Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Open Thread for Those Attending Neighborhood Growth Boundary Meetings

I have received word that there were several neighborhood boundary meetings last night for Wedgwood/Eckstein and Hamilton.  It's unclear who organized them.

If you attended, perhaps you could give us feedback. 


134 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sherry Car was at a meeting at Hamilton and she said at the end that she, DeBell and HMM will propose this amendment: revert to 2.0 plans (I think just for north end-not sure). Fairly hot meeting at times. Seems like most of that group understands that Hamilton is too full, so something has to give. Instead of pushing current aPP out, they want to have an APP middle roll up at Lincoln until WP opens (so NE doesn't go to Eckstein or JAMs next year). Meaning, current 5ths are next years 6ths at Lincoln. IT wasn’t current HIMS APP parents throwing Lincoln under the bus, I don’t think -- seems like Lincoln folks are on board with this idea (of course, at the middle level, current APP at Lincoln is only part of future APP middle). Not sure if the idea is WP as an APP only middle or also gened. Before the APP haters chime in, it is, of course, an idea about what might work for APP, but it's certainly not what they would wish for. It's about reality and not being pushed into a school that's unwelcoming and pushing out other kids only to be pushed out themselves in a few more years. Kellie R made very on point comments about not sticking with the doomed (unpredictable, ever changing, getting very weird looking) elementary feeder school debacle (INMO!). Not heard by Sherry Carr.
HIMS meeting

Anonymous said...

@HIMS meeting

I'm confused. Version 2.0 had APP at JAMS and essentially a two-school feeder pattern (John Rogers and Olympic Hills) to make room for APP.

Are HMM and DeBell proposing an amendment to keep APP at Lincoln, or just reverting back to version 2.0?

If APP is at Lincoln, and not at JAMS, JAMS will need more than just a 2-school feeder pattern. Did they mention who would be joining John Rogers and Olympic Hills at JAMS should APP not be assigned there?

Thanks.
- North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

WHAT?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

So Carr DeBell and HMM think a rollup APP middle works (6th grade only next year) for 1/2 of the north end cohort but are happy to leave the other half at HIMS, where there is an established program and comprehensive offerings? Again -grade only of middle APP (6th) at Lincoln? No additional middle school opportunities?

NONONONONO.

If APP middle is to be at Lincoln, which means it will not have access to a full middle school offering, then that's the pound of flesh APP will give. But it needs to be the full cohort, which means HIMS APP comes too. That gives APP middle at Lincoln the ability to deliver a robust program even if not a traditionally comprehensive one.

Why can't HMM and Carr get solutions that makes sense into their heads? This is their geographic area and they've been staring at the facts for what 7 years now and it's like they've been singing row row row your boat blindfolded instead of paying a whit of attention.

The lack of thoughtfulness is beyond maddening.

EXASPERATED AGAIN

Melissa Westbrook said...

I would support moving all of APP north middle school to Lincoln with the caveat of giving as much access to programs at Hamilton as possible (music, after-school activities, etc.)

I think the heightened emotions around moving APP at Eckstein will doom it to failure (both from parents' unhappiness and staff unhappiness). Better to do something interim and wait for the AL Taskforce's recommendatons(where I am right this minute and listening to a presentation on the history of gifted student research).

kellie said...

in the comments of this Ravenna Blog post are some highlights of the meeting at Wedgwood last night.

Anonymous said...

Ditto what EXASPERATED AGAIN said. NO ROLL-UPS!!! The suggestion of doing a 6th grade roll-up of APP at Lincoln is completely unfair to those 6th graders. And I'm not just favoring APP. I would argue against a middle school roll up for anyone. No roll ups - not for APP, not for JAMS, not for anyone. It's not right.

--tired

Anonymous said...

Melissa:
The meeting at HIMS last night was organized by the HIMS PTSA. We received one e-mail invitation on Saturday and one yesterday morning. I don't know how many people could make it, I couldn't not. I saw another comment on the APP blog but that didn't say a word about the 6th grade roll up:
"I went to the HIMS meeting last night. My take on it was that Sherry Carr said that there will be a new amendment coming which sends the NE APP group to JAMS after all. Everyone else will stay at Hamilton until Wilson Pacific opens in 2017, and then there will be complex splitting (Whitman/Marshall/Hamilton -- I didn't really follow this part). She said that a Lincoln annex is impossible because of costly renovations and the allotment of the space to other groups in the coming years. She said that the creation of and the ultimate shape of the program in the NE does not fall under the board's domain.

We didn't really get to a point where anyone in the Hamilton community articulated a course of action/next step for us as a group. Are we emailing the board with a particular message? After reading the comments submitted by APP parents, it seems like there's not much consensus. As a parent of a sixth grader from the NE, I am just sad."
HIMS mom

kellie said...

As HIMS Meeting mentioned, I was at the Hamilton meeting last night and I spoke up about asking the Board to simply examine the question of whether or not feeder patterns are the best plan. Sherry Carr stated this was not a current option.

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.

Anonymous said...

Not back to JAMS, please! They do not want APP. They want more neighborhood kids. JAMS is not going to go well if it's only Oly Hills and John Rogers + NE APP.

It seems the District is now in an impossible situation. NE APP is not wanted at Eckstein or JAMS (and both communities have spoken out against it, although the Eckstein voice has been louder, for sure). But apparently NE APP cannot stay at Hamilton. So where is it to go? I can't support Marshall because of the pollution issue. Why is NE APP being singled out (to leave Hamilton), anyway?

--tired

Anonymous said...

From the Ravenna blog post about the wedgwood meeting last night:
The blog author added this comment:

"One parent with a school district employee connection spoke to me after the meeting, and shared a strong feeling that the Board may be interested in breaking up the APP program for that reason alone. Not related to overcrowding in the NE, but wanting to split the program and dilute it."

Makes you wonder why else they would propose such a contentious move that is.....
A) Not what APP wants
B) Not what Eckstein attendance area folks want
C) Probably not what the current administration/staff of Eckstein want (they are not supportive of self contained advanced learning programs and are unlikely to invest in building a strong program at this site)
D) Divisive and creates strong animosity toward APP as an entity
E) Likely to fail and create need for further boundary redraws or shifting of programs within a few years

SNiff

Anonymous said...

If APP middle school remains intact at Lincoln (possibly utilizing Hamilton in some way as Melissa suggests), then North End mom is right- more schools will have to feed into JAMS to make it a viable comprehensive middle school.

I'm sympathetic to families who live close to Eckstein feeling frustrated about not being able to go there. But the line has to be drawn somewhere, and given the middle school walk zones, JAMS and Eckstein are frankly just too close together.

Families can't have it all- we've heard nothing but horror stories about the crowding at Eckstein for this entire BEX process- well, that means that a significant number of kids need to leave in order to right-size it. If everyone who feeds to Eckstein fights to stay there, it will stay overcrowded and JAMS will struggle with a tiny population, and what was the point of creating it in the first place?

-NE mom

Anonymous said...

kellie - Can you or anyone else tell us WHY the District and the Board both seem to be against geographic boundaries for middle school? It seems like most people on this blog (including Wedgwood families) would be ok with them (for example, splitting Wedgwood, View Ridge, and Sac at 85th). So why are the District and Board so opposed? Do you have any sense that their minds can be changed?

-tired

Anonymous said...

Oh goody. The John Rogers and Olympic Hills kids are back to being token GenEd neighborhood kids in what will essentially be a massive APP school at Jane Addams.

Lovely.

- North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

NE Mom - totally agree with you. JAMS needs more than Olympic Hills and John Rogers, but no one else wants to go there because they are closer to Eckstein and don't want to lose walkability (or a highly regarded, established school!). I hate to say it, but either Sac or WW, or both (possibly with geographic split) are going to have to go there. Some time ago people were talking about making JAMS more attractive - possibly moving the music teacher from Eckstein to JAMS, or something along those lines. I think that might go a long way towards making a move to JAMS seem more attractive. I don't even know if something like that can be done (can you force a teacher to switch schools?).

--tired

Anonymous said...

Seems like there is just no room at the inn for APP. Not welcome at JAMS.
Not welcome at Eckstein.
District says can't stay at Lincoln (according to earlier poster who paraphrased Sherri Carr).
Good program and supportive admin at Hamilton but no room.
Where can APP go and still be afforded a comprehensive middle school experience?
I guess it can't be done but I really wish we could stay at Hamilton - the program is well established and supported. Is there anyway that boundary redraws could redirect some Hamilton feeder schools to other ones? Could it just be language immersion and APP? Could language immersion be moved? I'm just putting out random thoughts here, I am NOT saying I want to throw some other group under the bus to get what I want (so please don't everyone get all riled up and come out on the attack over this). I am genuinely just wonder have any of these things been explored or are logistically possible? Is it really that APP is THE only piece of the puzzle that can be moved or is it just the most politically expedient thing to do?

Sniff

Melissa Westbrook said...

1) I meant send all the APP kids to Lincoln as a 6-7 or 6-8, not a roll-up. That kind of critical mass will get you services you want. It could actually strengthen the program with that kind of large cohort.

2) Tired - why? Because once they start from one place, they cannot seem to pivot off that point. I said at a different thread that if you grew up with geographic boundaries and it worked, TELL the Board your experience.

3) Some people don't want to go to JAMS who are nearer to it than others? Honestly, that can't be the district's problem. Our district is growing and opening a new middle school. This has happened and happens all the time.

Yes, if you are used to one school, you naturally would have fear or concern. But you also get to be in on the ground level of a new school and I personally think that exciting. (Eckstein has a culture that may not be great for all kids.)

But the district has to limit enrollment at Eckstein and start JAMS with a critical mass. That means someone's middle school will change.

Anonymous said...

NO MIDDLE SCHOOL ROLL-UPS FOR **ANYONE**

Seriously, the idea that one student group can be marginalized and have roll ups forced on them is ridiculous. Sixth grade is a a time for academic expansion. This roll-up idea does not support academic expansion of these student.

Put all of APP in one school. Pull them all out of HIMS if you need to. Put them into Lincoln. Or put them at Marshall. Do not put them into an assignment area school. We've seen the hate that that causes from the assignment area school parents.

Finally, last night's meeting were not well publicized and do not demonstrate good outreach by the district.

I just keeps getting worse. The district needs to slow down, get feedback from all, and make a deliberate decision. They are being reactive.

It does seem like a primary goal is to kill APP.

Until now, I always wondered why Seattle had one of the highest private school attendance rates. Now I know...

-uncertain

Anonymous said...

@tired

A brand new school is never going to be as attractive as an established school like Eckstein, especially for the first couple of years.

Take the JA K-8 for example. The middle school at JA K-8 was really small for the first couple of years, with only 2 cores per grade, until parents felt comfortable that their kids would receive a good middle school education at the K-8. Look at what happened this year! The K-8 middle school added over 150 students, with 6 cores at 6th grade.

I think the same thing might happen at JAMS, and it scares me that APP might take over the JAMS building, much like it did at Hamilton, only SPS won't boot them, because there would be nowhere else for them to go, and Jane Addams has a large parking lot that could house a portable village, if need be.

JAMS has a fantastic Planning Principal, Paula Montgomery. She was a head teacher at Roosevelt and principal at Highline's Health Sciences High School, as well as Cascade Middle School (where, from what I hear, she helped re-build that program). It is my understanding that she will go on to be the JAMS Principal in 2014-15.

I'm hopeful that JAMS will be a success. Melissa is right, it is scary, but it is kind of exciting, as well.

Regardless of how the boundaries turn out, I just want this rollercoaster to stop, so that we can begin planning the programming piece at JAMS.

BTW, as tempting as it may be, I don't think you can force the Eckstein music director to go to JAMS. He would have to apply for the job. I hope he does apply (sorry, Eckstein).

- North-end Mom

Lori said...

kellie - Can you or anyone else tell us WHY the District and the Board both seem to be against geographic boundaries for middle school?

Yes, I'd like to know this too. I was at the School Board meeting a few weeks ago when this topic came up. The Board asked why we don't do this. Tracy Libros answered that it certainly would make her job easier to draw separate MS boundaries but parents don't like, and schools supposedly claim that it's better to have entire schools move together because the kids come in at the same level of preparation.

I'm paraphrasing, but the implication was that having too many kids from too many different schools makes it harder to teach. Now that could be a whole thread undo itself to debate whether that's true, and if so, why and is that acceptable that all 5th graders aren't equally prepared?

But ignore all that for a minute, if you can. The plusses are: it makes life easier for the district; it would help populate a new MS and reduce overcrowding at another; it would maximize walkability and reduce bus use.

So what exactly is the downside that takes this option off the table? I would like a clear explanation.

Anonymous said...

Melissa said: "I meant send all the APP kids to Lincoln as a 6-7 or 6-8, not a roll-up. That kind of critical mass will get you services you want." It could actually strengthen the program with that kind of large cohort."

From what I hear, the south wing of Lincoln doesn't have the bathrooms, cafeteria or other space needed for an entire school. APP middle school this year is about 550. Next year...600+? I'd take a full program move to John Marshall or any other viable space. But I'm not sure the south wing of Lincoln could work. Many of us have been asking for creative solutions that somehow involve Hamilton + the south wing of Lincoln to serve all of Hamilton, including APP, for the next 2-3 years. If this truly isn't feasible, the district needs demonstrate that it actually tried to consider how to make this work. It needs to publish something and explain why it doesn't ASAP. Otherwise, it's like they're ignoring an obvious solution and choosing unnecessarily to disrupt lots of non-APP kids.

Is Lincoln REALLY not a workable solution? The district needs to provide a BELIEVABLE explanation why not.

--tired of waiting

Anonymous said...

I thought I had heard that with JA K-8 moving to make way for JAMS, that a large portion of JA K-8 was staying behind (at new JAMS) because it was their neighborhood school. I don't remember the source though.
Anyone else hear that?
Wondering if that would be a significant uptick for numbers at JAMS.

-Wondering

Anonymous said...

North End Mom - can you just tone down the hate of APP a little? Seriously...we get it. You don't want your middle school child or neighborhood infiltrated by "those APP kids". Gee whiz. They're kids too who need a place to get an education just like your kids. Why can't you see that or maybe you do but can't acknowledge? You know that APP doesn't want to be in Eckstein or JAMS right? And especially to have to deal with a community of people like you. We get it...we're not wanted and if I were a religious person, maybe I'd have some appropriate story from the bible to keep me going but I'm not and I'm tired, too. Tired of having to go from door to door asking for room at the inn and getting no welcome. None. Not one ounce of let's see what we can do to make it work for all of us. Not one hand extended to say I hear what you're saying and I wish I could do something to support you while you support us because in the end we're all in this together. NOPE. It doesn't matter if you're the NNE or the SNE...the sentiment is the same. APP is not wanted because your kids are more important than my APP kid. IN SPITE of your feelings for APP, I only wish JAMS well. I hope JAMS becomes that stellar school you want it to be and it's too bad it couldn't be for all of us but I don't wish your kids ill will or a lesser experience and education.

So done.

Anonymous said...

Do current JAK8 middle school students have the option of staying at JAMS if they aren't in the reference area? Eckstein students won't be grandfathered with a geographic split, so just

-curious

Anonymous said...

I guess I see the placement of APP differently than in the area. A whole lot of drama that doesn't get us ready for next year.

There isn't enough space for everyone. Capacity is the main deciding point right now. I hope it won't be the main deciding point in the future!

No parents or school administrators - APP, JA, Eckstein - get to pick the placement of the program. This year space decides the placement of the program. It sucks, but that's the way it goes.

If there's any way to shoehorn APP into Lincoln or Marshall right now, that is relatively simple.

If not, some or all have to go into Eckstein or JA. No more whining. It's clear the program won't look the same in a year or two and that no matter where the program lands now it is going to change for some or all students.

Minimize the comp middle school parent whining by putting the proposed west edge of View Ridge boundary into either Bryant or Wedgwood. That means anyone living next door to Eckstein can walk, as long as Wedgwood remains oriented to Bryant.

Others have suggested this and I concur. Send Sand Point and View Ridge up Sand Point Way to JA. It's a cheap yellow bus route to run. Or take Metro up 35th. This lets ELL students from south and north part of the area get strong services @ JA.

I don't have the numbers to know whether the reorientation would leave more room at JA or Eckstein, but again, whichever has more gets APP unless Lincoln/Marshall works out.

In the end, there will be neither complete happiness or devastation. Life will move on.

Pragmatic Mom

Anonymous said...

Following on from "so done", maybe a leper colony would be the best place for APP ; )

Just joking but it does feel a bit like its not too far from the truth these days

Hn

kellie said...

I am pretty opposed to feeder patterns so I am not likely to be the best person to explain them but here goes.

IMHO, the issue has to do with some confusion around cause and effect.

There were two big issues with the old choice based assignment plan that generated a tremendous amount of instability and lack of predictability for families. Because of this lack of predictability, families all over the district demanded "predictability." Therefore the current board feels honor-bound to provide this "predictability."

However, the real issue with the choice plan was two-fold.
1) When you use distance as the tiebreaker, you create zones where there is no nearby assignment school with space. These families then get assigned to whatever school does have space.

2) Since the "good" seats are assigned during open enrollment, this means that families that move to the district or change addresses after open enrollment, get assigned to whatever space is available.

Hence, we move to this geographic centric assignment plan. There is now predictability for the former "dead zones." There is also predictability for families that change addresses.

A centerpiece of the new plan was feeder patterns create predictability. So there are people who believe that the predictability families have and the increased enrollment can be attributed to knowing your middle school assignment via the feeder pattern.

Lynn said...

The BAR on Pinehurst includes this:

What is the capacity of Lincoln? How much will be used with both Acceleration Program program (APP) and Wilson Pacifiic Elementary roll up? The capacity of the modernized central wing (where APP is currently) housing an elementary program is about 700 students. Current APP enrollment is in the mid-high 500s. The playground and lunchroom are stressed supporting the current population.
The South Wing will hold about 225 seats online starting Fall 2014. If Wilson Pacific Elementary School starts a roll-up in Fall 2014 they will be there for three years, and eventually would occupy most or all of this space.


Note that there won't be a WP elementary roll-up - so there will be a total of 925 seats available next fall at Lincoln. Isn't there a way to use Lincoln for most APP middle school classes - maybe walking over to HIMS for PE or foreign language or music classes? Could a temporary cafeteria be set up - or could middle school students eat at HIMS or in classrooms? (Would this be helpful in math placement for some APP 5th graders?)

If there was a way to survey JAK-8 parents and get a feeling for the number who intend to transfer to JAMS next year, I think we'd find there would be room at Marshall for JAK-8, the Native American Heritage program and Pinehurst. Sounds like those two programs might be a good fit - and could share administration costs.

Move APP MS and elementary to WP, making room there for the Native American and Pinehurst programs.

Open JAMS next year with at least 6th and 7th graders - maybe allow 8th graders to remain at Eckstein. I don't know how you'd draw the JAMS/Eckstein boundary. Is there a good program you could place at JAMS to make it more attractive? Something that's a natural fit for Nathan Hale?

Anonymous said...

@ so done
Believe it or not, I have no hatred of APP. I actually have friends who are APP parents, and I know it is what their kids need.

What I don't want to see is JAMS become the new Hamilton, but in 2-3 years, instead of 4. That means a portable farm at JAMS, since the campus is blessed with a parking lot (not an option at Hamilton).

Also, most of the schools near Jane Addams use inclusive models to support students, including AL students. Putting a segregated APP cohort at JAMS does not mesh with what our local elementary schools and high school (Hale) are doing to support kids of all abilities.

I understand that APP is a valuable program. I just don't think it is appropriate to put it at JAMS. I support the Hamilton annex at Lincoln idea with all of north middle school APP eventually at Wilson-Pacific.

- North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

curious -- I believe the discussion about JAK-8 kids switching to JAMS pertains to kids who are in the JAMS attendance area anyway. It is my understanding that a very high percentage of K-8 middle schoolers live in the JAMS attendance area, and some of those kids chose the K-8 (over Eckstein) because they wanted to be in that building (which is in their neighborhood, and they knew it would be becoming a comprehensive middle school in the future), so when the K-8 moves, they want to stay in the building for JAMS. I do not believe JAK-8 middle schools are are NOT in the JAMS attendance area would have the option to attend JAMS. They would have to move with the K-8 to John Marshall or switch to their neighborhood middle school.

-tired

Lynn said...

The only argument I've heard against putting all APP at WP middle school was Michael DeBell's opinion that it's inappropriate for socialization. Whatever that means.

Chris S. said...

People need to remember what Hamilton and Ingraham were like before APP arrived. Hint: Undesirable, underenrolled. JAMS should welcome them. Yes, APP = gentrification but the benefits spill over and in a short few years you have a waiting list. And they probably last after APP gets kicked out. There is the added benefit that Wilson Pacific will become available if the cohort becomes too big.

As of the latest version, I am a future JAMS parent and I would welcome APP. And yes, I'm going to write the board about the stupid feeder pattern thing.

Anonymous said...

Wondering-

There are many middle school parents at the JA K-8 who plan to move with the program to John Marshall. There are also some who plan to keep their middle schooler at JAMS (mostly current 6th grade parents). There are some others who are undecided.

The total middle school population of JA K-8 is about 320 right now, so even if half stayed with JAMS, that's only 160 kids (half is an estimate I've seen tossed out on the blog and is not at all consistent with what I've heard from friends at the school, I'm just using it as the high end number).

That's hardly a huge bump to the JAMS numbers, if only Oly Hills and John Rogers are feeding there. And chances are good that when it comes down to it, most middle school families at the K-8 will want to move together with their teachers, principal, and a well established program where kids can stay with their friends.

-K-8

Melissa Westbrook said...

In the end, there will be neither complete happiness or devastation. Life will move on.

Good for you, Pragmatic. Sometimes kids are better are going with the flow than their parents.

all of north middle school APP eventually at Wilson-Pacific.

What? I know the elementary is to be all APP but ALL of middle school north APP? I think that would make W-P just APP. But I don't think that is the district's goal so no, APP will likely have two placements.

Chris, that is not fair. Hamilton was an international school, had Spectrum and was really picking up the pace. It was not undesirable. Ingraham had a rep but undeserved. They had a thriving IB program before APP.

Anonymous said...

Chris, I have the same memory as you re: HIMS and Ingraham. Both were unpopular and underenrolled, if beloved by their small following. There is no denying APP brought in fresh energy and blood, not to mention parent activism. Look at what FOMAHI has done for HIMS, after starting from zero. The orchestra teacher talked about it at the concert: her first her, like 20 students total in the single orchestra. Now 5 different string orchestras, and over 600 kids doing music. Fundraisers supplied instruments for those that didn't have, and all the music. All that will stay at HIMS, when APP is pushed out. I know it's not PC to point out, but gentrification comes with perks. Ingraham had IB, but it was small, if scrappy! And it was a big empty building with a gang problem.
-its true

Patrick said...

There's been no survey of the JA K-8 families. The general feeling was that possibly as many as half the students who entered JA as 6th graders this year might stay at JAMS next year, but that the great majority of the rest would follow the program to Marshall.

There's also the possibility that some students who are in the Eckstein and Hamilton areas might choose to switch to JAK-8 at Marshall.

Julie said...

Hmmm. Would APP be more desirable as permanent resident if it took all its 'perks' with it every time it got kicked out?

Lynn said...

Patrick - but the district can limit the number of new students at JAK-8.

Melissa Westbrook said...

"There is no denying APP brought in fresh energy and blood, not to mention parent activism."

Are you kidding me? Ingraham had a VERY active parent group long before APP came. Wow, I am very surprised at this "look at how APP made a losing school better." Just not true.

NW parent said...

APP moving in to Hamilton also coincided with the school getting a shiny new building and the NSAP kicking out the minority kids who made the school undesirable for some of the neighborhood residents. Ugly, but true. So don't tout only APP making the school better.

Anonymous said...

And the NSAP also affected Ingraham, once a draw for SE kids, in the same way.

- North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

yeah, but how many of those APP kids make up the orchestra? If more than half then when APP leaves the music program will be reduced.

This whole thing is so disconcerting and disconnected. It feels both like the district needs to work to a deadline to get anything done, and that the district needs just a bit more time here to figure things out.

Will JAMS open with the full complement of 6-8th graders, pulling some from Eckstein? Will WP kids be assigned to current middle schools and if so for how long? (will these kids have 3 different schools? current AA, then Marshall, and finally WP?) Is WP back to being one of the higher FRL middle schools in the north (along with JAMS)? Did the 2.0 plan have roll-ups and if so, are we back to these?

How in the world can the directors vote on a new assignment plan with amendments floated on the same day?

This is not what community involvement looks like.

-uncertain

Anonymous said...

Isn't it true that the information from previous proposals (e.g., 1.0 and 2.0) is now obsolete? There was a lot of community input involved in version 3.0, we can't just go back to 2.0. I'm hoping the part I worked to change, which is not pertaining to the Eckstein area or APP, gets kept in tact. Thank you.

- Roosevelt resident

crazy idea that could work said...

There is one solution that preserves APP and doesn't push anyone out of any building. Really.

Lincoln served as Hamilton for one year. It is fully capable of working as a middle school, including science rooms, full library, performance auditorium, etc.

The "Lincoln Annex" idea could be modified, such tat ALL of Hamilton is swapped with ALL of SNAPP for 1-2 years while things get sorted out.

This would alleviate ALL the problems with APP pushing out kids at either JAMS or Eckstein, and all the secondary/tertiary effects around the entire north end due to feeder patterns that Kellie has been talking about. It would last only until either:

1) Task force changes reduce the overall APP numbers (very likely, but may take time to roll up, depending on the proposed solutions), or
2) Wilson Pacific opens

This has mild downside for only one small group, and that's the existing students at HIMS who are not in APP. The only real downside would be that the building is not as new and pretty, but it's in the same neighborhood and the same population, preserving 100% walkability, fully music program, pretty much everything. On the scale of how badly other students around the north end are going to be affected by other plans, swapping to a less pretty building is pretty darn minor.

This contains the unwanted changes very tightly, and allows ALL the other programs in the north end to continue on track to be successful and not pushed all around willy-nilly until Wilson Pacific comes online.

Who can get behind this?

Discussion here is welcome (please!), but DeBell is working on an amendment to put APP back at JAMS as we speak. If this alternative seems feasible we'll all need to make sure the word gets out to every board member asap! The Board will need to introduce and vote on this as an amendment, because staff will certainly not suggest it, as they feel they must split APP no matter the cost to the program and to other neighborhood schools. This is purely a transition plan until Wilson Pacific comes online or other measures have reduced APP overall numbers.

Anonymous said...

Chill out Melissa. No one called Ingraham a losing school. Stop putting words in other peoples' mouths. You don't like it when others do it to you. I said fresh activism - an infusion of new numbers and parents. I didn't say they weren't there before - I said they were a small but scrappy group. But there is no doubt new numbers and new (additional) dedicated parents helped the school. It was severely underenrolled. Look it up. Man, you are twitchy.
-its true

Erica said...

Roosevelt resident,
When I sent email to HMM, he indicated an amendment to go back to version 2 proposal with slight modifications. So hopefully your input is included in the slight modifications part...

Melissa Westbrook said...

It's true - sorry, but your statements made it sound like the schools actually needed new parent activism. Tell me, did you have a child at either school or directly know people with children there? Because I did.

No, you didn't say the parents group was "small but scrappy" - you said the IB group. Is it your thought that only APP and IB parents make a good PTA?

I get twitchy when people put out bad information with nothing to back it up.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Geez, Melissa, there is no talking with you. Of course I don't think that only IB and APP parents are good ones. Way to come up with something inflammatory. And yes, my niece was at Ingraham during this time, so I know first hand. APP brought new blood and new energy. That is hardly a controversial statement. It is unfortunate that you believe you are the only informed person in this district or the only person with a valid opinion. I appreciate you starting this blog, but you really have to tone down the ego. You have irrational emotional responses to some fairly innocuous posts and let other highly inflammatory ones slide by. It's such a roller coaster here. I don't even disagree with you about much, but wow is your tone unpleasant.
-its true

Anonymous said...

crazy idea that could work,

I think your idea of moving all of Hamilton to Lincoln and Lincoln APP to Hamilton for the interim is creative and interesting, and I don't think I've heard anyone else mention it. Kudos...

- Good Idea

Amy H. said...

Does anyone have on hand a timeline of the last, say decade, of Seattle Public School District "planning" and policies on district enrollment and related facility management? I came on board after they had sold off or closed some schools, but already portables had to be erected at schools. Then schools were reopened (at amazing cost) and now we don't have the buildings we need to accommodate students. All this in what, say the last 10 years? If anyone has put this timeline down on paper, I'd love to see it, thanks.

Anonymous said...

@crazy idea...

Sounds good to me!

-North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

Ok here is a band aid solution: Lincoln starts 1.5 hours later than Hamilton. What if 6th graders stayed on the Lincoln schedule (could ride the same busses even). You could move the first section of say Spanish 1 to Lincoln and all the 6th graders who are taking Spanish 1. (or most of them) get off the bus at Lincoln. Everyone else proceed to Hamilton. After Spanish 1 everybody (teachers too) walk to Hamilton for the rest of the day which would go 1.5 hours later for 6th graders. They could then ride bus home with Lincoln. The slightly staggered schedule and one section at Lincoln could free up classroom space. Somebody with all the numbers and a spreadsheet would have to figure out of it would be enough for a short term fix.

White girl

Anonymous said...

I missed it. What does swapping Hamilton and Lincoln accomplish?

HIMSmom

Anonymous said...

"I missed it. What does swapping Hamilton and Lincoln accomplish? "

is it that Lincoln is physically bigger? Wasn't Roosevelt relocated to Lincoln during Roosevelt's renovation?

zb

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

@crazy idea,
I think your idea is brilliant. I like the way it defers moving APP until the Task Force has completed its work and the district implements better policies, criteria, etc. And meanwhile it lets the new and the newly configured gen-ed middle schools get rolling.
You asked, "Who can get behind this?" I'm interested but what are you asking for. Do you have a plan for getting district staff and/or the board to look at it? Or are you looking for an existing advocate/advocacy group to take this on?
Melissa et al, is there something missing in Crazy Idea's idea that makes it unworkable?
NW Papa

Anonymous said...

I really do abhor schools and programs being pitted against each other, but this has been SOP for Seattle Public Schools in excess of 30 yrs. I have been around way longer than most here. As usual they are doing things without respect to the educational programs.

Next year the District should do the minimum to relieve some of the crowding. Example and this is just an example: leave 6 grade APP at Lincoln. Next begin work on an academic plan for JAMS -Pre-IB perhaps would attract more than just APP. All APP North students then move as a group to JAMS with the understanding that they priority access to Pre-IB. Maybe move students who live in North Wedgewood to JAMS too. The caveat?Non APP students also have access to both Pre-IB (teacher recommendation maybe?) and regular classes. APP needs to have a space for the program but also needs to be open to some opt-in pre-IB kids This may alleviate some of the political realities of APP co-housing with a neighborhood middle school. Just a thought.

MC

Patrick said...

Amy H., of course the District isn't going to put all that information together in convenient form. It would take work, and all it would accomplish would be embarrassing themselves.

Yes, the District completely missed the increasing numbers of students in the last 8 years or so, following a 30-year decline. And, yes, some people on this blog pointed it out and had better data than the District demographers. The Board at the time didn't trust the community and did trust the Superintendent's "hired professionals".

However, even if the District hadn't closed schools within the past 10 years or so, we'd still be in trouble. I think the problems with not having schools where they're needed in the north end go back to closing Queen Anne High School and selling it. Leasing would have been a much better plan, both from the point of view of eventually needing it again and from the point of view of continual income that can go up as prices rise.

Patrick said...

Lynn, sure the district can limit the number of new students at JAK-8. Even if Marshall can hold a few more than the future building at the Pinehurst location, the District isn't going to allow more to enroll at Marshall. My point was that JAK-8 is not going leave a lot of empty space in Marshall and co-housing with 500 APP students wouldn't work, unless the District kicks out some students who are already at JA.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I missed the meeting, and am not quite understanding the proposal that DeBell, Carr and HMM will be proposing.

Is it that ALL of APP will stay at HIMS, and annex Lincoln to mitigate the space constraints?

did I read HIMS Meeting correctly that they will NOT split APP until WP comes on line?

Or are they proposing splitting APP to JAMS next year AND using the Lincoln Annex?

Thanks for clarifying, if anyone knows.

Eden

Amy H. said...

Well, renting TT Minor, on a several year lease, and selling off the University Heights school, and as you say the QA school, has not helped with the overcapacity issues. Any public utility or other business with a stake in city demographics could have seen this coming.

Melissa Westbrook said...

First, it's great to hear so many creative ideas.

Second, the district will likely not listen to anything not coming from a Board amendment.

Third, the Board will put forth some amendments TOMORROW (yes, that early) to get agreement before they vote on the 20th. But they could have announced this so that people could have been drafting them.

So basically, you have about 2-3 days to get any amendment to any Director who might be willing to listen. (At this point, I would say I believe DeBell, Carr and Martin-Morris won't be changing their minds about anything. I believe they have their amendments already in mind.)

So you should listen carefully tomorrow night to what amendments come up.

I will also disclosure another piece of information that I had not known until today - the district has been operating without a demographer since the beginning of the year. To the best of my knowledge, they have NOT hired an outside consultant OR asked the City demographer (which is something the Mayor has offered). I am a bit stunned myself but I know Ms. Cassidy is gone.

My last thought - for whom does the bell toll? Why APP, of course.

(On the upside, I attended the Advanced Learning Taskforce meeting this morning - dynamite stuff. But apparently no one has them on any "hurry-up" schedule to get things done AND there are going to be two taskforces and they will operate one right after the other.)

Anonymous said...

Melissa:
Eden already posted a couple days ago that the district is working without a demographer and with a data from 1.5 years ago:
"Thanks for your highly informed input. We are in a bit of a jam on testing the accuracy of our previous models as we lost our long time demographer. We have had two outside consultants analyze our data to verify staff work, once four years ago and then 1.5 years ago. It is a pretty simple model that does not incorporate any housing data, just birth roll up but it has been highly tuned and has been 90% accurate the last two years. I am not sure that it can be improved in time for the coming vote.
Michael DeBell"

That is why I started my recommendation to the board with these two requests earlier also:
"1. Please make only short term changes this time (for the 2014-15 school year)
2. Please take time and have a professional SPS team with a demographer gather and analyze the current data, and make a future projection and recommendation based on the CURRENT data. Also please make this whole process transparent."

- SPS mom

Anonymous said...

The fact that they are basing things on birth explains why the projections for QA have been wildly inaccurate. Every house for sale in QA is quickly bought by families with young children (children who weren't born in QA). The people moving out of QA do not have school aged children. Family friendly neighborhoods are going to draw far more children, and data that does not account for that trend is useless. SPS projected 60 kindergarteners at Coe this year and over 100 showed up (after nearly 90 kindergarteners the year before). I'm stunned they aren't correcting their projections as they discover how awful they are? Wow, just wow!!! McClure had 100+ more than they expected this September and from what I hear, they are still changing schedules (4 times now) and hiring teachers.

It hasn't gotten much attention because of the Eckstein/APP debacle, but Boundaries 3.0 took the sole QAE geozone away from Coe and shared it with Hay. I'm not opposed to that change, but considering that QAE is currently made up of an even divide of Coe and Hay students, it means this new plan has done absolutely nothing for the overcrowding at Coe. Coe can't hold 4 of every grade, and that is what is rolling its way on up. (To grasp what this means for Coe, you need to understand there were only 2 5th grades last year). Coe cannot add portables so it looks like they're heading toward holding classes in the cafeteria and hallway, since the district is using 18 month old data, based on birth records for a neighborhood that is rapidly changing.
TS

Anonymous said...

This was included in a comment on the post here about board amendments to the boundary proposals:


"On Tue, Oct 29, 2013 at 12:58 PM, DeBell, Michael > wrote:
Eric,
Thanks for your highly informed input. We are in a bit of a jam on testing the accuracy of our previous models as we lost our long time demographer. We have had two outside consultants analyze our data to verify staff work, once four years ago and then 1.5 years ago. It is a pretty simple model that does not incorporate any housing data, just birth roll up but it has been highly tuned and has been 90% accurate the last two years. I am not sure that it can be improved in time for the coming vote.
Michael DeBell"


You might have missed this article from a couple years ago in the Seattle Times where they dissected some of the reasons Seattle Schools enrollment projections were off so much

Surging enrollment blindsides Seattle schools

It looks like the District still is winging it.

Ann D.

Anonymous said...

I see that someone else reposted the DeBell quote.

Shocking, truly.

Ann D.

Anonymous said...

The Hamilton-Lincoln swap sounds like a great plan! Is there anything we're missing?

HIMSmom, the capacity of Lincoln is substantially more than the Hamilton building. It absolutely works as a middle school, because HIMS was housed there for 2 or 3 years, including the first year of APP middle school at HIMS.

Frankly, unless there's something really huge I'm not seeing, every last family in the Eckstein, JAMS and Whitman service areas should be writing their school board members to validate this plan. Whichever board member actually proposes this solution as an amendment, thereby saving all the other communities the anguish of school assignment shuffling, will be a hero.

-NEdad

Lynn said...

TS,

The district's forecasts start with births and apply the average birth to K ratio for the neighborhood. Coe's birth to K ratio for the last two years was 106% - and they've taken that into account.

Anonymous said...

geez - "its true," maybe a taste of your own medicine?!
app parent

Anonymous said...

Just for clarification, the proposal is that all of HIMS (including language immersion, APP, general ed, spectrum, etc, grades 6-8) would move into the Lincoln building, and APP 1-5 would move into the Hamilton building? And this would be until task force work is completed and W-P is ready to open?

Very interesting idea!

--interested

Anonymous said...

@ Eden-
Sherry said at the very end of the meeting that either HMM or DeBell was going to introduce an amendment that has the other two’s support. We were out of time, so we didn’t hear details that I now wish we could have asked about. In answer to your questions:
No, Sherry doesn’t seem supportive of any kind of Lincoln APP (6th grade or multi grade); she mentioned that the space isn’t functional (bathrooms) and there isn’t $ for fixing that. When someone asked about upcoming renos for the high school at Lincoln, she said that timing won’t work for next year.
Yes; my understanding is that what she means by the 2.0 is no 6th grade roll ups and APP at JAMS instead of Eckstein.
There was nothing that leads me to think that the forthcoming amendment has anything to do with APP middle at Lincoln – it’s simply reverting to APP at Jams for NE kids at HIMS (plus kids currently at Eckstein who reside in the whatever the JAMS lines are determined to be).
HIMS meeting

Anonymous said...

Lynn,
Thanks- do you have any insight into what data they are not taking into account? Why do they keep getting it so wrong?
TS

Anonymous said...

The Lincoln-Hamilton swap? Dream on. Completely and utterly politically untenable. No director will propose it and certainly no majority would support it. Staff wouldn't know what to do with it. It is too out of the box too late in the process. And it would tick off a lot of non-APP Hamilton families.

Kudos for originality of thought but the wheels don't move fast enough for this. Better to advocate for something directors and staff can get their heads around.

Seen It

Anonymous said...

I realize Lincoln is bigger than Hamilton, but is it all usable space in the near term? Or does it require more work than can be done in time and/or with current funding?

The BAR re: Pinehurst closure makes it sound like current capacity at Lincoln is more limited, but perhaps that's not really the case. It reads:

"What is the capacity of Lincoln? How much will be used with both Acceleration Program program (APP) and Wilson Pacific Elementary roll up? The capacity of the modernized central wing (where APP is currently) housing an elementary program is about 700 students. Current APP enrollment is in the mid - high 500s. The playground and lunchroom are stressed supporting the current population. The South Wing will hold about 225 seats online starting Fall 2014."

So I guess there must be a north wing as well? And maybe east and west? I'm not sure why the cafeteria would be stressed with fewer than 600 if it's designed for so many more students, but maybe that's an elementary school thing? Or perhaps the high schoolers were allowed to go off campus, so didn't need much space. Middle school students can't leave for lunch.

HIMSmom

Anonymous said...

Here's another hair brained idea...how about relocating all of APP north to JAMS for two years until WP comes on line. This gives JAMS a decent start and yes APP will help get it started but as the growing N/NE capacity grows and the district has time to decide whether to change the feeder program to geographic or something else, APP has a home and JAMS has the numbers. Yes it means my fifth grader would have to move again in 8th grade but he can be with his cohort for that duration. APP at JAMS is not going to be there in the long run anyway but maybe we can plan for it instead of being suprised when it happens. some details are obviously missing but could this be a start?

kp

Lynn said...

TS,

The projections are here. Coe is on page 38. I don't know why they were so far off this year.

Maybe the schools make their plans based on the students enrolled during the spring and people don't register for K until August?

If Coe is providing ELL services to students from other schools, that doesn't seem to be taken into account here. Boundaries are only adjusted for special ed classrooms as far as I can tell. You might ask Joe Wolf about that.

Anonymous said...

Lynn might have more of an understanding of how they've done the school by school projections in the past, and I am not a demographer, so I don't know what the best analysis might be to try to accurately project enrollment by school...

BUT, we do know that on a school by school basis they've been up to 10% off in 2012. That can equal up to 90 kids for a 900 kid school. that is 3 class rooms. And that is for the 1 year out projection. If the same analysis is used to project 5 years out, that error rate by school will amplify.

I'm presently deeply concerned with the drive to push this plan through. In ANY iteration. It doesn't matter what amendments are made, the whole plan is based on analysis that we can't verify or trust is even remotely close to reality.

--They don't have the analytical expertise on staff at the moment.

--2012 school projections ranged up to 10 % error rates.

--The analytical basis for this plan is ???? what? They can't tell us, because the person who did the analysis is gone, and no one else can explain.

I think that SPS parent is right:

"That is why I started my recommendation to the board with these two requests earlier also:
"1. Please make only short term changes this time (for the 2014-15 school year)
2. Please take time and have a professional SPS team with a demographer gather and analyze the current data, and make a future projection and recommendation based on the CURRENT data. Also please make this whole process transparent."

They don't have enough of the right information or expertise to be making these plans.

IMHO It is frankly irresponsible to push this through now.

Eden

ben said...

@HIMSMom. No there is no east/west wing to Lincoln. Most of the north wing is in use already and it contains the library which is probably the largest part of that wing's space.

Ben

Anonymous said...

30 minutes left to vote. If you haven't done it yet, get yourself to a ballot dropoff and vote Peters.

I've lived SPS for more than a decade. Estey is backed by the very Board members who own this mess and - let's be clear - HAVE NEVER APOLOGIZED for their significant contribution to its capacity dysfunction.

DeBell marched right along with Goodloe-Johnson when she insisted that state Legislature had to see SPS schools closed before we'd get more state funding. The public screamed she had it wrong but DeBell didn't want to hear it. Hideous repercussions. DeBell never apologized. Some say he now wants state office. He has been making courtesy calls for Estey. NO.

Martin-Morris has done nothing proactive in years to solve the crisis CENTERED in his district. Name one good initiative! Want to know when he started advocating for a northeast middle school publicly. Uh, that would be when his challenger Buetow was going around saying the district should have been planning to turn Wilson Pacific into a middle school yesterday. That's right -three years ago his competitor was braying that the district was already far too late in getting the ball rolling. So that woke him up and he started mouthing the words, but did he lift a finger to hurry the process along? No. And what is he offering us now by way of evolved knowledge? NOTHING. He also threw Summit under the bus and fixed it by further screwing up the planning for the next population to go into the JA building which should have been a middle school from the get go.

Think he'll vote to save Pinehurst? The kids who may need the most additional academic support in the area? The ones who will be overcrowding overcrowded schools if the program closes?

And Carr is the worst. Right up until the last BEX she walked around wringing her hands that she couldn't support an ambitious capital facilities budget. All she talked about was how SPS was going to overbuild. That's right. OVERBUILD. Then she promoted two language immersion schools side by side without any insistence that a roadmap be provided for a full academic path. Three years ago her competitor (Kate) Martin - who also was pushing for faster Wilson Pacific development, said that the double LI schools next door to each other was a bad decision and behold - that decision has screwed up Central North enrollment since that day. Carr also refused at the time to make those schools option enrollment schools, thus reserving space only for the well-addressed. Now that the district has finally been forced by the community- calling SPS on inequity- to change the schools to an "option" situation, enrollment patterns will be even more messed up. This woman lives and dies by spreadsheets at Boeing but has brought us no enrollment leadership in 6 years.

And now to find out the district hasn't had a demographer during this whole crazy boundary process, and to know they did not force staff to come up with a backup information source..... THOSE THREE DIRECTORS LEARNED NOTHING. NOTHING. from the past decade when parents have screamed that a crisis was coming. Now that it's armageddon the best they can do is side with each other on some amendment two weeks before a final vote ??! An amendment the community rejected 2 weeks ago? THAT'S FRIGGIN IT?!?! GIVE US SOME LEADERSHIP AND WORK WITH THE WHOLE BOARD TO GIVE US ***SOMETHING**** ***ANYTHING****

It is INSANITY. Complete INSANITY. And Estey is their choice.

I've shouted in caps enough. Mere minutes left. Go Peters.

DistrictWatcher

Anonymous said...

It is 8pm. I voted Sue Peters. In 15 mins we could see the preliminary results.
DistrictWatcher - I have to agree with you 100% unfortunately. But that doesn't make me feel any better at the moment...
SPS mom

Anonymous said...

There is room at Lincoln to create a Hamilton annex. However, at this point, a board member would need to be willing to put forth an amendment (likely saying "go ahead and split Eckstein into Eckstein/JAMS, but keep other north end middle schools stable in assignment, using Lincoln as a gigantic portable for Hamilton, and as we get closer to the opening of WP, decide who goes there), and three more would need to be willing to vote for it.

I think it is what makes the most sense for attendance area and APP kids. But I would be surprised to see 4 members of the board rally around it.

-also tired

Anonymous said...

Seriously. In HMM's stock email reply (outlining the amendment he's proposing with DeBell), he refers repeatedly to "JAMES Addams Middle School." DistrictWatcher, I'm with you.

Cal

Anonymous said...

@ Cal

Could you please post HMM's outline?

N by NW

Anonymous said...

I am writing in response to your email regarding the November 1st version on the Growth Boundary Plan. As written, I do not support the plan and along with Director De Bell will be offer an amendment that will go back to the previous version of the plan with the following changes:

* Assign NE APP students to the new James Addams Middle School starting in 2014
* Have a maximum of 3 classes per grade level at James Addams Middle School
* Assign others APP to Hamilton until Wilson Pacific Middle School is online. At that point Hamilton would also go to the 3 classroom per grade and all others go to Wilson Pacific

That would mean that the middle school and elementary attendance areas in the NE would go back to October 16th revision with some minor changes basis on community input.

Regards,

Harium Martin-Morris

CAL

Melissa Westbrook said...

Ah, interesting idea about the temporary location of APP at JAMS until W-P comes online.

Anonymous said...

I think it means having 3 locations- Hamilton, JAMS, and w-p, but the w-p splinter off wouldn't happen until 2017.

Honestly looks like the worst parts of two already pretty bad plans. JAMS is tiny in addition to being economically whacked; Eckstein remains overcrowded. APP loses what it needs out of capacity planning- adequate cohort size.

-sleeper

Anonymous said...

Is that how you read it, Melissa? -- that APP@ JAMS would be only u til WP is online? I read it as a two-way split until WP (JAMS and Hamilton), and then a three-way split after that (JAMS, Ham, WP).

NEP

Anonymous said...

Cross-posting with sleeper. That's how I read it too.

NEP

Anonymous said...

I want to put one thing out there for everyone still reading this:

It doesn't have to be 6th grade at a Hamilton Annex at Lincoln. Principal Waters of HIMS could choose, if given the autonomy, what to put in Lincoln. For instance, she might choose to put 8th grade language arts in the annex building space to give those students a bit more independence, a nice little walk each day back and forth, and keep 6th graders immersed in the full HIMS experience for their transition. The thing is, she needs to be given the leeway to make her own plan w/out the board micromanaging how to run her school. So ask the board to "allow the Lincoln and Hamilton Principals, who enjoy confidence of their communities, to make their own plans for utilizing the two building spaces to serve students in best fashion based on enrollment."

You could add a request for an amendment "to have no more than two north APP Middle Schools sites, one of them Wilson Pacific" - this will minimize the number of attendance area schools that are impacted, at least.

Please, this is such a north centric blog: PLEASE include in your emails a request for an amendment to "leave Dearborn Park a neighborhood school. Conversion to a language immersion option program was not asked for by the community, but is being imposed on them arbitrarily from outside. Please add an amendment to not change Dearborn Park to option or to language immersion." That is the single most graphically unjust thing still being done in the boundaries plan.

--amendments

Anonymous said...

Are you kidding me? The HMM email is UNbelievable. Does he really think the school is called James Addams? And what in the heck does he mean by "3 classes per grade"? I am stunned.
--resigned

Melissa Westbrook said...

Amendments, Dearborn Park is likely DeBell's doing and I wish someone had thought about what the SCHOOL wanted.

I think I read too quickly - I would love if someone would make a handy checklist of most important amendments.

I love the idea of asking for Lincoln and Hamilton to make the decision of how best to make their communities work.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone have any insight into why geozones for John Stanford and McDonald have odd shapes?

I get that attendance area zone need to fit like a jigzaw, but I don't see why option geozones wouldn't be anything beside a small square / rectangle around the school.

jsh

Anonymous said...

Does anyone have any insight into why geozones for John Stanford and McDonald have odd shapes?

I get that attendance area zone need to fit like a jigzaw, but I don't see why option geozones wouldn't be anything beside a small square / rectangle around the school.

jsh

nacmom said...

OY! cap of 3 classes per grade for APP at JAMS and HIMS? Does anyone else see that this provides ZERO PREDITABILITY for neighborhood APP students?

Well, you might get into JAMS, or maybe HIMS, or maybe WP or maybe none if we cap it. Seriously? Predictability of assignments is the primary guiding principle of the NSAP. Back to the drawing board.

I knew I'd be blindsided by something. Hoping this is all.

Lots of great ideas - special shout out to Kellie for pushing MS geo boundaries! - but I fear it is indeed too late and that this thing will be one helluva hot mess by 11/20 and will get voted in anyway.

Anonymous said...

Ok, I must be dense (it's late!), but I really don't know what HMM means by "3 classes per grade." What is he talking about? Can someone please clue me in?

-resigned

Anonymous said...

@resigned

He means a capped program with a maximum cohort size of 3 classes per grade. Not a robust cohort, just the bare minimum.

speechless

Anonymous said...

So, if I'm reading this correctly (and I might not be), APP@JAMS would not have a guaranteed assignment. It would be space-available, and capped at 3 classrooms/cores per grade (so roughly 270-300 kids).

As a non-APP prospective JAMS parent, this is more appealing that the thought of having it the other way around, with a tiny GenEd component eventually swamped by APP.

What I don't understand is how you can "assign" NE APP to the JAMS building, while simultaneously not guaranteeing space. Isn't what he is proposing more of an opt-in arrangement, similar to entrance to IBX at Ingraham?

Can someone at Ingraham please refresh my memory concerning the structure of the IBX program. Is it entirely self-contained?

What concerns me is the access to advanced math classes for kids who did not (for whatever reason) test into APP, but are performing 1 or 2 grades above grade level. Same for advanced science classes, and honors/Spectrum-like LA/SS classes.

- North-end Mom

- North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

@amendments
You wrote: "Please add an amendment to not change Dearborn Park to option or to language immersion." That is the single most graphically unjust thing still being done in the boundaries plan."

I think opening Cedar Park as an attendance area school is also up there in the "unjust" category.

Scraping all the poor kids into a building that was found to be feasible for only interim use, with no library and 8 portable classrooms from day one is just nuts.

That, and if they actually try to fit 400 kids at that site, they will need more portables, and the only space available is the adjacent park space.

The attendance area for Cedar Park encroaches on Olympic Hills (which was already slated for expansion), which, in turn must be at least partially-responsible for the funky boundaries for Olympic View (Olympic View school is east of I-5, but its boundaries are drawn west of Hwy 99).

Opening Cedar Park as an attendance school was a purely political move to justify not opening Decatur as an attendance school.

In my opinion, the only appropriate long-term use for Cedar Park would be as a small option school or as a preschool site (like Schmitz Park).

- North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

FeetFirst, a Seattle organization tht advocates for a more walksble city, weighs in on the District's boundary change proposal/s:

http://www.feetfirst.org/feet-first-joins-school-parents-in-a-call-for-healthy-boundaries

Ann D

Melissa Westbrook said...

North-End Mom, I cannot speak to the structure of the IBX program but I do know that the regular IB program classes are open to everyone. You just have to sign up. IB is not an all or nothing proposition so students certainly have access to higher level classes.

Anonymous said...

So, if I'm reading this correctly (and I might not be), APP@JAMS would not have a guaranteed assignment. It would be space-available, and capped at 3 classrooms/cores per grade

One of the stated goals of the district is "equity and access" to programs. I'm am trying to understand how capping enrollment would support this goal. Suppose the 3 classroom limit is met on day one by existing APP students. Would newly identified students - from the JAMS reference area - not be able to access APP at their assigned school? Would they be sent to Hamilton?

How would this actually work? It sounds like an unworkable amendment designed to appease those not wanting APP at the school.

huh?

Anonymous said...

@huh
"How would this actually work? It sounds like an unworkable amendment designed to appease those not wanting APP at the school. "

Nope. I'm pretty sure this amendment would be written mostly to appease Eckstein and Wedgwood.

- North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

when do HMM, DeBell, and Carr come up for election next. Out with them, if they have the nerve to run again.

-uncertain

Anonymous said...

I think it's a little of both. It's still unclear on how it would work. Based on years in the program? Lottery? Proximity? MAP scores? How would transportation work? If only a handful of the NE APP students are sent to another APP location and they are scattered across the NE, is there going to be transportation for them? Doesn't that seem highly inefficient? Have the actual logistics even been considered?

Anonymous said...

The plan must be to tighten APP criteria. Without a more stringent criteria, the district must provide APP eduction as a *required service*. APP is not an optional program. But holy cow, how can you plan on this ahead of feedback from the AL working group?

-uncertain.

Anonymous said...

Well, taking it out of Eckstein is certainly to appease Wedgwood, but capping it to to appease JAMS. I can see why you'd like it, NE- everybody wants to make sure they have enough kids to have the cohort run. That is why I, as an APP parent, don't like it! APP needs different things from capacity than neighborhood schools do. We don't need walkability, we don't need as much careful consideration of the lines to make sure the community is diverse, cohesive, and walkable; we have different cohort size needs (it is becoming clear to me that neighborhood elementary schools need to be more than a 2-up to be vital), but we do need about 250 kids at the elementary level, and closer to 360 at the middle school level. Why is a long story that lots of people have studied for a long time, and it has to do with the range of ability within APP and whether a program will have the ability to serve the very highest level kids (those Sheldons from Big Bang you all like, though in my experience they don't all look like that).

It's not enough kids for a good cohort, and though I think we should prioritize neighborhood school structure over perfection for APP, there are win-win strategies available to us at don't require only that APP lose the most critical capacity need it has so that neighborhood schools win. But we are not doing that (putting APP at Wilson Pacific) because of stupid board politics, including a personal vendetta from a board member, and a couple staff members.

I am frustrated. I have hear great things about the JAMS planning principal's desire and ability to work with a general education and Spectrum population, much less good about a more self contained accelerated program. Very much hoping to be proven wrong about that. I am trying to stay hopeful, but this plan really seems designed to look politically good while actually not helping anybody.

-sleeper

Anonymous said...

A KEY missing point from the HMM DeBell Carr admendment: It would take FOUR board members to pass it. It is quite likely a fourth vote won't be found.

That means DIFFERENT amendments, or STAFF VERSION 3 will proceed.

Sounds like the other four members -NOT the 3 with their unimaginative solution-need to be lobbied. With a specific amendment(s).

Seen It

Lynn said...

uncertain,

Maybe Melissa can tell us what she thinks after observing yesterday's task force meeting - but it appears to me that Advanced Learning programs are going to grow. Maybe that wont be APP - but they are currently meeting specifically to discuss how to identify more students from under-represented populations.

Anonymous said...

I've heard that the other Board members are interested in putting Pinehurst in the Lincoln south wing, which is why it wouldn't be available as a Hamilton annex.

Anyone else hearing that? If true, that means really that part of APP has to go to Eckstein or JAMS next year. What other option is there?

--overwhelmed

Lynn said...

Pinehurst to Marshall with JAK-8 - assuming a number of K-8 students choose to stay at JAMS, then to WP with APP.

ben said...

@Lynnn

I would do a variant on that and have Pinehurst @ Lincoln with APP due to the greater certainty of enough space.

There is the additional unknown though of how many Pinehurst families would follow it.

Of course, if someone in planning were smart they would be doing an official survey of JAK-8 families right now to get a sounding of what they plan to do next year rather than relying on speculation.

Ben





Charlie Mas said...

I know that no one cares about this, but program placement is outside the Board's authority. They delegated this decision - in its entirety - to the superintendent. The Board doesn't get to say where APP goes.

ben said...

@Charlie - I know its a passion of yours to straighten out governance but honestly given the opacity / competence of the staff I'm not that keen on having them roll forward on any of these decisions by themselves not subject to the board.

I trust the board members more and at least they are an accountable set of folks I can email with meet at their community outreaches.

Anyway, practically speaking the staff seems to have become even more timid of late and are seeking out board oversight for cover on all the tough decisions. (Mann building situation I'm looking at you)

Ben

Anonymous said...

Oh, but that is irrelevant since APP is now a "service" not a "program." Remember?

-word

apparent said...

SPS Directors, Either Fix or Stop this Bad Boundaries Plan Now!

As Version 1 of the draft Growth Boundaries Plan emphasized: “Need to know locations of services and programs to add or subtract capacity when drawing boundaries;” and accordingly, in each version of the draft plan: “Space has been set aside to accommodate proposed locations of services and programs in determining size of boundaries.” In short, the appropriate placement of APP and all other programs will also directly affect every boundary line and every attendance area student in this school district.

Yet Version 2 of this draft GBP introduced entirely irreconcilable treatments of “APP” and so-called “Capacity Management”! In advance of the pending task force recommendations on both identification and delivery of advanced learning, in its big issue “APP” section Version 2 posed to the board 4 questions (Slides 16-17) including:

1. “How many elementary/middle school sites should there be?”
2. “Should we begin to build capacity and create closer to home options for students?”
3. “Should schools with APP continue to serve a combination of APP and attendance area students, or be free-standing all-APP schools?”
4. “How can we plan without knowing what recommendations will come from Task Forces?”

Version 2 also posed to the board a choice between 3 stated APP (North) delivery options, led by: “1 all-APP school for elementary APP, 1 all APP-school for middle school,” or instead two other stated delivery options both involving further geographic splits and cohousing with attendance area neighborhood schools. Oddly, Version 2 failed to acknowledge the fourth obvious delivery option, cohouse APP (North) intact with another program, instead of in a neighborhood school which guarantees a seat to every attendance area student.

Yet without waiting to hear what academic recommendations will ultimately come from the two appointed advanced learning task forces, under the name of “Capacity Management” both Version 2 and now Version 3 prematurely choose from those alternative delivery options for south APP ES and north APP MS and completely preempt that larger discussion concerning the academic quality of advanced learning.

In Version 2, in order to answer the 4 stated questions and to choose among the 3 stated delivery options, the staff requested “Board Direction” (Slide 20) and acknowledged: “There are numerous inter-related issues. Clear direction from the Board is essential so staff can develop appropriate recommendations for the November 6 and November 20 Board meetings.” But as some directors now already concede, in the end Version 3 does not constitutute appropriate recommendations for those November 6 and November 20 Board meetings.

Therefore, each SPS board director should now propose an amendment that either postpones this entire plan for 1 full school year (as described in Superintendent Banda’s board action request, inaction sounds much better than setting bad future boundaries and program placements) – or else an amendment that adopts some appropriately modified variant of Version 1, Option 1 (“No APP (North) MS split now!”).

apparent said...

One Sensible Amendment, This Earlier Option as Proposed by SPS Capacity Planning . . .

Because Superintendent Banda’s proposed draft Version 3 (11/6) of the Growth Boundaries Plan is a mess, Director deBell and Director Martin-Morris will now propose their amendment to roll this deeply flawed plan back to Version 2 (10/16), which was also a mess.

Neighborhood school and APP families should now request all other directors to propose an alternative amendment rolling this deeply flawed plan back still further to Version 1, Option 1 (9/17) – an SPS staff recommended option which at least deferred until 2016, after advanced learning task force recommendations, this needless proposed north APP MS split (but why not defer south APP ES split too?). These were the elements of:

• Version 1, Option #1 (since dropped from Versions 2 & 3, but should be adopted now):

*Transition all APP (North) MS initially from Hamilton to John Marshall 2014-16.
*Co-house Wilson-Pacific MS attendance area students and all APP (North) MS students at John Marshall 2014-16.
*Co-house Jane Addams MS attendance area students and Jane Addams K-8 at JA MS 2014-16.
*Start two APP (North) MS ½ pathways beginning 2016-17 by splitting off ne ½ to JA MS, then continuing 2017-18 by moving remaining nw ½ from John Marshall to new W-P MS building.
*Co-house Jane Addams MS attendance area students and ½ APP (North) MS ne pathway students at JA MS from 2016.
*Co-house Wilson-Pacific MS attendance area students and ½ APP (North) MS nw pathway students at W-P MS from 2017.

* * * * *

None of these plans is good, the problem with this Version 1, Option 1 is that it prematurely assumes a 3-way south APP ES split and a 2-way north APP MS split; its real benefit is that north APP middle school would stay together until at least 2016 after advanced learning task force recommendations are known, which might give SPS another chance to do this right with its new board of directors.

At least one necessary modification to Version 1, Option 1 should be to halt the 3-way south APP ES split now pending advanced learning task force recommendations, as is strongly urged in extensive public input to the SPS comment website, not really reflected on this blog which reflects the same north seattle sentiment against premature splitting that was also fully communicated to SPS.

Anonymous said...

apparent, version 1 option 1 is a roll-up. That's why the "transitioning" happens over 2 years, with the completion of the 2-pathway split being achieve in the 3rd year. The interim site utilization table clearly showed W-P at Marshall as a roll-up, as does the projected enrollment for Marshall included in the initial board presentation, which puts next year's combined W-P and APP population at only 380--clearly not all of APP.

If you're pushing for ALL of middle school APP to move to John Marshall next year, please be clear about that in your advocacy. That has not been included in any of the official proposals to date--and if it were, there would need to also be a lot of discussion about HIMS deals with the loss of half it's population all of a sudden.

HIMSmom

KBF said...

I didn't read all the comments, but it seems to me we're asking the wrong questions. Why are we continuing to ask where to put APP? Would we ever consider, for a minute, segregating any other specific needs population? Can you imagine a conversation between parents and the district about where we could stick the Special Ed kids? Or the English Language learners? Or the Deaf and Hard of Hearing kids?

What we should be doing is trying to figure out how to effectively serve these children in their neighborhood schools, so they can go to school with their siblings and neighbors and their parents get to fully participate in their neighborhood school.

At Eckstein, we're not resistant to APP students. We're ready to serve our students. Period. APP students and their families will be welcome, as would any incoming student and family. It would be nice if the district could handle it in a more graceful and thoughtful way, but we could say that about almost everything Seattle Public Schools does.

At Ingraham one year, we had an IA teach 6 highest-level math students because he was the only one who could. There are creative ways to meet the needs of a smaller population. And I don't know that it would be a smaller population. When I taught Spectrum at Eckstein, I had students who qualified for APP but who didn't go because they wanted to be in their neighborhood school. We may find that by simply using neighborhood schools and creative solutions there's a critical mass for coursework that meets the needs of APP students.

It's better than sealing the program up in a bio-hazard bag and playing hot potato with it, like we seem to have done for my entire time in Seattle.

Anonymous said...

KBF, from what I understand from this board, it's the APP families who want their kids segregated. They don't want to be in the neighborhood schools. They feel its important to have a cohort of kids and they have all kinds of studies they cite that say its better for all the kids when the top 10 percent to 30 percent are in self contained settings. Many others have asked the question about serving APP in neighborhood schools already. Charlie also at one point suggested widening the variety of advanced learning programs so that all students could be challenged as much as possible and concern was voiced that if all kids were challenged the " real " APP kids would be further stigmatized as " quirky". I asked for an further elaboration on that but was ignored.

Gen Ed Mom

Anonymous said...

Also, many have voiced concern for the Gen Ed kids (thoughtfully, once for mine specifically) that if their kids came back to their neighborhood schools ours would not be able to keep up and standards would be too high across the board.

Gen Ed Mom

Anonymous said...

30% wow. Fairfax county is at nearly 20%. My cousin says the AL program is on steroids. Take everything here and magnify it. They have huge capacity growth problem as well. Schools look like trailer parks. School is turning into one very stressful place for kids, teachers, and parents. She hates it. She hates all the jockeying and scrutiny. She herself was placed in the G&T program as a child, but it was so small she didn't know about it until Jr. High. She doesn't want her child in this track either, but the child is because the general ed program is so lacking.

What's going on in Fairfax doesn't sound like a healthy way to educate kids personally. The level of stress on students, teachers, and parents takes a toll. There are mx blogs for parents to discuss to the minutiae - testing, test preps, which AAP center is better, test results, appeals, portfolio, etc. It's pretty nasty and sounds far worse than here. I wonder if we can avoid descending into a 2 tier educational system which makes learning a cut throat race.

sad

Lynn said...

Hi there Gen Ed Mom!

I could be remembering incorrectly, but I believe my intentions when I made that comment (feel free to use my name) were friendly. I was suggesting that it would not be fair to adjust the curriculum at every neighborhood school so that it is 'just right' for APP students, as some were suggesting. I felt that the needs of children in the general education program should be considered when planning the curriculum for their classrooms.

KBF,

I have read many comments on this blog in the last week from Eckstein families who are horrified about APP students being assigned to their school, just like we heard last month from JAMS families that they don't want APP students taking up space and energy in their school. Can you tell me how Spectrum works at Eckstein? Would Eckstein staff and families support APP's self-contained English, History and Science classes?

Anonymous said...

OK, I am going to get jumped on for the 30 percent. I have that number in my head because my daughter was at our neighborhood school which has a 30 percent self contained AL program and I raised the question "how high is too high of a percentage for this delivery model" because that was too high for her to have a normal education experience in the regular program. And no one was willing to name a figure that was too high. And people continued to say that studies proved it should have been better for ALL the kids. But it was much much worse for my kid. And we had to leave that school. And my kids are OK but not as challenged as they could be and yet I am told that its better for them this way. Which is OK, I am working to raise standards where they are.

Gen Ed Mom

Anonymous said...

Lynn, that might be the issue. I don't think any school is ever going to get everything "just right" for my kids. Right now it's good enough. A school with a 30 percent self contained program that segregated my regular student in a classroom with kids who were not her age, learning level, grade level, or gender so that other kids could have a "just right" experience was abysmal. You might think it's friendly to tell me that was better for her, but it just wasn't. Right now she is not in a "just right" learning environment. We are going to need to supplement in some areas and I am trying to figure that our now. But she's OK. And it's public school. They have to serve everyone so I don't expect it to be tailored to her.

Gen Ed Mom

dw said...

KBF,

If this was my first or second or even tenth time of hearing the simultaneously pie-in-the-sky and derogatory crap you're spewing I'd be polite and gently point out some of the flaws in your comment. But after more than 10 years of hearing trite, judgmental crap like this I just don't have the patience for it anymore.

It's very simple: no, even the mighty Eckstein does not and will not effectively serve all students, especially the truly gifted and very highest achievers. The incontrovertible proof is that there are hundreds of students that live in the Eckstein boundaries year after year after year that have chosen to take the far less convenient, bus-not-walk, who-knows-where-they'll-stick-us-next-year, shh-don't-tell-anyone program called APP. Think you served them well? Talk with these families instead of being judgmental. Almost every last one of them will tell you to a tee that the exact reason they left their neighborhood schools is because they were NOT being served. I could go on and on about why this is, but the numbers are irrefutable, and if you'd even made an open-minded attempt to talk with parents of these kids and hear some of the stories you would understand why you're absolutely wrong.

Sure, some kids' needs can be handled at a high-performing school like Eckstein, and there are a few (very few) outstanding teachers that can deal with enormous ability and achievement level differences in a classroom, but the reality is that if you're lucky your kid might get one teacher like that out of 6 classes. For every unusual case like 6 kids' math needs being met by an IA I can tell you 20 stories district wide about where they're not being met.

Probably the biggest problem in a high-performing school like Eckstein, is that there are a lot of high achievers, and their parents (and sadly, many staff) think that because their Johnny is a bright, A student that they understand what it means to be highly or profoundly gifted. They don't. At. All. It's teeth-gnashingly frustrating to hear these judgmental know-it-alls spout off about stuff they don't have a clue about. It's easier to be around parents of average performing kids because at least the parents don't presume they understand your kid(s) and badmouth a program that at least kinda sorta meets their needs.

continued below

dw said...

Now you might say all those APP kids aren't highly or profoundly gifted, and you'd be right. The program has grown to the point where many of the kids would not receive that designation in another city. But that speaks even more loudly against your premise that Eckstein can meet the needs of everyone. It can't even meet the needs of many of these bright, capable kids, let alone the outliers. Are there overachiever parents that are pushing their kids, even when they don't necessarily need it? Sure, there's going to be some of that at a school like Eckstein, but not hundreds of families! You're just way, way off base.

And you're even further off base when you consider other less high-achieving buildings around the city. Good luck getting an IA for 6 high achieving kids like that at Aki. First, it's not going to be 6 kids, but one. Second, if you're lucky enough to have a TA or parent helper they're going to help the kids who are struggling to meet basic standards; the high achievers (let alone gifted) are out of luck. Frankly, in most cases that's the right choice, and it's the reason why a program like APP (and Spectrum) needs to exist.

Your "bio-hazard bag" comment was the one that pushed me over the edge, although I'm not sure your intent was how I read it the first time. Many people make the misassumption that APP is an isolated program in middle school, a "bubble to protect the kids", but it's not. Only the core classes are self-contained, and math is ability-based (though still mostly APP because it just naturally works out that way). Language, music, sports and other after school activities are all mixed classes with general ed and Spectrum students. It's a good balance, there is no isolation or bubble around these kids. However, prior to APP they are often treated with disdain by many kids, families, principals and even teachers in local schools, where they really are socially and cognitively isolated without a cohort of similar kids to share ideas, to grow, to feel safe. That's what's really wrong, not the program.

KBF said...

GEM, I think there are probably many families in APP who would love to have their kids served in their neighborhood school. What I've heard from friends and parents is that they weren't challenged, nor did they feel socially comfortable, but as a teacher I think those are culture, curriculum, and course problems that can be resolved.
Lynn, I don't know what it would look like. Any big change like this needs to be thoughtfully planned so that it works for students, but I can say with confidence that Eckstein will make it work if that's how the shifting goes. I have a lot of respect for my colleagues, our administration, and our families. I can speak only for myself, but I'd like current Eckstein kids to stay. I think the district's decision to move them conveniently directs the anger of those exiting families at the incoming families, instead of at the district for having quite a long history of mismanaging capacity and enrollment. My family dealt with this first hand with the boundary changes in '09 or '10, when we felt we really wanted our 1st grader to stay at her (reference area - we were cooperative when we enrolled) school but would also like our incoming kindergartener to be at that school, and were basically told "Deal with it. Move the older one or deal with two schools." Central office needs to respect the connection families feel to their schools and plan ahead so that we aren't moving kids as if it's as easy as being dropped off at a new building.

Anonymous said...

@dw, right on. I second your rant.

@ GEM and KBF, I'd go so far as to argue that ALL families with kids in APP would like their kids to be served in their neighborhood school. That would be great! Unfortunately, it's just not realistic. Adequate differentiation rarely occurs even within a gen ed classroom, and kids are not likely to find a cohort that understands and appreciates them. While it may sound reasonable from the outside, parents of highly gifted kids understand that these special needs are not easily accommodated in typical classrooms. That's why there are special programs.

HIMSmom

apparent said...

"The idea of moving the entire APP population from HIMS to Marshall – which I would probably support more than any other option yet – had NOT been officially floated in one of the three iterations." HIMSmom

Version 1, Option 1 (9/17, Slide 33): “. . . transition ALL north end middle APP from Hamilton to Marshall starting 2014-15 through 2015-16. Start two pathway assignment 2016-17.”


HIMSmom,

You're right, nobody including you, me, the directors or anybody else supports roll-ups. Nor does the actual language of since disfavored Version 1, Option 1 ("no north APP MS split now before 2016!") quoted above, which very clearly says transition "ALL north end middle APP from Hamilton to Marshall starting 2014-15 through 2015-16. Start two pathway assignment 2016-17.” That option does not say "some," and "all" does not mean that transitioning 7th and 8th graders stay behind, unless they are Hamilton attendance area students exercising school choice transfers. So for the recommended NW Wilson-Pacific MS ½ pathway at least, Version 1, Option 1 does clearly say "no roll-ups."

For the recommended NE Jane Addams MS ½ pathway, Version I, Option 1 says "Transition north end middle school APP initially to John Marshall in 2014-15 and 2015-16; start two pathways in 2016-17 school year.” You focus again on the verb "transition," but does that verb here not signify "interim location" rather than "roll-ups" at John Marshall until 2016? With no continuing Hamilton APP program and no split looming until 2016, why treat the interim John Marshall resident NE Jane Addams ½ pathway any differently from the interim John Marshall resident NW Wilson-Pacific ½ pathway?

Other language addressing new attendance area students and the alternative language of the favored Version 1, Option 2 threatened roll-ups, which prompted that correction in Version 2, while also further precluding any possibility of north APP moving intact with the addition of the newly recommended 1/3 pathway which would stay at Hamilton.

You are right to point out that the accompanying SPS numbers do not fit with this explicit text and do suggest roll-ups (beyond Version 1 attrition from Hamilton attendance area school choice transfers). But the John Marshall projected enrollment slide covers only the recommended NE ½ pathway, while inconsistently for the recommended NE ½ pathway, only JAMS and not John Marshall numbers are shown (Version 1, Slides 37 & 39).

There is a specific plan for attendance area roll-ups indicated in the table headed “Recommended Interim Site Utilization” (Version 1, Slide 44), showing 952-seat John Marshall in 2014-15 with “WilPac MS 6," the following year “WilPac MS 6&7,” and the year after “WilPac MS 6,7&8"), but there is no reference to north APP MS students anywhere on that interim site use chart. These several inconsistencies are among many obvious instances of drafting by committee. From accounts of the board work session the resulting roll-up question centered around the favored Version, 1, Option 2 ("split north APP MS now in 2014!").

Much more importantly, you call for clear advocacy for our shared position "ALL of middle school APP to move to John Marshall next year," and I do always try to emphasize this by using a word such as "intact." Much better than this fall-back Version, 1 Option 1 (which buys time but still can wrongly assumes future south ES and north MS splits), please do take a careful look at the preferred forward looking amendment which is posted separately on the thread "You Be the Director: What Would Your Amendment Be?" (11/4@11.29&11.37)

Anonymous said...

HIMS Mom,

I do not dispute the need for a self contained advanced learning program for highly gifted kids who can not be served in their neighborhood schools. Not at all. My question is, how big is too big for a self contained program? When does that program become unmanageable and start changing the makeup in the General Education program in an undesirable way (for instance there is NO cohort of girls in a certain grade so there is a split class with kids of different ages who cannot be taught together, as happened to my kid in a school where the self contained program was 30 percent and highly gender imbalanced). I don't want to worry that my MS student who is (possible too effortlessly) getting straight As isn't going to be prepared for High School or that there isn't going to be room for her in the most advanced classes she is capable of taking in high school. There ARE places where they have 2 tier systems with all the college bound kids in AL classrooms and parents of average but bright children need to finagle a way to get them into those programs. Fairfax VA has been brought up on this blog more than once as such a place. I don't want that for Seattle. How big is too big for a self contained program? And I am NOT asking that because I fear my kids will be too challenged. My kids need a better Gen Ed program with enough peers who can do advanced but not genius level work. I don't want to accomplish this by capping OR expaniding seats in a self contained APP type program. I want to accomplish that by offering some types of advanced learning to ALL kids at neighborhood schools who are capable of handling the challenge. I seem to remember that you in particular were upset that some kids might have access to advances learning in a less contained program because that would somehow stigmatize your kids. I might have misunderstood you, so I am asking for clarification. How does expanding the AL options for neighborhood schools and reserving self contained options for a smaller number of highly gifted kids hurt anyone?

Gen Ed Mom

Anonymous said...

Apologies if this is off topic, but I'd like to respond to the question Gen Ed asked of me--and address a sentiment erroneously attributed to me. Please disregard if you're not interested, or if you don't want to hear about anything that involves APP.

Gen Ed Mom,

Thanks for asking for clarification, because yes, you definitely misunderstood me. I absolutely do not want to limit access to more challenging work for gen ed kids. As the mother of an AL-qualified who has stayed in a gen ed school (that doesn't even offer ALOs!), I completely understand the need for a stronger curriculum and more differentiation.

Regarding the misunderstanding, I believe you're recalling my response to Charlie's proposal that we have one program for kids that have exceptional high cognitive abilities, and another for kids who are high achievers. In that scenario the high cognitive ability program would be the supposed replacement for APP, but it would not be focused on achievement or acceleration--those, rather, would be the focus of the high achievement program, which could be more dispersed in neighborhood schools. I think a lot of people like the sound of that because it makes higher level classes available to those who haven't been in APP in the past.

My concern, however--and I probably didn't explain it clearly then, and may not here either--was that the idea behind such a split is that those high cognitive ability kids are different. They have different interests, learn differently, and have different needs--so they need the cohort, not the acceleration and academic rigor. The idea behind the other group is that those may be regular kids--happy with the neighborhood cohort of more typical cognitive abilities--but they are bright and/or hard workers and able to accelerate. The cohort isn't an issue for them, the material is. Acceleration might be a year or so in this dispersed model, but I don't know about two...

So where does that leave the kid who is of very high cognitive abilities AND very focused on academic achievement and acceleration? While this may not be all--or even the bulk?--of kids in APP, there are definitely many. These kids care SO much about their work, their continued learning and progress forward. They want to accelerate as much as possible, because of a deep love of learning, thirst for knowledge. They are unlike their grade-level peers in this sense--they'd rather stay home and study than go out with friends for a movie or whatever. They "fit in" better, with the high cognitive ability group, yet want the academics of the other--yet because learning comes easy to them, the more diffuse "high achievement" program is likely to present more of a ceiling for them than the current APP does. In that hypothetical system, kids who are both high achievers and of high cognitive ability seem to lose out--and if you stop and think about it, isn't that a group who should be particularly well-served by an advanced learning program?

Regarding your reference to stigma, I absolutely did not say anything about kids being stigmatized for being in a less contained program! I'm not quite sure how you were left with that impression. My only reference to stigma concerned those who left FOR the self-contained program, which, under that proposed model, could be seen as the social misfits. You know, "they aren't the high achievers, just those really smart kids who don't fit in." I'm not saying it would necessarily be that way, but was pointing out the possibility. That's it. The idea that it somehow demeans APP-type kids to have to go to school with non-APP type kids never even entered my mind (and like I said, I have an APP-qual kid in a gen ed school). Rather, this seems to be a case of you reading something into my comments that wasn't there at all. APP parents really aren't elitists people make them out to be.

HIMSmom

Anonymous said...

HIMS Mom, it seems kind of silly to argue over Charlie's proposal because it's not going to happen, but I still see a little of what bothered me in your
Comment in your reply. All kinds of kids need all kinds of things from school and all of our kids are never going to be able to get exactly what they need. You say that your kid is the type that the APP program "should be for". I would come back and say my easygoing bright but not brilliant, ready to learn child is exactly the type of kid the General Education program should be for. Under no circumstances should we be looking at supplementing or have ever had to consider testing her for Advanced Learning. And yet, we've had quite a bit of trouble so far. None of it her fault. I feel like you are somehow threatened by the idea of a program for hard workers, which is something I feel this school district desperately needs. Some kids want to work hard and they don't want to wait until all the kids who don't finally settle down and pay attention. If they can do more why shouldn't they have that chance? This is something that would be nice, but I am realistic. It's public school. My daughter could work faster than most of the kids in her class because she WANTS to and many of them don't. But she is not miserable like she was last year, so we'll figure it out. I've heard you all about the cohort. I get that. My kid was miserable last year without her cohort. This year she has that and it's much better. Not perfect, much better. So we have the cognitively advanced (from 2 years to much more ahead) who desperately need a cohort. Then we have the hard workers, they can do maybe one year ahead. Your son is advanced but he like to work hard. So he will be in the top of his class as my kid is in her Gen Ed classroom now. It won't be perfect for him but more kids will be served and overall the quality of the entire district will improve. You mentioned in the orginal comment that people would then call the kids in your son's group "quirky" and that seemed to bother you. Like somehow having kids who work hard and want to achieve but aren't as cognitively ahead as your son in a parallel program somehow take away some of his status or something and relegate him to a "quirky" program. I say, who cares. If your son is in a supportive environment with teachers who understand gifted kids and peers who share his cognitive ability and he's happy, who cares if people say he's quirky. You can be quirky and quite happy as long as you have a group of people who appreciate you. I say this as a person who is kind of quirky. Not because I'm gifted, just because my personality is a little offbeat. I was never in the "in" crowd anywhere I was, but once I found my people I was always fine.

Gen Ed Mom

Anonymous said...

Sorry for all the typos - phone

GEM