Thursday, October 10, 2013

Ignore Those "Draft" Growth Boundaries

I was quite startled when a reader, TC,  put in this comment taken from the district's Enrollment Planning - Growth Boundaries page:

The information from the September 17 draft is now obsolete. Recommendations to the Seattle School Board, dated October 16, will be available after they are posted with the Board agenda at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, October 11. Many of the recommendations are different from the earlier draft due to community input.

Of course, it IS great the district is listening.  However, it makes it quite difficult to know what may be coming, what will be on the survey and when to given NEW input.

Needless to say, if you have not already commented on this, by all means, chime in.

If you have commented, I would wait until we see the new recommendations tomorrow and/or see what the survey says (which is to be on-line sometime early next week) to give further input to staff/Board.

Since the recommendations will not be available until very late Friday, I will put up a link and I can either (1) put up an open thread for each region or (2) just have a regular open thread.  Thoughts?

The page also says these items of interest:

Regardless of what is approved, boundary changes will be phased in over time. Many changes cannot be implemented until construction projects are complete.

We expect that current students will be "grandfathered" and allowed to remain at their school through the highest grade.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Did too many new kids show up again, blowing up the projected counts and models? Or what?

WSDWG

Melissa Westbrook said...

WSDWG, I honestly think they listened. As President Smith-Blum said this week, they didn't listen during the 2009 school closures from people who brought valid concerns with data to the district.

For these boundaries, parents have worked to go over things with a fine-tooth comb and have some solid data, research and conclusions.

I think the district wants to be able to - rightly - say they listened and looked at the input because of what has come before.

Good call BUT it leaves a very narrow window of time if you don't like the new boundaries.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I mean, no one had plans this weekend, did you?

Because you'll have to have your data (and game face) ready for next week.

mirmac1 said...

By all means Melissa, put up a thread for all regions. But include one for SpEd since we don't HAVE a region and some sensitive people are offended if we bring up something that applies to 13% of the students in this district...

: [

JvA said...

I'm not sure if all the individual school links to the draft proposal maps have disappeared from the district webpage (the list is no longer linked from the main page). But you can access the ones for all existing neighborhood grade schools through the links at the bottom of my post here: http://midbeaconhill.blogspot.com/2013/10/title-1-beacon-hill-schools-losing-most.html

My vote would be a post for each region. The SE boundaries changed quite drastically, and while I hope we no longer will have much to complain about tomorrow, I'm worried that we will.

JvA said...

I'm not sure if parents at other schools have been trying to organize at a larger-scale level, but parents from many Southeast schools got together on Wednesday night to write a collective statement to the district.

Represented schools included Maple, Beacon Hill International, John Muir, Thurgood Marshall, Kimball, Hawthorne, and Graham Hill. Led by Linnea Fichter, Seattle PTSA Council vice president, we spent a couple hours determining points that we could all agree on, and came up with a joint statement. It's pretty long, so I'll just list some of the more SE-specific excerpts and post this <a href="http://rainiervalleypost.com/sps-proposes-shutting-67-of-neighborhoods-grade-schools-out-of-walk-zones-during-intl-walk-to-school-month/comment-page-1/#comment-102020>link to this full letter</a>.

Key Concerns with SPS Proposal

· SPS’s proposal is inequitable in its content and process, extremely so for the SE community. Low-income, minority, and non-English speaking communities were cut out of the process. The plan appears to have a disproportionate impact on Title 1 schools in the SE. The unreasonably short timeframe between the release of the draft plan and community meetings, the presentation of plan documents in English only, and the electronic-communication based rollout thwarted the ability of many affected parents and guardians to provide meaningful input. We question if the Racial Equity Analysis Tool, recently adopted as SPS Board Policy, was utilized as part of this planning process.

...

--SPS has not yet clearly communicated what school- or community-level problems the myriad proposed changes are attempting to solve in the SE, and it is not clear how the proposal addresses any such problems. Questions posed at the initial community input meeting at Mercer MS were recorded, but answers were not provided. ...

· SPS’s proposal to redraw boundaries and change feeder patterns in the SE is premature given that planning and funding for key programs have not yet been finalized. In particular, we are concerned that space is being set aside for a not-yet finalized special education plan and a not-yet funded international option school. ...

--Delay making changes in the SE until key considerations are effectively reflected in the plan:

· Application of SPS’s Racial Equity Analysis Tool toward improving all schools and improving the process for gathering community input into planning
...
· Develop and fund any international option school programs, and assure that these reflect neighborhood interests and needs. Identify a new location for an international option school before closing an existing SE neighborhood school.

JvA said...

Working link to full letter:

http://rainiervalleypost.com/sps-proposes-shutting-67-of-neighborhoods-grade-schools-out-of-walk-zones-during-intl-walk-to-school-month/comment-page-1/#comment-102020

Anonymous said...

Well I certainly grade this administration much higher than their predecessors based on what I've seen thus far. And my question was serious, not mocking in any way.

I'd heard Madison had at least 50 new kids show up on the first day, and local elementary schools were also seeing increases they hadn't projected. If it was just, or predominantly, community feedback that resulted in the first plan being scrapped, then that's fine. I'm just curious as to what the main reasons were and whether the head counts played a role in it, as they tend to be the unknown wild card until about 10/1 each year.

WSDWG

WSparent said...

Please put up a separate thread for each region. Those Northenders are long-winded!

Eric B said...

I'll be very short-winded. :) Ingraham had about 50 more students than projected.

Catherine said...

I think separate threads would be good - mostly so people from adjacent and the same schools are more likely to find related comments.

Does anyone remember... I could have sworn that there was a district/city agreement about kids within a 1/2 mile of a school always being assigned to that school. It would go back 15 some years... ringing any bells?

Anonymous said...

Re the grandfathering comment:

That is very likely for elementary schools, and possible to do from a capacity standpoint. However, the district SHOULD be appending the word "elementary students" to that statement, b/c it is quite possible that at least one of the new middle schools will be opened with all three grades rather than a wildly-unpopular and potentially un-equitable 6th grade roll up. Thus some kids may move out of Eckstein or Hamilton - it might happen.

The more the district and Board say "grandfathering" without clearly limiting it to elementary, they create wild expectations about siblings, about middle school, etc that they may have to retreat from.

It is so much worse when they make promises that the lower staff members and frankly a lot of the informed public know are not a guarantee - then those staff take all the blowback. But grandfathering at the middle school level is highly questionable from both an educational best practices for starting a middle school and from a capacity standpoint.

apparent said...

Melissa,

yes please, a separate thread for each region, also separate threads for Sped, APP, Option Schools, maybe others?

Jamie said...

Reposting for anon at 10:28. (Please pick a name or your comments will be deleted). I agree that promising grandfathering is likely to be problematic.


Re the grandfathering comment:

That is very likely for elementary schools, and possible to do from a capacity standpoint. However, the district SHOULD be appending the word "elementary students" to that statement, b/c it is quite possible that at least one of the new middle schools will be opened with all three grades rather than a wildly-unpopular and potentially un-equitable 6th grade roll up. Thus some kids may move out of Eckstein or Hamilton - it might happen.

The more the district and Board say "grandfathering" without clearly limiting it to elementary, they create wild expectations about siblings, about middle school, etc that they may have to retreat from.

It is so much worse when they make promises that the lower staff members and frankly a lot of the informed public know are not a guarantee - then those staff take all the blowback. But grandfathering at the middle school level is highly questionable from both an educational best practices for starting a middle school and from a capacity standpoint.