Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Updates on Tonight's Board Meeting

Update:  there is finally a staff document about the amendments.  It is terse and I don't have a link but here are their main points on the amendments. There are not comments for all amendments.


Amendments 1A and 1B (grandfathering for Green Lake)
1A and 1B are mutually exclusive and the Board can choose to adopt neither or one, but not both.

Amendments 5A and 5B (Cedar Park)
5A and 5B are mutually exclusive and the Board can choose to adopt neither or one, but not both

Amendment 6A and 6B (only references areas by numbers to either do nothing or grandfather students)
6A and 6B are mutually exclusive and the Board can choose to adopt neither or one, but not both.

Amendment 7 (Viewlands and Whitman and Broadview-Thomson and Eagle Staff)
If 6A is approved, Amendment 7 is no longer applicable.

Amendmen 8 - (Universal grandfathering for rising 8th graders)
If the Board approves amendments 1,2,3,4, either 5A or 5B, AND either 6A or 6B, this amendment is not needed.

Amendment to Postpone
This can be moved and considered at nay point at which another amendment motion is not being considered.

End of update

I must point out that the short one-hour Work Session on the Budget before tonight's Board meeting makes for sobering reading.  I have only skimmed it but clearly, the district wants to shift/reduce money around.  They also appear to be considering "indirect costs" for grants including PTA ones.

Director Harris Peters, at the last Work Session on the Budget, clearly and directly asked where Legal and Executive Directors fall in the landscape of spending (meaning, are they central administration or what?)

Executive Directors are only mentioned in notes on the communities meetings on the budget (and I was the one who brought them up.) Legal is not mentioned at all. Clearly, staff will say they will get back to directors on questions but then don't.  

Going into tonight's Board meeting, there are the following changes to the agenda:

- Tom Ahearne - Lead Counsel, Network for Excellence in Washington Schools (NEWS) will be speaking during the Superintendent's comments.  This will probably be an update on McCleary.

- there are 20 speakers signed up with 13 on the waitlist.  The majority of the comments are about the Growth Boundaries.

- Authorization to Commence Salary and Contract Discussions - Approval of this item would authorize Directors Blanford and Harris to engage in contract discussions with Superintendent Nyland for the 2016-17 fiscal year, and report back to the full Board, with introduction and action at the December 7, 2016 legislative session. (This item is for introduction and action at this meeting)

I'm a little confused here because I thought the Superintendent had a contract for this year.  Oh wait, as I read the BAR, it's not for a contract for this year - it's for a raise (partial).

The Superintendent’s employment contract requires the Board to determine whether to increase his salary for this fiscal year no later than the first Board legislative meeting in December.

Funds to pay for any salary increase or contract extension for the Superintendent would be brought to the Board for introduction and action in a subsequent Board Action Report, which is scheduled for December 7, 2015.




COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

With guidance from the District’s Community Engagement tool, this action was determined to merit the following tier of community engagement:

Not applicable
Tier 1: Inform
Tier 2: Consult/Involve 
Tier 3: Collaborate
Guess which box is checked? Not applicable.  My thinking is that while the Board has to assess the Superintendent's work, it would seem to me that some community input on what THEY see as his performance might be a good idea.

- payment of $315,000 to settle a claim from a teacher that she was subjected to discrimination, harassment, and retaliation at her school by her principal at Madrona.  She agrees to drop all claims against the district and resign by December 1, 2016.  As well, the district will never hire her again.  Interesting.

- Nearly all the amendments for Growth Boundaries indicate that the BAR has been updated and yet I cannot tell what has changed.  Generally the changes are highlighted.  I asked the Board about this.

- There are three new Growth Boundary amendments.
  • Amendment 1.B - Approval of this item would amend proposed 2017-18 Implementation Amendments to the 2013-20 Growth Boundaries Plan to retain areas 41 and 44 in the Green Lake Elementary School attendance Area and to direct staff to engage the community regarding potential boundary adjustments between Green Lake Elementary and B.F. Day Elementary prior to approval of any changes for boundaries for the 2018-19 school year (Directors Burke and Geary)(new amendment)
  • Amendment 11 - Approval of this item would amend the proposed 2017-18 Implementation Amendments to the 2013-2020 Growth Boundaries Plan to provide transportation to all transportation-eligible students in the areas where the Board has approved grandfathering. (Director Peters) (new amendment)
  • Amendment 12 - Approval of this item would amend the proposed 2017-18 Implementation Amendments to the 2013-20 Growth Boundaries plan in order to direct staff on the Highly Capable Cohort middle school pathways for north-end students in the 2017-18 Student Assignment Plan and place a high priority on mitigation funding for Whitman and Washington Middle Schools in the 2017-18 year to address drop in student enrollment due to the opening of Eagle Staff and Meany Middle Schools. (Director Peters and Harris) (new amendment)
That makes 16 amendments to plow thru.  I did write the Board and ask them to please consider Harris' amendment to postpone as the FIRST amendment.  It seems silly to put it at the end if that's how they vote.  I do wish some amendments had been withdrawn (and they may be at the meeting.) 

64 comments:

HCC Parent said...

I fully expect the district will try and foster changes to advanced learning. Parents need to keep an eye on this issue.

Anonymous said...

A grandfathering amendment (Amendment 9) for rising 8th graders @ Hamilton and Whitman is being introduced and voted on for the opening of Robert Eagle Staff MS. What this means is that current HCC 7th graders slated to move to Eagle Staff would be staying for 8th grade, leaving Eagle Staff to be opened with only 6th and 7th graders.
What does this mean?:
• Adverse impacts for all students at Eagle Staff next year AND the following year. In year 1, there would likely be too few students, district dollars, and parent support to start up strong programs in the school and have adequate staffing. That likely means weaker music, sports, math, and foreign language options, and possibly inadequate staff (nurse, library, counselors). In year 2, a new 8th grade teaching staff would need to be hired, so current 6th graders would have a newly hired teaching staff 2 years in a row.
• Hidden process and no chance for most affected families to weigh in or talk with school administrators about potential impacts. A few impacted families are working on this, with no daylighting or discussion with other affected families. That includes families with current 5th graders and 6th graders who will be assigned to Eagle Staff next year, as well as current Whitman area 7th grade families. An amendment like this has huge impacts. It should have been introduced publicly, discussed, and analyzed months ago.
• Bad precedent for HCC with too many splits. Having a strong cohort of students and a strong, collaborative teaching staff is one of the strengths of the HCC program. This amendment keeps Hamilton as a very large, strong HCC school and gives Eagle Staff HCC a weak start. It also splits the NW cohort into factions.
• Long term strategy. The school board and staff should instead focus efforts on solving the long-term problem of rebalancing the middle school feeders and clarifying HCC pathways, with the goal of a successful startup for Eagle Staff and relief for Hamilton starting in 2017.
This amendment is breaking with precedent and expectations set when JAMS opened 3 years ago under similar circumstances. And, starting as a rollup (just 6th and 7th graders) is not best practice for a successful startup of Eagle Staff as a comprehensive middle school, regardless of who is assigned there.
I’m disappointed that this has been developed with no transparency and no discussion with the communities that are impacted, aside from a few families.
-Long Road

Anonymous said...

@Melissa

I looked through some of the amendments for changes, and the only change I could find was that the action date had been changed from Nov 2 to Nov 16.

-North-end Mom

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

I agree with all the points in Long Road's post. I have a rising 7th grader who will likely be moved from his current school to Eagle Staff, and I am really unhappy about the proposal to grandfather 8th graders. My son participates in both band and sports - is the school going to be able to field teams and a band with only 2/3 of the students? What happens to the few 8th graders who end up there (e.g. kids who move to the area over the summer)? Where is the $ going to come from to now bus 6th/7th graders to Eagle Staff - but 8th graders to their current schools? Why was this introduced at the last minute with no chance for community input?

Jane

Anonymous said...


JAMS opened with an extremely small 8th grade, that was mostly HCC. As Eckstein had plenty of space, any 8th grader that applied to return to Eckstein was able to return. However, as Hamilton was full, the HCC students just sat on a waitlist.

Looking back, I think it would have been better for everyone if JAMS started as a 6-7 and rolled up. A 6-7 would have been enough students so that there could be all band levels and math levels and it would have been a less chaotic start.

But who knows, there are pros and cons to roll ups and geosplits.


- jams mama

Anonymous said...

Isn't Amendment 8 for universal grandfathering of rising 4th and 5th graders, while Amendment 9 covers rising 8th graders? The other amendments referenced seem to discuss elementaries and wouldn't affect, say, Washington students who would be transferred to Meany.

- Confused

kellie said...

Amendment 11 passed. 6-1

kellie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kellie said...

Amendment # 1B passed, so the areas attached to Greenlake elementary stay in Greenlake elementary. This also directs staff to do a more extensive review of Greenlake's boundaries prior to next year's vote.

kellie said...

Amendment #2 passed, so Greenlake will go to Eckstein for middle school, not Hamilton.

kellie said...

Amendment #3 passed, area 126 stays in West Woodland and Hamilton.

kellie said...

Amendment #4 passed. Area 124 stays in West Woodland and Hamilton.

Emilie said...

Thanks so much for updating us real time!! Appreciate it!

kellie said...

Amendment #5A passed and 5B was removed.

Cedar Park is now an option school. This is a huge victory for community engagement. A few months ago, I thought it would be impossible to roll back a plan that re-segregated the entire north end and geo-split 800 students, who are mostly FRL and historically underserved.

I am incredibly impressed with all the community advocates who worked to create a better plan and a school board that listened and took effective action.

Olympic Hills was named as the #1 school in the State of Washington for closing the achievement gap. This plan preserves the good work that community is doing.

I so wish we had this board during the closures.

kellie said...

Amendment 6A passed and 6B was removed.

This changes means that all of the original school boundaries will be maintained related to the opening of Cedar Park as an option school.

kellie said...

Amendment #7, regarding area 117 was removed.

Amendment #8, regarding grandfathering 4th and 5th graders was removed. Amendment #8 was removed because all of the previous amendments reversed the 800 elementary students who were scheduled to be geo-split.

As any potential split at Cascadia will be addressed as part of the SAP, any grandfathering issues with Cascadia will be addressed during that time.

Northender said...

Cedar Park opening as an option school is a huge success! Having a strong principal is already an excellent start. Our family lives in the geozone and would happily consider attending in the future.

kellie said...

Amendment #9 is being deferred to the Student Assignment Plan vote. This amendment would have grandfathered all rising 8th graders at their current middle school.

There has been community feedback both to support grandfathering 8th graders and to support geo-splitting 8th graders. Accordingly, Dir Peters wanted to allow a little more time for discussion. Therefore, the issue of grandfathering v geo-splitting middle school students will be handled as part of that vote, currently scheduled for Jan 4th.

There are 5 community meetings regarding the Student Assignment Plan, so mark you calendars if you want to express your concerns regarding geo-splits or grandfathering at middle school.

kellie said...

Amendment #10 was also deferred to the Student Assignment Plan. This is regarding a potential split of Cascadia and whether a second HCC site should be assignment or option.

This is another messy one and I would expect that the SAP meetings will get a lot of feedback on this topic.

kellie said...

Amendment #12 was modified to remove the mitigation priority for Whitman and Washington. This is so that the mitigation conversation is done as a whole and not piecemeal.

Amendment #12 now simply clarifies that the HCC pathways are Hamilton, Eagle Staff and JAMS as per the 2013 Growth Boundaries and the Student Assignment Plan that will be introduced at the Ops Committee tomorrow.

Amendment 12 passed. So HCC families can plan on Eagle Staff as their new location.

kellie said...

They just passed the Bar with all the amendments. It is now done.

The Growth Boundaries plan with amendments was passed 6-1.

this is the first meeting that I have attended in the last 14 years, where student outcomes was the center of the conversation. It is a good night.

carol simmons said...

Dear Kellie,

You stated that it is the first meeting that you have attended in the last 14 years, where student outcomes was the center of the conversation and that it was a "good night." That is grand that it was a good night for certain students. But was it a good night for all students? What about the Lincoln Springs students that are currently housed at Lincoln with a cap on enrollment and reduction of classrooms? Was there any discussion by the Board during the amendments deliberations about Licton Springs students and their placement at Eaglestaff?

Was there any amendment discussed that considered our Native community?

Was the testimony about Indian Education and the Rally and the number of speakers, totally ignored other than a few remarks from Board members during Board comments?
Was there any consideration in the discussion of the Amendments that included the restoration of Indian Heritage High School? Was there any consideration of postponing the proposed 2017-18 growth Boundary Implementation until the Board dealt with the BLATANT violation of the previous Board's action? or the plans to restore Indian Heritage High School?

Yes, for certain students there were positive outcomes, for our underserved Native students, again not so.

The motion to postpone the amendments should have been approved until this was done. The Board obviously was only concerned with certain students. What a disappointing night.

Carol


Anonymous said...

-Agree with the JAMS mama. We realized later that JAMS could have successfully opened with 6th and 7th grade as a roll up. Let the current 7th graders (next year's 8th graders) be given the choice to grandfather. They are the kids MOST affected by this decsion. I completely disagree with Long Road.
-another JAMS mama

Anonymous said...

Anyone have more details on the option school class size issue they blindsided the board and parents with? After all of the work this year to lower class sizes, which has been great, did I really hear them say they are going up to contractual maximum (26, I believe) for option schools only next year?

- MemoReader

Anonymous said...

Carol, what is going on with Licton Springs? For 2 years they had so much trouble attracting students that some sped students were assigned there to bring the numbers up to viable. What has changed? What do they need? Are they getting more interest now? I know Sharon Peaslee has been writing the board for them- does it have to do with that?

-sleeper

kellie said...

@ Carol,

Yes, it was a good night for Licton Springs. Having attended more than my fair share of meetings over the years where the focus of the meeting was closing AS1, it was beyond refreshing to have a board that made the students a priority over "building utilization."

Both at the board meeting and at the work session last week, the commitment to Licton Springs was reaffirmed and the board asked staff many questions to confirm that the work to support Licton Springs was done. At the work session last week, the current board referenced an email from former Board President Sharon Peaslee, who wrote the amendment to save what was then AS1 and Indian Heritage and place this newly combined program at Wilson Pacific, where Sharon noted all of the details of that amendment.

They then specifically asked the staff to confirm that there were at least 14 homerooms set aside for Licton Springs and the board made note of your comment that only 10 rooms were set aside.

There is work to be done to make certain that Eagle Staff works for everyone. The intention was made clear last night that this work would happen at the 5 community meetings for the Student Assignment Plan.

Anonymous said...

How many homeroom are they using now?

-sleeper

Lynn said...

There were only two students on the waitlist for Licton Springs this summer when it was dissolved. Is that the problem?

There were around 360 American Indian students in the district last year - so maybe 100 high school students. I believe I heard earlier this month that the largest concentration of students is at Denny and Chief Sealth. What kind of high school program does the community want - and where?

I was shocked to hear Director Pinkham's daughter's testimony last night. Is he as misinformed on the history of the kids at Lincoln and the program placement process as she is?

kellie said...

@ Carol,

I completely agree that there needs to be more work done with and for our Native students. I don't know what outcome you expected based on testimony, it would be helpful if you could be more specific about what action you expect the board to take.

The Growth Boundaries vote is only one piece of the puzzle. Leslie Harris made continual erudite remarks about how many pieces were missing. Here are just a few pieces that are missing that I know about.

High School - a plan for a timeline for when boundaries will be drawn for Lincoln as well any intermediate plan to for 2017 or 2017.

Middle School - Eagle Staff and Hamilton have been promised to too many communities while Whitman will be half empty. The feeder patterns for Whitman, Hamilton and Eagle Staff all need to be revisited. Schools that are likely to see a change would be West Woodland, Greenwood, BT, Viewlands and Olympic View.

Elementary - There clearly needs to be some work on the whole axis of West Woodland / BF Day / Greenlake / McDonald and JSIS. There also needs to be a plan for Cascadia.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Thank you, Kellie, all these great updates. I left and watched part of the meeting at home and planned to watch it today. It sounds to me like the Board was fairly thoughtful in their actions.

Carol, I, too, heard discussion (briefly) at this meeting about the agreement on Licton Springs being upheld. What is troubling was to hear Native American families saying the Superintendent and staff had been saying things to try to split their community. I'll have to ask them about that.

kellie said...

@ Carol,

One last clarification about your "some students" comment. Olympic Hills was named the #1 school in the State of Washington in closing the achievement gap. This school clearly does excellent work.

The original staff plan was going to decimate that learning community and cause over 800 elementary school students to be geo-split so that two buildings would be full utilized at the cost of disrupting 12 learning communities and re-segregating North Seattle.

I don't think this was a win for "some students." I think it was a win for education. The highest poverty census track in all of Seattle is along Lake City way, this area clearly needed a much more thoughtful and student centered approach and this board was positive, thoughtful, respectful and proactive in making a better outcome.

I remember many board meetings that deteriorated into personal attacks, including half the board filling a lawsuit against the other half. Many voices were heard last night, many representing completely opposite points of view. Then the work moved forward a little bit and there is a still a lot left to do.

kellie said...

Thanks Mel! It was a long meeting but .... not nearly as long as the 2013 Growth Boundaries vote. This board was indeed very thoughtful and deliberate and respectful. In particular, they deferred all items that they felt could benefit from additional community conversation to the January Student Assignment Plan vote.

The 2013 Growth Boundaries vote was so intense and reactive. It was the last vote for outgoing board members so there was this urgency to get it done, over doing the right work. That was a rough night.

It is really clear that at least for this board, the public comments during the SAP meetings will be directly incorporated into how they shape and most likely amend the SAP. If you attend one of the SAP meetings, be certain to fill out one of the comment cards as that becomes official community feedback.

Ballard Resident said...

I thank the board member for offering an amendment to provide Whitman and Washington with mitigation funds.I imagine it would be difficult to run a middle school with 450 students. Middle and high schools seem to need volumes of students to cover costs of multiple grades and many teachers.

Not an easy night.

Anonymous said...

"Was there any amendment discussed that considered our Native community?"

You mean native as in all the students born in Seattle? If not then just be gone with your Sawant anti-white bigotry.

Maybe we need a one on one to straighten this out.

Pinko hunter

Anonymous said...

The passage of the School Board-amended Growth Boundaries BAR prevented the reassignment in 2017 of over 800 kids enrolled in attendance area schools, with the largest boundary change areas falling in higher-poverty neighborhoods. These students will now be allowed to stay in their established school communities, without the forced disruption of their educational and socio-emotional supports.

Because of the decisions made last night, school communities throughout the north-end, including several title 1 schools, will be allowed to remain intact.

The amended plan will allow the Olympic Hills community to move, intact, into their new building which was specifically-designed to serve their high-needs population, with its health center, preschool and childcare spaces and small group instruction areas. Olympic Hills added a 4th kindergarten this year, and should have no problem growing into their new building without the need for highly-disruptive geo-splits.

The decisions made by the Board last night will put an option school at Cedar Park, instead of an assignment school. The staff-recommended attendance area boundaries for Cedar Park EXACTLY MATCH the boundaries for Census Tract #1, which has the highest non-white population of any census tract in North Seattle, and includes extremely high-poverty neighborhoods. I have no doubt that the planning principal for Cedar Park is excellent, but it is not best practices to intentionally set up a segregated, high-poverty school when there are other options available.

The decisions made by the Board last night will halt a boundary change plan which would have segregated students of color into Cedar Park, and, to a lesser degree, into Olympic Hills, while gentrifying the surrounding schools (John Rogers, Sacajawea, Olympic View, etc...). For these schools, which highly-value diversity, and work incredibly hard to close achievement and opportunity gaps, this is a very big deal.

After reading some of the comments above, I did some digging. There are 14 students of American Indian/Alaskan Native heritage currently attending schools which would have experienced boundary changes if the Board had not passed amendments 5A and 6A, along with about 900 students who identify as either Black, Hispanic, or Pacific Islander. Would these kids have been re-assigned if the boundary changes had gone through? I have no idea, since we were never provided a demographic breakdown of each boundary change area. Regardless of if they had been reassigned or not, their school communities would have been impacted by the large-scale boundary changes and subsequent re-structuring of both their student populations and school budgets.

Last night was incredible, and I am still in shock. I am extremely grateful to the members of this School Board for putting students and their families first.

-North-end Mom

Shaunna said...

Was the geozone for Cedar Park Elementary as an option school discussed?

Shaunna said...

Thank you for your post and insights! I'm confused about the geozone boundary. Was it determined last night? It will be the census track 1?

Anonymous said...

The geo-zone for Cedar Park was approved as part of Amendment 5A. It is the same as the staff-recommended attendance area boundaries for Cedar Park (which correlate to census tract 1). The Cedar Park geo-zone will go from 30th Ave NE to Lake Washington, and will extend south to NE 125th Street, and includes neighborhoods on both sides of Lake City Way.

-North-end Mom

Watching. said...

I feel the board was enormously respectful and tried to accommodate a wide variety of needs. They worked to assure that students moved, multiple times, through-out their middle school years and cautioned the district against pitting communities against each other.

Thank you.

Watching said...

clarification: The board worked to assure students were not moved multiple times...

Anonymous said...

This is excellent news. Thanks to North-end Mom and the many others for their advocacy.

As Kellie and others high-five the board (rightfully so), the thinking that went into this school should be SOP in the district and by parents and the board.

How about now looking at the schools in the district that are highly impacted by poverty and gerrymandering their boundaries?

While the Cedar Park decision was significant it tell several things:

--The district is willing to dispose of unprivileged and vulnerable children.
--It will only stop when privileged families step up and say no.
--The entire student assignment plan is based on the same premise and delivers the same reality already in many schools in this district.

Hopefully, the work of the advocates and the board are the beginning and not a one-time event. This response needs to be a district-wide revamping of the student assignment plan which already produces many schools that are already what Cedar Park would have been.

As some have stated, the "optics" were horrible in this case. Fairness toward the vulnerable and non-privileged should not depend on optics.

FWIW

Anonymous said...

Why was Director Blanford so unsupportive of each and every amendment and discussion last night? The Board was looking out for their constituents. Was he looking out for District staff?

What's with him?

Intentions Matter

kellie said...


The subject of cost is always a tricky topic. IMHO, the board actions last night will ultimately be cost neutral, because the net impact of all the amendments was zero change. Therefore zero change is cost neutral.

You can only optimize a system for one variable. The staff plan was designed to optimize building utilization. As such, it was looking at the cost associated with the WSS and having large full buildings that were cost efficient from that point of view and those indirect savings.

The staff plan was not designed to optimize bussing costs. While the plan around Cedar Park would have taken some busses out of the system, there were multiple change areas under the staff plan that were putting students on busses and taking them out of walk zones. As such, the cost impact statement that was included with the BAR said that there was no cost analysis for transportation.

However, last night, every amendment was accompanied by a transportation cost for that amendment. Director Blanford was persuaded that these costs were significant and he felt that with the potential $71 Million budget shortfall if the "levy cliff" happens meant that these costs should be avoided. That is not an unreasonable point of view.

That said, those of us that advocated through the closures, which includes much of the current board, was not persuaded by this. The mantra during the closures was that by creating efficiencies in transportation and building utilization that we would see a direct impact on student outcomes. However, that never happened.

Also staff clearly noted that any transportation cost is a one time cost, as transportation is now 100% reimbursed by the state. So the only true transportation cost is the cost of the float where SPS pays the cost and waits for reimbursement.

Melissa Westbrook said...

1) I'll do a write-up for the 4 hours I was at the meeting.

2) Blanford has a tendency to want to "honor" the work of staff which is fine but if there is not alignment among dollars, input from families/staff/communities and staff, then the Board has to take everything into account.

The big issue is truly - as always - the money. The Board just voted in grandfathering which means, for equity's sake, transportation dollars for all. (Otherwise, only students who could find their own transportation would be eligible for grandfathering, creating an equity issue.)

While some may think that busing is the answer to segregated schools, well, the district tried that (it didn't work) and it costs a lot of money. I think the key is - as much as humanly possible - to NOT create schools as they had wanted to for Cedar Park.

Shaunna said...

Any discussion about how they will decide on the type (STEM, art, language etc.) of option school Cedar Park will be? And when this decision will take place?

Anonymous said...

If they are planning to open Cedar Park as an option school for next year, then that decision will have to be made prior to Open Enrollment.

There should be community meetings scheduled to discuss possible focuses for the option school.

-North-end Mom

Melissa Westbrook said...

Pinko Hunter, you are not in any position at this blog to tell anyone to not voice their opinion.

Anonymous said...

It's not about "busing" which is the fear factor word that is used to avoid dealing with the obvious injustice.

Districts around the country (less "liberal" than Seattle) used gerrymandering,
FRL tie-breakers, and option/magnet schools.

Promoting privilege on this blog is no longer tolerable.

It's about finding solutions to the same issues
that many people realized were inhumane in the plan for Cedar Park.

Defaulting to calling real solutions "busing" so you can plug your ears isn't cutting it.

FWIW

Carol Simmons said...

Hi again Kellie and others.

I have been corrected about the number of classrooms. I now heard the number is 6.

Regarding this conversation It has drawn attention to the Native students who are underserved, discriminated against, vulnerable and economically underprivileged. At least now the Native Students educational needs are being discussed.

Thank you

Carol

kellie said...

@ Carol,

I was on the design team for Wilson Pacific. At that time, Licton Springs was allocated two full floors of one wing of the building. Sharon Peaslee's memo stated that that Licton Springs was guaranteed at least 14 homerooms.

I believe the six classroom is the current configuration at Lincoln. With a permanent location, the program should be able to grow.

The board has repeated their commitment to ensure that this minimum space promise is delivered. That is one of the reasons why so many parents have voiced their concerns that the Eagle Staff building has been over promised. The original boundaries for Eagle Staff were drawn to create a 1,000 student middle school.

In order to ensure that there is space for both the middle school and licton springs there will need to be amendments to the Student Assignment Plan to redirect some elementary schools away from Eagle Staff. The board made it clear in their comments that they fully expected this work to happen and were expecting to get many parent comments during the SAP community meetings. I hope that you will add your voice to this request.

There is one other concern about Licton Springs. The "geo-zone" for the school was drawn to only include the Bagley attendance area and none of the area immediately north of the school. A more expanded geo-zone would help to support the program.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Well, all I can say is if kids can't get to school, you can draw all the lines you want. You can certainly rearrange schools in one region to have lower F/RL and I support that but otherwise.

As for what is going to happen or not happen on this blog, that would be for Charlie and me to decide.

Anonymous said...

I hope that by tomorrow there will be community meeting dates posted about the new CP option school! Already the soonest thing could be 10 days to 2 weeks out and that's cutting it really close to get stuff ready for open enrollment. Anyone know where this would be posted?

Excited

kellie said...

@ Carol,

This was discussed at the operations committee today. Flip confirmed that they only set aside 150 seats for Licton Springs, for capacity reasons. In other words, because they did not rebalance the feeder patterns, they only set aside this reduced amount.

I'm so sorry for this broken promise. Hopefully, this board will take action as part of the SAP vote.

anotherNW said...

With the elementary schools feeding in to Eagle Staff perhaps in question and no decision on grandfathering 8th graders - not sure how families are supposed to participate in the upcoming Eagle Staff Planning meetings between tonight and Jan 5th? I know everyone who will be going there wants it to be successful and is willing to help build a great community, would be nice to know so we can put our energy in the right place.

Anonymous said...

@Kellie-thanks for the update on the ops meeting. I am also sorry to hear about the broken promise made to Licton Springs. It would be interesting to see if some elementary schools assigned to feed into Eaglestaff would step up and offer to go to Whitman as a kind gesture to Licton Springs. We certainly can't count on the District to figure it out.

It's no wonder families have lost trust. It seems there are surprises and disappointments at every turn if you get too comfortable and assume they will just do the right thing.

Licton Fan

Ragweed said...

Carol,

Thank you so much for your support for Licton Springs K-8. You and Kellie are correct - we have been allocated 6 teaching rooms in the Eagle Staff building, and one special ed room, for nine grades. Currently in Lincoln we are using at least nine home rooms and an art room. We have been moving away from multi-age classrooms because of an influx of high-needs students that have widened the ability gap in our classrooms (so a 4/5 split, for example, may have kids ranging from 2nd grade to 7th grade reading level, for example). The new space will mean we have to move back to a more rigid multi-age approach, and will hem in our ability to ever grow beyond our current size.

An additional casualty are the ACCESS and SM4 special ed programs that are part of our school at Lincoln. And when I say part of our school, I mean that they are not just located there, but integrated into out community. Even the SM4 class, while officially self-contained, participate in school activities, and whenever possible in our classroom. At Eagle Staff we will have one special ed room, which is supposed to serve the SM4 self-contained, Access, and resource room students.

In part we knew this would be an issue - when the board decided to save Pinehurst, we knew that there were space constraints at the new building (when someone sends you a life-boat, you don't complain about the size - we were willing to accept a cluster of portables at Broadview-Thompson at one point). There was hope at the time that there would be some flexibility down the road, and that we might get a little more than 6 rooms.

Ragweed said...

One of the ironic things about the Board vote last night is that when Pinehurst parents were first notified that we were being booted out of our building with no other location identified, one of the first places we raised was Cedar Park. We were told at the time that it was going to be needed as a neighborhood assignment school, and it was not an option for Pinehurst. About a third of our students are from the Cedar Park assignment area. Now, three years later, it is going to be an option school after all. How much pain and turmoil could have been avoided for our students and our families.

I think the development of a Native-centered curriculum at Licton Springs was the right thing to do, and I am grateful for the many people who have been involved in moving this work forward. We are implementing elements of the Tribal Sovereignty Curriculum in every grade. We have developed a Coast-Salish art curriculum with Roger Fernandes (Lower Elwha Skallam), and are working on implementing a Native-focused science curriculum based on the work of Megan Bangs (Ojibwe) and Alice Tsoodle at the University of Washington. 25-30% of our students are Native or mixed-race Native, and two of our teaching staff. I am grateful to the storytellers, drummers, musicians, and scientists that have shared their knowledge with our students. There are a lot of challenges, we are not the perfect place for every student, and we still have much more to do, but I think that we have begun the shoot of something very important. I hope that shoot is allowed to grow.

Anonymous said...

@Ragweed

Would the Licton Springs community be willing to move to Cedar Park? At Wednesday's Board meeting, the planning principal for Cedar Park said that moving an existing option school program to Cedar Park would be one way to start an option school there. Cedar Park is about the same size as the original Pinehurst building.

-North-end Mom

kellie said...

@ Regweed,

It sounds like your school is doing great things, despite the circumstances. I suspect this board will be committed to ensuring that the promised space is secured.

The additional irony is that I had long suspected that the insistence on Cedar Park being an attendance area school, rather than option school, was precisely so that AS1 would not get the building, so this whole mess is deeply entangled, in that old fight. Even more ironic, the decision to place AS1 at Wilson Pacific was based on extra space at WHITMAN, not WP, as they had drawn boundaries to completely filled WP and emptied Whitman. The amendment to place AS1 at WP, included an instruction to re-balance the feeder patterns.

I remember this clearly because Sherry Carr was originally opposed this decision and she asked many questions of Traci Libros about Whitman and then she changed her vote.

However, in the loss of institutional memory, this action was never taken.

Anonymous said...

Who is responsible for looking out for the best interests of Whitman and Eaglestaff communities? Pinkham?

Licton Springs would have a better change of attracting new students at Eaglestaff than way up in the northeast corner in Cedar Park.

To fill an option school way out at CP, it is going to have to be fairly conventional and attractive to the masses. I love the way Licton Springs approaches their curriculum, but have always thought it would be a great place for camp, not daily school, for my child.

Boy, what is the District thinking/doing now? They really blew it. I hope they take time to reflect and learn from this experience.

Live nLearn

Anonymous said...

Would a K-8 occupying only 6 classrooms within a comprehensive middle school building be attractive to prospective kindergarten parents, regardless of location?

Wondering

Ragweed said...

Before this thread goes completely into ancient history, I wanted to respond to something Lynn said above:

"There were around 360 American Indian students in the district last year - so maybe 100 high school students."

There are more than 360 Native students at SPS. The official reporting on American Indian/Alaskan Native students from SPS and OSPI significantly undercounts Native students because it only reports students where the family checked only the American Indian/Alaska Native box for race/ethnicity on their enrollment form. However, many Native people are technically mixed-race, despite being enrolled tribal members and having strong cultural connections to their Native heritage. Bernie Whitebear, the famous Native activist and founder of Daybreak Star center was Native and Philippino, and would likely not be counted as AI/AN in the OSPI reporting if he were a student today. There are examples of north-end schools where OSPI lists one AI/AN student, but there are actually 8 who are eligible for Title VII funding as AI/AN students.

If you look at the demographic data under State Reporting Rules, which break out the Hispanic ethnic category into its components, there are "355 AI/AN-Not Hispanic" at SPS, but "1,643 AI/AN Hispanic". Many of those students are probably counting indigenous Central/South American heritage, but there are also plenty of people in the native community who are mixed, say, Cowlitz and Hispanic. At Licton Springs in 2016 we officially had 10 AI/NA Not Hispanic, 5 AI/AN Hispanic, and more than 20 mixed-race students with AI/AN tribal affiliation.

506 form are another means of counting Native students, but the criteria for that has its own issues. It counts students who have a tribally enrolled parent or grandparent or are tribally enrolled themselves. However, it only counts federally recognized US tribes. Someone who is a fully enrolled "full-blood" member of a Canadian First Nation is not considered AI/AN by the US. A member of a non-recognized tribe like the Duwamish Tribe is not considered AI/AN.

So that is some of the complexity involved in counting Native students.

Lynn said...

Thank you Ragweed. I forget about the complexities in accounting for students. I wish we had an idea of the number of students who would be interested in attending a Native-focused high school. That would provide a starting point for determining where it could be located.