Sunday, May 15, 2016

Latest District Answers to School Boundary Questions

FAQ: Growth Boundaries

This on high schools:
We will begin discussions of high school boundaries in 2018. No additional high school capacity will be added until the renovation of the Lincoln Building is complete. The estimated date for Lincoln to open as a high school is 2019. High school attendance area boundaries will need adjustment in order to assign students to the renovated Lincoln High School when it opens.
I'm wondering if they can really hold off discussion of this topic until 2018.

73 comments:

Eric B said...

IMHO, there's absolutely no value to re-opening discussion on high school boundaries until 2018. Since Lincoln doesn't open until 2019 and Ingraham doesn't open its new wing until ~2020 at least, there's nothing to change other than re-arrange the deck chairs. Opening a discussion earlier implies that they can fix stuff, and they can't. It just makes SPS make decisions with less data and gives more people more time to be unhappy and complain to the School Board in hopes they will make politically-expedient decisions that may or may not be good for the system overall.

The only thing that could be useful to have as a discussion item is whether Lincoln will be geo-split or roll-up. Even that would get pretty well muddied up by discussing early, since both ways to decide that have pretty significant drawbacks.

I'm sure other people have other opinions, though. :)

Melissa Westbrook said...

Good points, Eric. I have heard from so many parents who are worried about the high school situation but maybe waiting until it really is time is the best course.

Anonymous said...

I deeply disagree. It is very difficult to help your child navigate being removed from school (and teams and activities and college counselors...) when you can't plan for it.

Also, a brand new school is just not the same as a school with established programs. The "planning process" for the new school needs involve volunteers and the creation of a PTA board. When that has to be done in just a few months, the first year of the new school is, at best, challenging. Ask the people who got JAMS up and running -- missing textbooks at the beginning of the year, no locks for the lockers, no coaches for some sports, little music equipment....

Time is important for creating a community.

Scars

Eric B said...

Scars, all good points. It depends on how quickly SPS goes through the boundary process. If they start a year before Lincoln opens and take 9 months to finalize boundaries, you're absolutely right it will be a mess. If they can narrow down their approach (basically where Queen Anne and Magnolia go and whether it's a geo-split or not) fairly quickly, then the core communities can start organizing. There would still be people on the margins one way or the other who may not know until later in the process. If those approach decisions can't be made quickly, then they do need more time.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Scars, fyi, while the reopening of Lincoln is new, the school isn't really new. They have lots of history and alumuni and I think that will be a great support for the school.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lincoln_High_School_%28Seattle%29
http://lincolnhighlynx.org/

"Current planning includes the reduction in size of the auditorium to allow for spaces to prepare for theater productions. Another possibility presented involved a playing field on the west side of the northern black top. Discussions about parking ensued. The outdoor spaces between the main building and the big gym and auditorium building will be designed for outdoor eating and learning (not a smoking area!) and "sunny" places to enjoy the outdoors (You know, on those two days during the school year...). The results of the Design Advisory Team will be presented at the All Classes Luncheon on June 18."

Anonymous said...

A complicating issue is that boundary decisions are also closely tied to other decisions about who will populate the school when it opens, and these potentially impact the high school selection decisions that current 7th graders will need to make a short 8 months from now. Current 7th graders will be 11th graders when Lincoln opens.

Will Lincoln be a roll-up, and if so, which grade levels will be pulled from their current high school to help open Lincoln (e.g., 9th and 10th only, 9th-11th)? Will students only be pulled from more traditional neighborhood high schools like Ballard or Roosevelt, or would they also be pulled from Nathan Hale, Ingraham and/or Garfield? If a student started the Ingraham IBX program in 10th grade, are they guaranteed the option to remain there and finish it out in 11th, even if other 11th graders are relocated to Lincoln? What about if they've been doing the pre-IB work in 9th-10th, and were planning to start the IB program in 11th?

What about language immersion students who choose Ingraham for the advanced language offerings?

Or how about students who selected Ballard or Roosevelt for their more advanced math options? Hamilton, for example, has a lot of 6th graders taking Algebra I, which puts those kids on track to take AP Calculus BC as 11th graders. Would Lincoln really be in a position to offer that class it's first year, if it didn't also have a bunch of seniors?

When students make their high school selection, they do so with a particular path in mind. HCC students, for example, will be asked to choose between two very distinct pathways (AP vs. IB/IBX)--and these pathways are NOT easily transferable should students be forced to move in the midst of their studies. While fine-tuning the boundaries may have to wait until closer to Lincoln's opening, families need clear information about who will be impacted by the Lincoln roll-up much, much sooner--by January 2017.

ECC

Anonymous said...

I forgot to mention another key consideration: what will Lincoln's focus be? I saw something in the SDAT notes that mentioned STEM... What about international ed or world languages, given it's proximity to JSIS, McDonald and Hamilton? Would that include IB? Would it become a new HCC pathway school, given HCC growth in the north end and the overcrowding at Garfield? These all play into decisions about who will go there and how boundaries need to be drawn.

ECC

seattle citizen said...

Scars writes:
"Also, a brand new school is just not the same as a school with established programs. The 'planning process' for the new school needs involve volunteers and the creation of a PTA board."

More importantly, planning should involve the Building Leadership Team, as mandated by board policy and by Collective Bargaining Agreement. See other thread for discussion on these, but parents (including those not in PTSA, perhaps)should first and foremost involve themselves on BLT. This is the planning committee for the school. PTSA is adjunct.

Anonymous said...

Here's the building report heavily cited on that Wikipedia page about Lincoln's history. It gives an interesting picture of the capacity roller coaster this district has been on forever. 2,800 students at Lincoln 1959-60?!? I can't even.

http://www.seattleschools.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_543/File/District/Departments/Records%20and%20Archives/Building%20for%20Learning/lincoln.pdf

And to chime in about whether it makes sense to discuss HS early, I understand Eric B's point, and I get why the district wants to solve Problem A before moving on to Problem B. But...

The Garfield capacity issue alone will force their hand before 2018. Those deck chairs either have to be rearranged or stacked on top of each other. You can bet there will be a "discussion" that comes along with that.

For the families wondering with each passing year if their 8th graders will graduate from the same HS they start in, this is happening now, not 2018. So whether the district likes it or not, there's going to be discussion. They can say they have no answers, but our questions and concerns are not going to take a two-year break.

good fit

Wallingford mom said...

I completely agree with ECC's comment. Those of us with current 7th graders face the possibility of having kids yanked from high school in their junior year. To me, this is indefensible. I understand there's lots of precedent in this district for yanking kids in their 8th grade year. But I'd argue that high school is a different ball game. It's high stakes and anyone who says otherwise is kidding themselves.

School director Rick Burke has indicated his willingness to contemplate a grandfathering for 11th and 12th graders. I think this is most appropriate.

Anonymous said...

I agree generally with Eric B that the earlier we start boundary discussions, the more political and eventually less fair and healthy the boundaries will be. And I think we could all be more fair about the roll up vs geo split discussion if we aren't talking about specific kids. Personally I hope they start with 9th and 10th grade (and 11th and 12th by choice), and roll up, but I don't know if the surrounding schools have the excess capacity to handle that. 2018 is going to be a terribly crowded year at many of these high schools.

And I also think people are going to be making defensive enrollment decisions until this is decided, probably messing with the district's projections (I don't know why they so thoroughly fail to understand that parents will change actions based on district decisions, that we aren't just pure sheep, easily herded from one pen to another). To be honest I am surprised as many HCC kids went to Garfield as did this year, and I can't imagine they will next or the year after. Good for overcrowded Garfield, but the places they'd choose instead can't handle them either...

-sleeper

Anonymous said...

I was at a SPS meeting and they said they were going to being community discussions around HS boundaries January 2017.

Anonymous said...

Why would Lincoln have a focus? Why wouldn't it be like Roosevelt or Franklin? Foci are a remnant of the time when you could choose your high school or at least your top 3 picks.

HP

Lynn said...

Garfield is projected to have 2,073 students in the 2017-18 school year. Capacity planning staff who suggest that won't require a change in enrollment policy must be hoping to be working elsewhere before open enrollment next winter.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Lynn, with a 7th grader currently slated to arrive at Garfield in 2017 I'm kind of concerned about this.

My assumption is that the district may do away with the guaranteed spots at Garfield for HCC students, since that is driving a lot of the problem, except that I'm not sure where else they could send those students instead. They could shrink the attendance area by pulling the southern boundary really close to the school, but I have no idea if that would resolve the problem. And in that case they would probably need to move the boundaries for Franklin as well and enlarge the Rainier beach area, so it would affect a LOT of people, many of whom I suspect would not be happy about the change. Moving the northern boundary seems less likely as the schools to the north are equally crowded (although from our house one can get to Roosevelt by bus in 15 minutes, while the trip to Garfield is 45-50 minutes with transfer downtown, so it would be fine with me if they moved the northern boundary).

This is one of the reasons I am really telling my kids to plan on Running start, but I expect that program will be bursting at the seams as well in another 4 years, and of course it won't help during 9th & 10th grade at all.


Mom of 4

Anonymous said...

@ HP,

Maybe "focus" is the wrong word? I didn't mean something like whether it would be an arts school or a STEM school--I was referring to the need to determine the programs and curriculum of the new school. Will it be a regular neighborhood school, or it will it also be a pathway school (e.g., for language immersion, highly capable, etc.)? Will it provide AP classes, and/or IB classes? Will it be an international school? Those are important decisions, and may have huge impacts on students who are pulled mid-stream to open Lincoln. They are also major factors in determining boundaries, since neighborhood schools are impacted by pathway schools.

As to what the district is planning, nobody knows. Notes from the 2/25 SDAT planning meeting, under "General Comments/Priorities/Themes" say "clubs and learning at heart of the new school: Robotics, STEM." Is this just a random comment? Or a direction in which the planning committee is headed?

Why wouldn't Lincoln be like Roosevelt or Franklin? My guess is it probably will be. But why wouldn't it be more like Ingraham, if people want more international ed and given the apparent recent success of IB and given it's the high school in a zone with 2 int'l elementaries and an int'l middle school? Or why wouldn't it be more like Nathan Hale, given that the current Hale principal was selected as the planning principal? (Personally, I think that's the wrong model for this school.) Or why wouldn't it be an HC pathway school, given Garfield overcrowding? Or a combo of these and others?

I guess the big question is this: does opening it as a traditional neighborhood school with your basic AP offerings meet the needs of the the north end high school capacity crunch? Is Lincoln only intended to take the pressure off traditional north end schools like Ballard and Roosevelt, or is it also supposed to help with overcrowding at Garfield and the insufficient IB/IBX capacity at Ingraham? If it's supposed to also help with those pathway schools, that likely means determining new pathways (or eliminating them altogether, which causes a whole lot of other problems), and then planning to provide the supports those pathways need.

ECC

Anonymous said...

As for the need to deal with the HS capacity crisis before 2019, didn't Flip Herndon (who has been looking for alternate employment) say, during a recent public meeting at Ballard HS, that the current plan for dealing with the problem is that overcrowded schools are just going to have to deal with it?

SeeYa

Anonymous said...

I know one family who opted to go private for high school for their second child because they were worried about the child having to switch schools when Lincoln comes on line. And it's very much on the minds of my friends with 7th graders who are thinking ahead to next year and what high school they might want to select.

I have a 5th grader who will likely have to switch middle schools when Eaglestaff opens - and I would not be surprised if he has to change high schools when Lincoln opens as a high school.

The longer SPS is silent on the issue, the more parents' anxieties are going to increase and the more dire their imaginings will become. I don't agree with waiting until 2018 to start boundary discussions, whether Lincoln will have an IB or AP focus, etc.

Jane

Anonymous said...

I fully anticipated boundary discussions to begin this fall, and to hear otherwise is a bit of a shock. I also don't anticipate a roll up, as students need access to a full range of classes and activities.

-shocked

Growth Boundaries team said...

Thanks for the heads up. The year has been updated. Discussions on high school boundaries will begin in 2017.

Anonymous said...

@ECC - are you saying that the current Hale principal is leaving Hale to become the planning principle of the new school? What is the source for this information and when would it occur? Thanks. - NP

Anonymous said...

@NP, JH is the planning principal specifically for the design and construction of the building. I assume that info is somewhere in the School Design Advisory Team docs posts on the BEX pages. As I understand it, however, this does not necessarily mean JH will become the principal of the new school. SPS apparently plans to hire a principal to begin planning the programmatic component sometime in the (hopefully near) future. I assume JH could apply for that if interested, but involvement now isn't necessarily a sign.

ECC

Anonymous said...

The parents of 7th graders already fearful of their kids being yanked out of 11th grade to populate a new high school. Isn't this the same group who demanded middle school geo-splits when their kids were 5th graders, catching 6th & 7th grade parents off guard, because roll-ups wouldn't provide a 'comprehensive middle school experience'.

-how ironic

Anonymous said...

I think not, how ironic, and that's the danger of making this a political process. The loudest, best connected voices win. So some parents of 5th graders wanted a geo-split- but those kids are not the ones in the Hamilton/Lincoln zone. It's people up by Hale or down by Roosevelt but in the HCC pathway, who will be less affected, and now the kids whose parents were not loud (and were not affected previously by the geosplit) will be punished in the media by people like you for "deserving" this, since "that group," (ie parents of 5th graders, which is a large, heterogeneous group) wanted a geo-split.

I don't mean to pick quite so hard on you. I really do think this is a danger, and it happens every time. But I also think high school is so much more high stakes. We've got to put away the pitchforks and find a way to make it good for these kids. I am genuinely worried about what is going to happen to those 10th, 11th, and 12th graders. Colleges are not going to understand the political machinations of Seattle Public Schools (who does?), and are just going to see individual discontinuity, dropping off leadership, etc.

-sleeper

Anonymous said...

Thank you sleeper. I thought the geo-splits were horrible for middle school. Especially for low income or vulnerable students for whom relationships with adults in the school are a life line at that age. A lot of those students at Eckstein were impacted by that decision and their families didn't even know it was happening. I agree that geo-splits are also horrible for high school & if at all possible should be roll-ups or opt ins. I didn't have a kid in that first group or this group. But it was hard to watch.

-how ironic

Anonymous said...

I worry about both, given the way SPS funds new schools(as though they are fully operational going concerns), and whether they ever, ever follow through on promised mitigation (no). I think it's easy to see how disruptive the split was and imagine a roll up would have been better, but it's not clear to me a 200 kid 6th grade only middle school would have been remotely supported by sps, and there are vulnerable kids who would have suffered there, too. I can imagine a lot of ways a roll up could have been done better than the split, but that doesn't mean sps would have done that. Fwiw, when I poked around, it seems like the most common way to start middle schools is geosplit(though with a lot more intentionality-money, and as you'd think-a lot of staff from the previous school, not just a whole new from scratch staff), and then high school 9 and 10 and roll up from there.

Whichever way they go, I hope they pump extra money in for the first two years, and place some kind of exciting program(not hcc, or if they do that doesn't "count."- that is just a hot potato. International or environmental or bio or stem) there so that people actually want to go and don't have to start a new school feeling like losers. It takes so much effort. People have to be excited about it. They can't be focused on repairing the damage done to their kids, or they won't have enough left to get it all going. Music and theater alone exhaust me to think about. And in our huge high schools you need so many different things.

-sleeper

Anonymous said...

I understand not wanting geo-splits (we've gone through two of them with our child), but what kind of high school experience would it be with only 9th and 10th grades? How could there be a robust offering of classes and extra-curriculars? Parent support would be cut in half. Teams and clubs would be anemic. All those extras that make school more than just academics take time to build. This is why boundary discussions and program assignments should start now - it would allow more time to plan for the change so students can have some involvement in the transition.

-shocked

Anonymous said...

It's sort of a moot point because capacity will almost certainly be the driver of this decision, not pedagogical superiority, but you can imagine if well funded it could be great. They should fund positions that are typically volunteer for the first two years, to help with the club and team problem. Before WSS, all schools had more general staff who could have helped with a lot of this. They could just decide to offer a full slate of classes(within reason- not if just 2 kids need a class, but let's say a dozen or more), even if some class sizes were small until the school had 4 full grades. Freshmen and sophomores could have leadership positions that would not be available to them until later grades usually. Roosevelt has if anything too many sporty kids- you have to be absolutely incredible at your sport to get on(certainly to actually play in games) some of the sports teams, and this could give kids who are just pretty good or- gasp- just starting a sport to play. And the teams would so quickly become excellent- the second year at the latest. All the kids would have the opportunity in their high school career to be on an excellent team, or at a school with an excellent sports program.

I understand this sounds impossibly lavish in our system, but that is why starting new schools is so awful here. Other places it is actually kind of exciting! I wish we spent a little less money on fancy buildings, and a little more on the experience of students. As it is we think of new schools getting literally nothing extra, so all we can hope for is economy of scale- as many kids as possible so we have a better random chance of some motivated parents to lead booster clubs or packets of 30 kids who want the same classes.

-sleeper

Anonymous said...

Bothell is opening a new high school- they have decided to go with 9-11. Here is a really interesting analysis of why, with paragraphs on a lot of other recent high school openings (and especially salient because they are also in the WA funding environment).

http://wwwnew.nsd.org/cms/lib08/WA01918953/Centricity/Domain/235/4th%20HS%20Grade%20Rec%20Analysis%2010_10_14_Final.pdf

-sleeper

Anonymous said...

At the meeting at Ballard High School a couple of months ago, I remember when Flip was pressed about the issue of pulling upperclassmen from their high schools to populate Lincoln he said that Lincoln would need to have a full complement of 9th-12th graders on day one. He said there would be 1100(?) students on opening day. He said it's necessary to have all 4 grades in order to have all of the course offerings, sports, activities, etc. that people expect of a high school. Someone asked him if that really could possibly include 11th and 12th graders being taken out of their course pathway schools like IB and elsewhere, and he responded yes. When he was asked where these students might come from, he suggested that boundaries will be redrawn and kids could be pulled from Ballard, Roosevelt, Nathan Hale, and Ingraham, and that he expects this redraw will be really difficult for people. He didn't mention Garfield but I think it was because he was speaking at a Ballard PTA meeting. Flip did say that it's his goal to have boundaries decided 18 months in advance of the school opening so people can make informed choices. Hmmmmm.

The JAMS principal was hired about 1.5 years before the school opened. But I think the boundaries weren't decided until Jan/Feb. before the school opened. It was tough for watching those families get things going (PTA, music boosters) in such a short time. With the complexities of opening a new high school, let's hope families will know farther in advance if their child will be attending Lincoln. I can't imagine a PTA, booster groups, etc. forming in a few short months.

NW mom

Anonymous said...

The JAMS principal was also not allowed to do very much hiring early in the hiring cycle(which may have helped), and started the last middle school she was at in 5-6 months. I could see a high school principal needing a little more lead time (12 months?), but I honestly don't think it was very helpful to have a principal that far in advance, and in fact given who they've chosen for Eaglestaff it's kind of a drag, knowing for this long that you have a problematic leader, and having them push their problems into the long term start up plans. For Lincoln I would really hope for someone with good credentials from outside the district(or maybe demote an Executive Director, to start getting rid of those positions, while I am over here in dream land?), and in time to be allowed to hire early in the cycle (say, November). Before that is mostly a waste.

I don't think what Flip says is always necessarily what happens. Many things are possible right now, and no one has secretly decided. I do think it will probably be a full geo split because the other high schools are too far over capacity to allow anything else. But I don't think it has to. Reading the analysis posted above I think they placed too much emphasis on athletics, but I do see they planned on extra staffing costs in any eventuality. I think that is the place to focus any energy we can muster.

-sleeper

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I am wondering how the Wedgwood cohort will be handled since it splits now after Eckstein. If they keep the cohort together for Roosevelt, Hale suddenly becomes skews a lot higher FRL than before...

-ChangesinNNE

Anonymous said...

How far north does Wedgwood Elementary extend? Some of those kids on the north end of Wedgwood can see Hale from their front or back yards. Sending them to Roosevelt makes no sense. Personally I think the geographic splits should start in middle school rather than high school. I could see making the boundary 95th rather than 85th.

Another curious thing to me, back east, junior highs were sometimes only 7th and 8th grade.

HP

Anonymous said...

105th. They can see JAMS, too!

-sleeper

Anonymous said...

Someone asked him if that really could possibly include 11th and 12th graders being taken out of their course pathway schools like IB and elsewhere, and he responded yes.

All the more reason to figure this out NOW, not a year from now. If you might get pulled from an IB school and relocated to a non-IB school, maybe you'd want to choose to start at an AP-focused high school in the first place. And vice versa. But you need to know what will be available at the new school in order to guide that decision in January.

One thing that may come into play: for identified highly capable students, WAC 392-170-078 requires that "once services are started, a continuum of services shall be provided." I have a hard time seeing how pulling someone out of an IB program midstream and plopping them into an AP-type school instead would satisfy the "continuum" requirement. The same goes for access to advanced AP classes. When they pull kids from neighborhood schools, some of those kids will be HC kids who were already in advanced classes--and since the district will need to provide a continuum of services for the HC kids, that should result in greater access to advanced courses (which could benefit all).

ECC

Anonymous said...

"Continuum of services" could probably be interpreted rather broadly. I wouldn't put it past SPS to transition IB students to AP courses as part of providing a continuum of HC services.

-watching

Anonymous said...

"How far north does Wedgwood Elementary extend? Some of those kids on the north end of Wedgwood can see Hale from their front or back yards. Sending them to Roosevelt makes no sense."

It extends pretty far, ironically to the parking lot of Maple Leaf Lutheran, which originally was Maple Leaf elementary which was closed in the '80s...

Are there other cohorts that split like this after Middle School?

--ChangesinNNE

Anonymous said...

Whitman kids split to Ballard and Ingraham ... I think the cut off is 85th.

N by NW

Maureen said...

Whichever way they go, I hope they pump extra money in for the first two years, and place some kind of exciting program...International or environmental or bio or stem) there

@sleeper: Just make sure it doesn't cost anything. Because if it does, Lincoln will spend the rest of it's existence trying to fund raise enough money to keep it going.

Feeling cynical tonight...

Maureen said...

(Aack! its, not "it's" Why can't we edit posts anymore?)

Anonymous said...

Eric B-
"Since Lincoln doesn't open until 2019 and Ingraham doesn't open its new wing until ~2020 at least, there's nothing to change other than re-arrange the deck chairs."

I looked online & the estimated completion date for Ingraham addition to be Fall 2019, not 2020. See this SPS RFP document : https://seattleschools.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_543/File/District/Departments/procurement/RFP02658_Const%20Mgmt%20BEX%20IV_3.21.16.pdf

-Jane

Anonymous said...

I have serious concerns that the district is stating in FAQ " no additional capacity will be added prior to Fall 2019 Lincoln opening, Ingraham 500 seats etc". I am wondering what parents can do to advocate for a solution to the severe capacity crisis that will be hitting Roosevelt, Ballard, Garfield & likely Ingraham until 500 seats are added etc. over the next few years.

Can the high schools truly absorb all the students in these projections? Why isn't the district planning a temporary solution if not? Why aren't parents organizing to demand they work on a solution if not? Does anyone think the district has a plan but is not revealing it yet? Please share. I have not heard anything about working on a plan. Perhaps district does not feel the enrollment projection report is accurate?

According to the Oct 2015 5 year enrollment projection many high schools will be hundreds over their defined "right size capacity". My child is at a middle school that is 125 over capacity and they are completely maxed & having a hard time, all rooms scheduled at all times, 32-36 to a classroom etc. I cannot imagine the high schools being hundreds over capacity, but maybe I am missing something.
-perplexed

Anonymous said...

perplexed

split shifts or extended days

-HS parent

Anonymous said...

Does anyone think the district has a plan but is not revealing it yet?

Plan? What plan? Ingraham will be demolishing some classrooms as part of the addition, which most likely means portables. Maybe the plan is a portable city at Ingraham. What's happening to the John Marshall building once Hazel Wolf moves?

-also perplexed

Lynn said...

We will have to move to split shifts or year round schedules in a year. Garfield is projected to be almost 500 students over capacity in the fall of 2017. Who is responsible for planning for that?

Anonymous said...

@ Lynn,

Not necessarily so. If Garfield is the high school that "breaks" first, I have a feeling they'd rather just disband the HCC pathways and send incoming HC students to their neighborhood schools. That could provide a little quick relief for GHS, while spreading the overcrowding pain over several north-end high schools. The district already has a "schools will just have to deal with overcrowding for a couple years" attitude, so I'm sure they'd be happy to spread the pain for a couple years until Lincoln opens.

I've seen evidence to suggest the AL office is at least open to this idea of eliminating the pathway. Unfortunately, I haven't seen anything to support the idea that there will be a sufficient cohort size and sufficiently advanced course options available at all schools should that happen.

HIMSmom

Anonymous said...

@HIMSmom- You mentioned that you've seen evidence to suggest that the AL office is open to the idea of eliminating the current HCC pathway from Washington to Garfield. Could you please share any details or information you can about this? My child is a 7th grader at WMS who would be heading to Garfield for the fall of 2017, and I've been trying to keep my ear to the ground on rumblings of a pathway change.

Also, in general, what do people think about the pros/cons of going to a vastly overcrowded high school with better offerings v. an under-capacity/near-capacity high school with lesser but improving offerings? My child is set on going to Garfield, but I'm not sure what the options will end up being during open enrollment next year, and/or I'm not sure if going to such an overcrowded school is still the right call.

-SPS Mom

Charlie Mas said...

The choice between a dramatically overcrowded school with a lot of offerings (though no guarantee that they will be available) and less dramatically overcrowded school with fewer offerings (and still no guarantee of availability) is one that each family will have to make for themselves.

As we know, the District has re-defined HC as a service rather than a program, and, moreover, a service available at every school. Each school will draft their own fiction for their CSIP on how they will pretend to provide HC services. Once that's done, the district leadership will raise more questions about why we even have HCC at Garfield, they will note that there are no special classes for HCC students, and they will, essentially, argue that they have no program there and never have. This, of course, is in direct opposition to what they have been telling the public and the OSPI for decades.

The truth, the actual truth, not the official truth, is that in HCC and self-contained Spectrum the cohort is a big part of the program. The cohort has real value. Even in the schools and classrooms where the curriculum or the instruction fails to offer acceleration, depth, or breadth of content, the cohort carries enough value to make the program worthwhile. The students learn from their peers and are challenged by their peers to do more and go further. At Garfield, the classes and the instruction are no different from those available to every student, so it is the cohort alone that provides the difference. The District used to say that, at the high school level, the cohort IS the program. So, for them to break up the cohort is for them to dissolve the program.

They will claim to replace it with whatever the schools invent for the purposes of their CSIP, but whatever fantasy they spin it won't really exist and, in most cases, without a cohort it wouldn't be effective even if it did exist.

Anonymous said...

SPS Mom, you might want to consider Running Start.

HP

Anonymous said...

Question about running start - there are 3 community colleges in Seattle. Do running start students have to attend a specific one depending on high school assignment area, or can you pick any one you want? There are differences in the courses/ programs available.

Mom of 4

Anonymous said...

- Can someone please define "split shifts" and also let me know if this is a guess or
they were told by someone at the district. Isn't there still a capacity limit & don't they have to act if over due to fire & safety codes, class size limits etc? In support of HIMS mom's feeling, I spoke with NW director of schools Jon Halfaker at a meeting. He has a kid at Garfield and speaking about capacity stated "something had to change regarding HCC & Garfield". He said especially since "there are AP courses at every high school". I disagreed. I was told by an advanced learning rep that due to "critical mass" Garfield is the only school offering multiple sections of various AP courses to enable best scheduling. Not sure if we would reach that critical mass at the other high schools. Ingraham can't support all the north end HCC kids, neither can neighborhood high schools so that is not a solution.
-still perplexed

Lynn said...

Joe Wolf from the Capital Projects and Planning Department posted here that he had provided information on those types of schedules to the head of Teaching and Learning.

Split shifts would have some students in class from 6am to noon and others from noon to 6pm. (Not necessarily those specific times but something like that.) When I've read about schools that have done this in the near past, it's been the response to some kind of emergency that required renovation or repairs to a building.

There are alternative solutions we could put in place until Lincoln reopens. Ninth graders could stay at Washington. The empty seats in the Mann building could be used as a Garfield annex. This is less likely - Ted Howard has been pretty clear that he thinks the school should be reduced to about 1,500 students.

Anonymous said...

@ SPS Mom - I've seen an email from the AL office that suggested SPS begin planning that all comprehensive high schools become HCC sites for their attendance area. On follow-up I was told that there had not been "no formal discussions" about that, that these were just "thinking out loud" type ideas about "distant possibilities." This was in fall 2015, and I was assured there were "no changes for 2016." That seemed like pretty clear evidence to me that the AL dept was at least open to the idea. Whether or not that was the preferred strategy--of AL and/or others at JSCEE--I have no idea.

HIMSmom

Anonymous said...

I recall split shifts coming up during the start times discussions with staff. As in, 'why do all that work & then go to split shifts shortly afterward', 'well what happens then if we have split shifts', etc. It seemed to me that it was in the back of minds at JSCEE at that time. Extended day was also mentioned numerous times, including in one of the surveys. Where high schools would have longer school days, but students would not. So that some students would have class 1-6 period & some would have 2-7th periods to decrease the number of students needing class space at any one time. I suspect though, that student schedules would make it hard to guarantee the missed class period was at one end of the day.

-HS Parent

Anonymous said...

Adding on to Lynn's suggestion, 8th graders could also stay at Eaglestaff middle for 9th grade until Lincoln opens & Ingraham adds seats in 2019. There would be some room according to projections. Who are the people who would working on these decisions other than Flip Herndon?
-MS

Anonymous said...

Please, no. 9th graders should matriculate to high school. My child would rather be in a portable than be left in middle school.

-just no

Anonymous said...

@ Lynn and MS, Are you suggesting this for ALL 8th graders, or just those in HCC?

Keeping kids at middle school for 9th grade is likely to deny them access to higher level classes they need, as well as all sorts of club activities. Do you really think the middle schools would all add on genuine high school level classes for a year? Even now, HCC Biology in 8th grade is apparently weaker than the version provided in HS. Would all these middle schools add AP classes for kids who are ready? Honors classes? Calculus? World Language 4? High school is a chance for some kids to finally be able to access courses at the right level, but this would make that unlikely.

Plus, would they even fit? Eagle Staff might be able to retain its 8th graders for a year, but I doubt all the rest of the north end middle schools could. And adding a grade would mean even less flexibility in class configurations, so more space would be needed than the numbers suggest.

Then there's the matter of the possible new schedule for high school in 2017, in order to meet the 24-credit requirement. MS will stay on current semester schedule, but HS could move to trimesters.

Notta Fan

Lynn said...

I don't think it's ideal either. I think it's preferable to split shifts or a year round schedule. Do you prefer one of those?

As for portables, that might work. Wait for the howling though when people realize they'd have to be placed on the fields.

Flip Herndon and Shauna Heath are responsible for making plans for high school capacity management. Is it coincidence that she has found another job and he's been interviewing for other positions? The whole situation will blow up this fall when the board realizes there are no seats for freshman in 2017 and kids need more opportunities to earn credits than they have in the past and each school will be choosing its own weekly late start or early release day and transportation has to make that work.

Anonymous said...

Agree with Lynn. I don't think adding 9th grade is ideal, but perhaps preferable to split shifts in high school and kids starting at 6 or 7 AM! That sounds worse. But I read online about districts that implemented split shifts/extended days successfully. My own elementary school added a 7th grade when I was young to a K-6 model. I enjoyed staying at the school another year & being among the oldest another year. Built confidence. I realize that 9th grade & high school is very different with clubs & activities. They would need to offer the exact same AP or 9th grade courses the high school offers, taught by HS teachers. The only difference would be location. Regardless, the district has to come up with viable solutions. It will likely not please all.
-MS

Anonymous said...

P.S. I had heard some talk in March about "high school boundary discussions" (internally?) happening this Spring. I am wondering what kind of discussions are happening. Would be great if we heard from the district that they are studying various ways to address high school capacity in the interim to 2019. This is better than "will just have to deal with overcrowding until 2019" which makes no sense when schools will be too overcrowded to function.

In addition, we don't even know who exactly from HIMS or Whitman will go over to Eaglestaff when it opens Fall 2017. There is still talk of grandfathering. Flip said they would not announce for certain until Spring 2017.

-MS

Anonymous said...

*If* they were to consider keeping some 9th graders at school with room instead of sending them to high schools(Eagelstaff, maybe JAMS with tons of portables?), causing the entire system to have to go to split shits, I would hope they would be able to see that the enormous amount of disruption and money saved by doing this makes it worth giving those students, for that one year, tiny class sizes, access to the right classes, ability to join sports teams and clubc at whatever school they are slated to go to(and provide bussing), etc. I don't know if it would at all be enough, but if it would it seems very preferable to spend a lot of money on those few 9th graders affected than change the entire system for 2 years until Lincoln comes online. At least that is where I would start (I have a child who could be affected, and I prefer staying at middle school to split shifts or year round school)

-sleeper

Anonymous said...

those few 9th graders affected

Which 9th graders are people talking about? All north end 9th graders? HCC 9th graders? Certain schools only? I'm still not clear.

Notta Fan

Lynn said...

9th graders headed to a high school that does not have seats for them?

Which school is using John Marshall in 2017? That might be a temporary solution for north end kids whose middle school is also overcrowded.

Look - I don't have a kid who wil be affected. I'm notta fan of huge disruptive changes being disclosed at the very last minute when it's too late for community input.

Notta Fan - what do you suggest as a solution?

Anonymous said...

This morning is my first approach with this idea. I really, really dislike the idea of split shifts and year round rotating schools, and personally would pull my child rather than put them through that, but I would not pull a child over having 9th grade at a "junior high." Even if not all 9th graders had this. It seems to me in this case that the district would save so, so, so much money doing it that the support needed would be a mroe than reasonable cost. There are a few positives- 9th and 12th graders are pretty different socially, and delaying entry into that more adult social world is on the whole positive (especially for girls). More leadership, built in class closeness, etc. I don't see any way around having small class sizes, though the district does do its best to surprise me there.

I was thinking Eaglestaff would have room, so those 9th graders. JAMS might if it had tons of portables, but I have run no numbers at all. I know it would be complicated. I wish I could say Hale would be a good place to access advanced learning classes, but their model doesn't really work well with most significantly advanced students from what I have heard. If I thought the other option was just crowding and tons of portables for a year at several high schools I think I would prefer that, but I am afraid that is not an actual option.

-sleeper

Anonymous said...

9th graders staying at middle schools that have room. I am not sure on who exactly. But when I looked at the report HCC students were a major part of the reason for the growth at Garfield, not sure about how they impact Ballard, Roosevelt. Eaglestaff would likely have some room, don't know about Washington & JAMS who might be able to fit with portables. I have a current HCC middle school student who will be affected. It seems that they might be best served by a couple (not all) middle schools adding 9th grade they would also need to invest in the appropriate AP classes & high school teachers.
-MS

Lynn said...

Here's a link to the agenda from a recent work session. Capacity and enrollment projections information begins on page 41.

For 2017-18 the current assignment methods will not work for the Central and Northwest regions.

In the Central region, Garfield will be over capacity by 476 while the other secondary schools will be under-enrolled. (NOVA 173, Meany 506 and Washington 438.) One solution would be to house all ninth graders at Washington and all incoming sixth graders at Meany.

In the Northwest region, Ballard will by over capacity by 296 while Whitman will be under-enrolled by 508.

Anonymous said...

In 2017 there's sufficient high school capacity overall, just not in the right places. More space is needed for north end students, while several south end high schools have plenty of room. The current scheme already sends some north end students to the south end (HC students). There is room to accommodate all 9th graders in actual comprehensive high schools, it's just a matter of figuring out who goes where.

The north end students currently being sent south are those who have the greatest need for high level classes. Garfield has a critical mass of HC students, allowing for access appropriately challenging classes. One option would be to continue GHS as the HCC pathway school for 2017 and 2018, diverting non-HCC south end 9th graders to other south end schools that have capacity. This would allow all 9th graders to have a comprehensive high school experience, and access to appropriate courses. Then in 2019 when Lincoln opens and the Ingraham expansion is complete, those HCC students could return to the north end, and south end students could transfer over to Garfield to finish up if they wanted. While it's not ideal to switch high schools a year or two in, they'd be doing it in large cohorts--and there's going to be a lot of high school switching that year already.

Notta Fan

Anonymous said...

I am trying not to gape- do you think that is even a little politically feasible, Notta? I'm not sure it's preferable, but I definitely think it could never, ever happen. Plus I believe the south end capacity is more complicated than that, isn't it? It's really just Rainier Beach that has room, right?

-sleeper

Anonymous said...

No, I don't think it's politically feasible, even though it makes sense from a logistics standpoint. We have a lot of need for capacity in the north, and there's excess capacity in the south. In addition to Rainier Beach, Chief Sealth and West Seattle are also projected to have additional capacity. Unfortunately, all those schools are particularly far away for north end students. How can we shift things, so the capacity we have will best fit where the students are?

Logically speaking, it seems to make more sense to have high schools continue to provide high school services if there's room, rather than have a few middle schools try to figure out how to do it (when everyone knows middle school is already the weak link) even while additional high school capacity sits unused.

Politically, though, I'm sure it's a non-starter.

Notta

Anonymous said...

The southern boundary for Garfield is just south of Jackson, at Charles, I believe. A couple blocks south of Garfield. To make neighborhood kids who live in the immediate area of Garfield travel miles to make room for HCC at Garfield is more than politically unrealistic. It is jawdropping. In this scenario, Montlake, Capitol Hill and Madison Park would be able to stay at GHS, the central district kids would be moved south. How about HCC kids go to Rainier Beach for the year or two? Franklin is full - it is Rainier Beach that is the school with room. But you can't send the lowest SES population at GHS away for a year or two to make room for HCC. Not a solution.

SES

Anonymous said...

The problem is that RBHS doesn't offer the appropriate courses for incoming HC students.

Does RBHS offer honors LA classes? Their catalog indicates no. AP Language Arts classes? No. How about Precalculus, which is what many HC students need in 9th grade? Nope. Calculus? Again, nope. Any AP math classes at all? No. Maybe AP science? No. AP social studies? No. And not really required, but important for many HC students, Orchestra? No.

HC students have traditionally been shipped off to Garfield in order to create a critical mass to be able to offer sufficiently challenging courses. Sending 9th grade HC students to RBHS in a year would mean trying to quickly recreate a GHS type program, hiring new teachers and training them in AP courses, all for a temporary solution. Would the idea be that many of the Garfield teachers would be forced to move to RBHS instead, since they'd lose 9th grade (and then also 10th grade the next year) HC students, and thus wouldn't need as many of the more challenging classes?

How many north end kids are likely to make the trek all the way to RBHS for limited access to challenging classes? I hazard a guess: not many. They'll opt for their neighborhood school instead, since many of the north end high schools currently offer a better slate of options. Not as rich as Garfield, but close. So they'd probably opt out of the HCC pathway and stay at their already overcrowded neighborhood school, so the problem we were trying to solve would still be there.

Anonymous said...

That was Notta at 2:10.
Notta