Sunday, October 16, 2016

Growth Boundary Discussion at Seattle School Board Meeting

I do want to put forth an accounting of the Board meeting last Wednesday, the 12th, but the MOST important thing is to tell parents to get your feelings/thoughts/ideas/amendments into the Board as soon as possible.

My take from public testimony is that there are a couple of big concerns:

- grandfathering (many, many calls for this to be expanded)
- uncertain pathways to middle school
- boundary changes that affect too many schools and their communities

I cannot urge you enought to collaborate with other parents/schools and get those thoughts to the Board ASAP.
Either: (for just the Board) or (includes senior management)

Here's what was said during the Board meeting on this topic.
During the Superintendent's comments (way too long again, he's got to get a grip), Flip Herndon came forward to make some remarks on capacity management.  He stated:
  • As we look at these changes, we realize that there is a student behind every number
  •  In a city that is growing, there is a challenge for space even with multiple portables and we cannot build fast enough. (That is the first time I have heard a district official say that we cannot build our way out of this problem.)
  • While some changes have already happened and others are to come by 2020, the ones coming directly ahead are the biggest in the seven year span for growth management.
  • The district has held community meetings in the spring and fall and read all the e-mail on this topic.
  • Time is important and decisions need to be made.  (Let me just say that staff ALWAYS uses this reasoning and, while true, it is absolutely wrong to rush a decision. See: building closures.  Huge, costly facilities mistake.)
  • They have been operating under the basic parameters that the Board made in 20153 and the direction has been to look at new data and they have done that every year.  New data may suggest something else but not to redraw boundaries each year.
  • There has been one specific request from the Board about Cedar Park with a lot of feedback from parents.  Facilities has been looking at that, using the race and equity toolkit and looked at a dozen solutions.  (I did point out in my testimony that the promised documents labeled "D" and "E" never made it to the BAR nor did the transportation costs that were directly promised in the BAR to be there.  I have no idea how the Board is to make these kinds of decisions without all the data before them that staff promises to be there.)
Public Testimony on Growth Boundaries

- one John Rogers parent said that 800 elementary students in their region would be displaced by the Cedar Park boundaries.  She documented the terrible condition at John Rogers and asked if the Board could ask Seattle legislators for a "distressed schools grant" to fix John Rogers AND that they put a pause on plans for Cedar Park.

- An Olympic Hills parents said they had done analysis and the new boundaries would create a very segregated school and that they were not alone in their assessment.  He noted the letter from the North District Council on this topic.

- A Sacajawea parent said 59 students at their school would have to go to another school with 60% of those students being minority students.  She asked for a more "robust" community engagement.

-Another John Rogers parent noted that she could come and advocate because she owned a computer, her job let her get off early to come to the Board meeting, she has a car and she can speak English.  her own daughter is biracial and would lose many of her friends of color.  She said that her daughter would learn "that part of who she is does not belong at John Rogers anymore."

- An Olympic View parent said they are likely to lose half their school to other communities, splitting kids in all directions.  She said they managed to get 100 parents to a meeting to rally.  And, that most of those students leaving are F/RL.

- A parent from Viewlands said that they would have 120 students affected by boundary changes.  She said they had just reopened five years ago and have spent a lot of time working to create relationships with families.

- Another Olympic View parent said he had wanted his children to be able to walk/bike to school but the new boundaries make that "unrealistic."

- A parent from Green Lake said that many of their students affected by boundary changes would go to Bryant which is also overenrolled.  He suggested sending kids to B.F. Day which is about 100 students under capacity.

- Another Green Lake parent said that 12 students who are 4th graders and had been at GL since kindergarten would be drawn out by the new boundaries.

- Another Viewlands parent said her child would be rezoned to Olympic View which is two miles away, across Aurora, NSCC, I-5 and the Northgate Park and Ride.

- Another parent wondered why Whitman would suddenly take a big population drop while HIMS would continue to be overenrolled.

- Another parent said that there were about 100 families in Lake City who could not come to the Oly Hills meeting and were told to go to the Board meeting.  She said boundary shifts "hurt poor families."  She said the Lake City region was one of the fasting growing areas in the city.

- Another parent, Rosa Rodriguez, is a PTA co-president at Sacajawea but her child would have to move with the boundary changes.  Her co-president, Matt Walker, spoke passionately about the relationships that are developed for at-risk kids and how school is "a haven" and he worried about big change for 4th graders who then have to move again in 6th grade.

- I spoke as well and said that the creation of Cedar Park, in its current form, flies in the face of all best practices about not concentrating a high number of F/RL students (plus ELL.)  I also stated that it was odd that staff was planning to consider "an assessment of facilities/capital needs for Cedar Park and John Rogers" and I asked if that wasn't something to consider BEFORE boundary changes?

Here's yet another issue sent to me by a Bagley parent:
Zone 124 is the NE corner of the West Woodland boundary. Essentially it covers 65th St to 70th St. and Aurora to Phinney Ave.

Based on the current growth plan and proposed amendments, our Zone will change from West Woodland to Bagley next year.

Many of the families are concerned about this change and have 2 specific areas of concern.

1. Bagley is going to undergo construction starting in 2018 and will close for 2 years. We do not believe that it makes sense for our children to be transitioned to Bagley 1 year before a closure that will cause them to move again. My 1st grader would have to endure 3 moves in 4 years. K,1 - WW, 2 - Bagley, 3,4 - other school, 5 - Back to Bagley.

2. We are concerned about the safety of crossing Aurora between 70th and 68th. South of those crossing spots the speed limit is 40 MPH and 68th will be the first light that is encountered by traffic. Given the early start times we do not think this is safe for children. King County Metro decided to keep the E-line on Linden Ave instead of Aurora specifically because they were concerned about Aurora crossing in that area.

We think that at least waiting until Bagley construction is complete will allow SPS to the time to determine validity of safety issues.
Board comments

Directors, to a person, thanked all the speakers.  They also said they were inundated with e-mails but working their way thru them.  (Director Burke was out of the country but I know he always watches the Board meetings; Director Blanford was late due to an emergency. I believe he came in sometime during the public testimony.)

Director Harris expressed concern about the lack of pathways for HCC and the possibility of Cedar Park being an Option School.

Staff comments

Enrollment's Lesley Davies said they had done a data review in January 2016.

There are a number of amendments that staff wants to make (I will try to get their presentation.)

Director Harris pointed out the HUGE amount of work to be done by the November 2nd vote.  Ms. Davies said that they would need to talk to the community.  (I will get up the notice of any new meetings coming up as soon as they are announced.)

Herdon said that the earlier that the Board can get amendments to staff, the better because the analysis will be more complete.  I can certainly appreciate that but again, the number of challenges and solutions may preclude a lot of early amendments especially if the Board is waiting on data.

Director Blanford said that he wasn't on the Board in 2013 but was watching "and anticipating joining the Board" after the election (a little arrogant on his part) and asked what was the minimum time staff needed for analysis of amendments.  Herndon said it would depend on the complexity of the amendment and how many there might be.

He said, "We want to respect the sanity of enrollment staff as much as possible." 

I think we that for all SPS staff but that respect thing?  Goes two ways and the upheaval for the north end that these boundary changes would cause, both for families and school communities, also needs to be respected.

Director Geary asked if amendments could be sorted (in some manner) for those that were either easier and/or non-controversial.  Herndon said that was a procedural issue.


Cedar Park said...

I would recommend that Cedar Park opens as an optional STEM school. There is a huge demand. Hazel Wolf had over 130 kids on their kindergarten wait list this year, and has large wait lists for every grade. Having a geozone in the Cedar Park area would help address the opportunity gap, as the demographic we are trying to reach will be preferentially enrolled. The same is true for Hazel Wolf and the pinehurst/northgate/lake city area.
The district mentioned they have to consider the cost of opening an option school, but at the end of the day, they still have the school with use the same about of FTEs as a neighborhood school. And it already has an excellent principal to run it.

Anonymous said...

I agree Cedar Park should be an option STEM, but with HC or at least 2 year ahead Math by 4th and 5th grade.

Advanced learning has been gutted at neighborhood schools, Cedar Park would fill up if it had 25-30 seats per grade reserved for HIghly Capable...and this would take some pressure off Cascadia.


Lynn said...

That would be a school that was 50% HCC - which means each grade would have one HCC classroom and one general education classroom.I think it should either be a self-contained HCC site or a language immersion school. (That seems like something that would serve the neighborhood students well.)

SPS Mom said...

I'd encourage self-contained HCC. Certainly families like the e-stem focus at Hazel Wolf, but I would say an even bigger draw for families is that the administration and staff work to meet the needs of all learners, including HCC and Spectrum kids. Having an HCC self-contained school in the JAMS middle school region makes good sense, especially since JAMS has an HCC contingent.

Anonymous said...

Language immersion would be really nice! I wonder what the neighborhood would select if given two or three choices for an option school? There's an idea...ask the people who live there!

Tax Me

Cedar Park said...

I don't think northend HCC should be split off. Instead, offer options to those parents that would prefer not to join the cohort. Hazel Wolf is one of the very few schools that openly supports advanced learners, clusters AL/HC students in groups of 7 in a classroom, and has a solid walk to math program. That in combination with being a STEM school is what makes it so desireable and successful.
Many HCC eligible parents would chose a different school than Cascadia if they had another choice.
And this would be with the added bonus of preferentially enrolling the Cedar Park geozone with classically underserved populations.

A language immersion school would be too expensive to operate, and the fundraising alone would be a challenge.

kellie said...

The entire problem with Cedar Park is that the property is too small to be anything other than an option school. What option? It almost doesn't matter and that doesn't need to be decided today.

There should an amendment separate from the boundary changes that makes Cedar Park an option school due to its location. Queen Anne Elementary was made an option school because its proximity to other schools meant that all the boundaries on Queen Anne would have been strange and unwalkable.

It is perfectly reasonable to make Cedar Park an option school, because to make it an attendance area school of any size or shape would re-segregate all North End elementary schools.

That is the problem and an amendment needs to focus on solving that problem.

Self contained HCC is an assignment option and as such is not suitable for any property that has serious restrictions. This includes both the old Decatur building and Cedar Park.

Anonymous said...

Kellie is always right. Cascadia needs relief, not a split. Spring up a few options in the NE that accommodate HC well and this could all go away!


kellie said...

Here is a list of possible amendments.

Directive Amendments for 2018.
The simplest amendment are work that the Board wants included for the 2018 Growth Boundaries vote. This would include setting boundaries for Lincoln.

Simple Boundary Amendments
There are two sets of boundary changes in Dir Burkes area that pretty self contained and could be amended. These are the West Woodland/Whittier/Bagley and the Greenlake/Byrant/Wedgwood boundaries.

Middle School Assignemnt Pathways.
Middle School Pathways need to be done via amendment because it should have been included in the BAR. This amendment is simple and necessary but … it has complex implications.

North End Elementary Boundary Amendment
The current plan moves students from the NW to the NE and in two years when Loyal Heights and Bagley reopens, these same students will be moved back. Portables makes a lot more sense that geo-splitting elementary students every two years. So this needs an amendment.

Middle School Feeder Pattern Amendment
The board needs to direct staff to do a full review of middle school feeder patterns for 2018 as the current plan has both Eckstein and Whitman emptying out and Hamilton, Eaglestaff and JAMS being stuffed to the rafters.

However, in the meantime, there are a few things that could be band-aids on this current scenario and must be done via amendment. This amendment should focus on the minimum to open Eaglestaff and leave all other changes until 2018 implementation so there is more time for a full review

Cedar Park - Option School
There should an amendment separate from the boundary changes that makes Cedar Park an option school due to its location, because to make it an attendance area school would re-segregate all North End elementary schools.

Queen Anne Elementary was made an option school because its proximity to other schools meant that all the boundaries on Queen Anne would have been strange and unwalkable.

Anonymous said...

Melissa minor edit, wasn't it 2013, not 2015?

"They have been operating under the basic parameters that the Board made in 2015 and the direction has been to look at new data and they have done that every year. New data may suggest something else but not to redraw boundaries each year."

Anonymous said...

@ kellie, what about an amendment re: HCC middle school pathways?

Anonymous said...

Cascadia is currently less than 100 students over capacity for the new building, the unknown is how many HC qualified students who have stayed in their current school will make the switch after the move. If 50 more than expected made the switch, there would be a major strain on cod facilities at Cascadia. If neighborhood schools and option schools stepped things up to better serve advanced learners, the issue would go away.


Melissa Westbrook said...

Yes, MT, it was. Thanks for that catch.

Anonymous said...

Another needed amendment would be one identifying a geo-zone for Licton Springs.

-North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

As space at Cascadia and Eaglestaff becomes more and more desirable, Licton Springs will get more attention as the white elephant in the room. It would be in their best interests to define their geozone and anything else they can do to solidify that location as appropriate. I don't see why they can't be located at Decatur, it must have some native heritage story that can make everyone feel good. This is Seattle!

PC Police

Kate said...

I'm in support of the simple boundary amendments proposed above for West Woodland/Bagley/Whitter. Regarding the issues facing Zone 124 (West Woodland to Bagley), I'd support an amendment to either eliminate or at least delay the move to Bagley until construction on the new, higher capacity building is complete. Moving these families now will not do much to relieve capacity issues at West Woodland or Bagley for 2017-18 and forces affected families to move buildings 2 to 3 times over the next 4 years. This seems like a potentially simple, self-contained change that would have large, positive impact of the affected families.

Anonymous said...

Is the HCC high school pathway being discussed, or will all HCC middle school kids continue to feed into Garfield?

-Seattle parent

Wildcat said...

Did anyone on SPS staff address what the heck they are thinking with the Whitman numbers? Did any board members question it? At Math Night last week, the Whitman principal said they will be cutting many programs due to the drop in enrollment. Nothing was concrete, but language offerings might drop to only one and honors classes might be cut.

There's no way SPS staff is this incompetent. They HAVE to have a plan for Whitman that hasn't been publicly shared yet.

Also, apologies if this has been mentioned, but Whitman is slated to be very white while REMS will be the opposite. Is SPS doing this on purpose since ELL kids have to be served at their neighborhood school now? I'm not trying to be inflammatory. It just seems so obvious, but no one is answering.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Wildcat, as I recall, staff didn't mention Whitman - people giving testimony did.

Anonymous said...

I am so confused by the district's middle school changes - and their refusal to say what is going to happen with the approximately 600 HCC kids at Hamilton. How can SPS withdraw middle school boundaries without accounting for where these kids will go? It doesn't seem like they can stay at Hamilton since Hamilton is so overcrowded - but the district says they won't go to Whitman and there will only be a small cohort at Eagle Staff.

Does anyone have any insight into the District's plans for HCC middle school in N/NW Seattle? I honestly can't decide if the District is incompetent, trying to be devious, or some combination of the two. Why is the District keeping this all a secret?

Hamilton Mom

Anonymous said...

"redraw" not "withdraw"

Hamilton Mom

Lynn said...

Wildcat - the REMS attendance area population will be proportionately less white and higher in poverty and in need for bilingual services than Whitman. The same conditions exist for Washington and Meany. The district has a solution for both regions - HCC students will be bussed into REMS and WMS. (This won't make a difference to students in general education classrooms at REMS and WMS - but that won't be evident in reports to the state or the public.)

kellie said...

@ Hamilton mom,

I honestly think the Middle School Pathways question is just a challenge with the various "silos" downtown. The pathways should have been included in the BAR. Because they were omitted, they need to be added to the BAR via amendment.

However, the projections upon which everything is based have been very clear. The "plan" has been to send HCC from Whitman and Eagle Staff areas to Eagle Staff.

The portables at Hamilton were placed on a one-year emergency permit that was based on Eagle Staff opening in 2017. The permit expires this summer and portables have to be removed. The ONLY way to reduce enrollment is to geo-split HCC from Hamilton to Whitman.

The "options" that were included in the original 2013 Growth Boundaries plan were

1) HCC from QA/M, Hamilton, Whitman and Eagle Staff go to Eagle Staff
2) HCC from Whitman and Eagle Staff go to Eagle Staff.

Therefore, i expect the "small contingent" comment was based on TWO feeder schools, rather than FOUR feeder schools.

kellie said...

@ Wildcat,

The Whitman community was promised "No Geo-splits." There are multiple emails and screen shots that confirm this promise circulating around at the moment.

The 2013 plan included opening Eagle Staff in 2016 at the John Marshall building. The original plan was going to have students both geo-split into John Marshall in 2016 and then moved into Eagle Staff in 2017.

When staff "amended" the plan to remove the interim option, they committed to allowing Whitman students who enroll at Whitman to matriculate at Whitman.

If that plan is honored, then Whitman won't decline so quickly and Eagle Staff will have a chance for a softer start. JAMS started with 700 student the first year and that was a lot of bodies. The current plan has Eagle Staff starting way too full at almost 900.

kellie said...

@ Seattle Parent,

There is nothing in the current BAR about high school.

I have strongly recommended that the Board create an amendment to direct staff to establish the boundaries for Lincoln as part of the 2018 Growth Boundaries process and I would strongly encourage anyone concerned with high school to do the same.

Until those boundaries are drawn for Lincoln, there won't be any conversation at all about programming and the programming is what matters to students and families.

Anonymous said...

"The ONLY way to reduce enrollment is to geo-split HCC from Hamilton to Whitman. "
Kellie-- I think you meant to state geo-split HCC Hamilton to Eaglestaff, correct?

Anonymous said...

-Another thought is WMS will be as small as Whitman next year, they could also possibly geo-split Queen Anne/Magnolia from Hamilton to WMS.

kellie said...

@ NW, Yes I meant Eagle Staff, not Whitman.

A few folks have floated QA/M to Washington. IMHO, that is not a great plan for a bunch of reasons.

QA/M is going to be re-assigned to Lincoln starting in 2019 and as such having a middle school pathway that aligns in the same direction as high school makes a lot of sense.

Additionally, Washington should grow back pretty quickly. Nearby Mercer is extremely full and West Seattle is continuing to grow fairly swiftly.

The real problem with the current Whitman plan is that Whitman just gets smaller and Hamilton doesn't get any real relief.

Cedar Park 2017 said...

The Cedar Park area has been a barren desert for option schools. Many in the Cedar Park area want a legitimate option (such as STEM). I have not talked to a single person that wants HCC. If you look at the heat map for where most HCC eligible students in NE live, they do not live anywhere near CP. The families who DO live near CP value education and come from many cultures and backgrounds-- and have been very marginalized and shut out of option schools historically because enrollment info is arcane and in English. Please, Board, put the local underserved families forst in your analysis and do not set up more segregated schooling by allowing HCC families a preference into Cedar Park. If they keep Dedy Fauntleroy Cedar Park is going to be a great school anyway that provides plenty of rigor. HCC families seeking a new environment would be welcome to enroll just like the ELL families living on Lake City Way.

LynnL said...

What do we have to do to get them to agree to grandfather at least the most senior kids? How many kids are we talking about? We always assume middle school is a horror and yet, miraculously, my kid is THRIVING at HIMS. It doesn't seem like a huge request to the District to just leave her alone (!)

Melissa Westbrook said...

I like that idea of STEM (or even STEAM) at Cedar Park. WestSeattle Elementary could probably give some great advice/pointers.

Anonymous said...

Kellie said: "The current plan has Eagle Staff starting way too full at almost 900." Can you explain that number, when the district projection says 666 for 2017?


Anonymous said...

@confused - I'm pretty sure Kellie was accounting for HCC and Licton Springs K-8 at Eagle Staff.

STEM or STEAM would be a good choice for Cedar Park, especially if they could turn one of the interior classrooms into a science lab. The portables aren't plumbed and don't have sinks, so it is difficult to do science lessons in the portables. Having a dedicated science lab would help get around that problem.

Knowing the amount of multi-family development going up in the area, an option school would be a better choice than a stand-alone HCC site, because it would probably draw more neighborhood kids, and help relieve over-crowding at John Rogers and other local schools. It should have Spectrum (if that is still a thing), and could have opt-in HCC, as well.

SPS would definitely have to improve their option school enrollment/outreach procedures in order to attract a diverse student population.

-North-end Mom

kellie said...

@ confused,

North-end Mom is correct, As Eagle Staff and Licton Springs are sharing a building, the real-world capacity for the building is likely unknown and you need to add both programs to get a total enrollment number.

It is very similar to dual core computers. The dual core doesn't double the capacity of the computer. Likewise, dividing the building does not, divide evenly. The entire process of sharing absorbs some capacity. How much? It depends but 20% is a good rule of thumb.

I suspect that the building was originally designed for 1,000 middle school students with three wings. Licton Springs has two floors of one of the wings. My guess is that the middle school is now appropriate for about 700.

Additionally, there are some serious questions about the Eagle Staff projections. We know that the HCC estimate was likely on the low side. We also know that the projections show Olympic View continuing at Eckstein, even though OV is scheduled to move to Eagle Staff.

The bottom line here is that Eagle Staff and Hamilton have both been over-promised and Whitman has been forgotten.

In 2013, when the Board placed AS1/Licton Springs into the building staff was directed to re-work all of the area feeder patterns. However, everyone was so focused on the elementary school geo-splits that the work on feeder patterns just didn't happen.

Anonymous said...

It seems the easy solution for Eagle Staff/Whitman is to have Whitman keep some of its feeder schools, like Greenwood. This would alleviate pressure on both ends while keeping together an already established community and causing less disruption.

wildcat said...

I just don't understand. Is the Board actually going to vote on this in a couple weeks? How can the Whitman feeder schools not be addressed before the vote? It is "not equitable" for the school to be so under capacity and lose programs while other schools are over capacity. Also, how can SPS actually consider moving so many kids around at the elementary level when the moves don't solve any issues.....moving kids from one crowded school to another and then moving other kids into crowded school #1?

Are there a couple Board members who actually have the nerve to vote no and not fall for the "we have to do this now" line? I have not gotten one response related to my Whitman concerns about what will happen to my kid's programs if this comes to fruition. I wrote the Principal, the PTA, the School Board, etc. etc. The Principal did address it at math night, and it was a sad, sad thought to hear how the offerings will be cut dramatically.

kellie said...

@ wildcat,

Due to a variety of technical mish-mash, the board is going to approve this BAR on Nov 2nd. They will approve it because there are a bunch of thing that need to happen (opening Meany, Eagle Staff, Olympic Hills and Cascadia) and are relying on this BAR being approved.

So if the BAR has to be approved, there is lots of room for Amendments!!! There were 24 amendments to the Growth Boundaries vote and I wouldn't be surprised if there more than dozen amendments. Amendments will be posted at some point before the vote.

Anything that the Board can't address via amendment can be addressed via the Student Assignment plan vote that will be following this one pretty swiftly. The Student Assignment plan is introduced in December and approved in January.

So there is some space to fix this but not much.

Anonymous said...

@Wildcat:  I’ve written to the school board with concerns that mirror yours. It is my understanding that the board and the staff are quite aware of the potential imbalance among north-end middle schools and that there are amendments being developed to address a variety concerns. The Whitman principal is watching the situation and asking questions. I believe students who are reassigned to another school can stay without having to opt in every year.

Personally, I hope enough feeder schools are assigned to ensure Whitman maintains robust offerings and services similar to other comprehensive middle schools.  I watched the last board meeting, I'm aware they're receiving valuable input from community members, and I feel the board is trying to minimize the chaos and work within established procedures to get it right for students, families and schools. 

If you have questions or concerns that PTSA can address, feel free to contact me at Thanks, Jenny Young

Just sayin said...

I don't see any discussion of boundary changes for schools in the SE and SW areas... unless I've overlooked this. Is this a part of the discussion as well?

kellie said...

There are a changes in the SE and SW area included in the BAR. Sanislo in West Seattle is going back to the Denny Service area after one year at Madison. Mercer is going to retain all of their feeder schools. There are also a bunch of feeder pattern changes with the opening of Meany.

The changes are pretty straightforward.

The vast majority of the changes are in the North end where there were proposed geo-splits for a dozen elementary schools and new feeder patterns for middle school.

Just sayin said...

So why no conversation of how the changes in these regions impact children and families? Are we to assume that these changes are insignificant, that these communities are not vocal, or that families in these regions are more accustomed to change & are not vocal b/c they don't have an outlet and/or they don't know that they have a voice (but/& need to be more vocal if they want to restorative and socially-minded best practices

kellie said...

You are not hearing a lot of outcry in the South end, because there are zero changes at elementary school and the changes at middle school were expected and planned AND responsive to community feedback. The change at Mercer was at the request of the Mercer community. The change at Sanislo was at the request of the Sanislo community. The opening of Meany has been planned for three years and all the students going to Meany were expecting that change.

You are hearing at lot in the North end because
1) The plan outlined in meeting last Spring and the plan introduced this Fall were substantially different and not reflective of community feedback.

2) Significant and unexpected geo-splits. In the Spring, Whitman was promised no geo-split and that they would be grandfathered at Whitman. Also elementary families were told to expect grandfathering. However, the Fall plan had 850 Elementary school students scheduled to be geo-split.

The last time elementary students were geo-split was about 40 years ago.

3) There has been three years of feedback about how boundaries at Cedar Park re-segregate the entire North end. The boundaries cause mid poverty schools to go to low poverty and create a new high poverty school. SPS has ignored this feedback.

OV Parent said...

The boundaries that were drawn for Olympic View are awful, and if I lived west of Aurora, or across the street from Cascadia, and had to be bused past Aurora, past the Wilson Pacific Site and past I5, to Olympic View, I would not be happy. Those areas are full of FRL and minority students. And there was not a single parent from the areas west of I5 at the OV boundary meetings, because the only meetings were organized by the OV PTA and not the district, which never had any meetings. There was no “equity lens” applied in coming up with the OV boundaries, because they are instead based on the Census boundary drawn before I5 was built. No surprise that people now object, because now its upon them.

Anonymous said...

Do the people making these boundary decisions have capacity planning experience?

2many Directors

Anonymous said...

I asked SPS and the board today whether the projections for Hamilton (1031 in 2017) include HCC kids or just attendance area kids. The reply I received from Ashley Davies, Director Enrollment planning, says:

"The projections in the 5 year document do include HCC students based on the following pathway assumptions:

Eagle Staff was assumed to draw HCC students within the Whitman and Eagle Staff service areas. Hamilton was assumed to serve HCC students within the McClure and Hamilton service areas beginning in 2017-18 when Eagle Staff opens.

Please note that these are just planning assumptions. The official pathways would still need to be approved by the School Board prior to Open Enrollment for School Choice for the 2017-18 school year."

So, it sounds like HCC kids are being included in the counts both at Hamilton and at Eagle Staff (and not just ignored as some have suggested) even though it is not explicitly stated in the enrollment projection documents. As we all know by now this placement of HCC still needs to be approved. But I was happy to hear that the kids at least were officially being counted.

Hamilton mom

Green Lake Parent said...

Hamilton mom -

It's good to know that HCC students were included in the projections and what underlying pathway assumptions were used. However, it seems concerning that even with Whitman and Eagle Staff HCC students at Eagle Staff, Hamilton's enrollment is still predicted at 1031. Although a reduction in numbers from the current year, it's still over capacity.

Thanks for sharing the info from your email exchange.

Green Lake Parent

Anonymous said...

Hamilton mom- As you pointed out the 1031 is very over enrolled in a booming city. The news reported on a school elsewhere last night suffering with only 150 over, HIMS is 300! I have noticed they often under project so I would not be surprised if it would be more than 1031 either. Current plan basically does nothing to relieve capacity at HIMS. Portables were only approved for one year and there is contention by the landmarks committee about leaving them longer.Not meant as a fix for capacity. HIMS has to be reduced. Also, the recent enrollment projection you are referencing does not work for Whitman or Eaglestaff. There are far too many kids for Eaglestaff to open and it leaves Whitman at under 500. There is room at WMS, wondering if that is a solution.
-a parent

kellie said...

The note from Ashley is good confirmation of what has been posted before. The projections are based on an assumption that has HCC split between Hamilton and Eagle Staff. However, the BAR did not include that information.

One of the challenges that we are all having is that there are two BARs that the board needs to approve that relate to this problem and they are interconnected.

* Growth Boundaries - The BAR is scheduled for November and relates to the all of the changes for the new building coming on line.
* Student Assignment Plan - The BAR will be introduced in December for a January vote. This includes all of the assignment process.

There are some major issues with North End Middle school related to the middle school PATHWAYS and FEEDER PATTERNS as both are needed but parts are in different documents. Presuming that the Board approves the presumed HCC and Language Immersion PATHWAYS, the FEEDER PATTERNS are then deeply unbalanced.

The current feeder patterns leave both Hamilton and Eagle Staff dramatically too full and Whitman too empty. They also leave Eckstein too empty. The projections for Eckstein are based on Olympic View remaining at Eckstein but the vote moves Olympic View into Eagle Staff.

All of the feeder patterns need to be re-examined that that is going to be a big surprise for a lot of families.

* Whitman needs to have 2-4 feeder schools added back.
* Hamilton needs to lose 1-2
* Eagle Staff needs to lose 2-3.
* Eckstein needs at least 1 school added back.

At this point, that is a lot of changes to make via board amendment but it can be done. I suspect that feeder patterns will be addressed with big changes in the Student Assignment Plan in January.

Lynn said...

Hamilton has just three attendance area feeder schools - the rest of the students come from McDonald and JSIS and HCC. There are enough HCC students at HIMS to split into two reasonably sized cohorts - almost 300 each for REMS and Whitman. The planning at Whitman should already be underway. The alternative is moving the attendance area students out and that doesn't make sense.

Anonymous said...

Lynn-- I believe HCC can fit at HIMS, Eaglestaff, JAMS (and can go to WMS if needed) with kellie's suggestion. They have imbalanced middle schools with the current neighborhood school feeder pattern. I don't think HCC parents would support moving HCC to Whitman last minute. It would be a new program with a principal who is against the idea of spectrum and HCC. Not a great idea. Some HCC could also move to an established program WMS if needed, but I think if neighborhood feeder schools are balanced with HCC as Kellie suggests, it may be enough to fix the issue. How they figure this out also ties in with high school boundaries, Lincoln, etc. Will high school students be routed from Garfield to help shore up Rainier beach? Rainier Beach is under-enrolled & all other high schools are bursting.
-a parent

kellie said...

Hamilton really has five feeder schools. As all of language immersion "feeds" to Hamilton, regardless of whether or not students live in that attendance area.

Language immersion could be routed elsewhere but the "international" in HIMS will likely prevent that. That would mean that either West Woodland or Greenlake (or both) would be the next school to change assignment patterns.

There is a reason why Greenlake has continued at Eckstein for the last three years, despite technically being in the Hamilton.

Anonymous said...

If you look at the current feeder patterns, the Green Lake attendance area is actually split around 60th St. About half goes to Eckstein and half to Hamilton. While it is not ideal to do such a split, it makes some sense because the Green Lake attendance area is so huge (b/c of JSIS and Macdonald residing in it). I think an easy fix for Hamilton overenrollment and Eckstein underenrollment in the future would be to keep splitting the Green Lake attendance area (assuming families in that area are ok with it).

Hamilton mom

kellie said...

@ Hamilton mom,

This is where it gets tricky, because the Greenlake area is not split, so much as it was "implementation deferred."

In 2013, the entire Greenlake Service area, which includes the old JSIS and old McDonald areas and the old Greenlake area, was moved to the Hamilton Feeder pattern.

In 2014 as part of opening JAMS a significant number of Eckstein students were scheduled to be geo-split to Hamilton. At the last minute, Tracy Libros realized that moving Greenlake into Hamilton would over-fill Hamilton so there was a three-year delay that was built into one of the amendments of the Growth Boundary Plan. This delay was designed to keep the old Greenlake service area going to Eckstein until Eagle Staff opened.

So now we are at the end of this three year implementation delay, because Eagle Staff is opening. Why does this distinction matter? Because the entire foundation of the Student Assignment Plan is middle school feeder patterns.

The Student Assignment Plan would need to be changed in order to allow for any elementary school to be split between two middle schools on a permanent basis. This can be done but it requires a round of community engagement and board process.

Many people had asked for JAMS to have the same assignment area as Nathan Hale, because schools like Wedgwood were close to both middle schools. Tracy Libros had said this was impossible because the software was designed around feeder patterns. And that the only reason the Greenlake split worked is because the software was treating the geo-zones for JSIS and McDonald as if they were an attendance area.

Pretty messy huh? BTW, I got a PDF of the entire package for that 2020 Growth Boundaries vote and the package is 350 pages. No wonder why this whole mess is so ... messy.

Anonymous said...

Getting rid of a feeder school or two from Hamilton so that HCC can stay there means that the school, already over 50% HCC, would be even more HCC-heavy. Given the climate in Seattle, do we really want a school that's 2/3 HCC? All so we can avoid moving a reasonable cohort to REMS, as had been planned?

not getting it

Anonymous said...

They could also make Eaglestaff an HCC middle school. Neighborhood kids stay put and don't have to move. They would fit in the new building. It is next to Cascadia a logical site. But I am guessing this option is not on the table. Too easy. Too political. Too much resentment against HCC program. But it works. Someone should present it as a solution.
-a parent.

kellie said...

@ not getting it,

Per Ashely Davies response, the plan is to send 50% of HCC from Hamilton to Eagle Staff. The problem is that even after 50% of HCC is moved to Eagle Staff, Hamilton will be too full and will reach 1200 students again in a few years. This is because next year is the year that 100% of Greenlake starts at Hamilton.

There is more than enough space for all the middle school students in the north end with the opening of Eagle Staff. The problem is that the students are not divided up in the right ratios. Whitman is dropping down to 400 students next year, when they should be 800-900. That is the problem.

There will be almost 500 empty seats at Whitman, while both Eagle Staff and Hamilton are over capacity.

Bottom line: more students need to go to Whitman and fewer students need to go to Hamilton and Eagle Staff.

Anonymous said...

While I agree that it would not be fair to move HCC to Whitman at the last minute, I disagree with a parent's characterization of the WMS principal as "against the idea of spectrum and HCC." WMS has differentiated math - something that many claim to want! - all kids in the school have the opportunity to test in to higher level math classes (HCC level) and there is extra math support for students who need it. Kids are tested at the end of 5th and 6th grades for placement, and placement in 8th depends on grades in 7th. My Spectrum-qualified son is in Honors LA/Soc Studies, using a model similar to my daughter's HCC. He's getting much more rigor than I expected given comments like a parent's that I've read on this blog. Sue Kleitsch (principal) seems to be doing a great job with differentiated learning. But what will remain when the school is whittled down to 400?

WMS yea

Laurak said...

I live between I-5 and Aurora. Olympic View is .7 miles from my house; Viewlands is over 2 miles. That boundary needs to change, but should not be as far west as it is currently set to be. Aurora would be a reasonable cut-off.

Laurak said...

I live between I-5 and Aurora. Olympic View is .7 miles from my house; Viewlands is over 2 miles. That boundary needs to change, but should not be as far west as it is currently set to be. Aurora would be a reasonable cut-off.