Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Seattle Schools - Newest Enrollment Numbers for North-End Middle Schools

And guess what?  These numbers are different from previous ones.

Yes, we all know that forecasting numbers is not an exact science but we all also know how many times SPS has gotten it wrong.  Very wrong. 

Tell me again why we should put faith (not to mention tax dollars) into these forecasts?

And again, why are these numbers kind of weird to begin with?  Most projections are generally round numbers (with a + or - projection).  It's almost like someone feels they can get it down the the last student and it's just not possible to do so.

Of course, these numbers come out conveniently before tonight's Wilson-Pacific meeting.

28 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is funny!

They think there's going to be "left over capacity" at Hamilton????

Truly, someone should get fired, because obviously they simply can't count. Hamilton's post-open enrollment is at 969, and watch that figure inch up by the time September hits. And then the huge cohorts begin to roll in, (yeah McDonald!), the year after, which only get bigger, and yet we are suppose to think there's space?

Whitman with it's feeders is growing, Ballard is growing, can't they count?

And, why not put the other 'projections' per building that they've come out with over the last 12 months. That time line is short, that is not even listed. Remember, in Nov 2013, staff told the Board Hamilton would be at 883. And yet, now they've got a different number projected, which is different still then post-open enrollment? Does this give anyone confidence? If they can't get it close when the projection timeline is 6 months away, why believe the 3 or 5 year data?

Anyone else remember school closures?

Come to Wilson Pacific tonight at 6:30pm. Make sure staff knows that we are not dummies. They might be selling this, but parents aren't buying this.

Whitman will never ditch it's portables because Wilson Pacific has been designed to be inflexible and non expandable. So, Whitman, Eckstein and Jane Addams will have over-stressed facilities. And then there's high school.

Exasperated

Anonymous said...

Come tonight. 6:30 pm at Wilson Pacific.

-North Mama

Anonymous said...

If you think there will be 90 spaces at Hamilton in 2017, I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.

Seriously! Has anyone looked at the growth in Wallingford and Greenlake. Has anyone looked at the nearly 400 6th graders that will be at Hamilton next year.

- UGH!

Anonymous said...

On the Lost Decade thread there is a link to the latest APP taskforce meeting. They are already discussing whether in a year or two to handle APP portables will need to go to WP or whether QA/Mag will need to go to Central District buildings (Thur Marshall and middle school).

But according to Capital Planning, everything's Great! Right hand, meet Left hand.

North of 85th

Catherine said...

Those numbers are neither math, nor planning. It actually explains a phenomenal amount. The emperor, has no clothes.

Anonymous said...

So, 240 seats left at Wilson-Pacific MS(out of 1000)? That's about 8 homerooms' worth of middle school students, but how many homerooms are being set aside for AS-1/Indian Heritage, and if putting the K-8 in the building is the plan, then why didn't they adjust the comprehensive middle school capacity accordingly?

- North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

High schools! We need to talk about high schools! The bubble will hit them in TWO years.

Ella

Anonymous said...

The them of the evening. It is too late to do anything other than what we are doing. If you have an opinion, you should have had that opinion, at least one year ago and preferably two years ago. In other words, if you had an opinions, that opinion should have been submitted prior to the BEX work.

So for all the parents that begged them that 4 middle schools weren't enough and we needed a fifth. Great job. If you hadn't done that then and gotten lectured on over-building, we would have nothing.

So as for high school issues, unless someone wants to be the organizer for a high school based capacity push, then we will have to wait. We will march full speed ahead on using the last major north seattle property. For projects that will need portables on day 1.

Ugh!

kellie said...

My favorite part of the evening was when questioned about the very simple observation that there are already more students at Lincoln than the plan for the Wilson Pacific building that will be available in three years, the answer was we can always split APP into two buildings if needed.

The answer sounds great and completely misses the point. If there was a building where you could split APP, they would have already have split APP. Sharon Peaslee made it very clear that she was opposed to a stand alone APP site in the Nov 2013 boundary adjustment. However, it proved impossible even under these projections.

Last year, like most of the years, north of the ship canal was 58% of the growth and West Seattle 25%. The growth and capacity issues are concentrated in a few specific places. There is strong reasons why parents are deeply suspicious that the reality that we see on the ground every day simply does not match the official story.

For parents that lived through the closures, this is just more and more deja vu. While I understand that most of the staff was not here during the closures and therefore does not understand the deeply rooted suspicion, that doesn't change anything.

Just six years ago, SPS had to close schools because the plan was to close schools. It wasn't a one time event as people are trying to portray it now. It was a mindset that lasted from 2003 and 2008. For 5 years, there was a concerted focus on closing schools because the plan was to close schools.

So here are we, once again, parents are saying, our neighborhoods are exploding and you need to add more capacity. faster. The only thing that has changed, is the details of the story. This time the story is trust us, in 2017, you are going to have 5 middle schools with lots of extra space.

There were a lot of people last night that simply did not think this was credible.



Anonymous said...

I went to a concert last night at Jane Addams (I would have gone to Wilson-Pacific if not for the concert conflict).

The concert was a combined effort between the music programs (and music teachers) at John Rogers and Jane Addams K-8, and featured the 3rd through 5th grade students from both schools, with a few 2nd graders from John Rogers.

The Jane Addams auditorium was packed for this very fun community event.

Early in the BEX process, I remember being PO'd that other schools, like Wilson-Pacific got to have brand new, very expensive, buildings, while JAMS was stuck with a measly $7.3M construction budget for the re-purposing of the school to a comprehensive middle school.

In the end, JAMS is much better off in it's 1940s-vintage building (built by the Shoreline school district and later annexed to Seattle), with its auditorium, lockers, and wide corridors (all things that the JAMS SDAT members supported maintaining).

Here are some quotes I found in historical write-ups of the JA building:

"As Shoreline's major secondary school, Addams was designed as a first-class facility"

"The building was meant to serve as a community center for the north end as well, so a fully professional stage was included in the auditorium."

That stage, by the way, needs help, and hopefully someday will be restored to its former glory, but at least the bones are there.

SPS has the opportunity to build something "world class" that will well-serve the children assigned to the Wilson-Pacific campus, as well as those from the surrounding community, but they are not.

It makes you wonder what will be written about the Wilson-Pacific campus, 50-60 years from now.

- North-end Mom

kellie said...

North-end Mom,

The answer about the auditorium was almost laughable and fell into the category of you "should have said something sooner" and it is "too late to do right by the community."

Apparently, they looked at it and adding an auditorium would not only add something like $10 -15 Million but also add NINE MONTHS to the schedule so that the school would open in 2018, not 2017 and that it needed to open in 2017 because of capacity issues.

This is so ironic for so many reasons, but remember just one year ago, there was this incredible fear of over-building and that this fifth middle school was only to cave into intense parent pressure about middle school and ultimately because it was inarguable that JAMS was needed now, but the whole conversation was all about how much extra space there was going to be. Hence the casualness of placing Pinehurst at Wilson Pacific.

But now, we need to open this fifth middle school in 2017 at the latest because of capacity issues.

It is iconic Seattle. It simply doesn't matter how much evidence you present that is a mistake that is going to need to be fixed. The plan is locked and loaded, so we are done and we need to get going on the plan.

What is so incredibly wrong with the idea of building a building so that you can add a wing if you need to add a wing. Take all of this feedback and design a wing that could be added with an auditorium and extra classrooms, etc.

You could easily just design the wing and include it in the next BTA.

Anonymous said...

What will people be saying about WP in 50 years? Let's look at Wing Luke Elementary. It's current "open concept" building was opened in 1971. "Open Concept" was all the rage back in the 70's. Dearborn Park down the road from Wing Luke was built in similar style. I taught at that school for several years and it was a challenge to have a building with very few walls and a whole lot of students.

Not even 50 years later, Wing Luke is being demolished and a new building will be built on that site. Here's what it says on the district BEX site about Wing Luke:

"Replace the deteriorating buildings of Wing Luke with a new school that supports best learning practices for elementary schools. The new building capacity will be 500-600 students, providing additional permanent capacity to support projected enrollment growth in southeast Seattle."

I imagine that in 50 years or less WP will be rebuilt to "support best learning practices" (no E shape and include an auditorium) and "provide additional permanent capacity to support projected enrollment growth." Funny how the description of the issues at WL sound very similar to what we predict will be issues for the WP design.

Even though our kids will be all smashed into classrooms and portables at WP, we can marvel at our wonderful light-filled, big windowed rooms. Don't mind that Johnny has to share a desk in a portable with Tommy because there isn't enough room for all of the kids. But look at the pretty, shiny building!!

Northender

kellie said...

One last ironic piece of information for those that have doing this for a long time.

When BEX III was re-purposed to be the "high school BEX," there was a clear decision at that time that BEX IV would be the middle school BEX and it was quite explicit that the plan was to bring equity to the middle schools and part of that was to place auditoriums in the schools like Washington that need one.

So there is a good reason why so many people just never considered the possibility that a brand new building on 16 acres would not be build to a standard of excellence.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I'll have a write=up of the meeting at W-P. I would have done some live blogging but no wi-fi. I did tweet and those tweets certainly reflect my mood at this meeting.

was there said...

My favorite part of the evening was the Jon Halfaker "show". If you weren't informed about the lack of a MS planning principal, it was quite believable that he was the planning principal throughout the entire process and he LOVED everything about it!

Anonymous said...

@Kellie

Did BEXIII ("the high school BEX") add any significant high school capacity...anywhere?

I actually asked that question, long ago, about capacity at Ingraham, during an Ingraham remodel/ BEXIII community meeting, and my question was answered "no."

I received a lot of bewildered looks from SPS staff as well as from some audience members when I asked that question. At the time, I believe, Ingraham was under-enrolled.

If you stick around long-enough, the same crapola is spewed over, and over, and over...and the levies that parents work hard to promote, by putting up yard signs to manning phone banks, keep getting squandered to repair "one-time mistakes" made in the previous levy planning.

How much of BEXV or BTAIV will go towards "fixing" Wilson-Pacific?

I, for one, am done manning phone banks for this merry-go-round.

- North-end Mom


Anonymous said...

Wow. I don't think everyone is picking up on what is smacking me on the head.

1) They are already planning portables at WP (but...I thought the E design of the building makes portables problematic?)

2) Maybe even before WP opens, either we will need another boundary redraw, or some APP families are going to be split yet again (beyond WP) at both grade school and middle school.

Wow. Just wow.

SavvyVoter

Anonymous said...

In reference to Mr. Halfaker,

From what I can figure out from the SPS website, he was appointed NW Executive Director in Sept 2013.

I looked through the minutes of the Wilson-Pacific SDAT meetings, and didn't find him listed as an attendee or as being cc'd for any of the seven SDAT meetings posted on the BEX project webpage. There were actually 9 SDAT meetings held, but meeting notes from SDAT #2 are missing and those from #8 (held 10/30/13) had a broken link.

SDAT meeting #9 was held 2/24/14, after the Nov 20th Growth Boundaries vote, and after Mr. Halfaker's appointment as NW Executive Director, but he is not listed as an SDAT attendee, nor was he cc'd on the meeting minutes.

It doesn't seem like he has any long-term ties to the Wilson-Pacific project. Perhaps he was brought in as a consultant late in the game?

- North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

Halfaker was the (excellent) principal at Washington Middle School until fall 2013.

WMS parent

Anonymous said...

Melissa, thank you for posting the updated numbers. I have two questions for anyone who might have some insight.

1. The chart is showing a W-P middle school capacity of 1,000. I thought this was revised down to 850 due to the addition of Pinehurst at W-P. I’m wondering why the District is still showing a W-P middle school capacity of 1,000 kids.

2. I'd heard that the District's assumptions on the "historic" % of kids that go to different middle schools is too high because it's based in part on the pre-neighborhood assignment days when a lot of north-end families sent their kids to Shoreline. I've heard that's happening less now.

Jane

Anonymous said...

Any mention of who the WP MS planning principal is?

N by NW

Anonymous said...

My personal take on the FAC MAC proposal is that it is too much change and that it would be too hard to make it happen. What do other people think?

Re: WP--I think it needs an auditorium. Should people be picketing at SPS headquarters to bring attention to this. My kid will be going to JAMS, but I still think it is short-sighted to save a few million and waste the potential good for the community of learners who will be at that school.
NEmom

kellie said...

The more I think about this today, the more I think somebody really need to hit the pause button on this project before more taxpayer dollars are just wasted in the process of committing the final large piece of property in SPS inventory in North Seattle.

The board is convinced that we have to move full speed ahead and that more than enough oversight and due diligence has been done. So presuming that is correct, the what is the issue. I think the issue is "continuity and leadership." This project has suffered significantly from a lack of leadership and continuity.

The original plan essentially did not have a natural constituency as there were no students assigned to the school and only a vague promise that APP at Lincoln might land there. As such the plan developed in a vacuum.

I was on the Wilson Pacific SDAT as well as the Thornton Creek SDAT and I can say that the process was substantially different. The Thornton Creek project had a plethora of invested teachers, staff and neighbors who all contributed significantly. The WP project had minimal attendance, rotating principals, no Executive Director participation, no neighbors, just really the project team.

During the scope of the project, there was a change in the board, the executive Director for the NW changed from Marni Campbell to Jon Halfaker, Flip was hired on long after this project was underway. If I recall correctly, this project started under Susan Enfield. I was at a meeting while Susan was still Superintendant where it was discussed that this was the only property where you could put two buildings. Even the project manager is new this year.

The BEX Oversight committee's review of this project said, "this design really boxes you in, are you sure you want to do that?"

The parents on the SDAT said repeatedly, this building does not create the experience parents will be expecting.

Multiple principals visited the meeting and gave input and much of that input was highly critical, including one principal who said she would never work in a building designed that way.

Finally in November 2013, there was a constituency voted into the boundaries and at the same meeting the plan was changed and very few parents knew about the change. There certainly was NOT a push notification to all the families in the new boundary to say "Wilson Pacific will be your NEW middle school in 2017"

This project involves not only significantly over $100 Million but it also is putting into service the last piece of significant property owned by the district. If I am looking at this correctly, I don't know if anyone has been directly involved in this project from the beginning until now. In basic project management, you always want to ask, does this solution solve your problem? I think the lack of continuity at this point, could very well mean that there isn't anyone evaluating this project from the point of view of what is this project supposed to accomplish.

This will wind up being a 100 year campus. The shape and scope of the buildings and the fields will have impacts on north Seattle for decades. It seems like taking a moment to measure twice and do it as it it was worth doing, matters.

kellie said...

@ North End Mom,

BEX III was intended to "modernize" aging high schools. There was no intention to add any capacity as the district was "shrinking" and you were not going to need any new capacity.

Even though Kindergarten cohorts started to grow in size in 2003, there was not an official acknowledgement of growth until about 2008 or 2009.

kellie said...

@ North-end mom and WMS parent

Jon Halfaker was introduced last night as the new "official" planning principal for Wilson Pacific. He is a hugely welcome addition and I can say, I truly breathed a sigh of relief knowing that he will be actively involved going forward.

His involvement is a really good thing but he joined this endeavor once it was already substantially underway. In fact, it was realizing that Jon had been participating as the NW Director of schools that made me realize that I don't recall any interaction with Marni Campbell during the SDAT process. I am certain that the meeting minutes will be more clear.

kellie said...

@ SavvyVoter,

IMHO, there will most certainly be a boundary change long before Wilson Pacific opens and that point was raised by many folks last night.

Hamilton has almost 400 sixth graders next year. That number is not manageable, particularly when many of the feeder schools are still growing. That number is particularly scary when you understand that for 2014, Greenlake is still going to Eckstein and that Greenlake is scheduled to go to Hamilton, now that Greenlake is the assignment school for all of the families in the old McDonald / JSIS areas as McDonald and JSIS are now option schools.

The official numbers say that there will be space at Whitman so folks should likely look for there to be some shift between Hamilton / Wilson Pacific and Whitman.

McClure should be full now as it is both a small school and all of the feeder elementary schools are very full.

Anonymous said...

The former W-P planning principal was Chris Cronas, currently principal at Wedgwood.

a parent

kellie said...

Chris was not the planning principal or at least not with any continuity. He attended 2-3 meetings in the middle of the process.

He made some significant contributions as he managed to convince the planners an elementary school and a middle school with different schedules could not share ONE library which was the original plan.