Thursday, November 07, 2013

Growth Boundary Amendments

I still have to get the whole Growth Boundaries discussion done (but other fires to put out).

BUT, you need to know the following information from the Board comments (and other sources):

- All amendments to the plan HAVE to be to Flip Herdon and Tracy Libros by tomorrow, Friday the 9th.  That's so staff can research and vet each one.  So, you will have to get your thinking cap on and get going.

- Apparently, Michael DeBell seems to think that the figure of 270 is some kind of cap for APP at JAMS.  He said that the original ALTF said this in our report but that was a floor size to create the cohort.  But another staff person said that DeBell knows that's the floor but he seems to want a cap number for any given school.  That might be true but it should not be the lowest number possible.  He may be using this for any amendment he has on JAMS.

- I think President Smith-Blum may introduce an amendment around moving World School to TT Minor.  Her concern is that the evidence is there that there are 500 kids in that walk zone around the school and it will only grow.  And moving World School in and then summarily kicking them out in a couple of years would be horrible.

- There was one hilarious moment last night when Julie from Beacon Hill explained that they were being assigned to their 7th (!) closest school.  She was very apologetic for asking in case there was someone assigned to their 9th closest school.  I think this one may get a tweak.

- I believe if APP is not assigned to Eckstein, Wedgwood will get back in.   A couple of notes on this.  One, there was a letter from a legislator in the area who was hearing from constituents. He said that if these Wedgwood students didn't get Eckstein they would have to walk in an area without sidewalks and with rugged terrain.  With all due respect, there are thousands of students in this district who do NOT have sidewalks.  That can't be a driving reason to change something.

Also, one Wedgwood parent said that they didn't mobilize prior to this because "we were happy."  Okay and that's fine but consider those who weren't.  No support for them even if they are in your area?  And to believe that even as the district was going through several iterations, no one of them would affect your area?  It pays to pay attention.

- DeBell and Martin-Morris are working on an amendment about the NE middle schools.  They gave no details except to say it involved Wedgwood.

- Director Patu would like the district to "leave the SE alone."  She said they have no overcapacity issues and don't want to be tinkered with.  Big applause.

I heard several directors making noises (especially Smith-Blum) about slowing down because of the realization that, as the staff has said, much of the change won't come online until more of BEX IV is done.

I urge you to write and tell the Board to "go-slo" and let's do the things that absolutely need to get done (like JAMS) and take a hard look at what can hit the pause button.  Smith-Blum said it is hard to look past a 3-years horizon and know if they are doing the right things.  

I'm going to go and listen to the discussion of the Growth Boundaries item and see what else I can glean from it.

50 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Melissa. We're actually being assigned to the eighth closest school. We're 3 blocks from Dearborn Park and are in the walk zone for Maple, our current assignment. Then Kimball, John Muir, Hawthorne, MLK, Orca are all closer than our new assignment, Van Asselt.

I stayed till the bitter end last night to make sure this gets fixed. I keep expecting the staff to address it, but they don't. It sounds like Betty Patu will introduce an amendment to put us back at Maple, and Michael DeBell thinks our 3-block proximity and Mandarin speakers would make us good additions to the Dearborn Park geozone.

I spoke briefly with Tracy Libros close to 10 p.m. She said they're using the BHIS assumptions to predict parents' interest in Dearborn Park. (I'm not 100% sure how that works, since BHIS is assignment, not option.)

But I told her and DeBell that you can't use an immersion school that includes an English track option (like BHIS) to predict interest in a school without an English option (the plan for Dearborn Park). Right now the proposed geozone is exactly the same as the attendance area. Do they really think that all those families are going to want to immerse their kids in Spanish or Mandarin instead of English? I don't think BHIS (with an English track) or the Wallingford immersion schools (highly affluent, college educated families) would work as predictive models for this.

P.S. Thanks also to whoever said they looked forward to my testimony last night, in the other thread. That totally made my day. :)

--JvA from Mid Beacon Hill

Anonymous said...

I think that many middle school parents didn't follow this boundary debate because high schools were not discussed. They don't realize that when 6th grade roll-ups were vehemently protested, their kids were thrown into the mix for reassignment. Some are just hearing about it from school staff.

I am most concerned for FRL, ELL & Sped 6th & 7th graders at Eckstein who will be reassigned to JAMS next year. I believe that this population really needs a consistent culture & stable adult relationships in school, especially at this age. Evidently that is not as important as having them provide the comprehensive middle school experience for others.

I don't have younger kids so I am not affected. But I wonder if the loudest voices got their preference in this case or if this is really best for the most kids.

-hs parent

Melissa Westbrook said...

Director Carr stated during the Growth Boundaries discussion that she felt that staff missed an opportunity to clearly explain when and how things would roll out. She said many people thought all these new schools open - somehow, somewhere - next fall.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Tracy Libros asked for time and clarity for amendments.

I think one issue is that directors need to see if one amendment works against another but I guess Tracy and Flip can make that judgment if that would happen.

Anonymous said...

Can anyone submit an amendment?

MamaZ

Melissa Westbrook said...

You can submit an amendment to a Board member but only the Board can give an amendment to staff.

Eric B said...

All amendments must come from Board members at this time. Staff probably aren't going to make any changes, so any final changes will be made by Board amendment on November 20.

Anonymous said...

re: Director Carr scolding staff. That is just Carr shirking her own communication responsibility. The fact is that the directors should have been asking staff to work on this years ago. This is not a problem with communicating BEX timelines. It is a much deeper issue.

Carr whipping the workers publicly is what MartinMorris apparently did last night. The heat is on and they are lashing out at the people working their tails off to find an answer.

It is pretty clear that there is no answer. That's a failure of top leadership because it is a failure of longterm strategic planning. Looking straight at the sitting board members, especially the 3 who have been there longest. It didn't take me long to get involved and see exactly where the problem lies.

Northie

Anonymous said...

"Also, one Wedgwood parent said that they didn't mobilize prior to this because "we were happy." Okay and that's fine but consider those who weren't. No support for them even if they are in your area?"

As a former WW family, I am sadly not surprised by this sentiment. The movers and shakers at the school are not very interested in anything outside of the immediate school, which played a part in us leaving. We wanted a more inclusive environment for our kids.

Having said that, WW did get pretty screwed by this last minute plan, and I really do feel for the families. Hopefully saner heads will prevail, and maybe WW will finally see that they really are part of a larger, welcoming community.

Former WW

Forgotten Northwest said...

Was there any mention of the NW area as there are significant changes to Whitman Service area and feeder schools because APP is being placed there as well?

Anonymous said...

Sometimes the lack of institutional memory in SPS just plain floors me.

We have arrived at a place where a large number of people in the S and SE have returned to their neighborhood schools many once avoided, have committed to the schools and neighborhoods, have reached a comfort level and buy-in with the schools with improvements underway or on the horizon, and now, here we go planning to put kids back on buses and rip them out of their closest schools again. Jesus-H-Christ!! Where is the consistency? Do we want "neighborhood schools" with walk zones or don't we?

While I think this crop of JSCEE folks are better than the last couple batches, I'm absolutely stunned when I look at the boundary maps.

For years the SE has lamented it's situation and we've seen bone after bone thrown to folks in those schools which amounted to nothing. Now, enrollment is up, good things are happening, and neighborhoods are rallying around their schools. Well, then, I guess it's time to start messing with all the boundaries again! Oh, and wait for the "well, it's fair and just because we're doing it up North, you see, and there's all these moving parts..."

Ugh. Must we do this again and again and again...

This is what we get for trying to "run our schools like businesses" and "right-size" them, condemning any excess capacity as a waste of money and space, while completely ignoring the costs to human beings, communities, child health, time with family, play time, etc.

WSDWG

NW mom said...

WSDWG, I wish you would run for school board, along with Kellie LaRue. Both of you always make sense to me.

Anonymous said...

I proposed this on the gerrymandering blog, but perhaps this possible amendment for the NE and APP fits better on this thread:

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.

APP students: This plan would leave Marshall open...as someone proposed, perhaps this would work well for keeping APP middle schoolers together?

Laurelhurst families would keep attending Hamilton for the next 2 years. Greenlake 6th graders would also go to Hamilton.

Thoughts?

-grandfather

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if the South optional APP pathways have been removed from the table?

3 in APP

apparent said...

"Is there a simple amendment that would improve the [3-way split south-end elementary school situation and the 3-way split] north-end middle school situation? Perhaps we could all pull together for that?" Corina, 11/6@11.52

Corina,

Thanks for bringing this much larger south-north all APP perspective to bear, it is the most important thing for families including those in neighborhood schools that will all be affected. Although not so far reflected on this blog, the huge public input to SPS from south-end APP families protesting this sudden 3-way elementary split certainly matched the identical north-end APP protest against this sudden 3-way middle school split (Public Input 10/11-10/30, Comments 28-400, pp. 4-45).

The following simple proposed amendment was written to stop any further splitting of south or north APP elementary or middle school pending advanced learning task force reports.

To compare the following simple amendment to the current proposed draft Growth Boundaries Plan, read the SPS summary addressing APP in Version 3:

“Major Changes
“* . . . grandfathered if their attendance area is changing.

"* North APP elementary (now at Lincoln) will stay at Lincoln until Wilson-Pacific Elementary opens in 2017. North APP elementary will be located at Wilson-Pacific Elementary as a free-standing APP school beginning in 2017.

"* Two sites (co-located with attendance area students) have been designated for north APP middle school: Eckstein and Whitman. APP at Eckstein will begin this coming fall. When APP at both Eckstein and Whitman are in place, enrollment data will be reviewed to determine if Hamilton would continue as an APP site. Depending on the number of students to be served, Hamilton APP may be phased out in the future.

"Eckstein and Whitman were chosen as APP sites because by far the largest numbers of APP students live closest to those schools. Note that Eckstein, currently very overcrowded, has its current enrollment reduced significantly with the opening of Jane Addams Middle School. These changes will also provide some relief to over-enrollment at Hamilton."

Now, as one simple amendment that would stop any south-end elementary or north-end middle school splits without advanced learning task force recommendations, could we all pull together for this proposed alternative . . .

Melissa Westbrook said...

Grandfather, I would gently say that it's way too complicated. I doubt this would fly.

I also note that you use the word "priority" and I would also gently say that your priority may not be the district's. The district wants JAMS to rollout with as a full 6-8 and it has to start sometime. I can see that, of course, current 7th graders at Eckstein would finish.

However, if they redraw the boundaries, then whoever lives in those boundaries needs to go to their assigned school. (I'm channeling Tracy LIbros who would say for the assignment plan to work, it needs to be as totally enacted as possible. Grandfathering for years won't make that happen.)

apparent said...

Amendment: Don't Split South or North APP Without Task Force Recommendations!

Dear Superintendent Banda, and Directors Smith-Blum, Carr, DeBell, Martin-Morris, McLaren, Patu, and Peaslee:

Version 3 of the draft Growth Boundaries Plan is introduced with an explanation headed Major Changes which contains 6 paragraphs, of which the final 2 paragraphs address APP along with a one paragraph rationale. In place of the Version 3's Major Changes paragraphs 5 and 6, and their accompanying one paragraph rationale, SPS board members are urgently requested to adopt this following proposed amendment including Major Changes paragraphs 5, 6, 7 & 8 and more convincing rationale:

"Major Changes
* . . . grandfathered if their attendance area is changing.

* One site has been designated for south APP elementary: Thurgood Marshall. South APP elementary (now at Thurgood Marshall) will stay at Thurgood Marshall and will continue to be co-located with attendance area students. With APP at Thurgood Marshall already in place, all advanced learning task force recommendations will be fully reviewed.

* One site has been designated for south APP middle school: Washington. South APP middle (now at Washington) will stay at Washington and will continue to be co-located with attendance area students. With APP at Washington already in place, all advanced learning task force recommendations will be fully reviewed.

* One site has been designated for north APP elementary: Wilson-Pacific. North APP elementary (now at Lincoln) will stay at Lincoln until Wilson-Pacific Elementary opens in 2017. North APP elementary will be located at Wilson-Pacific Elementary as a free-standing APP school beginning in 2017. When APP at Wilson-Pacific is in place, all advanced learning task force recommendations will be fully reviewed.

* One site has been designated for north APP middle school: John Marshall. APP at John Marshall will begin this coming fall. North APP middle (now at Hamilton) will be fully relocated to John Marshall Middle School in 2014 and will be co-located with other school programs. When APP at John Marshall is in place, all advanced learning task force recommendations will be fully reviewed.

John Marshall was chosen for north APP middle school because of its central location like Wilson-Pacific elementary school. Note that by far the largest numbers of APP students live closest to Eckstein and Whitman, so north APP middle at John Marshall will significantly reduce overenrollment at those schools. John Marshall will be filled optimally while Eckstein, currently very overcrowded, has its current enrollment reduced significantly with this redesignation of one north APP middle school site, and also the opening of Jane Addams Middle School. This major change will also provide significant relief to over-enrollment at Hamilton. John Marshall was also chosen for north APP middle school, and Thurgood Marshall for south APP elementary school, because of the large number of public comments that favor designating a single site rather than two or three locations (Public Input 10/11-10/30, Comments 28-400, pp. 4-45). And John Marshall was chosen for north APP middle school also because of the large number of public comments from Jane Addams K-8 families who expressed their intention to transfer to Jane Addams Middle School through school choice, rather than move twice to John Marshall in 2014 and then again to their new JA K-8 building at Pinehurst in 2016 (Public Input 10/11-10/30, Comments 962-1028, pp. 104-111). All maps and reference documents will be revised accordingly.”

* * * * *

TechyMom said...

What about moving the north-south APP border north a bit, to say 50th or 65th instead of the ship canal? Would that help with capacity?

Lynn said...

TechyMom,

Washington is already over capacity too. The closest available middle school seats are at Madison.

kellie said...

@ grandfather.

There is no way that plan will work, even a little bit. Hamilton is significantly more crowded that Eckstein with no ability to take portables.

The K8 sharing with JAMS has been thoroughly explored. Sharing could have worked about 1500 students ago but the district continues to grow each year and as space gets tighter and tighter, options just diminish. And once again, the NE had 100 more than projected K students. Space is just beyond tight.

Also Laurelhurst was taken out of Eckstein and then put back into Eckstein this year. Proposing to keep moving them again is just a bit much.

kellie said...

@ WSDWG,

I couldn't agree more. There are many areas that are getting un-necessary changes but the SE is really getting the short end of the stick. There is no real need to implement any of those changes.

We are just 4 years into the NSAP. We are finally at the point where split siblings and grandfathered bussing is going to no longer be a huge challenge and expense.

Therefore, the best plan is obviously to change the elementary school boundaries for the entire district and re-set the clock on the NSAP. While that creates challenges in the over-crowded north end, it negates so many of the gains in the SE.

Anonymous said...

@Melissa: Thanks you for the feedback.

Yes, the "priority" sentence does not belong in an amendment; this was copied from another source where this comment made more sense...sorry.

And yes, grandfathering needs to stop at some point, but my proposed plan "prepares" kids for a move by grouping them together and providing forewarning.

Is the part of the plan that you see as too complicated the part where NE 6th graders can choose which school they attend?

Here's a simplified version of the proposed amendment (without editorials):
*JA K-8 remains at Addams 2014-15, 15-16
*Current 6th & 7th graders at Eckstein remain at Eckstein through 8th grade.
*All north APP middle school students will attend John Marshall beginning in 2014-15 while the district develops a long-term plan for APP.
*Laurelhurst 6th graders will continue to be assigned to HIMS in 2014-15 and 2015-16.
*For 2014-15 and 15-16, 6th grade "JAMS-area" students (Olympic Hills, Olympic View, Rogers, Sacajawea, and ) may enroll at either Eckstein OR JAMS. If there are more students than seats at either JAMS or Eckstein, enrollment will be determined by lottery, with preference for JAMS-area students. JAMS-area students at Eckstein will be grouped together for classes and lunch periods so as to minimize disruption during the fall 2016 move to JAMS.
*For 2016-17, JA K-8 moves to Pinehurst, and JAMS-area students at Eckstein move to JAMS.

Cons: 1) smaller middle school population at Addams to start (400-500 for first 2 years...but consider in the context that 6th grade electives at Eckstein are very minimal), 2) higher middle school to elementary ratio at the Addams building (but short term), 3) over-staffing with 2 principals at Addams (could this be off-set in other ways?), 4) Addams and Eckstein buildings crowded for 2 years (but this is short-lived).

Pros: 1) Avoid disruption for current Eckstein kids (grandfathered), 2) one less move for JA K-8 (and eliminates cost for move), 3) JA K-8 remains closer for the many JA K-8 families who are in the neighborhood (reduced transportation cost), 4) APP has access to Marshall, which (a) keeps those kids together, (b) gives district more time to work with APP to establish long-term plan, and (c) relieves capacity pressure at HIMS.

-grandfather

Anonymous said...

@kellie,

Thanks for the feedback. I missed that Laurelhurst was now back at Eckstein...I must have pulled up an old map. And good to know that the K8 and JAMS space sharing has been thoroughly considered.

Too bad.

I do sincerely hope that current Eckstein kids (especially the 7th graders) can be grandfathered. I also hope that any future openings of middle schools are considered NOW so that kids and schools can plan for the transition.

-grandfather

Anonymous said...

@ apparent:

From kellie's post above, it sounds like Marshall must be used for JA K-8, as there is not enough room for it to stay in the Addams building while JAMS starts up. It sounds like there's just not enough room for JA K8, JAMS, and Eckstein to share only two schools.

Do you have specific ideas for placement of JA K-8 for 2014-16?

-grandfather

Anonymous said...

When the most recent round of school closures occurred, three of the current seven board members were on the board. Communities all over the city were united in their message that the current surge in enrollment was not a ‘bubble’, but rather the leading warning of the tsunami (credit to dgp) yet to come. Parents presented real data, verifiable facts, and expert professional analysis. All was ignored because we were in a hurry and in a crisis and the schools were closed. It was a dreadful error that has resulted in what – hundreds of millions in costs to the District, or has it been more?

When the new enrollment plan was being rolled out five of the current seven board members were on the board. The spiel was a predictable and simple plan. You would be able to attend your neighborhood school and not worry about complex rules. Bonus – with all of the money saved by kids walking to school all of those savings would be invested in struggling schools in the District. Most of us would have a predictable assignment. Those without choice to escape a failing school, or without predictability because we were drawn out of boundary and had more than one young child were asked, in the words of Michael DeBell to “Take it for the Team.” Those without means or more than one child were sacrificed because we were in a hurry and in a crisis and the NSAP was passed.

Now we are to round three for most of the sitting board. Once again we are in a hurry and in a crisis. The community is again bringing strong evidence and reason as to why the vast majority of changes are being done for no reasonable reason. The predicted tsunami has made landfall and will not abate. No spare space to retreat – no choice. No predictability. If you even live across the street from a school it is no guarantee that your child will be able to attend. No walkability. Neighborhoods divided and bussed far away. Neighborhoods split and families split.

It makes me physically ill when I see the tremendous change to boundaries and the certainty of pain so many families will experience as a result. The majority don’t realize that if they are drawn out of boundary that their family will be split among schools and away from community. Probably 90% of the families out there don’t understand the ‘simple’ rules.

We are in crisis because the community has been repeatedly ignored, and the community has repeatedly been right. If they are ignored again it will be as the SCPTSA VP said. It is a Challenger moment. The engineers know there is a fatal flaw and have communicated to mission control. Out here in the community we’ve been good students and recognize that repeating history will be repeating failure. We are once again alerting the Board and the District to known dangers and lessons learned. It would be a fiduciary and leadership failure to repeat the dramatic historic failures that the majority of decision makers perpetuated within their tenure and have no excusable reason to forget or repeat.

One facet of Leadership is recognizing that something is not ready or safe to launch and saying stop in the face of tremendous pressure. (Obamacare website anyone?) Leadership please.

-StepJ

Charlie Mas said...

Any Board amendment that speaks to program placement would constitute a perfect example of the sort of meddling and micromanagement that the Board has sworn to never do.

The Board has delegated all program placement authority to the Superintendent (Policy F21.00, 2200). For them to dictate any program placement decisions - including program size - would be a trespass on the superintendent's authority.

The two Board directors who complain about this sort of trespass the most (except when they commit it) are Michael DeBell and Harium Martin-Morris.

Director DeBell loves to kvetch about policies that contain too much procedure, but look at the policy he wrote for waivers from the board-approved instructional materials. It's ALL procedure.

He talks about Board communication procedure until he violates it all to hell by badmouthing his colleagues in the press.

Director Martin-Morris scolds his colleagues to back off, except for once or twice a year when he randomly will take interest in something during a work session, make inappropriate demands for data, and threaten Board mandates on administrative topics. For example, his inexplicable hissy fit over Advanced Learning last year.

TechyMom said...

Washington will have room when Meany opens. It's probably too late, but I do wish we'd consider solutions that bridge the ship canal. Laurelhurst to Meany is another such solution.

Anonymous said...

YES Step J!

Very nicely articulated.

"We are in crisis because the community has been repeatedly ignored, and the community has repeatedly been right. If they are ignored again it will be as the SCPTSA VP said. It is a Challenger moment. The engineers know there is a fatal flaw and have communicated to mission control. Out here in the community we’ve been good students and recognize that repeating history will be repeating failure. We are once again alerting the Board and the District to known dangers and lessons learned. It would be a fiduciary and leadership failure to repeat the dramatic historic failures that the majority of decision makers perpetuated within their tenure and have no excusable reason to forget or repeat."

This should be an Op-Ed.

(Except I would take out the highly politically charged reference to the Obamacare roll out at the end.

Eden

Anonymous said...

I know the traffic at the montlake bridge too well to consider the laurel hurst across the bridge option. Anyone who drives there knows that going south across the bridge at school start times can regularly take 20 minutes to cross the one mile. Things could change with the new 520 and the light rail. But right now, travel across the bridge only makes sense on paper.

Zb

Anonymous said...

They need to bite the bullet and go to geographic boundaries for middle schools. They also should set up a good music program at JAMS.

HP

Anonymous said...

They also should set up a good music program at JAMS.

Music programs have been largely parent driven and supported. When you say "they," don't expect it to come from the District. Just ask Hamilton families what is has taken to build the program.

-reality check

Cap Hill said...

Bridge traffic isn't the only problem with bringing Laurelhurst kids to Meany or Washington. The district is vastly underestimating the number of Stevens/Montlake/McGilvra kids who will choose public instead of private once a beautiful Meany is online. While we would love to share a school with our Laurelhurst friends, those schools are going to fill quickly.

Cap Hill

Anonymous said...

Or the band director at Eckstein could move to JAMS...

Music mom

Anonymous said...

A last minute thought. The irony would be large but there is room at Lowell for a program for next year and probably the year after, even with downtown drawn into the zone. A displaced program or part of a program could be housed there. Via the University Bridge or I-5 Bridge it's a quick trip up to the school, which is right off North Broadway.

Central Mom

Lynn said...

Zb

Someone suggested the other day that it should be more difficult to get to APP - to reduce enrollment. Maybe we could make them swim over. Then only the ones who really need it would go.

grandfather said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Yes, good music at JAMS (and all other schools) is important, and parents (and their financial contributions) are important pieces. Award-winning music at all schools is probably not possible, but high-quality instruction should be possible...and expected.

This is where "they" (the administration) has something to contribute. Regardless of family contributions, there cannot be a good music program without a teacher who is passionate, knowledgeable, and reasonably organized. Sadly, this is lacking at some secondary schools. The district can also foster collaborative music education opportunities (e.g., cross-school music clinics, collaborative secondary music teacher professional development). This would all contribute to greater equity.

I would personally love to have the Eckstein band teacher and JAMS, but, even though my kid is slated to be moved to JAMS next year (not happy at all...not because of JAMS but because of the disruption), I don't think it's reasonable to move either of the Eckstein music teachers...they have both worked hard to build their programs, and the kids they serve are no less deserving of the teachers' services. As someone pointed out on another thread, I don't think their contracts would even allow such a move.

-current eckstein parent

Anonymous said...

I'm sure that the bridge traffic played a role in decision making when the APP program was at Lowell, and its move to Lincoln/Hamilton played a significant role in the expansion of the program.

zb

Anonymous said...

Exactly StepJ! And credit Kellie for being one of the earliest to point out the insanity of having a policy of maxing out all buildings without retaining excess capacity - what Michael DeBell and other MBA wannabes called "right-sizing" our schools. Anyone recognize a house of cards when they see one? Good grief!

We need to stop this madness now. We need institutional memory!

And it's time for the rest of us to rally to the cause of the folks in the SE, on Beacon Hill, and in West Seattle. The proposed boundaries make no sense to anyone who lives in those areas. With all that's going on in the North & NE, those areas are afterthoughts and not getting adequate attention at all.

Is it now the policy of the school district to do what it wants to people, UNLESS they can organize enough people to advocate, letter-write and protest like the most organized, most well-off people elsewhere? Is that where the bar is now set? Essentially a Pay to Play system? That's just great for the neediest among us, isn't it? Same old story for the working class and poor neighborhoods where the neediest kids reside.

Seems like a clear message is being sent.

And btw, can someone explain why the new Meany will have every square inch of the most expensive lakefront properties from Seward Park to Elliott Bay drawn into it's proposed boundary, while Washington gets a sliver of the CD, a slice Rainier Valley and a pinch of Beacon Hill? Are we trying to institutionalize inequity between neighboring schools or what? One of the main reasons Washington is strong and functional is because of its balance between its cohorts. Take all the McGilvra, Montlake, Stevens and Lowell families out, and what's the PTA going to look like? How much money will it raise? Good luck music program! WTH are they thinking downtown? Honestly.

The deeper I look into and think about these boundaries, the more ridiculous they appear. And my kids may not even be affected. But a stupid, ill-conceived plan is bad for everyone in this city, whether they are directly affected or not. We may escape harm this time, but I can't bear to witness what this is doing to my neighbors and my community.

We have enough inequity to deal with already. We don't need to pour gasoline on the fire. People in this district are generally very reasonable and accommodating toward the needs of others. We are, and always have been pretty good about taking our share for the team.

But this plan is over the line. There's no way the board should vote for it in its present form. Where is the emergency, really?

WSDWG

Anonymous said...

WSDAWG - I feel the same way about the boundaries for the north-end middle schools if the Board goes back to the 2.0 plan (which is what I've heard Carr, DeBell and Morris want to do). They'd create 3 wealthy schools (Eckstein, Hamilton and Whitman) and 2 poor schools (Wilson-Pacific and JAMS). And hope that the APP parents at W-P and JAMS can somehow balance it out. I think Wilson-Pacific middle school is being set up to fail and it will end up being significantly underenrolled.

Jane

Anonymous said...

@Jane: The thing is that if they rationally drew the boundaries around Washington, it would have several lakefront neighborhoods within it, such as Leschi, Denny Blaine, Madrona & Mt. Baker. Most neighborhoods in the city have their high end streets and low end streets, so it balances out, as it would at WMS, again, if the lines were drawn rationally. But they aren't, and I can't figure out why.

WSDWG

Anonymous said...

And there's some really nice neighborhoods close to Jane Addams, btw, with lots of kids in private schools currently. Given what's transpiring at Nathan Hale, I think a new MS at Jane Addams will surprise a lot of people, with or without APP. I used to live on NE 94th, and most of my neighbors sent their kids to private schools, mostly either Catholic or U Prep, under the choice system. With the NSAP and the exploding kid population there now, it's a different world. With predictability and a pathway that responds to the needs of the population demographic, I believe a new MS at Jane Addams is a home-run waiting to happen for that area.

Anonymous said...

WSDWG, above. Again!

Lynn said...

WSDWG,

It looks to me like there would be less than 30 Spectrum Students at Washington under the new plan. Not per grade - total.

David said...

I have to say the irony is rich to me that a year ago the VNESS people were whining for JAMS to open NOW and now everyone is whining that their kids might actually have to go there.

Julie said...

Weren't they always imagining that someone else's child would go there?

JvA said...

Just a bunch of rambling will follow here, thank you. My friends are tired of hearing about all this, so letting it out here--

I'm almost relieved we're finally in the amendment part of this process, even though I haven't made any progress on stopping the district from f***ing my neighborhood. (Broken record: We're in the walk zone for 2 different schools, but instead they're forcing us to bus to the 8th school from our homes.)

I'm relieved because I finally realized Wednesday night that the staff was never even going to pretend to care about the project principles (walkability, equity, etc.). I wasted two months of all my spare time (including taking vacation time just for this) fighting this on the basis of all those principles. I wasted my time with data, graphs, charts about racial and linguistic inequity, speeches, outreach, feedback campaigns, use of the racial inequity tool, and on and on.

Poor Bernardo Ruiz -- I was calling the guy every single day, seeing if he'd made any progress on the racial inequity front. (After a couple weeks, he stopped returning my calls.)

Then, finally, duh, on Wednesday -- a revelation. The staff never used the principles in their consideration set, and were never going to! They were just (in a way that's unclear to me -- whether it was based on pure volume or also some other influence) responding to feedback, and then seeing if they could work any of the (false assumption) numbers out based on the latest tide.

The staff never could acknowledge that it's patently ridiculous to make a majority non-English-speaking neighborhood in close walking distance of two schools instead have to bus to some other school 8 schools and 2 miles away. They could never see it as, oh, that's something that we have to fix because it so grossly violates every single one of our stated principles and common sense.

As I talked to Tracy (at long last), it was like a sigh of relief, finally understanding that she was just never going to fix it.

Now, finally, the Board has to fix it. I feel like my path is clearer. When I talk to Board members, I feel like they are sympathetic to how f***ing ridiculous it is.

I'm done fighting on the equity front. What a lesson learned there! Unless maybe you chain yourself in a building or something, the staff is going to be la-la-la-la. I just wish I'd known that two months ago. So many lost Saturdays oh my God.

Thank you. I'm going to go drink now.

JvA said...

Actually, one more thought.

They're totally screwing APP in the South, right? I had taken a much broader outlook on this whole mess two months ago (looking into disproportionate walkability impact on all Title 1 schools and all that), but unfortunately have had to tighten my focus as I saw that the staff truly was going to f*** us.

I have zero experience with APP here in Seattle, but was part of a similar program in Oregon and loved it. I can't imagine not having had access to it. Nowhere else would I have had peers who would have understood that my idea of a good time on the weekend was to go see a five-hour documentary about Jean-Paul Sartre. We were not special snowflakes, we were nerds. The cohort was crucial. I don't see how the program can survive, what, a three-way split?

If anyone wants to support a strong APP program in the South, come to Betty Patu's meeting at RBHS on Tuesday night at 6:30. I'll support your efforts on that front.

Anonymous said...

To Julie VA:

Yep, I found out last month that staff even has a number of emails that move change up.

300ish.

You have your target.

Of course, it's a moving target - just like Amazon algorithms, I assume, b/c if everyone starts to send 300 emails then you have to have 500 to be noticed.

And your emails have to be in the format that gets counted - thus the petition w/500 signatures that counts as "1" is a fail.

And b/c you can see in the useless comment compilation charts (freaking WASTE - completely useless data capture method that makes me want to throw Sh*& out windows) that comments are only categorized by "school" of person that submitted them - so if you fill in your own school and then make a comment about something else, guess what? Not counted there. Only counted at your school.

And if you are APP south, for instance, a smaller program, all your comments are logged in "APP" and lost among the north end juggernaut.

So: you need minimum 300 comments, and they have to be stacked in the comments in a way to be noticeable - thus all the same school. Or all the same "heading" (Does IMFKD count as a school name these days?)

Hope you enjoyed the drink. I had two. Then we played "Everybody was Kung Fu Fighting" youtube videos w/kids and did "capacity kicks" while yelling loud attack phrases. A little YMCA and a little Hammertime, all with classic music videos. All fell down. All felt better. Recommend dance therapy highly for family stress relief.

Signed: SPS GAME

JvA said...

SPS Game --

Thanks for providing the magic number of 300! That's a tough target for a majority-non-English-speaking grade school area, but I'm delighted to know there is a number that we should have been striving harder for. Oh well! Definitely glad I didn't waste time trying to get a bunch of signatures on a petition like some folks did. Suckers!

I was out till 1 last night, and had more than two drinks. Which made it REALLY HARD to show up on time for this morning's Kay Smith-Blum meeting, which, per her email from last night, was supposed to start at 9:00. But apparently that was a mistake, and the meeting didn't actually start until the library opened at 10:00. So me and a bunch of other folks just stood outside waiting for an hour. Suckers!