Thursday, March 27, 2014

Wilson-Pacific Meeting

It fell off my radar that there was a meeting at Wilson-Pacific last  night (I believe it was a SEPA meeting).  Did anyone attend and if so, could you describe the discussion?  Reports here.


In a related story, here's what was said at last week's Operations Committee meeting where there was some discussion about Wilson-Pacific.

- there were schematics of the buildings.  It was an odd discussion because a few Board members did not seem to know how to "look" at the drawings.  Stephan Blanford asked if the area was a "small envelope" and there was silence because clearly, this is a huge area of land.

The person describing the drawings didn't bring a laser pin so it was difficult to always know what section she was describing.  (Luckily, Capital staff person, Lucy Morello, had one and lent it to her.) It's just one of those small things that seems less-than-professional and makes you wonder.

- per the elementary - the buses will be on Wallingford.  They said - but this was unclear to me - that they would never have to use "city sidewalks."  I don't know if this means the district owns the whole block.  The building will be 2-stories.

- they mentioned the spaces for outdoor learning/gardens - no discussion from Committee members

- the middle school is a 3-story building. There is a stage in the gym which will serve as their "auditorium." I think this is pretty terrible for a middle school that wants to have music or drama.  The sound in a gym is usually horrible and just having a stage doesn't really make it a real area for performances.  I think this is okay for an elementary but not a middle school.

- the K-8 will have a closer drop-off area for its facilities which are mostly grouped in one corner of the building and a few rooms on the 2nd floor.  They are trying to figure out how to give them PCP, dining and library time. There will be an internal staircase just for the K-8. 

- there will be an engineering/CTE classroom in the middle school and two music rooms

- there was a question about the "amphitheater" which staff tried to play down. It was stated that it was done to "save money" because they would need to grade that area anyway and, as well, it was just a platform with some informal seating.  They said it really was not part of any plan and is now an indoor space. 


Anonymous said...
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Sara said...

Can someone verify the Native Program's current enrollment? I heard it was zero. If that's true, the K-8 can go elsewhere allowing for a true, comprehensive middle school. I can't find the number of kids in this program anywhere.

WP bound. said...

They clearly responded to testimony from last week.

Right at the beginning of the meeting, they made it clear there would be lockers no commitment to where they would be.

They also said no auditorium, there would be a modified lunch room of some sort and said middle schools don't need auditoriums.

There was a lot of stuff about outside classrooms. I really couldn't follow that part.

They were vague about the fields and tried to give the impression that Lncoln might not use them. That would be in the future.

They said parking was not an issue. Schools like Bryant and Hamilton have no parking and it is not a problem.

NW parent said...

Wow Sara. I find it rather harsh of you to just dismiss the Native program out of hand and also just brush aside the K-8 program to allow for a "true, comprehensive middle school." Look out, your biases are showing. Those pesky alternative programs, not real true schools apparently, that just get in the way of the real kids. Well I would venture that kids need those programs just as much as comprehensive schools.

And "go elsewhere?" Where do you suggest? There is nowhere else to go.

Sara said...

NW Parent, My kid is in an alternative program so I am not dismissive. Nice try, though.

Can you answer the question? How many kids are enrolled in the Native Program? If there is even one child enrolled, I would absolutely support them being in school on a sacred site. However, IF there really is not one child enrolled (which I find incredibly hard to believe given what we've been told), tacking ANY program onto the Native program is a serious deception that everyone has a right to know.

WP Bound said...

I have no idea how may students are enrolled. However, they did say that the K8 is getting one wing of the building.

The discussion of this was also very confusing and I didn't follow it very well. All the science rooms are going to be put in one place so there would be a lot of cross traffic. I think they said that the K8 was mostly in the one wing but that they would go out of the wing to go to the science rooms.

The whole thing was really confusing.

I just don't get it. There is an elementary school, a middle school and a K8. Why isn't there either three buildings or just make it a huge K8? Am I missing something??

Melissa Westbrook said...

WP, that's weird. Because I read the reports and there's lockers (yay) but yes, no auditorium. (There's blah, blah about not having one at every middle school - including new HIMS - but there's space at W-P and frankly, I don't get it.)

The NA program is not zero and, in fact, could grow larger with real district support. I'm not sure how having a small K-8 is going to impact the comprehensive experience. It will take a fairly small amount of space.

And, in fact, the NA program has been at W-P for years and years. Like most things in this country about Native Americans, they were there first.

If you want the answer (specific, I think it's about 80 students), you can certainly call the district yourself.

Anonymous said...

Sara, why don't you do your own research? Good grief. Just take 5 minutes to google your info. If that isn't good enough, contact SPS and tell them you want proof as you seem quite irate about the whole thing.


NW parent said...

And again, Sara, where should the K-8 go? You say you are not dismissive, but just saying "go elsewhere" is absolutely dismissive.

Anonymous said...

I think an auditorium is necessary. The new HIMS doesn't have one and their multipurpose commons has terrible acoustics. They had one before, and it was old, but it did serve the purpose. The music program doesn't have an appropriate place for performances. Any drama (plays in world languages, LA/SS, or after school) have no stage on which to practice or perform. Plus, when they have events for parents, it's ridiculous - people are stacked in the movable bleachers, which never accommodate the whole crowd, and no one can hear anything. Who says a middle school doesn't need an auditorium? Not anyone who actually plans events at a school.


Robyn said...

I was also told no kids were enrolled in the NA program. It came from a member of the planning committee so I didn't think to question it. So, thanks to Sara for asking and to Melissa for clarifying.

Lynn said...


Exactly how many kids are enrolled in Wilson Pacific? Zero. There - see how fair it is?

There is no school-day NA program because it dwindled down to a handful of students due to lack of district support. Those students were moved offsite last year and the community has been promised a return to the WP site and a rebuilt program. AS-1 is going to merge with the newly created NA program with a new curricular focus.

mirmac1 said...

I am tired of hearing how Pinehurst and the IH program are expendable. You do NOT get support with that attitude. Yes, enrollment dwindled drastically. Out of sight out of mind right. They don't exist so WP's fair game? Nice try.

Robyn said...

Melissa, thanks for posting that sepa handout. It was interesting. I have to wonder, though, if the 650 kid school for north app is big enough? With the possibly changing entry requirements, the dismantling of spectrum, etc. it seems more kids might end-up in APP. Shouldn't this be figured out before turning the middle school that will be here for 50-100 years into a mixed-use space? If app won't work in the new building, doesn't that open up possibilities?

I'm sure this has been vetted, but why not build the k-8 inside the elementary since there would be more symmetry. Then, you can split north-APP in two and send the NW APP kids wherever there is room. Maybe the magnolia building? It would relieve pressure on NE and make use of the school in magnolia.

Lynn, before you and NW parent jump down my throat, I live in Whitman service area. I have one kid in app and one in gened. So, I am not dismissing anyone's child other than my own with this suggestion. It's just a discussion, by the way, with many folks trying to weigh-in on the same problem. This should be a welcoming place to get ideas and ask questions since (I think) we all want SPS to be a great district instead of the cluster f--- it is.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Robyn, I have the same concerns about the need for space as you.

I have to write up my thread on the Operations Ctm meeting but there were two astonishing things said.

One, (and staff kind of smiled and confirmed this one) is that the Board CANNOT disapprove any design, they just approve the funding. (Well, frankly, a strong Board COULD say no by NOT providing the funding on a bad design.)

And two,, the BEX Oversight Ctm rep said that they don't really review designs, just offer suggestions and insights.

So who reviews building design? Just staff. A little scary.

Robyn said...

Yes, that makes no sense especially when the Board is able to over ride staff and place programs in yet-to-be-built schools. And, those decisions end-up having implications on what's built. However, After your comment about Blanford thinking WP is a postage size site, maybe it's a good thing.

I still like the idea of a middle school and high school at WP. Lincoln could be for all app north and pinehurst. It would require un-merging PH and NA, though, since the NA kids should get priority at WP. That may not be ideal, but it would allow for growth in all those programs.

Anonymous said...

"One, (and staff kind of smiled and confirmed this one) is that the Board CANNOT disapprove any design, they just approve the funding. (Well, frankly, a strong Board COULD say no by NOT providing the funding on a bad design.)"

But doesn't the Board approve (or not approve) the ed specs for new buildings?

- North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

Middle schools don't need an auditorium?? Hamilton uses Lincoln's auditorium for their music performances, because there is no space at Hamilton. It is standing room only during performances. Lincoln's auditorium is Hamilton's de facto auditorium. They can walk to Lincoln for practice. Doesn't this indicate a need for an auditorium? Are they assuming the new school will continue to borrow space in another school's auditorium?

Not having an auditorium - for an elementary, middle, and K8 combined??? Ludicrous.

Auditoriums are designed with acoustics in mind, and lunchrooms certainly are not.


Anonymous said...

Are there any SPS middle schools, besides Hamilton, that don't currently have an auditorium?


mirmac1 said...

Madison has a lovely commons with pull out seating. Madison also has a huge music program

Melissa Westbrook said...

Curious, that's in the report.

Anonymous said...

No, a school doesn't have to have a dedicated auditorium. It's nice, even optimal, but a well-designed commons or gym area that is set up to be acoustically sound (sound dampeners and ample wiring and accommodations for sound system) can work wonders. It also needs either storage space near the commons or a dedicated practice room for musical instruments. All doable now in the planning stage. An auditorium is a very large ticket item and given the SPS money and crowding issues, multipurpose space is the name of the game. If all the kids promised to WP can actually have a home in a couple of years, that's the most basic outcome - and I'm not so sure SPS can pull off that basic outcome. So first things first.


Anonymous said...

@SavvyVoter - The commons at HIMS certainly doesn't have good acoustics, which would have improved it as a performance space. However, if the argument is that we can only afford multipurpose spaces, I'd say that we need an actual stage - and we have that model in lots of elementary schools.

I would argue, given the fact that there will be potentially 3 schools at W-P, an auditorium would be well used by all three schools. Arts are an important part of education, despite how SPS actually delivers arts education, and performance gives that study meaning. I say we build a school that will serve needs for 100 years. It's a huge boon to a community to have that auditorium - it will be used often, and can also have uses for after school programs as well.


Anonymous said...

With you savvy voter. I want seats first. Performance venue is not a must have. If the district is flushed with cash and land, then yes, go for it. Even with WP operational, we will need more seats!


Anonymous said...

If I remember correctly, the reason for co-locating AS-1 was to save operational costs, yet the costs to redesign and customize W-P MS are running in the millions.

Also, now that AS-1 will be merged with Indian Heritage and has the potential to grow to at least it's past enrollment of 250-300, such growth will be constrained (to 150),if it is housed within W-P MS.

There are buildings within SPS inventory which will be available soon (2016/2017) that could accommodate a 300-student program (Decatur and Cedar Park).

It is mind-boggling that neither of these sites are being reconsidered now that Pinehurst/AS-1 has been "saved."

- reality check

Elizabeth said...
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Melissa Westbrook said...

a well-designed commons or gym area that is set up to be acoustically sound

Well, I've been in a number of newer commons/gyms and I do not see what you saying would help. Every one of them echoes and it's hard to hear. I do not expect better for W-P given SPS has had opportunities to do this better.

I would agree with Tami's analysis on the cost-benefit to having an auditorium especially for the greater community.

I agree, Reality Check, I wish that Pinehurst was going to be placed elsewhere but that will not change at this point and we all get to sit back and watch it all play out.

And how it will play out - I would also bet on it - is that within 5 years after W-P is built - Pinehurst will be moved.

Anonymous said...

At the NW Strategic Plan Mtg. at Ballard High last night, WP came up and then a group of parents spoke with Flip Herndon (Assistant Superintendent, Capital, Facilities and Enrollment Planning) about WP after the meeting. Flip has 2 kids bound for WP, by-the-way. He said that auditoriums are very expensive and not commonly built anymore because of costs. Instead, the focus is on classrooms and spaces that are used on a daily basis. He rattled off a number of middles that have set-ups like HIMS of a stage in a common area. I hear the other side about how it would be great to have an auditorium with 3 schools on that site and I agree about the importance of the arts, but if it is a choice between daily use and performance space that is sometimes used during the day, I'd go for daily use. I don't know about the other middles without auditoriums, but the HIMS stage space does have incredibly poor acoustics (jsut for large groups). Is there a way to build a common space with better acoustics as a middle ground? EG

Ragweed said...

Focusing on the number if kids in the NA program is the wrong question. Wilson Pacific was the home of the Indian Heritage School since the 70s. Currently there are no kids in the Indian Heritage program at Wilson Pacific because it was neglected and dismantled over the past several years and was closed in 2013. There are approx. 50-80 Native Students who attend the Clear Sky Native Youth after-school program currently housed at Wilson Pacific, and we expect eventual numbers of about that in the new program.

The issue is that there is no program that focusses on providing culturally competent education for Native American students, and it is sorely needed. NA students are at the bottom of just about every measure of academic achievement and even Jose Banda has acknowledged they are the only ethnic group in SPS which has been going backward in the achievement gap. Pinehurst is partnering with Native educators to create that desperately needed program, because we already are doing many of the best-practice approaches for Native Ed (experiential learning, outdoor education, family and community engagement), because we have historically had the highest percentage of Native students in the north end, and because have a long history of involvement with the Native community.

Serving Native students seems to be something that mainstream schools have a hard time with, particularly middle-schools (6th grade has been identified in the research as a critical point where many Native students disengage from the school system). We continue to hear stories of Native students who try to pass as Asian, who are subtly bullied in mainstream schools, or who are not engaged by the curriculum, especially in US history. Which is really easy, since the dark side of nearly every aspect of US history is that Native people were killed or relocated in the process.

So the issue is one of re-building the Native program because what SPS is doing now is failing Native students.

Anonymous said...

The problem with using HIMS as an example of schools that manage without an auditorium, is that they truly don't manage without an auditorium. They are using Lincoln. The performing arts are just as important as reading, writing, and 'rithmetic.


David said...

Ragweed, thank you for sharing your knowledge. Do you know if there is any sort of Native Heritage program at the Northgate Middle College high school? I have heard that a couple times and was curious if there are any services for Native kids there.

Ragweed said...


I frankly wouldn't be surprised if Pinehurst did get moved within 5 years after opening WP. Ideal situation would be if there were a smaller building in the Lichton Springs area that could support a school - maybe Kate Martin's ideas could come up with something.

I also don't think 850 is a bad size for a comprehensive middle-school. Three years ago Hamilton was only 850 and I did not hear complaints that it was not a comprehensive middle-school. The real issue is capacity in the north end, and an extra 150 seats at WilPac will not meet the capacity need. We need at least one more full middle-school in the North end.

Ragweed said...

@ David - there are about 6-8 Native kids at Northgate Middle College High School, and one Native teacher.

Anonymous said...


Those are very good points, but how do you grow such a much-needed program within the constraints of the W-P arrangement?

Was there a feasibility study done for the colocation of Pinehurst AS-1/ Indian Heritage within Wilson-Pacific MS? Were there any enrollment projections or capacity management data presented? Was there any community engagement done prior to the introduction and subsequent approval of the Peaslee amendment?

Honestly, 5 years (before AS-1/ IH is booted) seems optimistic to me.

- reality check

kellie said...

@ mirmac,

It is rather unfortunate that the building issue and the program placement issue has been entangled.

Buildings should be built for 100 years and therefore have maximum flexibility and resiliency. Program placement is transient, particularly when the district is at 100% capacity.

IMHO, here is the issue. The need to place the K8 somewhere, when there is nothing empty generates two options

1) pretend there is some empty space and cross your fingers and hope it works out.

2) own the fact that there is no space and start the process for acquiring more space.

IMHO, it does everyone a disservice to pretend that a K8 and a comprehensive middle school can share space and it is no big deal. It merely delays the hard conversation of what happens when we can't pretend any more.

Anonymous said...


Are you referring to the Indian Heritage Program in your comments to mirmac? The Native American mindset is to plan in terms of seven generations, not 100 years.

--enough already

Anonymous said...

100 years is standard infrastructure/government planning period for buildings. My guess is that is what she means.

I agree with kellie- space is at too incredible of a premium to hope this all works out. I think 850 is a great size for a comprehensive middle school, but I think they need to 150 seats up here too badly to have the capacity reduced to 850. I still like making WP into a middle and high school, and leaving elementary app at Lincoln. Maybe they could make a real playground(we do not need all those parking places) and let Pinehurst just stay there, then. I realize this doesn't solve the Licton Springs accessibility problem, though.


Melissa Westbrook said...

Ragwood, don't get me wrong. I like a smaller middle school as well. My sons were at Eckstein when it climbed well over 1,000. I just think the district will need the space.

Reality, I don't think any of the things you listed got done. And yes, they should have.

100 years you say? Well, I have news for you.

When I first started looking at SPS capital issues, the goal was buildings built for 50 years. Now, to me, given new building materials and techniques, this seemed reasonable. (But clearly, people knew how to build buildings for the ages because SPS is still using 60, 70, 80 year old buildings.)

Yes, a hundred years would be great but that's not what SPS is building to nowadays.

kellie said...

I am referring to the urban planning parts of buildings. Things are built for generations one way or another. They are either built intentionally to function for a long time or they are built unintentionally and then you have to work around that poor design for a long time.

So many of the older school buildings have had multiple uses and multiple lives. This property is going to be in use as a focal point for education for decades. Baring some great SPS disaster that once again chases everyone to the suburbs, enrollment should continue at this higher rate for 10-20 years, minimum. And if the pre-school for all thing really does happen, then watch out, you will see some serious increases in enrollment.

There should be some vision there for a building that will work for all the people using it during that time. I think the conversation about seats vs an auditorium is silly. It is one thing to give up an auditorium when you are looking at a tiny parcel of property or a small school. It is ridiculous when you are looking at the largest property. The original WP middle school was supposed to have core spaces for 1250 and was scaled back to 1000 when Jane Addams was going to be a middle school as well.

We passed a huge levy there should have been enough for an auditorium. It is just that simple. The part that enrollment growth has outpaced BEX is another story.

And only folks that have been following this for a long time would even think about this and I certain Mel remembers ....

Back in the day when it was decided that BEX III should be all about high school, rather than about the buildings in the worst condition or capacity, there was a "promise" that BEX IV would be "all about middle school." Part of that was going to be adding auditoriums to all the middle schools.

But that was when BEX was really all about Building Excellence and before BEX became repurposed as capacity management.

kellie said...

IMHO, the issue is that enrollment has simply grown faster than expected. Now we can argue to death what expected could have been or should have been but the bottom line is that during the closures in 08, enrollment was "expected" to bottom out at 47,000 students and therefore the district was "right sized."

Now we are at 52,000 and adding another 1,000 (or so) students every year.

At some point, there needs to a moment where we stop damage control and assess the plan. It is pretty typical in facilities to measure twice when doing long term plans. You make a long term plan, secure the financing and then typically before you spend all the money, you stop and you plug in today's current numbers against your projections.

My bet is that if the BEX plan were updated with today's enrollment projections, we would see a very different picture than what we saw during the planning phase.

When BEX planning started it looked like (on paper) that an extra elementary and an extra middle school in the north end would be "enough." But we aren't even at the breaking ground phase of this project and we have to shove in a whole extra school. The entire reason an extra school was placed on the property in the first place was because we had one school in "interim" housing and therefore needed another building.

In the original BEX plan, Boren was going to go back to Interim and the old Schmitz Park was going to be interim. Now both of those buildings will be live inventory because West Seattle needed that capacity and those buildings just quietly folded into the plan.

But the north end has no inventory to quietly fold back in. Therefore, we are getting these convoluted plans.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Seattle Times has a good article about counties in our state. About 11 are "dying" - more deaths than births (Clallam had 265 more deaths than births). What's the second fastest growing county in the nation?

King County.

Something to keep in mind about growth.

Anonymous said...


The BEX planners were very sneaky, and had the ed specs for Madison as the middle school ed specs for a comprehensive middle school. I, for one, never checked the middle school ed specs to see if it had a real auditorium.

Unlike the Hamilton/Lincoln situation, there is no auditorium nearby for Wilson-Pacific middle school to use, unless they can someone use space at NSCC.

My son will be at JAMS, not Wilson-Pacific, but the decisions being made for Wilson-Pacific will likely affect our family, because if Wilson-Pacific can't handle the intended 1000 comprehensive middle school kids I suspect the result will be a portable village at JAMS, which is sadly ironic, since that is why JAMS was opened, to relieve a portable village situation at Eckstein.

- North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

"Unlike the Hamilton/Lincoln situation, there is no auditorium nearby for Wilson-Pacific middle school to use, unless they can someone use space at NSCC."

Should read "somehow," not "someone."

- North-end Mom

kellie said...

@ North End Mom,

What I find deeply ironic is that none of this is a capacity management conversation at all. It is all emergency management. Oops. ____ needs to be placed somewhere, let's place them _____.

What a capacity management conversation would look like is something like .

We have about 5,000 K students and we have had about 5,000 K students for a few years now. What if all 13 grades had 5,000 students? What would we do?? Now that is a capacity management conversation.

That would be 65,000 students.
30,000 elementary students
15,000 middle school students and
20,000 high school students.

What would or could we do if SPS really does have 65,000 students in just a few years?

Nobody is having that conversation because that would make it clear that we don't have a plan.

Samantha Moscheck said...

The tone of these comments and the way people treat one another on this forum are the reason that I have come to generally avoid this site and rely instead on periodic updates from friends who are also APP parents and can stomach sifting through the constant personal attacks to inform themselves. I am so appalled by the tone of the dialogue on this blog that I seriously considered whether I wanted my daughter in this program. Thankfully, I have been delighted to find that Lincoln is a very supportive and nurturing environment, and I am sure that the south end school is, as well.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Samantha, what tone? All I hear is concern for students and the buildings they are in.

You say you get better info from the APP parents. On meetings, and BEX and curriculum and any number of issues we discuss here? Go to the APP blog.

Anonymous said...


Are you serious? You must be or you wouldn't have written what you did.

When you solicit opinions and information solely from parents who have a shared, vested interest in a small, tested-in group of students, then the information and "tone" will be very different than the world of diverse interests and opinions.

More and more people also tend to exclusively watch Fox News or listen mostly to NPR for similar reasons that you expressed.

There are definitely some echo chambers out there for you to spend you time online with. This is not one of them, apparently.

--enough already

Anonymous said...


Correction regarding APP parents and "Tone"...

I just remembered the APP/PTA mom who was the worst cat fighter I've ever witnessed when she went after Sue Peters last fall by trying to get information about Ms. Peters' children. This woman requested emails from the district for this purpose.

I also now recall the very serious "tone" issues a few years back when the principal and vice principal at APP Lowell were terrorizing teachers and some parents took sides by using the Lee Atwater playbook against each other.

Sorry I was too quick to defend APP "tone" in my previous comment. Even people living in a bubble are not always civil.

--enough already

Anonymous said...

Thankfully the behavior of an outspoken few doesn't represent the group as a whole.

enough already

Anonymous said...

Just for clarification, I didn't write the final "enough already" comment at 8:56. That was another by the same name.

I will add that my comments were in the classic "If the shoe fits, wear it" realm. For those for whom they don't apply, offense will not be taken.

--enough already

Anonymous said...

Wow, enough already, that is pretty much straight out of the bully textbook. "X community are jerks/inferior in some way. I only mean you if you're offended." Actually my elementary student's teacher had a talk with their class a few weeks ago about stopping that exact behavior, which is bullying in that context, and at a minimum fallacious in this one.

I disagree with Samantha that it's always so awful here, but I'd also disagree that this is a very diverse set of voices, or even more diverse than a group of app parents would be. There are norms in every forum, and it's true that the one here leans quite anti advanced learning. But I find it useful to dissent if I disagree, and particularly to call out insults and factual errors for the people who read along, so these things don't get codified as truth through repetition (which is a more diverse group, I think). And I don't think it's anyone's fault- Melissa is always very open to opposing view points. It just happens that way.


Anonymous said...


Sounds like an action-packed week for bully discussions, since I also had one where I told students that not liking what someone says to you, or disagreeing with them on an issue, does not make them a bully. Nice try.

Parents from APP who went after each other, the one who went after Sue Peters, the comments by Samantha, as well as my limited reading of the APP blog (its laser focus on a sub-group of students while rarely taking into account the student body in the entire district) does lead me to believe that there is an issue of living in a bubble for some of these parents. That might actually be a nice way of putting it.

On the other hand, I know APP parents who have the big picture in mind and routinely say the same things I just did.

BTW, I have certinly never thought this blog is a diverse representation of the parents and voices in this district. But I have no doubt that the topics here are much more diverse than those that are typically covered on the APP blog.

--enough already

Anonymous said...

You didn't say it to me. I just recognize it as bullying behavior, which it is. Insulting someone and saying they should only feel insulted if it is true is bullying 101.

I absolutely agree that some app parents live in a bubble, but they are exactly as guilty of that-no more an no less- than every other school I've ever heard advocate for themselves or that I have been a part of. Which, as I know I've mentioned, includes some of the schools you all love. Everybody is subject to confirmation bias-everybody.


Melissa Westbrook said...

Sleeper, that is so true - we all have biases and feelings. Words do have meaning and yet, not the same meaning for everyone.

I only called out Samantha because this thread was fairly benign. I just don't getting upset when a thread is not in that vein.

And frankly, I'm just not going to stand by for this kind of nonsense anymore.

I can only politely say, if you don't like this blog, you don't have to be here.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Lastly, if you can get the information we provide here elsewhere, good for you (but I doubt it).

I see that stats so anyone who says people don't read this blog are wrong.

mirmac1 said...

Condoning self-interest because everyone else does it strikes me akin to the one-percenters on FOX who are likening their "persecution" to the Holocaust. Yes, ludicrous. Lest anyone think I'm motivated by self-interest, I'll just say my child is neither impacted by special education matters, nor am I a teacher. Just a plain ole parent, taxpayer and liberal.

Anonymous said...

Confirmation bias does not equal self interest.

App parents are not more self interested as a group than other parent groups, nor do they live in more of a bubble than other groups. Some degree of that is inescapable, but it is no more true at Lincoln than at Sacajawea or TC or Jane Addams k-8 or anywhere else or other program that has has to advocate on here. Typically they have kids at other schools, so at least have some wider perspective, which was a nice surprise when I first moved a child there, after years of hearing what turned out to be unfounded negative rumors.


Anonymous said...

A confirmation bias is predicated on one having an interest in confirming (or conversely rejecting) something. I don't have an interest one way or the other because I'm not in it, sleeper, but you are. You just stated that you are a parent in the program.

You may not like what I said, disagree, and make judgments about me, but confirmation bias would clinically apply to you in this case rather than me.

I have noticed some other pockets of what I would term "living in a bubble" sectors in this district. I didn't refer to them in this thread because I was responding to Samantha. That they live in bubbles doesn't make our bubble in discussion any more palatable.

--enough already

Anonymous said...

No, it's not. It's the tendency of people to only believe information that confirms prior beliefs, and to especially believe sources which confirm those beliefs.

So you are especially likely to believe an assertion on here if it confirms for you that app parents are bad, regardless of the underlying factual basis for the assertion. That's the classic example, nothing to do with self interest. It's most commonly used in politics, sometimes to explain rumors believed by rural conservatives in the south, who are voting directly against their self interest when they vote conservative, for example.

Self interest is an entirely different matter, and I have found app parents to be less self interested than the other groups I'm a part of, probably because they are typically part of more than one school community. I do find they have to advocate for themselves far more frequently than, say, wedgwood, because of the nature(portability)of the program.


Anonymous said...

Confirmation bias has to do with having a pre-existing belief, which has to do with some degree of experience with the topic in order to have an opinion in the first place.

For those of us who didn't come into reading this blog with a pre-existing belief, this wouldn't be an issue like it would be for someone like you who has a child in the program. Confirmation bias is strongest when the issue has an emotional component, which a parent with a child in the program would surely have.

None of this changes the issue that living in a bubble has consequences for the others in the community, real world, adverse consequences--and that is way more important to me than "being right".

--enough already

robyn said...

I'm shocked so many people responded to Samantha. It would have been better to ignore her comments and continue the WilPac discussion that turned into a nice one.

Bringing it back to what's important, final SEPA comments and concerns about WilPac are due to TOMORROW, April 2.

Areas of focus for SEPA:

Types of SEPA Review

If you have a large development, we will need to review SEPA polices to assess the project impacts to people and the environment. Many large developments may also require Design Review. SEPA policy may address impacts such as:

•Height, bulk, and scale
•Parking and traffic
•Historic landmarks

Anonymous said...

You have plenty of beliefs about advanced learning. And I am sure you had them long before you started reading this blog, but if not, having formed them, you are more likely to believe information confirming them than information disproving them. Confirmation bias applies more to shorter term interactions- how you evaluate each new assertion- than whether over a period of years you form a belief, so it's mostly irrelevant whether or not you had a belief about advanced learning years ago. You use a lot of ad hominem attacks in your arguments and speak about how you think your opponents feel, which is generally seen as proof that the issue is more emotional than rational to the speaker, and especially subject to confirmation bias.

No, it's not stronger for people who have children in the program. As I mentioned, I spent several years in sps and reading this blog without a child in the program(as did most people who have a child in the program) so by the time I got there, my beliefs were already well underway. I hear a variety of voices by belonging to several communities with different goals, as opposed to say just talking to people who agree with me at just one school and reading the blog.


mirmac1 said...

sleeper, based on your definition of confirmation bias, well guess I'm clear. Actually, I see confirmation bias in your reading of every comment critical of another comment as wholesale rejection of a class. Nope. I object to any suggestion of throwing IHHS and Pinehurst under the bus. And any comments that excuse self-interest as okay because, hey, we all do it.

Anonymous said...

I have read this several times, and it is still garbled. I am not sure what you mean. That is not my definition of confirmation bias. That is the definition of confirmation bias. It is the only one. It is an academic term, widely studied, demonstrated, and repeated phenomenon in politics and debate. Up thread it was being conflated with self interest, but it is not self interest.

You must be mistaking me for another poster for the rest. I am always willing to engage with opposing viewpoints, and try to find compromise (win win! No idea how often I have used that phrase) positions. To a fault, really. I am surprised Melissa does not more often shut down threads that go like this, but she is also willing to host opposing ideas, I suppose. I think it's paranoid to suggest I want to throw Pinehurst under a bus, even if I suggest alternatives other than the one currently proposed. I've certainly suggested and advocated for more churn on here for all the schools I am personally involved with. I do own that I think there is a limit to how much all the comprehensive middle schools coming online (jams and w-p, not rich schools) should suffer to maintain one last minute idea for Pinehurst voted on after midnight during the most hotly contested board meeting of the year. But I don't really talk about that much on here, so again, I think you are probably confusing me with someone else.


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