Thursday, February 04, 2016

Olympic Hills Meeting on Race, Equity and 2017 Boundaries

This notice is important for many reasons and I remind readers that while it may not be your school/region, issues like boundaries have ripple effects so it's important to keep this on your radar.

As well, why are we building a huge new building for OH when the district is drawing more kids off OH into Cedar Park?  It makes it look like the district has other plans that they are not revealing. 

Olympic Hills Elementary PTA press release

Olympic Hills Elementary Parent Teacher Association invite media to attend a Seattle Public Schools community meeting to discuss race and equity issues surrounding 2017 boundary changes February 9th, 6:30-7:30pm in the Cedar Park Elementary cafeteria.

The Growth Boundary Plan enacted in 2013 creates inequities and imbalances in the Olympic Hills and Cedar Park attendance areas for 2017-2018 when the new Olympic Hills building opens. This meeting offers an opportunity to address the following issues:
  • Significant over-enrollment at Cedar Park: CP is overcrowded at 300 students; the district anticipates 375 students assigned to Cedar Park in 2017.
  • Significant under-enrollment at Olympic Hills: the district anticipates only 214 students at Olympic Hills, built for 600+, in 2017.
  • The boundaries as drawn create an ultra-high-poverty school with a reasonable prediction of 90% of students receiving free and reduced-price lunch. When population heat maps superimposed over district-adopted 2017-2018 boundaries are reviewed it is clear that almost every student receiving English Language Learner services in the Lake City area is reassigned to Cedar Park for 2017-2018. While English Language Learner services are not a proxy for free or reduced-price lunch, there is a high correlation in our community, nearly 1:1.
  • The new Olympic Hills will house a health center for families living in poverty, small-group spaces for supports for our English learners, a kitchen space dedicated to families and community members, a large counseling area, and many other features specifically designed to support our school’s community. Every year just under 80% of our students receive free or reduced-priced lunch, over a third receive English Language Learner services, and approximately 20% typically receive special education services. The boundaries as drawn separate the new building from the population it was designed to serve.
This skewed enrollment will overwhelmingly impact our minority and high-poverty students, a violation of district policy as well as Seattle Public Schools best practice.

38 comments:

Steve said...

Good for them to further daylight this issue. It is simply wrong to do this, and it needs to stop.

cmj said...

Agreeing with Steve. We should try to minimize the number of high-poverty schools in the district. We can't change the number of FRL/ELL students in the district, but these students do much worse when they're segregated off into high-poverty schools.

Anonymous said...

Check out this map that illustrates the over-concentration of ELL students:
http://olympichillspta.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/North_End_ELL_with-CP.png

OH Dad

Anonymous said...

Let's try that again with a link that works:

Check out this map that illustrates the over-concentration of ELL students: http://olympichillspta.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/North_End_ELL_with-CP.png

OH Dad

Greenwoody said...

Sure looks to me like one of these schools is being set up for conversion to a charter school. But which one?

OH mom said...

The extra space at Olympic Hills is bizarre. Even with the slight boundary changes to Olympic view and Sacajawea, there is no way it will have anything close to 600 students.

Anonymous said...

Y'all Olympic's not the only case. When Meany goes open it's waterfront down Lake Washington way way down the shore goes Meany. Interior Madison Valley and CD goes Washington. Money and white go north. Brown and black south. Redline Millenium style and some of us ain't buying it.

Southie

Charlie Mas said...

While program placement has been delegated entirely to the superintendent, attendance area maps are within the Board's authority. They have to vote on them and they have to vote on any changes to them. So this is a Board issue.

Bring it to the Board's attention.

Anonymous said...

"Money and white go north"

Wrong, take a little up North and you will see that.

It begins

Anonymous said...

@Charlie Mas

The inequity issues around the Cedar Park boundaries and planned geo-split WAS taken to the School Board back in October, in the form of proposals from both the Olympic Hills and John Rogers communities (John Rogers is also affected, as it will lose almost all of its FRL and ELL population due to the boundary changes). This resulted in Director Peaslee submitting and amendment to the Growth Boundaries Update, directing that staff take another look at the boundaries. The upcoming community meeting at Olympic Hills and one that was held earlier this week at John Rogers was an outcome of that amendment. The challenge now is getting the new board members up to speed regarding the situation.

-North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

Make that WERE taken to the board. So much for multi-tasking before coffee!

-North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

North-end Mom, do you think the district is considering placing HCC at Cedar Park and drawing a larger neighborhood into Olympic Hills?

Reader

biliruben said...

There must be another shoe that hasn't yet dropped. It makes absolutely no sense to make all those ultra-low income, migrant kids cross a state highway with no safe crossings, when they just renovated and expanded their old school.

I've been bitching about these plans for years, and still don't quite get it. It may simply be incompetence or ambivalence, but I would have expected that to have been noticed and addressed by now.

There does seem to be some unexposed ulterior motive on the part of SPS.

Anonymous said...

I don't think we should fault the district for maximizing capacity/seats at OH and I personally doubt that they're building with a charter in mind. The fact is the kid population is booming up here in the north end and they are probably expecting to fill those seats either with a stand-alone program like HCC or with boundary changes, or simply with the increased population of families in the NNE.

Now, how these proposals have gone down is another matter entirely, and I'm glad North-end Mom has had some involvement in the discussions. In terms of the new board, this issue came up at Rick Burke's community meeting last weekend, though the bigger focus was on other issues. I didn't attend Scott Pinkham's meeting, but hopefully people brought it up there, too - certainly he nodded in acknowledgement when it was discussed at Rick Burke's meeting, so he's aware of it.

As for Southie's comment, there is a lot of money and white in the north end, but it's in what I think of as the "south north end". Once you get above about 100th, it is much more racially diverse and quite a lot poorer.

-ML Mama

Melissa Westbrook said...

ML Mama, I don't think it's about charters. I think they have some other idea (like more seats for HC given Cascadia will be full when it opens.)

Yes, many people just do not realize how the demographics north of 100th have changed in this city (except the people in the schools up there.)

What seems criminal to me is to take ELL/FRL kids out of OH, put them, along with the other OH kids, in a crummy interim (while their old building is totally redone) and then put almost none of the ELL/F/RL kids back. They get the sub-par building that will be overcrowded and the other kids get the roomy, sparkling new building?

Complete social justice issue and I predict that the Board will move to change/lessen that impact.

Anonymous said...

While it seems pretty obvious to us that the board SHOULD move to change/lessen the impact, we are not terribly confident that they will. Several folks at OH and JR have been trying to raise awareness of this issue since the boundaries were proposed and have gotten no traction. It wasn't until the board meeting in October where director Peaslee directed staff to have another look that we even heard anything back from downtown.

Let's hope some more awareness of the issue will help change things,

OH Dad

Melissa Westbrook said...

OH Dad, awareness and also...a new Board.

Anonymous said...

So if cascadia will have to be split, why not put part of it at Cedar Park as a self-contained school and move those Cedar Park kids to OH with the nice building? The HCC kids get bussing, so that would help with the walk zone/safety issue, wouldn't it? (Apologies if this was already suggested above.)

HCC parent

Anonymous said...

Director Pinkham attended the John Rogers community meeting, and the Cedar Park boundaries were discussed at his community meeting last Saturday. Director Burke also attended Director Pinkham's community meeting, so he is aware of the issue, as well.

As far as what, if anything, is being planned as an alternative, both Flip Herndon and Ashley Davies did not commit to any changes to the approved plan. At the John Rogers meeting, it was said that changes to boundaries must be approved by the School Board, but changes to the implementation plan (i.e. the geo-split), can be made without Board approval (since geo-splits don't seem to be supported by the NSAP, I am very confused by how it was chosen as the planning assumption for Cedar Park in the first place?). Their next step is to gather data and research the issue, and they will be scheduling additional community meetings in April or May to discuss those findings.

It is frustrating that addressing something that is so obvious takes so much time and energy. For instance, it took over a year of hard work, and organizing neighborhood walks through SDOT and Feet First in order to get the Cedar Park ES walk zone changed so that it no longer crossed Lake City Way! There are still very dangerous crossings at sections of 35th Ave NE and NE 125th Street.

I am hoping that with a new Board there will be some changes made.

-North-end Mom

Outsider said...

I know nothing about these north end affairs, but it's interesting to note the district map describing all the planned changes:

http://www.seattleschools.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_543/File/District/Departments/Enrollment%20Planning/Maps/growthboundary_yearbyyear/pdfs/AAChanges_2017_ES.pdf?sessionid=c28ed681579c5028aa33041f4b8d6caa

The district plans a huge amount of shifting of north end students to schools further east. Olympic Hills will pick up large areas from Northgate, Olympic View, and Sacajawea. According to OH Dad's heat map, the area picked up from Olympic View contains a lot of ELL students. Also, the Cedar Park boundary on the district map is smaller than the green area on OH Dad's map, leaving some ELL students on the west edge actually in the OH attendance area. Olympic Hills would seem to be reasonably diverse in the end.

The district undoubtedly saves money by having attendance areas geographically compact, not gerrymandered. The Cedar Park area is compact, and looks to be 50-50 split between rich people on the lake and not so rich along Lake City Way.

Northender said...

Outsider: I bet those rich people on the lake send their kids to private school.

Anonymous said...

Outsider,

Nobody is saying that Olympic Hills won't be "reasonably" diverse after the 2017 boundary changes. In fact, I've heard SPS staff say that Olympic Hills' FRL percentage will probably be about the same as it is now. Their overall demographics may not change significantly, but it won't be the same kids, or the same families. From an instructional and socio-emotional point of view, it will be highly-disruptive. Kids are not widgets, and just because Olympic Hills will be swapping one neighborhood of high-needs kids for another does not make it OK.

The long-skinny attendance areas that we currently have in the region may not be compact, but they help disperse the FRL and ELL populations (generally located north of 110th) across several schools. The 2017 boundaries will concentrate these demographic groups at just two schools, Cedar Park and Olympic Hills.

That big orange double blob on the ELL heat map represents the highest density populations of ELL students at both Olympic Hills and John Rogers. Both schools work really hard to support these kids. The 2017 boundaries reassign the majority of this ELL hot spot to Cedar Park. That sliver of the ELL hot spot west of Lake City Way you pointed out that will go to Olympic Hills instead of Cedar Park? Part of it is currently in the Sacajawea attendance area. Sacajawea will lose its diversity, too.

The Cedar Park boundaries will take almost all of John Rogers' FRL and ELL students, resulting in a huge loss of diversity at John Rogers (currently 41% FRL, 17% ELL). John Rogers' enrollment is projected to drop by 150 kids in 2017, resulting in a loss/disruption of supports for the students that are split out, and a massive reduction in staffing and supports for the kids who remain at John Rogers.

Olympic View will also potentially lose diversity as a result of these boundary changes, with a large ELL hot spot in the Pinehurst neighborhood going to Olympic Hills. I say potentially, because Olympic Hills will extend far to the west, picking up Licton Springs and neighborhoods along the Aurora corridor. Like Olympic Hills, Olympic View may also be swapping one neighborhood of high-needs kids for another.

Students living in the Sacajawea and John Rogers attendance areas used to receive ELL services at Sacajawea, but the ELL assignment switched to Hazel Wolf K-8 in 2009, then to John Rogers (2014-15). Beginning this year, ELL students are supposed to be served at their neighborhood school. In 2017, ELL kids who are at John Rogers will be geo-split to Cedar Park, and those at Sacajawea, even if they have grandfathered assignments, may lose transportation and have to switch schools. This is a population that has constantly had to deal with split siblings and service site changes.

There are many multi-family housing projects going up in the Lake City Hub Urban Village, which is within the Cedar Park attendance area. Cedar Park is a small, landmarked site. It is already maxed out with eight portables, is projected to be over-enrolled after the geo-split, and there is no way of expanding the school to accommodate enrollment growth. John Rogers and the new Olympic Hills building have larger core facilities than Cedar Park, but both are projected to be under-enrolled after the geo-split.

As pointed out by Northender, private schools (one just opened a few blocks from Cedar Park) provide an "out" for families who do not want to send their child to a high FRL/high ELL school. So do option schools and Shoreline schools (if there is room for out-of-district students), which could skew the demographics of Cedar Park to an even higher percentage of FRL and ELL.

I could go on, but I'm tired.

- North-end Mom

Melissa Westbrook said...

NE Mom, that's a big help and I'd like to send that along to the Board.

Anonymous said...

Glad it helped. I noticed a mistake I made. It is Olympic View's attendance area that will pick up the Licton Springs and Aurora corridor neighborhoods (not Olympic Hills).

- North-end Mom

SPS Mom said...

Not only are private schools an option for Cedar Park area folks to leave that new school, but Hazel Wolf is an SPS option school that is public and draws from that service area. The tricky thing there is that families need to be savvy enough to apply during open enrollment and many ELL/FRL families aren't thinking about enrolling in schools in February, so it is more likely that non-FRL families will use that mechanism. Hazel Wolf is trying hard to outreach to ELL families this year by holding two info nights during open enrollment at Northgate and Lake City Libraries and having translators and translated materials, but I still fear more non-FRL families will get the paperwork in on time.

I'll be attending the meeting at CP this week to show my support for keeping the ELL kids at OlyHills and Rogers, where the facilities and infrastructure are designed for them.

Anonymous said...

It is difficult enough for English speaking parents to navigate option school enrollment...so I can't imagine how difficult it would be for non-English speakers!

ELL families tend to be in more transient housing situations, and may not even be in Seattle during the open enrollment period. Some ELL kids spend the first few months of the school year at the Elementary Bilingual Orientation Center (which has been at Viewlands, but is moving to Northgate), before being assigned to what should be their permanent elementary school, so those kids probably wound not enroll during the open enrollment period.

Back when the ELL assignment for the John Rogers and Sacajawea attendance areas was at Hazel Wolf K-8 (then known as Jane Addams K-8), there were a number of students who ended up at John Rogers who came from non-English speaking families. These students were assigned to John Rogers, but had to waive their ELL services, because John Rogers was not a linked ELL school at that time. In some cases, they had older siblings at Hazel Wolf K-8.

In 2013, John Rogers staff began an in-house effort to identify kids needing ELL services, so that the school could receive appropriate staffing to serve these kids and their families. By the end of 2013-14, about 20 ELL-qualified students were identified. This year (2015-16), there are about 70 ELL students at John Rogers, most will be affected by the planned geo-split in 2017, and the programming that John Rogers has built to serve ELL students will be obliterated.

With all the boundary changes, geo-splits, etc...that are affecting high ELL neighborhoods, the only hope for a permanent elementary school environment for incoming 2016-17 ELL students, with continuity of supports, would be if they could enter an option school, like Hazel Wolf.

The Hazel Wolf geo-zone was moved recently to west of Lake City Way, so ELL kids from the Pinehurst neighborhood (which is switching from Olympic View and Sacajawea attendance areas to Olympic Hills) should have a decent chance of getting into Hazel Wolf, if they enroll during the open enrollment period. Unfortunately, those living in the areas affected by the Cedar Park geo-split have a slimmer chance of getting into Hazel Wolf, since those neighborhoods are outside of the Hazel Wolf geo-zone.

-North-end Mom

OH teacher said...

I am all for leaving the new OH with room to grow as the population increases but it is silly to not leave Cedar Park with room to grow as well. One issue is that SPS believes there is room for 400 students at Cedar Park. We have 300 students there now and it's tight. Every grade above 2nd is in a plumbing free portable. I don't see where they could add another 100 kids. The building is landmarked which makes increasing capacity even more fraught. We have a real chance to set up BOTH Cedar Park AND Olympic Hills for success by creating two schools that are under capacity, and linguistically, economically, and racially integrated. It really is up to Dr. Herndon to make the recommendation to the board. I am confident they will approve the change if he just makes the recommendation. Otherwise we will open up a 660 student building with 230 kids and launch Cedar Park, which I argue is a 300 student capacity building (IF THAT), with 360 kids and more each year.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure SPS has no intentions of opening Olympic Hills with only 230 kids. They will stick 400 HCC kids at Olympic Hills, or maybe 300 HCC kids and some Seattle Preschool classrooms. It appears that the boundaries were drawn "with room."

-reality check

Hoping for better said...

If they give the HCC kids the shiny new bldg at OH and shuffle the FRL and ELL kids to cedar park it will be extremely problematic and disappointing.

Anonymous said...

Have you seen the conditions the HCC kids have been learning in for years now? I assume you've been up in arms about that?

Double standards

Anonymous said...

@Double standards

IF the plan is to cleave two school communities (John Rogers and Olympic Hills), both with significant FRL and ELL populations, and both of which have worked really, really hard to build supports for their highest-needs students (including the kids who are being geo-split to Cedar Park) - in order to make room for HCC at the new Olympic Hills building, then don't you think that's at least a little bit problematic? Do you really think it is OK to rip apart two school communities, just so that HCC can be placed in a new BEX building?

The new Olympic Hills building was designed with feedback from the Olympic Hills community on ways to best support its student and their families. It includes a family health center, which I believe is to be supported by Seattle's Family and Education levy. I don't even know if this funding will be available if the FRL percentage was diluted out by a large HCC component.

Conditions at Lincoln suck. I get that. I just don't think you are seeing the big picture.

-North-end Mom

Hoping for better said...

Nope, not up in arms. HCC kids are there by choice. Everyone else has to go to their assigned school. And if advocating for the most vulnerable kids is a double standard, then so be it. Not ashamed in the least. It will not be ok if HCC gets TWO brand new bldgs. I will actively advocate against that.

Anonymous said...

As a community we should be advocating for all children. You are very pleased with yourself for choosing the right kids to care about but your disdain toward one group reduces the value of your advocacy for others. (Can't believe you think it's OK to demand that another school being split up sends at least half its kids into a crappy old building for equity reasons.)

I do not have a child in the north end. My family will not be affected by any of this. I would be as disgusted by anyone who displayed the same attitude toward ELL students or the kids at Laurelhurst. I suspect if you communicated with the Cascadia community, they'd agree with you and work with you to avoid seeing the OH community split. (Assuming your attitude improved.)

Finally, HCC kids don't have the option of having their academic needs met at their neighborhood schools. That is the reason they are forced to leave in the first place. Have a little empathy for kids who are likely to be attending their third elementary school and leaving many of their friends behind once again.

Double standards

Anonymous said...

SPS should be implementing the least-disruptive plan possible to manage enrollment. The current plan is not that.

-North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

Absolutely right. The stupidity of pulling kids out of a school that has room for them is surprising even for SPS. I assume someone saw a poor, non-white school and thought "integrating" it by dropping in some HCC kids would be a good idea. I can't imagine this will happen now that the repercussions have been day lighted. I expect they will not deal with it until next fall.

Double standards

Anonymous said...

Double Standands,

Your huge HCC cohort is on borrowed time. It is in violation of state law, which requires HCC programs to reflect the demogrphics of the district's population and regularly test students for placement (which means that many of the qualified students should not be in self-contained but have a continuum of services).

Schools are being giving time to adapt to state law but Seattle knows they are on borrowed time. Their even bigger issue is that they are currently in violation of federal law for violating LRE since most of the students in these bloated, illegal HCC self-contained program have a very slight percentage of students with IEPs.

--about time

Anonymous said...

Keep telling yourself that.....

Not time

Anonymous said...


FYI State Law

Identification Open to All Students Enrolled in the District
The district identification process must apply equitably to all enrolled students and families from every racial, ethnic and socio-economic population present in the public school population they serve. Districts must review identification
procedures to make sure student selection reflects the demographics of the area they serve. These specific requirements for compliance — and related activities — appear here in the WACs we list below.


Continuum of Services
WAC 392-170-078 requires the district to serve identified students from the point of identification through grade 12. Districts shall make a variety of appropriate program services available to enrolled students who participate in
the district's program for highly capable students. Once services are started, a continuum of services shall be provided to the student from K-12. Districts shall periodically review services for each student to ensure that the services are appropriate.

--about time