UPDATE: I am also hearing that hours for nurses are being reduced at schools to about 1 day a week (or less). I'll have to check into this because while I love the idea of health centers at all the comprehensive high schools (and a couple of middle schools) via the F&E levy, I am dismayed that other schools will barely register a medical presence. Anyone hear anything about this at your school?
First up is Garfield. The president of the Garfield PTSA contacted Director Smith-Blum with worries over class assignments at Garfield. Apparently there aren't enough classes - in biology and Spanish - to help all the students trying to fulfill graduation requirements for college admissions. Some students only have four classes and want to have a full compliment of classes.
It seems to be a district issue as the principal, Ted Howard, has done all he can to shift his school's dollars around. Howard has asked the district for mitigation funds.
The word was that Garfield was to hear from Michael Tolley about these funds by last Friday, the 20th. I call tomorrow and see what happened.
Next is Hawthorne Elementary where they have grave concerns over the boundary shifts that would reduce enrollment at their school and change their middle school track.
They feel all the more unhappiness because Hawthorne, a formerly failing school, has really turned around. They also were approved to be one of the district's Creative Approach schools, and working towards being a STEM school. They told the district:
In 2009, Hawthorne was under-enrolled. Now, classes have wait lists and kindergartens are bursting at the seams with 29 in each class. Many parents join the PTA the year prior to their child entering kindergarten and help raise valuable funds for the library. This level of community support is possible because residents know that Hawthorne and Mercer and Franklin are “their” schools. This level of support is correlated with a 10% improvement in three out of four key categories on MSP tests last year.
The BERC Group Research Affiliate evaluating Hawthorne’s SIG success stated “Of all the SIG schools I have evaluated, Hawthorne is the best I have seen.” These changes undermine the investments to build a school model that is working.
When asked why our SIG process was a success by the many evaluators and reporters who visited our school, we answered, “It was a perfect storm of increased neighborhood enrollment, new funds that allowed for key support positions, motivated staff, parent engagement, and school leadership that was responsive to community and teacher input.”
To truly have neighborhood schools, the boundaries must be fixed. If boundaries change every three years, families will look to their future school with skepticism that they will ever actually go there, and hesitate to engage. It is hard to exaggerate how upsetting these changes are for families who have intentionally made a home in a community with schools in mind.
That last statement brings the Growth Boundaries into sharp focus. The boundaries might have stayed fixed (but for minor tweaks) if the growth had not come. But it has come and it is likely to continue.
So you had the cry of "neighborhood schools" but the district didn't clearly warn people that the first 10 years of new boundaries might likely see shifts.
I certainly can see Hawthorne's point of "why did we try so hard, only to have everything shift beneath our feet?"
Hawthorne is saying they do NOT want to be buffeted around because the district has capacity problems. Will the district listen to that argument?
And, here's the public notice of the Environment Checklist for the Genesee Hill project:
There will be an informational meeting about the project which will take place at Schmitz Park Elementary School (5000 SW Spokane Street), Seattle, WA 98116 in the lunchroom. The meeting will be held on Thursday September 26, from 7pm – 8pm.
Copies of the SEPA Checklist are available for $12 by calling (206) 252-0110. A copy is available for review only at Schmitz Park Elementary School. Copies are also available at no charge from the SPS Web site, at:
Written comments regarding the SEPA Checklist must be submitted to the address below. The deadline for receipt of comments is October 14, 2013 at 5:00 p.m.
Responsible Official: Pegi McEvoy, SEPA Official
Seattle School District No. 1
P O Box 34165, MS 22-183
Seattle, WA 98124-1165
Telephone: (206) 252-0102
Fax: (206) 252-0626