Thursday, November 06, 2014

Center School Update

From SPS Communications:

At Seattle Public Schools, it is our top priority to make sure each and every student is safe. When we have an incident like we did on Oct. 27, where a Center School student brought an incendiary device to school, it is important that we take the time to review how school and district staff respond to these incidents. While we conducted this review, we did place Principal Oksana Britsova on paid administrative leave. The review is now complete and concluded that there were no issues with how Principal Britsova handled the situation. She has returned to school today.

However, our review led us to take a deeper look at our procedures and we are working on making some additional improvements in our security communications. Center School staff members have spent time debriefing the incident, and the school’s building leadership team met on Tuesday afternoon to revise the shelter-in-place protocol. Staff will be looking at other emergency protocols in the near future as well.   

Districtwide, all principals on Tuesday attended a training session, held in conjunction with the Seattle Police Department, to review threat management, security protocols and crisis communications. Again, keeping our students safe is a top priority, and we appreciate our ongoing partnership with the Seattle Police Department in working with our schools and staff.

Finally, thank you to BiHoa Caldwell, who helped serve in a leadership role at the Center School during the interim. We look forward to continuing to work with Center School staff, students and families on making sure our community is safe.

I can only say, after hearing from a few Center School folks, that this matter may have been resolved but that there continue to be issues around Britsova's leadership there.

13 comments:

Charlie Mas said...

Enrollment at Center School is down to 276.

Jill said...

Correct me if I'm wrong...
Under 300 is what The Center School's enrollment has been since its founding. The Center School was founded as a specialized "Arts centered" academically rigorous, college preparatory, small high school. Test scores are only higher at Garfield. Garfield is/was the high school for all the APP students with an all city draw for high achieving students.
The waiting list to get into Center school grows every year.

Lynn said...

The average size of The Center School's senior class for the last four years was 52. Average size of those classes in their freshman year was 98.

I don't know anything about TCS. (Maybe a large number of their students graduate early or do early admission at the UW?) I just think that's something to include in a discussion of how well the school is doing.

sandi kurtz said...

My student graduated from Center in 2012. I know that some of the attrition happens at the beginning of the junior year with kids who want to attend Running Start classes -- Center's block schedule makes it very difficult to coordinate time off-campus for community college classes.

Lynn said...

Those figures for TCS are by assigned grade (rather than cohort grade). The average senior class by cohort over the last four years was 55. Those classes averaged 84 students in their freshman year.

Garfield and TCS are entirely different schools. If you wanted to compare them though - for the same four years, the senior classes averaged 441 and the corresponding freshman classes averaged 446.

Anonymous said...

My daughter graduated from Center in 2013 and many students drop in their sophomore & junior years because of the rigorous curriculum and the additional graduation requirements. Several of my daughter's friends could not handle the requirements and transferred to other less demanding schools. Classes are college prep and very challenging. It was the best school my daughter attended. All that being said, Britsova is a terrible principal and I am disappointed she is returning. I was considering sending my younger daughter there next year but doubt I will now that I know she is returning.

Charlie Mas said...

The drop in class size at the Center School is partly because the school does not allow students to transfer in, so all of the movement is one-way: out.

Here are recent reported enrollment numbers for The Center School:

2009: 290
2010: 299
2011: 278
2012: 285

Here's a link to the Center School climate survey. Note the changes in the staff survey results.

There's a 22 percentage point drop in those who agree that "The principal treats all faculty members fairly"

and a 25 percentage point drop in the number who agree that "I receive the support I need to address student behavior and discipline problems"

Anonymous said...

Kids do transfer in later grades. I know of several who transferred there after being kicked out of their private school (SAAS) after being caught with pot. One stayed there and graduated from there and one transferred to a new private school, where they got kicked out again for pot.

A lot of the private high school kids see the Center School and NOVA as places to go if you get kicked out of your current school unfortunately. I don't think the rigorous nature of the curriculum is communicated very well to the public at large.

HP

Anonymous said...

The Center School is often misunderstood. Some students find it more demanding than they expected, thinking it is only focused on the arts. Our son was in the first graduating class when it had an excellent principal, Judy Peterson, followed by Brian Vance (now the principal at Roosevelt).

It appears the school is now led by a principal who is not supported. I hope this wonderful school gets the leadership it deserves.

S parent

Po3 said...

Given the staff turnover, dismal staff survey and now what is likely complete lack of trust I do not see how this principal can effectively lead the school.

Seems to me they made the best decision for the principal, not the students.

Center School Parent said...

Can we talk about the important reason the Center School is in this update? The student on emergency expulsion brought an explosive to school. The Principal is back, but parents cannot be informed about the student due to confidentiality, so we are in the dark as to the safety issues going forward and how things will be handled differently.

Anonymous said...

"When we have an incident like we did on Oct. 27, where a Center School student brought an incendiary device to school, it is important that we take the time to review how school and district staff respond to these incidents. While we conducted this review, we did place Principal Oksana Britsova on paid administrative leave. The review is now complete and concluded that there were no issues with how Principal Britsova handled the situation. She has returned to school today."

So did they review the staff response on that day only, or did they also look at how the principal (and any other staff) handled the reported threats that preceded the "incident"?

HIMSmom

Po3 said...

NOTIFICATION OF THREATS OF VIOLENCE OR HARM -Policy No. 4314

Pretty cut and dry.