Programs like Middle College are the ones that catch the drop-outs, the at-risk kids and the kids who need something different to stay in school. In short, programs like Middle College save lives.
Our friends at the West Seattle blog have a great wrap-up of the story.
Apparently, the staff is not prepared to go down without defending their campus.
As the West Seattle blog reminds us, this program was kicked off of the South Seattle Community College campus in spring of 2012. It then got moved to Neighborhood House's High Point Center.
The district doesn't have anything up at the website nor has there been any news release. A letter, dated May 18th, was sent to families of students at Middle College. Students who are freshman, sophomores or juniors can go to their home attendance high school or go to one of the other Middle College sites (nowhere near to their current location) or can go back to their home district high school (if an out-of-district transfer). Oddly, no mention of Center School or Nova High.
Here's what the West Seattle blog heard from a longtime teacher, Alonzo Ybarra (also a grad of Middle College - talk about giving back). Bold mine.
The letter from the Superintendent asserts that the district is closing Middle College High Point due to low enrollment and future projections. This explanation is problematic for the following reasons.
First, Middle College High Point has existed for 19 years in West Seattle and has historically maintained the highest enrollment of any Middle College site. Our current enrollment, although down from past years, remains on par with Middle College at the Northgate Mall except for the fact that they have 30 additional DCHS students who are online students that do not attend school daily.
Second, the faculty and staff at Middle College High Point were prevented from continuing to develop our school wide interdisciplinary curriculum based on critical thinking, social justice and service learning. Our principal, openly stating that she did not support our efforts, forcefully imposed an arbitrary schedule that severely diminished our abilities to deliver exciting and creative curriculum and instruction. Preventing MCHS HP teachers from building on the momentum of successful curriculum and instruction at our school had a negative impact on student morale, attendance and enrollment numbers.
Third, our principal moved a staff member, without discussion or warning, directly undermining our efforts to recruit underserved African immigrant students who reside within the High Point community. Undermining efforts to work with the community to enroll new students clearly contributed to diminished student numbers. Throughout the 2014-2015 school year we’ve seen an approximate 30% decline in enrollment although it should be noted that we’ve been prohibited from enrolling new students by order of Michael Tolley since April 7th. We’d normally add 10-15 new students during second semester in preparation for the following school year.Charlie chimes in with some great questions and comments:
1. How is this decision consistent with the criteria for program placement decisions listed in policy 2200?
2. Why wasn’t this decision included among the pending program placement decisions listed in the quarterly program placement report made in April?
The Superintendent, and the Superintendent alone, is 100% responsible for this decision. Anyone with concerns about the quality of the decision should direct those questions to Dr. Nyland directly.
Under the new customer service standards set by Dr. Nyland, he should make a prompt and complete response.
I encourage interested parties to review policy 2200 and to review the new customer service standards and then contact Dr. Nyland. In particular, you should ask him how having Middle College campuses exclusively in North Seattle is consistent with the idea of Equitable Access to Programs and Services.