Saturday, November 09, 2013

Saturday Director Community Meetings

Any reports back from either Director Carr or Director Smith-Blum's meetings?

34 comments:

Anonymous said...

Kay's meeting was mis-advertised as starting at 9am. A bunch of people showed up on time but she didn't. She was having a pre-meeting meeting on boundaries nearby.

meeting goer

Charlie Mas said...

Director Carr's meeting was dominated by elementary school families who are getting their middle school switched on them, mostly from Whittier or Wedgwood. There was also a number of people who complained about their children being assigned to five different buildings in five years:
5th grade at elementary school
6th grade at current middle school
7th grade at new middle school at interim site
8th grade at new middle school at long-term site
9th grade at high school

Director Carr told them: you are getting moved out of your middle school because APP is getting moved in. Nice, huh? She didn't say "You are getting moved to the new middle school instead of students who live even further away from that school." Nope. She encouraged them to focus their anger and dissatisfaction on APP.

She told them that an amendment form Directors DeBell and Martin-Morris will address their concern and appease them by dictating the location of APP to the new schools instead of the established ones.

I reminded her that such an amendment would cross the line and trespass on the superintendent's authority specifically delegated to him by policy and that the Board is - supposedly - deeply concerned about not committing exactly that kind of trespass. She paid lip service to the concern, but you could tell that it would not even slow her down.

Anonymous said...

Charlie, I agree with your sentiment completely, but aren't the board members covered by simply saying that they are "reverting" to V2?

Cal

Charlie Mas said...

Kay's meeting covered a more diverse set of topics. Yes, I went to both meetings. So did a couple other folks.

Kay also told the Wedgwood folks - they were there in smaller numbers - that they were pushed out of Eckstein by APP. She did note that the APP students also deserve assignment to a nearby school.

Kay expressed much greater concern about the board amendments that would trespass on the superintendent's authority. She also expressed deep concern that the amendments were developed without any engagement with the impacted community.

She is much more likely to support the solution proposed by the APPAC that would keep the cohort together at Wilson-Pacific and therefore out of Eckstein and Whitman. She's not afraid of stand-alone APP middle school.

She expressed an interest in finding a different home for the Seattle World School other than TT Minor so that TT Minor would be available for use as an elementary school. She rattled off a list of possible sites in or near the central area for The World School, but I don't think that any of them would appeal to the World School community.

Director Smith-Blum's meeting also included discussion of Pinehurst and Indian Heritage. There is some talk of these two school co-locating somewhere forming a K-12 pathway. Wilson-Pacific and Lincoln were named, but there are serious flaws with each of those ideas.

Charlie Mas said...

We'll see how the amendments are worded. The way it was described by Director DeBell at the Board meeting was not simply reverting to version 2.0. It involved an enrollment cap and an assignment plan for APP that was not based on middle school service areas. Those were not elements of version 2.0.

Anonymous said...

Carr needs to make this term her last. Please.

Ditto Martin-Morris.

What a disaster. They throw staff under the bus for communication when they can't articulate a big picture to save their lives.

They will plunge forward with the amendment method. No need to pause or rethink. No need for novel solutions or minimal disruption next year.

No need for discussions like Kellie's posting yesterday. The wheels grind forward. Very predictable. The only way to make changes around here is by coloring within the lines, even if the picture makes no sense.

Seen It

Anonymous said...
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Charlie Mas said...

Kay was MUCH more supportive of the go slow idea, and she said that Director Peaslee was bringing an amendment to that effect.

kellie said...

Ok. Seen it. I'll bite. Why is there no need to discuss the issues I raised. I think there is even more need to discuss the real world impact to families and students.

I don't disagree that the band will play on. However, there is going to be a lot of collateral damage. IMHO, only by discussing the real impact, can anyone hope to blunt the damage.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I asked at the Board office tomorrow about being able to see these amendments. They will not be posted until Friday. I am going to write the Board and ask that they be made public. I'll let you know.

Green Lake Parent said...

Can anyone clarify for me how amendments work? So Directors propose amendments... and then does each amendment get voted on and need a majority (4 Board members) to "pass it" so that it would be included as part of the growth boundaries plan? And then, they would vote whether or not to pass the entire plan?

Green Lake Parent/newbie to Board procedures

Anonymous said...

Yeah, lot's of "those APP kids are elitest" talk at the Carr meeting, no matter how much the APP parents present said "we didn't ask for this, and we don't want it either." Such a canard, a boring continuing one. And Carr didn't help dissuade this sentiment.

- Tired

Anonymous said...

I attended the meeting with Sherri Carr. I seem to have a different perception of what happened based on the comments I’ve read here. I don’t think the other comments are right or wrong, anymore than I think mine are right or wrong. It is interesting to read what each of us heard.

Part One:

Groups identified: Wedgewood, Olympic View, Daniel Bagley, APP, Special Education, NE middle schools. Seattle Council PTSA also in attendance.

Carr opened by saying we’re shelving most topics on the agenda today, focusing on boundary issues. Also remarked that last meeting, she saw “maybe four?” people, now we’re packed. Interesting.

Many amendments are being considered. Amendments have been created by parents, PTAs and board members. Detailed amendments forthcoming by week end, so the community has an opportunity to respond before Nov. 20 vote. Amendments will be incorporated into the Nov. 20 agenda, so look there.

“Yes, please,” react to the amendments. Carr said the board would appreciate the reaction in the subject heading of an email “we are flooded with emails as you can imagine. Please indicate your agreement or disagreement with specific amendments.”

Addressed Seattle Council PTSA, there for two primary issues:

1. supported a short term solution for next year, and requested a delay otherwise. Doesn’t sound like the board is in favor of any more delays.
2. Later start times for teen students. (Please visit their website for more info on this issue). This matter has been shelved for discussion during this meeting.

FYI, Seattle Council PTSA will be meeting with PTA presidents this week.

Anonymous said...

Part Two:
Parents were interested in the process:
- How were boundary lines formed? (Tracy Libros, SPS Enrollment Planning, drew the lines.)
- We hear there was no demographer. (Apparently demographical data was used. Carr realizes the impact has not been ideal in many neighborhoods, thus meeting with communities and PTAs all week)
- Where is all the data? Why haven’t you shared it? (Data available, as usual, on the SPS Growth Boundaries website)
- How will amendments be adopted or rejected? (Sounds like board members will haggle amendments with Tracy Libros, and maybe among each other).
- Can’t you delay the vote a bit (“even a month”)? Carr said they just can’t delay any longer. The district simply needs time to get everything in order. Enrollment season opens in January. So, the board is not in favor of any more delays.
- You didn’t give us enough time. We couldn’t respond to a change we didn’t know existed. (Noted).

Wedgewood: Eckstein has been our neighborhood school for 70 years, do not push us out. (Amendment definitely coming).

Whittier:
New cohort will be transferred each year, for five years, to five different buildings, so looking for a tweak via amendment.

Bagley:
Similar concerns as rest of north district, being split up. Carr sympathizes, but the Bagley community is growing, like Olympic View, and there must be some changes to address growth.

Olympic View:
- Please don’t split up Maple Leaf. (Your community has grown and we have to address capacity. Sacajawea and Olympic View are long established schools in Maple Leaf that serve Maple Leaf).
- I5 is a natural boundary, unsafe to cross. (While I5 is a logical boundary, it has been crossed for years. To the west, Lichton Springs does not have a walkable school, so neighborhood has been assigned to Bagley or Olympic View for years. I5 safely crossed on 92nd).
- Kids residing just some blocks away have been excluded at northern boundary and reassigned to further, non walkable school, Olympic Hills. (Ok, we can probably work with that, extending your boundary to Northgate Way via amendment).

Middle schools:
- Several parents concerned about kids being yanked out of current ms. Want a grandfather clause. If I heard correctly, DeBell is working on an amendment to address this?
- What about kids left over from choice? Some assigned to neither neighborhood nor cohort ms. (Enrollment will use a tie breaker for these students. Siblings still come first).
- Carr said JAMS planning principal, Paula Montgomery, is anxious to meet new families, get started. Crickets from parents.

-ML mom

Anonymous said...

Part Three:
APP:
- Parent says they just launched an Advanced Learning task force. Would like to gather info from families, not sure what their community wants.
- Many parents concerned they’re pushing neighborhood gen ed kids out of their neighborhood schools. They don’t want this. They do want a home.
- Parent asks, “Does APP receive federal funding for bussing?” (No, state funded, and not very much).

More on APP:
Carr is concerned with the tone surrounding APP. Reminds parents they are covered under state law, district must provide them with service. Board has some concerns about assigning APP to a brand new school together--doesn’t want it to be perceived as preferential treatment. Many parents look at each other and agree, “Let them have their school, we support it.” Woman seated next to Carr looks around and mouths (with relief in a nod) “Thank you.” Several APP parents reiterate this sentiment over and over. Carr says maybe APP can be removed from Eckstein and Whittier. Says they may be housed in the new Wilson Pacific Building.

Special Education:
Parent was on opposite side of room and spoke softly, I couldn’t make out what she said. Chatter around me indicated these parents would also like a consistent home for their kids.

-ML mom

Anonymous said...

(Sorry, assuming my part one post will be deleted. Forgot to select my name, so re-posting.)

I attended the meeting with Sherri Carr. I seem to have a different perception of what happened based on the comments I’ve read here. I don’t think the other comments are right or wrong, anymore than I think mine are right or wrong. It is interesting to read what each of us heard....

Groups identified: Wedgewood, Olympic View, Daniel Bagley, APP, Special Education, NE middle schools. Seattle Council PTSA also in attendance.

Carr opened by saying we’re shelving most topics on the agenda today, focusing on boundary issues. Also remarked that last meeting, she saw “maybe four?” people, now we’re packed. Interesting.

Many amendments are being considered. Amendments have been created by parents, PTAs and board members. Detailed amendments forthcoming by week end, so the community has an opportunity to respond before Nov. 20 vote. Amendments will be incorporated into the Nov. 20 agenda, so look there.

“Yes, please,” react to the amendments. Carr said the board would appreciate the reaction in the subject heading of an email “we are flooded with emails as you can imagine. Please indicate your agreement or disagreement with specific amendments.”

Addressed Seattle Council PTSA, there for two primary issues:

1. supported a short term solution for next year, and requested a delay otherwise. Doesn’t sound like the board is in favor of any more delays.
2. Later start times for teen students. (Please visit their website for more info on this issue). This matter has been shelved for discussion during this meeting.

FYI, Seattle Council PTSA will be meeting with PTA presidents this week.

ML mom

Anonymous said...

Is there any concern that the plan requires too many complicated amendments? They just need to stop.

Old Parent

JvA said...

Charlie -- You cracked me up when you introduced yourself with, "Hi. Do I need to apologize to you for something I said on the blog?" And then explained that's your standard introduction. Hee hee.

Anonymous said...

Old Parent,

I'm not under that impression. Seems the only way the board can satisfy (some) needs of a very diverse group of unhappy families is to consider many amendments.

-ML mom

Eric B said...

Green Lake Parent, You're right in the amendment procedure. I would be very surprised if the final plan (as amended) doesn't pass 6-1 or 7-0. I suspect that amendments that are still on the table at the final board meeting will likewise pass by a large margin. I could be wrong, though.

Carr did say that the tone around APP was troubling, but it was very late in the meeting and after many had left. Her main message was that a program like APP is required by law, so we can't just decide not to do it or to kick people to the curb. An APP parent spoke quite movingly about not wanting to displace anyone else, since her family knew what it was like to be displaced.

ArchStanton said...

@ ML Mom: Thanks for the detailed report. Since we left SPS for private, I've only been following things loosely; the proposed Olympic View boundary change would have affected us directly (five blocks away from OV and we'd be slogging off to Olympic Hills). It's as ridiculous a boundary as any I've seen.

This comment stood out for me:
Olympic View:
- I5 is a natural boundary, unsafe to cross. (While I5 is a logical boundary, it has been crossed for years. To the west, Lichton Springs does not have a walkable school, so neighborhood has been assigned to Bagley or Olympic View for years. I5 safely crossed on 92nd).


I don't suppose anyone at SPS has noticed that traffic has been revised at NE 92nd and 1st Ave NE as DOT has started tunneling for light rail and hauling dirt and equipment at that intersection. I might have conceded that elementary kids would be safe walking over I-5, without high fences like on the Aurora bridge, and past a community college, maybe even in the dark - before light rail work began. I think that several years of moving heavy equipment, combination dump trailers, traffic tie-ups, and impatient motorists should cause anyone to reconsider NE 92nd as a safe walking route for elementary students. Maybe the concerns could be mitigated, but somebody ought to put some thought into it before a student is accidentally squashed by a dump truck while trying to cross the street.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

To the poster known as 'Seen it' - I honestly can't remember ever having seen anyone post such a heap of negative, passive-aggressive, defeatist claptrap, spewing the counsel of climbing on the carousel of crazy, and limiting ourselves to coloring within whatever arbitrary last-minute lines the Board happens to have laid down without notice this week.

I can only assume you are in fact a board member's Sock Puppet account, shilling for the no-discussion, let's-pretend-that-this-is-set-in-stone, no-comments, no-improvements, no-fixes sandbagging approach to hammering into place a bad plan that wildly favors a few small groups at tremendous cost in dollars and education for the rest.

If you're not just a floppy Muppet with Michael DeBell's hand up your backside, grow a spine, and call the disfunction in front of you by its proper name. Appeasement and acknowledgement of the truly crazy only goes so far - at some point you need to take a stand, and speak the truth.

See your Stockholm Syndrome for what it is, and regain your life. I'm begging you.

SeenMoreThanU

mirmac1 said...

What kills me is when Peaslee offers an amendment, it is micromanaging, but when DeBell or Carr do, it's the right hand of god.

Melissa Westbrook said...

SeenMore, you come very close to name-calling. You'll need to please dial that back.

Mirmac, very funny

JvA said...

Yesterday I was really sour about having believed the erroneous email mentioned in the first comment above. I was hungover and sleep-deprived, and managed to make it to the KSB library meeting exactly by 9:00, only to end up standing outside for an hour. (Mistakes happen, I get it.)

Now, having gotten some sleep, I realize it was nice to have gotten an hour to chat with everyone else who had responded to the erroneous email.

I talked to a high school math teacher who never got a chance to speak her piece at the KSB meeting, but she was going to advocate for a later start time for high schools. She told me about bright kids she needs to address personally during class to wake them up because they habitually nod off.

She and I and some other parents also talked about how not all Spectrum middle schools are teaching kids the same curriculum for Algebra I, and that some end up needing to be taught algebra, as well as geometry, in high school geometry class.

And I heard from World School folks who are very disappointed that KSB does not want to place them at TT Minor. As other have mentioned, during the meeting, KSB explained that she firmly believes TT Minor will need all its capacity for local kids in the next 1-3 years. She cited natural CD growth in addition to the city designating 3 urban zones (more than any other region) there. She said she did not want to place World School in a location where they would only be able to stay a year or two before being kicked out again. She mentioned the Van Asselt campus (the one on Beacon, not the AAA building where the Van Asselt school is) in Southeast as one easily doable possibility. She said that she agrees that a central location, if available, would be good for a citywide draw school, but that SE could also be a good location since half the kids at World School live in Southeast, and only 15 students live in the CD. She said she thought that even more families in the SE may choose to go there if the school were located there. And then she and Charlie suggested that other locales that SPS could try to attain from the city for such use -- the Leschi Center, Pac Med, and some others I was less familiar with. Personally, I empathize with the World School's desire to be at central TT Minor, as it sounds like they were previously promised, but as a SE parent, I would welcome the placement of any great new schools and programs here (especially if such programs have already shown to be disproportionately popular among our families).

(Sorry if I'm getting any "program" vs. "school" terminology wrong.)

I also talked to an APP representative about the addition of optional pathways in the Southeast, and why parents would choose these pathways without curriculum, infrastructure, or cohorts. Answer: they probably wouldn't. I asked the assembled group whether they thought that the planned blanket testing of SE kids in second grade would materially increase the number of children identified for the program, and there was some skepticism that the tests identify innate ability more than strong early childhood education (from home as well as school).

I also talked to some Wedgwood parents, who, like my Mid Beacon Hill neighborhood, are being told they can no longer walk to a nearby school and instead need to bus for miles. (Except for them, it's middle school and not grade school.) I empathize with their cause, and am also jealous that within 1 week they can mobilize forces and send lots of people to all sorts of meetings. I love living in my mostly-non-English-speaking part of SE Seattle and don't want to move, but, dang, you white, English-speaking neighborhoods are sure better at getting your voices heard!

Anonymous said...

JvA- one important thing to note is that the families in Wedgewood (which is one of two schools reassigned in the latest plan to the new JAMS middle school starting in the fall), live at the most, just over 2 miles from JAMS. Many live one mile or less from JAMS. Also, under the initial assignments of Olympic Hills and John Rogers, JAMS was shaping up to be a very non-white, non-English speaking, low SES school, especially when compared to Eckstein which has a very low FRL % and is arguably the wealthiest middle school in the city. I understand that it must be frustrating to live a few blocks from one middle school and get drawn into the 2nd closest middle school to you, but when that school is only 2 miles away (the walk zone for middle schools), it's hardly deserving of sympathy when compared to situations like yours.

JAMS will be starting up in a 900+seat building. Someone has to go there! It doesn't seem like there will be such a scarcity of space for NE middle schools at all, rather that no one wants to go to JAMS, leaving Eckstein crowded and the small number of attendance area kids who have no choice, out of luck with a tiny start up school.

-Lake City Mom

kellie said...

JvA is completely right about many things.

In particular, KSB concern about the World School is well founded. The central area is poised for explosive growth. the World School deserves better treatment than to be bounced around. Frankly, TT Minor should never have been closed.

Meg Diaz did a brilliant analysis during the closures that showed how the shock waves of the closures pushed students out of the district. I firmly believe that had the school not been closed, it would be just as full as Stevens right now.

If even half of the growth that has been projected by both the City of Seattle and the Puget Sound Regional Council comes online in that area, TT Minor will be desperately needed as an elementary school at the same time that World School would be planning to move in.

While I know the World School does not want to hear this. IMHO, forewarned is forearmed.

If the World School did move to Van Assalt they would be very close to the majority of their constituents. This would also mean that Meany could be brought on line much sooner.

It is not perfect, but at the moment, there is still some available space in the SE. That won't last.

Anonymous said...

I also attended the Sherry Carr meeting. Here are more comments to add to previous posts:

1) PTSA asked SPS to: a) provide their data and rationale and tell why changes are being mad, b) get input from communities--do a survey so they know what people want and c) partner with PTAs. Carr encouraged PTSA to contact the superintendent again and cc board members along with the SPS ombudsman and another person whose name I didn't catch. PTSA rep also said PTSA's survey indicates 75% of respondents feel there wasn't adequate community engagement for SPS's boundary proposal process.

2) A parent said stop the train and focus only on changes needed for 2014-15--there is no demographer on staff and supposedly no one with expertise to interpret the last demographer's data. Sherry Carr confirmed there isn't a current demographer and said they are "data rich. "

(In my opinion, there may be lots of data but if there's no expertise to interpret it how can SPS make such big changes that negatively impact so many students and families??)

3) Carr said if parents want their middle school students to stay with their cohort when changing middle schools, parents can request this. Staying with the MS cohort will be a tie breaker after the sibling tie breaker.

4) Regarding what Carr described as the explosive growth of APP in the north end, she said she continues to ask/challenge staff about how projected numbers could grow to 847 APP middle schoolers in north Seattle. She said there's a task force looking at this.

5) When families email the board regarding amendments, Carr said to put the key issue in the subject line. It is unlikely emails will be read beyond their subject lines.

6) When a parent asked how do we get the superintendent and staff to show their work, Carr urged families to contact the superintendent and ask him why this plan and ask him to show data.

7) Carr said DeBell's amendment includes three middle school locations for APP and hers has two. She said DeBell's amendment will probably see the light of day whereas hers may not.

--Bueller

Anonymous said...

Argh. Melissa, will you delete my duplicate posts? Sorry.

Bueller

Anonymous said...

Typo in my post. End of first sentence about PTSA should read "changes being made" (not mad).

Bueller

Anonymous said...

@Lake City Mom

I hear you! I was shaking my head at what JvA wrote about Wedgwood, as well.

Someone DOES have to go to JAMS, or else Ecstein will explode, and JAMS will fail.

I will admit to doing a happy dance when I saw that Wedgwood and Sacajawea were included in the JAMS attendance area in Version 3.0. It wasn't just for the increased enrollment numbers, or the reduction of the FRL percentage, that made me happy...it also had to do with support for kids working at the "Spectrum" level...those advanced learners who missed the cut for APP.

JAMS needs a larger attendance area, and preferably one with a Spectrum feeder school, to help support kids working one grade level ahead. Putting APP in the building (if they decide to go back to V. 2.0) won't support these kids.

To compound the situation, since 2010, the Jane Addams K-8 program, which offers Spectrum, has drawn many advanced learners away from the area neighborhood schools which will feed into JAMS. As it is a K-8 program, chances are good that these kids will stay with the K-8.

In order to pull in more advanced learners, the JAMS attendance area has to expand to beyond the current JA K-8 geo-zone.

JAMS in V. 2.0, with APP and just two, small, high FRL schools feeding into it is a social experiment, or maybe just a convenient place to put APP. It is not a school designed to meet the needs of our kids.

Of course, when you start talking about Spectrum, Board Directors are quick to say that it is a program placement/advanced learning issue. That may be true, but it's funny how apparently dealing with APP now is OK, but not Spectrum.

Early in the Growth Boundaries discussion, we were told that JAMS would have Spectrum. I would like to see the Board make an effort to support Spectrum at JAMS, by ensuring that there is a strong Spectrum cohort at JAMS.

- North-end Mom

Amy Bonney-Hoffman said...

Don't forget Whittier! My son is a fourth-grader and if this proposal passes he'll attend five schools in five years. Never mind that we can walk to Whitman; apparently the APP students that live in the area are more important. And I'm not blaming the APP students: this was a disaster not of their making. But to cater to a program that's voluntary over the rest of the students is asinine.

I, too, attended the meeting on Saturday, and although I'm no fan of Sherry Carr I'm glad she's discussing posting an amendment. The process is flawed but it's the process we've tacitly agreed to by re-electing the same people over and over again. When will the rest of us wake up?!

Charlie Mas said...

Amy Bonney-Hoffman, it's not that the APP students are MORE important, it's that they are AS important and you want them to be LESS important.