Friday, September 16, 2016

Community Meeting about Cascadia enrollment planning

Seattle Public Schools Announcement:

Upcoming Community Discussions About Cascadia Enrollment Planning
Seattle Public Schools is excited to open three schools at the Wilson-Pacific site in 2017-18, Cascadia Elementary, Robert Eagle Staff Middle School, and Licton Springs K-8. Cascadia is temporarily located in the former Lincoln High School building with Licton Springs K-8 and serves students in the Highly Capable Cohort.
Cascadia’s new building is planned to have a capacity of approximately 660 seats, which is not sufficient to serve all of the students currently at Cascadia given the growth the school has experienced.
The district is reviewing potential options for serving all of the current and future students who will attend Cascadia. Representatives from Capital, Enrollment Planning, School Operations, Advanced Learning, and School Supports have met to discuss potential options given available building space across the district and the capacity challenges across the district.
The District’s Capacity Management Task Force will be discussing this topic at its next meeting on September 14, 2016, 12-1:30 p.m. and there will be additional community meetings to review and share possible options for meeting the needs of the current and future Highly Capable identified students and their families.
Capacity Management Task Force Meeting
Sept. 14, 2016 12 - 1:30 p.m.
Location JSCEE 2750
Decisions on an additional site to accommodate all of the students at Cascadia will be made prior to Open Enrollment, which begins in mid-February 2017. The district currently anticipates the following timeline for Board review on this decision.
Board Timeline:
  • November 17, 2016: Board Action Report presented at Operations Committee.
  • December 7, 2016: Board Action Report presented to Board for Introduction.
  • January 4, 2016: Board Action Report presented to Board for Action.

138 comments:

Charlie Mas said...

Here are the documents from the Capacity Management Task Force meeting.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for those links Charlie.

If readers access the 5 year projections for high school, when Lincoln has come online, they will notice two things.

One: Ballard's enrollment plummets when Lincoln opens, meaning the current SPS plan is to carve the new Lincoln reference area out of the current Ballard reference area.

Two: Garfield is projected to receive an additional 683 students. Anyone think that is going to work? Nah. Which leads me to conclude

Three: If the district is NOT going to move to some split shift attendance plan, or is NOT going to bring on an additional building beyond Lincoln, whether temporary or permanent, then the only other tool at its disposal would be an enormous redraw of boundaries, pushing central students into schools with space - mainly south and in West Seattle - and smaller populations back north again into Lincoln, Ballard Roosevelt.

There are only 3 possible tools - boundary redraw, another facility, split shifts. What is it going to be? Students now entering high school are going to be affected and SPS needs to let families know which way it is leaning in addressing this obvious - and it has been obvious for years now so there is no excuse to not make plans public - problem.

Capacity Wonk

(Someone else on this blog started using Capacity Wonk I noticed yesterday. Wish they would pick a different moniker as I have been around awhile.)

Anonymous said...

I left out of the previous comment that the 600-plus population increase may be based largely in projected HCC-guaranteed admission to Garfield. To some extent this does not matter. If the cohort lost that guaranteed assignment and were instead sent to a different school(s), or returned to neighborhood schools, without an additional facility online, boundary shifts, split school sessions or a village of portables on multiple high school properties - if even possible? - is looming and will impact the majority of students in this district.

Which way are you leaning, SPS? Families with students who will be in high school are long past the time at which they deserve some clarity.

Capacity Wonk

Lynn said...

Families of students currently in 8th - 11th grades should also know what kind of major changes to expect in the high schools next fall. Will they be moving to the (ridiculous) five period trimester? Will they follow Cleveland's example and have a seven (or is it eight) period schedule? How will this be affected by changes to bell schedules (again)?

Anonymous said...

Capacity Wonk-- Don't forget the additional 500 seats that will be added to Ingraham projected same time Lincoln opens. They will absorb some of those Garfield projections. However, before Lincoln opens & Ingraham addition, you are correct that capacity is projected to be too far great next couple of years. Flip told people no new additional HS capacity will be added in the meantime at a meeting at Ballard high last year. So that leaves the three tools you mentioned. And it looks to me that the 5 year enrollment report has even underestimated 2016 enrollment at some schools.

Is it true that Ballard is over projected capacity this year hit 1900? I heard rumor students can't get all 6 classes & are sharing desks. If this is the case now, the next two years projections are even higher.
-Maria

Anonymous said...

Capacity Wonk -

You and I have very different takes on the HS projections.

I read it as Lincoln starting with more students pulled out of Roosevelt than out of Ballard - the 1000ish students projected in year one at Lincoln correlates with significant enrollment drops (400 - 500 apiece) at both of those high schools, not just Ballard.

Also, I don't understand your third point - could you explain your thinking and the basis for that paragraph? I don't know why you think pushing some students north is necessary? The north end has to push students south even after Lincoln opens. Or did you mean pushing students in the Ballard-Lincoln-Roosevelt area north into Ingraham and Hale? The only areas that would seem to be in play for your third point would perhaps be Queen Anne? But could you explain more of what you meant in your third paragraph?

Also - there is a FOURTH tool that deserves to be aired and discussed - portables on the practice fields. Many, many portables could fit on half the field at BHS, RHS, etc. I know there are very vocal groups who come out whenever that is discussed, but our city does actually have park space - argue about how much use the park fields get, yes, but it exists. More high school land currently does not. It is a tool to be discussed - perhaps the pending idea of portables on the football practice fields would galvanize the city to help with other new high school space.

But dramatically changing the schedule for EVERY SINGLE SPS FAMILY - b/c split shift high school affects MS and ES families too, believe me - without engaging and discussing all possibilities, including taking part or all of the practice fields for classroom use, boggles my brain. It needs to be discussed, not dismissed. Sports and activities are important, but it is reasonable to impact them in order to lessen impact on learning. Failing to discuss option Four - Practice Field Portables - is elevating a few very expensive extra-curricular activities far above core learning, prioritizing a few students and families over the experience of every single family and student in the district, and just failing to have a thorough analysis from the beginning.

Three is a nice number - western culture is predisposed to like things in threes - but in this case it is not complete.

- Math Counts

Anonymous said...

P.S Also, heard rumor 1400 students at Ingraham this year, not 1200 as projected. That is putting schools way over capacity projections. Looking at the capacity agenda, they are discussing Cascadia and also how to address the reduction in class size mandate for elementary schools.

I am concerned the focus of these "capacity meetings" is not on an interim high school solution. Parents of high school students must get the attention of the district and board into acting on a HS solution to implement prior to the next two years.
-Maria

Anonymous said...

No Maria, parents of high school students need the answers you all are asking for now.

Again, now. This fall.

Before families must submit public and private high school choices. Or count on being assigned to one public high school when they may not be.


Aghast

Anonymous said...

Aghast- Agree. Forgot about families who have private school as an option, they would need to understand now. For the rest who can't afford to move or go private (even with aid) or don't want to move to private we would like to know now as well. How do we get their attention on this issue? Flip & others know about it I am certain, but I did not see a temp fix for HS is on their capacity task force agenda. Should parents of HS students attend the next capacity meeting perhaps? Anybody else have anything to share here?
-Maria

Anonymous said...

The Capacity Management Task Force was formed last May. We meet once/month, and have had two meetings so far (August and September). Documents provided to the task force, approved minutes from previous meetings, the task force's charter and other task force-related information are posted on the CMTF webpage:

http://www.seattleschools.org/cms/One.aspx?portalId=627&pageId=13299010

Priority is being given to program and services placement recommendations to the Superintendent which must be decided upon prior to Open Enrollment period for the 2017-18 school year. We were told that the attendance area boundary changes planned for 2017-18 would not be a task force agenda item. We were also told that there would be a separate task force that would be formed in early 2017 to tackle the high school capacity issue, and that planning for high school boundaries and the opening of Lincoln would begin then (January?).

It is my understanding that the upcoming Growth Boundaries community meetings will focus on the many attendance area boundary changes planned for 2017-18, and the recently-revealed recommendations regarding grandfathered assignments (students living in most boundary change areas are recommended to not receive grandfathered assignments). High school boundaries were not treated as a part of the Growth Boundaries plan that was approved in 2013, and these meetings are held annually to deal with any recommended amendments to the 2013 Growth Boundaries Plan.

I would suggest sending any high school-related questions you have to directly to Dr. Herndon and the School Board, since it is not within the scope of the Growth Boundaries (growthboundaries@seattleschools.org) feedback process.

Kim McCormick

Anonymous said...

I forgot to add... The updated 5-year projection document Charlie provided (above) is a draft document. The document explaining the planning assumptions behind the projections was not provided.

Kim

ConcernedSPSParent said...

So they just built a school that is too small? Or am I missing something...

Anonymous said...

@concerned parent--yes, and they don't want to look bad by opening with 4-5 portables, so they're proposing to move part of the NE HCC into an old empty school that isn't scalable for the needs of the population they plan to put there.

Total Chaos

Anonymous said...

Totes to Kim for a cogent post. This is not directed at her or her Task Force members.
To SPS administration: Exactly when will this @(#*@*$&!(# high school capacity issue be a priority? Or have you learned nothing from parents screaming that enrollment pressures meant we needed to open not close schools followed by the waste of 10s of millions of $$$$ and a decade of enrollment mess that has followed in K-8 schools?

The high school overenrollment situation was and is beyond predictable. How many threads have Melissa and Charlie already hosted on it? It has been a sure thing for years now. It is arriving. It is here. And it couldn't even make it onto a !)@**#&!@)( task force agenda? Because there are bigger emergencies this year and next year's emergency can wait? (Psssssssst. It will be bigger then.)

What the )@(#(@#*&@837!!!!!!!!
What the !@PO@(*!(&#!(* !(@@*(#**#&#!!!!!!!!!!

Students in high school this year and for sure students enrolling this spring for the 2017-18 year are going to suffer major, probably massive, disruption to their expected high school experience. And there is NO PLAN to address this issue before open enrollment?

(!@&*!@&@#&^@!(@&^@@

When will we see something official from staff?? Not a plan to plan. A plan. 2018 ain't gonna cut it.

DistrictWatcher

Anonymous said...

Flip must be hearing from someone that the optics of having a huge HCC program up north are more important than the middle and high school capacity crisis. I don't get it.

Total Chaos

Anonymous said...

Wedgwood opened up 50 or so years ago with portables, they are still there today...

--ShakingHead@SPS

Anonymous said...

What about turning cascadia into a middle school - high school and alleviating that capacity crunch now!
Nw Mom

Anonymous said...

Cedar Park is scheduled to open next fall as a new assignment school with EIGHT portables and no library...which is apparently OK for the poorest kids in Lake City...but they can't place portables at Cascadia???

-reality check

Anonymous said...

Total Chaos-- They are grappling with thew state mandate of having to reduce class sizes for elementary next year. The next pressing issue is bad publicity for a new school (Cascadia) that they are about to open far beyond capacity.

The high school issue is HUGE. Really HUGE. Especially when schools are breaking and over their projected over enrolled capacity in 2016! The next two years are projected to get worse, so multiple the numbers you see on the 5 year enrollment projection.

However, unless enough parents tell them they need to find an interim solution now for next two years, I don't think anything is being planned. I have seen some people complain loudly on this blog. But doubt enough middle and high school parents have joined forces to press them on this issue. How to get people involved?
-MB

Anonymous said...

Just had a thought. If it is true that students cannot get 6 classes & are sharing desks this year etc. and the next two years they predict more students, why not contact the Seattle Times to do a story? Parents who have students facing these issues at Ingraham, Ballard, Roosevelt, Garfield etc should contact the paper. Publicity.
-MB

ConcernedSPSParent said...

The initiative to reduce class sizes was settled the year before construction at Wilson Pacific started. To me this just seems gross incompetence on behalf of Larry 'Shrug' Nyland. SPS desperately needs a level of energetic leadership which Larry is utterly incapable of delivering. I will not be holding my breath for any form of accountability in this mess.

Josh Hayes said...

I'm trying to remember, but back when planning was going on for the Wilson-Pacific site weren't people yelling and screaming about middle school capacity? To frame this as simply a high school capacity issue is, I think, to miss the point: the district is under-sized at ALL levels for the number of kids who are showing up. I think a real inventory of all district-owned property is in order, and every plausible property probably needs to have a school plopped onto it (I'm looking at you, Oak Tree. Literally. I can see the movie theater from my house.) Perhaps the JSCEE could have some classrooms carved out of it. But going to split shifts in high school doesn't address the issue at the lower levels. Big picture thinking is called for.

Anonymous said...

Josh Hayes, Math Counts I wish the district was thinking like you both are. There are many alternatives to split shifts or schedule failures, if they would just allow themselves out of their box.
Open school space at Oak Tree & JSCEE
Take The Armory up on its offer to expand SPS space there. And get going on a Memorial Stadium plan.
Move the underenrolled Center School and NOVA out of the heart of the congested area and use the space for programs with a stronger draw
LHE & QAE are going to share John Marshall during our worst capacity years. Put each of them in a smaller, separate building for their temp locations and allow Lincoln to open a year early at John Marshall.
Yes to portables on the playfields! Kids can be bused to a different location for sports.
And this won't be popular, but they could put portables on the parking lots too. We need classrooms more than we need 17 year olds to drive their cars to school.
I wish SPS would throw some creative thinking at the problem and I wish the city would be proactive about making them do something and facilitating change.
big picture

Anonymous said...

FYI - portables on parking lots at HS is much less good than on the fields. I'm not saying it should be off the table, but the parking spaces are used by teachers, not kids. The lots don't even have enough spaces for the teachers, really - (have you seen how tightly they stripe BHS and RHS lots?). Kids only park there after school, during the day it's not permitted - and they actually are ticketed and checked by the principal.

Teachers need the spaces - I know how hard it can be to find parking when going to the Ballard Pool, if the pool reserved spaces are full - I don't want teachers being late b/c they had to circle block after block looking for a space. With the new density of condos by BHS and RHS that do not have sufficient parking (THANK YOU CITY) then it is really important to keep their spaces.

There was a fight to get sufficient teacher parking spaces at Eaglestaff/Cascadia new site.

But I've read about the city owned buildings at Discovery Park (formerly Fort Lawton). The ones that are a gym and cafeteria and office spaces, etc, that were used by the Army and are now unused while city tries to get affordable housing. Does anyone from Magnolia know more about those buildings? They're pretty run down, I think, but that could be the land for a "Queen Anne high school" - it's already level, and it's screened from the residential areas of Magnolia for the most part. District could run a school bus shuttle to the rapid ride stop on Interbay.

Does anyone know more about the status of that space for a highschool? Probably easier than Oaktree.

-- been there

Anonymous said...

Been there makes a really solid argument against taking over parking at schools. I hear it. Teachers shouldn't have to deal with parking headaches when they have to deal with so much else. But there's an equally solid argument against every other crazy idea on the table too (or not on the table). So the above articulate, well-argued post ends up being a perfect example to illustrate why SPS just does nothing. Whatever happens, it's going to hurt someone somehow. Maybe it's parking, maybe it's playfields, maybe it's schedules, maybe it's college readiness. Some way it will hurt the least, and that's what SPS needs to figure out. This doing nothing because someone won't like it ends up hurting everyone.
Big picture

Anonymous said...

Speaking of doing nothing--don't forget the lame duck legislators who have kicked the can for more than a decade and haven't adequately funded education in our state. Write them! http://leg.wa.gov/JointCommittees/EFTF/Pages/default.aspx

Total Chaos

Charlie Mas said...

Is there some commercial space that can be leased? An old hotel on highway 99?

The District has failed to plan ahead, the Legislature has failed to do their job and the City of Seattle has been no help at all. If the City of Seattle wants to help the schools, let's see them come up with some space.

seattle citizen said...

ConcernedSPSparent seems to be the only commenter addressing lower class sizes. In all this discussion about capacity, let's not forget that FTE (teachers and IAs, etc) costs money, money not likely to be spent. Citizens passed I-1351 years ago, demanding smaller classes. Legislature funded k-3 (down to a still-large 28) but not 4-12.
Ballard, for instance, could lose students but it would likely also lise, then, FTE, keeping the class sizes at 34ish.
If citizens demanded class sizes of 25 or fewer, we would need 25% more classrooms. I don't see this being discussed; I see discussion around how to deal with overcapacity but not how to fund FTE to lower class sizes.

If anyone believes class size doesn't matter, I've got a bridge in Brooklyn to sell them. In a city as wealthy as Seattle it's really incomprehensible that citizens countenance 34 students packed into a room.

More capacity (classrooms) AND more FTE (teachers and IAs), please.

Anonymous said...

Seattle Citizen--- I can't agree more. However, I think people in this region have unfortunately been dealing with supersized class sizes for so long (many grew up with very large classes) they don't feel much can be done about it. Those who grew up elsewhere who went to public schools with classes of 20-25 high school & under 22 elementary & middle are the ones who I meet who are really fired up.

Seattle has seen a growth explosion and I am flabbergasted that development impact fees are being "explored" and not implemented immediately. Many other cities in WA (not experiencing even a fraction of our growth) are funding schools through impact fees, Mercer Island funded new schools for example.
The lastest City of Seattle report I found from June 2015 put the onus on the school district to basically provide evidence to them development was a factor for needing new schools! In addition they want district to demonstrate they can't meet needs with levy funding. Come on! Delay, delay & process delay. Look at the SPS heat maps & correlate it with explosion of development in Ballard! http://www.seattle.gov/dpd/cs/groups/pan/@pan/documents/web_informational/s010015.pdf
-Maria


Anonymous said...

Josh, no I really don't think so. What I remember from the W-p planning was everybody really following the issue wanting to talk about high school, wanting the district to make w-p a high school instead, we need middle and high school capacity, but really we need HIGH SCHOOL, really wanting the district to work on high school. And the district would just say, ad nauseum, "Growth Boundaries is about pk-8. We will begin to discuss high school later." This made me at least spitting mad, but they continued to say it, completely shut people down. And so far it seems like the solution is just have schedule failures and make a random assortment of people pay privately for what they can'take provide or I suppose just not graduate if they don't have the time or money. Unconscionable.

-sleeper

Anonymous said...

Melissa -

Can you repost the final FACMAC letter on the Wilson Pacific (now Eaglestaff/Cascadia) site?

The one that said something like "original plans were based on best data at the time, which was enrollment data available prior to making the plans, and as every year has been so much higher than expected, enrollment has moved so much, the plan should also change based on current data" - the type of revision and explanation I would like to see from A LOT MORE leaders, frankly. You know, "we did the best we could at the time, times have changed, so let's change the plan to reflect current reality." Wow, wish we could see more of that rather than just doubling down on old plans - and I mean that for everything, SPS, city, nation, etc.

I think in that letter the old Capacity planning committee - aka FACMAC - said (before demolition had even begun) that the big new site at 92d and Aurora should be a high school, Lincoln building should become a MS much bigger than Hamilton - and the Hamilton MS, hamstrung by lack of space and never going to be able to be more than that size, should become a super-large elementary, both HCC and perhaps a small K8 like Pinehurst sited together or a neighborhood school to balance out that the neighborhood around Hamilton basically has just language immersion options.

Could you find that old post and link in the thread?

Obviously that ship has sailed, b/c two buildings are not on the 92d and Aurora site, but it might be nice if people could see where things were - and what thoughtful recs can look like.

Thanks!

- Math Counts

kellie said...

This thread is a perfect example of why Capacity is the ultimate Equity Issue. Because all capacity issues are interconnected, capacity decisions impact every part of the system.

At the moment, SPS is behaving as is the Cascadia crowding issue is the most important capacity problem in the district. This is simply to force a conversation to split the program and place part of HCC into the old Decatur building.

While that is an issue, and it deserves some attention as this thread quickly morphed, the high school issue truly does eclipse all other issues.

In addition to what everyone else has said, I want to once again remind everyone that because high school is the master schedule there is another part of the high school problem that makes everything more complicated and is still invisible.

All of the high school projections are based on the enrollment reports and the enrollment reports have a FATAL ERROR in them.

Those who worked on the closures may well remember that the enrollment projections were based on all K enrollment being reported as .5. All of those students who were Pay for K were counted as .5. All of those full bodies that would become full people in first grade were in the projections as .5. This was because of an issue related to the P223s and how enrollment is reported to Olympic. To get a full count of the number of humans in the system, that calculation needed to be done manually.

Eventually this change was made but ... the consequences of 1,000's of K students missing in the projections was a critical issue that helped to keep school closures on the table for years. And we all know about what a waste of opportunity and resources, 8 years of school closures was. Everyone paid for that horrible distraction.

There is a similar problem at High School. When a student is unable to get their appropriate classes for graduation or college readiness, they need to solve this problem with either partial homeschool, online classes or running start. When a high school student goes part time, the part time vanishs from the reports.

At the moment, the enrollment reports for high school show that high school enrollment has been suspiciously flat for years now. This is because the high schools can only handle so many students and then the individual students become part time and viola ... high school issue pushed out another year.

This can easily be solved by simply adding Running Start and Part Time students to the enrollment reports.

Remember, last spring, they CUT teachers at most high schools because they expected fewer students. That should scare everyone.

kellie said...

Here is the link to the high school enrollment reports.

They show that from 2011-2015, that high school has only grown by 200 students. These reports are why the "urgency" around high school is only felt by the boots-on-the-ground and not downtown. The reports make it look-like the expected growth just didn't really materialize and therefore it can be pushed out another year (or two).

However, the reports really don't show what is actually happening in the buildings. The reports in no way reflect the number of students who are "pushed out" to find another solution.

Intra-district transfers are also not visible. Families around the edges of the district are going to other districts if possible. If that were stop, those students would need to be accommodated.

kellie said...

One final problem. Please note that the projections only have 12 line items for high schools. Whereas the high school enrollment reports have 22 line items.

So in addition to Running Start not even being a line item, these other 10 high school alternatives, that are mostly the "safety net" are missing. This means that any improvements in the graduation rates or other services would impact these projections tremendously.

Another way of saying this is ... as the high schools are less and less able to serve the students, the enrollment increases will be seen in the safety net options / running start. However, the reports don't distinguish between the students who are pushed out the top vs the bottom.

TechyMom said...

If I were queen of the world, here's what I'd do:

Use eminent domain to acquire the Sisily properties across from Roosevelt, which are two full city blocks.

Vacate the street between them, and 66th between Roosevelt and them.

Build several large buildings, as tall as allowed, to triple the size of Roosevelt.

Build indoor gyms, cafeterias, and another theater as part of those buildings.

Have lots of AP classes, and/or UW College in the High School at Roosevelt.

Draw an attendance area that fills 2/3 of the new school (so double the current size of Roosevelt).

Open the other new spaces at open enrollment, as lottery-only, city-wide draw with ORCA cards.

Make Lincoln a middle school.

Make Hamilton an elementary school, with half of HCC.

Anonymous said...

Cool ideas, TechyMom. A high school for Queen Anne/Magnolia would be nice, too.

-North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

Kellie, if they form a high school capacity task force, I hope you will consider applying for it.

-North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

If there is going to be a separate high school capacity management task force, it should include someone representing the Running Start program who is knowledgeable of that program's capacity constraints. Running Start is being used like a bottomless reservoir for high school overflow. I imagine that at some point Running Start will run out of capacity, as well...and accommodating college students will be a higher priority than Running Start.

-North-end Mom

Josh Hayes said...

North-end Mom, this is already happening on the East side. I teach at Redmond HS (I do not speak for the school, or the district, yadda yadda yadda), and TONS of my 10th-graders from last year are doing full-time Running Start this year, almost all of them at Bellevue College, and it is really struggling to deal with the huge numbers of RS kids from nearby districts -- not just LWSD, but also Bellevue SD.

And even with this large exodus, RHS is packed, because we have a gigantic freshman class this year. If it keeps up like this, I expect we'll see teachers with carts next year and I'll have to find somewhere other than my classroom for prep period, because someone will be teaching in there. The whole region is growing, and all the districts are awash in kids -- which is great, in some ways, but a real problem in others, mostly finding seats to put the butts in. SPS is not the only place struggling with capacity issues!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for pointing this out, Josh! I was on a biz call the other day with a woman who has a child in K in Issaquah...she said they're busing her child to another school (not their assigned school) for K only, then he will start at their neighborhood school for 1st. She reports this is very upsetting for families, especially those with children who have a difficult time with transitions (most at that age) but they are so over capacity there is no choice. She plans to hold her second child, or redshirt, unless things improve.

Im likely preaching to the choir, but be sure to vote for representatives who care about kids and schools and solving our regressive tax system.

Total Chaos

Anonymous said...

Kellie-- We can't wait for them to form another "task force" for high school and study the problem. That won't happen anyway as they are replying on Lincoln & seat addition & development of a new high school (further out in time) for Queen Anne to alleviate the issue.

But-the crisis is NOW through the next two years (will be even worse) until Lincoln opens & 500 seats added to Ingraham. Please bring your points to Flip and other's attention now. In addition, I am sure they are also hearing from HS principals about this issue. People are likely just being ignored & told to "deal with it". Even if dealing with it means kids can't get classes they need in the school to graduate.
-MB

Anonymous said...

I meant relying on....not replying
-MB

Anonymous said...

I've been to many of these community meetings where Flip has spoken and I agree with MB's take on things. Flip is focused on projections and in his mind the problem is solved because of Lincoln and the Ingraham seats. Any other hiccup in the next couple of years will likely be handled the way they are handling Hamilton etc now. As in, just suffer through a less-than-idea year or two, and SPS will take reactionary measures as needed.

I pressed him on the Garfield issue once and he made it sound like his emergency plan is to shuffle some south end borders, thinks HCC at WS and IB at RB will draw students away.

At another meeting he talked about "going back to the 1971 boundary maps" when we had even larger numbers than now. Mentioned drawing boundaries that people might not like, students traveling past one school to get to another.

And several times he has said he'd deal with HS "next" after Hamilton & the others are all squared away.

Good fit

kellie said...

@MB

I did not say anything about a high school task force. That was North-end mom.

The 2003 K cohort, aka the graduating class of 2016 was the beginning of the baby boom echo. IMHO, the high school problem started 4 years ago when that cohort started high school.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Kellie. My kid graduated from Hale this past spring. The calculus classes had 45 kids in them. There weren't enough Physics classes and kids were made to choose between Physics and AP Environmental Science. More kids were pushed to Running Start.

HP

Anonymous said...

Is Cascadia a school or is it the name for a certain HCC cohort? Is there a chance that Cascadia,the school, will co-house a gen-ed program and an HCC program? Is that on the table and are gen-ed parents surrounding Eagle Staff going to be pushing for co-housing?

worried

Anonymous said...

@worried--I haven't heard about that scenario because Cascadia HCC is so big. Licton Springs will be in the Eaglestaff facility and Cascadia will be in WP, with the exception of the subset to be split off to Decatur (tentative). That said--anything could happen. I don't see any reason why in the future HCC@WP couldn't be split again with a subset sent to a feeder elementary for Hamilton, making room at that point for neighborhood students at WP and a co-housed program. There is no space for that scenario at this time, to my knowledge.

HCC Advocate

Anonymous said...

Good fit--- My understanding from a pubic meeting with one of the school board members (Rick Burke) is that they don't like to redraw boundaries & it is a "process". I took the comment about maps from the 1970's etc. (Flip) to be related to redrawing boundaries for 2019 when Lincoln opens etc. Not as any indication they will redraw any boundaries to relieve capacity for years prior. I am thinking portables (if anything) are going to be their solution prior, same as what was implemented at HIMS. But the amount of students projected are too large for just portables. So maybe they will force students on to wait lists & offer other south end schools (RB, WS) with transportation as a "choice". For students in the North end, this mean leaving in the wee hours for a very very long bus ride. They are deferring planning and not leaving time for much else. Anybody have a different understanding? People need to contact Flip etc that we cannot wait until Spring 2017 for planning. They need to begin NOW.
-MB

Lynn said...

Flip wasn't interested in listening to FACMAC. He's not going to be swayed by parents.

Next year is going to be a colossal mess.

High school schedules have to change to support the 24 credit graduation requirement. Schools can't build their master schedules until district administrators decide what that looks like.

One of the new requirements is two years of world language (or a personalized pathway.) We can't hire enough world language teachers now to meet demand for the classes. This is going to mean many more Spanish I and II classes - and less access to third and fourth year classes. Are the community colleges prepared for more Running Start world language students? When we exhaust their capacity to serve high school students, we are out of bandaids.

Bell times are apparently changing again next year. How? Nobody knows. It's likely that elementary students will be starting at 7:35 to preserve the high school sports schedule.

New buildings are over capacity when they open (Cascadia and Schmitz Park) and staff won't consider adding portables because it makes them look bad. Schmitz Park's PTA is paying for two full time Kindergarten aides because they have enough students for five classes but only four classrooms and the district won't give them a portable. Those kids will be in overcrowded classrooms for six years.

No wonder the people responsible for these issues are jumping ship. We'll have another round of "blame the departed employees" soon enough.

Anonymous said...

Lynn just summed it up very well, and Kellie had a great message about the mistakes that put us in this position. I wouldn't want Flip's job, and it appears his hands are tied, other than the portables issue. He can't leave Decatur empty with so many students needing classrooms, and it's not realistic to swap WP around to become a high school. Lincoln needs renovation. Mc Cleary is not close to being decided.

The city should get involved.

Crisis Mode

Anonymous said...

What about HS principals? They must also be putting pressure on Flip & district. And they don't want safety issues either. I still feel HS parents should complain loudly & perhaps go to the paper. Readers understand we are dealing with a region pop boom and no state funding (McCleary)etc.

It should be in the Seattle Times when high schools can't offer classes kids need to graduate, sharing desks, can't get through crowded hallways,don't have lockers, can't go to the bathroom or get lunch as line is too long etc. I do think if many HS (& MS) parents got involved it could impact things. We should do more than throw our hands up & complain on a blog. If you feel this impacts your child & others you know get involved.
-MB

kellie said...

@ Josh,

Yes, other districts are dealing with capacity issues as well. This is because of the combination of the baby boom echo and the State of Washington Growth Management Act, designed to prevent rural sprawl akin to LA.

The big distinction is that while SPS was fixated on closing schools, all of the surrounding districts were opening them. Seattle is about ten years behind everyone else when planning for school capacity.

Back in 2010 when we have a brief era of sanity with Bob Boesche in charge of finance, he brought in an outside demographer. You could hear a pin drop in the room as he explained to the board that we did not have a "bubble" but rather than enrollment trends everywhere were increasing as the baby boom echo started through the system.

Sherry Carr has asked a series a brilliant questions and his answers made it crystal clear that during all the years of closures, we should have been planning to open schools ... like all the surrounding districts.

The closures were based on the same fatal flaw in the enrollment reports that is causing our current troubles.

Lynn said...

The city can't find us Spanish teachers but they can:

Provide assistance in locating space for new schools.
Collect fees from developers for new buildings.
Keep our school grounds and adjacent play fields and parks clean, safe and needle-free.
Provide height limit variances to developers who include space for child care facilities, preschools and public schools in their buildings.


The board needs to prioritize high school issues now - capacity, schedule changes and bell times changes.

Changes in the elementary and middle school schedules have to be delayed. The staff do not have the capacity to work on that now.

kellie said...

Capacity issues have a ton of moving parts and most of the people in the system only have access or control to a few of those parts. It is the you can't see the forest for the trees metaphor. In other words, good people try to fix the problem in front of them and they are so busy fixing what is front of them that they don't see the systemic problem.

Each individual high school is attempting to solve the problems they have at that particular high school. As far as I know, there isn't anyone working on the problems that the high schools have in common.

There are a few things that could be done to highlight the problems but at the moment, nobody is collecting the data.

If I were Queen of the Universe, here is the data that I would want collected and it may fall to the hands of the individual PTAs to start collecting this information from the counseling offices.

* The number of TAs at every high school. Most students are TAs when they can't get a class for their schedule. Even is the student wants to be a TA, this should be tracked so that there is a clear indication of the holes in the schedule.

* The number of students in Running Start with a in house process to check voluntary vs involuntary running start.

* The number of students who can't get the schedule they need. The year they wanted to cut two teachers at Garfield there were 87 students who were unable to get 6 classes that wanted 6 classes.

* The number of students doing online credit retrieval.

* The number of students doing online classes.

There may be more ... but that would be a good start so that we could have an accurate picture of what is really happening inside the buildings and the master schedules.

kellie said...


Here is another item for people to consider.

Flip managed to persuade the last board to remove Capacity Management from the top three items of focus in the strategic plan. It was that change that made me take a break from this mess.

Flip stated that there was no reason for Capacity Management to be a top priority because at that point, capacity management was simply a matter of implementing BEX. This was despite the screams from parents and FACMAC that "BEX was not enough" and that capacity management was still a huge problem.

To be extra clear, SPS has a ton or challenges and there are challenges that are far more interesting than capacity and really do impact the education of our students. However, capacity is the fundamental underlying issue for all of the problems. To implement ANY solution, you need to have the capacity to do it.

IMHO, Capacity Management should be the #1 strategic plan focus, until we have enough capacity in the pipeline for all of our students.

Robert Cruickshank said...

This is a classic example of SPS senior staff refusing to listen to parents, even when parents have all the evidence and facts on their side, and serious problems are the result. We need the board to step in and require the SPS senior staff to make capacity management a priority and to require that SPS senior staff change their approach to capacity management in order to more accurately reflect the situation.

Anonymous said...

Robert- I agree. Parents reading this blog PLEASE contact board members about the current HS capacity issue. Perhaps if enough contact them about this issue NOW, maybe we will see a solution.
-MB

Anonymous said...

My kid was a TA 3 times due to not being able to get a class scheduled. My kid also did yearbook because there was nothing else.

HP

Anonymous said...

My kid was a TA 3 times due to not being able to get a class scheduled. My kid also did yearbook because there was nothing else.

Yikes. With the core-24 requirement--which will kick in for those who start high school NEXT YEAR!--that sort of arrangement will no longer be acceptable.

Time for JSCEE to acknowledge that high school issues need to be resolved NOW, not in a few years.

Get Moving!

kellie said...

IMHO, we are in damage control mode when it comes to high school and here is why

1) HS is dramatically underfunded both at the State level and via the WSS. This needs to be remedied ASAP. And most parents / PTAs are completely unaware of this issue. The drumbeat of McCleary and underfunding has been mostly felt in K-2. But only AVERAGE attendance is funded at high school, not the actual number of students enrolled.

2) Master Schedules are in-efficient by their design. Until everyone gets realistic about this ... it is not possible to improve things. Classes like BAND where one teacher has more than 150 students is the ONLY thing holding the schedule together. There needs to be more support these types of classes

3) Core 24 is an unfunded train wreck about to crash into the already existing problems. As far as I can tell, there wasn't anyone on the Core 24 high school task force that understood the complexities of the master schedule and the capacity issues. There is no way that 3x5 recommendation would have been in the mix if anyone really got capacity issues.

And after those big issues .... next year the K cohort from 08 / class of 2021 hits high school. We have needed to open new schools when this cohort hit elementary and then when they hit middle school and now they are entering high school and we haven't even started to address the problem.

The notion that Lincoln is going to fix this is fatally flawed. Because opening Lincoln doesn't address any of these issues and isn't going to happen for a few years anyway.

Anonymous said...

Math Counts pointed out I forgot about Roosevelt in my capacity comment. I did not count students moving from there to Lincoln. However, the bulk are going to arrive from Ballard. SPS has signaled for years that this will be the Queen Anne Magnolia landing spot - unless something happens at Seattle Center which does not appear to be in the works anytime soon.

The only way I can see to address overcrowding, thinking like SPS not myself, would be to push all enrollment south of the Ship Canal and east of Lake Union farther south. Garfield would host families mainly north of the facility. Franklin would host families between Garfield and Franklin. Cleveland would come back on as an assignment school and get Beacon Hill. Rest of Southeast would get Rainier. Garfield would no longer be full host of HCC. Guessing West Seattle would be another location. Maybe a north location too, although Roosevelt would not get it because of "optics", Ingraham has IB and Nathan Hale wouldn't want it with its current principal in place. That would leave Ballard and Lincoln, both of which would already be full. A problem. This is why I suspect HCC at the high school level will eventually cease to have any assigned school and instead all high schools will be asked to serve individual student needs with a total dissolution of the cohort.

This boundary redraw would - will - cause an uproar. Garfield has special sensitivity as host of an African American population that would be greatly reduced. HCC families would not like the split. Cleveland pressed into service as a residential based high school would be rejected by some in the current option community and by others in the residential community.

I don't defend any of these moves. But I have watched the district for a while and they can't handle what is about to hit, which means some major changes in assignment and program delivery under the usual fire drill of operations that is SPS. I definitely agree that 'former staff' will be blamed for the latest problem although the community has been screaming for years now as usual.

My projection, in short, for a satisfactory high school experience for students entering high school, is that there will be chaos of smaller and larger degrees, with family dissatisfaction coming to a head, starting much more publicly by next year. Let the latest crisis begin. How can it be otherwise? There are apparently zero plans beyond Lincoln High School to solve it, and Lincoln High School won't solve it.

If boundaries don't change, then doubling up of schedules will have to happen and I doubt we have the personnel let alone the money to keep facilities open longer. I have some doubt that we have the capacity to allow for the new Core 24 regulations coming online. As Lynn points out, those start next year. Will there be a transparent plan in place to competently handle these issues before open enrollment this year? I have grave misgivings.

Capacity Wonk

Anonymous said...

I note that I was posting as Kellie, above was posting. Independently we arrive at the same place. The combination of shortage of facilities, shortage of money, shortage of real plans to handle state-mandated Core 24 = Disaster.

And let me throw another fact into the mix, which most readers don't know, but which a savvy district observer keeps reminding me: the levy equalization being discussed to address McCleary will result in LESS money for SPS. Not more. Less.

Let me say it again: Disaster

Capacity Wonk

Anonymous said...

"We need the board to step in and require the SPS senior staff to make capacity management a priority and to require that SPS senior staff change their approach to capacity management in order to more accurately reflect the situation."

Step into your time machine and dial it to Oct 2015.

You are now watching one of the many Seattle school board forums and you are listening to almost every candidate mention the looming capacity crisis as a top priority should they get elected.

So why do parents need to write the board? I thought all the newbies were in sync and ready to fix the problem? Where they just giving lip service?

Blind eye

Anonymous said...

Speaking of that absurd 3x5 schedule recommendation from the 24-credit task force, where do things stand with SPS's response to the new requirement? The first cohort of students to be impacted by Core 24 starts high school next year. Will whatever changes are going to be made be implemented at that time? Is there any further discussion on the various recommendations--or the better options that were for some reason not recommended? Is there an effort to get public input on the report? Or are people at JSCEE moving forward and making decisions behind the scenes based on the problematic report?

Core24 Wassup?

Anonymous said...

And when exactly is the Ingraham annex supposed to come online?

-sleeper

Anonymous said...

Dear School Board Directors,

Many parents of soon-to-be high school students have serious concerns about high school capacity, particularly in the north end. Parents have been voicing concerns for some time now, but the district has been slow to respond. While it's already too late to get ahead of the high school capacity challenge--kids already have trouble getting all the classes they need--it's time for the district to finally engage with the community on this issue and quickly develop a strategy to get us through the next several years, until Lincoln High School reopens in 2019 and Ingraham is expanded. Overcrowding is already a challenge, and projections indicate things will only get worse. Additionally, the Core 24 requirement--which kicks in for next year's cohort of freshmen--will only compound the problems.

If you have not been following this issue closely, please check out this (incl. link) current thread on the Seattle Schools Community Forum for a taste of some of the high school capacity concerns parents have. (It's a Cascadia thread, but simply search the comments for "high school.") There have been many similar threads on high school capacity concerns over the past year or so.

I understand the district may feel like they have a handle on this and that it's not the crisis parents seem to think, or, conversely, that it's not worth discussing since there's not much that can be done in the interim and we'll just have to wait for a little relief in 2019. Either way, the community needs and deserves some transparency--an opportunity to be heard, and an opportunity to get answers.

Concerns expressed to district staff thus far seem to have fallen on deaf ears, so I'm asking for your your help, as a School Board Director, in prioritizing this issue and giving it the public attention it deserves. Perhaps a good place to start would be convening a few public meetings to discuss the issue in depth--with significant outreach and well-publicized agendas; relevant data made available to the public ahead of time; extensive time allowed for Q&A with key district officials at the meetings; and clear and timely follow-up.

Ignoring the issue is not going to make it go away. Please help get things moving.


Pretty Please

TechyMom said...

Would year-round school help? 9 weeks on, 3 off, staggered so that 1/3 of the students are on break at any given time. It seems better than split shifts. There are other districts that do this, and have been going back at least to the 1970s.

Anonymous said...

Parents--- Please cut & paste letter by Pretty Please or send a letter of your own to district reps. Now is the time. We need for people to GET INVOLVED.

Sleeper- I heard 2019 for any new seats for Ingraham, but that was awhile ago.

P.S. News just reported protestors successfully blocked the council meeting today on new precinct & council members reversed course. Not that I agree or disagree, but it does demonstrate power of protest and community rallying for a cause.
-action needed

Anonymous said...

@action needed and pretty please--where do you propose putting the Northend Highschool kids over the next two-three years?

Total Chaos

kellie said...

I just learned where the notion of the "high school capacity task force" came from. The new capacity task force was told not to focus on high school because there will be a separate task force for that.

So that begs the question. What is the current capacity task force supposed to focus on?

Anonymous said...

Rubber stamping? Good question...shouldn't there be options presented with pros and cons for each? Yes. But instead, a small fledgling group of HCC@Decatur is being pushed through.

Situation: Cascadia is currently about 110 students over the WP capacity limits and they expect it will grow 5-10% next year. They need to find a corner of the district for 150 students. So why put 270 NE HCC kids at Decatur? It seems too small to be a stand alone school and there would be a lot of cost and administrative burden involved with bringing on a new principal and teaching staff. Will they have art, music, counselor, librarian, math and reading specialists and before/after care? I doubt it. Wit adequate time and true community engagement, other ideas could have included:

1) Pull out 150 kids in the Hamilton area that are from south of the ship canal and put them in one of the schools closer to them.

2) 4 portables = about 100 kids, start the cohort in 2nd grade beginning fall 2017.

3) split off 120 kids in the JAMS area that geographically make sense for Olymoic Hills or Cedar Park, or some school up north that can share space/resources.

Other Ideas

Anonymous said...

Blind Eye, you make a very good point. We elected a new school board last fall because the successful candidates pledged to clean up the mess at the JSCEE - starting with capacity. Yet that new school board has been cowed into silence and is no longer willing to stand up for parents, teachers, or kids against a bureaucracy that quite literally has no idea what it is doing.

If this board can't force through some big changes and make the JSCEE get its act together on capacity - especially high school capacity - then it would suggest these new board members are useless and we should start looking now for their replacements.

Old Coug

Anonymous said...

I have one thing to add to Kellie's list of what should be tracked at HS:

The kids taking running start who are taking a class that is also offered at their HS. For example, taking Spanish I or II through running start. That's a clue that the real reason they're at RS isn't because they want a class not offered, or that they exhausted their school's offerings, but that they just couldn't get it.

Because - why take Spanish I off campus? I think there's a very good poster to be made out of "These kids are taking classes we are supposed to provide, but we just don't provide ENOUGH." - that's an equity issue, frankly. If kids can't access Spanish I, then who gets it at school and who gets pushed off campus to RS and who does it online (with money and computer access and support issues) and who doesn't get it at all and ends up a TA? That shouldn't be random or left to parents.

And re HCC getting pushed out of Garfield: while that may happen, or the cohort may be dissolved at the HS level totally (that seems to be the downtown pedagogy, and the only thing keeping the Garfield pathway is, ironically, the north end capacity crisis) - it would be disastrous to bring any of those kids back north. Try fitting a couple hundred more HS kids in the system!

Pretty soon the community colleges are going to run out of Spanish I teachers too.

- Math Counts.

Anonymous said...

Re the comment about HCC and Decatur from "other ideas"

The reason for 270 kids peeled out is b/c 150 is too small to be a viable cohort - at that size, you can't mix the kids up year to year and grade level teachers don't have another grade level teacher. 150 as a 1 - 5 cohort is too small for the teaching model being used - it ends up being like the one grade up Spectrum programs, which had distinct drawbacks based on static nature of one rising class. (and had the effect of pushing people even harder to join in 1/2 b/c otherwise they were full).

One of the things that HCC does (I think they pioneered it up north and it's spread to a bunch of other schools) is teacher pairing in 4th and 5th grade. So one teacher will do math/science block and the other partner will do LA/SS block. Then the classes switch. This enables the strongest math teachers to specialize and have extra training, and likewise the stronger LA teachers to really reach out to the kids who are reading and writing like high schoolers in some ways, and like 10 year olds in others. I've seen it work really well, and I think more schools should do it, frankly. The kids just switch half way through the day. But that requires a cohort big enough to be 50 - 60 kids at 4th and also at 5th, minimum. So right there, you're blowing past 150 in five grades.

And re suggestion 1) about pulling out about 150 kids from "Hamilton area" who are "south of the ship canal" and putting them closer to where they live:

The Cap Hill and downtown kids are not in Hamilton area, they go to HCC at Thurgood Marshall. The only kids who had the choice, when the Lowell program moved, have all aged out of Elem. There is ZERO space on Queen Anne at Elem level - that's why an annex is being built on one of them, and why the South Lake Union area was redrawn into Lowell and taken out of QA area last boundary round. And Magnolia, while not busting and portable-happy like the north elem schools, is balanced on the tipping point - and looking at a lot of new housing coming on line very, very soon in Interbay. Houses are rapidly turning over to new younger families there. No space to be had in current Magnolia schools other than onesies and twosies per grade, the usual who moves in. Nothing large, certainly, unless you just put 8 portables at Blaine, which isn't going to happen to house HCC (outcry! from Magnolia)

-- Math counts

Anonymous said...

Another comment for "other ideas" (which is great to have - best other idea would be identifying more land and how to get the city to help rather than ask SPS to do stuff for the city, please, please, please)

At this point almost no schools in the north have any capacity. The few that have a little bit are underperforming and/or have higher levels of FRL.

Historically, locating HCC in an underperforming school is problematic b/c the kids who are in HCC are generally not FRL kids, for the most part. Not rich, but middle class or at least above the FRL line. I am NOT saying that poor kids aren't smart - I'm saying that unfortunately, either through the dubious test (computerized achievement testing? For kids who may lack a computer at home? pfft, that sucks) or through conditions or opportunities or whatever, FRL kids rarely join HCC. Unfortunately, and this is a function of societal issues, underperforming schools often have a lot of needs caused by poverty - and as a result they get extra federal money that is allocated by the district.

This is the key part:

The amount of total fed money for kids in poverty that comes (via the state, I think) to the district COMES PER CHILD, a lump sum based on total number of eligible needy children in the district. The district then decides how to divvy it up - any way the district chooses. THEY DO NOT GIVE IT PER CHILD TO THE SCHOOLS.

There is a moving target threshold of % FRL every year. Your school is over that % FRL, you get a piece of the pie. Your school is 1% less than the threshold, you get a wave from the window as the money drives by. Nothing.

So the voodoo used to set that number is very, very important.

EXAMPLE: if the district sets the threshold as 30% FRL gets extra funds, and your school used to be 42% (and received extra funds for counselors, etc), but then HCC arrives and it drops to 28% - you're SO SCREWED. All those struggling kids still have the same needs, the FRL kids didn't disappear - but their money did. That extra money just went away to go to some other school, and the district can use HCC cohort to help consolidate the money in fewer schools.

So putting 150 - 200 or more of non-FRL kids into a high poverty school has some benefits - but the district truly doesn't know how to work the benefits that mixed economic groups give to each other (ie, why don't HCC kids take PE, art, etc with non-HCC kids at Thurgood Marshall? Those are the classes that should be totally and completely mixed because they do not affect the self-esteem/self-perception of non-HCC kids, and they foster more interaction and teamwork - but noooo, the district wants to mix in academic subjects - why not start with PE and art and band!??) But a lot of people think any benefits that come from bringing in the HCC cohort (and I think very few school communities would want 150 - 250 kids shoved into their school) are far, far outweighed by the loss of money.

No HCC PTA money can make up for the extra assistance that is lost - it's not even close -

It feels painfully like this cycle never ends. I think I posted this exact same thing at the last BEX round and the last boundary redraw, explaining why putting half of HCC into Oly Hills (an idea then) was not good b/c (1) they would lose a lot more $ than they would gain and (2) they do have lots and lots of kids coming, in the pipeline, and HCC would just hit the crowding on them faster.

And then of course at that time SPS wanted to put the other half of north HCC into Salmon Bay (an option school) and that would force its own school population to be cut in half, two wildly different pedagogical styles and needs stuck with one principal - power struggle, much? The only reason they were able to keep their communities intact without having HCC shoved into their buildings was b/c their PTAs and principals found out the plan and had their parents write to the Superintendent protesting the huge changes.

-- Math Counts

Anonymous said...

@ Total Chaos, I don't know where to put them. But honestly, that's not my job. I hope you're not implying that since I don't have all the answers, I shouldn't be pushing the issue.

As a parent and a concerned citizen, what IS my job is to make sure I'm reasonably confident that the people who are in charge of figuring this all out are actually...figuring it all out. I need to look out for the well-being of my own children, and the well-being of other students in the community. SPS has not demonstrated strong leadership and preparation when it comes to capacity issues thus far, so there's no reason for anyone to just assume SPS has is covered and it'll all work out.

Figuring this out IS the job of district staff. They have the specialists, the data, and a whole community of people willing to engage with them in coming up with ideas and thinking through the pros/cons of each. They also have a bunch of future high school students relying on them to do their job in time. However, there's no indication they are working on it now, and they are certainly not engaging the community on it--which they need to do if they are going to come up with a halfway decent plan.

Clearly, the district just doesn't think this is a priority issue. They think there's time to figure it out later--convene a new task force next year, give it some time to think about high school capacity issues and new boundaries, let them come up with some recommendations for the district to consider, yadda yadda yadda. Meanwhile, another year of kids will be heading off to high school, only to find things even worse than now.

I disagree with the district and think this HS capacity issue is more urgent, and I'm not alone. I'd LOVE to be wrong on this and have the district provide convincing data that it really isn't a problem after all, or have them share a well-thought-out plan that seems like it'll minimize the pain. But instead they just cover their ears and say "la, la, la, la, I can't hear you." That has to stop. We need them to engage on the issue now, not sometime next year.

One last thought: the fact that there isn't a clear solution to your question of where to put north-end HS students for the next couple years doesn't mean that the best solution is to do nothing and just let them keep piling up at whatever their current assignment or pathway schools are, without any contingency planning or additional support. There are likely some things we can do to minimize the disruption and pain, but if we don't start the conversation now it will be too late to do them. Maybe there are certain schools that can handle overcrowding better than others, and we need to encourage students to enroll there. Maybe there are additional supports we need to make things work for a few years. Maybe we need some creative solutions. I don't know the answer, and there aren't easy solutions. But considering the data and options fully is likely to lead us to a better short-term solution than we'll get by continuing to pretend there's not a problem, right?

Pretty Please

kellie said...

School districts are not designed to handle these problems in isolation. During the baby boom and the first baby boom echo, school capacity issues were addressed by cities, philanthropists, communities with significant support at the state and federal levels.

Anonymous said...

Total Chaos-- I agree with Pretty Please. It is not our job. It is our job to advocate to the board when the system has fallen apart for our kids & they can't get classes they need to graduate. In addition, the district does not listen to parent ideas. People did come up with good ideas. They did not even listen to FACMAC's recommendations, which was their own committee I am told. That is why people are advocating to the school board, not district.
-action needed.

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad that our city government is not helping with our schools and is instead focused on priority issues like painting sidewalks, buying unused rental bicycles and providing places for people to use heroin out of the rain.

Fed up

Anonymous said...

This capacity conversation is hauntingly familiar. Unbelievable. FACMAC the district's own committee made recommendations to address this mess which they ignored. For those new to this blog see this: http://saveseattleschools.blogspot.com/2014/05/wilson-pacific-facmac-weighs-in.html

-action needed

Anonymous said...

Here are the upcoming community meetings. Note the first one conflicts with Cascadia's first PTA meeting of the year.

Thursday, Sept. 22
, 6:30–7:30 p.m.
Eckstein Middle School (Lunchroom)

3003 NE 75th St
reet
Languages: Spanish, Vietnamese, Somali

Tuesday, Sept. 27, 6:30–7:30 p.m.

Hamilton International Middle School (Commons)

1610 N 41st Street
Languages: Spanish, Vietnamese, Somali

Thursday, Sept. 29
, 6:30–7:30 p.m.
Mercer International Middle School (Library)

1600 S Columbian Way

Languages: Spanish, Somali, Tagalog, Chinese, Vietnamese, Amharic, Tigrigna

Monday, Oct. 3
, 6:30–7:30 p.m.
Viewlands Elementary School (Library)

10525 3rd Avenue NW

Languages: Spanish, Vietnamese, Somali

Tuesday, Oct. 11, 6:30–7:30 p.m.
Denny International Middle School (Library)
2601 SW Kenyon St
reet
Languages: Spanish, Somali, Vietnamese

CP

Melissa Westbrook said...

All of this saddens me. Because it is quite apparent that the district has no real plan nor is the Board pushing for one. (There may be things happening behind the scenes but with the need so clear, why wouldn't there be visible activity.)

Someone mentioned the overturn of the building of the new police precinct in the north end. That truly was advocate power. I concur that parents need to rise up and high school parents are usually powerful voices. For example, you would not see a high school principal placed at a school without parents on the hiring committee. The district knows they may be able to get away with that with elementary and middle school but not in high school.

I would suggest that the PTA/PTO presidents at the high schools, along with student leaders, rise up and put some real heat on the district.

Anonymous said...

I feel bad commenting, as we have fled SPS, but I am still a concerned citizen and taxpayer. Things are dire. I have no solutions - though I agree that writing the board doesn't seem to do anything. I did it for years.

The city really has to help out. Has anyone explored the old barracks/officers' quarters at Magnuson? I was bummed that the Waldorf school got that great building down there, when SPS needs it so badly. But the other building is clearly empty, and it is directly across from the community center which has a great full gymnasium and theatre. The barracks clearly need to be gutted, but tell me that doesn't look like a great school! Just trying to be creative...I would call a council member or something. I don't know why the board seems to be useless year after year. I always have hope when new people are voted on, but alas. And Nyland doesn't seem to be able to lead. That really does leave the city, unfortunately. Not sure how else to turn this around.

Rare Commenter

Anonymous said...

I agree with Melissa. The campaign could be: Rise Up Together. And parents thinking ahead to MS and HS pathways should help. As a unit--board and district AND city--together they need to hear from parents.

Total Chaos

Anonymous said...

O.K..to begin, Middle & HS parents please contact your PTA president about the urgency of the HS capacity issue.
-Action needed

Anonymous said...

The building Seattle Waldorf High School is leasing would not be big enough for an SPS school. The high school there has a max limit of 150.

There are other buildings at Magnuson that would make great schools but wouldn't a high school at Discovery Park be better?

HP

Anonymous said...

Discovery Park and Magnuson are at the perimeter of the city. Transportation costs would be high, especially to Discovery Park since there is very little bus service out in Magnolia compared to the rest of the city.

ShakesHead@SPS

Anonymous said...

A new building online before Lincoln is pie in the sky. They won't pull it off. No money. No leadership. No necks willing to stick out. My parent neck of the woods wants a report of how many portables can go on every one of the high school campuses in town followed by how a change of boundaries will fit the kids onto those campuses and allow them to take all classes they need, on campus, to meet state graduation requirements. My kid will not be shoved off to community college or a subpar online class because of SPS's failure to plan.

I want to see this before the new year. It is what families entering high school in 2017 deserve especially after years of being yanked around on middle school enrollment paths.

North of 85th

Anonymous said...

I don't think Magnuson is at the perimeter of the city. The density in NE Seattle is incredible. And if they have existing buildings that could be remodeled by next Sept, why not do it? There isn't time to build from scratch.

Discovery Park would be great too, though harder to reach. Seriously, we just need capacity right? Nothing should be off the table.

Rare Commenter

Anonymous said...

They should put a high school at Memorial Stadium at Seattle Center. If possible, they could move the Center School there and enlarge the space for more capacity. Lots of buses go to this area and it would relieve crowding in the North end.

SPS should never have given up the Q.A.H.S.

S parent

Melissa Westbrook said...

S Parent, you said:

"SPS should never have given up the Q.A.H.S."

That's the understatement for all SPS issues. Kellie and I both believe that is one of the key reasons for all these problems.

Anonymous said...

"I don't think Magnuson is at the perimeter of the city. The density in NE Seattle is incredible."

Magnuson is on the lake. Throw in the mitigation on the old Navy buildings ( asbestos, lead, radium paint(look at what happened with the old hangar of Arena Sports)) and the price balloons. The Oak Tree location or Seattle Center Memorial Coliseum or more logical places to build up.

As for QAHS, add the old Maple Leaf Elementary site in Meadowbrook, the Lake City professional center, as for other locations.

How about the Roosevelt Reservoir site? When does that go on the market?


ShakesHead@SPS

kellie said...

IMHO, Queen Anne High School is the heart of the entire problem.

When SPS closed schools in the 80's they closed Lincoln and QAHS, two schools that were geographically adjacent and both in the heart of the city. If two schools needed to be closed, the logical choices would have been Ingraham and Rainier Beach as those schools are both small and on the very edge of the district (just blocks from the next district.) Lincoln was also a logical choice as it never was designed as a comprehensive high school. Lincoln was the ultimate interim building that had been used for a wide variety of purposes to manage capacity issues over the generations.

But instead, two central adjacent schools were removed from the system, creating a huge geographic hole in capacity that has never been adequately addressed.

Until there is a HS on Queen Anne, no solution will be truly robust. Lincoln will help but ... we are missing two comprehensive schools and Lincoln will be the size of a comprehensive school but without the facilities of a comprehensive school.

kellie said...

A high school at Magnuson would help. Even though the location is not ideal, a Magnuson school would open choice seats at Hale and Roosevelt and those choice seats would fill instantaneously.

Anonymous said...

Past history is past. Queen Anne High school is gone. A new high school at Seattle Center is on the backburner. After Lincoln if at all. All old blog posts.

What are the plans for next year. Next year. The year after. There will be no new buildings. With union contracts there won't be crazy new hours either. But our kids need access to schools and to workable schedules. I said above to give us the lowdown on portables and boundaries. Can all high schools take portables? Do we need new high school boundaries for next year? What about the year after? Keep it real SPS. Keep it real blog people.

What are the actual, achievable plans for high school next year and the year after? Not all of us can bail for private.

North of 85th

Anonymous said...

If the mayor can watch all these new apartment buildings go up all over the city, then construct a new high school at Memorial Stadium. Or, give SPS the land around Roosevelt for expansion. The run down structures around that beautiful high school are a disgrace.

I guess city leaders cannot be bothered unless new construction is housing related.

S parent

kellie said...

@ north of 85th.

I don't have any realistic actionable plans for next year.

That said, it is not possible to make a realistical plan without a lot more data and community support from all our elected officials. At the moment, enrollment data is embargoed. Once that data is out, we can asses the damage.

kellie said...

You need a comprehensive middle school planning principal for at least 12 months before the school opens. You need a comprehensive high school planning principal for 18-24 months.

You can open a second Nova or center school on the middle school timeline but a comprehensive high school has a ton of moving parts.

Anonymous said...

I recognize that a high school takes time to figure out. My sons graduated in 2004 and 2008 from high school.
SPS has had enough time to plan something comprehensive.

S parent

kellie said...

@ S Parent,

I completely agree. There has been more than enough time and at a bare minimum a planning principal should already be in place. But ... Capacity Management was removed from the list of priorities and every part of the city is going to pay for that oversight.

Anonymous said...

North of 85th said: What are the plans for next year. Next year. The year after. There will be no new buildings. With union contracts there won't be crazy new hours either. But our kids need access to schools and to workable schedules. I said above to give us the lowdown on portables and boundaries. Can all high schools take portables? Do we need new high school boundaries for next year? What about the year after?...What are the actual, achievable plans for high school next year and the year after?

kellie said: That said, it is not possible to make a realistical plan without a lot more data and community support from all our elected officials. At the moment, enrollment data is embargoed. Once that data is out, we can asses the damage.

Exactly. That's why we need SPS to start engaging with us on this now. New buildings aren't going to solve the problem any time soon. Big fixes aren't really an option, so we need to figure out what small fixes can at least help somewhat. Sure, one option is to just sit back and let schools become more and more overcrowded and then figure out how to deal with it at the last minute. But a better option is to do a thorough analysis of the situation we're facing over the next couple years and come up with some less-bad options for dealing with it. It's not all or nothing.

There are probably many opportunities to help minimize the pain for next year and the year after. Some schools may be able to absorb higher numbers than others, in which case we might need to temporarily change the boundaries or assignment patterns or school choice rules or waitlist priorities to allow some student movement in the direction we want. Maybe throw in transportation or a bus pass for kids who move from a high- to low-enrollment school. Maybe add a couple cool new classes that entice kids to come. Maybe get the city to cough up some short-term funding to help solve the problem they helped create. Maybe tap some SPS emergency funds. Maybe get a move on re: core 24 preparations. And so on. Just because we can't get any new high schools on line in time soon doesn't mean there's nothing we can do to minimize the pain and disruption. Small fixes are better than no fixes.

Pretty Please

Anonymous said...

Ben has a pretty good outline of scenarios for Cascadia split on the discuss app blog: http://discussapp.blogspot.com/2016/09/cascadia-capacity-scenarios.html?m=1

Wonder if TC principal would be asked to take on HCC or told or how that process works?

Hopeful

Anonymous said...

The TC principal is not a good match for HCC. The philosophy of TC doesn't allow for separating kids out for acceleration. There's no ALO, walk-to-math, or even top-down support of advanced learning at the school beyond what teachers are willing to manage on their own. I don't see that working out at all.

TC

Anonymous said...

They would have to start up a new little school at Decatur, then. Seems expensive.

Hopeful

Anonymous said...

Maybe they could get an assistant principal who does support it, and they could be "hcc program admin." I agree the TC principal should not head an hcc school.

-sleeper

Joe Wolf said...

Response to Kellie re. Lincoln:

Lincoln was most definitely a comprehensive high school. Maybe I am not interpreting your statement correctly?

As to comprehensive facilities when it re-opens Fall 2019, these links to the latest SDAT deliverable are a good summary.

http://bex.seattleschools.org/assets/bulkUpload/Lincoln-SDAT-Mtg6.pdf
http://bex.seattleschools.org/assets/bulkUpload/Lincoln-SDAT-Mtg-6-photo-notes2.pdf

To all re. new high school at Seattle Center/SPS Memorial Stadium site:

It is staff's current intent this project be recommended for inclusion in the BEX V levy program, which goes to the voters February 2019. As you probably recall some of us staff toured urban high school facilities in the NYC area last fall, including Union City (NJ) High School which has a varsity football stadium on its roof.

Some of my photos (and an aerial) of UCHS:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/joebehr/albums/72157659353417341

Anonymous said...

@ Joe Wolf, any chance you can fill us in on the plans to deal with high school crowding in the years prior to Lincoln's opening? Or who will populate Lincoln when it does open?

8th Parent

Anonymous said...

@ Joe Wolf, I'm pretty sure you were told not to use SPS computers to post comments on this blog, if not I will make sure you get a reminder.

Beep Beep

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the photos, Joe. Does anyone else look at that rooftop football stadium and think, $$$? SPS wouldn't consider a true auditorium space at the Wilson Pacific site, despite a need for performance space, but they would entertain the idea of a rooftop football stadium? It's not even clear what will happen with Lincoln's auditorium, which is used by both Hamilton and current Lincoln students.

-hmm

Anonymous said...

The reason that our family isn't seriously considering Nova is that we have a child that does well with structure, not because our child needs extensive sports and music offerings. What about a small academically focused option school at Magnuson? That could syphon off kids who don't need the trappings of a large high school and make use of academic resources through UW or maybe even NOAA? Maybe with an oceanography or biotech focus? Perhaps it could have a geo zone that was so small that it favored only the public housing on site ensuring a good demographic mix of kids?

Science school

Anonymous said...

@science school-/Kirkland has a wonderful option school that is 6-12, 400 students, international and global focus, huge waiting list, nationally recognized. My understanding is SPS only wants 1600+ comprehensive highschools.

Hopeful

Anonymous said...

Back to the Cascadia split: is Fairmount Park HCC run as an option school? Does that mean seats are not guaranteed? If so, what if there is no room? Are the students offered another HCC option or are they stuck with whatever approach their neighborhood school professes to take?

Hopeful

Anonymous said...

Joe Wolf, thanks for sharing the documents and photos. The Lincoln updates are going to be a huge improvement.
cp

Anonymous said...

Hopeful, FP is run as an option school. If you do not get in, you can bus to Thurgood Marshall. Or Cascadia, I suppose, if you are north of the cut, but you are probably not if you are trying to get into FP.

Science school, we feel the same way. I would sign up today for a small science oriented school in Magnuson without a full suite of sports and music.

-sleeper

Anonymous said...

Does HCC@FP run full? Do they share resources (librarian, nurse, counselors, office staff) with FP?

Hopeful

Lynn said...

FP's advanced learning classes are fully integrated into the school. They don't share resources with FP, they are FP students. Last year there were 164 highly capable students at the school (out of a total of 474 students). The advanced learning classes for grades 2-5 include Spectrum students.

Anonymous said...

I think it is just all one school. There are advanced learning classrooms, which were supposed to give priority to hcc students and fill in with spectrum students. I tried to look up right now whether this is actually what happened, but I can't find any information online. Maybe a current parent will chime in. The principal, Julie Breidenbach, was the exceptionally popular principal of Thurgood Marshall while hcc was there, and she gets a lot of leeway from the district. The only principal I can think of who gets a similar wide berth is Ted Howard.

-sleeper

Melissa Westbrook said...

Just to note, I agree with the school at Memorial Stadium but there are a couple of things to consider.

1) How the City feels. I don't think there will be any land swap now and I got the feeling the City really wanted it.

2) If it is on BEX V, it needs to be the first project started.

3) The costs will be enormous and everyone should understand that means fewer other projects (needed or not.)

Way back when all the high schools got full renovations except Rainier Beach (minimal work done to it), Ingraham (a lot of piecemeal work done to it) and Sealth (kind of cosmetic but they extracted more money because they got the shaft over Denny.)

The next schools in the line-up should have been middle schools especially Meany, Eckstein, Washington and Whitman. Meany is getting done due to its status as the worst building in the district (with Arbor Heights second.)

BEX V will be an interesting list.

kellie said...

@ Joe Wolf,

Great to "see" you. Everything you add to the conversation is always thoughtful and credible.

Yes, Lincoln was a comprehensive high school from day 1, as it was Seattle's second high school. My comments about Lincoln was in the context of the closures of the 80s's and how closing two centrally located high schools was strategically flawed and contributes to all of the capacity problems we have today.

I had qualified that statement with the official reason for Lincoln's closure which was that Lincoln had the smallest campus and the building had undergone many additions and portables over the years. Therefore making Lincoln the least comprehensive high school in design. I did not mean to imply in function.

Thanks for the link to the Lincoln SDAT meetings. I am deeply gratified to see that the budget had increased from the original $20M. I am still deeply distressed that there is no planning principal.

I was on the Wilson Pacific Design team and I can speak from experience that the comments from the visiting middle schools principals were the most insightful comments. It would be so much better for everyone if there was a planning principal already in place to start working with the design and the community.

kellie said...

I want to just note for the record that the "official reason" why the FACMAC proposed swap of Lincoln as a middle school, Hamilton as the HCC elementary school and WP as the high school was declined was because that plan was $30M over the BEX budget.

The FACMAC plan would have had a comprehensive high school starting next year as well as significantly more middle and elementary capacity in place two years ago.

Lincoln was budgeted at $20M and it would have cost $50M to build new 2,000 seat high school with all the bells and whistles of fields, etc. The budget for Lincoln is now estimated at $84M. So yes, Lincoln will be a much nicer high school than the original plan and I am very grateful for that.

I just wish this had been addressed three years ago.

kellie said...

@ Beep Beep,

Any reason why freedom of speech does not apply to people who work for the district. It would be helpful if everyone knew.

Anonymous said...

If they wanted to merge the NE HCC kids with an option school, it should be Hazelwolf, which already strives to meet the needs of advanced learners. I know they don't have space, but if someone from C&I were involved, I would expect they would agree mixing HCC with TC is not a fit.

Total Chaos

Anonymous said...

AND - to add to the chaos, when Lincoln comes on line will it be a full 9-12 or a roll-up? I can't see many 12th graders (or 11th graders) willing to leave their current school for a brand new, untested, just-figuring-it-out school.

It's going to be a bumpy ride these next few years.

QA Parent

Charlie Mas said...

Schools have, at times, included an "annex" in another building. And the District certainly has leased space - it currently leases space for The Center School. So until the additional HS capacity becomes available when Lincoln opens, couldn't the District lease some suitable space near a school and hold some classes there? I'm thinking of commercial space, but there are other possibilities.

For example, near Roosevelt there's a church on 8th between 68th and 69th. Do they have space available during school hours?

Is any space at the Garfield Community Center suitable and available or at Coyote Central?

Is there anything suitable available for lease as an annex for HIMS on Stone Way?

Or maybe even something that isn't very close to a current school. Whenever I see those old motels along Aurora I wonder if one them couldn't be re-purposed as classrooms.

If we restrict our thinking to space that is already owned by the District and designed as a school, we could be excluding some attractive opportunities.

Lynn said...

If Garfield students can walk to Coyote Central for classes, they can also walk over to the Mann building to use the 200 empty seats there.

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

Charlie, at a capacity meeting last year Flip Herndon said the Armory has offered additional space to SPS. I don't know why they don't take them up on the offer and put a high school with a larger draw there.
big picture

BL said...

Would it make any sense to roll Lincoln up early in available classroom space at the Armory/Center School?

Anonymous said...

While we're thinking out of the box--what about space in or near where the UW dental offices are at Magnusen? I remember reading a story that they are financially struggling. Maybe they can take Decatur! ;-)

Hopeful

Anonymous said...

Here's an example of a school where they leased commercial space and retrofitted it for a school:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/some-fairfax-county-students-head-to-class-in-a-baileys-crossroads-office-building/2014/09/02/9e939086-32b2-11e4-9e92-0899b306bbea_story.html

(If the link doesn't come through, search on Bailey's Upper Elementary in Fairfax, VA).

What if they could lease swing space for the elementary renovations and turn John Marshall into a high school, or maybe a 9th grade center for Roosevelt? That would gain high school seats and be more flexible than building a school if elementary enrollment slows in a decade. But assuming most of the kids in the system now are here through high school, there are at least a dozen years of high school overcrowding to come.

-DMR

Anonymous said...

@DMR-good ideas! Isn't there a big empty building near reservoir park, up around 80th and 12th, just along the east side of the park? Decatur is a perfectly "cute" building but I think it will be over enrolled within two years of opening and I worry about the difficulties in sharing space with TC and the neighbors.

Hopeful

Anonymous said...

No, please, no "9th grade centers" or 9th grade-only roll-ups.

Those might work well if all 9th graders were alike and had the same needs...but they aren't. For example, some 9th graders need classes more typically taken by older students, such as 10th or 11th or 12 grade math, or foreign languages at the year 3 or 4 level. Those types of classes are not likely to be available to 9th graders at a 9th-only school.

The exception would be if the 9th-only option was optional rather than required--then I could go for it. Students who want/need a fairly average 9th grade schedule could choose the 9th grade option, confident the school would meet their needs. Students who needed access to more advanced classes, however, could opt for the already-comprehensive schools that would better meet their needs. But I have a hard time seeing SPS start a new HS as 9th grade only and then making it "optional." In the name of equity, however, they would need to.

Not1Size

Anonymous said...

Not1Size, I agree with you in principal about rollups, but I think these two ideas above are different from that.

John Marshall is a high school building right in the hot zone. I find it strange that we are filling it with two geographically disparate elementaries instead of using it for high school during the peak of this capacity crunch. And I like the thinking behind the idea of moving the Center School out of the congested area and using the Armory for high school capacity.

1) a 9th grade "annex" for Roosevelt, 1/2 mile from Roosevelt isn't a roll up and it isn't a 9th grade "center." Students would still have access to the rest of the Roosevelt resources and program. It's roughly the same distance as coyote central and Horace Mann are from Garfield.

2) Opening Lincoln earlier in a temporary location (whether in John Marshall or The Armory) doesn't have to be a 9th grade only rollup. It could be 9 & 10 or 9-11. This actually ends up helping in two important ways: It takes pressure off high school capacity the year we need it most, and it means that no seniors get pulled their last year of high school for the Lincoln opening. That last point is something I know many families are concerned about, and for very good reason if the current grandfathering discussion is any indication.
big picture

Anonymous said...

@big picture--you're taking into account the hearts and minds connected to the butts in seats. Good luck with that!

No Collaboration

Anonymous said...

No Collaboration, John Marshall and the Armory are both too small to house the entire proposed Lincoln program. Call it collateral lack-of-damage. If hearts and minds get something out of deal it definitely wouldn't be because SPS made that a priority.
Big picture

Anonymous said...

Center School is under enrolled...carve out space for 200 HCC kids, grades 3-8, give them access to the science center. Make it an option school with geo preference for Queen Anne, Magnolia, Eastlake.

Let Decatur be preschool and before/after care for TC and take some pressure off Hamilton.

Keep thinking

Anonymous said...

What if Cascadia stays together for one more year, then when LH clears out of the John Marshal bldg, the HCC kids who will go to Hamilton and JAMS go together to John Marshal, until the district figures out where to put them?

Keep thinking

Anonymous said...

And I mean one more year as a cohort, but at WP--not Lincoln. Vacate Lincoln as soon as possible to start solving the HS crisis.

Keep thinking