Wednesday, January 04, 2017

School Board Meeting Open Thread

I'm just diving in (I bypassed the annual report on the Native American program but will come back to it.). Listening to the Superitendent, he is talking about the budget and the cuts that will need to be made.

He said beyond staff that things that are thought of as regular-type items in the district like "dual language and Options schools" might be on the chopping block.  I am baffled at this, both from a logistics point of view and given that the district has never really explained the extra expense from either type of program.

He said there would be a Board Work Session on the budget on January 11th.  Feb.11th is the date schools will be notified about staffing cuts.  The Legislature starts its work this Monday.


He makes a good point that this "crisis" is manufactured by the Legislature because yes, voters already DID approve those dollars and it's the State that has now decided to enforce the change date for a levy at that level.

He points out that SPS is getting dinged for giving the salary increases and he "begs to differ."  He looked back over 17 years and State has promised to take care of salaries and COLAs and they have not.  I definitely agree on the teachers' raises but the COLAS for JSCEE staff, including the Superintendent's, could have waited another year.

I agree with the Superintendent about the urgency of getting this message out and he said that they would be meeting with the Chamber of Commerce (and thanked the SCPTSA for their help with the budget meetings.)

On "hot topics," he said they want to protect the Eliminating Opportunity Gaps work as much as possible.  That's fine except there has been no fine detail as to what exactly is the substance of that work. He said there is also less space for childcare and pre-K space.

He mentioned professional development for teachers for the arts over the next summer.

The City Council approved a $250K grant for the district in support of undocumented families and students.

He referenced the number of speakers at the meeting signed up to talk about the SAP and the Board was to have a discussion around it.  He said there would be discussion to "delay action" on this item at the meeting. He said they could delay until next Wednesday at the latest.

Director Burke, in his comments, said he would be announcing another meeting to talk about the reopening of Lincoln High.

Director Blanford has cancelled his district meeting for this Saturday due to a death in the family and will try to reschedule.

There was heartfelt testimony on grandfathering rising 8th graders affected by middle school reopenings.  I do think the point of no real solid numbers on transportation costs was a good one.

The Board discussed waiting until next Wednesday to have a Work Session on the SAP.  An audience member asked if he could make a query which legal counsel Noel Treat said was not usual but President Peters said yes.  The audience member said a Work Session does not allow for public input when they make the decision.  Treat said that was up to the Board but could choose to do so.

Peters explained why the delay made sense but that they do need to move forward but with the best information and ramifications of amendments possible.

Burke asked staff for outcomes of a delay. The Superintendent said a week delay would be okay but they wanted the Board to have the best info.

Blanford asked if the vote would be cast at Work Session but Superintendent said no.   The meeting would be cast as a "special meeting" but they could vote then if they choose to.  The vote to delay was 5-0-1 with Burke abstaining. (Harris had left the meeting, probably due to illness.)


90 comments:

Anonymous said...

This from page 4 of 12/4 board retreat minutes:

"Dir. Harris spoke about truncating K-8 schools, and how we “sell” our K-8 schools in the community."

And now the sup's comment tonight.

Seriously? I feel like a truck just hit me.


Audra

Anonymous said...

Does Professional Development for teachers over the summer = art teachers on the chopping block?

How would an Option School suddenly go away, and other than transportation how are they more expensive?

-StepJ

Robert Cruickshank said...

"He makes a good point that this "crisis" is manufactured by the Legislature because yes, voters already DID approve those dollars and it's the State that has now decided to enforce the change date for a levy at that level."

Then SPS needs to stop planning for budget cuts. And community members need to stop treating cuts like they are either inevitable or acceptable. I'm tired of us being told that "sorry, the money isn't there, kids have to suffer." At what point do we reject that horrible thinking and stand up and tell SPS and the legislature to fully fund our schools?

These cuts are immoral and unacceptable and it is our duty to prevent them from ever happening.

Anonymous said...

I agree, Robert, and I will definitely be in Olympia on MLK Day and have contacted all of my legislators. I really resent having to spend my time begging elected representatives to do what they have already been told over and over to do.

Audra

Anonymous said...

If dual language schools suddenly become regular schools, how is that cheaper? At JSIS, for example, they'd RIF most of the IAs, but those are funded by parents already. The geozone is small so most don't get transportation, either. They might be able to stuff a few more kids in some classrooms, but they'd also have to buy new textbooks and teaching materials for the whole school.

Converting option and dual language schools would also mean they'd have to redraw all the boundaries again. With the amount of time we spend on that process it can't be cheap.

Half Full

Watching said...

80% of the district's budget goes towards funding staff.

The superintendent states there will be a 10% across the board budget cut. That leaves 10% discretionary dollars.

WallyMom said...

The district can't point to extra expenses for International schools because there aren't any that they can find - they don't have the data to back it up. I serve on the Immersion task force, that has been a question from day one, does Immersion cost more than regular neighborhood schools? If so how much and why? The district staff could not provide any data either way. It is a myth that SPS is providing all these extra things for Immersion schools

Watching said...

I hope the district provides a budget that includes levy funding. These are voter approved dollars.

HCC Parent said...

Hamilton students are being asked to move to Eagle Staff. Are these HCC students? Geary appears unwilling to offer self contained classes. There is a discussion about including needs of advanced learners in CSIP. What assurances does the district provide in offering Advanced Learning to HCC students at Eagle Staff??

Lynn said...

Immersion schools and small option schools require extra staffing. Licton Springs for example has only around 150 students this year but has apparently nine classroom teachers because they're guaranteed one per grade. This is the reason they're truncating Madrona from a K-8 to a K-5. They were allocated two students per middle school grade even when there were fewer than 30 students in a grade. The immersion schools lose students over the years and can't replace them, which results in smaller class sizes in upper grades. A neighborhood school with small fourth and fifth grade classes would lose a teacher and be required to have split grade classrooms. This doesn't happen at immersion schools.

Anonymous said...

There was physical revulsion present during Director Geary's statement against self-contained HCC. It brought to mind Madeline Kahn in Clue. The flames.

Anonymous said...

Pray tell WTF are these students being Immersed in? A higher level of obsolete progressive indoctrination?

Do you think a physical coup d'etat is in order, I mean should these elitist pro HCC members be removed by force from the board?

When do you think Burke will get us back to learning?

Ding the bell, Tik Tok, here comes you know who to the rescue...wait for it____

Still Waiting

WallyMom said...

@Lynn

Immersion schools will also implement split classes to correct for smaller class sizes on the English side or overages (more than 30 kids per classroom). Last year mitigation gave some schools that faced those issues a reprieve (when the District found those 10 million in pocket change they didn't know they had).
That said it might be more efficient to have dual language schools with just one language.

Anonymous said...

Director Geary doesn't represent her constituents.

Move Jill

Anonymous said...

"That said it might be more efficient to have dual language schools with just one language."

Are you sure you know what you're taking about?

Do you know the meaning of dual.

Just Askin

WallyMom said...

@Lynn

And by one language I meant only Spanish-English or one school with just Japanese-English

Anonymous said...

@Move Jill

Pardon me, but do you have any gray poupon.

Just Askin

Anonymous said...

Why would someone need to learn Japanese?

Just Askin

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

Jill Geary ran for school board promising to fight for the needs of 2E kids. If she thinks that she can sell those kids out now that she's on the board, she's got another thing coming. The public isn't going to tolerate her lying to HCC parents in 2015 so she can get elected and screw them and their kids in 2017.

Sand Pointer

Anonymous said...

Wow, Chucklaka. Thanks for showing your hand. Now leave, please.

Grown up

Anonymous said...

@ Lynn, Wally Mom is correct. You can implement split grades in immersion if needed, just as you can in non-immersion.

It potentially saves money to have only two primary instructional languages instead of the current three, because you'd have a little more flexibility in combing classes when needed. Materials costs would also be a little lower, too, since you wouldn't need both Spanish and Japanese (or whatever language) of everything. But the overall $ savings might not be great. (I'd argue the benefit to overall school cohesiveness would be a better reason to make that particular change, and it would allow for a more immersive experience.)

Half Full

Eric M said...

Chucklaka, I'm gonna ask you to keep your ugly racist un-American drippings inside your own bat cave. This blog is for grownups who respect ideas and languages.

Charlie Mas said...

If it doesn't cost anything to provide dual language instruction, then why can't Franklin offer it in 2017-2018?

If it does cost money, then why can Chief Sealth add Mandarin Chinese for 2017-2018?

Anonymous said...

@sandpoint-Geary doesn't give a rip about 2e or HCC. She wants kids to go back to their neighborhood schools.

Bryant would Burst! Sandpoint would be happy. Think about who she hears from.

Wishing Well

Anonymous said...

Jill did not run for 2e. She briefly mentioned it. She did say she would represent the district and make decisions that where best for the district as a whole.

Pay attention

Anonymous said...

I don't think we should be up in arms that option schools have smaller class sizes. I think we should be saying "Great for them. Now how can we ensure this happens at every school?"

Once more the district is putting forth a straw man to keep up the infighting among parents so we are too disorganized to fight for meaningful change. Better funding for all schools. Less money spent on pointless standardized tests for kindergarteners. Less money allocated to central office so that more money can be channeled directly to the schools.

NW MOM

Po3 said...

Aren't the Center School and Cleveland HS options schools? Does that mean two high schools may close?

ConcernedParent said...

FYI - The immersion schools are already blending when they can Two years ago, JSIS had a split 4th-5th class and last year my daughter was in a classroom of 34 because having two separate classes would have been too small. They have blended both in the immersion language classrooms and in the english classrooms and have made the system work as they have had to.
Before we all start suggesting solutions, we should have accurate information on what is going on in the schools from the people who are in them.

In general, I don't think that the issue is really that any one program costs more than another (though I don't think resources are equitably dispersed either). The issue is that our government is failing on something we have asked it to do.

Just Sayin'

Anonymous said...

Obviously the Spanish comment was a joke. Wow people need to lighten up and see a few movies. You know movies where people don't take everything so literal.

Super Predator

Melissa Westbrook said...

Reprinting for Anonymous (no anonymous comments; please give yourself a name per our comments policy):

"There was physical revulsion present during Director Geary's statement against self-contained HCC. It brought to mind Madeline Kahn in Clue. The flames."

Still Waiting, who is "pro-HCC" on the Board? Because the only person who sometimes says anything is Peters.

Geary did run on Special Education including 2e.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Super Predator, you can find that remark in Spanish as you will; most of us thought it racist.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but you are wrong about Geary's campaign positions.

JHC just read her comments on your own blog.

Flip Flopping

Anonymous said...

Geary didn't say she wanted to dismantle HCC, she said she couldn't stomach another self contained school and wants to untangle the reasons people are leaving their neighborhood school for HCC. I took this to mean she understands that not everyone who is in HCC wants to be there, but they are not getting what they need at the neighborhood school. Great point! Is anything going to come of it that is productive, besides the typical railing on HCC and 2e and highly gifted advocates defending their needs? I doubt it.

Fix AL

Anonymous said...

Not until everyone is swimming in the same dirty pool water will the swimmers all agree the water needs some attention.

This sums up public education. Like it or not nothing will change until you all jump into the pool together.

--MJ

Lynn said...

You can see on page 51 of this Board Retreat Agenda that every dual language school is allocated one additional teacher. IB and Montessori programs also receive extra funding. The small K-8 schools require the most extra staff (Licton Springs 4 FTE, Madrona 3.5 FTE and Orca 3.5 FTE).

I think limiting the dual immersion schools to one target language would be a good idea but it doesn't solve another problem - the difficulty the district has with hiring world language teachers. Every year Garfield students sit in classes with substitute teachers for weeks while the school scrambles to find another Spanish teacher. They're in short supply now and next year's freshman will be the first required to pass two years of world language classes in order to graduate.

I'm not sure it makes sense to hire teachers with a valuable skill set for optional programs when they're desperately needed to help students meet graduation requirements.

Did anyone else hear Ashley Davies say last night that Chief Sealth will only be the pathway school for SE language immersion students for one year? What are they going to do - move the students back to Franklin or Rainier Beach for their sophomore year once they've convinced one of those principals to host the program?

Anonymous said...

Leave it to you to conflate a humorous line from a famous movie with racism.


Super Predator

Melissa Westbrook said...

Lynn, thank you for this info. I was led to believe that dual language only got some funding the first couple of years but had not heard about an additional teacher. Whether small schools are K-8 or not, they generally cost more but with the extra grades, I would assume K-8 would be higher.

Super, what film is that?

Anonymous said...

I do wonder if the Supt. mentioning the elimination of Option and LI schools is his way of yelling 'Squirrel' to divert attention from something even more onerous.

-StepJ

Anonymous said...

I am beginning to wonder if the GOP lawmakers in WA state are using the levy cliff to force charter schools on Seattle. Seattle's Option Schools and special programs have always been pointed out for why we don't need charters in Seattle. We already have options that are well loved. If the levy cliff wipes out all those options, how many charter schools will pop up to take their place? Maybe Seattle's option schools are being snuffed out on purpose.

HP

Anonymous said...

I was talking with other parents this morning about the amendment to redirect Greenwood kids from Robert Eaglestaff Middle School to Whitman today. We all shared a general sense of frustration about this change and feel like the board and district have not done a good job of letting us know about this until it is probably too late to determine an accurate picture of how affected families feel about the proposed change.

One parent raised a question I am curious to vet here concerning if Director Pinkham should be abstaining from sponsoring and voting on this amendment. Apparently his wife is on the board of directors of an organization that has been advocating for space for a Native American education program to be set aside at REMS. Her organization would likely be providing services for the program. So Director Pinkham is proposing an amendment that could potentially benefit his wife's organization.

I did a quick google search and found that his wife is on the board of the UNEA and they have been lobbying for this space. What I cannot confirm is if they would be providing services and getting paid for said program, but it appears they did in the past.

Does anyone know more about this? As presented to me, it looks like it would constitute a conflict of interest but I don't know the school board rules on these ethical matters. If there is no opportunity for public testimony next Wednesday, is there any way to raise this concern with the board?

- Greenwood Mom

Anonymous said...

Why go after Pinkham? Patu has done similar things in the past. Why does she get a free pass and you go after Pinkham.

Just askin

Melissa Westbrook said...

Just Askin, c'mon. No one is "going after" anyone. It's raising a valid question. That it didn't get raised (probably because no one knew) with Patu, should not give anyone pause to not ask the question.

Greenwood Mom, I would query Legal on this.

Anonymous said...

How exactly is LS going to operate inside the same building as RESMS. Are there going to be different building rules for each school? Will LS be physically segregated off from RESMS?

There is some known animosity towards non native people by some natives especially when it come to education and authority over them by non natives. I hope this comes out right, I not being anti native just trying to understand all the dynamics my non native student might encounter at RESMS.

RESMS Parent

Anonymous said...

No, obviously she spent time investigating the Pinkhams, but she should have waited until she knew for a fact there was a conflict, but she chose to broadcast it here.

Just Askin

Charlie Mas said...

@Just Askin,
What was broadcasted was a question. You know, just asking. If there is a conflict of interest it should be brought to light. If there is no conflict that will come out in discussion.

Are you, Just Askin, saying that there is not a conflict, or are you saying that the question shouldn't be discussed until someone can bring irrefutable proof of a conflict? You haven't provided any reason to dismiss the concern, so that leaves us with thinking that your moniker is highly ironic.

Anonymous said...

Though the NW continues to be mired in how Eaglestaff is going to roll out, the greater issue for every parent in this district is seemingly the horrible news that Olympia isn't budging on slow-walking school funding. Having had time to look up some of the links posted by other readers there is alarming news about cuts that I don't feel blog readers, let alone the SPS parent community, is appreciating. Sure, cutting downtown paperpushers will happen, but our schools are about to get hit hard. Very very hard. Support staff gone. Split classes back. Counselors, school administrative staff, librarians slashed. Pink slips to newest teachers will be devastating, because even if Levy Cliff dollars appear later in the year, these teachers are going to be looking to secure other jobs immediately. That's upheaval and staff movement in most of our schools, I'd guess.

Principal discretionary dollars, which allow a little maneuvering at individual schools for a math aide or an IA or part of a librarian or counselor or art-music teacher? Gone.

The reduction in class sizes that has begun via McCleary this year? Gone. Rolled back. Welcome back to those big grade school classes as of next fall.

Then, according to a slide 49 from a fall work session referenced above, there are specific threats to staff at nonstandard schools: Dual language, IB, Montessori, small K8s - called out as Licton Springs, Madrona and Orca.

Final WSS and non-WSS cuts, in addition to a district-wide RIF, are due to be presented at a Board mtg. next week. At that point, changing recommendations looks to be unlikely, as SPS has made an effort to reach out in these past weeks. Not perhaps in a coherent way, but the effort has been made and the grim march forward looks inevitable. Parents are going to be up in arms. Too late.

A horrible situation is about to make headlines. Please, school communities, wake up.

EdVoter

Anonymous said...

It's akin to saying, "are you still beating your wife"

I do not have poof either way.
Stop trying to interfere with LS @ RESMS.

Just Askin

Eric B said...

Greenwood Mom, I would send that question to schoolboard@seattleschools.org with a descriptive subject line. That email address goes to the entire board and to senior staff. That is probably the best way to make sure that it gets to the people who need to see it.

RESMS Parent, as I understand it, LS is on the second and third floors of the building. It would be really hard to physically separate those schools, if nothing else for fire safety/escape reasons. You should probably ask the school(s) what the separation is. I would encourage you to just ask the question about separation (classrooms, lunch, recess time, etc.), rather than bringing up animosity. While I can see where you are coming from and take your comment about not being intentionally anti-native at face value, others may not. A good rule of thumb is that if you have to tell people you're not biased, what you're saying is highly likely to be taken as biased.

Anonymous said...

@ EdVoter. Another of the pending cuts is roll out money for Core 24. If you have an 8th grade student, like I do, you'll be wondering how your child will be able to make graduation requirements in a traditional 4 years if the district is throwing up its hands for Year One of the mandate next year. This year's 8th graders are the 1st class that is going to be gobsmacked by the law. Where are the teachers, the space, the funding to handle it? Nowhere that I have been able to find, that's for sure.

One mom

Melissa Westbrook said...


RESMS Parent, really? Just asking a question? Given how most of our nation's history towards Native Americans has been the opposite of what you suggest, I think your child will be fine. LS K-8 has its own area but yes, I think there is overlap in using the cafeteria, library, etc. As I reported, both schools are working to think of ways to coordinate teaching and learning that would benefit both schools.

Asking a question is not the same as interfering.

Agreed, Ed Voter, but maybe some people just need to see the rug pulled out directly from under them to get it.

Anonymous said...

Did some searching regarding Director Pinkham's potential conflict with his proposed amendment:

The following quote is from a September article on indiancountrymedianetwork.com regarding the UNEA, the organization for which has Director Pinkham's wife is a board member:
"The Urban Native Education Association, which moved its Native youth programs from the former Indian Heritage School site to Nathan Hale High School while the new school is being built, plans to return to Eagle Staff when it’s completed." (https://indiancountrymedianetwork.com/education/native-education/seattles-new-middle-school-will-be-like-a-water-fountain-in-the-desert/)

So UNEA does provide direct services to students and wants space carved out for them at REMS.

It does seem like there are potentially some legit ethical concerns that are worth exploring regarding Director Pinkham's with the related amendment. At the very least, if this amendment is a maneuver to create space for special program at REMS, there should be an honest, open discussion about it. As far as I know, this has not been brought up in any of the discussions related to the amendment to send Broadview-Thompson and Greenwood kids to Whitman instead of REMS.
-T.S.

Robyn said...

I was at the Board meeting last night. Director Burke was clearly bothered/saddened by not hearing from the Greenwood and Broadview Thompson communities related to his amendment. I am not sure, really, how involved with it Pinkham is other than maybe having his name on it. Director Burke was desperately (too strong a word, but I'm at a loss) hoping to hear from the Greenwood and BT communities ASAP (vote is now next week).

I have to say, while I think sticking the K8 in the REMS building is not a good idea now or ever, the school is doing good things and deserves a chance to grow, and they want to be on that campus. So, we'll make it work since that ship has sailed. I KNOW Director Burke proposed this amendment to fix the insane enrollment discrepancies between the north-end middle schools (some enrollments possibly as low as 350-450 while others at 1150+). I highly doubt the nefarious intentions Greenwood Mom presents have any basis in reality.

That said, Greenwood Mom, you should make your feelings known to Director Burke ASAP that you'd like to stay at REMS. I know other Greenwood families that want to stay at Whitman as well as some that want to keep the REMS assignment. Has Greenwood done a survey? I imagine if, say, Broadview Thompson provided feedback requesting to stay in Whitman's area, but the majority of Greenwood wanted to stay at REMS, Burke would amend his amendment. It's rick.burke@seattleschools.org. Personally, I wouldn't lead with the comments you made in this blog. You can state your preference for REMS and offer to gather opinions from Greenwood families if that hasn't already been done. I'd be surprised if the PTA hasn't already done so, but based on your post, it appears they haven't.

Robyn said...

To further my point above about the inequities that will arise due to vast differences in enrollment, here's some math. A small school sounds nice until you see the details. Assume each kid enrolled brings $5,500 to the school's budget.

400 kids enrolled = $2.2M
1150 kids enrolled = $6.3M

Since each school has to offer basic core classes, ELL, SPED (not trying to start a debate about whether or not they do), the larger enrollment allows for bells and whistles such as music, drama, art, foreign language, electives, sports, clubs, etc. This is why some of us have been fighting for equitable enrollment across the middle schools. A middle school simply can't offer the comprehensive experience if it has 400 kids.

Anonymous said...

I would love for there to be a survey completed at our school to confirm what the actual support for the amendment is. Everyone I have spoken to about it, with the exception of people who already have an older sibling enrolled in Whitman, have said they are opposed to the amendment. But I realize that is a completely nonscientific measure and subject to incredible bias.

The only way I know how to try to do a survey would be to try to set one up on the school facebook discussion group, but that too would be totally unscientific and full of bias. I am not quite sure how I can set up a survey that makes an honest attempt to represent our school without over representing people who use social media, have good access to technology, and speak English. Especially in the short amount of time there is before the board votes. Is it appropriate for the school to distribute a simple survey?

I hesitate to report the Director Pinkham conflict concern to SPS because I do recognize that Native students,and all indigenous people, have been treated terribly and suffer from institutional racism. While I feel its very important for SPS to do all it can to avoid the appearance of corruption, especially given events that occurred during the MGJ era, the issue gets incredibly touchy and I am not sure I want to have my inquiry get distorted and result in myself and my family labeled as anti-Native rights. It can all get so ugly so quickly.
-Greenwood Mom

Anonymous said...

RESMS needs to move forward without counting on any current Whitman 6th or 7th graders attending this fall. If some families do chose RESMS it will possibly help, but do not count on it in your planning or staffing.

The information from various sources has the majority (90%+) of Whitman's currently enrolled 6th and 7th graders returning to Whitman by using school choice if needed.

Maybe Burke should and Pinkham should attend the next RESMS meeting THURSDAY JANUARY 5th MEETING, 6-7:30 PM, BROADVIEW BRANCH OF SEATTLE PUBLIC LIBRARY.

It would also be nice to see representatives from the city of Seattle police dept and health and Human service to speak to the 89th street homeless project and other safety concerns.

It's interesting that there's this idea of feeder schools, because you child is assigned to a MS based on your home address, not which elementary they might have attended. Currently many of the students attending Whitman attended a Whitman feeder elementary school. Now the district wants to jerk them out of Whitman based on their home address. So there now a double standard, some will be placed my address and others possibly living just down the street will placed based on the elementary school. Nice!

Whitman Parent

Anonymous said...

How does a Greenwood parent train their child to deal with all the social economically challenged homeless people that will be interacting with your child when traveling to and from school each day? Do you feel comfortable subjecting your child to the risk each day?

From my experience, 85th and Aurora is no place for a child to be at anytime of the day or night. You could have them walk up the north side 85th from Greenwood to Fremont continuing north on Fremont then use 90th to cross Aurora, but keep in mind 90th is also very sketchy especially with the proposed homeless encampment being build on 89th and Aurora.

I'm not worried about the walking distance as much as other things like student jay walking tragedies on Aurora. Aurora's traffic has surge 2000% since the days of Wilson middle school and now SPS is going to have K-8 kids by the hundreds crossing Aurora twice a day. I hope parents are ready to man each crossing area and some places in between to help stop jay walking be the kids.

Another Parent

Robyn said...

Whitman Parent and Greenwood Mom, it's all totally messed-up. The best you can do now is write to SPS and the Board with your opinion. Encourage those who share your opinion to do the same.

One thing about LS in the REMS building is it was done way before Pinkham was even on the Board. It was Sharon Peaslee who placed LS in a comprehensive middle school building at the 11th hour. I just don't see there being any teeth to this accusation. The biggest problem is that SPS staff had 3 years to normalize enrollment at these middle schools and they did nothing so the Board is left to fix this mess. At least someone realizes they can't leave the schools imbalanced like this. Who goes where will always be a huge battle. Just send your thoughts. Suggest they survey the Greenwood and BT communities. Burke could change his amendment to only send BT back to Whitman if that's what they want.

Anonymous said...

Why would kids already attending a k-8 leave to attend a 6-8 school. We don't see very many Salmon Bay K-5 students leaving when they hit 6th grade or maybe they do and I just don't see it. It seems to me most parents choose a K-8 for the stability and 9 years of community that comes with that, why would they leave at 6th grade or why would enough leave to make a difference in the SAP.

So let's sum it up, apparently the board doesn't understand that Greenwood parents want to feed RESMS not Whitman and on top of that, the board wants to use BT K-8 as a feed to another middle school. This is rubber room stuff, come on board we expect better.

-MJ

Anonymous said...

-MJ: FWIW, Salmon Bay are BT K-8 are different situations and you cannot extrapolate.

BT K-8 is not an option school. Parents don't choose it. It is a neighborhood school and students are assigned at K-5 as such. Same with the Catherine Blaine K-8. They are anomalies. The students have the right to move to a comprehensive middle school if they wish, same as all neighborhood elementary schools. As with all elementary neighborhood schools, staff has the right to change the feeder pattern to middle school if they obtain Board approval.

Capacity Wonk

Echo of EdVoter's comment. RESMS is consuming too much mindshare right now. Doesn't matter whether Whitman, RESMES or BT K-8 with no $$ for classroom supplies, staff, curriculum. The list of promised cuts goes on and on. The levy cliff fix apparently would only keep teacher cuts from happening. Try running a middle school without staff in the school's front office.

Middle school math upgrade also appears to be shelved.

Jenny Young said...

Thank you Melissa.

​​@​RESMS parent, your question disturbs and saddens me. ​I'm trying my best to understand how it might be a legitimate concern. ​I​ also​ wonder if the​ K-8​ LS families are entertaining the same concerns regarding your middle school​ student. Most likely, they're anticipating the opportunity to celebrate the new school and the diversity RESMS will offer.

Jenny Young

LS Goodwill said...

If I were a LS parent, I'd be worried about having my first grader going to school at a middle school by Aurora and a homeless recovering addict encampment. Not really sure what the RESMS parent is worried that the first grader is going to do to his kid? Weird concerns. If I were a LS parent, I'd also be thrilled to finally have a school after Lincoln. Here's hoping we can do better for Native American education in Seattle of all places.

Anonymous said...

Jenny Young,

I'm so sorry your are disturbed by my reality of the situation? It disturbs me that your disturbed by my right to be disturbed. As a parent I have a right to fully understand the situation at RESMS before committing and also the right to be disturbed.

Now for something completely different,

So I ask you this, why would MS students want to mix with K-5 students. Sure those who attended a K-8 are used to the large age difference, but those schools staff are highly aware of the dangers and are diligent in managing them.

I think the situation is compounded by LS being a separate school based off of race inside another school. When I was in school I wouldn't have felt comfortable in that situation and where does it stop. Are the RESMS school's students going to be constantly reminded of the past injustices that they are not responsible for? Who knows. I would love meet the LS community well before the opening of the 2 new schools, did anyone even consider this?

It would be fantastic to see and would completely support it if the RESM building became 100% used for LS, but the idea of mixing the two school cultures in a partially segregated way is problematic. There will be lots of charges and expectations that I don't think will be fair to either set of students.

Is there an example of a similar type of building arrangement that was successful. I think if we could see that it worked elsewhere then more people would feel at ease.

RESMS Parent

Anonymous said...

Ok sorry I don't understand, why do Native Americans need a separate school system?
Short answer please.


POP3

Anonymous said...

@POP3-they don't. LS is an option school with a unique curriculum celebrating native culture and promoting experiential learning for all, with a big focus on inclusion. There are families with students at HCC and LS because both schools offer something special that meets the needs of their individual children. (Similar to how there are parents with students at Thornton Creek and Cascadia) Look up their website...cool program.

Fix AL

Anonymous said...

But, I'm just a middle class above average white kid. Where's my "something special"?

A gened class at my assigned school?

O ya, I don't "need" it. I get to be the good, well-behaved above average kid in classrooms with struggling, and otherwise challenged students. Not that I am complaining, I like being part of a community of all types,but if I could go to program more tailored to me and kids like me...

B12

Anonymous said...

@B12-options are nice for people interested in a different experience. You want your neighborhood community experience, good for you! Maybe you would want to attend Thornton Creek if you valued social emotional learning and connected with that community. Maybe you would want your child to attend an immersion school if language and culture was important to you, or your student was ELL. Maybe a STEM school would strike your fancy if your student thrives in a science environment and you connected with that community. Perhaps you have native heritage or a severely special ed student, in which case Licton Springs would be a suitable choice.

Or maybe you want students and families to be denied options, and if the school down the street isn't a good fit they should move. I prefer options that meet the needs of students...ALL students.

Wishing Well

Another NW said...

The numbers are available here for how many BT K-8 kids stay for grades 6-8, it's only 34%.

http://www.seattleschools.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_543/File/District/Departments/Enrollment%20Planning/Reports/Annual%20Enrollment/2015-16/Section%203.pdf


Anonymous said...

@ Wishing Well,

Please come give me rides every day because my mom works, that is if I can get into HCC or Boren or JSIS. Which is very unlikely.

ALL students, actually most students, are unable to have any option whatsoever.

It's like saying to poor kids, work hard, you can succeed and be middle class like me. I don't have to work so hard because I'm already middle class, but there;s more room, just put in the effort.

B12

Lynn said...

Students receive transportation by yellow bus to any option school in their region. HCC students also receive transportation services to their designated pathway school.

Long waiting lists at option schools indicate that we need to create more of them. As the planning for the next BEX cycle begins, every new building should be considered for an option program. This will provide what many parents have indicated they want and reduce the need for geo-splits.

Anonymous said...

@ B12, I don't understand. Is your argument really that since we don't offer "something special" for kids who "don't need it" that we shouldn't offer something special for kids who do? Talk about a privileged way of thinking. (Not to mention wrong, since anyone can apply to option schools, which are generally designed to provide "something special.")

DisAPPointed

P.S.- You DO get something special. Gen Ed classes are designed for students in the average range, including those a little below or a little above, like you. Most of our textbooks have extensions for students just like you, and any good teacher should be able to provide engaging and challenging work for a student a little above average. Our whole school system is designed to reward students just like you. So congratulations, you'll probably have an easy time of it and be wildly successful. Now please don't begrudge others, to whom the educational system was NOT tailored, a chance to be equitably educated.

Anonymous said...

@Whitman Parent "RESMS needs to move forward without counting on any current Whitman 6th or 7th graders attending this fall. If some families do chose RESMS it will possibly help, but do not count on it in your planning or staffing.
The information from various sources has the majority (90%+) of Whitman's currently enrolled 6th and 7th graders returning to Whitman by using school choice if needed. "

Really? Then you need to communicate this information (with your data) immediately to all the board members. I can assure you that they do not have this information. That was not what was stated to them at the meeting by the Whitman PTSA representative who conducted a survey. spsdirectors@seattleschools.org
-clear information

Anonymous said...


"P.S.- You DO get something special."

Thank-you for reminding me.

Two homeless kids who arrive by taxi every morning, hungry and tired from not getting enough sleep at the homeless camp.

Six kids reading below grade level, 3 are two years below, 2 are 4 years below and one can't really read.

Math is pretty easy for me but it goes really slow because we have kids who are pulled out once a week only and pretty much sit there the rest of the time and the teacher has to try and help them, as well as a dozen other kids who don't really care and won't work. (Thanks for the "little" annotation to my self description as "average", I am actually very strong in math.)

All the kids who could leave for the HCC are gone, their parents private tested them and had them tutored to get in if they couldn't pass the district test. I overheard a parent on the playground after school calling my school a "sinking ship" and told another parent how to get into the cohort.

Don't begrudge MY experience disAPPointed, it's my life, my identity, my friends, my school family. HCC has hurt me and my school.It has drained students and resources, it has made us who remain feel like losers.

I'm glad for you having not to deal with the reality of public education right now because it's going to be a bear when it finally affects you and yours, which it will.

B12

Melissa Westbrook said...

"I think the situation is compounded by LS being a separate school based off of race inside another school. "

LS is not based on race; it's based on culture and a new way of presenting learning.

"Are the RESMS school's students going to be constantly reminded of the past injustices that they are not responsible for? Who knows."

I'll answer that: no, they are not. But there is new curriculum around Native American history and that will eventually be taught to all students in SPS as it should be in every single school in this country.

"I would love meet the LS community well before the opening of the 2 new schools, did anyone even consider this?"

I'm sure Marni Campbell, the planning principal for RESMS, would welcome this suggestion. You are free to go and make it to her or the Board.

Anonymous said...

Marni Campbell has been unresponsive to our groups request for the following,

1. For the RESMS area's community police officer to attend the SAP meetings for RESMS to speak about the crime rates and other safety concerns in the area.

2. For a representative from the city of Seattle's health and human services to attend the SAP meetings for RESMS and address the concerns regarding the proposed homeless encampment/houses to be located at 89th and Nesbit.

-MJ

Anonymous said...

What is the point of Marni Campbell setting up that level of engagement for families when the school board is doing 11th hour tinkering with the assignment plan and nobody knows who all is actually going to attend the school? It seems prudent to tap the brakes on those requests to me.

-Madera Verde

LS Goodwill said...

Not only is LS not based on race, it's a super diverse school racially speaking. The kids are super nice. I feel way more comfortable walking around outside LS than I do outside of Eckstein (shudder).

Anonymous said...

@B-12 - Thanks for summing up so succinctly the impact of HCC on the rest of us, our schools, students, and communities. - Cap Hill

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, I read that B-12 summed up the impact of a failed legislature meeting the needs of every student. Please stop looking at my HCC student and my family at as a dollar sign, rather than an individual.

McLeary orBust

Anonymous said...

B12, the school you describe sends like it has a high percentage of students with SES challenges and/or working below grade level. In general, schools like that don't send a lot of kids to HCC, so eliminating it might not change your experience much. Maybe you could consider an option school in Feb?

By the way, HCC is just as boring and slow for my kid as GE is for you. HCC isn't the magical, ideal situation you might think. There's a huge range of abilities in HCC, just like in GE.

DisAPPointed

Charlie Mas said...

I find myself a little miffed about Mr. Starosky's characterization of the work I did to review the CSIPs for reference to advanced learning.

He wasn't honest about the fact that a number of them made no reference to advanced learning at all. It wasn't obscured in any academic jargon, it was just absent.

He wasn't grateful for the work. It was a lot of work and it was work that HE should have done but didn't do.

He didn't apologize for failing to do his job or for the failure of his direct reports to do their jobs.

Then, on top of all that, he sneers at the inability of a "lay person" who lacks the necessary so-fees-tee-kay-shun to understand the rarified language of education professionals.

Rather than worry about my deficiencies, I think he should be concerned about his own. He didn't do his job. That's clear. Then he lied about it. That's also clear. He presented a set of CSIPs to the Board and claimed that they all met all of the requirements. I proved that false. He is going to come before the Board in two weeks and do it again. Will they believe him this time? There can be no doubt that his credibility has been damaged. And his dishonesty about the disclosure - claiming that the plan for advanced learners was there but obscure - didn't help his credibility recover. He would have been better served by an admission that the CSIPs were deficient and an expression of gratitude instead of contempt.

Charlie Mas said...

Here is what Mr. Starosky said at the Board meeting about describing services for advanced learners in the CSIPs:

“And most of it was that there was language that was embedded in their CSIP but one of the things, an areas of improvement for us, is getting out of the educational language that we tend to us in house and how we take a public-facing document and put it out there doesn’t always translate to our public.

"And so one of the things, the feedback that we’re getting was when you say 'differentiated instruction' and 'common core state standards' doesn’t say anything about what you’re doing for advanced learners. And what’s assumed in that is, and I’m just being pro-active about this, about some of the concerns is that, for example, a fourth grade student who is an advanced learner is meeting standards at fourth grade and then it’s assuming that the school or the teacher or a department is just going to keep that fourth grade standard and that’s it. That they’re not going up to fifth grade standards or sixth grade standards. And so, on the outside, looking in, it might appear that there’s nothing being done for the advanced learner.”

Hey, you know what Mr. Starosky? It doesn't just look that way on the outside. It looks that way in the inside also because - are you ready for this? - that's what's happening in the schools. They are NOT going up to the next grade level standards and the one beyond that.

The failure to document service to advanced learners in the CSIP reflects the failure to serve advanced learners in the school. And it's not, as Director Geary's statement may have suggested, a public relations failure. Let's remember that every HCC student had been a student outside HCC first. And they saw that the schools were not supporting student work beyond standards. They didn't read about it in the CSIP; they experienced it.

So don't piss on my leg and tell me it's raining. Just writing "differentiated instruction" in the CSIP doesn't create actual differentiated instruction in the classrooms. If it did, then there wouldn't be any need for elaborate descriptions of how the school will serve struggling students. They could just write that they are providing differentiated instruction and leave it at that. But that wouldn't be acceptable to Mr. Starosky so I don't see why it should be acceptable to the advanced learning community.

Charlie Mas said...

Oh, and another thing. Each CSIP begins with a glossary. In that glossary MTSS is described as a tool to assist with the education of struggling students. There is no suggestion of using MTSS as a tool to identify and serve advanced learners. So references to MTSS do not constitute references to service for advanced learners.

Anonymous said...

And what’s assumed in that is, and I’m just being pro-active about this, about some of the concerns is that, for example, a fourth grade student who is an advanced learner is meeting standards at fourth grade and then it’s assuming that the school or the teacher or a department is just going to keep that fourth grade standard and that’s it. That they’re not going up to fifth grade standards or sixth grade standards. And so, on the outside, looking in, it might appear that there’s nothing being done for the advanced learner.”

This isn't just ASSUMED ... it's what is happening at Whittier ... even after implementing walk to math, some students are NOT being allowed to access standards above grade level.

N by NW

Anonymous said...

@N by NW--no students are being given access to above grade level standards, not just some as you mention at Whittier.

Count your blessings, I guess?? :-(

Inconsistencies Abound

Elsa said...

He fits right in up there doesn't he Charley.

All the qualifications of an ED and more!

Don't be disappointed though, the bottom can't be far.

Anonymous said...


@RESMES parent

You have every right to explore whatever you wish. SPS also has the right to co-house schools and programs in the same building. High schools have had daycares on site.

There is no reason for you to wait to understand the LS program, as it currently exists and is housed in the Lincoln building alongside Cascadia. I urge you to also read up on adolescent development to gain insight into how having the opportunity to mentor younger students can be greatly beneficial to middle schoolers. Truly, the dangers are in your mind only. Licton Springs offers a small setting where respect for other cultural perspectives is valued. If you grew up sheltered with the only normal being the white normal (no matter what your personal identity is), then I hope you’ll explore your feeling of discomfort and guilt and move beyond that.

Jenny Young

Anonymous said...

@RESMS parent, there are plenty of examples of students of different grades mixing. You asked why MS students would want to mix with K-5 students. Well, a prepubescent 6th grade middle school student might have a lot more in common with a 4th or 5th grade elementary student than they do with a facial-hair-sprouting or hormone-raging 8th grader, for one. They might also like helping younger students, like they did when they were 5th graders working with much younger students. They might also have been interested in attending a K-8 themselves, but for whatever reason couldn't or didn't. There are lots of other reasons, and there's no reason to think that 6th, 7th and 8th graders can't share space with younger students...like they manage to do in K-8s all the time. As you noted, K-8 staff are aware of the potential risks that come with a greater age range, and I'm sure that will be communicated and shared and addressed appropriately as they work out the sharing arrangements. If the K-8 school is worried about ensuring the safety of the youngsters, which I'm sure it is, they will figure something out to rest easy.

You also said you're worried about the mixing of two school cultures. Is this re: Any 2 schools, or this one in particular, since it has a Native American focus? Maybe someone from Cascadia could allay your fears, as they've been sharing space with other schools at the interim Lincoln site for years. Space and core facilities might be challenges, but I haven't heard about any issues related to a clash of school cultures.

Re: whether or not RESMS will be constantly reminded of past injustices and made to feel bad, that's an interesting one. I doubt the staff at RESMS is planning to adopt a Native American-focused curriculum, but I think it would be a great idea for there to occasionally be joint assemblies or collaborative projects if time and space permit. It could be a great learning opportunity for everyone, and sharing space with LS might make some aspects of US history more meaningful to RESMS students when they cover it. But if you're worried that somehow bumping elbows with a larger (but still small) group of Native American students is going to make RESMS feel white guilt or something, I think you're worrying more than you need. For one, today's middle school students are not as likely to judge people by race as are their parents, and I'm sure they'll largely look beyond race--especially if they have opportunities to get to know LS students. Two, whether or not our schools teach students to feel white guilt really isn't dependent on whether or not there's a different school sharing space. There are some teachers who have a social justice agenda that they push in the classroom regardless of which school it is. We've seen it at Garfield, HIMS, and WMS, to be sure. HCC students are part of these schools, yet are made to feel bad about their academic and cognitive abilities...by teachers and administrators. We've also had teachers who push the gender equality issue too far, making boys feel guilty about their maleness. There's a fine line between creating awareness and demonizing, but I have a hunch RESMS and LS will find a way to work it out so they are doing the former. It's when individual teachers take over that it often becomes the latter.

kitty

As to your statement about "charges" that will be made, it almost sounds like you're planning something. Please tell us that isn't the case.

Anonymous said...

Poor LS and Decatur students. TC is worried about sharing space with HCC and some narrow minded Eagle Staff parents are worried about sharing space with with LS. Better together!

Fix AL

Anonymous said...

Thanks for transcribing that ridiculous quote by the Chief of Schools, Charlie. Can he have conversation with one of the principals of one of the schools in the NE that refuses to teach any standards but 4th grade standards to 4th grade advanced learners?

I think this is a big reason for the tension with HCC in the northeast HC hotspot neighborhoods. The idea that you need to be "gifted" to access acceleration (by joining HCC). There are so many students in these schools who should have an accelerated path available, especially in math with the abysmally slow grade level standards.

AB