Thursday, January 17, 2013

In Advance of Today's Operations Committee Meeting

I am blessed to know people who also work hard to understand our district.  Many of these sources have analytic skills far beyond mine and I am so glad they are willing to share their knowledge and understanding with me.  What I put forth comes from conversations with a couple of these people.  (But we don't all agree.)

In terms of capacity management for 2013-2014, here are a few things to consider as the Board has its Operations Committee of the Whole meeting today where they will be discussing this issue.  (Also, keep in mind that as we have been discussing the NE middle school region a lot here, there will also be capacity management happening in West Seattle.  For some reason West Seattle folks haven't weighed in much on that and I would guess they feel what the district has put forth for their region is reasonable.)

Let's flesh out what is the cold, hard truth - big change is coming to enrollment patterns in the NE.   For elementary, for middle, for high school.  BEX IV already reflects that with the addition of the new middle school at Wilson-Pacific, the new elementary at Thorton Creek, etc. along with the opening of a new middle school at Jane Addams. 

Understanding that these shifts up through middle school will also affect high school is key as well.  Lincoln, after doing yeoman's duty for a long time as an interim sight, will go back to being a high school.  So those patterns will change.  (And I expect to see quite the dogfight over who goes to Lincoln and who goes to Roosevelt.)  Opening Lincoln is also not the only consideration as Roosevelt will have a light rail station right next to it by about 2018 (the year changes all the time) and that means more density around Roosevelt. 

One huge question is no matter which of the three options is chosen, what happens in 2014-2015 when they do start assigning students to the two new middle schools (if that's the plan)? 

Does it mean that some kids might start at Eckstein and then have to move to one of the new schools? 

Will the district grandfather everyone in who starts 6th grade at Eckstein?

As Eric B, a frequent contributor said in another thread, people are going to be unhappy.  It's a question of trying to lessen the impact (ie make the new middle school very attractive) and being equitable (other people might have to share the pain even if they are not directly impacted).  

JA K-8 with co-located new JA Middle School

First, this allows JA K-8 to stay in place which is their preference versus moving to Pinehurst.  It would also immediately limit the numbers of students who could enroll in JA K-8 and thus keep their numbers to a reasonable K-8 size in anticipation of their move to Pinehurst. 

In other words, somewhat stunt/slow their growth. 

No real boundaries will have changed but simply the district saying that Sacajawea, John Rogers and Olympic Hills 5th graders would go there for the new JA Middle School.

Now it is unclear to me what would happen the next year, 2014-2015.

By then, the district will have made boundary decisions for JA Middle School AND Wilson-Pacific.  Would they think assign a nearly full amount of students to JA Middle School and thus necessitating JA K-8 move out?   I am puzzled on this point.

6th Grade Academy

As I wrote to the Board yesterday, if I had either of my sons as 6th graders now, I actually would not care.  (That said, neither was involved in the music program at Eckstein in a big way.) 

My sons would be with all their other 5th grade friends and maybe make new friends that they would eventually meet up with in high school.  The opportunities for new learning at Green Lake and Roosevelt are real and distinct possibilities. 

But it sounds like this is quite the non-starter to most so I would guess the Board will reject it.  (However, as someone else pointed out, even if it is the most expensive, I think some of that might be  start-up costs which they would have using John Marshall no matter what.  And, the staff they need will all end up at one of the middle schools.)

Steady State and Mitigate

This is what I advocate for.  I know it puts off the inevitable tsunami of change and yes, turmoil that is to come. 

However, I am a big believer in planning.  This effort, to recreate the NE middle school regions, really needs to be well-thought out and frankly, should involve parent input.  

If it were just about one school coming on-line, I would say go forward with one of the other two options.  But it isn't and the district will live with the decisions made now.  Making that decision while you are worrying about passing a levy (that must pass to make much of this come true) worries me.


28 comments:

Po3 said...

Do you think boundry shift will include moving students to McClure? And if that happens, then won't that impact Ballards enrollment?

Louise M said...

Hmm - who would they move to McClure? BF Day is the closest but then they would likely go to the new Lincoln High School. If they are building two comprehensive middle schools in the north end it doesn't seem like they'd need to move anyone to McClure. But I have no idea what the district will end up doing at this point.

Patrick said...

I wonder if more could be done to help Eckstein mitigate its above-capacity enrollment. Could portapotties be added to help with the bathroom shortage? Could the portables be wired for internet as well as for power? Could lunches be served from lunch wagons in addition to the cafeteria? I understand all the schools get their lunches cooked centrally now anyway. Could more custodial time be added?

Not trying to trivialize Eckstein's situation, just asking if more could be done to help until a long-term solution.

Anonymous said...

Melissa, why do you already anticipate that there will be a dogfight over who goes to Lincoln and who goes to Roosevelt in (is is 2017 or 2019)? Is there something I'm not aware of? Do you think folks will clamor to go to Lincoln? Or because it will be new people will want to stick with Roosevelt? Just curious as to why you think it will be so contensious.
-Mom of current NE 2nd grader

Melissa Westbrook said...

Well, the Wilson-Pacific Middle School will impact Whitman. So yes, it would seem that boundary changes in one region will reach elsewhere. There is always a ripple effect. And the issue of no downtown area high school will continue to be an issue.

Patrick, all good thoughts.

I know Roosevelt. Believe me, there is an ownership to Seattle High Schools that I never experienced before I came to live here.

So yes, there are parents (and grandparents) who went to Roosevelt and will want their child at Roosevelt. As well, Roosevelt is hugely established. While Lincoln used to exist (and I believe was a fine high school back in the day), starting any new school is challenging.

That said, some people do not like the cliqueish atmosphere at Roosevelt and may welcome a new high school. But Roosevelt is quite the powerhouse and I suspect that just as some in Laurelhurst did not want to go to Hamilton, they won't want to go to Lincoln.

ws said...

Melissa, as far as West Seattle goes I wouldn’t make that assumption. To be honest you have many post about North capacity (some fully dedicated like this one where you lay the NE capacity all out but only mention WS stating since no one is talking here the must agree).

This blog is great and I have been a reader for years but the coverage does tend to skew to the north (both posts and commenters.) Ie there was Stem meeting (1/15) to discuss location with Peggy M there , not one mention of that on this blog either as an upcoming meeting or afterwards.

Melissa Westbrook said...

WS, I need you to tell me about these meetings. I don't always hear and I certainly can't attend them.

We're happy to talk about all areas.

Anonymous said...

I'm hoping that the decision is for the Jane Addams/JAMS option.

If I had any faith that SPS would put the appropriate planning in place to support the "no change" option, then I would feel differently. However, I do NOT have faith (nor have I seen the proper precedents) to see this as the right way to go.

For me, the plan is more of a "do nothing" one. And my experience tells me that we are just putting off the scrambling until this time next year.

- Seriously

Are we living in a third world country? said...

1Port-a-potties!? I wonder what the Department of Health would have to say about that.

ws said...

Melissa, I agree, I'm not a stem parent so I only knew about them because the WSB published a notice and follow up story.

http://westseattleblog.com/2013/01/no-definite-home-yet-for-k-5-stem-at-boren-you-will-be-somewhere

PS. Sansilo supporting theGarfield teachers. http://westseattleblog.com/2013/01/west-seattle-schools-sanislo-support-for-map-test-revolt

Anonymous said...

In my feedback, I asked that boundary change plans for 2014-2015 be outlined before Open Enrollment ends.
-NEP

zella917 said...

Do we have any ideas about which schools will feed into Lincoln? I had heard that feeders for Wilson Pacific were likely to be Bagley, Olympic View and I think, Viewlands? And then would W-P likely feed into Lincoln, or to Ingraham? I don't have strong feeling either way, just wondering if anyone has an inkling of what the plan might be. (And I have a second grader at Bagley, so it would be nice to have an idea of where she might go to high school).

Anonymous said...

It seems to me that the JAMS option does outline the boundary changes that are coming for 2014-15. Sac, JR and OH will feed to JAMS and OV will feed to WilPac (John Marshall). If we go with the "no changes" option then all the Sac, JR, OH and OV kids who go to Eckstein for 6th grade in 2013 will have to change schools for 7th grade. So the "no change" option may have 0 mandatory reassigns for 2013 but it will have lots of reassigns for 2014.

- RB1986

Anonymous said...

I hope the district just holds off a year. Then, I hope the district draws Northeast middle school draw areas along a north/south not east/west line. A more thorough mix of ethnicities and economic resources in both JA and Eckstein would be optimal and can be handled during a boundary redraw. I would hope to see Sand Point and Laurelhurst and View Ridge families to take a view beyond their own child's to see how this could benefit everyone in transit planning, capacity planning and learning opportunities.

Tired of both the Fight and the Self-Absorption

Eric B said...

@PO3 & Zella, Middle and high school boundaries don't really track each other in the NSAP, except in West Seattle which is a bit of a special case. Right now, you have some Whitman Middle School kids that go to Ingraham and some that go to Ballard. So moving middle school boundaries doesn't necessarily impact high school boundaries.

That said, my own personal crystal ball says that Lincoln takes most of Queen Anne/Magnolia/Downtown to take pressure off of Ballard and Garfield (and a little off Roosevelt from the immediate area around the school). Ballard's zone shifts north and possibly east to take pressure off Ingraham and maybe some of Roosevelt. Roosevelt may need to expand south of the ship canal to take pressure off Garfield.

Again, this is all my speculation, I have no inside knowledge. Right now, middle and elementary levels are so consuming that I doubt that there is inside knowledge on high schools to be had.

suep. said...

Great letter from Sanislo Elem to Supt Banda in support of Garfield MAP opposition. (Thanks for the tip ws.)

While Sanislo staff is not joining the boycott, they have written a solid letter of support to Supt Banda that clearly explains that the test is detrimental to students and teachers, and why it is irrational and unfair to base teacher evaluations on an invalid test. They even use the term Kafkaesque! Excellent.



Anonymous said...

RB1986, the boundary redraws coming in 2014-15 will be much broader than you describe. Obviously the new elem at TC will impact the boundaries as well. That's why it needs to be communicated before the end of this school year. It will be a major readjustment.
Nep

Anonymous said...

It seems that the issue of whether future JAMS students will be grandfathered at Eckstein after next year is a massively important point in the "no change" option.

BW

Anonymous said...

If they actually do build a new elementary at Thorton Creek, it will have HUGE implications with boundaries given they will affect View Ridge and Wedgwood kids and possibly feed to the new Middle School. If this happens, I believe this will be a way to get a more balanced demographic, but one can only speculate where the lines would be.

NE Mom of 3

Anonymous said...

But the new elementary school at TC is not scheduled to be ready until 2016-17 and even that seems like a stretch

- RB1986

Zella917 said...

Thanks for looking in your crystal ball Eric B; your explanations make a lot of sense!

Anonymous said...

From a West Seattle perspective I'll chime in to say I agree with ws's comment that lack of comments regarding WS capacity planning doesn't necessarily indicate whether or not West Seattleites believe the District's proposals are reasonable. Most of the people who post on this site do seem to be from the North however and I think that does sway topics in that direction. This isn't meant to be a criticism by any means. I can think of a couple people who are regular posters on this blog that always have interesting and knowledgeable things to say on WS topics of interest and I always enjoy reading their insights. Also I think since we have the West Seattle Blog as our invaluable community resource that we tend to hash out our ideas and opinions on education (and everything else!) there. I know Save Seattle Schools and WSB have both referred readers to each other's website for information and discussion and that is helpful.
-Local

Anonymous said...

Yes, but don't all the scenarios have the TC elem rolling up at an interim site (Lincoln I believe) beginning 2014-2015?

BW

Eric B said...

Virtually all of the elementary boundaries are going to be thrown in the blender. You have several new schools opening (Wilson-Pacific, Thornton Creek, Fairmount Park, etc.), several remodels that increase space (Loyal Heights, Olympic Hills?, Wing Luke, Arbor Heights). If I'm not mistaken, every BEX project will have substantial capacity implications. This isn't going to be an exercise of moving boundaries a few blocks around a few schools. This is going to be wholesale shifts around nearly every BEX project.

I'm sure staff will try to maintain existing boundaries as much as possible, but I don't see it being possible, especially near project sites.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I agree with Eric - massive change is coming in boundaries except perhaps in the SE.

As I always say, things ripple out in this district and believing that BEX or boundaries won't affect you would be wrong thinking. Maybe not every school but I suspect that it may wake some people up when maps come out.

Anonymous said...

Yes, things to do ripple out. Just ask anyone that lives just a few blocks from Ballard High School but go to Ingraham.

This redraw process will more challenging than the last. The district is going to go from 9 middle schools to 12 middle schools. So that means major feeder pattern changes for the entire North and Central areas.

Plus the West Seattle boundaries were crazy to begin with so maybe a full re-draw might make things a little bit more sane but who knows.

If this is coming, there needs to be a timeline.

- old school rodeo

Melissa Westbrook said...

I have a timeline in mind (laid out with the help of some of those resident experts I referenced).

NE member said...

to PO3

Who would want to send their kids to McClure? The Principal there has made a very hostile environment

Parent from McClure