Sunday, September 29, 2013

Seattle Schools This Week

Monday, September 30th
Growth Boundaries meeting at Meany from 6:30-8:00 pm

Tuesday, Oct 1st
Special Education Advisory and Advocacy Council Meeting from 6:30-9:30 pm at JSCEE, room 2700

Growth Boundaries meeting at Ballard High School Commons from 6:30-8:00 pm

Wednesday, Oct. 2nd
School Board Meeting from 4:15 pm to 8:00 pm.  Agenda.

It's quite a light agenda and this should be a fairly short meeting. 

One item of note is acceptance of work performed for Montlake and Thornton Creek.  It's of interest because of the number of times the district performs upgrades to old buildings like Montlake and, if  you totaled all the money put into these buildings over the years, it would have been simpler and better to just rebuild. 

Another item is the acceptance of all the portables purchased, moved and set-up for various school sites.  The costs is nearly $1M.  This part of the project will provide 25 classrooms for 10 schools.  (The overall project provids a total of 32 classrooms at 14 schools.)

As well, they are to Into the ed specifications for JA K-8.  This helps to gain about $1.4M in state funding for this effort. 

There are no Director Community meetings this Saturday. 


ConcernedSPSParent said...

Found the FACMAC report on boundaries...

Josh Hayes said...

I believe there will be substantial comment on the Pinehurst situation at this Board meeting; I don't know if that constitutes "lightness". I know several Pinehurstians have signed up or are planning to sign up to speak.

Anonymous said...

Whoa - just skimmed the FACMAC letter (link above in first commenter). Recs 6-8 are a serious challenge to the current APP proposal in the north end. Does the district listen to FACMAC?

Anonymous said...

FACMAC recommends reserving Wilson-Pacific site for APP exclusively?


Meg said...

In the north end, APP should be decoupled from the attendance area system. It's mucking it up, and making promised predictability for neighborhood students into a joke.

If all of APP goes into one attendance area schools, two programs with guaranteed assignment are competing for the same number of seats. When the building, which might be able to operate at a higher capacity with a single program, cannot continue to operate, APP has to move out, and there is much disruption.

Enrollment continues to grow at a tremendous pace in the north end. Splitting north end APP will pretty much just double the problem, and create an insane whack-a-mole cascade of capacity issues in a hugely overburdened system. Boundaries end up taking on a bizarre, Byzantine character in order to accomodate schools that have APP in them.

Pulling APP out of the attendance area system and stuffing it somewhere will allow for increased predictability for all students in the north end, most particularly for neighborhood students. Boundary adjustments are no longer about figuring out how to account for APP, but truly about how to draw boundaries for the most flexible system that causes the lease disruption for students.

Will there magically be enough space? Nope. Not for anyone. There are too many students and not enough buildings in the north end, even once all of the BEX buildings are complete. But allowing the attendance area system to operate without obstruction would be so, so, so much better for every kid in that system.

I personally think that the Wilson Pacific campus may be best utilized as an APP middle school and an attendance area high school - it will have a field, which the Lincoln site will not. Leave elementary APP at Lincoln in a wing, and use the other part of it for interim.

Anonymous said...

No, sorry, cannot support in any way shape or form APP having a dedicated campus while the rest of the north end scraps for crumbs for a decade. Nor does Wilson Pacific make sense as a high school. The geographic need is farther south.

Who exactly is on FACMAC right now anyhow? Did the district not say last year that it was reformulating that committee?


JustAskLafayette said...

In a similar vein, put West Seattle APP in the E. C. Hughes building, which is now home to the private Westside School, instead of taking half of the Fairmount Park neighborhood school for it.

Captain Obvious would also like to remind the district that the best place for Denny Middle School is at the Denny Middle School site at 30th and Thistle, next to the athletic fields. Denny housed 950 students there in 2001 (probably more during the baby boom with larger class sizes), but it was only a one story building. Build the new Denny there as a two story building. Middle College and other programs can go in the "temporarily Denny" north wing of Sealth after Denny goes back to Denny, until Sealth grows enough to fill all of it.

Anonymous said...

FACMAC is, and has been, an APP advocacy group. Is there even a single representative of specialed? The thing we actually are legally required to provide. Not a surprise that the district doesn't listen to them.


Melissa Westbrook said...

Skeptical, again, if you listen it is NOT being advocated for a whole campus for APP. If WP goes elementary/middle, only the elementary would be APP and the middle school would support APP. There's a difference.

At the Hale meeting, parents said that they want their neighborhood schools for their children in the neighborhood. Why put APP where it is not wanted? And understand, APP is part of the legislative public education RCW.

Is the district listening to FACMAC? Only when it suits their purposes, just like every other committee/taskforce. I'm sure the hard-working FACMAC people are tearing their hair out but there you are.

WP DOES make sense for a high school. The land size is good, near transportation and frankly Lincoln is too close to Roosevelt. A more even distribution of school is a good idea.

Lynn said...

So much resentment already this morning,

skeptical - You would prefer splitting all those families in the North End as their elementary school boundaries move? Just to be sure North End APP students aren't placed in a new building? You realize those kids are your neighbors.

FacFol - Fun fact - special education is not the only service required by law. Some students even receive both special ed and highly capable services. Are you certain their parents aren't on FACMAC?

JustAskLafayette - The district is currently working with an estimated number of 60 students for West Seattle elementary APP - so maybe two classrooms. Given the attitudes expressed above, putting them in their own building is highly unlikely. The Denny idea makes sense - but I hope we won't continue to make plans that assume Middle College and unnamed "other programs" will be moved when other students need their space.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Josh, I didn't mean any lightheartedness about the meeting but the speakers list is not up so I had no way of knowing what discussion there would be.

I will be interesting to hear what the Directors say on the subject.

Anonymous said...

I know a FACMAC parent with special Ed children. I know mostly non-app ones. The plan is solid. I don't think any of them owe anybody the details of their children's private lives to resentful blog posters. It is just true that co-housing app results in app getting kicked out of buildings every other year, and diminishes neighborhood capacity. Don't cut off your nose to spite your face by insisting we only adopt proposals that harm app children even if they also harm your own. Even though a standalone building for app is not bad for app, it's also good for all the area neighborhood programs. Especially the NNE which is growing quickly, and will no more be able to house 2k extra students in 7 years than Bryant and Eckstein could today.

I like the idea of w-p middle(app+ something else- option program? Middle college? heritage? I know app will fill it up by 2020, but that is a long time since we are currently in crisis.) and high school on the other side of campus; Lincoln as elementary app + interim site. I don't know what this does for interim sites, though- does w-p roll up at John Marshall? I am starting to find compelling the argument that today's app 5th graders have born a bit more than their fair share of capacity pain, and deserve a break( I don't have one).

but I would like to use John Marshall fully, starting this year - one of the ideas I thought was pretty good with the old split plan was roll up neighborhood JAMS and w-p side by side there (so, 400 bodies in there next year), freeing up some Hamilton space and keeping JA k-8 from having an Eckstein style portable farm.


Lynn said...


How about moving JA K-8 and Pinehurst into Marshall next fall? JAMS could roll up in their own building that way.

Anonymous said...

Actually, projected APP numbers, if current program admittance is retained, does mean that WPP would be an APP-only middle school sooner rather than later.


JustAskLafayette said...


Last year's 2012-13 enrollment numbers were 150 APP kids from West Seattle in grades 1-8. The district's projection that you cited was for grades 1-5, and many parents believe it's shortsighted in that West Seattle is chock full of kids who are not being sent away to APP now. A good APP school -- please, more like T. Marshall than Lincoln -- would draw many more than the current APP enrollment. It's entirely possible that grades 1-8 would fill Hughes, a 300 seat building, within a few years, given a program that's at least as good as Thurgood Marshall's.

Middle College was unceremoniously kicked out by South Seattle Community College when the college needed the classrooms for their own use. I suggested Sealth, after Denny moves, because it's relatively close to SSCC (as is the current temporary rented space in High Point), and because I think Middle College would be welcome at Sealth and might find some help and services there. It might be possible for them to stay there for quite a few years. But ideally they would be able to move back to SSCC someday.

Anonymous said...

JAMS by itself doesn't use much of that building, though. Next year it would only be 200 kids in a 900 seat school. I get that that's better programmatically, but i don't want any other school bearing too much of the brunt of no space. And if the k-8 goes to John Marshall, no one else will fit there. The elementary portion takes up a lot of space.

Maybe JA k-8 to Marshall, pinehurst to the JAmS building while they wait for TC space, and JAMS rolls up in JAMS? That is at least a little better, and i think pinehurst similarly has programs that take up a lot of space (sped and elementary), so it may fill it. But then what about Hamilton, and the app kids? Does app need to go to John Marshall for a year after the JA k-8 moves to their new building? Could that even work, space wise, even with a Lincoln annex for 2 years?


Maybe w-p could also be used as interim space after app goes in but before it fills up?

Lynn said...


I understand what you're saying about program size. I know there are APP kids in Spectrum and private schools in West Seattle. I would be very surprised if there were 300 of them.

Can you tell me what makes T. Marshall preferable to Lincoln? My understanding is the difference is the fact that T. Marshall has Julie B. and more veteran APP teachers.

If there were 200 or 250 elementary kids at APP and they had their own building (hopefully ensuring staff who chose that population) I would be thrilled. Maybe the district will take the next year to plan for the program and measure the local interest.

Anonymous said...

Sleeper, you mentioned the disproportionate impact of capacity issues on this year's APP 5th grade class, and that they deserve a break. How about this for a break? They roll up at John Marshall for 3 yrs (officially a part of Wilson-Pacific middle school, although they'll never actually go there because it won't be ready in time), then they move over to a new Wilson-Pacific High School, which can become a 3rd APP pathway high school, helping to alleviate the overcrowding at Garfield. The interim stint could then be seen as a good community building opportunity--for both students, as well as weary parents--since the kids would be able to continue on together at the HS (unless they chose IB).


Anonymous said...

Highly Capable must be served, but there is NO requirement for a self-contained component. The district must have a program but it can decide on delivery.


Anonymous said...

So those parents will have stared how many brand new schools in their tenure at SPS? 3? 4? I dunno, man- I wouldn't be up for it, in their shoes. I think two is already Herculean.

But am I wrong in thinking a new high school also requires incredible parental involvement to start? I don't know much about starting a high school. Does anyone here? I know the elementary could not have opened its doors without incredibly intensive parent commitment, and I hear middle is similar, though slightly less. I do think it would be easier with the same group of parents, not half, along with a new group of neighborhood parents starting a collocated program. Does the district actually have to chip in more time and money for new high schools, since they are higher stakes? I could see that. If so, I'd agree the stability and continuity would sound like a relief.

And I am very worried about high school capacity, and may be in the minority but think Lincoln could be a pretty cool site for an elementary, if they could maybe take some parking lot space for more play area.


Melissa Westbrook said...

Handl, that's true about not having to be self-contained. BUT, the overwhelming majority of research (and other districts' program) DO self-contain the top learners. That would be APP.

To not do that would be to fly into the face of what we know works best for these learners.

Sleeper, districts open new schools all the time. I have no doubt in the parents of this district whose children are assigned there to take it on and do it well. I actually would have liked doing that because many high schools have entrenched models and ways of thinking.

But yes, if it's a concentrated group of students and parents, I'd bet it would be easier.

joanna said...

Self contained for many subject areas is appropriate. At Washington APP and Spectrum are self contained only for LA and Social Studies. Math is by level for all. But, in order to serve these cohorts it is important to have them assigned to one school to ensure enough students at all levels to drive a class. At the elementary level back in Madrona, all classes were self contained, but the before and after school activities were not and different classes shared the playground and sometime participated in games togehter. Self contained does not mean they have to have a separate school and in fact with good leadership at all levels multiple programs in one school can enhance each others experiences. Sadly, I have heard that Whitman is not allowing the Spectrum students to move through the day as a cohort at any time. The District should develop some models for co-housing programs so that those who are going to be or may be co-housed don't have to start from the beginning every time. Successful models on which to build would truly helpful and help build trust.