Monday, November 09, 2015

Student Assignment Plan Will Remain the Same (Save Two Things)

I almost - almost - didn't go to the Curriculum&Instruction Committee meeting and then the COW of the Operations (Committee of the Whole - that acronym is a scream).  But I did and I am glad I did.

To the biggest news - did you hear about the University of Missouri president who resigned under protest from students about lack of sensitivity/action on racism issues?  How did that happen? Big, steady, continuing pressure.

And so it goes for the Student Assignment plan.  Staff has rolled back what they are doing in a major way AND the Board is pretty clear that this is what they want. 

I cannot tell you how the support of the Seattle Council PTSA has mattered in this case.  I am so proud of that group and their graceful (and seemingly fearless) leader, Cassandra Johnston.  I truly believe that their support on this issue for transparency and clarity on this issue - along with many of you - have carried the day.

What was said at the COW tonight:

- the SAP is not changing except for the waitlist dissolves May 31st instead of in September.  Open Enrollment is two weeks in Feb-March and so there is time for waitlists to form and students to be assigned.
use of the distance tiebreaker will end.

That's it.

The directors did not ask but I did ask Dr. Herdon:

1) What about the change from K-8s being able to have their assignment to their region middle school if they want to change schools to having to stay at their K-8?  He said what was in the original SAP is what will happen.  So no, you do not lose your ability to change to your assignment middle school if you are in a K-8.

2) I also asked about this in the BAR.   "Seats that become available after May 31st will be available for assignments for new students." This sentence didn't explain what "new" meant and yes, it means students new to the district.  So any open seats - at any school - after the waitlist dissolves can only be accessed by students new to the district.

So what about the community meetings this week and next?  I don't think they are as vital as when they were first announced.  BUT, do I always take at face value what staff says?  Based on experience, I do not.

What I would recommend, after reading this thread is:
  • either e-mailing the Board - this time at the e-mail address that includes all senior management which is schoolboard@seattleschools.org - and saying, "This is what I understand is happening regarding the SAP.  I hope that the "clean-up" language does not include any surprises and hope that any future changes to the SAP come to parents in a more timely, inclusive, and transparent manner."
  • attend one of the meetings, make sure that what was said to the Board is what you hear and let the staff know - "This is what I understand is happening regarding the SAP.  I hope that the "clean-up" language does not include any surprises and hope that any future changes to the SAP come to parents in a more timely, inclusive, and transparent manner."
 PLEASE, do one or both but let your voice be heard.  Let the Board know you back them on their expectations for the SAP.
The Board Sets the Tone

What staff seemed to get wrong - and this from multiple Board members - is to have taken the 2013-2104 Transition Plan as their starting document for the changes (when it was only for a one-year transition and not the SAP.)

But now they will take the couple of true changes (noted above) and some "clean-up" language to the official 2009 Board-approved SAP.  Complete with program language and pathways.

Staff said (and I mostly believe them) that they were just trying to streamline the SAP.

But the Board said there should be ONE document with everything in it.  Certainly, there could be links to programs but that any link should be ONE link to a webpage with all the programs like ELL, Sped, Advanced Learning, etc.

Naturally, program placement is under the Superintendent and things can change from year to year but, as President Carr said, parents should not have to do the work to figure this out - staff should bear the burden to make any updates on programs to document.

Both Dr Herndon and Ms. Davies said that any changes to the SAP would be part of a larger conversation with the community.

Please note: There could STILL be program changes which could affect the SAP - that's a separate matter. But anything that changes in a program that affects the SAP must be updated for parents to see in the SAP. 

Questions/Comments from the Board

Director Peaslee - Issues around waitlist because of the number of seats that open up at Options schools during the summer and those schools losing staff if seats not filled?
Dr. Herndon - We can always look at that but the seats are "minimal" and that there is less and less movement of waitlists.  (Editor's note: I have heard from parents that both schools and parents wish the waitlists WOULD move but Enrollment won't do it.  So this may still be a sticking point.)

President Carr was pretty clear about the creation of the SAP, starting back in 2006 before she was even a director.  she said "I think the framework was rock solid and that this document was to stay the course."   

Ashley Davies (director of Enrollment) - thanked the Baord for the history, calling it "helpful." (I'm a bit surprised she didn't already know this.)  She said that the 2009 SAP had a lot of "descriptive info" which is true but it also definitely laid everything out there.

Dr. Herndon "I hear what people are saying."  Our idea is that families have one document that is clear and with "all the information they need and options for schools and programs available to them."

He also said that an earlier waitlist would clear up enrollment around Advanced Learning as parents sometimes hold two places until they know if their child is accepted into the program.

Herdon also noted that appropriate Board policies to enrollment would be part of the document.

Director Peters gently pointed out that it was fine to condense and streamline the document but that it was important to get information out for oversight and accountability.

Director Martin-Morris stubbornly said that this had come to Operations and they had no real "heartburn" then.  (They also didn't have the red-line version.)

Director Patu said yes, she remembered that but then, when they finally got a red-lined version, "I got panicky." 

Peters also asked about getting the red-lined version (which Ms. Davies said she was working on.)  The answer was before Friday. 

The directors were also pretty clear that the SAP is part of their oversight and Ms. Davies agreed that a document can't transfer authority from the Board to the Superintendent.  That is policy.  (Now, oddly, the red-lined SAP HAD been called a "policy" document last week but I guess that was then.)

48 comments:

NE parent said...

I saved copies of the daily waitlist reports that the enrollment office posted this year. I am happy to share them, as they clearly show minimal waitlist moves before September. This was specially true at option schools.

Lynn said...

This is good news! Melissa - what did you hear at C&I?

Anonymous said...

I don't understand this: "So any open seats - at any school - after the waitlist dissolves can only be accessed by students new to the district." Does this change the "Move Rules", which currently say that if you move to a different attendance area school before school starts, you "must" change to that attendance area school? Now if you move between May 31 and the start of school, are you no longer guaranteed a spot at your (new) attendance area school?

--Trying To Figure This Out

Anonymous said...

Does this change anything about a seat at your neighborhood school always being guaranteed? As in, students giving up their neighborhood seat during open enrollment (moving to an AL or option school for example) could always choose to go back to their neighborhood school, all the way through 9/30.

Co

Maje said...

Last year a friend got a call offering a spot at our option school the night before school started. I know the wait list movement may be minimal, but it makes a HUGE difference to those families who get a spot at their preferred school in September. It would be nice to figure out a way to keep those wait list families from being booted so early.
Especially if they watch a new neighbor get a spot that they have been excluded from.

Anonymous said...

This has been so confusing to me. Can anyone explain what will happen with siblings? I have one kid in a neighborhood school that is *not* our assignment, and it would be a lot easier if I could send my to-be kinder there next year as well.

-the other Seattle

Charlie Mas said...

Given that in the history of waitlists they don't move much by May 31, doesn't that make May 31 a poor choice for the day to dissolve them?

Does this mean that the District commits to getting all of the waitlist movement done by May 31?

NE parent said...

My guess is that this would mean the waitlist won't move at all. Less work for the enrollment office, less parents calling in asking about the status... Why don't they move them before September? They shut down for a month in July for system maintenance, but not much changed once they opened again.

Anonymous said...

I have numbers for Hale's waitlist movement. Not much happened except for the one time they moved 30 off the freshman waitlist. That happened mid June.

HP

Anonymous said...

So, they are holding community meetings on the SAP revisions, but without the new red-line document available for comment?

Is that correct?

-North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

North-end Mom --

During the meeting Ashley or Flip told the Boatd they planned to have the new redlines to the Board before the end of the week.

After the meeting I asked Ashley when parents could see the new redlines. She said Friday, when the doc is included in next Wednesday's Board agenda.

This means that the only community meeting where you would be certain to have the new redlined doc is at next Monday's Rainier Beach meeting.

--JvA

Anonymous said...

Does this change anything about a seat at your neighborhood school always being guaranteed? As in, students giving up their neighborhood seat during open enrollment (moving to an AL or option school for example) could always choose to go back to their neighborhood school, all the way through 9/30.

I have the same question.

-confused

Anonymous said...

Well that's progress. Sounds like there are still plenty of windows of confusion though. Gotta love that the redline doc won't be out till after most of the community meetings though. But glad the Directors stepped up and helped clarify some of this.

reader47

Melissa Westbrook said...

I personally would vote for a later waitlist dissolve like in June (and seeing HP's report that 30 kids moved off the waitlist mid-June seems a lot to me.)

Nothing else in the plan would change so:
- if you move, you are in at the attendance school assigned to your address. That won't change.
- no, as I said in the thread, if you are eligible for a program in a different building, you would retain your attendance school
- Other Seattle, that's a question for Enrollment (or go read the SAP). I don't think they guarantee siblings to be together if one is in a non-attendance building for a program.
- NE Mom, yes, no red-line yet. They gave out the Transition Plan and the SAP and I'm thinking, "where's the red-line?" Somehow they are still working on it (hence my continuing suspicion about the "clean-up" language. It should be available by the last SAP community meeting next week.

Anonymous said...

Melissa, can you clarify what you reported Dr. Herndon said, "that an earlier waitlist would clear up enrollment around Advanced Learning as parents sometimes hold two places until they know if their child is accepted into the program."

If AL results are the sticking point, how does dissolving the waitlist earlier help with that? And parents can't hold two places anyway, can they? You could list an AL spot as your first choice (in the even of qualification), but you'd think the district would assign you to a non-AL spot temporarily pending those results. You wouldn't get assigned to the AL spot until deemed eligible, at which time you should be removed from the other assignment. What am I missing?

HF

Ann D said...

So what about parents waiting to hear back from independent schools -- while a small number they often don't hear back until over the summer and sometimes just around the start of the school year and then pull their kids from SPS? Those seats will just go vacant?

What about when the District does something like randomly shift a program, like it did with APP years back. My neighborhood school shifted the start time by 20 minutes without public notice or warning and it was just a tiny mention (tiny!) on the teacher assignment postcard we received? Does this mean that SPS isn't going to move or change anything, starting at least a month before the wait list shift ends?

Why is it that SPS headquarters and staff seem to go on hiatus during the summer. They aren't classroom teachers and are on regular contracts. In the IT world no one shuts down systems for a month for maintenance -- it is an overnight or weekend affair at best. What is going on with management that even portal access is unavailable until the start of school each year?

Po3 said...

If the waitlists don't move after June 1st that means that the district has a good head count in the summer and they can accurately staff schools for Sept. (give or take the 30 students who were moved off waitlists over the summer)

So for this year, this must mean that 600 students were a no-show in Sept, which translated into open seats in schools. So were students moved off the waitlist in Sept into schools where there was a no show(s) and an open seat(s)? Or did the seat(s) remain empty and a teacher was moved instead?

And will dissolving the wait list earlier solve the re-staffing issue seen every fall? Or is it going to be the same because it is the no shows that cause the under-enrollment in schools and force the re-staffing to occur?

kellie said...

Thanks Melissa!! You report just illuminated the actual problem that staff is trying to solve.

The real problem is that because of modifications over the last few years, there are multiple families that are holding TWO seats and that capacity margins are simply too thin to support this practice.

This was not always the case. Under the original version of the New Student Assignment Plan (NSAP)

* you needed to elect your Advanced Learning slot during open enrollment and by doing so, you gave up your neighborhood seat.

* when you enrolled in an option school, you gave up your neighborhood seat.


Michael Tolley proposed a change a few years ago, that enabled AL families until Sept 30 to change their mind. I remember writing to the board and asking them to reject that change, because it would put too much pressure on the system. That the right to change your mind, is not the same thing as your right to a seat.

So it seems that staff needs to end the "two seats" practice much earlier in the process. I agree and think that should be ended as early as reasonable.

However, that should not mean that ALL waitlists dissolve at that time. There is real value both to families and the district to keep waitlists open until the end of September.




Anonymous said...

This is exactly my question -- previously, you could enroll in APP elementary and still be guaranteed a spot at your neighborhood school if you wanted it. You weren't enrolled at two schools (your neighborhood and APP), but you could switch between the two until 9/30, because you were guaranteed a spot in either. (You were only counted in the headcount of one school, not both, but you had a guaranteed spot at two schools.)

That's why I was asking if you are still guaranteed a spot in your neighborhood school if you give up your spot during open enrollment. This issue is not explicitly connected to the waitlist, but as Kellie points out, it is a related issue.

Co

Anonymous said...

Kellie, are you sure staff is ending this practice? It's not really "two seats". The student's enrollment only sits at one of the schools at any given time. Yes, it can be changed, but that wouldn't affect waitlisting.

TC

Anonymous said...

if no one can join option schools after May 30 except new-to-the-district families, it's only natural (family moves for work, for example) that option schools will experience attrition (that costs them head count) while simultaneously families that were on the waitlist (which dissolved) are denied the opportunity to join those schools.

Like a country where fewer children are born than people dying, every option school will shrink year by year. This policy change - and it is a policy change - will kill option schools and when it happens it will look like they died a natural death and the families will get emails that say there's be "nothing that can be done" even though (insert hollow platitude masquerading as compassion here).

If we value choice in our district, we have to stop this policy change. Now.

For Choice

Anonymous said...

Kellie, while AL students may have the right to return to their neighborhood school until 9/30, it's not like those neighborhood schools are holding spots for them, are they? That would suggest there's room for them all to return (which there isn't), and that neighborhood schools in areas with high percentages of AL-qualified students suddenly find themselves with serious under enrollment on 10/1 (which they don't). I'm confused.

HF

Anonymous said...

For Choice -- Thanks for articulating something that I had been thinking. I can totally see staff later claiming this policy-driven decline in option school enrollment as evidence of families' growing preference for assignment area schools.

--JvA

Anonymous said...

The waitlist dissolution will effectively end the sibling priority. In past years, siblings sat on the waitlist until September, when the schools would then decide they had enough space (after seeing who came & went over the summer). There was virtually no movement from March until late August/September. There was a huge amount of discusison with this when the board refused to grandfather siblings at the time of NSAP adoption, but Tracey Libros and the board of directors said it wouldn't be much of an issue as siblings would get in off the waitlist by September. That has generally been true in past years, but there are still siblings out there affected by this issue. The waitlist dissolution by May 31 is devastating to this group and splits families--all in the name of adminstrative convenience.

People may erroneously believe that this is only an issue because the parents chose to send their child to a school other than their attendance area school. But this also affects anyone drawn out of their prior school or whose needs could not be met at their attendance area school. If you have been drawn out of the boundaries of the school your older child attends (or are drawn out in the future), your older child can stay, but siblings will not get in off the waitlist by May 31.

This seems like pure laziness by SPS. They could at least pick a more realistic waitlist dissoluation date, such as in September.

--Why so lazy, SPS HQ?

Lori said...

Kellie's posts jogged my memory. When Lowell APP was split off to Lincoln in July 2011, families who had just opted into Lowell raised this concern. Some said at community meetings that they wanted to opt-out and just stay at their neighborhood school (or former school) given the location change and uncertainty, but that wasn't an option back then. I vaguely recall that given the anomolous situation, families were allowed to "unselect" APP that year.

Perhaps that was when the broader change to allow movement back to the neighborhood school up until September 30th came into being?

Anonymous said...

HF, you're correct. Neighborhood schools are not holding spots or counting the enrollment of students who leave to enroll in an AL program. The only burden on the neighborhood schools is that students who leave do have the right to unexpectedly decide to come back, and then the school must take them back. This rarely happens, and when it does, it doesn't affect the waitlist one way or the other, except in the sense that it makes the neighborhood school more full.

Students also currently have the right to enroll in Cascadia up through 9/30. This practice has no language in it connecting it to waitlists. Has it been explicitly stated that this date will be changed to be in line with the dissolution of waitlists? This practice does mean that neighborhood schools could be left with open spots at the last second if students decide leave for Cascadia after May 31. In practice this rarely happens.

TC

Anonymous said...

TC I don't think that is entirely true. In practice many people keep their neighborhood spot until the summer. Well, they did this year. I don't think the 9/30 thing has been widely known for that long. I believe Cascadia's numbers went up 30-40 kids between April and October counts for this year, though. It's honestly havoc for planning and hiring. It may not greatly affect any one individual neighborhood school(so I agree with you there), but it's definitely pretty bad for the students at Cascadia. I agree with kellie. The right to a seat(or to a service) is not the same thing as a right to change your mind.

-sleeper

Anonymous said...

I agree with her too! Just pointing out that this is separate from waitlists, kinda sorta.

I agree that it can create havoc for planning at Cascadia and I would also like to see it end. I think this year may have been worse, though, because I know students who still didn't know whether they had qualified for APP in April. I wonder if you looked at June 1 vs October 1, it would show that most of the shift happened in the late spring. I do think families usually decide before the end of the school year, for the sake of the mental health of their kid!

TC

kellie said...

Well, I am hypothesizing based on Mel's report and in particular, this little snippet.

"He (Flip Herdon) also said that an earlier waitlist would clear up enrollment around Advanced Learning as parents sometimes hold two places until they know if their child is accepted into the program."

That is what triggered the aha-moment for me. In theory, the following is how the waitlist / open enrollment works.

During Open Enrollment, Staff makes an educated guess, based on current enrollment, enrollment projections, number of students who opted out of their attendance area school, and an estimate of how many "new" people will continue to enroll at the guaranteed attendance area schools over the summer and during the first few days of school. Phew! No-small-task.

That informs them on how many seats can be assigned to non-attendance area students. This seats that "need to be held open for new people" gets even more complex if they also need to hold open a buffer for AL students, who haven't committed to AL or option students to change their mind.








kellie said...

A basic rule of project management is "Does this solution solve your problem?"

I could not guess what problem was being solved with a May 31st wait list dissolution date. I can make some great guesses on what-brand-new-problems are being created with a May 31st date but I had no clue was was being solved.

I am pretty confident that staff would not proposed this unless it was solving a problem. Flip mentioned at many points, that not much changes after the end of May. So why is there such a big push for this date change? And clearly this is a big push, if the are dropping all the other changes, except this date change and the distance tie-breaker.

That tells me that the system really "locks up" at the end of May because schools need to reserve a certain number of seats for new people.

IMHO, moving the wait list dissolution date to the end of May will create more problems than it solves.

Melissa Westbrook said...

"You could list an AL spot as your first choice (in the even of qualification), but you'd think the district would assign you to a non-AL spot temporarily pending those results."

HF, I think your phrasing is better than mine. I think parents who are waiting for AL eligibility have their area assignment (while a space is there for APP students.) Naturally, this doesn't apply to Spectrum where the seats are limited.

Why doesn't headquarters operate all year? Probably their way to save money. I don't know when it started but it is peculiar that of all the departments closed, that Enrollment would be one of them.

Herndon did say the staffing issue should be lessened by an earlier dissolve. As to what happened to those 600 seats from this fall that didn't fill, I'd have to ask.

For Choice, are you asking for the waitlists for Option schools to continue thru to September? Or not change the waitlist time at all? I myself would split the difference and say June 30th which is just a couple of weeks after school ends.

"I can totally see staff later claiming this policy-driven decline in option school enrollment as evidence of families' growing preference for assignment area schools."

Indeed, this was statement at the meeting so yes, that's getting out there. It's easy to claim that families are choosing their attendance area schools when the system becomes more narrow in vision.

kellie said...


So here are some of the problems created by the wait list date change

Option schools, where it is easy to control enrollment, will no longer have that control and enrollment will most likely shrink. There is a potential upside where students brand-new to the district have a shot at option programs. i.e.. Someone who just moved to Seattle in September has a great shot at getting a language immersion seat.

I can't wait to see the game-theory start to play out there. How many seats are assigned during open enrollment and then ... what does the "race" to get a random open seat start. Could a family just go to enrollment every day and see if there is a language immersion seat and just not turn in their paperwork until there is a seat???

Siblings are going to have multiple challenges. The growth boundaries plan has dozens of small boundary changes scheduled over six years. That means there will be hundreds of attendance area students, who are suddenly split from their siblings. Does moving this date, mean that there will be a commitment to assign siblings before the May 31st date??

High School enrollment is incredibly complex. With capacity pressures increasing at high school, there is a sharp uptick in running start enrollment and online class enrollment. I know of many students who needed to scramble to make a Plan B, in September, because they were unable to get the classes they needed at their high school.

The High School capacity issues are so messy. The reports make it look like there is no actual growth but this is an optical illusion. it is just that the master schedule can only deliver so many classes and students need to find solutions outside of the school day but have no way to know this until September.

I'm certain there are even more issues but that is a quick list for anyone that might go to one of the meetings.


Jan said...

Have to say -- these comments make me want to weep and gnash my teeth for the District's missed opportunities. I could not have daylighted HALF these issues on my own. Why not? Well, for one thing -- I just don't have the chops of folks like Kellie and Tracy Libros (and many others I am leaving out here). But -- I also just don't have the lived experience of lots of parents here who have encountered specific issues (inability to get into a specific option of LI school, split sibling problems in northend schools, etc. etc.).

The thing that distresses me is -- the staff doesn't have this granular level of experience either. But the knowledge, and issue spotting, and just plain good feedback that this blog comes up with -- in one morning -- is pure gold. And the District refuses to tap into it. It is just so sad. It is SUCH a waste of an incredibly valuable asset. All this knowledge. All these parents -- full of good will, just trying to make the district work better for kids, and having valuable and much-needed "boots on the ground" perspective. And the downtown folks just either are clueless, or don't care.

It's like the song about being knee deep in water and dying of thirst. AAGH! The District could have put up an email post -- saying essentially the exact same stuff as Melissa says -- but in a "so whaddya think" asky way -- a sort of "(1)here is our problem; (2) we propose that the way to solve it is to dissolve wait lists on May 31; (3) here are what we see as the benefits; (4) here is what we think we "give up" by doing it this way -- and why we think the benefits outweigh these costs. (5) What do you think?

They could have gotten ALL this feedback -- and probably MORE.

Instead, they think that "community engagement" is this horrid chore that they shouldn't have to do at all, and don't want to do. When they DO do it, they cannot even be bothered to do it in a way that even fakily looks like it has any meaning or input into their decision-making process.

It is just SUCH a wasted opportunity to make better decisions (to say nothing of the pr value of making people think that their voices, and their kids, count).

Melissa Westbrook said...

Jan, I always say the people on the front lines in schools - parents, students, teachers and principals - are the first ones who should be asked. They seem to be usually the last.

kellie said...


The whole 600 student shortfall is really a distraction.

For the previous three years, there has been a 300 student shortfall for each of those years. In many ways, the 600 shortfall was entirely predictable and very much in line with the growth curve of the last few years.

This is because capacity is not infinite. When a school reaches a certain point, capacity becomes a self-correcting problem - because people make different choices.

Eckstein was projected to get close to 1400 a few times but never got close. That is because when enrollment crossed 1200, people made other choices.

There are so many schools that are just so crowded that people make other choices. The huge increase in out-of-district enrollment could not have been because of the strike. It takes planning and well ... things are crowded enough that people are making other plans.

kellie said...

@ Jan & Mel,

Very, very true.

Anonymous said...

I have personally suggested, on more than one occasion that staff should be following the info that comes out on here - if nothing than, because so many of them are new to SPS, they'd get an excellent education in the long long history of miscommunication and misrepresentation that has happened. It goes far in explaining, at least to me, the kind of rabid ire certain decisions engender, like this one.


I think more do read than you might imagine, but clearly not the ones you'd most wish would do so. Or they'd be listening to the excellent info Kellie and many others puts out and not get themselves in such hot water.

reader47

Lynn said...

kellie,

I don't believe there was an increase in out of district enrollment. I have the lists for this year and last year. While the difference is about 600 or 700 students, the list for the prior year is obviously not complete. (And yes, Nyland was referring to this bad data when he blamed the teacher shuffle on the strike.)

Anonymous said...

My guess is the May 31st date is driven by the budget which has to be voted on in early July. This way school budgets are fixed with the appropriate corresponding enrollment.

LH

Anonymous said...

The district doesn't officially drop students who are moving out of district - to another town or private - until after the school year ends. Wouldn't it make more sense to have the wait lists dissolve a week or two after school ends?

North by NW

Anonymous said...

Last year APP families did not get their test results before open enrollment. It made many families need to move late.
West

Anonymous said...

A student article on Hale's overcrowding, especially in senior level classes:

http://halesentinel.org/is-hale-bursting-at-the-seams-2/

HP

Lynn said...

HP,

I read the article. It's unfortunate that the author repeats the superintendent's assertion that the district lost 600 students after the strike. It's simply not true.

It's clear from the article that the principal has chosen to create freshman and sophomore classes that are quite a bit smaller than the 30 students per class she receives funding for - and that she's doing it by overloading junior and senior classes. It rankles a bit that the district is paying stipends to the teachers of those over-enrolled classes when they are created by design. Those dollars too could be paying for ORCA cards for students at RBHS.

Anonymous said...

Freshman classes at Hale are typically 25 students per class which is smaller than 32 but I think the principal is correct that the lower class sizes are more important for the freshman. It is part of how the academies are set up for 9th grade. They are set up that way to ensure that kids transition into high school successfully. The principal always says that completing 9th grade successfully gives a better chance that they will graduate. Not getting the credits you need or failing in 9th grade decreases the probability by a lot that you will graduate. The smaller class size allows the teachers to help struggling students and provide more individualization in those freshman classes.

One thing they didn't talk about in the article is the number of kids who couldn't even get into the physics class. It would have been great if Hale could have added another physics teacher.

HP

Melissa Westbrook said...

RBHS want ORCA cards to get to school. Just to get to school (and, for some, to get to school on time.)

Kids in many high schools, including Garfield and, according to HP, Hale, want to access more higher level classes and can't.

Think about that - many low-income students are begging to get to school and others are begging to access classes like physics.

Isn't this what we want in high school students? Why isn't the district driving resources to get that done?

mirmac1 said...

HP

What I would like to see is whether the gened seats purchased with Sped students' double funding are actually being provided them, or is the principal doing what others like Ballard's does: subsidize smaller class sizes by not allowing Sped students access to general education.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure mirmac1. Hale likes to emphasize its inclusiveness. I know that there were Sped students in the Environmental Science AP class last year because I personally know one but I think you would have to ask the parents of Sped students at Hale about that. All Freshman benefit from the lower class size so I would assume that that would include the 9th grade Sped kids too.

HP

Anonymous said...

The wait list at our local option school didn't start moving until school had actually started in September! Unless they have anew and more efficient way of going through the wait list for option schools I don't think it is fair to dissolve the list so early!