Thursday, September 26, 2013

Open Thread for West Seattle Boundary Meeting/Pinehurst Meeting

If you attended either of these meetings and have comments or thoughts, here's a place for them.

Early Tweets from the West Seattle Blog indicate
  •  a much lower turnout than the other two meetings (about 60ish), 
  • West Seattle's topography was ignored/not understood in these suggested boundaries, 
  • people unhappy to have bought a house for School X and now getting School Y.   
I'm sure the WS Blog will have a wrap-up thread so I'll link that when it is available. 

Also, if you do the "Walk the Boundaries", let us know your comments.

55 comments:

ws said...

i was not able to attend, but it very obvious that they did not take into account the topography when making these boundaries and increasing some of the areas when the scools are alreay over the limit makes no sense whats so ever.

ws said...

also, i know someone asked, is there a map that has old and new boundaries or at least one map that has the proposal for the whole cit on it?

Anonymous said...

Way, way more than 60 attended. Many arrived a few minutes late and didn't sign in on the sign-in sheet. I'd estimate well over 100 in attendance. Maybe 125.

And yes, the district needs a topo map, and to get out and walk or drive the neighborhoods. The boundary lines are patently ridiculous given the topography of WS.

WSDWG

Junction Mom said...

There were 100-120 by the middle of the meeting. Most of the comments were about areas where topography was not considered. A moving testimony from a resident of High Point, requesting that High Point not be divided (down Morgan/Sylvan) between Fairmount Park and WS Elem, which also means division between Denny and Madison. There were questions at the tables about APP but mostly about implementation and transportation. Also requests around both types of grandfathering.

Junction mom said...

WS - if you go to the board handout from last week at http://seattleschools.org/modules/groups/homepagefiles/cms/1583136/File/Departmental%20Content/enrollment%20planning/Sept%2017%20meeting/GrowthBoundaries_Handout_Sept19.pdf?sessionid=c88e382c9281c771605b4261eb95e9ee
page 28 has an overview.

Anonymous said...

The most disturbing aspect of the boundary discussion in West Seattle is that the district is again forecasting ridiculously low #'s for Madison Middle, which don't jibe at all with the #'s coming out of the feeder elementary schools. Not. Even. Close.

Madison folks: Get on it, or you've got a HIMS scenario headed your way and it will not be pretty.

To all qualified or potentially qualified APP WS families, FYI: The bus ride to TM and Washington is nothing. The kids love it and you won't hear a single complaint. It's a social time for them. I didn't believe it at first either, but the distance to TM and Washington MS (you know they're right across the street from each other, right?) is only a few miles from WS and takes 15 mins or less by car in normal traffic.

The APP at FP proposal is a disaster waiting to happen. See what's happening at HIMS right now - and they have options and choices WS families absolutely won't have! There won't be room at Madison for APP kids because it will be full and bursting with neighborhood kids.

Conversely, there are not enough APP kids in WS to have a viable, robust APP program over here. One class per grade is not enough, and self-containment? Good luck! How long before your 18 kid classrooms are called "entitled, privileged, selfish, insular, etc." Nightmare on the horizon.

The district's forecasts are just plain wrong. Madison had at least 50 surprise guests on opening day this year, and expect similar scenarios in the future.

Meg, Meg, Meg!! Where are you?

WSDWG

Anonymous said...

Again, to my WS neighbors: Be careful what you wish for. The boundary lines are absurd, and brought to you by the same folks who "don't get West Seattle." Until they do, be very, very wary of program placements like APP at Fairmont Park. I guarantee you they have not thought far enough down the road, and as we all know and see every day, West Seattle is growing like a weed! Be wary, very, very wary.

WSDWG

Anonymous said...

Relax WSDWG.

Stop trying to deny attractive programs in WS. What is it about the sanctity of segregating the 12% oops 2% that makes people so bent?

Honestly!

Anonymous said...

I support APP in West Seattle for families that don't want to go to TM/Washington. If the bus ride and programs work for your family, that's great. But a local option for APP in West Seattle can still be meaningful and desirable for others of us.

-Want It

Po3 said...

I think that at some point APP will be "right-sized" in all of its buildings. But I think it needs to be in one or two additional sites. WS makes sense.

Anonymous said...

WSDWG is spot on.

I would add that the High Point community doesn't just want to stay together - they also want to be assigned to Denny and Chief Sealth.

Shauna Heath said after the meeting that the district had wanted to place K-5 STEM at Schmitz Park in order to begin a pathway to Madison and WSHS. The STEM families like to complain that the North End already had good elementary schools. They should be reminded that the South End had language immersion and an IB program. Improved math and science in the North End would allow for some movement between the two areas - and more kids needs would be met.

Ms. Heath thinks that APP at Fairmount Park and Madison will lead to a more rigorous program at West Seattle High School and that will help balance the North-South high school enrollment.

Lynn

Anonymous said...

Want it - does your child need the social support that APP provides? Mine does - and 15 students at his grade level isn't going to cut it.

Lynn

Anonymous said...

Did McLaren attend? What did she have to say?

District Watcher

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

No one who doesn't live in West Seattle "gets" West Seattle except some folks who live in adjacent neighborhoods like South Park, Georgetown, or parts of Beacon Hill close to Jefferson Park. These folks spend a lot of time in West Seattle and participate in the West Seattle culture.

I wonder if anyone living north of downtown ever goes to West Seattle or would even remember to include the peninsula when drawing a map of Seattle.

West Seattle has a culture of its own. There is a cultural element to the appeal of locally provided APP services in West Seattle. It isn't necessarily logical.

Aside from the community's interest in creating a program, the District is also interested in drawing away some of the APP students from TM and Washington. The West Seattle version will not be self-contained. The District is very clear that there isn't enough enrollment to support the self-contained delivery model.

Anonymous said...

Honestly & Want It: Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it. I don't care to deny, but to inform and warn, when appropriate.

APP right down the street sounds great. The devil, as always, is in the details. TM & WMS = 30+ years of quality and experience available right now to WS families. APP North = veterans of that same history and look what's happening to them at HIMS and Lincoln. (Home still unknown).

We in West Seattle are fortunate to have principals Julie Breidenbach at Marshall and John Halfaker at WMS, without whom the programs would not be nearly as strong or good as they are.

Study what it will take to replicate those schools and see if it still makes sense.

One thing I would advocate for APP in WS oriented families to do is request that the option to attend WMS stays open if APP elementary lands at FP, as it looks like it will, for 2 key reasons: 1. Because WMS will have the room after Meany Middle reopens and will maintain a pathway to Garfield. 2. Because (mark my words) Madison will be stuffed to the gills and with Boren STEM going K-8, there will be no alternative sites for APP middle schoolers.

At a minimum, WS friends who really want APP at FP, keep your options open, or risk the fate of those at HIMS, only worse.

WSDWG

Charlie Mas said...

APP enrollment in the north end exploded when it was moved to Lincoln and Hamilton. There's a reason for that.

I used to work in Ballard when my kids went to Lowell and Washington. Do you know how to get from Ballard to the C.D.?

You don't. Seriously. I practically had to drive south to Beacon Hill and then drive north to the C.D. from there.

If we lived in Ballard, we might not have enrolled the kids in APP.

There are, undoubtedly, West Seattle families with APP-eligible children who are not participating in the program due to the travel challenges. It's no surprise that Lafayette has a strong Spectrum program.

Anonymous said...

Charlie,

I don't think that's what the West Seattle parents supporting this idea expect.

If APP isn't self-contained in elementary school - what do you think it looks like? Not arguing - just curious. Fairmount Park isn't K-5 STEM with their project based learning. Instead, it's going to be a neighborhood school with a largely ELL and FRL population.

Lynn

Anonymous said...

Well thanks Lynn. At least somebody sees that I'm not trying to kibosh dreams!

And with all due respect to Shauna Heath, the point being missed is "Where will all the students fit?" Schmitz Park and Lafayette are horrendously overcrowded (SP is at around 180% of it's capacity!) Do they think kids will evaporate into the ether?

WS folks: Until Cooper closed and Pathfinder moved, we didn't have many capacity issues to deal with. Then, all of the sudden Whomp-Whomp! Double-Whammy! Not only was the area growing faster than anyone projected, but Cooper's kids got shot-gunned all over West Seattle, instantly over-stuffing the schools. (Cooper was a victim in all of it, btw.)

And the growth continues at a rapid pace. Madison and Lafayette both have more kids than anticipated this year, yet again. I'm not sure about Schmitz Park, but that appears to be the case there too, based on what I'm hearing.

APP in WS needs assurances of quality and a secure environment. I don't see that happening at MS, and, as always happens, APP schools grow and mushroom, taking in lots of private school and test-in kids in grades 3-5, and does WS have lots of kids in private schools? Oh yes we do!

If we don't have the space, and the options built in place for pressure relief from overcrowding, big, big problems will lie ahead.

Plan B, folks. Plan B! If you really, really want a WS APP, buy your insurance now.

WSDWG

Anonymous said...

Charlie wrote: "The West Seattle version will not be self-contained. The District is very clear that there isn't enough enrollment to support the self-contained delivery model."

So the WS APP program will be cluster-grouped like they did with Spectrum kids at Wedgewood? (And which caused many Wedgewood families to bolt to APP - indicating some really don't like non self-contained Spectrum.)

That would be the first of its kind for APP, and absolutely not the TM model.

And how do you know this Charlie? Do tell.

And yes, Ballard to the CD is maybe the worst possible cross town commute in the world. Agreed.

WSDWG

Charlie Mas said...

I know that West Seattle APP will not be self-contained because the district has been very clear that there aren't enough students to support the self-contained delivery model.

What will it be?

An EXCELLENT question. It's a question that will be answered when the District convenes their task force to recommend service delivery models for advanced learning to the superintendent. That's when we'll find out the District's pre-determined outcome for the recommendations. I don't know what it will be, but I do know that it will NOT be self-contained. At least not exclusively.

WS mo2 said...

I don't see how WS APP could work if you make it optional. I cannot imagine enough families choosing that option to make it viable. If they want it to work I hate to say it but they need to make it mandatory like they did with TM. It will likely be painful for a year or two but with a large enough population it could work our just fine.

Charlie Mas said...

It won't be unprecedented.

Let's remember that APP at Garfield is not self-contained. APP at Washington and Hamilton are self-contained in the Language Arts/Social Studies block and - I think - in the science classes.

The District has a big interest in breaking the self-contained model. They first broke it in ALOs, then in Spectrum, and now they will break it in APP.

It has been a big mistake on their part to do the advanced learning work AFTER the growth boundary work. When MTSS is introduced Spectrum is going to go away, replaced by a sort of "ALO at Every School in Every Class" model.

With the implementation of MTSS, or, to be more precise, the PROMISE of the implementation of MTSS, APP is going to change as well. It is very likely to be smaller and more distributed - like a site in every middle school service area, at every middle school and at every high school. Let's remember that 12% of middle school students are in APP and the new student identification process - especially if it's driven by MTSS - might identify even more.

This is really too big of a topic to be contained within a thread about the West Seattle Growth Boundaries meeting. I'll start another thread.

Melissa Westbrook said...

WS, per my wrap-up of the Hale meeting, the request was made for a boundaries map with old and new. I do not believe this is currently available.

Charlie, I said that very thing about doing AL work AFTER boundary work at the Hale meeting.

But please, no more APP talk - you know how it revs the engine here.

Anonymous said...

Okay, MW, I'll leave the details of APP in WS alone. But the siting of it is directly germane to the boundary discussion, because they are drawing a very small boundary line around Fairmont Park, and managing to cut West Seattle Elementary's main High Point feeder neighborhood in half. Which honestly makes me wonder aloud: Did anyone walk or drive through any part of the High Point development? As obviously cohesive as it all is, how could anyone want to split that neighborhood community in half? Makes zero sense from any and every planning angle imaginable.

WSDWG

Anonymous said...

WS mo2,

TM is not a mandatory program. It's an option for families who feel their students need or would benefit from a self-contained APP classroom. Students are free to remain in their attendance area elementary or apply to an option school.
Do you have an elementary APP student?
Please do not advocate removing access to a self-contained program for other families.

Lynn

Anonymous said...

"West Seattle has a culture of its own. There is a cultural element to the appeal of locally provided APP services in West Seattle. It isn't necessarily logical."

Wow. I'm trying to decode this statement: "cultural element"? Locally versus remotely-provided APP services? Wanting appealing programs isn't logical?

No Comment. Honestly.

Anonymous said...

WS mo2 & Lynn: Wait for Charlie's thread on the issue. Pay heed to MW's call & don't rev the engine.

WSDWG

Unknown said...

Here is a seamless topo map zoomed in on West Seattle.

The map is displayed by Gmap4 which is an enhanced Google map viewer I developed.

The school district has a GIS system that has both the old and new boundaries. That GIS can export both sets of data as KMZ files. If you put those KMZ files online almost anywhere then you can make a link to display those files with Gmap4.

Please see the Gmap4 homepage which has a FAQ, examples, quick start info (in the Help file) and more to quickly get you up to speed.

Joseph, the Gmap4 guy
Redmond, WA

Anonymous said...

Sorry - I started that last comment before Melissa posted. All done now.

Lynn

Anonymous said...

Hi Lynn, my daughter doesn't need the APP social support at TM so that's one of the reasons why we're not there. I also didn't want a self contained APP classroom. What I do want is for her to have access to APP level accelerated curriculum in math and literacy without leaving WS. And also have more choices for which high school she can attend when the time comes.

-Want It

Melissa Westbrook said...

Kids, I was kidding about revving the engine. I just find it alternately amusing/annoying out how discussions go off the rail when AL is mentioned.

What I don't get is that by trying/advocating for better AL programs, it would benefit ALL students (while some continue to believe it's just a few).

Want It, how do you propose getting that "APP level accelerated curriculum"? Honestly, that would be a teacher by teacher decision/ability. There may be some schools/teachers that might be able to do so but that kind of desire is likely to be unmet.

As for choices of high school, no APP student has to continue on in an APP class/cohort in high school.

Anonymous said...

Sorry--hadn't seen Melissa's either! Didn't mean to continue off topic!

-Want It

Anonymous said...

Any reports on Pinehurst? It seems to have gotten lost in the WS boundaries.

HP

Anonymous said...

Melissa,

Want It wants the option to keep her child in West Seattle through middle school, then enroll in Garfield. If the district gets the message that tiny cluster-grouped APP sites are what we want
- that's what we'll get. We'll get it for high school too - no more Garfield or IBX for us.

I can't see why someone would turn down the programs at TM and Washington for an undefined alternative. I'd like to hear what Want It thinks APP at Fairmount and Madison would look like. I can wait for Charlie's thread though.

Lynn

Anonymous said...

@Melissa, I'm personality ok with an optional APP that is not self-contained and provides the acceleration in walk-to's and mixed age ability groups. TM should still be the self contained APP program--not suggesting that should change. But for mine, I'd be fine with an option of something closer to the MTSS tier that Charlie talks about. But I think for that to work best, APP elligible kids in WS would need to be at least in the same school (however many that may or may not be).

And when I say more options for high school, I mean hopefully being able to have more choice, whether that is IB at Sealth (our neighborhood school) or WS high if an option pathway is extended there, or Garfield/Ingraham. Without feeling like my child lost math instruction because she was never given access to curriculum beyond common core standards (grade level or Spectrum).

Hope that helps explain where I'm coming from!

-Want It

Anonymous said...

It wouldn't be optional if every APP kid in West Seattle had to be in the same school.

Lynn

Charlie Mas said...

Culture isn't logical.

There is a culture in West Seattle that fosters a reluctance to leave West Seattle. Even if the drive across the bridge were quick and easy, that reluctance is there.

I can't really explain it. It's a West Seattle thing.

I wonder if West Seattle families would participate more in APP if it were at Maple and Mercer instead of Thurgood Marshall and Washington just because Maple and Mercer are close to the east end of the bridge. Those locations wouldn't represent much difference in the actual drive time or distance but they would represent less of a foray into foreign territory.

I don't live in West Seattle but I lived two blocks from the east endd of the bridge on Beacon Hill for twenty years, my kids went to Lafayette, my daughter now goes to Chief Sealth, I used to shop in West Seattle, I have friends there, my wife works there, and I do participate in that culture. But I'm not really the person to explain or represent it.

I just know that folks in West Seattle are resistant to leaving it.

ws said...

so true Charlie. they don't call it The Rock for nothing

Anonymous said...

Lynn, it would be optional because APP eligible kids don't have to choose to enroll in WS APP. We chose not to enroll in TM APP but I would like to add another option that is a step closer to raising the ceiling for students who want/need it. Advanced learning looks different to different people. I don't want to take away from what you have or need, I just want to see to additions to what I may want or need for my kids.

-Want It

Melissa Westbrook said...

"If the district gets the message that tiny cluster-grouped APP sites are what we want
- that's what we'll get."

Very funny. Since when has the district gotten the message about what parents want?

Want it, thanks for the clarification. But because you named a number of high schools and I'm confused about how you believe you have all those choices? I'm not sure that is possible under the enrollment plan.



JvA said...

Charlie's right that those of us on the western edge of Beacon Hill folks tend to understand West Seattle better than anyone else outside that neighborhood. I go to the gym, hairdresser, grocery stores, restaurants, shops, etc., there. It's a quick drive across the bridge if you're close to I-5.

Anonymous said...

Maybe I should have said if the district thinks we'll accept tiny cluster-grouped APP sites without too much fuss - that's what we'll get. Not because we want it but because that's what is convenient for them.

Lynn

Tracy @ WSB said...

Sorry, takes a while to put in the links, etc. I also recorded audio of much of the meeting (video camera's acting up) and will add that file if it works out, but here are copious notes: http://westseattleblog.com/?p=250934
.
PS - The turnout improved after the early going; at least a couple dozen more people showed up.

Tracy @ WSB said...

P.S. I don't count via signup sheets. But I counted and recounted and 100 would be generous. Doesn't matter, really, that's still a good turnout for a public meeting - we cover community meetings almost every night of the week and ONE DOZEN is often a good turnout, let alone one hundred or just under.

Someone above asked about Marty McLaren. She was not at this meeting nor at the board work session last week; she told her mailing list recently that she is dealing with a health issue and would be a little low-profile for a while - it was announced last night also that she was ailing and not there. (Reminds me I need to add that to the story.)

P.S. Lots of discussion about APP here but almost nothing about it was said by those who asked their questions aloud last night, FWIW - perhaps because it's being so well-discussed elsewhere - so it's barely mentioned in our story.

Lori said...

Want It may not want to take anything away from other people's kids, but I fear that is what will happen.

Current district staff seem intent on changing the AL delivery model, and the more that parents prioritize proximity over cohort size, the more incentive and justification the district has to do away with self-contained, multi-class-per-grade-level APP. So, yeah, that scares me. Not for my child who's older now but for those coming along later who will need a robust cohort to have their needs met.

I have long seen the APP community as comprising 2 distinct groups of kids: those who want/need more academic challenge and those who need not only the academics but also a safe space to nurture their emotional and social health.

Unfortunately, those groups' needs can be in conflict, which is what we see here. Want It just wants better academics, and hey, close to home will work. On the other hand, Lynn, I think, like me, has found the large APP cohort to be critical to her child's social and emotional well-being. Having seen the transformative power that an appropriate school placement can mean for a child with asynchronous development, I'd drive clear across town if I had to. Proximity doesn't matter when the program isn't just a program but is instead a clinical intervention for your child's overall well-being.

What I want is for every single child in every single school to be taught right at the edge of their current knowledge base. I want every child to learn something new every day. I want for Want It's child the same thing he or she does, and I don't care what anyone calls it. BUT, I also want, somewhere in this district, for APP at the elementary school level to continue to exist as it does today for the minority of kids who can't thrive without it. And that's why every split, every proposal to offer "APP" in a new-fangled way, such as in a small cohort that won't be able to provide multiple self-contained classes at each grade level concerns me.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Lori, you just did a great job explaining what one part of the divide is within the APP community. Really great.

I also hope that people understand that just as we have Nova for those kids who need a different high school experience or World School or we fight for more CTE (vocational) for those students who are going that direction, there are those APP students who will NOT do well full-time in a general ed cohort.

Anonymous said...

What Lori said!

HIMSmom

Anonymous said...

Thank you Lori. Yes - I would say APP was a life-saving intervention for my child.

Lynn

Anonymous said...

Yes, while I too wait for Pinehurst info (I forgot to sign my earlier "Pinehurst?" comment and it went away!), I must laugh over the WS person who wants APP curriculum available in W Seattle.

You know there is NO APP curriculum, right? There's nothing to give you.

The school and APP teachers just make it up as they go, seriously, in collaboration w/other APP teachers. That's why having the cohort of kids and more than one teacher at each grade level is SO important. The district has given APP $0 for curriculum, and no special resources. If you want the math program from Lincoln or TM, be prepared to ask your PTA for the money to buy it. Lincoln PTA voted to buy math books over a playground. Will the West Seattle APP school PTA vote that way?

If you get a mixed-in APP in WS, you're just getting the opportunity to fund your own curriculum, as you decide, mostly. There's nothing else to give you. In TM or WMS, there are experienced teachers who will share and mentor and who have years of lesson plans. Hopefully that will cross the bridge to West Seattle, but there's nothing coming from Central office for APP. Don't think otherwise.

Consider how hard it will be and how long it will take to do this without the parent effort that comes with a large cohort. How long until it is as successful as TM/WMS? Sorry to rain on the West Seattle APP parade, but you must understand the key: There is NO APP CURRICULUM to give you. There is no "APP in a box," unlike STEM, with a curriculum the district can purchase. Every year the curriculum at Lincoln changes, and I bet the same thing happens at TM, as they refine and try. It's an incredibly hard road to set up, all by yourself - frankly, I wouldn't bite it off.

And I second the statement that most kids who ride the bus like it, at least in the north end, where there are long commutes too. They read, hang out - decompressing in an adult free zone before they get home -- same thing everyone who uses transit does.

Signed: Curriculum? Bwaahahahah

search4chin said...

I attended the Pinehurst K-8 (aka AS#1) public hearing last night.
It was just that, a public hearing for public testimony. No more real information was gleaned from it other than how important the school is to the community of people who send their kids there.
One testimony of note was School Board Director Peaslee waited patiently and testified last with no time limit and put on record that the options of temporarily locating at the Decautur bldg while waiting for a permanent co-location with Thornton Creek are absolutely viable solutions. She also stated that it doesn't make sense to close a program due to low enrollment while there are waiting lists and empty buildings in the district. She also stated that she had a conversation with Thornton Creek's principal John Miner who told her Pinehurst must be saved and is on board with the co-locating option.
The district attendees were:
Mr. Banda
Ms. Whitworth
I think Mr. Paperman
A court reporter
Mr. Redman
and of course the district lawyer Mr. English to be sure it was done by the letter of the law.

Danny

Anonymous said...

So how does a 6th grade APP student handle being in algebra with 8th graders? What about languages and other mixed class electives? How far does this self containment based on emotional/social need goes? Socially awkward and asperger students run across all learning spectrum. I'm scratching my head because there are students whose parents pull them out of APP and/or out of SPS because they had concerns about being one of the few black and brown faces and wanted a more diverse setting while still getting the academics. (I know two families with kids in private schools on scholarships.) People weren't very sympathetic in past threads a few years back on the APP blog (including comments about how some of those kids weren't cutting it, yet not all HIMS APP students are taking 6th grade algebra). How about throwing the snowflake label to parents of non APP students when they are advocating for their kids?

Goose&gander

Anonymous said...

For many APP elligible students the self-contained cohort is critical. And also for other APP elligble students it is not. That is indeed a distinction. I'd say both models should be defined and available if the goal is to serve more students' needs.

-Want It

mirmac1 said...

I agree with you, Want It.

Anonymous said...

@Mirmac1: But that's what ALO's are for, right? Remember that promise?

ALO's, remember? Now, where'd they go? Didn't I just saw them? Did somebody take the ALO's? Who took my ALO's? What do they look like? What exactly were they again? Damn! I never actually saw one, so I can't say!

Sound like a whirlwind of BS? Now how about a plate full of APP served that way? Color me skeptical and dubious.

As pointed out elsewhere, they never created the promised APP curriculum, so, without a staff "carrying the genes" you have no clue what kind of Frankenstein monster it might evolve into, like what's happened in the N. End.

It will take a lot of work to create a viable option for APP qualified kids here in WS. And with how the school district and city government view, and treat, West Seattle folk, I wouldn't count on getting half what is promised. Scraps and shavings at best.

WSDWG