Here's a nice, compact, recitation of the middle school dilemma:
New Middle Schools – Part of the Student Assignment Plan discussion centers on programming at the middle school level. Large middle schools have more students (Washington and Hamilton at 1200), more staff and more electives. Medium-sized middle schools (McClure at 600) have fewer students, staff and electives. For example, a smaller middle school may have one music teacher (for both choir and band) rather than one of each. Grandfathering of rising 8th graders is either a problem or a solution depending on perspective. Students leaving a school of 1200 for one of 600 may indeed have fewer electives and therefore wish to remain at the larger school – especially during their 8th grade year. On the other hand, grandfathering may then reduce Meany and Robert Eagle Staff below 600 students making it even harder to provide programming. Again due to our budget crisis we are not able to provide added staffing to mitigate.This dilemma is discussed in detail in this excerpt from an email from staff to Director Peters:
- It is anticipated that approximately 136 students would be in 8th grade at Meany Next Year from Washington and McClure. 115 of these students would be coming from Washington and 21 would be coming from McClure.
- If the Madrona Truncation is approved, that would be another 25 students since there are 25 students in the 7th grade at Madrona.
- Combined that would make an 8th grade cohort of 161 students.
Meany is anticipated to be the smallest middle school next year. We do anticipate some growth, but part of this is because John Muir was originally planned to move from Washington to Meany, but based on community feedback from the original boundary plan, that area was recommended to remain in the Washington attendance area.
There are not mitigation funds, so the best way to ensure that Meany will be a comprehensive middle school is to ensure that it has sufficient enrollment. Grandfathering would likely prohibit that.I notice that the District does not anticipate any out-of-area students to enroll at Meany.
In the discussion of the budget crisis, the superintendent reports that "Seattle is now paying locally for 3 out of every 10 teachers". There is no mention of what portion of the administrators Seattle pays for. I'm curious to know.
Here's a little news:
Chief Sealth: Concerns have been expressed about the Mandarin dual language pathway to Chief Sealth which does not serve the SE well. High schools in the SE were contacted to see if they would be able to offer the dual language support for Mandarin. They were not able to do so at this time.I don't understand this. Why is the District ASKING the schools IF they can or want to offer dual language support for Mandarin. Why isn't the District TELLING a school, Franklin, that they WILL offer dual language support for Mandarin. And, while we're at it, why is it that Chief Sealth can do it and why, exactly can't Franklin do it? Just saying that they can't do it isn't sufficient. They have to explain why they can't because the selection of Sealth is supposed to be temporary. Franklin (or Rainier Beach) is supposed to be the long-term choice. So what needs to change so that they can offer dual language support? Also, this program placement was done completely outside of the process described in the policy. What is the program placement process anyway?
Here's a very nice summary of the Licton Springs issue:
Licton Springs: Was formerly at Pinehurst and slated for closure. In a last minute amendment (2013?), the school was saved and they were moved to Lincoln with an opportunity to grow (at Lincoln) to 300-350 students. They were allocated space for 300 but are currently at about 150 students enrolled. They are now slated to move into the new Robert Eagle Staff (RES) building and co-locate with the middle school. They are designated spaces for 150 students at RES; which is about half as much space as they now have. For the immediate future there seems to be sufficient space at RES for “some” additional seats for Licton Springs – and the opportunity to offer joint courses with Robert Eagle Staff middle school. Director Burke will offer an amendment to that effect.And the Cedar Park question:
Cost: JoLynn Berge has an analysis of what options / non-traditional schools cost to operate. Fully enrolled options schools cost at least one additional teacher ($100K). The smaller they are, the more they cost. Licton Springs is our most costly school to operate. Given the short timeline, Cedar Park is likely to be in that same 150 student enrollment range. Postponing the opening of Cedar Park could represent a cost saving of $1.5M and provide more time for planning.CSIPs issue in a nutshell:
Continuous School Improvement Plans (C-SIPS): On Tuesday, Dr. Starosky met with all of the Education Directors of Schools (EDS’) to examine and verify statements brought to the attention to Director Burke via an email he received questioning the omission of advanced learners being called out in C-SIPS. All EDS’ examined the statements for accuracy and emailed the 42 principals on Tuesday asking them to clarify and/or update their C-SIP to more accurately reflect the work their buildings are doing to address advanced learners. EDS’ directed principals to be clearer in their language and referred them to the second section entitled “We will use research based strategies that help targeted students.” Principals were also directed by EDS’, to notify them of when the changes were made so that central office staff could update the changes on the SPS website.
So I guess it's now time to review the CSIPs for specific references to services for students with disabilities. Then, after they have made those corrections I can review the CSIPs for specific references to services for ELL students. Unless, of course, someone else wants to do that work? Any takers?
The Research & Evaluation Department provided an update of active research partnerships. It included both internal and external ones. I notice that the Advanced Learning project isn't on the list. At the Curriculum and Instruction Policy Committee meeting on January 9, Stephen Martin noted that "conversations around data with Eric Anderson are already taking place to see the actual effect on student participation for those students in AL and spectrum classes". I guess those conversations do not rise to level of "active research".
There's a report on the District's difficulty finding substitutes, especially to work at schools in low-income communities. It's worth reading.
Rather than taking detailed minutes of Board meetings, the minutes will instead have links to the video record of the meeting. This will work right up until the day that the link goes dead. All of the videos are saved on YouTube. Gee. The District could monetize this by putting ads on the videos.