Wednesday, October 30, 2013

APP Advisory Committee Feedback to Board/Banda on Growth Boundaries

From the APP Advisory Committee (bold mine), Tuesday, October 29, 1013:

Dear Superintendent Banda and Board Directors,

Each version of the Growth Boundaries plan presented to the public has contained proposals that will dramatically affect the Accelerated Progress Program. Since the release of the first version of the plan on September 18, the APP Advisory Committee (APP AC) has collected feedback from parents and community members. On October 24, the APP AC held a meeting specifically designed to gather input; the feedback from that meeting is provided in the attached document.

Based on our review of the multiple Growth Boundaries plans, reflection on the plan in light of the Guiding Principles for APP (also attached) and input gathered from APP stakeholders across the District, the APP AC believes that:
  • This plan does not demonstrate a long-term vision for Highly Capable Learners.
  • Program integrity is paramount, and we believe the District plan places APP program integrity at great risk.
  • Because this process is rushed, because the plan lacks long-term vision, because the plan will create inequity in how APP is delivered, and because this plan preempts the work of the Identification and Service Delivery Model Task Forces, we recommend that all decisions concerning APP should be tabled for 2014.
If the District feels it must move forward at this time, then the Committee strenuously objects to:
  • Optional pathways because they will not have an adequate cohort size.
  • Any 6th grade roll ups because they will not provide a comprehensive middle school experience.
  • Too much growth too quickly. Expanding from six sites to thirteen sites will endanger fidelity of curriculum, professional development and collaboration, and cohort size.
  • Site placement based solely on capacity issues. Many of the sites proposed for APP placement are directly contrary to the idea that APP should be placed where there are welcoming communities and supportive leadership, with principals and teachers committed to the academic needs of APP students, as recommended in the District's Audit of APP.
Thank you for your consideration and we look forward to working with the District on developing a plan for the future success of APP and our highly capable students.

Sincerely,

The APP Advisory Committee

End of letter

I will note that on THIS thread, please only comment about what is being discussed here.  We are not going to have yet another argument about whether this program should exist.

11 comments:

Po3 said...

I have lost track of this issue and was not aware that 13 sites are being proposed. Is that really is what is needed?

This model is sounding more like Spectrum than APP.

ConcernedSPSParent said...

A bold statement, it seems the committee was not as cherry picked as some thought...

Anonymous said...

Concerned:

Are you confusing the APP-AC with the new AL taskforce? How the members of the taskforce were chosen is unclear, hence the concern of "cherry picking," but I have not heard that about the APP-AC.

I am glad to see the APP-AC say something this time. In the last several years, the APP-AC has been virtually silent about the myriad issues around the program. All I recall seeing of late is announcements of their monthly meetings, but no information about what they are working on. This is not to say that I think this will have any effect. The district has trained me better than that.

-pickle

ConcernedSPSParent said...

Pickle, maybe I am :(

Anonymous said...

But how can we table the APP decisions when they impact the boundary changes that are needed now?
By the way, there is a new message on the SPS Growth Boundaries page:
"An updated recommended plan will be presented to the board on November 6. The proposal will be released with the Board agenda at 5 p.m. on November 1 and posted here by 7 p.m. (The information from the September 17 draft and the October 16 proposal shown below is now obsolete."

- Obsolete Again

dw said...

Obsolete,

You're partly right, the decision about APP can't be completely ignored.

However, there is one (and only one) solution that kicks the can down the road for a year or two while program policy decisions are being reviewed. That solution is the Lincoln "annex".

ALL of the other solutions being discussed affect other buildings and programs, but this one completely confines the fallout to Lincoln/HIMS.

I don't particularly like this proposal, because there will be some less than ideal logistics, but I'm not sure there is any other reasonable and feasible option.

From the district's side, it allows them to manage capacity issues (without just pushing the problems into other buildings), until either WP comes online or program definition and delivery models are changed.

From the APP families' side, it maintains program integrity for a while longer and leaves the option open that future splits might be avoided.

I think people (everyone, not just APP) should be advocating for this solution right now, as staff is putting together their 3rd recommendation. I am.

apparent said...

This very problem was clearly described in its very own section in Version 1 of the draft Growth Boundaries Plan (September 17 draft). That section is headed “Services and Programs: Impact on Boundaries” (Slide 33):

• “Some students leave their attendance area school to access services and/or programs at a different school.”
o “When students leave, the home attendance area boundary can be bigger.”
o “When students come into a school, the home attendance area boundary needs to be smaller.”

• “Need to know locations of services and programs to add or subtract capacity when drawing boundaries.”

• “Space has been set aside to accommodate proposed locations of services and programs in determining size of boundaries.”

In other words, as these bullets explain, when the finalized Version 3 of the Growth Boundaries Plan is unveiled tomorrow November 1, to be formally introduced November 6, its adoption by SPS board vote on November 20 will freeze those boundary lines for several years based on some implicit choice of delivery model and even permanent location(s) for APP (North) MS (i.e., 1, 2, or 3 north Seattle pathways, with presumed location(s)).

apparent said...

As Version 1 (Slide 33) of the draft Growth Boundaries Plan acknowledges, the likely placement of programs including APP also determines the drawing of every Seattle attendance area boundary.
Superintendent Banda and his staff have really bungled this so far by this hasty attempt to split APP into many pieces without even waiting to hear from the advanced learning task forces they established. The APP-AC letter does a great job in making this mistake public while there is still time to fix it.

Superintendent and his planning staff made this crucial error in Version 2, which mistakenly favors the disastrous Version 1, Option 2 (split APP (North) MS now in 2014) instead of the generally superior Version 1, Option 1 (no ill-considered split threatened before 2016, but should simply drop split proposal altogether).

Here are those two competing options as they were presented in the draft Growth Boundaries Plan Version 1:

• Version 1, Option #1 (dropped from Version 2, some elements may now reappear in Version 3):
*Transition all APP (North) MS initially from Hamilton to John Marshall 2014-16.
*Co-house WPMS attendance area students and all APP (North) MS students at John Marshall 2014-16.
*Co-house JAMS attendance area students and Jane Addams K-8 at JAMS 2014-16.
*Start two APP (North) MS ½ pathways beginning 2016-17 (ne=JAMS, nw=WPMS) by splitting off ne ½ to JAMS, then continuing 2017-18 by moving remaining nw ½ from John Marshall to new WPMS building.
*Co-house JAMS attendance area students and ½ APP (North) MS ne pathway students at JAMS from 2016.
*Co-house WPMS attendance area students and ½ APP (North) MS nw pathway students at WPMS from 2017.

• Version 1, Option #2 (largely favored in Version 2, but will now be dropped from Version 3):
*Start two APP (North) MS ½ pathways beginning 2014-15 (ne=JAMS, nw=WPMS) by splitting off ne ½ to JAMS, then continuing 2017-18 by moving remaining nw ½ from John Marshall to new WPMS building.
*Co-house JAMS attendance area students and ½ APP (North) MS ne pathway students at JAMS from 2014 (and also Jane Addams K-8 students interim until 2016).
*Transition remaining ½ APP (North) MS nw pathway students initially from Hamilton to John Marshall 2014-17.
Co-house WPMS attendance area students and ½ APP (North) MS nw pathway students at John Marshall 2014-17.
*Co-house WPMS attendance area students and ½ APP (North) MS nw pathway students at WPMS from 2017.

While Version 1, Option #1 was certainly flawed because it wrongly presumes an ill-advised APP (North) MS split in 2016, it is not nearly so deeply flawed as Version 1, Option #2 (with some variations now Version 2), which actually recommends implementing that proposed 3-way split this coming school year in Fall 2014.

apparent said...

From reports of the October 17 board work session on this deeply flawed Version 2 draft plan, there was “general agreement” among the SPS board directors that no APP (North) MS split should now go forward without learning the pending advanced learning task force recommendations.

So when it is released tomorrow, Version 3 will keep APP (North) MS all together, at least for now.

But where will that be? Hamilton MS? Lincoln HS? John Marshall MS?

Remember that even if Wilson-Pacific MS is under consideration, it will not open until 2017.

apparent said...

dw, thanks for your always thoughtful suggestion:

"You're partly right, the decision about APP can't be completely ignored.

"However, there is one (and only one) solution that kicks the can down the road for a year or two while program policy decisions are being reviewed. That solution is the Lincoln 'annex'.

"ALL of the other solutions being discussed affect other buildings and programs, but this one completely confines the fallout to Lincoln/HIMS."

Based on its own growth boundaries line drawing method, SPS frankly acknowledges that no APP (North) MS solution can completely confine the fallout to Lincoln/HIMS, but instead will set new boundary lines for years that will affect many school buildings throughout the district. One consequent APP (North) MS concern must be that kicking the can down that "interim" road for a year or two after November 20 may mean that there will be "no room at the inn" in any intact permanent home together if that remains the chosen delivery model.

So to be true to the APP-AC caution, Version 3 STILL needs to pencil in right now enough space in ONE middle-school building capable of holding ALL of APP (North) MS on a PERMANENT basis, half or more of which could obviously be released later if ever so recommended by the advanced learning task forces (which I personally doubt).

On this "Do No Harm!" principle, in which SPS building should Version 3 hold sufficient seats to keep all APP (North) MS permanently intact, and set all relevant boundary lines accordingly on November 20?

Wilson-Pacific MS when it opens in 2017 is favored by Lynn, and would certainly be a great SPS choice.

John Marshall MS is available now and was also previously strongly preferred by prospective APP (North) MS families in the March 2012 Snapp survey about elementary splitting (over 60% "Yes," under 37% "Maybe," only 3% "No").

Lincoln HS "annex" is being mentioned as an interim home -- but are you also suggesting that it can be a permanent home? If not, moving APP (North) MS to Lincoln will require a later split, unless sufficient future permanent space is earmarked now in either Wilson-Pacific MS (with WP attendance area lines set accordingly on November 20) or else in John Marshall MS.

Hamilton MS would obviously also make a great kicking-the-can interim site, and should perhaps still be considered as a potentially permanent APP (North) MS home, including the 550 or so middle schoolers who are already there; but again, the November 20 growth boundary lines would have to be drawn now to include those APP program seats permanently, which has never been suggested during this process.

If APP (North) MS kicks the can from Hamilton over to the Lincoln (or Ham/Lin) Annex in 2014-15, the program may yet have one more chance to move again and still stay together at John Marshall Middle School if that 950-seat building has not yet been filled permanently. However, the program will not have any similar later chance to move again into the new Wilson-Pacific Middle School building, unless Version 3 sets the WP attendance area boundary lines November 20 on the premise that APP (North) MS will eventually be moving intact into that new building.

In a couple of hours, we shall discover which of these 4 potential permanent homes -- or any available permanent home at all -- for an intact APP (North) MS will be assumed by the Growth Boundaries Plan in its finalized draft Version 3.

apparent said...

" . . . which of these 4 potential permanent homes -- or any available permanent home at all -- for an intact APP (North) MS will be assumed by the Growth Boundaries Plan in its finalized draft Version 3"?

GBP 3.0: None. At all.