Sunday, January 25, 2015

Seattle Schools This Week

Tuesday, Jan. 27th
Kindergarten Enrollment night, 5:30-7:00 pm, Northgate Elementary, open to all.

Wednesday, Jan. 29th

Work Sessions:
• Oversight Work Session: Enrollment & Planning (4:30-5:30 PM)
• Work Session: Budget (5:30-7 PM)
• Work Session: Series 1000 Policies (7-8 PM)

Nothing attached for Budget so clearly the Enrollment Work Session is the most interesting.
Fun fact: the district has no permanent Enrollment director but yes, they have a demographer (and a PhD at that), Natasha Rivers.  The interim director appears to come from an IT consulting firm.  The district has also hired a communications firm, Write as Rain, for "growth boundaries communications."

Page 5 is all about Stakeholder Engagement and Public Information.

Page 11 on Opportunities and Risks is also worth reading.

Then we get to the percentage projections page for elementary, middle and high school.  Sober reading.  Elementary looks like the overwhelming majority of elementary schools are 95%+ full. The Middle school page does not use the same numbering as elementary and  high (no explanation given).  High schools look the same as elementary...right now.

Saturday, Jan. 31st
Community Meeting with Director Blanford from 10-11:30 am at Douglass Truth Library.

Community Meeting with Director Patu from 10 am to noon at Caffe Vita. 


Anonymous said...

Then we get to the percentage projections page for elementary, middle and high school. Sober reading. Elementary looks like the overwhelming majority of elementary schools are 95%+ full. The Middle school page does not use the same numbering as elementary and high (no explanation given). High schools look the same as elementary...right now.

Melissa, I think you might have misinterpreted the projections slides. I don't think these have anything to do with capacity, but rather are focused on the accuracy of the projections. The title suggests they are the number of students projected to be at a school divided by the actual number, for the current school year, all expressed as a percentage. Per the earlier slide, it looks like they want projections to be within 5%, and most seem to be. It looks to me like the numbers across the bottom are just a count of schools, with each school's data appearing at a unique point across the x-axis. That's why the difference between school level.

It's great to see that enrollment projections this year were overall pretty close to actual, but I hope we see more data soon. We need to be looking at projections for the next 3-5 years, and combining them with data on building capacity as well.


Anonymous said...

PS - Thank you for finding and posting this presentation. Hopefully the oversight work session discussion will get board members thinking more about capacity, and pushing for updated projections ASAP!


Anonymous said...

That presentation said:
some staff are new, others are not. SPS is good at making projections for the upcoming school year, but not so great for longer-term projections.

So... pretty much nothing.

It would be interesting to learn if any of the ACTUAL capacity problems - and the plans for dealing with them - are discussed in that meeting.

-interested in the NE

Charlie Mas said...

Boy, I sure hope that the discussion of 1000 Series Policies includes, at some point, a clarification of who is responsible for enforcing policy.
Policy enforcement is the gravest failure of the District's governance and the buck keeps getting passed back and forth. Both the superintendent and the Board must take responsibility for it. The Board must at least take responsibility for enforcing the policies that apply to the superintendent. They can't expect him to police himself.

Historian said...

At one point in Seattle's history, the school district was much bigger and we didn't have computers for management.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Yes, Historian, and this country got a man on the moon with publicly educated people (and, by today's standards, very little computing power.

Eric B said...

Historian, they also had a small army of clerks, typists, and other jobs that have become obsolete. Fun fact, the original meaning of computer was a person whose job it was to run numbers through an adding machine.

Anonymous said...

If you’re the parent of a soon-to-be middle-schooler, mark your calendars for this Thursday, January 29th. McClure Middle School is hosting an Open House and Tour to help families learn more about Queen Anne’s neighborhood middle school. Incoming students can learn more about their new school and parents can learn more about what McClure offers its students.

Check out the flyer below for all the information you need to know:


Patrick said...

Even before adding machines, computers were people who did calculations on paper.

cmj said...

Why is SPS contracting with a communications firm on "Growth Boundaries Communications"? That seems rather excessive to me. Effective communication really shouldn't be that hard. It is nice to see that SPS is recognizing its communication problems, though.

Goodness, Fairmount Park enrollment was quite below projected this year (see slide 13). The high school enrollment projections were quite accurate this year: almost all of the schools were within the desired 5% margin of error.

Joe Wolf said...

cmj, you are reversing the graphs' narrative. Fairmount Park's actual enrollment was "above* its projection.

cmj said...

Joe Wolf, thanks for the correction.