Sunday, January 08, 2017

Seattle Schools This Week

Monday, Jan. 9th

Kindergarten Registration Night from 5:30-7:30 pm at the Lake City Public Library.  Info

Curriculum & Instruction Policy Committee at JSCEE from 4:30-6:30 pm.  Agenda

- English LA Curriculum Adoption
- School Board Policy 2200, Equitable Access Annual Report
- Preschool Update
- Math Adoption Update
- Advanced Learning Update

In reviewing the minutes from the last C&I meeting, I found this about the C-SIPs (which I'm sure Charlie will find amusing:)
Dr. Starosky noted that the EDs will be using these in their site visits to the schools, to ensure that everyone knows that it is moving the District to where we want to be. He noted that there are currently no systemic tools that are going to get this to where we want it to be.
Dr. Kinoshita noted that the C-SIPs set a clear expectation on improvements that need to be made for progress. 

Dr. Starosky noted some buildings only meet once per month with the BLTs and the timing with having the BLT review and approval made timelines more difficult.
How can the EDs be using these C-SIPs if the information is either not there or less than clear?  How do you hold principals accountable when they don't account for what they should be doing?  

Do the C-SIPs truly set clear expectations?  I don't think so.

And what about buildings that don't have BLTs?  Where the community/staff input then? The principal certainly in the academic leader in any given school but should not be a dictator.

This is a great example of the circular thinking at the district about getting output to the Board and the Superintendent with nothing truly to back it.

Mr. Jessee noted the Advanced Learning (AL) work, which in many ways aligns with MTSS.
Really? Because a number of schools' C-SIPS make it clear they are only using MTSS to work to standard, not beyond it.  (I'll report more on what is said here in my thread on Advanced Learning.)

And then there was this:

School Board Policy 2020, Waiver of Basic Instructional Materials- Annual Report to the Board Dr. Kinoshita noted that when coming on board to SPS, he worked hard to track down where waivers are at, and discovered that there were five more waivers than were listed in last years’ report. He discussed the handout which is a spreadsheet of the waivers- current and expired.
What?! The new C&I chief could not easily find out who had academic waivers and, when he did, there were more of them than listed in the report.  The one given to the Board.

From the draft recommendations for middle schools that are "positive outlier schools" for math instruction:
What recommendations do these schools have for district adoption of new materials?
  • All three schools unequivocally said that they do not want money spent on a textbook adoption. Teachers at all three schools report that a secret to their success is creating materials focused on targeted standards that can be adapted to student learning in real time. These materials are for students who are exceeding standards and for struggling to meet standards. 
  • Rather, than purchasing a textbook, the teachers request two things: continued and perhaps even enhanced additional pay for uncompensated time used creating textual materials and the continued employment of a staff person to coordinate and lead the math work.
  • All three schools state that they rely on the support of a staff member to help coordinate and lead the math work. 
Tuesday, January 10th
The Meany Middle School Family and Community Meeting has been postponed.
Middle School Assignment Meeting with Director Burke at Greenwood Elementary School from 6:30-8:00 pm.
Please join School Board Director Rick Burke for a community meeting to discuss middle school pathways for Greenwood Elementary and Broadview Thomson K-8 students.  

Currently, Greenwood graduates and Broadview Thomson 5th graders choosing a neighborhood middle school will be automatically assigned to Robert Eagle Staff Middle School, scheduled to open this fall.  

Director Burke has proposed an amendment to the Student Assignment Plan to change this default student pathway to Whitman Middle School to better balance middle school enrollment.  This will be voted on by the School Board on Wednesday, January 11th, so your feedback is urgently needed. 
Wednesday, Jan. 11th
 Carol Burris "de-tracking" talk at Garfield High School at 6:30 pm.* 
Work Session, Agenda
 - Budget from 4:30-5:45 pm -Decisions on worst case scenario budget for 2017-2018
 - Student Assignment Transition Plan from 5:45-7:00 pm.  A vote will be taken here on this Plan.
There are still just four amendments to the Plan.  What is added is a "Fiscal Impact Language from Director Amendments." 
*As I previously noted, the Burris talk at Garfield overlaps with the SAP Transition Plan discussion and vote.  I can't be two places at once so I have made the decision to go to the Work Session.  I will put up an open thread on the Burris talk if anyone attends and wants to report back/weigh in.
IEP:Overview and Development of the IEP
from 6:00-8:00 pm at South Shore K-8.  
This workshop will focus on helping parents and guardians of student who receive Special Education Services to understand the IEP process and be more involved in the creation of this legal document for their children.
Thursday, Jan. 12th 
FAFSA/WASFA Application Night at Garfield from 3:30 pm to 7:00 pm.

Friday, Jan. 13th
BEX Oversight Committee Meeting, JSCEE, Room 2750 from 8:30- 10:30 am.  No agenda yet available.

Saturday, Jan. 14th
Community Meeting with Director Rick Burke from 3:30-5:30 pm at the Greenwood Library.


Charlie Mas said...

The decision to make Chief Sealth the high school for dual language immersion for the southeast is a dreadful decision which was made in violation of the program placement policy (2200). The district staff are avoiding a detailed discussion of the decision in their annual report on program placement by pretending that it is an "upcoming" decision instead of a final one. Other decisions, which will be implemented at the same time, are regarded as completed decisions rather than upcoming ones.

The C & I committee should both question the process for the decision and question the characterization of the decision as "upcoming". Finally, they should remove the decision from the Student Assignment Plan.

Charlie Mas said...

The minutes of the previous C & I meeting provide some good laughs where it discusses the CSIPs and the plan to serve advanced learners.

kellie said...

I am really pleased that they are doing a work session on the budget gap immediately before the SAP work session.

With so many draconian cuts on the table, some of the more expensive aspects of the SAP vote should also be up for consideration, including delaying the opening of some of the new schools. Before the legislature made it clear they they are happy to use the levy cliff as a weapon, this would have been a ridiculous move to consider.

However, at this point, it is clear that opening two middle schools is more capacity than needed AND staff has made it clear that there most likely will NOT be the mitigation money to provide the appropriate classes for the students who are split.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I know the senior staff talked to JSCEE staff this morning about the budget cuts (it could be others but I couldn't tell from the photo on Twitter.)

Watching said...

I've noticed the district provided costs related to amendments. Where are the costs of transporting students from Whitman to Eagle Staff?? I imagine those dollars are quite large.

Anonymous said...

@ kellie, so what are you recommending re: middles schools? I"m confused.

RE: the SAP amendments, am I reading Amendment 5 correctly that because RESMS will have extra space available for the next two years they'll let LS have it, but beyond that there are no guarantees? I get that there are few guarantees in this district, but doesn't it take time to grow a program--whether it's RESMS or LS? So if they decide to grandfather kids at Whitman for a a couple years, RESMS will grow a lot by year 3. It's already pretty late in the game for LS to start doing a lot of outreach to increase enrollment for next year, so say they start really building up the following year... then, oops, sorry, RESMS is too big now and needs its space back? You know, that space we loaned you for a couple years when you didn't really need it yet? Jeez.

Also re: the amendments. there's still nothing to address the lack of meaningful HCC services at RESMS, particularly if 8th graders all current Whitman students get grandfathered. Everything currently in the plan and amendments has Whitman and RESMS area HCC students going to RESMS. If 8th graders get grandfathered to Hamilton HCC, what happens to those who are NEW to HCC in 8th grade? There's no way we can reasonably send a handful of kids to a non-existent HCC 8th grade at RESMS, but the SAP as written does just that. They need to fix that, if the grandfathering passes.


Anonymous said...

January 9th, 7pm at Lincoln High School library (home of Cascadia Elementary), the 2e parent support group will be hosting Wyeth Jessee (SPS Chief of Student Support Services) and Teresa Swanson (SPS Special Education Supervisor for the NW region). This will be an open discussion about the needs of twice exceptional students and how we might go about meeting them in Seattle Public Schools.

open ears

Anonymous said...

Having gone through the JAMS split, I understand the rising 8th graders concerns, but think grandfathering will just prolong the growing pains of RESMS. Energy would be better spent to ensure mitigation funds for the transition period, rather than directing those dollars to transportation. In the long run, where would you rather funds be spent? In the classroom, or on transportation? All the arguments for keeping 8th graders at HIMS also apply to 6th/7th graders moving on to RESMS. Don't they also deserve some continuity in class offerings? Don't they also need access to accelerated classes? I'd be concerned about classroom allocation in the 2nd year if the grandfathering came to pass.

Anonymous said...

Reposting for Anonymous

Anonymous said...
Having gone through the JAMS split, I understand the rising 8th graders concerns, but think grandfathering will just prolong the growing pains of RESMS. Energy would be better spent to ensure mitigation funds for the transition period, rather than directing those dollars to transportation. In the long run, where would you rather funds be spent? In the classroom, or on transportation? All the arguments for keeping 8th graders at HIMS also apply to 6th/7th graders moving on to RESMS. Don't they also deserve some continuity in class offerings? Don't they also need access to accelerated classes? I'd be concerned about classroom allocation in the 2nd year if the grandfathering came to pass.

-Long Road

juicygoofy said...


Kellie please correct me, if I am mistaken, but the reference to delaying the opening of new schools is related to the levy cliff (not grandfathering.) The buildings may be completed and furnished, but there may not be funds to hire a sufficient number of teachers.

Anonymous said...

Cost aside, weren't the Hamilton portables permitted for just one year on the blacktop to squeeze everyone in until Eagle Staff opened? I remember it was a big deal when they were approved, else another solution was needed, such as possibly moving NW HCC would have had to move somewhere temporary this year. I'm sure many kids would like their basketball court back.

-No Hoops

Anonymous said...

That is an interesting idea Kellie. I imagine it would save a good many teachers from being riffed.


Anonymous said...

Long Road-- There are no mitigation funds. It is a terrible time to open two schools. Core classes are at risk for kids. Parents have been told Algebra 2 won't be offered to HCC 8th graders. Foreign language as well does not align with Whitman's so likely no year 3 Spanish or Japanese. Eckstein kids also have issues. So many issues. Multiple issues & small classes that likely cannot be mitigated with funding.

I agree with Kellie opening two middle schools at a terrible time. Here is one idea, just thinking aloud. There is no easy solution.
- Delay Eagle Staff opening. Keep Whitman, Eckstein, JAMS kids at their schools . -Grandfather 8th grade HIMS kids so they get the classes they need for alignment.
-Open Meany and grandfather the spectrum 8th grade kids at Washington slated to move who need the math classes only WMS provides.
-When Meany opens, there will be room at Washington Middle.
-Perhaps some 6th and 7th grader HCC from HIMS (have no idea who.. those closest?) can move to Washington Middle where there is already a strong established HCC program. 6th and 7th will get all the classes they need as there is already a strong HCC cohort of three grades at Washington.
-I have no idea about Licton Springs who are looking forward to moving to Eagle next year and need to move out of Lincoln.
no easy solution

Anonymous said...

-Eagle Staff to temporarily house some of the high school students until Ingraham adds space and Lincoln opens in two years.

no easy solution

kellie said...

2017 is the year that BEX IV pushes into the system, new capacity. This is very important because the only way to solve a capacity problem is with NEW capacity.

The current plan is to open FOUR new schools next year.

* Robert Eagle Staff Middle School (with Licton Springs)
* Meany Middle School
* Decatur (with NE HCC)
* Cedar Park

Due to lower than expected enrollment growth and the simple fact that boundaries drawn with 2012 data simply do not align with the 2017 reality, the capacity that is being put into the system next year is .... politely said ... not particularly well utilized.

Pushing this much capacity into the system is going to be hard on operating funds on a good year. On a good budget year, opening four new school is a forward investment that adds millions to the operations budget and generates the need for mitigation dollars to protect the students who are geo-split.

The district has already said they are looking at significant and draconian measures to deal with the budget gap, including the elimination of all option schools, 10% across the board cuts at all schools, removal of class size protections, etc. In that type of budget climate, mitigation dollars simply do not exist and the planning principals have already confirmed this.

So unlike the opening of JAMS where there were promises to ensure that students would receive appropriate academics and the mitigation dollars were delivered, there isn't even a promise on the table this time.

There are just no easy answers on the table at the moment. I was hopeful that the legislature would take swift action on the levy cliff and then we would only be dealing the self-inflicted budget woes. However, it just doesn't look like SPS is going to catch a break this year. Between the legislature using the levy cliff as a weapon AND the cost of the 20 minutes added day for next year ... it just might turn out that waiting a year to open at least Eagle Staff might save a lot of money.

kellie said...

As a snarky aside, so much of this problem is truly self inflicted. While the levy cliff is an artificial and unfortunate problem, the rest of the budget problem was completely avoidable.

The last teacher's contract resulted in a strike. The strike was in large part over the third year of the contract and SPS's insistence that year three had to include the longer school day and our hard working staff deserved to be paid for longer days. That part is self-inflicted.

SPS insisted that we have these longer days and was certain that they would be able to pay for these longer day with the future McCleary money. Well ... how is that working out.

Spending money you don't have doesn't work out very well in general. But committing to spend money in the future that you expect to get from the legislature ... I have no words to describe this.

So now all of us, are dealing with draconian choices because the legislature is not going to resolve the levy cliff in a timely manner and SPS has already spent the money that is not coming. Add to the crazy that Core 24 starts next year as well as mandated class size reductions.

The irony that we are finally ahead of the capacity issue and we might need to hunker down with more portables because that is all we can afford .. is just crazy.

Anonymous said...

There hasn't been any decision made, that I'm aware of, regarding option school programming at Cedar Park. There hasn't been any community engagement since the community meeting Dec 15th. The Cedar Park school webpage has a link to an analysis of the input received from that meeting, including whether or not to delay opening of the school until 2018-19. There was no mention of what type of programming was preferred by those who attended the meeting and submitted input.

There seems to be much feet-dragging going on regarding Cedar Park, so I wouldn't be surprised if it doesn't open next year. This would save SPS an estimated $1.5M (operations budget).

-North-end Mom

Anonymous said...


What happens to Hamilton if they don't open Eagle Staff? Isn't Hamilton way over-enrolled???

-North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

"What happens to Hamilton..." Next years's projections right now are 1031. That assumes about 285 northwest HCC students move to Eagle Staff. If they don't, that adds up to 1316 students (about 120 more than today). Is there any reason to think that the LIncoln renovation projection might be delayed and some of that space available?

But really, how in the heck could a brand new building sit there unused? Move enough kids out of Hamilton to Eagle Staff to bring the dollars to make it work.

-Crazy speculation

Anonymous said...

@ kellie, how on earth could Hamilton go another year without any relief? They might be able to physically cram the current 1200 kids into a space designed for more like 800, but pushing that up over 1300 is insane. Education there is already suffering. Kids are herded around like sheep, can't get meaningful feedback from teachers, don't know most of the kids in the school, etc. It was already a poor learning and growing environment when it was 1100. Now it's 1200. 1300 is unbelievable.


Anonymous said...

North End mom & Really-- Regarding HIMS. They cannot keep all the students projected. But there should be space for incoming 6th and 7th HCC at Washington Middle School when Meany opens, even accounting for grandfathering existing 8th graders at Washington. Some (not all) 8th graders absolutely will not get math alignment if they move to Meany, they need to be grandfathered. At Washington, there would be space and "established" three grade HCC program at Washington. There would likely be no classes to mitigate if some incoming 6th and 7th HCC who would be integrated. It would not a be a roll up because Washington has a 3 grade school. I think Kellie is stating we could delay opening Eagle Staff because Meany could provide room.
- no easy solution

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

"But there should be space for incoming 6th and 7th HCC at Washington Middle School when Meany opens”

I see, so you’re saying move the QA and Magnolia kids to Meany, where they will probably end up eventually anyway because Hamilton is going to need more relief even after the Whitman/Eagle Staff kids leave. Then, when Eagle Staff opens, the Whitman/Eagle Staff area kids move to Eagle Staff. That sounds like an excellent solution both short and long term.

-Musical chairs

Anonymous said...

@Kellie, just noticed that you posted the same idea, except I meant to say move HCC kids from QA and Magnolia to Washington, not Meany.

-Musical Chairs

Anonymous said...

I appreciate creative thinking to mitigate cuts to schools. As Kellue points out we could delay the opening of some schools next year. I am sure there are other possibilities that don't involve cuts to schools and make the education of students a priority.


Lynn said...

This idea would also have the advantage of bringing some more pressure on the legislature. "We have these beautiful new empty school buildings but our children are sitting in 50 year old portables because Olympia has failed so badly to meet its obligation to fund our schools."

kellie said...

To be extra clear, Hamilton needs relief and needs it badly. Hamilton has a profound systemic problem, where it simply can not be the middle school for 5 elementary schools, plus HCC but yet, nobody is willing to address the fact that a feeder school needs to move in addition to some or all HCC. I also think that Washington needs relief, but the projections there have been lower than expected so I have no idea how badly they need relief.

I don't think it is possible to delay the opening of both middle schools, because the capacity is so badly needed. But it could be possible to delay the opening of one. As I said, before the legislature returned and made it clear that the levy cliff would not be dealt with in a timely manner despite the simple fact that public schools are legally required to have a balanced budget, this idea would have been ludicrous. But now, it might be one of the least-worst options on the table.

SPS is required to have a balanced budget and we are looking at draconian cuts to core services that are potentially deeper than the cuts during the closures and recession. SPS already has one of the youngest teacher corps and unfilled teacher and sub positions every year and we are looking at RIF'ing significant numbers of teachers. The damage to teacher hiring is potentially devastating and could take years to repair.

When you combine the problem that the launch for Eagle Staff is not going very well ... to put it politely. North end middle school boundaries and feeder patterns were drawn based on 2012 data and the enrollment picture has changed drastically over the last few years. Simply put, all north end boundaries needed to be redrawn. The board did an excellent job of damage control on the growth boundaries vote, but there was only so much that could be done via amendment.

I don't think this is a good idea, in fact, it is a pretty awful idea. However, $70M is not pocket change and we are looking at some really terrible options.

Whitman and Eckstein have space. Per multiple reports the portables at Whitman are not used. It should be possible to replace those unused and elderly portables, because the facilities budget is not impacted by this mess. There are options that would fix Hamilton and save a bunch of teacher jobs.

All I am saying is that this should be part of the conversation.

Anonymous said...

If they had acted on FACMAC's idea to make WP a high school site (it's conveniently located on a bus line and near a community college for those taking Running Start) and Lincoln a MS, HIMS could move to Lincoln, with more space, and an auditorium, and a new high school would be opening fall 2017.

Potentially having "beautiful new empty school buildings" while so many students are in portables at overcrowded schools just looks like poor planning and budgeting on the district's part.


Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

@bad location--as I drove by the new WP site this morning I had the opposite thought. At least elementary and MS students will have a closed campus and eagle eye parents watching out for them. Having a high school there would be like setting kids up with drive thru/walk up drug options that they have to work hard to say no to, rather than work hard to find/sneak.

Wishing Well

Lynn said...

Middle school students are not watched over by their parents at all times. They have to walk or ride Metro to and from school if they live less than two miles from school so they'll likely be waiting on Aurora for the bus.

harada57 said...
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