Thursday, January 12, 2017

Cedar Park Info Meeting

Update: from North End Mom,

The Cedar Park Planning planning meeting announcement has been updated. Cedar Park will be opening as an Expeditionary Learning Focus School! I don't recall Expeditionary Learning being discussed as one of the possible options during the meeting back in December???

The new announcement:

Cedar Park will be opening in the fall of 2017 as an Expeditionary Learning focus school. Come learn more about Expeditionary Learning and what it has to offer (http://eleducation.org/). Let’s start planning for the opening of an AMAZING school. Bring your best ideas about how we can start Cedar Park with a BANG! We can do it!

Who: We need YOU All parents, guardians and interested community members are welcome!


Fascinating how this school just morphs from thing to thing.

end of update 

Given that even opening Cedar Park seems to be in doubt (at least if you were at the budget part of yesterday's Work Session and saw not Cedar Park opening listed as a possible cost savings.)

What even more curious is the day and time.  It's January 20th at 12:30 pm.  A Friday in the middle of the day.  Curious.

From SPS:

Come learn about the latest updates for Cedar Park Elementary.  Let’s start planning for the opening of an AMAZING school.  Bring your best ideas about how we can start Cedar Park with a BANG! We can do it!
Who: We need YOU All parents, guardians and interested community members are welcome!
Date: January 20, 2017
Time: 12:30-2:00
Where: Cedar Park Elementary staff room (13224 37th Ave NE)

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

Cedar Park?

There is no "there" there.

Olympic Hills has a strong principal and a brand new gorgeous facility. John Rogers is a guaranteed seat, and has a cohesive community. Good luck enticing OH or JR families away from their respective schools to move to the unknown which won't have mitigation dollars or even strong facilities: Rogers already has 5 portables, so why would families move to a school that has 8? Plus. Hazel Wolf is the "go to" local option school with great advanced learning that is very desirable and hyper popular. No way will Cedar Park be able to compete for families when Hazel Wolf is in the same service area.

But deploying Cedar Park NOW, with its clear lack of competitive advantage, what was the district thinking? It is not even needed. Actually, this one has to be laid at the foot of the Board, not the district, because the district was recommending delaying it.

The district, trying to make up a $74 million budget gap, recommended not opening Cedar Park, that would have saved $1.5 million per year. Plus, as the district clearly stated, there is NO NEED for this option school because Olympic Hills is opening with 300 empty seats. Yes, John Rogers is over crowded, but then, do a boundary change and fix the problem, don't open a whole new school!

The board? Was it folly or arrogance that drove them to this? So disappointing. This should have been an easy one for them to grasp.

If kids don't get new English Language Arts materials (it has been 20 years) because the board can't find other cuts to make to fill that enormous budget gap, but, some how prioritized the opening of this option school in an area that doesn't need it, they are going to have to take some heat come election time.

The depressing part is this is a good board! But, they couldn't act responsibly when it came to this facility, when even the go-go capital department knew it shouldn't be opened.

Cedar Park is destined to be a lead balloon.

Every family in this district knows far too well by now that regardless of whatever earnest promises the boots-on-the-ground make to them to woo them away from John Rogers, come Sept. 15th, it will be like, "What, we said that (name the promise, STEM, project based learning, expeditionary education... etc)??1? Huh? Oh, well, enrollment numbers are down, so we are pulling teachers, and, we won't be allowing you to switch back to Rogers..."

Bless anyone whose got the faith in SPS to execute, but, man, fool me once, shame on me, fool me twice...

NO THANKYOU

Anonymous said...

Cedar Park is not a lead balloon. The only lead balloon is that district staff (including the CP principal, who wants a different job not at an option school) have not put much elbow grease into planning or filling CP. There has been limited outreach so far by principal Fauntleroy. She says she doesn't want to remain at Cedar Park, and it's pretty clear to many community members that that's the case. Nothing, no handouts/fliers/brochures ever sent by her in kidmail at the area schools. That is significant especially for families that don't speak English-- backpacks are great ways to give out translated info about schools. As I have gone in and out of our school I have never seen her. I wonder how much time she actually spends at Cedar Park where almost all the families that would go there are currently attending. And the community meeting she did have was sorely disappointing with no drive or eagerness from her to turn the crank and get things moving. Very few non-English speaking families because she did not get the word out through expected channels like kidmail. I had really high hopes because she comes off at initially as really collaborative. But since September it's been really clear to me she is more interested in advancement in the district and in politics. This holding a mid-day meeting is more of the same. I can't come to that. Why can't she hold an evening meeting?

To the poster above who is complaining about budget and CP-- just remember, the alternative was an attendance area school at a site completely poorly suited for it, woukd've crammed lots of kids in poverty there. I would have been ok with the Board waiting a year to open it to give better opportunity to plan, but opening as an option in 2017 is far better than the attendance area school.

Was excited

Anonymous said...

There was some talk early on of having Cedar Park learn from/maybe adopt the Hazel Wolf model -- this would actually make it VERY attractive, because unless you are in the walk zone for HW there is very little chance of getting in now that it is in its new facility. There were something like 100 kids on the K wait list at HW this year. There were over 40 for G6-- my daughter started at #1 on the G6 waitlist, got bumped down to #3 two weeks in, and then we eventually got offered a place in early July. We were in the walk zone -- just 3 blocks from the school.

The Pinehurst neighborhood had one of the highest rates of property value increase in Seattle (and therefore the nation) in 2015. I can't help but think part of that was families wanting to be in the HW walk zone.

LakeCityMom

Anonymous said...

PS: The cynic in me is guessing that the timing of this meeting is very deliberate. Most working families cannot attend a mid-week, mid-day meeting. Low turnout = evidence of no interest = reason to shut the plan down.

LakeCityMom

Anonymous said...

I know a few excellent Assistant Principals who could step in and rock that Cedar Park scene...especially considering the proposed budget cuts.

Fix AL

Anonymous said...

@ No Thankyou

John Rogers will have as many portables as Cedar Park (or more!) soon, since the building is already over-enrolled and enrollment has been steadily growing. Families living in the John Rogers attendance area have a very slim chance of getting into Hazel Wolf now, as the Hazel Wolf geo-zone was moved to the other side of Lake City Way a few years ago. Thornton Creek was a popular draw for the John Rogers area, but since the implementation of geo-zones, Thornton Creek is not really an option.

The John Rogers building is in extreme disrepair. In my opinion, the best use for Cedar Park would be as an interim site for a John Rogers rebuild. The John Rogers community advocated hard for this, but we were told that funding wouldn't be available until BEXV.

An option school at Cedar Park will hopefully provide some enrollment relief for John Rogers until a new, larger facility can be built. Reducing the John Rogers attendance area is another possible solution, but there wasn't time in this round of Growth Boundaries discussions to come up with a new plan and do the necessary community engagement.

There were several reasons why an option school at Cedar Park was better than opening it as an attendance area school. The Cedar Park boundaries would have resulted in an extremely high poverty school, established school communities across the north-end (including several Title 1 schools) would have been split and reconfigured in order to squeeze in the Cedar Park attendance area, and site itself is completely built out, with no room to accommodate growth in the attendance area (and there are lots of new housing units planned for the area around Cedar Park).

Not drawing boundaries around Cedar Park was the right thing to do. The Board avoided triggering geo-splits of nearly 900 elementary school students across the north end.

There was about one month between the Board action to make Cedar Park an option school and the first community meeting (mid-December). During this time, staff were pitching Cedar Park to the Licton Springs community. Almost another month later, and SPS staff are proposing to delay the opening of the school. The more they drag their feet, the more (apparently non-existent) mitigation funds will be needed if the school does, indeed, open next fall.

-North-end Mom

Anonymous said...



Cedar Park would be terrible as an attendance area school because it would super-concentrate students coming from the ultra-affordable low-incoming housing given its geograpy of being tucked into the extreme NE corner of the city. I would never advocate for it to become one!

My point was that it should open period.

It is unneeded.

And, worse than being unneeded, it comes at a time of extreme budget duress.

So, the board is opening up an unneeded school when they have no dollars to invest to help it launch. And, they are doing it to relieve John Rogers, but, the Rogers community has the district's number and won't buy in so easily to promises that can easily be broken within weeks of their utterance. JR feeds to JAMS, and, JAMS had their first year mitigation dollars reduced their first year, and, the second year, had those promised mitigation dollars severly cut as well. JAMS may have made it work, but, it certainly shows how the district operates and how they renig on their promises. They have proven themselves to be untrustworthy consistently, so, it is amusing to me if they think they can seriously recruit Rogers families to throw their lot in with an unknown principal and unhired staff into an unfunded mandate. Per Melissa's BEX IV post, Cedar Park has no budget for program which is what all the other new buildings get from their capital budget for their start up year. It is a mess in the making. Lead balloon.

So yes, I am relieved that the terrible idea of an attendance area school was shelved. That would have been inequitable. However, magically changing it into an option school won't make it any better unless there is something really great about it, and, that takes dollars, especially in a start-up year, and, this district is out of dollars.

The elephant in the room is a gigantic 'white elephant'. Call me a cynic, but I think it behooves families like ours who have been burned by the district's empty promises to not be silent, because younger families might not know the unbroken history of broken promises the district makes. We are staying far away from this one. If, say, only 60 kids sign up, what is the district going to do? Open it anyway? Are they going to hang those families out to dry? There is a battle brewing between the board and the district on this one, and, I personally wouldn't want my kids stuck in no man's land while those two duke it out. Stick with the safe bet: the proven communities with strong faculty and track records. Taking a gamble on this just does not make any sense when your kid will be the one to pay the price.

Cedar Park was rehabbed to be an interim space. That is what it should remain until Olympic Hills is full or John Rogers' families want it opened as evidence by voting with their feet.

NO THANKYOU


Anonymous said...

ugh, typo

Should have said that my point is that it should NOT open, as it is NOT needed period.

NO THANKYOU

Anonymous said...

Percent increase in property values is a function of the previous price, which for Pinehurst was still on the lower side compared to the rest of north Seattle. As one of the last affordable places (along with the Lake City area) it is no surprise the price increases, on a percentage basis, may be on the high side.

basic math

Anonymous said...

If Cedar Park really isn't needed next year, could they delay opening it and put the savings towards paying for two-tiered busing? We really need two-tiered busing.

tired mom

Cedar park potential parent said...

Why is this meeting in the middle of the day on a weekday? On Inauguration Day?! Come on, it's asking for poor attendance.

Anonymous said...

2nd try, internet ate it. Parents have been asking Ms. Faunteroy to hold design meetings for over 4 months. She finally had one in December. I started with the highest opinion of her and I now am pretty disappointed. She has said outright she does not want the job and it's frustrating and disappointing to watch time slip away with no planning or outreach. No kidmail even about the 1/20 meeting! For families who don't speak English a translated flyer in a backpack is completely indispensable. I wish Ms Fauntleroy the best of luck in her job search but hope it is far from this corner of the city where she has burned bridges by doing minimal outreach and planning.

CP

Anonymous said...

Another example of Principals running the show in SPS. Disappointing! I had high hopes for CP and the far NNE. This is what they asked for, but apparently the principal decided she wanted something else for the community. Sounds a lot like a few other ALO schools I know. Bummer.

Fix AL

Anonymous said...

The Cedar Park Planning planning meeting announcement has been updated. Cedar Park will be opening as an Expeditionary Learning Focus School! I don't recall Expeditionary Learning being discussed as one of the possible options during the meeting back in December???

The new announcement:

Cedar Park will be opening in the fall of 2017 as an Expeditionary Learning focus school. Come learn more about Expeditionary Learning and what it has to offer (http://eleducation.org/). Let’s start planning for the opening of an AMAZING school. Bring your best ideas about how we can start Cedar Park with a BANG! We can do it!

Who: We need YOU All parents, guardians and interested community members are welcome!

-North-end Mom

Disappointed parent said...

Expeditionary Learning? Seriously?! We have Thornton Creek a few miles away that just doubled its capacity. They are never gonna be able to enroll enough kids at Cedar Park. They should have done something that can really address the opportunity gap.

Anonymous said...

Thornton Creek may be a few miles away, but its geo-zone is south of 95th, and its transportation zone doesn't include the Jane Addams MS Service Area, so it isn't an option for most families living near Cedar Park. Thornton Creek had grown to about three classrooms per grade, and the additional space in the new building allows for 4 classrooms per grade, so they didn't really double their capacity. Given the popularity of Thornton Creek, I think expeditionary learning could be a popular draw. There are multi-family housing complexes going up on both sides of the Seattle/Shoreline border near Cedar Park, so it is possible that SPS could gain some out-of-district students by opening Cedar Park.

After looking at the EL Education website, I think the main challenge will be cutting through all the edu-jargon and presenting concise, easy to understand information about what the school will offer. It will be especially important to provide translated information about the school to ELL families. They should absolutely hold an additional kindergarten registration event in the Lake City area, now that there has been a curriculum determined for Cedar Park.

-North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

I echo North End mom-- there MUST be translated materials sent home thru kidmail at John Rogers and Olympic Hills that describe Cedar Park and Expeditionary Learning. And there MUST be CP "tours." It's ok that Olympic Hills kids and staff are there. CP families MUST have a chance to see the site with kids in it. That's the only way families can imagine themselves there. I am pretty sure Olympic Hills community would be ok with that (since the bast majority of CP geozone in their attendance area). Olympic Hills, John Rogers, and all other area schools have publicized school tours and have dates ready to go. Even if it is framed as Ms. Fauntleroy playing catch-up after board meetings, there is no excuse for not having set tour dates now that yet again nearly another week has elapsed. Please, Ms. Fauntleroy, act ASAP and set school tour dates at the school, as well as have a night event at CP where enrollment staff come and families can register.

CP

Anonymous said...

Sacajawea's attendance area (and part of Olympic View's?) is within the JAMS Service Area, which will presumably be in Cedar Park's transportation zone, so these school communities should be reached out to, as well. Flyers should also go out to all the local preschools.

-North-end Mom

Melissa Westbrook said...

Well, I let the Board know about the timing of the meeting and now, the focus of the school. I included some remarks here because I thought them pertinent, including the formal notice to parents in multiple languages.

Let's see if the Board follows thru.

Anonymous said...



"There's a sucker born every minute"

How apropos to quote Barnum and Bailey ringmaster, when, that circus just announced that after 146 years, they are shutting down. But, alas, the conveyor belt of suckers appears to be endless.


It is funny, no, that I guessed at the gobbledygook the district might try and trot out to sell this white elephant, expeditionary learning?! Ha ha. It would be funny if it wasn't so sad and so utterly predictable. Really, predictable. As in I put it in my comment above as one of the possible 'suspects'. I didn't put Montessori or Language Immersion, because those things are actually visible and obvious as to whether a school is delivering them or not. If this district actually cared about equity of access, Cedar Park would be the perfect place for an all Montessori K5, because the geozone would get first crack at it, and, that skews to poor and underserved populations, so they would get to be first in line if they so desired this popular and effective pedagogy.

Why is the district claiming the Expeditionary Learning branding? Because it is cheap and easy to say so, and, the delivery will be 'bullet proof' because you can't really audit this one. Which makes it less that cheap, it makes it no cost! District is gonna therefore go with the no-cost option. Just sex-up the label on the can of generic chow and call it good. So, the district is saying this school is "gonna be like Thornton Creek", yeah! Yippee! Except, it is not. Not even close.

Let us review. What is real expeditionary learning? What does it look like?

200 field trips in a single year. The world as your child's classroom.

Really.

200.

AE #2 focuses on interactive learning and multicultural education. In its first year at Decatur, the K–5 pupils took nearly 200 field trips, exemplifying AE #2s view that “the world is our classroom.” (source: Buildings for Learning)


You think Cedar Park is going to pull that off? Ha ha.

So, what Cedar Park families are going to get is an empty title. That's it, folks. Nothing much to see, nothing to experience. You think a Cedar Park community will have PTA powerhouse in the first year to get the grants and money necessary to fund 50 field trips, let alone 200?

Thornton Creek doesn't even do that any more. Gone are the days when there was that fantastic Egypt unit, and, the field was used to simulate an archeology hunt. The sad truth is that as fantastic as Thornton Creek aka AE#2 is, it is no where near what it use to be. Still though, it has an AMAZING principal, the star of the district, who LOVES kids and their families and his teachers. He really is 'all that'. He is the reason Thornton Creek has thrived despite all the district's nonsense.

What kind of principal is Cedar Park going to get??? And, they want families to sign up during open enrollment before one is even hired?

It is wrong to do a hard sell to young families who are the most culturally diverse and have the most to loose. They won't see this coming. Not because they are naive, but, because some cultures have an embedded trust of authority, so they believe in good faith what they are being told.

Caveat emptor

Really, if you have a good conscious, you must speak out so families don't migrate to this unproven, and no doubt unfunded, white elephant. And, if you do go, don't you dare complain about broken promises. Because, you've been told in no uncertain terms what this is really going to be. A struggling school that the district will forget about the second its doors are opened. Honestly, if a school like John Rogers struggles to fund instrumental music and a counsellor, how the heck do you think Cedar Park is going to fare?

NO THANKYOU

Anonymous said...

NO THANKYOU -

Where are you getting your information that the seats at Cedar Park aren't needed next year?

I couldn't find enrollment projections on the SPS website that are based upon the board vote (Cedar Park as an option school, not an attendance area school with geo-splits from John Rogers and Olympic Hills). I'm wondering what the enrollment projections are for next year for John Rogers and Olympic Hills with their current boundaries (with and without Cedar Park as an option school). Was this information presented as part of the budget discussion around not opening Cedar Park next year?

LC Parent

Anonymous said...


@LC


Olympic Hills TODAY has 349 students. They are moving into a building for 660 students, and, that 660 does NOT include the preschool spaces for the preschool kids (OH currently has 39 preK students). Even if they get some Olympic View attendance area through boundary adjustment (the board said they were going to revisit OV boundaries, but not necessarily what they were going to change), that is 660-349= 311 extra seats!

Just FYI, John Rogers has 365 students today, in a building rated for 453 students (that includes the fact that they had 5 portables). They have no preschool kids. They had 16 homerooms worth of kids. Physically, that building has 14 homerooms plus a library, gym, cafe, stage.

So yes, even if there was some kind of boundary adjustment from Rogers to OH (NOT advocating for this!!), there would still be left over seats at OH, which means that the Cedar Park facility is just not needed right now as a school. As an interim site to run BEX V, yes. But, as a school, no.

Keep in mind, when school populations shrink, resources go away from those schools. Ask Sacagawea what it has been like to get resources for things as vital as a reading interventionalist for their school of 247 K5 students.

So yes, with the new and excellent capacity in the new building at Olympic Hills, which is next door to Cedar Park, Cedar Park is not necessary. That is why the district said they didn't want to open it now, and that they wanted to say the $1.5 million additional dollars it is going to cost to have it operate (above the cost of teacher FTE, which they have to pay for regardless).

That is why Cedar Park is a white elephant. It is simply not needed. And, in a cash strapped district, opening it now means it really won't get ANY mitigation dollars whatsoever, so, the quality of any program that goes in there is questionable. It takes dollars to start up and school and get it off to a great start. Cedar Park won't be getting a dime.

NO THANKYOU

Anonymous said...

You need to revisit your claim that John Rogers, as currently configured, has room for 453 kids (with portables). Maybe if you took away all PCP space and the library...but I'm sure you would agree that it would not be a very functional school under those circumstances.

-North-end Mom

Anonymous said...


It is not my "claim". It is the district's. Per their standard and consistent capacity calculation, that is the number. Just like View Ridge's capacity number is 608, but in fact they only have 28 physical rooms plus stage, library, gym and lunchroom. They had 33 classrooms worth of kids, though. And their capacity calculation has 7 portables. So, while John Rogers has 2 excess homeroom worth of kids (hence the 5 portables), View Ridge has 5 excess homerooms worth of kids compared to homerooms physically in the building (hence they have 7 portables). Keep in mind, the need for PCP space goes up with enrollment, which means big schools get further compressed. It is pain all over the northeast, but, Cedar Park won't help any of that, because that location is NOT where the space is needed (Olympic Hills has those extra 300 seats, so, 300 more seats at Cedar Park at not going to relieve anything).

Anyway, the point is because Cedar Park is surplus, it would suck if real families sign up in good faith to go there, stick out a so-so first year when educational adequacy was below the mark because the district gave them nothing to help boot strap up, and then suddenly in the subsequent year closed the school because they didn't have the money to keep running it and it was so badly undersubscribed and they had 300 excess empty seats next door in Olympic Hills. Yeah. That could happen. I would not put it past this district to close something that dragged on the budget, given the real problems of the operating budget.

So as I said, caveat emptor. If you want to go, go, and hope it works out. But personally, given the history of this district for breaking promises and reversing direction mid-sentence, there is no way I'd ever send my kids to that for its first year. Far wiser to stick with the school communities who are already doing a great job with kids with principals who have shown their long-term commitment to the community they serve than to leap, on blind faith, into this building and hope for the best and hope the district isn't merely doing a bait-and-switch with the 'expeditionary learning' branding.


NO THANKYOU

Anonymous said...

FYI
John Rogers (current) building usage:
16 homerooms
1 PCP classroom plus the gym
1 Resource Room
1 ACCESS room

Of the 5 portable classrooms, 3 are used as homerooms, one is used as the resource room, and a very old portable is used for music (PCP). To make the numbers work, there are currently four 4/5 splits and a 2/3 split. With more splits and with each classroom at 28-29 kids you could squeeze 450 kids into the site, but that doesn't sound like much fun, especially for a Title 1 school with a significant Sped and ELL population.

There is room for more portables, but that would require an expansion of the schools electrical capacity.

-North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

I forgot to mention...John Rogers has 14 interior classrooms and the 5 portables, for a total of 19 classrooms. I remember seeing a District document (spreadsheet) where it tallied 16 interior classrooms at John Rogers, but this count is incorrect. Two classroom spaces were used to make the library (back when the building opened in the 1950s). If there is a 453 capacity number being used for John Rogers, then perhaps it was from the document with the incorrect number of interior classrooms?

-North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

@NO THANKYOU

If you are still reading this thread, please tell me where you found the 453 student capacity number for John Rogers. I looked at two documents on the SPS Capacity Management Task Force webpage. The Room Use Data Sheet for John Rogers gives a capacity of 403 students, and the School Space and Capacity Spread Sheet gives a max capacity of 400 (340 with K-3 class size reductions).

I know the building well. There are no empty classrooms, and every nook and cranny is utilized with its current enrollment of 360+ students.

Thanks.

North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

Did I miss something? I thought Ms Dedy was the future principal for cedar park. Why is there now a principal hiring committee for this school?

Cedar park

Anonymous said...

@Cedar park

Ms. Dedy is still working as the planning principal for Cedar Park. At the December community meeting, she said she wanted to work at a neighborhood school. It didn't sound like she plans to continue on with Cedar Park as an option school, and this is what I heard back from parents who attended the kindergarten fair at the Lake City Library. If a new principal is to be hired, I hope there is an opportunity for parents to join the hiring team. It would be great to have that level of community involvement in the process of setting up a new school.

-North-end Mom