Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Preliminary Boundary Presentation

From Superintendent Banda (I haven't reviewed the presentation yet myself):
To meet the needs of our growing enrollment, Seattle Public Schools is considering boundary changes for the 2014-15 school year. We will not change any boundaries or assignments for the upcoming 2013-14 school year. 
In anticipation of these changes, we are having conversations about our current schools and programs with our stakeholders. On Wednesday, district staff will present several options to the School Board for early consideration, including for Hamilton International Middle School. We recommend increasing the number of highly capable (APP) elementary and middle school pathways, with guaranteed assignment, to increase access and bring services closer to where students live. If approved, this means APP services will be offered at additional sites – beyond Hamilton and Washington Middle School. 
Again, these are all preliminary conversations. We will host five community meetings this fall to consider boundary changes and get feedback from families, staff and community members. There will be plenty of time for review and community reaction. 
You can view the district’s initial presentation to the board here. This initial review of program placement will be presented from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Wednesday, May 29 at the John Stanford Center for Educational Excellence. This will be a committee discussion. There is no public testimony at this meeting and no votes will be taken. 
Our goal at Seattle Public Schools is to ensure equity, access and opportunities for all students. We are planning for the future of our district, and any changes moving forward starting in the 2014-15 school year will help meet this goal. We also want to maximize walkability and minimize disruptions by aligning new boundaries with current attendance area boundaries, when feasible. The School Board will ultimately vote on the school assignment boundary changes on November 20, 2013. 
If you would like to give feedback on these early recommendations, please send an email togrowthboundaries@seattleschools.org 
We look forward to working with each of our school communities to make sure any changes are rolled out smoothly and to ensure we have a thoughtful, strategic and equitable plan for schools, programs and services.

67 comments:

K5 STEM Parent said...

I suspect families throughout the district received various versions of this. Families at K-5 STEM Elementary School received the same email, but with the following specific to our school:

In anticipation of these changes, we are having conversations about our current schools and programs with our stakeholders. On Wednesday, district staff will present several options to the School Board for early consideration, including moving K-5 STEM at Boren to the current Schmitz Park building in 2016-17 after Schmitz Park Elementary moves to its new building at Genesee Hill. Fairmount Park would become an attendance area elementary school opening in 2014-15, and K-5 STEM at Boren would continue as an option program.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I think you are right.

Boy, is this thing a tough slog (but it does say draft).

So JSIS and McDonald become Option schools?

More Spectrum?

And those maps? My eyes.

Anonymous said...

Congratulotions, Wallingford! Your attendance area school for 2014-15 is B.F. Day!

Yes! I love it!

--Fremont Dad

Anonymous said...

Re Fremont Dad: BF Day is a great school, with a growing Spectrum program. ... and a GROWING community. Even without it becoming the neighborhood school for a big chunk of that area, as apparently proposed by this draft, it would be waaaay over capacity, north of 500 kids, within the next 2 - 3 years. So while I agree in theory that language immersion should be an option program, I have no earthly idea where the neighborhood kids will go if they aren't guaranteed seats at JSIS/McD b/c those schools' enrollment changes to a capped option school. Cause they aren't going to fit in BFDay real soon. (And I hear only good things about it lately - great new principal, by the way).

Sign me: Watch the Numbers, then Scratch your Head

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Right on! Blame the sped kids for the problems at BFDay! No other kid bites, cuts, or screams. Awesome.

-reader

Jon said...

The presentation is a tough slog. Very poorly done, like so many of these, designed to confuse rather than enhance discussion. In no way does this briefly and concisely explain the most important issues in capacity nor offer a short list of well-thought out options that directly address those capacity issues. It amazes me the district staff gets away with putting things like this in front of the Board.

Anonymous said...

We do have Wilson Pacific in the planning. I suspect this won't be the last zonal change once W-P is ready to open along with other schools.

Hopeful

Anonymous said...
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mirmac1 said...

Okay, I'm confused. i thought STEM was a curricular foci, not a program, not a school. The presentation now refers to it as a program....?

Anonymous said...

Seems to me that the district should make sure there's enough capacity in the north end before also making big changes like conversion of international schools. Otherwise it just seems like more shuffling of kids--at greater cost, and with more uncertainty. Is there really room for BF Day and Greenlake to absorb all those McD and JSIS area kids? Probably not, unless boundaries are severly adjusted on the other sides as well. Has the district looked into how many of those currently in the int'l school zones will instead choose the APP route? Many qualifying kidS in these areas stay "neighborhood" now for the immersion.

MEM

Anonymous said...

And wasn't immersion a curricular focus too?

Anonymous said...

APP is now being called a "service," while Spectrum and ALO are being called "programs." Can someone please tell me the implications of these names? Does the Board's authority vary depending on whether it's a program or service? Do the names change to suit the District's latest plans?

name confusion

speculating said...

John Marshall is undergoing improvements, and I would guess that it will be an interim location for someone until Wilson Pacific is complete.

Anonymous said...

Besides mentions of Option, APP or World Language feeders (i.e. Garfield, Ingraham), there's no mention of high school boundaries in this plan. I know it is a draft, but the omission of high school boundaries strikes me as odd. It seems to me with the growth at many north end high schools (including Ingraham), this would be under scrutiny?

Moose

kellie said...

The change for John Stanford and McDonald from assignment to option status is mostly because of the simple fact that language immersion is not manageable as an assignment program.

Enrollment for elementary schools are measured by the Birth to K ratio. This is the ratio of the number of babies born in an area to the number of students who enroll in Kindergarten. This does not measure the same individuals, just a generic ratio and this ratio is used to plan enrollment.

District wide the birth to K is about 73%, so about 73% of the number of babies born in Seattle will enroll in public school 5 years later. This ratio is over 100% in the JSIS area. In other words, people move to attend language immersion. (I know, shocking news, but this is the empirical measure of that process)

So while it is wonderful for the families that move to gain access to language immersion. And is also truly lovely to have both a neighborhood feel and special programming that works for your family. This process creates an unmanageable assignment problem, because you can't add new buildings as fast as people will move to gain access to this type of program.

This assignment change is designed to fix the in-migration issue and that issue alone. It won't be a capacity fix, precisely, but it will stop that language immersion demand acceleration, so that hopefully, the growth rate in Wallingford will begin to resemble the growth rate (also high) at the adjacent schools.

However it is not a true fix, because the only true way to solve a lack of capacity problem is too ... add capacity. BEX simply does not add enough capacity. The addition at Greenlake will add some seats, but Bryant the next school over is probably the most over-crowded school in the State of Washington.

ben said...

On the bright side, the staff this time around have started planning with adequate amounts of time.
On the other hand, it seems to me with respect to Wallingford the district is trying to have its cake and eat it too. They want the freedom to shunt overflow population to other schools since the immersion schools are so popular. Yet the plan doesn't provide adequate neighborhood school capacity so it in effect relies on continuing to accept most of the neighborhood into the buildings. The immersion programs can't truly operate as district wide option schools and Wallingford in effect becomes an island of uncertainty within the School Assignment Plan. There isn't any new elementary capacity to add to the area which would be the only true solution to half of the problem. I'm surprised they didn't consider moving one of the language programs to another building and converting it back to a regular gen-ed program. That would be disruptive to all the existing students but this plan doesn't seem to guarantee much long term stability.

Anonymous said...

@ Jon - You stated: Jon said...
The presentation is a tough slog. Very poorly done, like so many of these, designed to confuse rather than enhance discussion.


I don't believe it was intentionally designed to confuse, but instead just designed poorly. The design of communication that integrates graphics, tables and written is rarely taught to college students who end up in administration, etc. It is a communication design function that is not even taught much in official communication courses, hence the bulk of most communication is badly designed and ends up confusing at best. Sad but true.

SolvayGirl

Eric B said...

@Anonymous 7:34, my understanding of the process is that the boundary changes approved in late 2013 will be phased in over time as new schools come online. So high school boundaries around Lincoln would be largely set now, even though the change wouldn't take effect until the school opens late in the BEX IV process.

Anonymous said...

JSIS and McDonald should have been Option schools from the outset. That there will now be pain to fix the enrollment pattern - with the goal of making those programs thriving and sustainable for the long term - is unfortunate but unavoidable. Thank the last two boards and the district leadership of the last decade for kicking the can down the road to this point.

At least the district is finally tackling one of the biggest enrollment problems in the north end. People will be up in arms, but this fix is long, long overdue.

DistrictWatcher

kellie said...

When the last set of boundaries were rolled out, there were number of "staged implementations" for the 5 buildings that were planned to be opened with BTA III funds, over three years. It is reasonable to expect that boundaries will be drawn for all or most of the new BEX IV capacity, with similar staged implementations, over a few years.

Here are two examples from last time.

Viewlands was opened with assignment boundaries and families in the Viewlands area were assigned to Broadview Thompson, with an option to either remain at BT or move to Viewlands when Viewlands was scheduled to open in two years. So families were temporarily assigned to an already existing school, because there was still some capacity in the area.

McDonald was the opposite, as there was no capacity in the area. McDonald was started at Lincoln for two years. So the new school started from scratch in an interim location and then moved to its permanent home two years later.

North end middle school is likely to see both of these styles, as there won't be true new capacity until 2016 or 2017 when the Jane Addams E-stem program moves to its new home and Wilson Pacific opens. For the 2014, 2015 and 2016 school years, there could be a wide variety of staged implementations. Schools could be temporarily assigned to currently over-crowded middle schools AND most likely the Wilson Pacific middle school will be started in an interim location.

kellie said...

@ Moose / Eric B,

The high school omission is more an admission that there is nothing that can be done. That should be the most distressing point in this puzzle.

There is no new high school capacity planned until 2019I have no clue how this system can hold until then. Roosevelt is scheduled to have 100 more students than Garfield next year. Per the districts choice report, there were ZERO choice seats at Nathan Hale, Ballard, Roosevelt, Seatlh, Garfield and Franklin. High School is full today and there is nothing but larger cohorts on the way.

The high school issue is further complicated by the issue that you need time and planning to make a comprehensive high school. While a homeroom based elementary school can be designed and opened in less than a year (Hello West Seattle STEM!), you can't do this will a high school with specialist teachers. Also since most of the high schools were recently rebuilt, I don't think any of them can handle an additional wing.

Opening Lincoln should be at the top of the list. However, it is simply not possible, because Lincoln is fully utilized as the emergency elementary overflow. I don't think it is a coincidence that the hot spots for APP enrollment coincide with the most over-crowded schools.

kellie said...

@ Solvay Girl.

I think the graphics are pretty good. Granted they are geared for the "inside baseball" crowd. There is a lot of presumed knowledge but that would be expected as part of board presentation.

In particular, I find the first map very helpful. As a district we are going from 9 middle schools to 12 middle schools. This is a huge shift and having the "as the crow flies" distance lines really helps me get a sense of where the boundary process will start and makes it clear that schools like Greenlake or Olympic View really could go anywhere.

I know you have a great eye for this type of thing and I would love to know what types of graphics would you like to see?

Anonymous said...

So much for providing equal access to advanced learning for kids in Central Seattle. The district's first proposal (page 20) is to leave only 212 APP kids at Washington Middle School. That would kill the program there.

I understand that they need to make a stable home for north-end APP, hence the capacity focus on the program. But with the re-opening of Meany as a middle school, WMS overcrowding is ameliorated. Capacity at Thurgood Marshall is fine and stabilizing; TM added only one classroom in 2013-14.

Further splitting up the south-end program creates more problems than it solves.

Anonymous said...

Sorry if this was posted before, which elementary schools will feed the new Jane Adams middle school?

Is it John Rogers, Sacajawea, Olympic Hills? Or is Wedgwood part of it now?

-SPSAlum

mirmac1 said...

reposting for

"Anonymous said...
And wasn't immersion a curricular focus too?"

yes, thanks Anonymous. Focus is correct. I am unclear on the distinction between curricular focus and program, except for what Charlie has noted.

Anonymous said...

I agree that McD and JSIS should have been option schools from the outset, but to truly fix the "equitable access" issue the district needs to move one of those international programs to another location and convert the building back to a neighborhood school like Ben suggested. That would provide easier access to immersion for folks in other areas of the north end, and would not strip the Wallingford area of a walkable neighborhood school. There would obviously be some pain in such a transition, but it could solve both the equitable access problem AND the walkability and transportation problems--instead of just swapping one for the others like the new plan does. The district made this mess by opening two international schools right next to each other, so they should fix it the right way.

MEM

Anonymous said...

@ kellie,

If the option schools change fixes the in-migration issue--and effectively places an enrollment cap on such "programs"-- does that mean even greater capacity crunch for surrounding schools? It seems like it could actually takes some of the existing capacity offline.

Also, can you tell me where to kind those birth to K enrollment data? I'd be curious to see how things look for other schools. I suspect that international programs aren't the only draw, and that many people factor the quality of their neighborhood schools into their renting/purchasing decisions elsewhere as well.

MEM

Anonymous said...

I'm glad they are finally making the language immersion schools option schools.

Jane

Robyn said...

What I don't understand is the need to keep the NSAP. Guaranteeing 100% access to a school for all kids in the boundary is a bad idea. You should have some general idea of the schools you could go to as well as some choice. You could put your top three choices on the enrollment form with the guarantee of being in A school in your middle school reference area. That way, schools aren't left juggling enrollment forced on them by the district. Do away with MGJ's NSAP and all the sudden capacity issues can be managed! Then, APP, SpecEd, ELL, etc. etc. won't need to be constantly shuffled. A guaranteed school is lovely, but stupid. Also, charge a small amount for transportation (not to FRL, SpecEd, etc.) but I bet lots of people will drive their kids or pay!

ben said...

@Robyn.

The problems we're seeing are being exacerbated by rising capacity. No school assignment plan is going to work well when you're running at or beyond the red line. A regional wide choice would be hamstrung by the lack of seats and the need to guarantee places within the region just about as much as the current system - there would only be different pain points (And more easily movable programs will also be looked at first in times of crisis) . To paraphrase Kellie the only way to truly solve this issue to to build new seats.

Ben

Robyn said...

@ Ben,

Anytime SPS "guarantees" a seat, problems arise. We live in NW Seattle. My kid has only 22 kids in his K class since the school had to add a 3rd class last minute due to "guaranteed" access to the school. Now, the school three blocks away has 28 & 29 kids in their K classes. This year for K is great for us, but maybe not for those in the huge classes. However, next year, the other kids might luck-out compared to us since we are facing huge classes and a split grade.

Wouldn't it be better if the District could manage that a little better simply by removing the guarantee? The capacity issues are there no matter what so better to remove any/all guarantees.

Tired said...

I'm not sure what equity means in this document or what it has to do with capacity. Does anyone understand what equity means and why it is all over a plan to fix capacity problems?

I would think that what parents want is to have the opportunity to go to a nearby school and try to get into alternative schools (like TOPS K-8) that serve broader regions. Most schools should have Spectrum available (which is not available currently) and some schools should have special education. Is that what is meant by equity? Or is something else meant?

Anonymous said...

I don't think a school should be billed as offering ALO unless it truly does. Otherwise it's misleading to parents who want that for their child.

Our k-5 is considered an ALO school by the district, but does not have a single ALO effort in place. Not even lip service. Nothing.

The district should not tell a school it's an ALO school. They should assess the school's programs, and give it an ALO label if it provides advanced learning opportunities.

Otherwise it's just a joke.

Not laughing

apparent said...

There's something that doesn't add up here. In the board presentation, the plan proposes increasing local access to APP services by adding new locations while *still* guaranteeing self-contained classrooms as they are now. From reading the draft maps, commenters suggest maybe two elementary APP locations south of the ship canal and another two or three elementary locations north of the ship canal.

What doesn't add up with this staff decentralization proposal is that if the self-contained pipeline will really be continued through elementary school, there can NEVER be more elementary APP locations than there are *1st grade* APP classrooms. In contrast to the current five 5th grade homerooms, because so many of those students arrive in the higher grades, typically there are only two 1st grade homerooms at APPatLincoln. This would thus cap the potential northend elementary APP cohorts at that very number -- UNLESS the unstated premise is that elementary APP students will in future be forced to switch schools over and over again in midstream so as to attend self-contained classrooms at higher grades in schools ever closer to their homes? Maybe in the very schools that they already left to attend APP? Or maybe in yet another service area school after already leaving the neighborhood school for APP in the early grades?

In other words, isn't it irrelevant that you could perhaps choose five or six self-contained locations for north-end 5th grade APP classrooms based on current numbers, unless the staff plan is to make APP elementary students hop back and forth from school to school as they go up each grade at a time, without ever staying in the same place from year to year?

That would not sound like a stable elementary educational experience for any APP student. What is really being proposed here?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Apparent, good comments, great question.

I believe the answer is that all will be revealed...someday. AL is being revamped, without input or information, and will someday be clearly explained (likely as a fait accompli).

Anonymous said...

Re: B.F. Day capacity, @MEM & @Watch the Numbers, etc.

My recollection from the tours they gave incoming parents at B.F. Day was that Katie Pearl said that her capacity was about 550, and that she expected to be at that number within three years. I was very surprised when the enrollment projections came out this year with a tentative net increase of something like two students.

From what I could tell, a lot of things at B.F. Day could be fixed with a higher enrollment, and I'm looking forward to that school's attendance going back up. So yes, I really do love it.

And if you think overcrowding is bad now, historylink.org says that B.F. Day had more than 900 students in the mid 1920's.

--Fremont Dad

Anonymous said...

Apparent-

You put into words the vague thoughts that I have been having about this whole thing.

The cohorts are likely to be awfully small at some of the locations, and I think the words "self-contained" will quietly disappear for APP classes. APP will be treated like Spectrum has lately and classes will be filled with school-chosen kids.

As a veteran of the last two splits, I don't have hope that the district will make this work, or that they even care to. APP currently has no curriculum and no requirement that teachers work together to ensure consistency around the district. The district has not said what it would like Advanced Learning to be in the district and principals have been allowed to make it up.

-fool me once

Anonymous said...

Lots of good questions. We might be looking at more self contained mixed grades. This plan looks like a starting point and the district has a year to sort through plus all the tweaking after with the BEX works in the pipeline. I don't expect stability anytime soon. Other districts are facing similar boundary adjustments with growing pains and lots of unhappy parents. Fool me once, I think the splits did work. It was rough, but we have more kids in APP than ever!

I like the plan to make language immersion schools option school.

Hopeful

Anonymous said...

"Success" of the splits should be based on academic outcomes, not on enrollment numbers. If anything, the explosion of APP is a failure to provide meaningful neighborhood based, Spectrum level services.

parent

Anonymous said...

SPS Alum asked: which elementary schools will feed the new Jane Adams middle school? Is it John Rogers, Sacajawea, Olympic Hills? Or is Wedgwood part of it now?

As far as I can tell we won't see the boundaries or feeder patterns until Sep/Oct timeframe. The south part of the current Wedgwood boundary could walk to Eckstein and the north part could walk to Jane Addams so who knows. Maybe they would even re-draw the Wedgwood boundary.
- another sps alum

Anonymous said...

APP is accessible to anyone that qualifies, and transportation is provided. How is access going to change with the new boundaries? I simply don't understand how creating more sites changes what is already guaranteed access to those that qualify...unless the entry criteria and program structure are changing as well?

k5parent

Anonymous said...

Hopeful-

We don't share the same definition of "success." I think the growth of APP is a sign of problems around the district, not that the splits worked. I think that if Spectrum were kept as a real program and if many schools weren't filled to bursting, many kids could successfully stay at neighborhood schools

I also don't know how you define "success," but there have been many posts here about the quality of the program at various sites around the district. The fact that the promised APP curriculum has never materialized has been a huge problem. For me personally, I am far less happy with the program at middle school than I was at the elementary level.

-fool me once

Anonymous said...

Has there been some indications APP students are not performing post split? Agree that spectrum demise in some schools contributed to growth, but I'm not sure that was the only reason. Student population grew, APP admission criteria changed, and the program (service) is more well known now than ever and I believe all these reasons contribute to growth. I don't think the Superintendent is doing all this work to get rid of APP. More curious to me is where are spectrum designations on the map? I see ALO on the 2013 map. Is the district keeping spectrum or not?
Hopeful

Anonymous said...

good point K5parent.
Why is this process so opaque? I think Melissa is correct and they will unveil their plan once the deal is done and it is too late to change, and probably when they think the least people are paying attention.

Also agree with 'parent' - growth is not success, growth measures popularity or perhaps disatisfaction with/failure of the alternative.
Has the district ever studied actual outcomes of APP? If not they should - how can they make decisions about changes or keeping status quo or introducing at more sites if they don't know how currently working/ what the strengths or weaknesses of the current program are.
This seems to be a fundamental weakness of SPS - everything they do seems to be a stab in the dark, something done a haste to fix the latest crisis (often the result of the last thing they implemented in haste!).

One thing that complicates it is that a lot of data seems to be generated (it doesn't have to be done this way though!) school wide so APP is bunched in with gen ed as far as stats for each site go. They have effectively hidden the actual performance of each of the populations served at the co-housed sites. I am not even sure if Lincoln APP data is even being collated separately from Lowell even 2 years after the move (does anyone know?)

Sniffy

Anonymous said...

@Kellie--what addition at Green Lake are you referring to? The only planned Green Lake change I've grokked is the new lunchroom through BEX IV.
-Future SPS Parent

Helen said...

Please leave Wallingford's two elementary schools as neighborhood schools. JSIS is a great neighborhood school. The kids all walk to each other's homes and most walk to school. Where are they all going to go? This seems like an extremely unfair plan to new families moving into the whole Wallingford area as the sibling preference will keep most of them out of these schools for the next several years. Anyhow, turning them into option schools seems like a return to Seattle's failed system of busing. Neighborhood schools were a step in the right direction.

Louise said...

Helen, having the language immersion schools as neighborhood schools is extremely unfair to the entire rest of the school district. They should've been option schools from day 1. Yes it will be painful for Wallingford, but the needs of the many have to outweigh the needs of the few here.

Lori said...

Isn't there a geographic preference for option schools? Am I wrong in thinking that many Wallingford families would still get into JSIS and McDonald due to geographic assignment rules? Isn't that how at works at, say, Thornton Creek? I vaguely recall people complaining that you basically have to live right nearby the school to get a seat there.

Please correct me on how this works so I understand what converting JSIS and McDonald would mean to kids who live close enough to walk there.

Anonymous said...

Similar to Lori, isn't there also a sibling preference for Option schools so all current families would get their younger kids in, regardless of whether currently in boundary or out of boundary?
That's particularly important for families who are in now, wondering what Option status will do to the younger sibs.
Wondering

Anonymous said...

Similar to Lori, isn't there also a sibling preference for Option schools so all current families would get their younger kids in, regardless of whether currently in boundary or out of boundary?
That's particularly important for families who are in now, wondering what Option status will do to the younger sibs.
Wondering

robyn said...

Maybe they will move the immersion program/focus, whatever it is and leave the school building as a neighborhood school.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm...I did not read the maps to mean that elementary APP would be in more than 1 location, just that the Middle school track would lead to smaller cohorts across multiple middle schools. I understand that with the changing of classes in Middle School, that just having the right classes can make sense for APP kids, and so I think that his plan would be OK. I do think that APP elementary needs to remain self-contained, since it is a homeroom-based approach.

Looking at the possibilities

Anonymous said...

@SPS Alum,

A JAMS update letter from SPS went out a few weeks ago to families at John Rogers, Sacajawea, Olympic Hills, and Olympic View. The letter stated that students will be assigned to JAMS beginning 2014-15.

So, from the addressees on the letter from SPS, it looks like Olympic View will feed into JAMS.

-North-End Mom

Anonymous said...

It would make a lot of sense to move an option immersion program to Madrona K-8 and let JSIS remain a neighborhood school. Madrona K-8 is desperate for an influx of more students and JSIS is filled with neighborhood kids. The central district does not have an immersion program and this would scatter immersion more equitably around the district and help with N/NE overcrowding. How could the N/NE possibly accommodate an option program and eliminate a neighborhood school with this one change at JSIS, given the severe overcrowding that area of the city faces? It doesn't make any sense.

Madrona neighbor

Anonymous said...

how does this help overenrollment at Hamilton? It looks to me like it splits Whitman & Eckstein enrollment areas into thirds, reducing overenrollment in these clusters, but Hamilton is untouched. APP puts some pressure on Hamilton, but if you look at the "where students live" map. you can see that's not the whole story.

- class of 21

Anonymous said...

Great idea. Relocate one of the north end immersion programs to a school that needs to draw more kids. Current immersion kids can stay in the program (with transportation), or stay in the neighborhood. By rolling it out slowly, those very far along in the immersion track can probably finish up at their current school.

MEM

Zella917 said...

That surprises me that Olympic View will be going to JAMS. I really thought it would funnel into the new Wilson Pacific middle school instead since it is physically quite close to that site.
So now I'm wondering which elementaries will be going to Wilson Pacific. I'm thinking Bagley and Greenwood for sure, probably Greenlake, and . . . I'd love to hear what other are thinking, even though I know it's all just speculation at this point. And when do we think it will start rolling up for W-P? I've got a current 2nd grader at Bagley, so I'm interested.

Anonymous said...

But if Greenlake goes to Wilson-Pacific, then so much for using Greenlake to offset the lost capacity in Wallingford if McD and JSIS become option schools. Most of those kids reside in the Hamilton area...

MEM

Zella917 said...

Just speculating, maybe I'm wrong about Greenlake. But Hamilton is so crowded that even if they move out most of APP, I think they will still need to shift other boundaries to continue to accommodate their neighborhood students.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I would concur with moving one of the Wallingford foreign language programs. The district should admit its mistake.

Northgate would be a great location to relocate one (probably McDonald since it is the youngest).

BUT McDonald should get some kind of bone thrown to it for all that they have put up with during these years.

Anonymous said...

McDonald would need a very large bone if this is being considered. The school just opened three school years ago. Within that first year of existence the District decided it would not be a traditional school but an immersion model. If they reverse that decision now, just two years later, many heads should roll. The school has been through so much to hire the teachers (native language speakers included), build collegial relationships, build the parent community and make that model work.

Most readers and District staff have no idea how hard it is to start a school from scratch. All the new schools deserve a lot more support than they're receiving.
Waiting.

syd said...

OMG - look at that crazy line between Aki and Mercer. No, no, no - they can't solve Aki's problems by moving the boundaries. Look how large Aki's area is. "Discussion purposes only" my a**.

Anonymous said...

My kids go to JSIS, but I actually love the idea of moving the international school to an under-enrolled school and let JSIS turn back into Latona Elementary. I think Greenlake Elementary actually makes sense over Madrona because of the pathway to Hamilton, but with the tremendous demand for immersion, perhaps Madrona could host an immersion program too. Leaving the large area that McIS and JSIS serve without a neighborhood school is simply bad planning.

Anne

Tami said...

Escuela Latona - the school that JSIS replaced *was* an alternative/option school. I believe the original placement for JSIS was supposed to be the Central District, but when Olschefske came on board (after John Stanford's death) the idea was to attract students to a school that was not enrolling neighborhood students. The switch to a neighborhood school from alternative/option school came in the negotiations to replace the Escuela Latona program with the International Language Immersion program.

The district has not supported the international program/language immersion program in middle school and high school. Officially, it’s always been about budget. I always thought it should have been an option, not a neighborhood school - but if that changes - I don't know how that won't kill the barely existing immersion language program at Hamilton. Ingraham is the next International High School, and I've heard from Karen Kodama that the faculty at IHS have completed overlaying their curriculum with the international perspective. However, the language component, which is what most people most strongly associate with the international program, is not as strong as it should be in Middle School and doesn’t exist in High School. Part of that is down to the low numbers enrolled - and the low numbers have to do with the program not being big enough or strong enough to be a critical factor in choosing a middle school and high school.

I think this is representative of what I see is SPS's main problem: SPS hasn't figured out how to deliver strong general education to every school, that’s why parents start looking for special programs. SPS starts programs to attract students to schools with low enrollment, but doesn't see past the start-up. Lots of SPS programs are successful: immersion/international, APP, Spectrum, Montessori, etc. But SPS didn’t plan for what happened after the initial success.

JSIS started with grants - but no grant giving organization wants to pay salaries. They like to support equipment purchases, software, or hardware. Thus, JSIS started the annual direct appeal, mostly to fund IA salaries. (2013 goal is $450k, and they raised almost $400k!) The schools are supposed to be come "self-sustaining." I don't think that "self-sustaining" should mean constant fundraising by parents. Schools aren’t businesses – SPS’s plan increased demand, but it’s clear that increasing supply to meet demand is a different problem. Maybe McCleary will solve it – but I’m not holding my breath.

Anonymous said...

Some history on MacDonald School. The district needed to reopen a school to help population issues in this area. The community (or future school PTA) got together to discuses what type of school they want. This community voted to have Immersion. Any school out there can become immersion they just need to put pressure on the system to make it happen, no reason half of the schools cannot be immersion. History does not hold the district opened another immersion school more correct. The district opened a neighborhood school and that neighborhood wanted immersion. (after much debate and voting)

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