Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Do Feeder Patterns Make Gerrymandered Boundaries (the Crazy-Quilt Effect)?

Discuss among yourselves if this basic change might make the entire Enrollment plan better (Libros says her life would be easier) or should just be used for high school.

61 comments:

Anonymous said...

Personally, I feel that stability in elementary school boundaries is more important that the feeder patterns to middle school. I would favor geographic boundaries for middle school if it would allow elementary boundaries to remain more stable (instead of having to gerrymander them so they fit within a feeder pattern). I would particularly support this in the NE so that the southern portion of Wedgwood Elementary could attend Eckstein.

-pro geographic boundaries

Anonymous said...

I think this would be a good change.

Another alternative: have a small geozone around every school - perhaps 5 blocks or so. Give anyone in the geozone the option of attending that school regardless of the official attendance area.

E.g., give families in south Wedgewood the option of either staying with their cohort or attending their nearest school.

jsh

Patrick said...

I like having the middle school feeder pattern. Middle school is a difficult time for kids. Much is new, and they are not yet as able to make friends as they are in high school. If possible, I prefer that they be allowed to stay with their classmates from elementary. I realize, though, that what's possible for a district that isn't full to the gills is not necessarily going to be possible in Seattle.

I like jsh's suggestion of giving families a choice if they're very close to a nearby middle school that's not their assignment m.s.
I wonder if that would be possible without overcrowding the m.s.

Anonymous said...

I think it would be much better to assign based on geographical boundaries at all levels than to have feeder patterns. Easier for Tracy Libros & her staff, easier for families to understand the implications when they move house, and a lot less churn.

jsh's alternative is good, but I'd make the geozone 10 blocks (but not major arterials like crossing I5 or Aurora). That's only a few minutes' walk and seems reasonable.

-flibbertigibbet

Anonymous said...

reposting this comment from kellie another thread

I feel very strongly that the "promised stability" of feeder patterns is just an illusion. Feeder patterns are a really lovely educational ideal. But they only work in districts that have stable enrollment or they are growing in a planned fashion as a part of suburban housing developments.

From a very simple point of view, if you change the feeder patterns every 12 years than every student will at one point in their public school experience, go though this type of boundary change.

This last round of feeder patterns did not even last 4 years. I highly doubt that this current round of feeder patterns will last 3 years. Very likely BTA IV will also bring on new capacity and corresponding boundary changes, so we get to do this again.

Why am I so opposed to feeder patterns? It is because feeder patterns cause too many secondary and tertiary changes. Right now the district is planning to add three new middle schools. Families know this and are expecting to have some changes at middle school, particularly if you live close to that new middle school.

However, the feeder pattern system necessitates that you can't just change the middle schools boundaries but instead you must gerrymander all of the elementary school boundaries so that they elementary schools squeeze into the feeder pattern.

Bluntly put, the primary effect of feeder patterns is that elementary school boundaries are irrelevant because the higher priority is that the elementary school is food for the middle school.

There is more than enough change coming. If the feeder patterns are removed then, the district can simply change what needs to be changed independent of this cascade effect.

While the change at Wedgwood is getting a lot of visibility, the change at Olympic View is much more drastic and really highlights the unnecessary changes caused by a feeder pattern. Maple Leaf is now divided into three schools and a significant chunk of the West side of I5 will not be bussed to Olympic View.

- parent

Anonymous said...

Perhaps I don't understand feeder patterns well enough, but didn't we used to have geographic boundaries? This wasn't on my radar then, but I distinctly remember Magnolia and QA parents pointing out on this blog that all the high schools in these neighborhoods were sold, and thus the kids in that part of town didn't have any high school that they could predictably enroll in. I think someone on a different thread referred to these areas as "school deserts".

Moose

Patrick said...

Moose, back then there were no neighborhood schools with guaranteed enrollment. Distance was one of several tiebreakers. Yes, some areas of town had no option except to be bussed to a less full school at the other end of the city. That's the situation the new student assignment plan was reacting to. So we guaranteed students enrollment nearby and redrew the lines, but some schools have ended up way too full. Also the students who need or want something other than a neighborhood assignment school get moved around or targeted for closure at whim. APP has been split multiple times, option schools squeezed out of sections of the city, to make room for neighborhood assignments.

The District tried to run guaranteed assignment schools and at the same time have every school be 90% full. Those goals are ultimately incompatible.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Patrick. But this begs the question as to how geography would be a better system? Won't we still have areas that have too few schools for capacity? Sorry to be dense, but I am trying to wrap my head around this.

Moose

Meg said...

We assign elementary and high school by address. It would make so much more sense, and allow significantly more predictability to move middle schools to by-address assignment, as well.

If enrollment was stable, feeder patterns might be viable. But enrollment, particularly in the north end, continues to grow at a pretty impressive clip.

And I suspect that the crazy gerrymandering that the feeder pattern system creates does not help the transportation budget.

kellie said...

As I have stated here and elsewhere, it is my opinion that at least 80% of the pain of this plan is because of feeder patterns.

Beacon Hill, Maple Leaf, Wedgwood, they are just a few of the neighborhoods begin gerrymandered.

Anonymous said...

Seeing the craziness of the proposed maps, I think feeder patterns need to go.

Someone brought up a point about direct distance I hadn't considered--that some areas, being not particularly close to any school, get the shaft. But if enough thought is put in, I think a more flexible geographic system would work well and could be reasonable and fair. One thing they probably would not be able to integrate, but would be great, is access to public transportation/major arterials. For middle and high school that can end up being more relevant than as-the-crow-flies distance. Setting aside a certain number of seats for people who move in district after open enrollment and guaranteeing an assignment within the nearest, say, 3 schools would make it pretty user friendly.
--3Kids3Schools

Anonymous said...

I'm convinced. Feeder patterns aren't a good idea. We could forge a better school system without them. Was particularly moved by Kellie's post.

Could someone write that amendment and forward it to KSB or SP?

- Pops

Anonymous said...

Even if middle school assignment by address makes more sense to those in the thick of the mess, take a step back.

Changing this core enrollment pattern would cause upheaval again, because even more families will be impacted, even if it is ultimately stabilizing to the patterns.

Not a chance of a pig flying that such a change would happen now, and questionable as to whether staff and board would want to make it a priority for next year as it would use up all mindshare for another year, and there is plenty of indication that board and staff want to move on to other issues.

In any case, this year's problem will need solutions that board/staff can act on in the next week or so. That rules out all kinds of good out of the box thinking, because any additional detailed analysis will be DOA.

Don't forget, DeBell, Carr, HMM are ready to revert back to Suggestion 2, and let the chips fall afterward.

Annoying. Wrong. But reality.

Seen It

Eric B said...

To Patrick's first point, middle school boundaries are a lot bigger than the elementary boundaries. That means that each middle school would have a core of schools that pretty much always go to that school. There would be some elementaries on the edges that would be split, but it certainly wouldn't be every school.

kellie said...

@ Seen it,

That is actually not the case. The bulk of the changes to elementary school boundaries have been generated because of the feeder pattern system. If that system were abandoned, those changes would just disappear.

Moreover, there are significant parts of town, particularly, near Mercer where large batches of students are finding their middle school assignments jumbled. If you just dropped feeder patterns and left things that are working alone, the number of changes would be reduced.

So this type of change, reduces churn and stabilizes enrollment patterns. Remember, there are under this current plan, large numbers of students who "thought" they would be feeding into one middle school, will remain at their current elementary and now be going elsewhere. Now while this certainly makes sense in the case of capacity issues and newly opened schools. In the case of Mercer, it is simply change for the sake of sake of change and nothing else.

SB said...

As someone who works in a middle school I completely agree that the middle school feeder pattern is the best thing for Middle school students as it is a difficult time for kids. Much is new, and they have difficulty making friends. the loss of elementary friends would be very tragic to them. going to a new school with 6 new teachers is already hard enough for adolescents, if they had to leave their elementary friends behind too it would be devastating to them. elementary students should feed in to a middle school together to ease the transition. Geozones are a bad idea for the elementary to middle school transition.

Anonymous said...

As a mother of a middle school girl I don't know if I agree with you about that SB. Kids can have a hard time breaking into an already established group, but shaking things up a bit in 6th grade can actually be good for kids. When many people are new rather than most people already in established groups it can mean new opportunities for friendships, the break up of some cliques, and new beginnings for kids who were pigeonholed in a certain way in elementary school. It might be devastating for some kids to leave elementary school friends, but it might actually be freeing for some other kids. Girls especially can be very intense at this age and if its normal for everyone to start fresh with a new group, many will accept that and rise to the challenge. I agree middle school is hard, but having a big pack of kids you have known since K there does not always make it easier.

Gen Ed Mom

Anonymous said...

Re geo zones vs feeders:

No children would be sent all by their lonesome to a middle school where they know no one. Most kids would still go to middle school with most of the kids who live around them. If a kid was on the far edge of an area, they might go the other direction - with kids they probably already know who live right in that area too.

For example, HYPOTHETICALLY only, alright? - Greenwood Elem. zone straddles Greenwood Ave. In a geo zone Middle school assignment, hypothetically the kids west of Greenwood Ave might go to Whitman and the kids east of it go to Wilson Pacific, if that's what the district decided. None of the kids are alone - they know people from Greenwood that they're going to MS with, on their block or one block over, or four blocks over, even if some of their elem. peers are going to the other school. They certainly know neighborhood kids around them through activities, etc. who will be assigned to their middle school but were in a different elem. school.

The district shouldn't be in the business of guaranteeing that a kid gets to go to school with their bestie, with everyone they've been with forever. (debatable whether that's even a good thing with kids in/out of cliques, etc).

It's a balancing act - getting predictability in the system, and stability.

signed -- agree w/Kellie

Anonymous said...

Also, I want to pick up something said in another thread about how the school district wants the feeder patterns because the kids will all come into their middle schools with the same level of preparedness. To me this is really disgusting. So some elementary schools are preparing kids well in the Gen Ed program and others are not, and the school district's solution to that is to use MS feeder patterns so that all the unprepared kids continue on to MS together? Why not figure out why some schools are underperforming and address that issue? It points to what I have said before, the Gen Ed program in Seattle is not stable or consistent across the district and, in fact, may be less so than the AL programs.

Gen Ed Mom

Anonymous said...

I don't know how the school district thinks they could get the same level of preparedness when 4 to 8 elementary schools are feeding into one middle school. That argument isn't valid. Is that a quote from someone at the school district or just hearsay?

- RK

Anonymous said...

Agree with Kellie, to me that sounds just about perfect for this age group. You get to stay with some but not all of the kids you know, you get some new faces in the mix, you still have friends nearby. I think it would be fine if not better than the feeder patterns for most kids.

Gen Ed Mom

Anonymous said...

RK, according to Lori on the open thread for neighborhood boundary meetings Tracy Libros said parents want feeder patterns AND schools like them because they think its easier to teach kids who are at the same level of preparation. That's a paraphrase not a quote according to Lori.

Gen Ed Mom

kellie said...

SB is doing a great job of describing the "fantasy" of feeder patterns but not the reality.

The reality is that since we are at 100% capacity and likely to continue for the foreseeable future that the boundary for middle school is a geographic boundary. It just so happens that within that boundary all of the elementary schools are bent and shaped into that middle school boundary.

This means that for anyone that is at an elementary school that is the boundary between two middle schools that your school cohort will be routinely divided between two middle schools and the effect of "going together" will never happen as it takes a minimum of six years of stability for the cohort to match the feeder pattern. If anyone thinks that the boundaries won't change for six years, well ... that's another issue.

Because the elementary boundaries are all being moved, your cohort is divided. Just take a look at schools like Bagley or Olympic View. Students who were assigned to those schools as part of their assignment area will be divided between three middle schools are part of the new feeder patterns.

The reality of the situation is that the boundary for middle school is already a geographically drawn area. It is just the area in question is gerrymandered.

Anonymous said...

Gen Ed Mom, in your first statement you said "...the school district wants the feeder patterns because the kids will all come into their middle schools with the same level of preparedness". In your follow up to me you said " Tracy Libros said parents want feeder patterns AND schools like them because they think its easier to teach kids who are at the same level of preparation." It sounds like Tracy believes that's what parents want. It does not sound like she said the school district necessarily believes that. That is an important distinction.

- RK

Anonymous said...

I just want to point out that no matter what, there will be new kids at middle school to contend with. I agree that shaking things up a bit for all the kids in 6th grade is a good thing overall. I teach in a middle school, and I know that the cliques and groups realign significantly in middle school, especially with girls.

One possibility is a hybrid approach. Some elementaries are divided into two feeder zones. Wedgwood would be a perfect example of this. Everything north of, say 83rd goes to JAMS, and everyone south to Eckstein. There would still be a cohort for each school, and walkability would be preserved.

SMH

kellie said...

SMH is correct. If you went with geographic boundaries, it would be much easier to make certain that a substantial cohort from each school went to the middle school and that the school broke into two rather than three cohorts. With the current, shifting boundaries experience, you have handfuls of kids that are drawn out with every change.

Anonymous said...

I apologize. It sounds to me like Tracy said the SCHOOLS want it because of levels of preparedness. So, yes, I should have specified schools not the school district. I don't know why parents want it, but I would guess from this board it has something to do with friendships from elementary school.

Gen Ed Mom

Anonymous said...

There is not too much comment on this, but I am really opposed to having kids who are already enrolled and settled at Eckstein pulled out and sent across town. I get that there need to be boundary lines somewhere, but let my kid finish. Middle school is hard enough without having to switch schools in the middle. And DO consider walkability.

mirmac1 said...

Gen Ed Mom, you are an Oracle. You have described the situations present at my child's middle school.

kellie, if I weren't married and straight, I would marry you. Except you forget to mention WS is victimized as well : )

signed -- agree w/Kellie, same thing.

SMH- "I know that the cliques and groups realign significantly in middle school, especially with girls." AMEN!

Middle school is a rite of passage. Rather than focus on designing a Sim-City MS, let us focus on ensuring every MS has the climate that let's all children - cliqued or not - move to that next level of social interaction.

Anonymous said...

True that. If we can get rid of feeder schools thinking these ES kids must be kep together from K to HS and consider addresses instead, can we do the same with APP as long as we make viable cohort size? The nice thing about this it allows some non APP students who are very strong in one area to take APP level classes and avoid rigid tracking by locking people out of classes they are capable of doing (and vice versa).

curious2

Lynn said...

curious2,

What are you suggesting? APP assignment is already by address.

Whiplashed in Phinney said...

Kellie, Thank you for your persistence!!

We forwarded your comments to Bagley Elementary and several people who don't usually comment have responded -- it is resonating with people!

I get that feeder patterns for elementary schools don't work. However, I don't feel that I understand the non-feeder pattern alternatives --
although I think we may be exactly the kind of family you are talking about.

We live on the south eastern edge of the Whitman Boundary. We got into Bagley Elementary as during the Choice era,
and then under the new predictable, neighborhood schools campaign my 6th grader went to Whitman. Lots of Bagley kids went to HIMS either
by testing into APP (some to avoid Whitman) or going to Salmon Bay. They cohort that went from Bagley to Whitman that year was small.

Whitman was clueless about Bagley and we had a kerfuffle over math placement testing. The music program
at Whitman is different than all the large comprehensive middle schools -- it by grade rather than ability which
is unfortunate for my music loving kid.

We've survived -- had some great teachers and some meh ones. We were way happier once we gave up on the music program.
We enjoyed a spectacular year of Spectrum For All Who Qualify that was immediately dismantled because of lack of resources to support it
and unequal access to Spectrum -- a very real problem.

Next year she goes to high school. The vast majority of Whitman kids will go to Ballard and Ingraham. My daughter and a handful of others
will go to Roosevelt. It feels like we put in time at a middle school with very little future investment in a neighborhood we do not relate to.

How does this story relate to your solution. What would be the same? Different?

-Whiplashed near Green Lake/Aurora

Anonymous said...

It sounds like 90%+ of people on this blog agree that geozone for MS (and HS?) makes more sense than feeder schools. How do we get an amendment to the board?

-Agree with Agree with kellie, and kellie

Anonymous said...

Just to clarify - I think the geographic MS regions should be tied to the ES ones. In other words, for many elementary schools, the feeder school pattern to MS will work.

I am proposing careful and logical splits of certain ES zones into only two geographic regions, still within the specific elementary school border, and based generally on walkability.

As far as APP, it really should be in two buildings - one north, one south. And if there simply is no room in the north, bus them all south. There is a higher transportation cost, but in exchange for that you get a little more room in the north schools, and very likely a smaller APP cohort as borderline students opt to stay in their neighborhood. Those who have no other choice for their child will almost always pick the program, even if they travel a long distance.

And locating APP at Eckstein is just dumb. Too much hate for the program there, especially if it is perceived as kicking out WW students, who are already pretty testy about Spectrum. If this really is a planned attempt to kill the program, then shame on them for treating students and families so shabbily, both in APP and in Gen Ed. To deliberately fuel hate and animosity in an already tense environment is breathtakingly and unnecessarily cruel.

Overall, I give the District and the Board a D-, no make than an F, for incredibly poor planning on this. They have had three years to work on this, and it looks like they did not start on this project until the last minute. Furthermore, they are working without even basic information from a demographer or trained capacity/facilities planners, and clearly are just throwing out anything they can to see if it sticks. It is amateurish, politicized, and embarrassing to watch, frankly.

SMH

Anonymous said...

People please-do not waste your time on an amendment to make middle school attendance by address. It will not happen this year. 100 percent guaranteed. It is not feasible to do the analysis and outreach involved on a turnaround timeline of weeks. Impossible. Pipe dream. Waste of time and energy. Dead.

The idea is fine and might be the solution, but it's a much longer discussion.

Seen It

Anonymous said...

@seenit
I don't know. For NE, it would just be a matter of cutting off WW and VR attendance areas at, say, 85th. Or 90th. Whatever is walkable to JAMS.

-itcouldwork

Anonymous said...

From the prospective of someone who will actually have a kid at JAMS (unless we give up on this fiasco, head to Shoreline), the Hale borders make sense for JAMS. Expanding the JAMS boundaries to include addresses south and west of the school, so that there is a more natural diversity at JAMS, makes sense.

Cramming in a cohort of segregated advanced learners to supposedly make the school more "diverse" does not make sense.

Does this matter? Nope, because our school board doesn't seem to care what the families with a guaranteed ticket to JAMS want. They are more concerned with how well APP is accommodated and appeasing those who will love Eckstein to death, and then complain that it is too overcrowded after JAMS opens and provides relief for only Hamilton.

- North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

For the JAMS/Eckstein issue, what about the following plan, which would also minimize stress for JAK-8. I am assuming 960 capacity at Addams and 755 current enrollment (but if these are off by too much, and portables aren't feasible, the plan would need to be modified)...

Current Eckstein 6th/7th graders: All students who attended Eckstein as 6th or 7th graders for 2013-14 would remain at Eckstein through 8th grade. This needs to be a priority.

Current JA K-8 students: These students would stay in their building through 2015-2016 and then move to the new site as planned. To make the proposals outlined below work, it may be necessary to use portables and/or limit the number of new students and entering kindergarteners during the transition period.

Students in the New Eckstein Attendance Area who will begin 6th grade in 2014-15 or 2015-16: New 6th graders who live in the new Eckstein attendance area would attend Eckstein.

Students in the New JAMS Attendance Area who will begin 6th grade in 2014-15 or 2015-16 would have two options:

1) Enroll at Eckstein as a “JAMS at Eckstein student.” As much as possible, these students would be kept together at Eckstein (classes and lunch period together whenever possible) to make the ultimate transition to the JAMS building in 2016-17 more manageable. Unlike current 6th and 7th graders, the students/families enrolled as “JAMS at Eckstein” will know about the future change and can plan accordingly.
2) Enroll at JAMS. The number of students who choose this option may need to be limited due to capacity issues at the Jane Addams site.

I imagine I'm missing something, but I'd be interested in people's thoughts.

-grandfather

kellie said...

Ok Seen It -- Let's put some cards on the table, because I have seen a lot myself over the years.

I think most people do know that it is significantly more "pragmatic" to focus on amendments at this point. The Board is going to be strong armed into "we have to pass this or bad things happen." In the same way that logic and reason left the room so that the school closures could march forward in the name of fiscal responsibility, the most likely outcome is that this plan is passed with amendments.

So if that is the case, what is possible?? As far as I can tell, the only group that will benefit from MDB and HMM amendment as discussed last night is Wedgwood. Wedgwood will get to go back to Eckstein, And here is that part that matters to me. Thousands of kids across the district are going to subjected to unnecessary changes and bussing costs will increase.

IMHO, it might be worth to do a little bit of tilting at windmills in order to daylight the insanity of this process.

kellie said...

There are three problems that are driving this mess.

1) very bad enrollment forecasts. The numbers are still not updated with the 2013 enrollment information. For example there are once again 100 more Kindergarten students in NE Seattle than expected. Those numbers are not included in the projections. And as a side note, this plan makes WW, VR and Bryant bigger despite the fact that they are bursting at the seems.

2) Feeder Patterns are the foundation of Gerrymandering. Because of feeder patterns, all of these elementary school boundaries are contorted to fit into the middle school. This creates a cascade effect of shifting boundaries in places where there just aren't any problems.

3) Program placement. They are trying to squeeze into to many students and still save space for special programs. They just don't fit and they will not acknowledge, that the NE has always been a net-exporter of students.

Even if 100% of the BEX projects were complete today, we would still be crowded.

So while it may not be "pragmatic" to talk about the reality on the ground. It is my time that I am wasting once again trying to bring logic and reason to conversations that are mostly about politics and not children.

kellie said...

@ Whiplashed in Phinney

My solution is that you just draw boundaries for middle school like you would for high school. There would still be some weird pockets where folks go in three directions but not as many because the areas would be more likely to be geographic and encompass a whole neighborhood and it would be much easier to highlight the odd spaces and make adjustments.

IMHO, daylight and fresh air are always the best medicine and by separating these boundaries, it is easier to daylight the real issues.

The feeder pattern system, causes things to bend and shape to fit the feeder pattern, not the neighborhood. So right now you have multiple areas scattered around the city where there are a handful of blocks that are effectively no-mans-land.

The high schools all have nice, clean, straight lines. It isn't perfect but is pretty stable. When they had to change Garfield's boundary, they only had to make three changes. One spot between Garfield and Franklin and then one spot between Franklin and Rainier Beach. They did not need to rezone the entire district.

They have to add three middle schools district wide. There is going to be disruption but they are changing every single elementary school in the area and many of them are just fine and could be left alone.

IMHO, the first rule, should be do the least harm. I would prefer do no harm but with three new middle schools, there is going to be plenty of hurt. We don't need to rezone the entire patchwork of elementary schools on top of the middle school situation.

Particularly as the next BTA is also going to bring on new capacity and therefore all of the changes scheduled for post 2015 will be changed. IMHO, that is not predictability.

Anonymous said...

@ Kellie. It is not that you are wrong, it is that there is no way that staff or board will allow the north end to operate on geographic divisions and the rest of the district on feeder school patterns. It cripples the idea of systemic operations.

Believe me, I agree that systemic operations currently in place are neither systemic nor operational.

The logical next step is that if the staff and board won't go for a north end geographic middle school assignment, then perhaps the whole district can and should move to geographic middle school assignment.

But then you've hit the wall of time. The system (think of it as a Borg) must make some decisions NOW to get moving for next year. Geographic middle school assignment is far too large a paradigm shift for the Borg to absorb in a limited timeframe.

So back to what I said, it may be a great idea. Probably it's a great idea. But it is a longer term decision and DOA in any amendment form as a tool for solving the current capacity crunch.

Does that mean a logical solution, possibly the best solution, won't be employed? Pretty much. But as you know, that's not a new modus operandi.

Seen It

Anonymous said...

With "grandfather"'s plan ("JAMS at Eckstein" for 2 years, JA K-8 stays in Jane Addams bldg for 2 yrs), John Marshall would be vacant. Would sending north APP kids together to John Marshall be an acceptable option for APP families?

-wondering

Anonymous said...

@ wondering: best to ask if it would be acceptable to JAK8 families who are already planning on moving south. with APP and JAMS there would be one principal. with JAK8 and JAMS there would be 2 principals, one building. and way more middle schoolers than elementary kids.

north ender

Anonymous said...

It would be an acceptable plan for this APP family. Then split APP 2016, depending on how their growth numbers pan out. I am perfectly willing to spit if/when these growth numbers actually happen (though I think if so the district needs to get staff and leadership to be willing to split, too, so no one group is off starting a whole program from scratch). But until then a permanent split of a program is too high of a price for any of these terrible plan.

-sleeper

Anonymous said...

@grandfather

If there was room at Eckstein for "JAMS at Eckstein" kids, then there wouldn't be a reason to start JAMS next year.

My impression is that a larger JAMS attendance area is needed to relieve Eckstein, and that there isn't room at the JA site to co-house both JA K-8 and a large JAMS cohort.

It's not just the massive number of kids at the site, it is one lunchroom, not enough bathrooms, etc... to support the two populations, and scheduling would be a nightmare.

- North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

Oh, I think I read it wrong. I thought it was just back to a roll up. I would make the JAMS placement mandatory. And I would keep the feeder schools broader (Sac and WW), so that combined with k-8 students they/we'd have a comprehensive enough school. Deb Nelson and Paula Montgomery are already working together- I can't imagine that would suddenly become a problem.

I think that the board is unfortunately seeing being sent to JAMS as a punishment, so they won't do it to schools they "like," but will send APP, because no one likes them, and then they can pretend it doesn't matter how diverse he gen ed program is, since the building FRL numbers won't look so bad. It doesn't have to be a punishment! It could be an amazing school! But they have to bring in enough feeders, and not just the poorest ones. Next they'll be suggesting sending Sand Point up to fill it.

-sleeper

Anonymous said...

Good questions, wondering and north ender. I would be interested in JA K-8 and APP feedback.

I would guess that if JA K-8 stayed in the Addams building, the entering 6th grade classes might be about the same size as the current entering 6th grade class (my understanding is that lots of neighborhood kids enrolled there this year), so the proportion of middle to elementary wouldn't be that much higher.

The dual principals at the Addams site for two years would incur costs, but perhaps those costs are warranted to minimize disruption (current Eckstein kids changing schools, JA K-8 with one less move, APP kept together) and create a smoother transition to the new MS. Perhaps some of these costs would be reduced by not needing to transport as many JA K-8 students (this assumes more are in the walk zone for Addams than would be for Marshall). If a vice principal was planned for JAMS next year, that wouldn't be needed for 2 years.

-grandfather

Anonymous said...

The Maple Leaf area is a total victim of the crazy quilt affect! It carved up because of its proximity to I-5 and its midpoint between the ship canal and the northern city limits AND the fact that 2 schools in our little area are only 20 blocks apart. It makes sense for Olympic View to pull in from a variety of places given the school's location. But moving to middle school and high school the same areas don't make sense. The middle school and high school buildings don't have that same unique location. Why would someone who lives in south Maple Leaf go to Ingraham? There are no social ties, geographic ties or neighborhood ties to somewhere that far away. That's one example. From the other side of the proposed OV boundary maps, why would someone who lives west of Aurora want to go to Hale or JAMS (if we changed yet again where the OV kids feed)? The same boundaries that make sense for an elementary don't necessarily make for logical feeder patterns. They need to separate elementary and middle school boundaries.

MamaZ

Anonymous said...

Grandfather -

If JAMS admits the same number of 6th graders next year as this year, that would increase enrollment at the middle school level probably by 150 or so (the 6-6th grade cores would become 7th graders and there would be 6 more cores of new 6th graders). That's on the conservative side, assuming the smaller number of feeder schools.

I would assume that only 3 K's would happen (since the Pinehurst site is being rebuilt with a building for 3 cores at each level), so that would likely be between 60-70 kids, so each year the 6-8 to K-5 ratio would get further out of balance.

~watching math

Anonymous said...

sleeper, If JAMS placement was mandatory for 6th graders, I don't think there would be enough room at Addams for both the K-8 and the 6th grade JAMS. (But maybe I'm misunderstanding what you're saying?) -grandfather

Anonymous said...

NorthEndMom, I'm not sure about the lack of space at Eckstein for another two years. If Laurelhurst stayed at Hamilton for 2 years (would be space if APP was at Marshall or another location), the numbers at Eckstein would probably be reasonable. The newest enrollment figures show Eckstein with 87 fewer students than what was expected this year. Interestingly, JA K-8 6th grade has a huge bubble this year...I think a lot of kids are choosing the Addams location (either for K-8 or anticipating JAMS).

Regarding space at Addams, I'd be interested in knowing more. Eckstein only has one lunch room, but they have worked around that with 3 lunch periods and creative use of other spaces. I wonder if Addams could do the same....seems like this would be necessary when used just as JAMS anyway.

Projected enrollment numbers for JA K-8 were 78 in each of grades K-2, 75 in 3, 70 in 4, 66 in 5, 163 in 6 (note bubble), 87 in 7, and 60 in 8, for a total of 755. The newest enrollment report shows 737 students (lower than projected by 18), but I don't know the grade distribution for the actual enrollment. If 100 6th grade students were added next year (for a total of about 166 6th graders) and K enrollment stayed the same (78 new K's), there would be 855 total students. If 100 6th graders were added the following year plus the K's, that would put the Addams building at 946, still just shy of its capacity without portables of 960. Yes, it would be tighter, especially for that last year, but it seems do-able. Again, though, I may be missing something.

-grandfather

kellie said...

@ Seen it.

I don't blame you or anyone else for wanting to go the "pragmatic" route and focus on potentially-plausible amendments. Having lived through the 08-09 closures I completely understand the "group-think" that prioritizes the decision-making-schedule above logic, reason and harmful outcomes. I get it. I am not naive.

I, however, simply can not support amending the current plan, because the harm is too great for too many communities, and the harm is greatest at schools that are less organized than Wedgwood and may have no idea of what's coming.

There are plenty of people who are going to go play on "team pragmatic." I strongly feel that someone needs to be on the "team common sense" if for no other reason than because.

This thread is supposed to be about feeder patterns and gerrymandering. But yet it so quickly fell into a "who goes where" conversation again. The focus on who get moved and who doesn't distracts from the fundamental issue that changing all of the elementary school boundaries in order to build a feeder pattern is gerrymandering and does much more harm that any good.

At the moment, we have heard almost nothing about all the split siblings this plan is going to create. Why? Because there hasn't been any time for any community to figure this out, yet. But every single elementary school boundary change is going to generate dozens of split siblings. It has taken four years for most elementary schools to get to the point where the sibling issues is almost settled. And now we are going to move all the lines and start all over again.

Families that went to their assignment school with the full expectation that their siblings would be going to that school are now being moved all over the place and that issue has zero daylight. Geographic boundaries may be a pipe dream but then I guess expecting your sibling to go to the same school is also a dream.

Finally, the fourth graders in the potential-possible Wilson Pacific Middle School attendance area are going to be intentionally sent to three schools in three years. I think that deserves some daylight as well.

What amendments have the possibility of doing is determining who is in that crazy Wilson Pacific plan and who is not. They are also going to determine who has split siblings and who does not.

It may be the equivalent of wishful thinking to suggestion something as simple as "do the least harm" or "do only what needs to be done for 2014" but I can't see right now how any amendment is going to help.

The bottom line is that we are out of space and this re-arranging of the deck chairs does not make things better for most families.







Anonymous said...

Sure they could. There are 4 classroom spaces left in the building, so it would only require 1 portable for 150 kids, obviously more for more. We could also consider limiting the JA k-8 k to 2, depending on surrounding k enrollment. The following year would need several new portables, but it seems less painful overall to have one year with portables rather than permanently split another community and permanently extra overcrowd a whole region doing so. And I certainly think it is unfair to ask all the other schools in the region to continue being overcrowded for the perfect year to year elementary vs middle school ratio. I can think of other things that need further study- exactly how many kids we are talking about, how many k-8 kids would switch over, whether to allow the lower 10 blocks of WW to stay at Eckstein, etc.

-sleeper

Anonymous said...

watching math,

Thanks for your feedback. I may be missing something, but I'm looking at the 5th graders rolling up to 6th grade at JAMS, and there is a 97 student difference between current 5th and current 6th (from projected numbers, anyway). So I am assuming that 100 students or so would be added to the school as 6th graders each year.

The out-of-balance effect would only be in effect for 2 years, with the 1st year not so bad.

It's hard to compare different communities' values and priorities, but it seems like one less building move for JA K-8, allowing APP to stay together, and keeping current 6th & 7th graders at Eckstein would be 3 big positives. Elementary to MS balance and a more crowded building at Addams would be downsides.

-grandfather

Anonymous said...

@grandfather and others...

From what I understand, the K-8 is using the entire building, plus 4 portables, this year.

There are additional classrooms and science labs that will be carved out of the Jane Addams building. This is scheduled to happen over the next three summers. I don't know how many of these classrooms will be available next year.

Regardless, assigning only 100-150 middle school students to the Jane Addams building next year is not going to help Eckstein very much. Beginning next year is when the enrollment wave that started at NE kindergartens 6 years ago will hit middle school.

- North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

@grandfather
The number of 5th graders in feeder schools do not represent the resident number of 5th graders in the JAMS attendance area. Not all of the residents attend John Rogers, Olympic Hills, etc... They entered SPS during the era of choice, and are enrolled at many SPS schools. Assignment is by residence, not which school they attended for 5th grade.

- North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

Hmm, just trying to figure out capacity and expected enrollment.

Every place I look lists the Addams building as having a capacity of 960 next year...so maybe that space will come on line sooner rather than later?

And I'm still confused about why Eckstein wouldn't have space. The estimates for 13-14 were:
6th: 419
7th: 384
8th: 449
The total is higher than the actual total of 1220 released today, so if we bring each grade down by 10 students (to get us closer to the actual), that would be
6th: 409
7th: 374
8th: 439
So next year, with everyone rising, estimates would be:
6th: ??
7th: 409
8th: 374
There were 513 kids expected in NE 5th grades (other than JA K-8...assumed to stay at JAMS; Laurelhurst and Greenwood...these would go to Hamilton next year). A bunch of these will go to private or Shoreline schools, but let's just assume they stay in NE public. If we add in,say, 40 for kids returning from non-NE schools (though I think many would try to stay with their friends who were rising to a different middle school), 100 go to JAMS at Addams, that would leave 453 for Eckstein:
6th: 453
7th: 409
8th: 374
Total: 1236 (Eckstein housed 1300 kids just a couple of years ago, so there is even some space left over for some JAMS kids at Eckstein if Addams is too full)

There are currently 468 NE 4th graders (same schools listed above). If all of these rolled up to 6th grade public school (none went to private) and 100 went to JAMS at Addams and 40 came back from non-NE feeders, this would leave 408 for Eckstein.
6th: 408
7th: 453
8th: 409
Total: 1270 (again, a little room for JAMS kids).

These are all rough estimates, but they are probably over-estimates of kids who would go to Eckstein because so many kids go on to private for middle school and some go to Shoreline.

And after these 2 years, both Addams and Eckstein would have some breathing room, as JA k-8 moved into its new building and JAMS at Eckstein moved to JAMS. Current Eckstein students wouldn't be moved (my primary personal concern), APP would have an option at Marshall, and JA K-8 would only have to move once.

-grandfather


Anonymous said...

To clarify, where I say, "There were 513 kids expected in NE 5th grades..." this refers to enrollment predictions for 5th graders this year. These kids form the basis for estimates of 6th graders next year. -grandfather

nacmom said...

Grandfather - you are forgetting the 200-300 neighborhood APP kids being kicked out of their current school (HIMS)and currently (version 3.0) being slated back into Eckstein.
Also, Laurelhurst started feeding into Eckstein again this year, that will not move back to HIMS - they will be at Eckstein, however many kids that is.

apparent said...

"It's hard to compare different communities' values and priorities, but it seems like one less building move for JA K-8, allowing APP to stay together, and keeping current 6th & 7th graders at Eckstein would be 3 big positives."

Grandfather, Sleeper, Wondering, and others,

Thanks all for your thoughtful discussion. As you show, there is simply no capacity related justification for splitting north APP middle school (and south APP elementary school) in Fall 2014 without waiting for advanced learning task force recommendations.

SPS-proposed Version 1 (both options) of this draft GBP was indeed premised on JA K-8 staying put until its new building is ready in 2016 and cohousing with Jane Addams Middle School using portables during that two-year interim period. From that original premise which you share, John Marshall Middle School should be used to keep north APP middle school intact now, cohousing with interim programs or another smaller option program such as Pinehurst K-8.

While Kellie may be right in saying that feeder patterns lead to gerrymandered boundaries, when feeder patters do exist it makes matters much, much worse to shove APP in with neighborhood schools to the exclusion of prospective attendance area children. Just as you propose, it makes sense to take north APP middle school out of that mix now, by placing it intact into John Marshall Middle School.