Friday, March 21, 2014

Friday Open Thread

Seattle Education blog is having a Meetup.  It's An Opt-Out Workshop with Jesse Hagopian (currently running on the SEE slate- Social Equality Educators - for SEA president).

It's Wednesday, March 26th at 6:30 p.m.  RSVP: seattled@icloud.com (you must RSVP to attend as it is being held at a private home.) 

What's on your mind?

62 comments:

Anonymous said...

Are you a "natural" parent?

Madison Middle School in West Seattle sent home a field trip form with the following on the medical release signature area:


I ______________________ the natural parent/legal guardian of _____________________

Are we living in the 1950s? Unbelievable that this form wasn't checked before being sent out. I have searched and searched the SPS forms and other schools and NOWHERE have I found such an offensive term.

Appalled in West Seattle

Melissa Westbrook said...

Very weird. It might be someone who knows that rather old school kind term.

Anonymous said...

Are Common Core Standards really all that bad, or is it their implementation that's problematic?

As a parent, what I see happening in classrooms is a push to implement CCSS without any significant reevaluation of adopted curriculum. For ELA standards, the focus is supposed to be on more reading and more analyzing, with increasingly complex texts. A recent interview with the person tasked with developing text exemplars for the CCCSS stated the intention to select high quality texts with beauty and meaning. It sounded like the antithesis to Readers and Writers Workshop.

Then we have the elementary math adoption, where undue focus on the practice standards seems to be guiding the choices more than the content standards.

Will there be a flurry of activity to embrace the standards, yet little measurable difference in learning outcomes? Without substantial improvements in the yearly course content and texts, will things really change for the better?

Similarly for the standardized tests - are they really all that bad, or is it the way test scores are being used (teacher evaluations) that is problematic?

-wondering

Eric B said...

A co-worker of mine is interested in volunteering at a middle or high school project based learning system, especially with after school programs. STEM would also be a good thing. Since she lives in West Seattle, a WS or South Seattle school would be best. I don't really know what programs are out there that need or want help. Anyone here have recommendations?

Anonymous said...

Article in the Huffington Post:

Yes, Schools are still racist.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/21/schools-discrimination_n_5002954.html

HP

Joe Wolf said...

Update on Annual Capacity Management 2014-15 (this was related to the Ops Committee yesterday evening):

Preliminarily, it looks like we will be placing 18-20 portables this summer. 10 are in support of the roll-out of the new Special Ed delivery model, and the relocation of the SpEd Pre-K currently at Pinehurst to Sacajawea. (New SpEd classes typically are placed in a school's main building; the Ed Directors, SpEd leadership and principals are working out the details of how room uses/functions - if necessary - will be revised. I don't have full details on that yet.)

The other 8-10 portable classroom placements are to accommodate projected enrollment growth.

Four of the portable classroom placements will be from two double portables pulled off the Eckstein campus. We *may* recommend demo-in-place of some of the very elderly single portables at Eckstein this summer as well, depending on how Open Enrollment shakes out. I hope we can; I know the Board does as well.

As always, feel free to email me at jawolf@seattleschools.org w/questions or concerns.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Wondering, I'm going to have a multi-part series on Common Core and you can be the judge.

There have been several recent articles about the different facets of rolling out new standards (and tests) that follow them. As Governor Cuomo said of the implementation in NY, "It's been horrific."

Eric, I wish I could help. I'm having problems getting my college grad into a high school to help tutor with math or science.

Joe, I will have some questions about yesterday's meeting, thanks.

Anonymous said...

Apparently, the McDonald Int'l School PTA bought their Principal his own iPad mini. I guess all the student and teacher needs had already been met.

Anonymous said...

Apparently, the McDonald Int'l School PTA bought their Principal his own iPad mini. I guess all the student and teacher needs had already been met.

-Surprised

mirmac1 said...

I was just reading Melissa's thread exhorting families (natural or not) to action.

I agree that there is too much complacency among us with the hot mess at JSCEE. Bold action is necessary - in all forms! I am perplexed at how many people just expect Melissa to tackle these issues by herself. Public records requests are easy, make calls, talk to your state elected officials, have a VOICE! I'm amazed at the amount of energy Melissa invests, given the constant tide of garbage we must deal with - budget games, tests and more tests, charters eating into public school funds.

Anonymous said...

Surprised, I'm not affiliated with that school, but I could see an iPad mini being an incredibly helpful, portable tool for the principal, allowing him or her to have student or building info anywhere in the building, and so more able to be a present staff member for the kids. I don't think it has to be that it's corruption. I kind of wish the principals in my kids' schools would embrace that kind of thing. I'd help buy one.

Joe, you are such a credit to your profession. I admit I gasped with happiness at the idea that some of the Eckstein portables might be demolished. They're awful,(I think I know exactly which ones you mean) and detract so significantly from the learning environment.

-sleeper

Ian and Carolyn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Interesting article on effects of too much homework:

Is homework making your child sick?

My 8th grader has 3-5 hours of homework each night, and she does not procrastinate. My 6th grader usually has 2-3 hours. The volume of homework definitely creates a lot of stress in our house.

-LCP

Anonymous said...

Was there a presentation at the Operations Committee meeting yesterday? Where can we find it?

Reader

Anonymous said...

the Common Core math is hillarious. The right wing was all over it when introduced and now liberals are realizing this puts the cluster into FU. Unbelievable and unnecessarily challenging. It should be as option and choice to find what works for you. Why not just a class on how to operate a scientific calculator for those inclined. But no. There is so much bs associated with common core that it will definitely put the seperate in unequal

- Headpulling

Anonymous said...

Re the CCSS reading:

The pendulum swings too far to "TEXTS that are beautiful."

Note that does not say "BOOKS that are beautiful" or STORIES that are beautiful.

Friends back east whose kids are in schools farther into adoption report what I'm seeing my kid's school ... NO COMPLETE BOOKS read all year. Just snippets, 3 - 5 pages, read for "meaning". But no full books read as part of the class and discussed. You know, the whole stamina to finish a book and see the way an author develops a character, theme, setting over the course of an entire book? Not part of common core when you can get "theme" from 3 pages.

Sure, kids still read on their own, but the curriculum IS dumbed down in the CC schools (and I'm seeing it in mine - this is the first year my kid has not READ one WHOLE book this year to date for class discussion, only parts. It's March).

I wrote to the teacher twice saying my kid must be mistaken, could the teacher tell me what whole books had been read beginning to end by the class for class discussions, not just for personal reading, but all I got was a promise to encourage my kid to read more. No answer with a title of a book.

Ask your kid and your kid's teacher, what books were read by the kids in class to discuss - not books read during free reading. I'm mad. This is crazy. Kids need to read whole books, not curated crap, to learn how to ... read whole books!

Sign me: bookish

Anonymous said...

Eric, Cleveland is a South Seattle STEM high school and easily accessible to West Seattlites. I don't know if they need volunteers, but it would be worth checking for your friend. If she is not against working with elementary kids, in West Seattle there is the STEM @ Boren scholl that is project-based. Or, she could contact the Technology Access Foundation, based in West Seattle (White Center), which runs after-school programs for local kids, and it is project-based.

Loves volunteers

Joe Wolf said...

Sleeper - thank you for the kind words!

Reader - my report to Ops yesterday was verbal, there will be a record of it in the meeting minutes.

There was a presentation on the current version of the Wilson-Pacific project, both site plan and plans for both school buildings. It was done by Eric Becker of SPS and the project architect from Mahlum. Context was the BAR for the site-specific Ed Spec for Wilson-Pacific. Ops voted to move the BAR to full Board for intro/consideration.

RosieReader said...

Appalled -- I sure hope someone asks why that phrase was used. Perhaps there's a simple and benign explanation -- like they found that many forms were being signed by a "random adult" who had no actual authority over a student, and they hoped this phrase would stop that problem.

I just don't think we should automatically first jump to the conclusion that folks are idiots/disrespectful/whatever.

I would make the same reply to the person who's upset by the purchase of an ipad mini for a principal. PTO's (and PTA's too, for that matter) don't typically waste their resources. If they approved this purchase, they must have thought there was a good reason to do so.

RosieReader said...

The rumor that Sped classes were going to shunted off into portables has already raised some eyebrows at my school (Ingraham). We're a community, all of us. Our principal and staff should be deciding the preferred allocation of classrooms among various programs, and whether any portables are even necessary at a school. Unless our principal and our SPED families fully supported this concept, you can be darned sure our entire parent community would be advocating against it.

Anonymous said...

@Rosie - yes, there was a benign excuse offered. Apparently the school doesn't have such a form on its internal drives - it came from a teacher's computer. And in 2014, with all the diversity in the SPS - how on earth did someone let this slide? No one I have talked to has even seen a form like this in years - of ever. Yeah, I do call these folks out because it is offensive to every adoptive parent, every LGBT parent and every intentional family at the school. No excuse for this - none. It is these seemingly small things that add up and contradict the signs we see all over schools: "All Families Welcome Here."

Appalled

Eric B said...

Loves volunteers, thanks for the input. I appreciate the help.

RosieReader said...

Hadn't thought about it form the perspective of an adoptive parent, so I do understand your concern. I also thoroughly understand how the little drip of nonsense fills us up, and there's never any telling what the final drip will be that causes the flood.

Anonymous said...

Trying to make sense of the budget cuts thread from a few days ago. One of the commenters seems to indicate that Resource Room staff are going to be cut back significantly. Is this true? Can anyone elaborate? I have not heard anything about this until now. When do they expect our kids to get help? In place of bathroom breaks?

SPED Mom

mirmac1 said...

Appalled, I probably got that form, skimmed it and signed. No wording jumped out at me and I wouldn't surprised if a harried staffer did the same thing. I believe it is an unfortunate and unintended oversight.

RosieReader, thank you for the heads up and the strong advocacy. Yeah, our kids get placed in the "Most Restrictive Environment" when they're placed at the end of the hall, a separate wing, or completely separate structure! This has been the mindset in too many buildings, and downtown as well.

Anonymous said...

I was wondering about the timeline for installing the new special ed preK portables (2) at Sacajawea and for plumbing two bathrooms, and fencing and playground for the Pre-K? Where does this money come from? Seems like alot of new special ed classes/portables at that particular school!
Casey

Anonymous said...

@mimac1 - thank you for your all-knowing, condescending and dismissive response. I now see more clearly why diverse and non-traditional families are often treated as if they don't exist. Attitudes such as you have displayed.

Appalled

Melissa Westbrook said...

Casey, you asked what is one of my top five burning questions - where does the money come from for all these capital projects?

Of course it comes from the BEX funds, BTA funds, state matching grants and possibly revenue from rental/sales of school properties.

But to actually track every single dollar? Hard to do. I doubt if there are 3 people in all of SPS that could tell you, with any accuracy, where the dollars have gone.

At the Operations Committee meeting yesterday, there was this long-winded explanation of how there was still(!) BEXII dolllars floating around. There was confusion over where Maintenance money comes from and what it is spent on.

I could go on and I will in a separate thread but really, I'm not sure that everything that is printed in the voters guide to get done in BEX and BTA truly gets done.

Anonymous said...

To Joe W: I would like to know about the special education capacity planning. The District keeps saying they need and do not have the data to draw definite plans. So how did this play out in yesterday's deliberations?

Also, as another poster said here or on another thread, the District says that it has no idea how many students will be needing inclusion services in General Ed (as opposed to Resource Room services). This is a fallout of the ICS attempt some years back in Seattle Schools. IMO the District is keeping quiet on this and throwing up a lot of roadblocks to prevent the transition of students into the latter category, which is more expensive for the District than the Resource Room. What did the Operations Committee learn about this situation and what did you report about it?

Reader

Anonymous said...

"My 8th grader has 3-5 hours of homework each night, and she does not procrastinate. My 6th grader usually has 2-3 hours. The volume of homework definitely creates a lot of stress in our house."

I like homework and think it can contribute to valuable learning, but this seems like too much. I'd be looking for closer to 2 hr/night of homework for the 8th grader and 1 for the sixth grader. If I were in your situation, I'd be talking to the teachers (and my child) about what is happening.

My kiddo sometimes expands homework topics out of interest, but even with interest, she doesn't have 5 hours a night to spend, so I have to watch her to make sure that she hasn't expanded a project out of the plan of the teacher (i.e. writing a novel instead of a story, as an example).

zb

Joe Wolf said...

To Reader, Casey & Melissa:

Below is what I know, and what I was directed to do.

Regarding funding of spaces to support SpEd:

- The SpEd Pre-K move to Sacajawea is a collorary action to the upcoming relocation of Pinehurst K-8, and the demolition of the existing facility this summer/fall. I was directed to find another appropriate, K-5 site *in north-central/northeast Seattle* for the program.

As you well know, space is at a premium in that part of the city. In my judgment Sacajawea was the site most able to handle the relocation without compromising its existing program.

As to the other SpEd activity, I was directed to support the requests of SpEd leadershoip for space, both "where" and "what kind". For the most part we have been able to do so. It's not appropriate for me to respond to questions on history/actions of which I wasn't a part.

Regarding funding: All the portable placements are being funded by the BEX IV Capacity Management program/budget. The mods to accommodate SpEd functions are being funded by the BTA III Special Education/Program Placement program/budget.

In closing: Facilities accounting and budgeting is complex. It is that way primarily *for* a follow-able audit trail/transparency. Statements that infer SPS staff don't know (or care) about such things, or that levy items might get lost in the shuffle are simply untrue, and I can't let them stand without a response.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Statements that infer SPS staff don't know (or care) about such things, or that levy items might get lost in the shuffle are simply untrue, and I can't let them stand without a response.

First, I didn't say anyone didn't care. Please don't infer what is not said.

Second, I didn't say no one knows, I said it is likely very few people know.

Third, I know that some thing on various BEX/BTAs did get "lost" (see: World School) and that some things got done with money that was supposed to go elsewhere.

Most of the money in BEX and BTA have a real and true project attached.

That the district never puts out a truly detailed accounting of the dollars should tell you something.

mirmac1 said...

Appalled,

As a Madison "diverse and non-tradition" parent, I struggled with whether to respond, but here goes:

I know Madison and have a strong basis to believe that it is light-years ahead of other middle schools in this district with respect to acceptance and, yes, inclusion. This is not to say that my child has not suffered!

I'll just re-iterate that I believe this is an unfortunate and unintentional oversight.

I did not deny your reaction. Just sayin' what I've done (signed forms,maybe the same) and seen (observed my child's school and gotten to know the staff) over the years.

I am sincerely sorry if that did not come through as intended...

Anonymous said...

Where can a parent find out what the "new" special ed model looks like. As my child gets closer to elementary, it would be very nice to go into placement discussions prepared with understanding where they might want to place, resources at our local schools, etc.

I have seen some snippets, but no specifics. Very frustrating as a parent.

Anonymous said...

@Appalled- I'm also a Madison parent, and while I can understand your concern about the use of the word "natural", I agree with Mirmac that it was most likely unintentional. In fact, I'm sure it was.

Sorry if this offends, but it seems like you're overreacting. Maybe you've had some bad experiences that are impacting your perspective, but I really wouldn't consider this to be the big battle to fight. Just point it out, get it changed and move on.

-WS parent

-

Anonymous said...

Budgets at all schools are still very ambiguous for 2014-15. Staff will be cut. Counselor positions already have. Please ask what is actually budgeted and what little money is "discretionary" which usually translates into job loss.

- SPS teacher

JvA said...

Has anyone else seen the "cleaned up" "future" boundaries map?

http://midbeaconhill.blogspot.com/2014/03/cleaned-up-sps-boundaries-map-dated.html

Not sure if I somehow missed this. It's dated back from February.

Anonymous said...

@WS Parent
Seems like this condescending attitude runs rampant at our school. No wonder the form in question appeared. No one seems to question these things. Thanks for telling me how to feel. The SPS District Diversity Coordinator was as shocked as I was and planned to address it. What I have realized, is that very few will actually speak up on these issues - I am one of the few. And when we do, we are often marginalized and told to "get over it" and move on. And yes, these issues have occurred before - and frankly, I am tired of it. This is the third insensitive and exclusive form I have had to raise issues about and, some at the SPS office have as well. It may seem small to you - but I assure you, to many who deal with these issues regularly, it is not.

Appallled

Anonymous said...

Hey Appalled - there are parents who care about these issues but those can be found in other parts of Seattle. We used to live in West Seattle - and still work there, but we moved to the north end and find people out here are more open and progressive. West Seattle is a bit more conservative and not as liberal as the rest of the city. So, I am not really surprised.

North of Seattle

Anonymous said...

@Appalled

As an adoptee, I get where you are coming from and I am also appalled by the wording on the field trip form. Thanks for daylighting this issue to SPS.

- North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

I'm not my kids' "natural" mother, and if I saw that on a form I'd certainly notice and want to address it. I'd talk to the school and ask about it first, not in an accusatory tone because people shut down. If it was an errant spell check correction or a form pulled off the internet but not proofed, and the school got why it was offensive and apologized and fixed it, I'd be gracious. If they didn't "get" it, I'd explain why that wording was hurtful to kids like mine, and ask them to fix it. Only if I got no response would I elevate it.

I've learned that these are teachable moments and if your goal is to help people change, a positive attitude works. Approaching with an appalled attitude (even though you may be) just causes people to shut down. And I want these people to learn, for my kids' sake.

Supernatural Mom

Anonymous said...

Thanks all for the supportive comments. It's hard to be a change agent at times (whatever form that takes) Folks assume much without knowing the full context and, as I noticed in several insensitive and really, disrespectful comments here, there is strong resistance to challenging the status quo - we have a long way to go.

Progress is ongoing!

(Slightly) Appalled

Anonymous said...

"Where can a parent find out what the "new" special ed model looks like. As my child gets closer to elementary, it would be very nice to go into placement discussions prepared with understanding where they might want to place, resources at our local schools, etc."

Does anybody know the answer to this question?

Also in the same boat

mirmac1 said...

Were the insensitive and disrespective comments:

"(you are) all-knowing, condescending and dismissive"; or

"...the north end...(you) find people out here are more open and progressive. West Seattle is a bit more conservative and not as liberal..."; or

"...there are parents who care about these issues but those can be found in other parts of Seattle..." etc.

I found those last few particularly Appalling. Oh well.

Anonymous said...

I would also like to know more about the "new" special education model. What is actually changing? Is anyone involved in special education optimistic about the changes?

Chris

Anonymous said...

Chris,
Staff have not been told very much about these "changes", much like during the roll-out of ICS. In fact I learn more from the special education PTSA than I am ever told by the people I work for, but I am not sure they (sped ptsa) have much info yet. I am sure that if I or any others learn something, it will get posted here. I am cautiously optimistic. Apparently I don't learn quickly through experience.

Special education classrooms should never be in portables!!! Just had to let that out.

A special ed teacher

Anonymous said...

Supernatural Mom rocks!

Certainly, there's a lot to be "appalled" about. Being a "change agent" means that one is sensitive to all of the "appalling" events (not just
one's own issues), remains
positive about intentions, and has more awareness of the flaws in oneself than others.

--enough already

speducator said...

We've been told at our high school, (which is already overflowing) that we are being assigned another medically fragile classroom. We already have fifteen sped teachers at our school. The District took away our transition room for life skills students. This room had a washer and dryer, two refrigerators, a kitchen and a dishwasher and was used to teach life skills activities. They turned it into a classroom because we didn't have any other spaces. Our AP has taken away all of our life skills activities, because she wants these students to reflect the rest of the school, so they are now on an academic track. They can't even go bowling now, which they really looked forward to. Has this district gone crazy?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Here's my confusion about Sped (which falls in line with other parts of the running of the district): where's the transparency and explanation?

Sure, there's the mention in the Strategic Plan and, this past School Board meeting both HR and Sped got up to talking about efforts around Sped hiring, but where's the specifics/logistics of this plan?

That Sped parents are now two-thirds into the school year and have no real idea what is going on - specific to their child's education - is very troubling.

We are moving right back to what I call "the need to know" basis. The district will tell us what they think we need to know (and no more).

I do not speak for Sped parents (although I was one) but this is disturbing.

Anonymous said...

"We are moving right back to what I call "the need to know" basis. The district will tell us what they think we need to know (and no more)."

Melissa, the issue is that the District doesn't know. They are saying well we're building the ship while we're sailing it. You just have to be patient. That's fine. Sure. But the components for the build are not being thought through. They're just stumbling around. There is no shared vision of the end goal either. Other than the big old slogans around equity, the train has left the station without even noticing that the tracks aren't being laid down first.

Scratching his head

Anonymous said...

I need to get caught up here -it's Sunday and I am just now tracking back to Friday.

@Appalled - that is unfortunate. I wonder where someone came up with this language? Odd, very odd. I would ask for a complete explanation. Thanks for taking this up and sorry that some here have claws out - grow up parents we are all in this together. "Supernatural mom" really insensitive moniker considering the issue and language used. Some don't get it I suppose.

@wondering - thanks for starting this discussion and I look forward to @Melissa picking up on this here. I have to admit that I am still in the dark on what the CCSS really mean and what the longer term impact will be for our kids. Like many parents, I need more information.

@surprised @sleeper - I agree that the iPad could be an effective tool and allow the principal to get out and roam more yet still be in touch with the office, email, etc. I wish we had the funds more such technology in the classroom as these are wonderful learning tools. And, we also need to be careful about tracking our students as was discussed in another thread here.

@Joe and @Rosie - SpEd in portables? I'd love to know more about these capacity discussions and the decision-making process. I agree with Rosie, our school should (would) be against any attempts to isolate or "shunt off" these students in portables. Looking at the broader issues and discussion here - my ongoing concern is that SPS is so large that some of these issues have become unmanageable - perhaps breaking off into smaller regional districts would all more individualized attention to some of these needs.

@ LCP and @zb- I wish my child had MORE HW. I constantly ask to look at, discuss HW and she brings home very little and yet grades are fine. I guess I feel she needs to be challenged more.

Finally - we are relatively new to SPS (about a year) and I have a question: Are all schools required to offer Spectrum and Advanced Learning classes? I have heard many different explanations and am confused. Our school doesn't see to promote these and yet I have heard some students are enrolled in these sections.

-SPS Parent

Anonymous said...

Scratching and Melissa - so right about the train leaving and the tracks are not laid. AGAIN!!!

Try looking at the new and "updated" website. You will find listed under "Accomplishments: "Students with disabilities served through the integrated comprehensive service model K-1 show strong progress toward their IEP goals in the Spring of 2010."

That's it? 2010? ICS? Been there, done that, derailed.

Also you will find references to "the new Access model" but, what is that? You will not get the same answer from any 3 people, and it most certainly is not on the website - or easily found. So hang on.

Casey

Anonymous said...

Has anyone had any interactions with the North Beach principal in regards to their child's behavior? We just had an issue arise and I'm not sure quite how to read the response we got. Never have had anything happen before, had no issues at our previous school, so this came as a bit of a shock.

*curious and confused

Lynn said...

From the minutes of the BEX Oversight Committee meeting on February 14th:

It was decided not to go with acceleration at Horace Mann; NOVA and World
School will co-exist at Meany for another year. The initial cost of delay negotiated
down to was $82,000.


Can anyone remind me of something Superintendent Banda has done well? Is there something in the district that had been improved due to his efforts?

Anonymous said...

Curious and confused, the Special Education PTSA can probably give you this information. Email via here: http://seattlespecialedptsa.org/?page_id=294

The State Ombusman for Education hears from a lot of special needs families in SPS. They can probably give you informed information about North Beach or at least what to do with the information you have been given:
http://www.governor.wa.gov/oeo/contact.asp

In a logical world the Special Education Dept would help you. But they have limited staff, I hear, and they won't be able to help, in the current climate of the Banda administration, if the building administrator is popular with the downtown establishment.

Realist

mirmac1 said...

Lynn,

Although he's been a disappointment in many respects, I'd throw these things out there:

Got some movement on Math Adoption;
Has taken baby steps with respect to new SpEd service delivery;
Has not pushed test-taking ad nauseaum;
Has been somewhat guarded (believe it or not) with data privacy

Sara said...

Lynn, Mirmac, Whoever knows or cares....

I can't stop wondering how much the Pinehurst 'saving' is costing SPS. The renovations at Lincoln are almost $1M, the design changes to the WP are $550k (that's only architecture fees, not any new building needs). There are also going to be transportation costs and many "soft costs". The changes to WP will last forever. Putting a K-8 inside a comprehensive MS is not the best idea or use of space. It will have unique impacts on both populations.

All this at a time when SPS has no money. I can't stop thinking about it. Why couldn't Pinehurst be saved in a cheaper way? For example, locate them at JAMS in portable or empty classrooms until they could move into another SPS building in the NE like Thornton Creek, etc.

The Board directs staff to save a one-time couple million on transportation with negative impacts on many families since money is so tight, but we can fund this?

I also can't stop thinking about the numbers at WP. The north-end APP program will exceed 650 by the time WP opens in 2017. There is only room for 6 portables. The MS is now being built for only 750 kids so Pinehurst can fit. That's bad for Pinehurst and WPMS. The feeder schools alone will exceed 750 kids. Where will NW APP MS kids go? And, that doesn't leave room for Pinehurst to grow very much. So, if they then relocate Pinehurst (Or god forbid close it after all this rigmarole) because we need the MS seats, WPMS will have to deal with putting MS kids in a "K-8". All those dollars will have been completely wasted if that happens.

I'm not saying Pinehurst should or shouldn't have been saved. I am saying saving it at these dollar amounts with these design changes to a comprehensive MS is INSANE!

Anonymous said...

I'm with Lynn on Banda. Remember the Goodloe-Johnson reign of fear and intimidation? Would any schools have DARED to vote down a budget? Opt out of a test? It's not great, but there is a lighter, freer feeling. Staff seem to feel less threatened, but I'm not one. Can some teachers weigh in on that?

Chris S.

Ragweed said...

@Sara,

Couple things

The Lincoln renovation was already planned and scheduled so it really is not a Pinehurst cost. That space needs to come back on line whether it is for Pinehurst, Hamilton Annex, SPED (and they currently are planning on co-locating an SM4 program there with Pinehurst), or another small program. The renovations are being done with an eye for eventual use as Lincoln HS (eg the rooms are not being enlarged for K-5 classrooms, but left at the smaller HS size - going to be a bit of a squeeze).

The inclusion of the Pinehurst Native Partnership at Wilson-Pacific is not ideal, but the Wilson-Pacific site has connections and meaning for the Native Community since long before Seattle was a city. If it were just Pinehurst, then I would say we'd be fine with another site. But the location near Licton Springs is very important to the Native Community, and we are committed to that partnership.

Finally, I keep seeing it repeated that there are better sites for Pinehurst, such as Cedar Park and Decatur. We asked for Cedar Park from the day the BEX IV letter came out saying we were losing our site and were told repeatedly that it was going to be needed for a neighborhood school. We were also shot down around Decatur because of the added costs of bringing it online for a K-8 (it was built as a K-3, though really we could make it work without major renovations). We were willing to accept a permanent "Portable Village" behind Broadview Thompson, and that was shot down.

(Decatur is also less than ideal because of the Eckstien service area demographics, and it puts us right next to another option school that is being asked to grow from 400 to over 600. With transportation limited to the Eckstien service area, I don't know that there would be enough demand for 850-900 alternative school spots).

Wilson Pacific at least positions us closer to the lower-income and more diverse North-end neighborhoods that are our natural constituency, and it creates an alternative school option for the Wilson Pacific service area, which currently has none. Yes, I am concerned about being pinned to an enrollment number that is the lowest we have ever been, particularly since it looks like we may have a full K, 1 and 2 class this year. I think we need the space to grow to at least 250, and in a lot of ways we would be better served in a stand-alone structure where there wouldn't be the issues one gets being attached to a larger middle-school. If anyone has a NW building lying around that could be brought online, let us know.

The reality is that there just is not enough space in the North End and we are all going to be squeezing in where we can. Until someone comes up with funding for some serious capacity expansion, we all need to make due. It think they should seriously start looking at some rooftop playfields and other options to maximize outside space.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Are all schools required to offer Spectrum and Advanced Learning classes? I have heard many different explanations and am confused. Our school doesn't see to promote these and yet I have heard some students are enrolled in these sections.

SPS Parent, that's quite the question. AL is undergoing shifts -both school-driven and district-driven. It is difficult to say what is going on at any given school (and I say this with all sincerity).

Schools are obligated to let parents know about AL programs. How that plays out varies from school to school; it sounds like your school is not so forthcoming.

No, APP is only at a few schools and it is self-contained. Spectrum is in at least one school in every region but it's different from school to school. Some schools have ALOs which are Advanced Learning Opportunities but again, that's school choice.

I wish I had better answers but your best bet is to ask your principal and ask AL.

Curious and Confused, if you want to write to me about your issue, I might be able to say more. It's
sss.westbrook@gmail.com

I am also worried about Wilson-Pacific since I attended the Operations Ctm. meeting last week.

I am behind in my posts on several meetings and will try to catch up.

Sara said...

Ragweed,

Thank you for the nice and informative response to my questions. I really appreciate it.

If my kid actually ends-up at WP, I look forward to getting to know you all. I really can't see how all the kids from the feeder schools will fit at WP much less NW APP and possibly QA/Mag APP, as well. I'm not an architect, but the site could easily be better-utilized. Roof top playfields, etc. are the kind of things I am talking about!

Ragweed said...

One final comment on Pinehurst Native Partnership and WilPac - I hear the concerns about outdoor space that will only be used part of the year. In our case, the outdoor spaces will be an essential part of the curriculum. We are already talking with professors at UW about creating an indigenous foods / native garden program which would be part of the science curriculum - focusing on everything from soil science to climate change indicator species, to indigenous diet and nutrition. One of the outside courtyards is being looked at for a cultural space where we could have things like carving demonstrations. In 2003-4 AS1 actually carved a 40' coastal cedar canoe from start to finish on the Pinehurst school grounds, which was a year-round process. Not sure if we will be able to do something like that again, but the idea is out there. So there is need for at least some of the courtyards and outdoor classrooms.