Friday, October 11, 2013

NW Growth Boundaries Open Thread

Let's hear your thoughts (I haven't read them yet.)

45 comments:

Anonymous said...

so much for making language immersion an option. check out those geo-zones!
-sos

Anonymous said...

and I see they did their best to carve lower income into wilson pacific. as an added bonus, sps is keeping the atrocious 6th grade only at marshall. the squeaky wheels got their grease. -sos

Anonymous said...

@sos, where did you see the 6th grade only at Marshall reference in the new materials? I missed it.

HIMSmom

Anonymous said...

@HIMSmom - looks like they say this in the intermediate capacity planning on page 5 of appendix B "Start roll‐
up of Wilson‐Pacific MS in 2016‐17 at
John Marshall with Wilson‐Pacific GenEd and Wilson–Pacific and Whitman
APP 6th grade"

Whitman APP? and what about 2015-16?

-sos

Anonymous said...

so, the more I look at the intermediate capacity plan for north middle schools, the more confused I am about how they are going to transition the WP middle school kids, both APP & Gen Ed. JA K-8 is at Marshall through June 2016.

-sos

NW mom said...

Ugh, the Loyal Heights new boundary is even more ridiculous than the previous one. Look how far away the NE corner is from the school. Seriously not cool. All the same complaints the NB parents had about the previous boundaries apply even more so here. Those kids will live almost 2 miles away.

NW mum said...

Still no Option elementary for WP MS catchment area, or am I missing something?

re-post from NE boundary thread

Anonymous said...

Whitman APP?

Those are the folks that don't even want Spectrum.

open ears

Anonymous said...

"Whitman APP" means APP eligible students in the Whitman Middle School service area will be sent to Wilson Pacific ... they currently go to Hamilton.

So, Whitman Area App students + WP gen-ed students will start at John Marshall.

N by NW

Anonymous said...

re-post from NE boundary thread: looks like the option school for WP for middle is Jane Addams K8.

sos: I think Bagley, Broadview-Thomson (K-8), Greenwood, Northgate must all be sticking with Whitman until 2016 and Olympic View must continue at Eckstein until 2016. APP elem stays at Lincoln until then, too. Then in 2016, all of aforementioned roll into John MArshall for a year, then to the new WP.

reader

Anonymous said...

We'll be in Wilson Pacific MS next year. I am not seeing a plan for the entering 6th graders. Where do they go while the school is being built? I just don't want a 6th only. Do want a comprehensive middle school experience. And what about the APP kids? Will WP-Whitman APP be housed at Whitman while Wilson-Pac is being built? Is there room? (And didn't Whitman just get rid of spectrum?)

-uncertain

Anonymous said...

Well, I guess they did put our Crown Hill triangle in with Loyal Heights, making a really wonky boundary, and carving a weird little square north of 85th to connect us with the rest of the Loyal Heights kids. That is certainly...interesting. Our kids would probably be transported wherever they get put, so I guess what's most important is that they maintain the neighborhood together. Though, now that we're not part of Whittier, it seems odd they're still using 6th as the boundary instead of 8th. I guess I'd best not worry too much though, judging by the number of babies in our neighborhood, they'll probably be freaking out again by the time my kiddo's headed into kindergarten.

-LBD

Anonymous said...

Do geozones trump the option lottery?

If so then what changed with John Stanford and McDonald?

They are still Wallingford's elite schools

--option my tush

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Is Hamilton getting enough relief? Splitting off the JAMS/Eckstein area APP kids next year and sending them to the new JAMS may reduce the incoming HIMS 6th grade APP cohort by about 1/3, or say 60 kids. The option for Eckstein and JAMS attendance area 7th and 8th graders to switch to JAMS is not likely to pull a lot of additional kids away from HIMS. Green Lake Elem was added as a new feeder school to HIMS, and the "removal" of JSIS and McDonald as HIMS feeders isn't really accurate, since most of those kids are in the HIMS attendance area anyway--and will continue to be, given the geozones. How many 5th graders are there at Green Lake? And with the projected overall population growth in the HIMS attendance area anyway--aside from APP-- how are we not looking at more overcrowding next year?

HIMSmom

Anonymous said...

tush, that's what I said all along. Given that SPS placed two immersion schools right next to each other, there was no way to suddenly convert both to true open access option schools. There just isn't enough neighborhood capacity to go around with both those schools taken out of the equation. The district blew it when they created both, and it's not going to be easy to undo that problem--aside from creating more LI schools elsewhere to meet the demand.

But "elite" schools, really? There are other neighborhood schools in much more well-off neighborhoods than Wallingford. And there's really not a lot of evidence that these LI programs are so spectacular in the first place, is there? Demand is not the same as outcomes. Immersion comes with a lot of other limitations, like unwillingness to provide walk to math, etc. How is that elite?

HIMSmom

Lynn said...

uncertain,

WP middle school will roll up starting with sixth grade APP and attendance area students in 2016-2017 at Marshall. Until then, your student will attend the middle school you are currently zoned for. WP 6th grade APP students will be assigned to Hamilton for the next two years.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Lynn & reader. This is a bit of a relief. Makes me wonder about capacity during this transition. Also a bummer that kids will be at one school for 6th & 7th, then move to a temp site at Marshall, where the school will be located for just one year. Would be better if the district could figure out a way to fast track building of WP, but that would likely be costly.

- (less) confused

Anonymous said...

...I meant to sign (less) uncertain. Uncertain, confused, resigned. I have many feelings about the proposed plans. Wondering how long Seattle will take to settle into the "certainty" of student assignment. Does make the good ole days of school choice seem downright reasonable. But that's putting on my rose colored classes.

-(less) uncertain/confused

Lynn said...

Under the new proposal, WP will start with only 6th grade. Nobody will have to leave Hamilton.

Green Lake Parent said...

HIMSmom,

Moving Green Lake to Hamilton doesn't have a huge impact. Although you can't tell from looking at the maps of the current boundaries, at least half of Green Lake's kids go on to Hamilton already. The kids in the upper grades (and those who graduated in the past) all came in before McDonald opened. So, a large portion live in that area and have been going on to Hamilton as assigned by address (usually at least half the graduating class). Also, Green Lake is a small school. I would guess -- thinking about this year's 5th graders -- that moving all of Green Lake to Hamilton is maybe an increase of 25 kids who would have gone to Eckstein under the current system.

Green Lake Parent

Melissa Westbrook said...

Sigh. You're all using different definitions (I'm supposing) of "elite."

In this case, I perceive the call that JSIS and McDonald are "elite" because only neighborhood students could access a program that is widely desired. You can't blame people for being envious for that opportunity.

However, McDonald itself didn't exactly jockey to be an international school (I thought the final vote had Montessori higher). And, it was not good to put these two programs right next to each other.

I blame Director Carr somewhat for this because she pushed and pushed it. If they needed another feeder FI school for Hamilton, they had other choices.

Greenwoody said...

LBD, I'm in that triangle too (with a kid on the way in January) and the lines are really odd. There ought to be a way to carve us up so that we're split between Viewlands, North Beach, Whittier and Greenwood. We're a short walking distance to Greenwood but nowhere near Loyal Heights. So cut up this triangle or maybe even reopen Crown Hill Elementary.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Thanks, Green Lake parent. Glad to hear HIMS shouldn't expect a huge influx from Green Lake ES.

But I'm still wondering if the relief for HIMS will be enough over the next two years. It's hard to get real numbers, but say the NE APP split results in 60 fewer kids at HIMS in the fall, but this is partially offset by the 25 new kids from Green Lake. That's only 35 fewer kids. Given the Gen Ed numbers have also been rising each year, it seems like HIMS might be just as crowded as now, or even worse. Hopefully I'm missing something...

HIMSmom

Lynn said...

HIMS mom, you might not feel any relief for a couple of years. What's the alternative? We could renovate part of Lincoln now and leave all the APP 6th graders there next year. Parents don't seem too excited about that though. What do you suggest?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Lynn, I'm not an APP parent but if I had to tell my child that their program didn't have room at middle school and they would, instead, be going to join a K-5 (instead of having a comprehensive experience, I think I would worry about the reaction.

The "gift" of continuing the APP experience at Lincoln may pale in comparison to the classes and opportunities of being at HIMS. Not sure why APP kids have to be the ones to choose.

Even if they could have some of the opps (like music), I think the Lincoln 6th graders would always feel like they are are the outside looking in.

Lynn said...

Melissa,

I wasn't advocating for it. HIMS mom is concerned they're not going to see relief in the next two years and I was pointing out an alternative. I think it's best for those sixth graders to go to middle school next year. It's just likely to be a tight fit.

Anonymous said...

I want the district to be clear about plans for transition and what will happen to my rising WP 6th grader. But I doubt they have a plan. We will bail if the plan is to roll up "somewhere" with 6th grade only to start and additional grades coming in each year. What kind of comprehensive experience will that be? What kind of resources would there be? Any parent with means who cares about their kid's education will bail. And those left who will be in an even worse position to cope.

Also, I heard an idea floated about doing away with elementary to middle school feeder patterns. I think that is a great idea, so long as there are no tiny slivers of elementary school areas split off. Maybe it would simplify some of the problems finding ways to match up kids into middle schools.

-uncertain

Anonymous said...

Lynn, I'd be thrilled to see part of APP remain at HIMS. I'm just worried about next year's June surprise, if the projections are off. HIMS is full to the gills this year, and if they end up with more than expected next year, I could see the district doing some sort of emergency "APP 6th graders to Lincoln" maneuver. Does the plan to keep everyone there for the next couple years really look feasible???

HIMSmom

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

@Greenwoody - Yeah, I'm not sure or not whether I'd want them to divide up the neighborhood. I'm more towards 8th, so that's not too bad a plan for us, having friends across 8th, but I'd feel bad for the kids who are just barely this side of 15th/Holman, which is a rather scarily busy section of road to be crossing for meeting up with friends. The pedestrian overpass always feels safest to us, but that crosswalk at 90th...I find that crossing kind of nerve-wracking, considering the speeds people go through there and how many people run the light. But yeah, they need to figure out something better than this weirdness.

-LBD

Catherine said...

FYI Greenwoody Crown Hill Elementary building is no longer in public hands, so it's not an option.

Anonymous said...

Giving this more thought, I see more problems with the proposed plans. For the NW area, there are still problems with elementary boundaries:
1. The strange Loyal Heights “horn”. Seems these kids should go to Greenwood for more walkability. Loyal Height’s lower boundary is also weird – why not just draw a straight line (at 70th?)
2. The Greenwood boundary at 6th, rather than the more natural geographic boundary at 8th. There might be some adjustment up of the lower boundary of Greenwood to accommodate this shift of the west boundary from 6th to 8th.
3. The lower boundary of West Woodland is unusual, with a bite out of a neighborhood that is very close & walkable to West Woodland. Why not just draw the line at 50th?
4. In general, boundaries that span Aurora are problematic, especially for middle school, as it makes biking to school problematic. The same is true for spans across I5. I have no good solutions to offer, as any change has cascading effects. For example, a possible solution to make schools more walkable is to move Greenwood and Bagley boundaries east, so Greenwood boundary spans 8th to Aurora and Bagley boundary span Aurora to I5, but this affects Olympic Hills, and North/South boundaries. More work is needed to get this right.
5. Why doesn’t the geozone for JSIS run straight down Meridian? (Who has a friend living in that strange little panhandle spanning 45th to 47th and Stone Wy to Meridian?

I am really bothered that the JSIS and McDonald schools are now option schools in name only. The primary reason the district seems to have implemented them is to control capacity as families with means continue to move into these areas to nab a spot at these popular schools. The district needs to admit it made a mistake co-locating these schools. The most reasonable plan would be to move one of the programs and return the other school to a neighborhood school. I have no idea where to move the program. I would want to think about available buildings and making the programs more (geographically) accessible district-wide. They don’t need to feed to the same middle school, as there is no middle school immersion.

The transition plan needs to be clarified. Any solution that involves any group of students being sent to a 6th grade only school is a non-starter. These students will not have the resources they need in middle school to meet their academic needs (libraries, computers, orchestra), extra-curricular needs (clubs, sports, after school programs), and social needs (learning to be the ‘small fish’ again).

The district needs to clearly address the rising 6th bubble. This was the last group of choice students, so some students are assigned to schools outside of their geographic boundaries. I doubt there will be any consideration for these kids, but the district should understand how these kids affect projected 6th grade numbers across schools.

-uncertain

Melissa Westbrook said...

"The district needs to admit it made a mistake co-locating these schools. The most reasonable plan would be to move one of the programs and return the other school to a neighborhood school."

Yup.

Anonymous said...

@uncertain, I completely agree the district made a mistake in locating two immersion programs next to each other, and I proposed the same thing--relocating one to elsewhere and returning the other to a regular neighborhood school--a while ago.

However, I'd argue that are in fact implications for middle school. While true that there isn't "immersion" in middle school, there needs to be an appropriate language sequence for these kids post-immersion. Your typical middle school--where kids start a language in 6th grade--doesn't have it. Until this year, Hamilton had 6 levels of language: three years worth for those new to a language, and three years for those coming via immersion. This year--due to the small size of the immersion cohort and the increasing demand for beginning classes--they decreased the number to 5 levels. For those 8th graders who would have been in the highest level immersion class this year, they are stuck essentially repeating what they did last year. The 7th graders lucky enough to get bumped into the new top level course got a decent deal this year, but what will they take next year?

So yes, while there's no "immersion" in middle school, it DOES require a sufficient cohort size to ensure that the kids have access to the appropriate courses. Hamilton currently does NOT have a large enough cohort to make this work. Hopefully the addition of McDonald kids soon will be enough to tip the scales.

HIMSmom

Anonymous said...

HIMSmom writes "while there's no "immersion" in middle school, it DOES require a sufficient cohort size to ensure that the kids have access to the appropriate courses."

APP faces this problem too, with th north end cohort now being split 3 ways in middle school. APP also requires a sufficient cohort size to ensure kids have access to appropriate courses.

The difference is that APP is a service (required) and language immersion is a program (not required).

-uncertain

Eric B said...

I like the LH horn, mainly because the students living there aren't in a walk zone to any school. Since they have to be bused somewhere, it might as well be to a large school that has space.

The weird little square north of 85th makes some sense, but maybe not as much. That area is cut off from the rest of the area north of 85th by the Olympic Manor development. There is a pedestrian-only path through towards Whitman and over to North Beach, but that would be an awful lot of hill climbing for an elementary student to walk. It's much more level and probably shorter walking distance to go to Loyal Heights.

Anonymous said...

@ uncertain,

I completely agree that APP, like immersion, also requires a sufficient cohort size. The question is what size cohort is required?

If you have a single language immersion school feeding into a middle school, it's likely not possible to provide the full sequence of language classes to those kids. For example, if you have 20 5th graders in Spanish and 25 in Japanese, after you lose a few from each group come middle school (to option schools, privates, etc.) you're down to numbers that make it impossible to offer the appropriate next class.

In APP, on the other hand, say you have a small cohort of only 60 kids. You can still offer everyone APP LA/SS, and APP science. For math, since it's not APP-specific, there will also likely be non-APP kids who test into Algebra 1 (which some NON-APP middle schools offer anyway). APP kids won't have done immersion, so would be fine with intro world language classes, which should also still be offered in a middle school. The biggest issue would likely be in the decreased options for music--but with a smaller number of kids, you don't need to break them down into so many groups anyway. If there's a little more a spread in terms of ability in the uppermost level, kids can still play and learn.

Don't get me wrong, I like the larger APP cohort very much, and would prefer to see closer to 150 kids per grade level. But I do think it's still feasible with somewhat lower numbers. Language immersion, on the other hand, really isn't conducive to having a single immersion program feed to a middle school, unless perhaps there is only one immersion language taught (e.g., two 5th grade classes of Japanese).

These aren't really related issues, though--it's not a matter of APP vs. language immersion. :)

HIMSmom

Jayne said...

Eric B, I disagree. Some of the "horn" is certainly walkable to Viewlands.

Eric B said...

Jayne, I agree that many of the students could walk to Viewlands. However, the definition for walkable the district uses assumes that children don't walk across major arterials like Holman Rd. From a budget perspective (which is what walkability is about, really), the district would have to provide bus seats for all of the elementary kids in that area. For that reason, where there is a large island of students who aren't in a walk zone for any school, it makes a lot of financial sense to send all of them to one school, so there is only one set of buses roaming the streets in the morning.

schowell said...

I'm concerned about the size of the McDonald and JSIS geozones. It doesn't leave much space to be an option school for families outside of siblings and the geozones.

schowell said...

About the issues of McDonald and JSIS being next to one another & the issue of neighborhood support for immersion:

The district wants 2 immersion elementary schools feeding into middle school to get enough students to continue to offer language at middle school. They haven't had enough students at Hamilton with just the JSIS kids to provide much language instruction, and we hope that when the McDonald immersion kids enter Hamilton in 2 years, we will have a large enough group there to improve the middle school language program.

That McDonald and JSIS are right next to year other, rather than farther apart but still in the same middle school service area, is an accident of opportunity. There was no pre-existing monolingual staff at McDonald that needed to be replaced in the switch to immersion, which would have been the case at any other elementary school in the Hamilton service area.

Also, many McDonald parents were advocating for the school to be immersion before it even opened. There was neighborhood flyering, community meetings, meetings with Sherry Carr, etc. -- pretty active advocacy around this issue. The district was not responsive and opened McDonald its first year as general education. It was designated immersion its second year, and became very popular.

Greenwoody said...

Good comments from folks about area 116 (the "horn" given to Loyal Heights, the triangle bounded by 6th Ave NW, NW 85th, and Holman. I fleshed out my idea of carving this triangle up in the feedback box on the SPS survey and am sharing it here in case there's interest.

It doesn't make sense to give this triangle to Loyal Heights, at least not in its entirety. This area can be carved up among North Beach, Loyal Heights, Whittier, Greenwood and Viewlands. My suggestion:

Move Greenwood's boundary westward to 8th Ave NW between 85th and 92nd (leaving the west edge of Greenwood at 6th Ave NW south of 85th). Greenwood is the nearest walkable school for these families, and this would not be a significant addition beyond existing boundaries. Loyal Heights is quite far away for these families.

Move Viewlands' boundary westward along 92nd to either 9th, 11th, or 12 Ave NW. Students here would have a walkable route to Viewlands via 8th Ave NW and NW 100th Place.

Give the much smaller triangle bounded by 92nd (or 90th), 12th NW, and Holman Road to North Beach. This would not be a large number of students and the pedestrian bridge over Holman would help get them to North Beach easily.

Move Whittier's line up to 92nd between 8th Ave NW and either 9th NW or 12th NW. Crown Hill Cemetery takes up a large chunk of this area, and this would not be a large number of families either.

Give the remainder - bounded by Holman/15th NW, 85th, 92nd, and 9th or 12th NW - to Loyal Heights. These families are the closest to Loyal Heights of anyone in area 116.

Dividing up area 116 like this makes much more sense than giving it to Loyal Heights in its entirety. Families here either identify as residents of Greenwood or upper Ballard, so there is no sense of neighborhood cohesion that necessitates treating the entire area as a single unit.

Anonymous said...

@Eric B. I am in the island that is walkable to Viewlands. The reason it's walkable is because Holman goes over 8th on a bridge, kids don't have to go across Holman. They're currently doing some pedestrian improvement stuff along 100th Pl. because of the D Line and Viewlands kids now, which should help, as the 100th/8th intersection is currently kind of tough to navigate.

@Greenwoody I think I'm mostly opposed to dividing us up because I'm thinking ahead to the kiddo making friends through school, and where he'd be able to walk to their house for a hang-out most safely. That's probably my bias because I grew up hanging out a lot with the kids in my neighborhood, and walking to their houses. To me, within the triangle is his best bet for this, but I don't really like being so far away from the elementary school either (whee, NE corner), so I have no idea really what I would like, or what to propose. I guess I just feel generally disgruntled, heh.

-LBD