented approach

In 2008 when Eckstein numbers were HIGHER than they were now, and the board had the chance to open JA as a middle school, they didn't. they opened a K-8. So historically, Eckstein overcrowding has not pushed them to short term action, or any action really.

Anonymous said...

It's because south Eckstein parents saw an opening with the HIMS overcrowding and the Pinehurst issue, and they escalated everything for 2013.



--Waiting for Thoughtful

Melissa Westbrook said...

Oh so Pegi DID talk. She told me she was there just to observe and listen. Again, this is quite unusual for a district administrator to be at a Director's community meeting.

I don't want to pit parents against parents. Even if there may be some parents who are thinking of only their school, it is the district who needs to be clear-headed and fair and thinking regionally and not just for one school.

I think if you attend a director community meeting tomorrow (and there are 3), you might advocate for a steady-state with good planning.

2014-2015 is going to see tremendous change anyway. I'm not sure having it start in 2013-2014 with hurried planning is the way to go.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Pegi spoke.

Pegi planned to come and observe but Sharon was desperately looking for her and then needed Pegi to answer questions.

Sharon tried to replicate the style from the Olympic Hills meeting. However, Sharon was just out of her depth and lacked the grace and style of the Olympic Hills principal who did a beautiful job setting a feel for a meeting.

Anonymous said...

Melissa you said it perfectly. "If this is about capacity management it needs to look like that." The people who are saying that the 6th grade academy is unworkable because the capacity numbers aren't penciling out need to look at the capacity numbers at the various schools in the other scenarios. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I am seeing a maximum enrollment at the academy of 1002 in 2016-17. That would be 62 over the stated capacity of 940. Both Eckstein and Hamilton are well under capacity in that scenario. All other scenarios cause greater over capacity numbers at other locations. Scenario 5 puts the JA building 170 over capacity for 2013-14 as well as Hamilton over capacity by up to 222 into 2017. The ONLY scenario that is serious about addressing capacity in the period between 2013-2017 is the 6th grade academy.

-looking at the numbers

Anonymous said...

I second the post above by another APP parent that a 6-8 APP school at Lincoln is the best option APP can hope to achieve in the north end for the time being. It doesn't have to be a 1-8 but colocation could help improve curriculum alignment and easing the transition into a 6 period day. Eckstein might also not have to be split if Laurelhurst and possibly 1 or 2 other elementary schools moved to HIMS. The least impact on splitting communities and resources should be the goal.

HIMS (outside of APP) and Eckstein are very similar in terms of music programs and quality of instruction so a redistricting of entire elementary schools wouldn't be as hard felt as a movement to a brand new middle school such as the one proposed at JA alongside a K-8 with completely different goals than a comprehensive middle school.

APP@Lincoln has the space and resources to accommodate the HIMS APP population with no loss to the comprehensive middle school offerings currently enjoyed. 1-5 and 6-8 could still remain physically separate but share a school identity and curriculum to improve the transition from 5th to 6th.

This move could stabilize populations at Eckstein, Hamilton, and APP@Lincoln for at least the five years needed to build a new building for JA K-8 and open WP, at which time another discussion could be had.

A concerned APP parent

Anonymous said...

The short term capacity mgmt plan introduced by the district on Wednesday denies the families of 5th (and 4th and 3rd) graders in the Sacajawea, John Rogers and Oly Hills attendance areas the comprehensive middle school experience that every other family in Seattle is guaranteed.

The "Co-Location" planned for middle schoolers assigned to Jane Addams is Co-Location in Name Only (CLINO). Until the JA K-8 moves out, there will be no JAMS; The assigned middle schoolers will be part of the Jane Addams K-8 Enviro Sci program, with JA K-8 offerings, teachers and administration. And, oh yeah, don't expect JA K-8 to move until their new building is complete -- the district needs John Marshall for the Wilson Pacific.

So the NNE goes at least three full years with no comprehensive MS. All for a plan that hardly provides any capacity relief to Eckstein (not to mention none to Hamilton).

Considering the demographic differences between the SNE and the NNE, could this hastily conceived Short Term Capacity Mgmt Plan just be catering to a well-organized and vocal subset (I hope it's really a minority) of SNE parents for whom the real post-NSAP "problem" at Eckstein isn’t one of overcrowding at all, rather it’s having "those" people from the north end at "our beloved Eckstein"?

Racist, class-ist, anti-immigrant, NIMBY-istic, or just clueless -- this plan stinks.

Please encourage the board and district to abandon it ASAP.

~ North End Pop

biliruben said...

I don't think it's racism. At least I hope not. The end result is the poor get poorer however, regardless of motivation.

I wonder how View Ridge and Bryant parents would react if their kids were forced to go to portable farms hastily built at Thornton Creek next year, and denied access the access to a comprehensive middle school like they are lobbying for when jamming a "middle school" into an already near-capacity Jane Addams building?

Would they think the slightly less crowded halls at Eckstein would be worth it?

Melissa Westbrook said...

I would also point out that any ideas about what to do with Lincoln are really depending on what the district plans to do with that building.

Eventually it will be a high school but with fewer and fewer interim buildings, the district has to carefully consider what to do.

We are becoming very limited and I honestly hope nothing happens - emergency-wise - that we need a building and none is available. We normally have a couple of buildings at least semi-functional and ready for emergencies.

Anonymous said...

Reposting so you don't get deleted.

Anonymous said...
HAMILTON’s (HIMS) capacity problems aren’t solved by any of these proposals. Even if we push Laurelhurst out, we still have 4 feeder schools & a growing APP program, and HIMS is simply a small building. If you live in this area & have elementary-age kids in your family &/or APP kids, you know that both the upcoming classes & the APP community are growing, so we need much more than “70 or so xtra spaces” here and there if we don’t want to have to go through this every few years. In the last re-mapping of boundaries 3 years ago, it was clear that HIMS was too small to for the 5 neighborhood feeder schools AND the many special programs including the Language-Immersion & “North-end APP” (APP w/ 300+ kids & growing). HIMS families aren’t coming from far away, we simply need more building space in this neighborhood if we expect to continue the very successful neighborhood middle school we built AND house all these special programs. I DISAGREE that incorporating the Lincoln bldg into a “2 bldg HIMS campus” is too disruptive or dangerous. It is a large building that is only separated by the Wallingford Park athletic field that HIMS currently uses, and we already go there for other things such as music. As a family who has had several kids at HIMS & in APP, and seen the transition over the last 5 yrs and the growth we’ve made, I think it would be preferable for our strong HIMS community to work out in-house scheduling to make this work rather than breaking up our community into a half-baked temporary “6th grade academy,” parsing out our APP teachers AGAIN, or pushing our neighborhood families to further neighborhoods when we have good space right here. We would still be one school that can keep our music, arts, sports programs, PTSA, and fundraising intact. I really think joining the facilities makes way more sense. Many of our kids already take the Metro, walk blocks to/from school alone, and there would be hoards of other kids walking at the same time, but it could also be structured to have mostly 7th or 8th grade core classes over there or the highest level math classes so text books wouldn’t need to be “carted” anywhere. Lincoln already houses the north-end elementary school APP families, so it would seem a natural solution to also house some of the APP middle-school core classes there since most of the APP LA/SS & science teachers only teach APP classes & are rarely, if ever, "shared" resources for the other kids- it would be like how many schools use portables in their back yard, only much nicer. We could also do this with music since we have such ongoing space problems with our huge music program & lack of space. We would still be “one school” just within a “2 bldg campus” setup that would allow us to keep our successful school intact which seems much cheaper and less disruptive, and would allow us room to grow. However, if push comes to shove over space, even though we are an “APP family in walking-distance to HIMS,” I would support completely moving APP out of this congested neighborhood, and leaving the bldg for the real “neighborhood families” who are walking or taking easy metro routes to school since the APP kids are coming from all over & get nice “yellow school bus” transportation anyway.

1/11/13 4:23 PM

It's no further to walk the block between HIMS and the South East wing of Lincoln than it is to walk from PE to Japanese at Washington Middle School. Maybe give a firm 2 minute grace period for kids who travel.

open ears

Anonymous said...

Walking between campuses poses a supervision/liability issue. Sure, kids should be old enough to walk between campuses, since many walk to school, but the school has no responsibility for students to and from school (unless they are being bused). I am guessing the school does not want to take responsibility for the security of middle school students on what would then be an open campus. Also, a grace period effectively shortens the class period for all students.

The scenario that I have not seen discussed is Scenario 4. It has nothing being done for next year, then rolling up Wilson Pacific at JM for 2014, along with boundary changes for NE middle schools. Someone had suggested that JM would be half APP, along with Greenlake and Olympic View elementary. Or would the JM population be an interim location for a new North end middle school? It's unclear based on the info in the summary. I'd like to know what scenarios are being considered for 2014 if the district tries to go one more year without reassigning students. Will students start at Hamilton or Eckstein, then move elsewhere for 7th and 8th?

NE Middle School Scenario Comparison

NE parent

TechyMom said...

out-of-the-box suggestion...
I haven't heard much about crowding in the North End high schools. Is it true that the bubble hasn't reached HS yet? If so, what about temporarily doing 8-12 at some of the high schools?

Upsides: good access to advanced classes, lots of extracurricular activities, no extra building transition.

Downsides: some parents might not be comfortable with 13-year-olds in a high school, teachers would have to move (but that's true with all the plans), less access to remedial classes for 8th graders (do those exist now?).

crazy?