Saturday, September 21, 2013

Program Placement - yes, again

This is going to be yet another rant of mine about program placement. I know that I go on about this, but it continues to be a sore point for me. I imagine that some folks must be really tired of reading about this topic, so I will put everything after the jump.

One of the primary directives for program placement is to place the programs close to where the students live. That's written into the policy, Policy 2200, Equitable Access to Programs & Services.

The choice of Olympic Hills-Jane Addams Middle School as the APP pathway for the northeast makes no sense at all when you consider where the students live. The District has shown us where they live. See slide #44 of the April presentation on Equitable Access Framework and you will see that the bulk of APP students in the northeast live south of 65th. They live in the extreme south end of the zone with the center of the heat map in the Sand Point attendance area. Olympic Hills is north of 130th, in the extreme north end of the zone. This is a terrible program placement.

The choice of Jane Addams for middle school is equally dreadful. APP students will be riding on a bus past Eckstein (early in their trip) on their way to Jane Addams.

Some might say that northeast elementary APP has to go into Olympic Hills because that's the only school building that will have space for them. That argument, however, is false. Olympic Hills doesn't have room for them. It will only have room for them because the District is spending tens of millions of dollars to make room for them there. That same capital investment made at another school - say Sand Point or Decatur - would make room for the APP students in that alternative building.

The program placement that complies with policy would be to put northeast elementary APP at Sand Point, along with the capital investment that would have otherwise gone to Olympic Hills, and to put northeast middle school APP at Eckstein, along with these feeder schools: Laurelhurst, Sand Point, Bryant, and View Ridge. Then all of the other elementary schools in the northeast would feed to Jane Addams.

No only does this program placement comply with the policy, but it avoids trouble down the road.

What if the District decides to change the delivery model for APP so that the service is delivered in every school - never mind the pros and cons of that plan for now, just consider what if they do it - then, all of a sudden, all of those students will come out of Olympic Hills and back to their attendance area schools - overcrowding them - and they will come out of Jane Addams and back to Eckstein - overcrowding it. With a policy compliant program placement, the delivery model can be changed and the children will still have space when they return to their attendance area school.


Melissa Westbrook said...

Charlie, this is part of a bigger picture which I hope to write about soon.

I think BEX IV is mostly being done incorrectly and, while not a complete waste of money, is being used in the wrong places. We will pay the price down the line for these poor and short-term choices.

How I wish that like AL, there was one Board member who particularly understood/cared about facilities. (I thought DeBell might have been that person but he seems only interested in going along with staff and Smith-Blum seems only interested in green issues. Neither really serves the district well.)

And while Charlie's rationale is good, I could hear the howls if APP were at Eckstein. I suspect that is very much the reason the district didn't go that route (that and they have little ability to look down the road more than 5 years).

However, Olympic Hills is completely the wrong choice especially from a transportation aspect.

I'll write my thread - with some much-needed help from those with massive insight and understanding of the issue - not to change anything (because I know that won't happen) but because it is good to go on the record.

No one gets to say later on, "we had no idea."

Chris S. said...

Charlie, re: APP students S of 65th - is that students qualifying for APP or participating in APP? Because Laurelhurst is the closest to being a reasonable commute to Lowell (IMHO.) There's only been one year of enrollment since the move to Lincoln, and I do think that will change things. Agree Oly Hills is not logical geographically but neither is Sandpoint - should be centrally located, but I ain't gonna say where.

Anonymous said...

Co-house NE APP with Thornton creek in their new building! Then they have the old Decatur building as overflow and it's pretty much smack dab in the middle of the cluster. From what i hear Thornton creek doesn't want to double in size anyway.


Anonymous said...

Chris S has a point. From Ravenna/Bryant/Laurelhurst area Lowell APP at Cap Hill was a piece of cake.


Anonymous said...

The south of 65th thing is qualifying. There were heat maps going around last year of both, and the maps did not look very different- vast majority of APP students in the south part of the north end. This isn't for any reason other than the vast majority of students period live in the south part of the north end. As much as Lake City/NNE is growing, the south part of the north end still dwarfs it, numbers wise.

I can't imagine app at Eckstein would fly in any universe, but I could get on board with the stuff I have read about putting all of the middle school at w-p, with the heritage program(what is the plan for its placement now?) or two small north end elementary schools. I don't think that would change the fact that so many more kids live in the south part of the north end so that's where the app kids come from,, but it would be equally far for all, and avoids slicing a program that isn't big enough to support two. I also think cohousing an elementary at TC is an interesting idea worth looking into. Oly Hills needs all their seats.


Anonymous said...

Gawd. I think we need another 1 or 2 hundred posts on APP/Spectrum, where it should be, why it should be, how many should be in it, oh the travails of the tragically gifted, and more. Isn't that again the topic? Isn't that really what "program placement" all about? Isn't that why it's even interesting?


Anonymous said...

APP movement and splitting is the district's favorite capacity solution. So, yes, how to do it and what's ok is going to come up when the district is working on capacity.


Melissa Westbrook said...

Charlie has never equated program placement just for APP. So Begin, how about you don't go down that road? He is just pointing out one particular issue (and has, in fact, pointed out many other issues with program placement).

joanna said...

Remember transportation routing drives the length of a bus trip and that there are APP students all over the north part of Seattle despite the fact that students are concentrated in some areas. All those not near a school will need transportation. Likely the District will need to provide a bus for many students no matter where and how the program is located. Will they need more if there are two sites? I don't know the answer to that. Is it good for the program to have two sites? I don't know this answer either, but these are the pertinent questions?

In the meantime, I think that some who are tired of hearing about program placement are those in areas of the city that offer no special new language immersion or STEM/STEAM. It doesn't have to be one of these specific models. However, it does begin to feel like there are areas where money for new programs has been allocated and no one is working toward ensuring that there is access to programs for other areas, and that in some areas it just isn't even important for a neighborhood school to be accessible for the majority of students, even when it could be.

Anonymous said...

A decision should be a central choice but not selected based upon today's heat map. As today's heat map is today's heat map. The heat will change. Making a decision based upon today's info is short sighted.


Charlie Mas said...

Okay. Ignore the heat map.

Eckstein and Decatur are in the center of the region and are therefore the logical choices.

Jane Addams is two miles further north and Olympic Hills is as far north as you can get.