Tuesday, October 15, 2013

One Way to Get Your Growth Boundaries Ideas to Directors

There are a LOT of concerns but ALSO a lot of good ideas out there about how to make many of the new issues arising from the "new" boundaries more palatable. 

Again, there is NO way to eliminate pain, no way to make everyone even just okay with these boundaries.  They are far too reaching to do that.

BUT, finding a way to spread the pain, share the burden and not leave just one group of kids (I'm looking at the 3rd grade APP kids at Lincoln who come from the Whitman area) out on a limb.

So I propose this:
If you just have a concern (but no real solution), then I'll take those from the thread where I asked for them.  I'll make a list and send it to the directors and explain this is what we are hearing here.

But, if you have an idea or solution, what I think would help is if each idea were laid out in a flowchart fashion so that Directors could see it in one fell swoop without a lot of explanation.  (Please add a paragraph or two of explanation before and after the chart, of course.)  Include an e-mail address in case someone has questions.

Could people do that?  Because I would be happy to get them all together and get it to as many directors as I may be able to see in person).  My e-mail address is

I am NOT saying the directors would listen to me more than anyone else (indeed, Director Martin-Morris, who represents my region, never acknowledges anything I send to him).  But I have the time and the energy to get these together and try to hand them to each director personally. 

Naturally, time is of the essence.  As well, please, if you want to do this on your own, that's fine as well.  There are two Director Community Meetings this Saturday (see Seattle Schools This Week for details or the district calendar).


Anonymous said...

Hi Melissa,
I agree with you that those 3rd grade kids you reference will be feeling more pain than others, but how are they any different than the current 5th graders in the NE (including NE app kids and NNE gen ed kids in the JAMS ref area)? They are being sent to a 6th grade academy at JAMS next fall. True, JAMS will be open to 7th and 8th graders, but none will be assigned there, and I'm quite sure most will not go (especially app kids who are being grandfathered at HIMS). I'm happy for all the app kids who will get to stay at HIMS for the next few years, but very discouraged about what the NE 5th graders will find at JAMS next year (for 6th grade). IMO, the District cannot open JAMS as a roll-up, or it just won't be a comprehensive middle school experience for anyone. Of course, I'm biased because I have a NE app 5th grader who will be impacted by these changes. I can't say for sure what we will choose, but most likely it will be Eckstein over APP at JAMS. (I wonder how many others feel the same way, which means even fewer kids at JAMS, and more kids at Eckstein.) To be clear, my problem is not with the long term solution (I am ok with split, and with NE ending up at JAMS); my problem is with the short-term solution -- sending only 6th graders to JAMS.) I'm curious why you don't think this is just as problematic as the future situation facing current 3rd graders in the NW.

If I've misunderstood the latest "plan," I would love to be enlightened.

--discouraged in NE

Melissa Westbrook said...

I will point out that I believe - if I understand this correctly - that it would be ALL the NE 5th graders assigned to the roll-up. For those kids at Lincoln, it's not all the 5th graders, it would be one small subsection.

I said earlier, if this was being forced on my child (and no way out except to go private), I'd be agitating like heck for many, many benefits for those kids, given what they give up.

Again, this is pain for all and I hear that.

Peak2peak said...

Yes, the third grade app kids from the nw are getting shafted more than anyone else. Considering that it's only about 50 kids, why can't they just leave them at Lincoln for 6th grade, and then go to wp? Or find a way to fit them into Hamilton. I know there are capacity issues, but the district should really start with this particular 3rd grade nw issue as a base and go from there.

4th graders get Hamilton for MS, 2nd graders get WP, 3rd graders get shafted.

Appreciate all your posts.


Zella917 said...

I don't think it's going to be all roses for the gen ed students also rolling up into W-P either. I have a current thrid grader at Bagley who falls into this category, and I'm also concerned that she and her classmates won't have a great experience starting middle school at an interim site at John Marshall.

Anonymous said...

I think doing a single grade roll-up at middle school is much more difficult than elementary school (not the elementary is easy either). But at middle school, you expect that there will be music programs (band/orchestra), languages, after school sports teams. It's much more difficult to provide these if you only have a single grade of kids. I think we need to advocate against any middle school starting with just a 6th grade roll-up.


Anonymous said...

yup, I am going to talk about the inequity of the 6th grade roll ups tonight and mention both Wilson Pacific and Jane Addams students. I am also planning to point out that the students they plan to force this on come from schools with some of the highest FRL rates in Seattle. Unfair. The more I think about this, the madder I get. I will also make a plea to plan for the coming high school over enrollment. A lot to squeeze into 2 minutes.


Anonymous said...

Please stop with the 3rd graders being screwed more than the current 5th graders. There's enough bad going around that this isn't a contest about who has it worse. Saying you have it worse does not make it better for my 5th grader. Frankly, next year is more eminent of an issue and things can change by the time this year's 3rd graders are in 6th grade. You say 50 kids now? That number will definitely change. You have time on your side. Under the current plan, kids going to JAMS don't have nearly the luxury. Let's just agree that there are lots of losers, more than just 3rd and 5th grade APP, and not so many, if any, clear winners.


Anonymous said...


Are you talking about the roll-up proposed for JAMS students? If so, I agree, same bad news.

Do you have any proposed solution? Is there a way to work with JAK8 to give incoming JAMS 6th graders a comprehensive middle school experience? All students deserve this.


Anonymous said...

@uncertain - Yes, I'm referring to the rollup/6th grade academy at JAMS. I don't have any NEW solutions. Plenty have been raised and of course there are disagreements with each one. We can't make a stand alone APP MS happen without a rollup or forcing kids at Hamilton to leave. Co-housing seems to be out as AA growth will push APP out and it appears that APP is just not wanted by other/neighborhood schools. No judgement...just saying that's what it sounds like and I don't blame them. HIMS is not viable long term.

Whatever the decision, we will make the best decision possible for our current 5th grader. Frankly, there will be pros and cons to any option and we'll weigh those. I'm not entirely opposed to a roll-up provided we can get some district support. My oldest is going to have an atypical K-12 education (and he will survive and be OK in spite of it) and my hope is to get some stability in the program and/or the district so that my younger children don't suffer the same fate.


Anonymous said...

In my opinion, the fairest choice is to move toward creating a centrally located stand-alone north Seattle APP middle school (at Wilson Pacific), co-housed with an option program. This will create a consistent and more efficient APP program, and it will stop forcing APP students to compete with neighborhood schools for building space.

Next year's capacity problems could be addressed by moving all APP middle school students to a single location (Lincoln?) to create a comprehensive middle school. Yes, that means taking students out of Hamilton, but they would move together. General education students could then remain at assigned neighborhood schools and the entire APP cohort could be moved to Wilson Pacific when it opens.

Would this solution make it possible for your JAMS 5th grader to attend a comprehensive middle school with JAK8 students? I've not been sure if this solution wold address that problem. I agree that it is more pressing than the third grade problem, because it is proposed for next year.

Full disclosure: We are in the Wilson Pacific Service area. I have an APP-eligible 5th grader who we had planned to move to APP middle school. We also have a 3rd grader.


Lynn said...


You have a point, but you'll have to expand your argument if you want the plan changed. Don't tell the board that the Jane Addams and Wilson Pacific Middle School students come from elementary schools with some of the highest free and reduced lunch rates in Seattle. They are aware that the FRL rates for the feeder schools for Aki are:

Graham Hill 67%
Rainier View 74%
Wing Luke 86%
Emerson 87%
Dunlap 88%
MLK, Jr 90%

Anonymous said...

@Lynn, you are correct! Thank you for the info and helping keep things in perspective. WP & JAMS feeder schools have highest FRL in NORTH Seattle. I am concerned about South Seattle, but have heard mixed comments about the plans and I've not heard clear advocacy for keeping a single APP ES and MS for South Seattle. Sounds like other issues with Beacon hill. Big problems with the current plan and equity.


Anonymous said...

@uncertain...sorry I wasn't more clear earlier but my 5th grader is in APP and thus would be part of the rollup per the current draft with JAMS AA.

I think there are some merits to your solution...again, I think the problem lays with the execution and getting people to buy in. I'm not sure that Lincoln (at least in it's current state) can fit 600 MS APP.


LN said...

To the original question about suggestions (mine will be unpopular, but, of course it's the best idea. HA!):

I realize this has negative implications, but every plan has pain. I am trying to suggest something that spreads the pain somewhat evenly.

Pull ALL of APP out of Hamilton and send them ALL to John Marshall (or HIMS @ Lincoln Annex) for 2014-2015, 2015-2016, 2016-2017. Leave JA K-8 at JAMS. Keeping JA K-8 at JAMS could alleviate some issues with that roll-up. Heck, don't allow the roll-up to help Eckstein ASAP.

Then, put ALL of APP at WPMS when it opens with some other program(s) that won't lead to a capacity crunch. Leave Elementary APP at Lincoln (or co-house and split it between, say, Thornton Creek building and WP) and build a high school at WP.

To the other comments:
I don't think there are anywhere near 50 enrolled APP 3rd graders in the Whitman/Wilson Pac zone. And, that number will be lower since no eligible but not enrolled will attend until at least 7th grade.

Yes, Zella917, it TOTALLY stinks for the WP attendance area kids, too.

kp, Just as you are devastated (and, rightly so), so are folks with 3rd graders. No one is saying your situation doesn't completely stink. The three differences are you have a much larger co-hort and you will be at the actual school not an interim location under the freeway with no fields, no sports, etc. You also have the chance to have some 7th and 8th graders and the 6th grade will be much larger than WP. That said, let me also say, THE JAMS SITUATION FOR CURRENT 5th GRADERS SUCKS, TOO!!! Some of us think the other situation sucks just a little, teeny, tiny bit more. And, I totally hear your thought that you are facing this next year while others may see their fate change.

Susan said...

There is always a break point, and someone is going to feel disadvangtaged. What if the district splits 7th and 8th graders between JA K-8 at Marshall and JAMS? either by lottery or addrss? Each would have some 7th and 8th graders. There would not be APP 7th and 8th graders, but there may be enough to have the music and sports that people want after scool.

LN said...

Sorry, to further my suggestion:

WP would not be an attendance area school. Send some kids to Whitman and some to Hamilton and some to JAMS. Ideally, you could do the above so it INCREASES FRL at Whitman (which is looking pretty rich and white under the proposed boundaries) while reducing FRL at JAMS and HIMS.

Susan said...

I'd like to see the district figure out where to send the North end 3rd grade group besides Marshall in 2016 (APP and AA). Split them, send them to existing schools. I do think that group takes more of a hit because they have to transition in 2016 and 2017. Don't make 1 year of students transition twice if there is a viable alternative.

Naomi said...

I agree that the district could sweeten the pot for the kids bearing the brunt of any of the proposed transition. Give them extra money for sports, music, art, libraries, computers. That might go a long way to soften the move. If kids have to be at Marshall and then move buildings, make sure those extra programs and incentives move with them. If you are in a group affected by a transition, what would you like the district to give your students? ipads for all? extra art or enrichment? We owe it to these kids and I do not mind sending extra resources and money their way.

Anonymous said...

For what it's worth, I heard a Hamilton APP teacher mention at the recent APP AC mtg that the HIMS APP teachers as a group were opposed to the APP 6th grade academy proposed in the initial plan, and that their preference would be to keep all of HIMS APP together and move the whole thing over to John Marshall as a comprehensive program if it couldn't stay at Hamilton.

Personally, I agree that's a better way to share the pain. Sure it's tough to move schools partway through, but it's a whole lot easier if you're moving with a strong and sizable cohort.


Lynn said...


I like your plan, but I worry about Eckstein. Aren't conditions there pretty bad now? If we pull half the students out of HIMS though, can we shift some Eckstein students in that direction?

Eric B said...

There's one other option that I've seen kicked around via email instead of the JAMS rollup. Pull off the bandaid now and split Eckstein and JAMS into two schools, right now, along the boundaries that are defined for the schools. Everyone who lives in the JAMS area, all grades, goes to JAMS next year, and likewise for Eckstein. Yes, it will be disruptive. Hopefully, it's not as bad as a rollup.

Is that a lead balloon?

Anonymous said...

I think so, but also without app at JAMS we should be able to feed more Eckstein kids up there. It might be better as a roll up (JAMS) assuming the k-8 stays there, both to alleviate overcrowding in the interim and because the k-8 already has middle schoolers, so they could get a real middle school going.

I think Hamilton would be more likely to take some Whitman kids.

Right now I think this is the most fair plan, which at least balances FRL percentages in the north (though obviously not the south- I don't have ideas for that yet, would be happy to hear them). But all of this is very hard. I hate that the district put us here.


Melissa Westbrook said...

Eric, again, not a bad thought. It certainly would start us down the road that the district wants to be on anyway. I'm sure those at Eckstein would not be happy (I would let the current 7th graders finish 8th grade there.)

Melissa Westbrook said...

Eric, again, not a bad thought. It certainly would start us down the road that the district wants to be on anyway. I'm sure those at Eckstein would not be happy (I would let the current 7th graders finish 8th grade there.)

Anonymous said...

Eric B, I like that plan. That plan, plus moving the entire APP cohort out of HIMS into a single school would be painful but has the advantage of moving large cohorts of students together and keeping everyone in a comprehensive program.

Maybe the district is trying to minimize such disruption, but in the process they are creating incredibly bad situations for a subset of kids and creating a lot more inequity.

These big moves would eliminate the worst scenarios, share the pain across groups, and solve problems with overcrowding more quickly.


Lynn said...

With an APP annex at Lincoln, that would work. Then, build a middle school and a high school at WP. All APP middle school to APP and APP elementary stays at Lincoln.

Or do everything else I listed above, and ask JAMS attendance area families if they'd prefer a 6th grade roll-up - or moving all their kids next year. Ask the district to make it worthwhile with funding to get all the extra-curricular programs off the ground.

Anonymous said...

Where does the k-8 go then? JM? How does that help Hamilton? I assume that moves Hamilton app kids over to JAMS next year, but I don't think that is enough capacity help, and it doesn't, I don't think, so,ve the Eckstein/JAMS equity problem, which is significant under the current plan.

I think I like pulling app kids out of Hamilton wholesale best right now, but I am pretty sick of getting kicked out of buildings all the time, and find attractive a solution that has that happening less. I do want Hamilton and Eckstein less crowded as soon as possible, though. I know Eckstein better, but it at least is awful.


Anonymous said...

@Eric B
In theory, that might work, though it would completely suck for those kids who would get torn out of Eckstein. SPS would probably have to cough up mitigation funds to duplicate the elective choices currently at Eckstein at JAMS next year, so that students who are continuing on in a World Language, advanced music, etc.... would be accommodated.

Eckstein has over 1200 kids, and can probably afford to fund more stuff than a smaller JAMS could (without mitigation funds).

Numbers-wise, I don't know if it would have a significant impact on Eckstein. It would depend upon how large they draw the new JAMS boundaries. Right now, they are pretty small.

Also, this year, I think somewhere close to 200 students chose JA K-8 rather than accept their assignment to Eckstein. Most of the JA K-8 6th grade class, something like 150 students, entered from outside elementary schools. Because of this huge departure to the K-8, I don't know how many kids there are at Eckstein from the JAMS attendance in this year's 6th grade class. A so-called "geo-split" might cause a lot of pain (especially for next year's 8th graders) for very little gain.

- North-end Mom

LN said...

Eric and Lynn,

I suggested that idea, too, but it wasn't very obvious in my post. I think it's terrible, awful, horrendous to do that to kids at Eckstein. However, it is equally awful to pull the APP kids out of Hamilton. So, I think it could/should be done given the dire situation we are facing.

Also, I read some other postings during lunch and this idea is not new so I can't claim it's mine anymore. :) Some folks are trying to say HIMS will not be full if this happens. We can easily fix that by putting some additional elementary schools into HIMS.

ben said...

FWIW: I think this has been one of the more even handed and constructive threads on what a possible alternative could be for the north end.

I just wish I could discover a magically overlooked extra building.

Lynn said...

North End Mom,

If you pull 6,7 and 8th grade JAMS students out of Eckstein next year. Eckstein and JAMS's funding will be closer to equal - and they'll be able to offer similar classes.

Anonymous said...


I think such a claim should be backed by numbers, not just speculation.

As the boundaries are currently drawn, there are only 183 6th graders expected at JAMS next year. That's not a lot of kids, and not a lot of funding.

The funding that would accompany most of the 7th graders is now in the JA K-8 budget, and would not be available to JAMS.

As I said in my previous post, there are likely not to be that many 7th graders at Eckstein from the JAMS attendance area next year, because a significant number of families from the north-end enrolled their children in 6th grade at JA K-8 this year. The 6th graders will be headed to JAMS anyway.

That leaves next year's 8th graders, who have spent the past two years at Eckstein. Keep in mind, please that these kids are not part of a segregated academic program within Eckstein. They are Eckstein students who have had two years to form bonds with the students and staff at Eckstein. Since they are not a separate program, there is absolutely no guarantee that any of their teachers would be coming with them to JAMS.

If Eckstein is that desperate to dump kids, then I would suggest that increasing the size of the JAMS attendance area, to include Sacajawea and Wedgwood would be a better idea.

- North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

One concern I've had (and missed my chance on other threads) is with the idea to have Wedgwood go to JAMS and I get why people are saying that but wonder if there needs to then be a geographic change to Wedgwood. There are people who live south of Wedgwood Elementary that are within blocks of Eckstein. To send them to JAMS is ridiculous, IMHO. I hope people will keep that aspect in mind when talking about adding schools to JAMS. I actually do wonder if it would be better to do it by geographic area like HS vs. by feeder school. Otherwise, I think another option is to consider splitting Wedgwood so that those who live south of the Elementary go to Eckstein and those north to JAMS. I know it would mean splitting up who you go to school with but I can't believe there wouldn't be a stink to have to lose out walking a few blocks to Eckstein to have to walk 20+ blocks to JAMS.


Peacock said...

I think I'm missing something. If 500-600 kids from APP go to Marshall in 2014 and WP in 2017, what happens to JA K-8? I thought they were going to fill Marshall to capacity for 2 years. Is there room for both?

Anonymous said...

That was me, kip, and yes I think the wedgwood boundary should be moved north. It's too overcrowded and not getting enough relief in this iteration as it stands.


Anonymous said...

Re-posting from another blog:

I understand that this post may not be popular with some folks, but I feel it's important to mention it.

Please don't underestimate the number of parents who DO NOT want their current 6th or 7th grade APP student yanked out of HIMS, and please try to understand their position. I know that this has been stated before, but it's important to realize that these are the kids (and the families) who have borne the brunt - several times already - of the District's failure to plan.

They were in 1st and 2nd grade when the Lowell/TM split occurred, and were going into 4th and 5th grade when they were moved to Lincoln in July. The 6th graders are the same kids (and families) who went through a lot of uncertainty last year at this time, and didn't even get final confirmation that they would attend HIMS until last June.

They consider themselves HIMS students, not just APP students, and have a number of friends and interests that are outside of APP.

Also keep in mind that WP will not come online until these current 6th and 7th graders are out of middle school. So while they get the hassle of starting up a new building (wait - they already had to do that at Lincoln just a little over 2 years ago), they don't ever - and won't ever - consider themselves to be WP students.

For the current 6th graders, they will spend 4 of 5 important, formative years in "temporary space" that does not have the facilities appropriate to their school level (playground at Lincoln, sports fields at Marshall, etc.). No other group of kids has been asked to do this, and you can bet that any parent facing the same situation would argue against it. To borrow the District's mantra, it's not equitable to move these kids to temporary space yet again.

Notsofast please

Suzanne said...

Could JA K-8 and NE APP co-house with JAMS starting next year? Split off JA K-8 when their school is ready in 2 years. Then, in 2017, decide whether there is enough of a cohort to split APP again to WP. Maybe all NE APP stays at JAMS. Ballard and NW APP stay at HIMS.

Anonymous said...

@ Suzanne,
That scenario was pretty much presented in Growth Boundaries Version 1.0, last month.

- North-end Mom

ben said...

@Suzanne: Your idea more or less is what the original plan from the district was. The main drawback for doing that is that there isn't enough space and it would require large number of portables in the back parking lot during those 2 years.

One other random idea that occurs to me is that the district could break with the current feeder pattern for middle schools and construct them separately just as they do for the high schools. So for instance, you could split Wedgewood in half if you wanted part to go to one middle school and part to go to another in order to balance out the numbers. You'd breakup some cohorts which I'm sure would upset people but middle school is a big transition point anyway as far as friends go. This is only a small potential piece of any possible alternative since you still have to make the other hard trade offs.


Anonymous said...

Agree. Split Eckstein to start JAMS. My child would be yanked out but he'll be better off without the impossibly overcrowded halls and windowless bug-infested portables.

Anonymous said...

Reposting this proposal from another thread (from poster Sea of Schools)

Even though I am in the group with an APP 6th grader subjected to the spilt and the move, keeping any portion of APP at HIMS is a bad capacity decision and continues a bad practice of having so many programs housed at a single building. And as another commenter mentioned above, flipping teachers from general ed to APP and vice versa as was the case for many this year does not help stability and the development of a stable program. Having an APP site elsewhere will help HIMS serve Language Immersion and the neighborhood far better than it is currently able to.

For the NE, the JAMS middle school roll up is a terrible mistake as no 7th and 8th graders are likely to opt out and if they do, they will come to a one classroom per grade "comprehensive" school. While some portables would be required, a blended MS approach could be used to a point until JA K-8 moves out in 2016 and all grades are established at JAMS.

This proposal would also eliminate the Wilson-Pacific roll up for ALL students.

Under my proposal for North End assignment feeder patterns (incorporating most suggestions given here):

Next Year-2014
-Move all HIMS APP to John Marshall (Grades 6, 7, and 8)
-Move Bagley and Greenwood Elementary (as proposed in Round 1) to HIMS Service Area, filling some of the available capacity, increased language immersion numbers will account for the empty space in the long term.
-Begin roll up of JAMS alongside JA K-8 onsite with John Rogers, Cedar Park/Olympic Hills, and Olympic View (proposed area). No 7th and 8th grade option, you could join the K-8 however.
-Broadview Thomson K-8 would be reassigned back to Whitman AA with no impact
-Temporarily hold Northgate Elementary, Sacajawea, and Wedgwood in current feeder patterns until 2016.

-Continue to roll up of JAMS with Grade 7 added

2016-2017 School Year
-Move JA K-8 to new site at Pinehurst
-Establish stand-alone site for JAMS in Grades 6, 7, and 8 (integrate Sacajawea, Northgate, and Wedgwood-if needed to JAMS)

2017-2018 School Year
-Open the Wilson-Pacific Middle School site (determine if an all APP move is the correct choice at that time and determine if additional space is available for another program)

If you have any other questions or comments, please comment! I would like to circulate this proposal among the entire north end staff and family communities, to see if it is viable for implementation.

HIMS 7th Grade Family

Anonymous said...

When APP North kids were moved from Washington it was as a sizable 6-7-8 with APP experienced teachers. There was no grandfathering. Thus, a stable nucleus was in place to establish a new site for the program.

All these various roll-up and multi-split proposals are very bad for the kids!

The sixth-grade academy idea is not good for APP kids, or WP kids or JAMS kids. It is not a comprehensive experience and doesn't provide an experience like a kid going to a normal middle school like Eckstein or Mercer would get, with languages, sports, music, etc. This is not equity.

Reject the roll-up. Move as an entire founder population of 6-7-8 with the teachers that know the kids and the APP curriculum.

open ears

Anonymous said...

As the parent of an APP 6th grader at HIMS, I say no to pulling them all out. This class has had enough transition. Everyone else in the district gets to grandfather in to their school - that is for good reason, and it applies even to unpopular APP kids. There is a reason you finish out at the school. I'm sorry that the next class will have pain, but that pain should be mitigated by the district sweetening the pot of the rollup, not on the backs of the current HIMS 6th and 7th graders, just so that the 6th graders have older kids with them. There is no advantage to the older kids. I hate that it has come to this - class against class, program against program. but this class has been split in 1st grade, then moved, then had all sorts of uncertainty - until the end of JUNE when we finally got the letter from Banda they were going to HIMS. Enough is enough. Let them stay at HIMS. Share the pain.
6th grade Hawk parent

JM said...

6th grade hawk parent, your kid is only at Hamilton since the APP @ Lincoln community fought hard last year for you to not be subjected to a roll-up at John Marshall. So, now that we fought hard for you, you'll just leave our kids to languish? I wish I had had a low enough moral fiber to have petitioned for your kid starting the roll-up last year so mine would have benefited, but I wasn't made that way.

I'm glad you benefited from the community. I imagine we will make it through without your support.

Anonymous said...

To HIMS 7th grade family - I like your suggestion as it applies to APP, JAMS, and JAK8. (I don't know enough about the other schools involved to speak one way or the other as to how your plan impacts them.) I hate roll ups, and I also hate tearing kids away from existing programs (thinking of the JAMS kids here), but the roll up is palatable if done alongside the K8 so there would be a solid body of middle schoolers on-site. I think it's the best idea. My one tweak would be that APP 6/7/8 should stay at Lincoln/annex to HIMS if at all possible (rather than interim at John Marshall). Interim at John Marshall as second choice. But keep 6/7/8 together for sure.

Thanks for your thoughtful proposal.

Anonymous said...

Hopeful, I actually can't take credit for this, it is from a fellow NE elementary and HIMS APP parent "Sea of Schools". I agree it seems like a good proposal, and to 6th Grade hawk parent, I am right there with you except that my child is currently in 7th Grade APP so would, under this plan be spilt off for the final middle school year. Not ideal, but if an annex couldn't work and a community of learners with similar needs could be established at John Marshall and HIMS by next year. I am all for it.

HIMS 7th Grade Family

Anonymous said...


No need for the hateful rhetoric, really. And I am unclear what you or the Lincoln community did for my kids' class. This all seems to be up to the winds of politics downtown. Don't make it sound like you were out banging a drum or that the school rallied around a cause. Most parents didn't even know what was happening. We're all being screwed over - but I think my kids' class has had enough. Happy to help you argue for more support for the roll up. I guess I wish I had the low moral fiber to anonymously slam people on a blog, but I guess I'm just not made that way.

I really hope it works out for your family.

6th grade Hawk parent

Anonymous said...

@hopeful - the only way a roll-up *might* seem palatable if it is *not your kid* being rolled up. No way to the roll ups. They are such a bad idea, I don't think they'll actually happen.

Yanking a kid out of school. Tearing a kid out of school. Well, if you are splitting a school, and you bring a big enough cohort, everyone suffers, but everyone has a friend too. It's hard, but it's not hard like - your kid doesn't have a comprehensive middle school experience hard. The era of grandfathering may be over. The problems are too big. We can't all share in the pain *except for my kid*.

Regarding geographic splits for middle school just like high school: apparently that is difficult because it makes it hard to pitch instruction correctly when kids are coming from different schools. What that tells you is that different schools are doing different things - different text books etc. If instruction was consistent across Seattle schools then use of geographic boundaries rather than middle school feeders wouldn't be an issue. (Heck, all this wrangling over schools wouldn't be an issue.) Geographic boundaries will exacerbate the problem of sending a school with (potentially) few friends for schools near middle school boundaries.


Cl said...

Uncertain, that is interesting. I never knew why they used the feeder school pattern. The odd thing is that would mean each school in the feeder area would have similar instruction and curriculum. I can't imagine that being much different than geographic boundaries. Oh well, weird, not probably working out as expected, but interesting info.

I don't know why they don't get rid of guaranteed assignment. You could be in a sort of cluster based on address with a guarantee of, say, 1 of 2 schools. Distance could be tie breaker.

Anonymous said...

It's not that the elementary schools within a middle school area all have the same instruction - it's that with a feeder pattern the middle schools needs to harmonize across fewer different elementary school.

One other interesting tid-bit. I never realized there is an issue about enrollment size, and what a big problem it is to have a building with excess capacity. Each enrolled student brings money to the school, so if you have a big school without a lot of students the school is missing out on resources that would come with the additional students. Not only is there money, there is staff associated with school size. For example, once you get past 400 (?) the school gets both a principal and an associated principal. This is the problem for BF Day. They need a somewhat bigger boundary to fill and bring money for more programs. I wish BF Day reps had gotten a chance to speak tonight.


Anonymous said...

Uncertain - I'm not sure if you are criticizing what I wrote or just expressing anger generally. I didn't mean to imply that a roll up is ok as long as it's not my kid. I don't like them for any kid, but with a brand new middle schools (JAMS), it's either roll-up, or pull kids out of existing programs, right? (I can't think of a third option - can you?) I think both ideas are terrible, and as between both evils, I would usually chose pulling out all kids (all grades) to start the new school - hands down. However, in this case, there is a very unusual opportunity for a roll-up to occur alongside an existing middle school program - JAK8. In this unusual case, I think a roll-up is not as terrible as it would otherwise be. I could live with it if it were my kid. I have a lot of respect for the JAK8 program and know several middle schoolers there who are thriving and whose families love it there, so do I think it is terrible to consider JAMS attendance area kids attending middle school alongside those K8 kids? No, I don't. It would all be in how those two programs combine for certain things (music, sports, etc) or don't.

You are entitled to your own opinion, of course. I'm no expert here, and there is no ideal outcome. I was just expressing my opinion. If you feel strongly that it would be better to pull all JAMS kids out of Eckstein at once, then I hope you express that view.

Hoping we can all steer clear of personal attacks here.


Anonymous said...

@hopeful - sorry. I feel like I've read people saying that of course they think the roll-up is bad but something's got to be done, but don't take my kid out of their school. I took it out on you. not ok. really, angry at the district for not seeing this coming and planning ahead.

I do think that creating an entire JAMS 6/7/8 by moving kids from Eckstein ends up being a better solution because of the district resources that travel with those kids. Opening JAMS with more kids and kids across all grades, will mean enough resources and students onsite to become a comprehensive middle school. And moving a larger group will lessens their hardship. Seems the schools could have some joint events (even joint graduation) to lessen the sting of having to move 8th grade students out.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for your post, uncertain. Who knew that opening a new middle school (which should be a good think overall, right?) would be so difficult! No easy answers. You may be right that a complete separation is best. The bigger the JAMS attendance area, the easier the separation would be. As it is, I fear the group is too small, and kids leaving Eckstein for JAMS will be among a very small minority. If 1/3 of the kids were leaving together, it wouldn't feel so sad. (I think that's why some impacted families would agree that all of APP should leave HIMS together -- at least the entire cohort would be together!)

Wishing for a magic solution here . . .


Catherine said...

I think the plan is a disaster on two fronts - first - it's too complex to be throughly thought out and will have affects not anticipated and need tuning in timeframes that aren't possible. Secondly, it feels like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. A district spokesperson is quoted "There are too many students and not enough seats," Sorry... I forgot the name. So... it doesn't really matter where seats are created... current schools, or shuffled locations. Why go through the pain of 95% of these shuffles.

Here's my suggestion - source totally different portables (they're available, other districts use them,, this one just can't source their way out of a paper bag). Portables... with windows... and heaters that both work and don't wake the neighbors up at 3am (and disrupt class during the day)... and good lighting, and connect them to a central bathroom pod (these are available and in the scheme of this mess, not that expensive to plumb). Add portable farms to solve 95% of these space issues. Then.. adjust carefully the 5% that can't be fixed this way. And build what needs to be built. Sure some central service areas will have to be more creatively used - but with the packaged lunches the kids get now... perhaps K-1 should stay in their classrooms for lunch. Or do what they did for baby boomers - 4 lunch periods at some schools. It can be done - and frankly I think with a lot better results than plan 1 or plan 2.

Also, any district staffer and board member who was around for the right sizing fiasco, led by corporate interests I should add, must retire. This boundary mess is a symptom. They're notoriously bad with numbers, and with a math equation this complex.. okay it's really algebra... they're doomed to fail this test too.

Anonymous said...

There is a third option to either roll up or hard split.

Find someone who is really really important to the over-full school and give them a great incentive to move to the new school.

In the case of Eckstein, if the principal, head of the music department, head of the math department or something like that were to go to the new school, then there are families that would follow for that leadership. Leadership matters.

When Julie B moved to TM from Lowell, that one move gave families and teachers lots of confidence that it would all work out.

Who is the leader at Eckstein that could convince families and teachers that moving to JAMS is good for everyone.

- north seattle mom

Melissa Westbrook said...

"it's too complex to be throughly thought out" - I agree Catherine. There will be no perfect plan but there are way to many moving parts here.

North Seattle Mom, is also right. I think moving Julie B and also David Elliot at Queen Anne Elementary sent a signal to those communities that the district was sincere in getting it right.

Anonymous said...

What if they moved the head of the music department out of Hamilton with all of app to JM? Would people move then?

-music mom

Susan said...

I think that is a good idea. Move leadership from Ecstein (the principal and music department?) to the new JAMS and aim to split the schools evenly by geography or feeder schools. I think this would make many of the families feel better and help the school to get off the ground running.

apparent said...

Reopening John Marshall Middle School . . .

"I would rather there be a solution that could keep APP MS together at one site." Eden, 10/17 @12.58am

"The SPS staff-calculated capacity for John Marshall:
- Housing a middle school program: 952
- Housing a K-8 program: 850
Happy to share other data info from Capital Planning." Joe Wolf,
K-12 Planning Coordinator, SPS, jawolf@seattleschools.org

There is indeed one obvious solution that will *permanently* keep all of north Seattle MS APP together at one site, not just on an interim basis. It stares us all in the face, yet only now do we return its gaze.

John Marshall was originally built as a middle school and it should be used now to keep all of the north Seattle MS APP together without needlessly splitting this cohort any further. Establishing JM from the outset as its own comprehensive middle school including all of north Seattle APP together with Pinehurst or some other right-sized option program ensures full music, sport, etc., so there will be little attrition or loss of critical academic mass. Like Wilson-Pacific Elementary, John Marshall Middle School is ideally located for families both northeast and northwest.

In the long term, a reopened John Marshall Middle School is large enough to include all of the north Seattle MS APP cohort, even accepting the wildly inflated and unsupported number increase projected by SPS (which the board should treat with more than a grain of salt). The revised decision is now being made to maintain the north Seattle ES APP cohort intact at Wilson-Pacific, seemingly meeting with popular approval as evidenced by these threads. SPS will win corresponding popular support for keeping MS APP intact at a revived John Marshall Middle School and thus relieving MS capacity pressure elsewhere throughout all north Seattle neighborhoods.

While moving all of north Seattle MS APP to the reopened John Marshall Middle School makes perfect sense as a permanent solution, by keeping the entire cohort and ideally teaching staff intact it would also make sense even as an interim solution in the event that any later move should ever occur. For example, to Wilson-Pacific MS, although SPS staff are not pointing in that direction, nor does there seem to be a continued unified chorus on these threads identifying an intact MS WP cohort as a realistic likelihood since the revised ES WP choice was announced. Yet starting John Marshall Middle School as a (brand?) new (in fact reopened!) comprehensive middle school including the intact APP cohort does not foreclose any such continuing deliberations; rather at a very minimum it buys the district as many years of time as it needs to do this right.

Once the necessary decision to reopen John Mashall Middle School now as a comprehensive middle school including APP is made, many if not most of the neighborhood capacity issues raised in these threads will be significantly relieved or sometimes eliminated; and like ES APP the MS APP program will flourish into the future without needless splitting.

Because this proposal includes an interim solution within the permanent solution, it is also posted on the current Intermediate Capacity Plan thread. From that revealing thread, Eden and others, thank you for all your hard work modelling these numbers, as evidenced by your after midnight post, but can we all please do this one more time on the revised assumption that John Marshall Middle School is reopened now as a comprehensive middle school including an intact north Seattle APP?

Joe Wolf, also from that open thread, thanks so much for reading, chiming in, and helping us out with the numbers, I really hope you and other SPS capacity planners are still reading this, and will bring this proposal to reopen John Marshall Middle School as its own new fully comprehensive MS with you to the work session this afternoon and beyond, and that you will eventually present it as the favored option to the board.

apparent said...

On reopening John Marshall Middle School as a fully comprehensive middle school now . . .

Requesting indulgence for this following post on a very important topic, for speed and efficiency let me try to refute now the most likely objections to *reopening* John Marshall Middle School as its own fully comprehensive middle school asap including the north Seattle APP community intact.

1. "Needed as Interim Site"?
This has been claimed in the past, but the claim is mathematically incoherent. Every student must be seated somewhere and by definition putting every enrolled MS APP student together with some other program into the reopened John Marshall Middle School will release an exactly equal number of seats elsewhere in the system in whatever school building that can then be released for "interim" use as north seattle school construction projects continue without interruption. Moreover, we should always search for long-term rather than interim capacity solutions: this would remove a major source of neighborhood instability; and if necessary, SPS can find new buildings like the old Mohai museum, the University Heights School Building which they recently sold for $1.00 (like the nearby Ravenna School building around the same time), or rent buildings or use eminent domain as needed for interim use.
2. "Won't Solve Capacity Crunch Elsewhere"
This has been claimed in the current discussion of alternatives to the draft Intermediate Capacity Plan. This claim too is mathematically incoherent. After reopening John Marshall Middle School, vacated APP seats at Hamilton MS, for example, can obviously be filled by other programs or else adjusting neigborhood boundaries. As one obvious example, keep Laurelhurst Elementary feeding into Hamilton as it does now instead of shifting it to Eckstein under the current proposal, others can easily be devised by the plenty smart SPS planners and engaged community already working on this together.
3. "Proximity to Freeway"?
This has been claimed in the past, but it is an unprincipled argument unless its environmentalist advocates also advocate shutting down TOPS K-8 and John Stanford International School, both of which stand closer to I-5 and go unchallenged. A counter argument in the environmentalist literature condemns the abandonment of historic school buildings including John Marshall Middle School in favor of constant new construction with major environmental damage. It is also easy to visualize the necessary filtering systems, a solid freeway barrier, and a dense stand of tall columnar trees as obvious measures, maybe with some federal financing?
4. "APP Family Approval"?
This claim is unsupported by the voices on these threads, and indeed was specfically posed to APP families in the PTA survey taken when previously threatened with splitting: a clear majority (no time to check percentage right now) favored the John Marshall Middle School building over elementary splitting. The same middle school sentiment appears on these threads.
5. "Equity"?
This claim may be raised, although the decision to keep north Seattle APP ES together at Wilson-Pacific is being made while south Seattle would be split with two additional options. Since enrollment is guaranteed to all qualified students, and a separate task force is now looking and outreach, there is no reason why reopening John Marshall Middle School cannot enhance advanced learning equity in north Seattle.

Apart from those above, is there any stronger objection to reopening John Marshall Middle School including north Seattle MS APP intact?

Anonymous said...


I posted something similar on the APP blog about keeping north-end APP MS together at least through the next three year transition. No roll-up anywhere.

I don't think the district will go for a stand-alone MS program, but at least keep it together for three years so teachers can have a chance to create curriculum (in the absence of the district doing it--like the current 7th grade APP science teacher did) and mentor all of the new teachers who came on board during the recent growth.


Anonymous said...

3. "Proximity to Freeway"?
This has been claimed in the past, but it is an unprincipled argument unless its environmentalist advocates also advocate shutting down TOPS K-8 and John Stanford International School, both of which stand closer to I-5 and go unchallenged.

Many existing schools have possible health and safety issues, from asbestos to lead paint to earthquake and fire safety. There are risks from many of the buildings simply because they are old. That said, knowingly placing young students a short distance from the freeway, in a location without any air filtration or other mitigation such as a wall or natural barrier or trees is not principled. The district should take air quality measurements and assess the risk. It's a risk not only to children, but to teachers, especially those that are pregnant. It's not a healthy work environment/location. According to the King5 report, one of the existing schools mentioned has added filtration, but not JM.

Given it's location, it shouldn't be anything but an interim site, in order to minimize exposure to a given student population.

-no JM

Anonymous said...

The King5 report on JM:

Exhaust, diesel fumes

-no JM

dw said...

In any and all scenarios, students will be at John Marshall, over the coming years, there's no way around it. Most interim placements will be 2-3 years, and siting APP MS there would (should) be for 3 years, followed by a move to WP, presumably intact, that would make perfect sense to allow for other buildings to continue to use JM on an interim basis.

I don't necessarily buy the argument that APP stays at JM permanently, and I do think that anyone using that building deserves a filtration system (but they are expensive). But by far the best solution for both APP and the rest of the north end, one that spreads the pain and overcrowding while we're waiting for WP to come online, is for APP to move intact to JM for now.

The decision of how/where to move them later, or whether to split at that time, will depend HUGELY on the upcoming changes to identification. It makes absolutely no sense whatsoever to be planning for growth/split to middle school APP right now when the future numbers are dependent on the results of these decisions that won't even be made until several months from now, let alone understanding how they will pan out in real life.