Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Enrollment and Waitlists

By request, a thread on this topic.  Waitlist link.

I'm going to reprint Kellie LaRue's comments to start it (bold/color mine):

The middle schools wait lists are at bit much. Meany and REMS are brand new schools with lots of space. There is no reason for a wait list at either of these schools. They should let anyone who is interested in starting a brand new school, go and start that school. Whitman has excess capacity and was promised that all students who applied would be let in but the wait list is extensive.

Cedar Park and Olympic Hills are also brand new schools with ample space, there is no reason for a waitlist.

Moreover, multiple schools that have begged and pleaded for additional enrollment .... have waitlists. The Center School, Madrona, BF Day, Broadview-Thomson, Lowell ....

And the high school lists are fascinating. Garfield, Roosevelt and Ballard are all going to be seriously capacity challenged next year. As such, it would make sense that any school that could take a few extra students, should take a few extra students, so that the eventually swirl will give those three schools some relief. But no ....

Cleveland with extra capacity once again has a long wait list. WSHS with extra capacity has a wait list. Nathan Hale and Ingraham, which are better able to handle extra students via portables have waitlist list. Ingraham is going to have a 500 student addition in two years. it makes a lot of sense for Ingraham to take a few extra students this year and next year so that they scale up, slowly and are able to take the time to find IB qualified staff.

In summary, it looks like families have one idea of what "choice" means and the enrollment office has a completely different idea.

133 comments:

kellie said...

Thanks Mel! Apologies for all the typos.

Anonymous said...

Is there data available that shows how many are actually enrolled for fall 2017 at each school? I'm curious about the high schools that are expecting huge increases, such as Roosevelt, where I believe they are expecting 100 more 9th graders next year than they have this year. I'm curious how that played out.

NE Parent

Anonymous said...

NE Parent, when I spoke with Enrollment, they said no enrollment numbers will be released to the public(!). Anyone else hear differently? I would love to see what's going on--particularly with the extensive waitlist (and empty classrooms) at Whitman.

Concerned Whitman Parent

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

As far as I know, Seattle is the ONLY district that refuses to release enrollment information to the public. This was not always the case and it is not the case for surrounding districts. You can call other districts and they will just tell you enrollment data, because it public information.

SusanH said...

Washington isn't a new school that's being opened.....(?)

kellie said...

To answer some questions on the other thread.

This year, there will be two new middle schools opening - Meany and REMS. Opening TWO new middle school in the same year is a huge undertaking and a major systems change and is very disruptive to students, teachers, families, staff, everyone involved. Staff deserves a lot of credit for getting these school open. However, the way this capacity has been managed is creating at least as many problems as it is solving.

JAMS was opened in 2014 because all of the middle schools were full and a few were dangerously full. As such, when JAMS opened, all the other middle schools were still full but not dangerously full.

By opening TWO new schools in the same year, we are going from not-enough middle school capacity, to EXTRA middle school capacity, for the first time since Meany Middle School was closed in 2009. (Historical note: When Meany was closed in 2009, SPS went from 10 middle schools that were mostly full to 9 middle schools that were very full. )

Next year, SPS will have 12 middle schools. Unfortunately for everyone, the boundaries for those 12 schools were drawn in 2013 and don't accurately reflect where students live in 2017. As such the capacity that is being brought online is pretty uneven.

Washington, Meany, REMS, Eckstein and Whitman will have extra capacity. As such, it is possible for these schools to accept every single student that wants to attend. Simply put, there is NO CAPACITY reason for a waitlist at any of these schools.

Hamilton will still be severely over-capacity even with this changes. The building was originally designed for 800 students. As such, a long waitlist at Hamilton makes sense.

JAMS is also getting very full, so a wait list there could make sense as well.

Bottom line: The POINT of our "limited choice" assignment plan was so that families could choose any school that had space. Families still think that is the plan. The Student Assignment Plan spells out that this is the PLAN.

This wait list makes it clear that not everyone thinks this is the plan

kellie said...

@ Susah H,

Thanks! I reposted with the correct info.

Anonymous said...

Are there wait lists so they can let kids in by groups large enough to assign a new teacher? Otherwise, I don't get it.

Fix AL

Patrick said...

How can they not release enrollment numbers to the public? The District likes getting FOIAs?

Anonymous said...

What is FOIA?

Huh?

Anonymous said...

Ditto what Patrick said. How in the world do they get away with not releasing enrollment numbers to the public? It's a public school district, and what in the world is so confidential about that information? Crazy.

NE Parent

P.S. Thank you to Kellie for your always-insightful comments and contributions!

OV Mom said...

Right? Isn't the information OUR information?

Anonymous said...

I would want to know before it's too late (May 31) if my student was signed up for a school planning to have splits at every grade and huge classes, when I could have him/her go to another school close by that has space and wants more students. I would want to know before it's too late to finalize a deal with a private school that my neighbor school is losing teachers.

Share Info

Anonymous said...

FOIA-Freedom of Information Act (this allows the public to ask for documents that they think are relevant). -TeacherMom

NESeattleMom said...

I remember way back when Lowell was being split because then-elementaryAPP was overcrowding the rooms that were not being used for low-incidence Sped, I asked the then-principal what the capacity of the school was, and he waffled. I was so surprised that there wasn't an actual number.

Anonymous said...

FOIA requests are taking forever. My last one has come in installments, with the most recent piece approaching a year out from the original request. By the time you get the info, it's obsolete. Maybe it's a workload issue on their end, but they are the ones creating the need for that work! A little transparency up front could save a lot of effort later.

Data seeker

Anonymous said...


FY2017-18 schools funding allocations show projected enrollment (adjusted 3/28/17):
http://www.seattleschools.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_543/File/District/Departments/Budget/2018%20Budget%20Development/17-18%20Allocations/allocations18.pdf


SSCF reader

Anonymous said...

Don't they release enrollment projections again in May?
-HD

Anonymous said...

Keep pounding SPS with FOIA request. They screw-up all the time and have exposed the district to millions in potential law suits should people choose to press the issue.

Until then remember their 3Ds , Deny, Defend and Delay.

PO

Anonymous said...

Are principals notified again end of April/early May of enrollment projections after open enrollment?
-TG

Eric B said...

In the District's defense*, it's hard to calculate a capacity for a school like Lowell with a lot of different types of SpEd. The same classroom might hold 30 gen ed students, 12 SpEd students in one program, or 4-6 for another program. That said, I think it shouldn't be that hard to calculate a pretty-close number based on historical classroom allocations and/or reasonable assumptions. For most neighborhood schools, I would think that you'd be able to be pretty close.

* That is probably the last time you'll hear that from me in this thread.

Anonymous said...

How did the Ingraham HCC spots get doled out? Assuming there aren't distance tiebreakers etc, so was it just random lottery? What was the number of the HCC students accepted and how did they arrive at the cap?

JV team

Anonymous said...

JV team,
My daughter was 10th on the Ingraham HCC waitlist then yesterday was 11.
The district person I spoke with was trying to be helpful and explained that it is first sibling as priority then complete lottery. Curious how she would get moved down to 11 and they said they are not processing inquiries/mistakes and that is how she got moved down and not up... I tried to ask how many open spots there were to begin with for the Ingraham HCC and she said she couldn't share that or how long the waitlist is. I know someone is #13 so it is at least that long. Luckily for me, my daughter is fine going to Garfield next year, although the cross town commute from Phinney Ridge will be a challenge. I'm more upset than her as I think the IB program would be a fantastic fit. I hear other friends that didn't get in are really upset.

Anonymous said...

Ingraham was assigned 90 HCC 9th graders this year. They would be happy to take more but enrollment isn't asking the schools what they want. I know that at least one previous year, enrollment refused to move waitlist in order to protect a neighboring school from staff layoffs. What I see this year, makes no sense at all.

-IHS Parent

Anonymous said...

Thanks. If they are happy to take more and have taken more HCC in other years, how frustrating. Anon@12:49, the waitlist is about 42, I think.

JV team

Anonymous said...

IHS Parent - Do you happen to know how many non-HCC 9th graders were admitted to IB this year via the choice process? Just curious how they decide how many HCC vs non-HCC to admit, when they are all treated equally once admitted (with the school encouraging all to go the IB route instead of IBx).

NE Parent

juicygoofy said...

JV Team,

regarding your student moving down the waitlist, I understand that there were many HCC students incorrectly put on Gen Ed waiting lists. My daughter and some friends are on Hamilton's Gen Ed waitlist though currently enrolled HCC students. The enrollment choice form did not include a place for specifying programs, though I should have known better after all of these years...

Anyway, the assumption on the HCC Facebook page is that as they make corrections (which appear to be random, so far), students are moving down on waitlists.

Anonymous said...

If they turned their stuff in in time, I hope the random number they are given is out of the whole pool of students (so for IHS, 131), and given the number 1 slot on the waitlist if the number is 90 or above, NOT just a number out of the waitlist pool. They should get the same shot as everyone else, if this is district error.

I am appalled that the district thinks they are not going to post enrollment data publicly. Of course that should be public.

-sleeper

Anonymous said...

How is JSCEE deciding enrollment caps for each school? That's the bigger question. And will they lift some caps in time for schools to start hiring staff if needed?

wonderin'

Anonymous said...

Wonderin', that's what I'm wondering, as well. Especially when you have a school like Whitman that currently has an enrollment of 850, then is being capped at 500 next year. Capping enrollment so low will have a detrimental effect on the school's offerings and a substantial (and very unfortunate) loss of staff and programs. There are 68 students on the waitlist, all of whom were told they could have a seat given the schools ample space and resources already in place. Why destroy a school by capping enrollment so unnecessary low? What are they doing?!?

-Frustrated

Anonymous said...

As a parent who has had to deal with waitlist status my experience has been that there is no communication between enrollment and schools. Enrollment will tell you that they are waiting to hear from Principals. Principals will tell you that they are waiting to hear from enrollment. We had to go to the school physically and have the principal call enrollment. I don't blame the principals - they know their enrollment status and how much room they have and often they want to reconcile it. However, as is consistently the case, there is no communication from the central office to give them the green light. They just sit on their hands over there as far as I can tell. That was our personal experience. You need to go straight to the principal - which is too bad because they are already quite busy and there are people being paid already to do enrollment. Another place for cuts perhaps?

SPSparent

Anonymous said...

I guess SPS expects the 68+ students to just take it. Usually SPS will start pitting one group against the other. In this case there will be some short comings at RESMS that SPS will blame on students who opted to stay at Whitman or Whitman will blame RESMS for the loss of resources. It's never going to be the fault of SPS and their lies.

Rusty

Anonymous said...

Physically going to the school to have the principal address individual wait list issues is not an equitable strategy. Parents who are less informed (and in this case, even those who ARE informed as to how things are SUPPOSED to happen), and many parents who work during the day or don't have transportation, are then shut out of the process. Are waiting list positions maintained when working with schools directly, or does it transition to first come, first served in practice?

Unclear

Anonymous said...

Here is a link to what appears to be the waitlist report: https://www.seattleschools.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_543/File/District/Departments/Admissions/School%20Choice/2017-18%20Waitlist%20Report/201718WaitlistSummary_0417.pdf

Line Up! said...

The waitlists wouldn't be so high stakes if all the schools did a great job educating all the kids. But, let's face it: many of the schools are unwilling to educated the thousands of students in the district who need one or more of the following services: Access, Distinct, SM2, AL, HCC. It's sad that the families of the literally thousands of kids that fall into those categories can't just rely on their kids being able to walk into their neighborhood schools and get what they need. Talk about a lack of equity. Where's the free and appropriate public education for those kids? It's here. It's there. Oh, wait, maybe it's over there. Here, try this school. No, sorry. Try that school. What? Can't get into that one?

Dear SPS: educate all the kids! Whatever their educational needs are. Stop making them line up in little personalized lines. Stop making their parents go through obstacle courses to get the kids a basic education. Need a harder math class? Sorry, get out this line. We don't do that here. Well, yeah, we do have harder math classes, but, no, your kid can't have them because your kid is the wrong age for harder math classes. Sorry. Also, you didn't wait in the line for kids who need harder math. Sorry. We don't do that here. Hazel Wolf might. Too bad you're not in the geozone for it. And apparently there's a waiting list of 88 kids. Joke's on us, Seattle.

:-(

kellie said...

IHS parent has highlighted the heart of the waitlist problem.

" ... enrollment isn't asking the schools what they want. I know that at least one previous year, enrollment refused to move waitlist in order to protect a neighboring school from staff layoffs."

In theory the Student Assignment Plan, authorizes all extra space at all schools to be available to any student that applies. In theory, under the plan, the only reason, to not admit a student during open enrollment is because the school is full. Full can mean either that grade band is full or the school is at or near capacity.

The SAP was intended to give families access to other schools. This had a side effect of giving "popular" schools, an extra layer of enrollment stability. This had a side effect of giving other schools a little less stability. This was part of the plan and well known.

The current enrollment philosophy seems to be that it is more important to "protect" the enrollment at the schools students are leaving via the choice system, than to accommodate the students making choices. The philosophy is understandable but it defeats the point of the choice plan and it is incredibly disrespectful to the families in this district.

In the case of Ingraham, if you examine the high school enrollment data reports, there are 382 students at Ingraham from outside the attendance area. The vast majority of these students are from Ballard (129), Roosevelt (151) and Hale (79). If Ingraham had moved the waitlist then it is reasonable to assume that the vast majority of these students would have come from these three schools.

Ballard with a whopping enrollment of 1798 was so over-crowded this last year, that folks started referring to NSCC as Ballard's second campus. Roosevelt at 1715 added portables over the summer. Both of those schools would most likely have been delighted to lose a few extra students to Ingraham.

Nathan Hale was right on their enrollment target, but with a substantial wait list. Had Ingraham's wait list moved, then Nathan Hale would easily have been able to backfill. This backfill would likely have provide even more relief to Ballard and Roosevelt.

So what was protected? In the end, the over-crowding at Ballard and Roosevelt was protected.


Anonymous said...

Kellie-is this about trying to manipulate AL and HCC numbers across the schools so they are not concentrated?

Fix AL

Anonymous said...

Why did the school board approve the SAP if it was based off of old 2013 data? Why did the board allow the distinct to openly lie about open enrollment for Whitman?

Where is Pinkham's hand in all this, I understand this isn't a Licton Springs issue or Native issue, but it's negatively impacting 100s of students in both his and Burke's districts.

Let's see some action or else I think the two of you should resign. Seriously, if we can't expect you guys to step up on an issue like this then what's the point.

MJ

Anonymous said...

What? Resign? Really? Seems a bit much. They are good people. Let's give them a chance to sort this out.

Fix AL

Anonymous said...

Good afternoon neighbors,

I eagerly checked our 2017 enrollment (K) to find that it is unchanged and based on the enrollment report we are last in line. Ok, theres no chance to get into our first "choice" school, does anyone know if it is possible to move to another school while maintaining space on a waitlist? Has anyone gambled on moving to a different school with a shorter waitlist? We were zoned for our first choice school last year and then the rug was pulled from under us. Thanks and congrats to those who received new enrollments.


-JE

Anonymous said...

NE Parent,

There is no 9th grade IB. There is no limit on the number of students who can do the IB program if they choose to do that as juniors, or take IB certificate classes at any grade level.

Students are admitted as part of the HCC program, the gen ed program, or one of several specific service models of special ed. Of those groups, I only know the limit on HCC.

-IHS Parent

kellie said...

@ Fix AL,

There is no way to answer your question, without enrollment data. The only information we have is the number of students who did NOT get in. We have ZERO information on the number of students who did get in.

But that said, I highly doubt it.

Based on the quote above about how Whitman was "capped" at 500, my suspicion is that Enrollment Services "capped" the enrollment at schools based on the 3/28 Budget Allocations, which are based on "enrollment projections" also created by Enrollment Services.

The 3/28 Budget Allocation for Whitman was just under 500. Back when the Budget Allocations hit schools at the end of March, many schools (like Whitman) said that they were expecting significantly higher numbers based on the number of families that had expressed interest during Open Enrollment.

The Budget Office confirmed that these 3/28 allocations were based on PRE Open Enrollment projections and that there would be adjustments AFTER open enrollment.

So now we have this incredible circular situation where

* Enrollment sets Whitman's projected enrollment at 500.
* Whitman's capacity is approximately 1,000
* During open enrollment families do the math and say ... "hey, there are 500 empty seats at this school, we are certain to get a spot."

Open enrollment then happens and "somebody" decides to enroll, up to the projected number, rather then do open enrollment based on student demand, as intended by the SAP.

My suspicion is that this was done with the honorable intention to not "disrupt staff" with a change in projections. Except that Whitman is losing staff already and the waitlist represents TWO STAFF MEMBERS, who would not be displaced and get to remain at Whitman.

kellie said...

@ MJ,

I strongly suspect that both Dir Burke and Dir Pinkham will actively review this situation. I attended the entire board meeting where this year's SAP was approved and board members asked very detailed questions about how Open Enrollment would impact each of the amendments under review.

This outcome does not match the expectations of the board as voiced in that meeting. There were multiple amendments that addressed grandfathering students either at certain schools or in certain grade bands. Staff provided answers that indicated these amendments were not needed because there would be ample space available during open enrollment and students who wished to remain at their current schools "should" be able to do that during open enrollment.

Anonymous said...

@JE

You can only be on one wait list at a time. If you move to a different wait list you will lose your current wait list spot.

-StepJ

History's Mysteries said...

A problem that I have seen is that schools never want a staff adjustment 'down'. When staff is added due to overcrowding, successful efforts to ease that overcrowding should see a return to prior staff levels. In Boren STEM's second year, despite overwhelming demand, a kindergarten class was taken away because a neighborhood school was going to lose a teacher. Thing is, that school was overenrolled, yet uninterested in relieving some of the pressure if it meant a teacher would be displaced. Enrollment's strange decisions didn't stop there either. They allowed enrollment of students in many grades without any attempt to create full classrooms. So, despite the fact that there was room and demand, STEM was forced to have multiple split-grade classrooms. The answer was always that they were trying to avoid disruption in neighborhood schools despite the fact that none of the schools mentioned were in danger of being under-enrolled. Everyone complained about overcrowding, but didn't want to do what was necessary to properly alleviate it.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I'll note that I sent the Board an email yesterday that included Kellie's remarks as well as some comments from the Open Thread. The Board needs know about this situation as fully as possible. (Of course, I'm certain that many, many parents have been contacting them. I did listen in to a bit of the Board meeting last night and Mr. Tolley was trying to explain about Center School. It seems they have double the number of freshman for next year as they did last year and are monitoring that in order to figure out the staffing.)

Anonymous said...

You would think they would be running a campaign to actively relieve overcrowding at Garfield, Ballard, Roosevelt. The way this District operates makes no sense. Who was the person we're supposed to miss so much? Tracy Libros? I know a few I won't miss, if they ever land their desired Superintendent job someplace else.

Fix AL

Anonymous said...

School projections available here: https://www.seattleschools.org/cms/one.aspx?pageId=741840

School capacity numbers available here: http://www.seattleschools.org/cms/One.aspx?portalId=627&pageId=9498085

What I want to know is:
1) How many students are currently enrolled in each school?
2) What is the process by which enrollment and admissions determine the number of seats available to choice students?

A parent commented on a recent FB post that an admissions staffer told her that the number of choice seats are "fixed" and new choice students can only come in if a choice student vacates their seat. I don't see how that's possible, since enrollments fluctuate from year-to-year. It's also contrary to the official policy which says if there is space available, waitlisted students will be admitted.

Anonymous said...

Anyone else just get the feeling they don't know what they are doing?

SPS craziness

Anonymous said...

They don't know what they're doing and the board isn't interested in solving this. Last night they all said nice things about the kids from The Center School who testified - but not a single one of the board members actually pledged to do anything to solve the problem those kids brought to the board's attention.

Misillusioned

Anonymous said...

I remember at one time there was a percentage of "choice" seats that were set-aside for high schools, so that kids from outside a school's attendance area have a shot at getting in. That might be what was meant about schools having a "fixed" number of choice seats? I have no idea if this is still part of the Student Assignment Plan.

-North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

I would think any SPS employees who misleadingly promised that current 6th and 7th grade Whitman students could remain at Whitman could be fired for cause.

MJ

kellie said...

After digging into this and hearing from families at a wide variety of schools in the last two days, here are a few of my conclusions on this issue.

* The 2009 Board Approved Student Assignment Plan INTENDED that any student in the district could access any school in the district on a space-avaiable basis. This was considered to be a limited choice plan, that incorporated many of the elements of the 100% choice plan.

* The board and families had all presumed that space-availabe would be a capacity related issue. Simply put, if a school *could* take a student, that school *would* take that student. As this was how the choice plan operated.

Enrollment Services has since made two key procedural changes that are not in alignment this this understanding.

1) Certain schools have been given enrollment caps. These enrollment caps, align with enrollment projections but are not communicated to the public in any way.

2) Wait list moves are not being made on the basis of available space at the receiving school, but rather on whether or not the other school might lose staff.

Enrollment services has the right to make these changes. The can come up with any definition they want of what space-available means. That said, the lack of transparency in this process is a serious breach of public trust. This is precisely what Charlie calls the "culture of lawlessness."

IMHO, Enrollment Services is the keystone of a public school system. This department is where the public gains access to the services paid for by public taxes. Enrollment Services are the gatekeepers and as such, have a public duty to be clear and transparent in how they decide which members of the public gets to access public services.

Enrollment data is so critical that OSPI requires that enrollment data is reported monthly and these enrollment reports are then used to generate the funding upon which SPS operates. The policy of embargoing this data from the public can only be described as a breach of public trust and it is a policy that no other district follows.



Salvador J. said...

So, the option schools that look like they have significant waitlists are:
Cleveland STEM
McDonald Intl.
Pathfinder
Salmon Bay
South Shore
John Stanford Intl.
Thornton Creek
TOPS
Hazel Wolf

After they let in whatever students make it in off the waitlist, they will dissolve the waitlists. Then after the school year begins, a few kids will decide to go to private school. Or move to Tacoma. Or go to their geozone school. Or any variety of other things.

And then there will be vacancies. But the students who were on the wait list will not get those seats. Because the waitlists have been dissolved.

Those seats that open up will be given to the children of recently hired high tech executives who just moved up here from Silicon Valley and need a school for their children to attend starting in January. And they'll ask, "what schools are good?" And a friend will say, "This option school is close to you and they encourage kids to be well-rounded full human beings AND promote academic progress and excellence even for students who are working ahead of grade level in one or more subjects." And they'll fill out the paperwork for the impacted option school with the behemoth waitlist. And their children will get in right away and start school the next day.

Talk about a lack of equity.

Anonymous said...

Kellie, this is particularly troubling given that, in my conversations with ENROLLMENT, I was told that there was plenty of room at Whitman and that there was no need to worry about the lack of grandfathering. They communicated that if I submitted a choice form, my child should get a seat at Whitman. Never once did I hear a mention of enrollment caps in any of their community meetings or in side conversations. What is going on regarding the REMS/Whitman situation is completely out of line with earlier communications from the board, principals and enrollment.

-Frustrated

Anonymous said...

WHITMAN staff have been told not to talk about the problem. Leaders are now telling parents it's a budget problem. Some believe the kids are being used to bolster anger over funding

This stinks

Anonymous said...

@ Frustrated, wasn't the point of reassigning some of the Whitman kids to RESMS so that it could open as a comprehensive middle school? If all the Whitman students are allowed to "opt out" of that reassignment, what would it mean for RESMS 7th and 8th graders?

unclear

Eric B said...

Frustrated, do you have that in writing/email? If you do, then I would sure forward that back to the school board.

Anonymous said...

WHITMAN staff have been told not to talk about the problem. Leaders are now telling parents it's a budget problem. Some believe the kids are being used to bolster anger over funding

This stinks

Anonymous said...

@ Uncelar, there are only 68 students on the Whitman waitlist. REMS has a waitlist of 41. If REMS has a waitlist, one can only assume its because the school hit its enrollment cap, as well. Even though we don't have enrollment data, I would conclude that REMS is not in danger of loosing its ability to serve as as a comprehensive middle school.

The district should honor its commitment to families who were told there was room to stay in their current school.

-Frustrated

Anonymous said...

Kellie - Can you explain point #2 in your latest post? It seems that kids on a waitlist may have as their AA school any number of different schools. Your point seems to assume that kids on the waitlist all have the same AA school that is in danger of losing too many students. For example, I bet the kids on the IHS waitlist come from a mix of the Ballard, Roosevelt, and Hale attendance areas (and many HCC kids whose default assignment will be Garfield if they don't get a spot at IHS and if they didn't put their AA school as their second choice). Which of those schools does the District deem in need of protection from staff losses? It can't be Roosevelt, as RHS is growing next year (and will need more teachers, not fewer). I'm guessing the same is true of Ballard and Garfield. I'm not sure about Hale. If it's Hale they're trying to protect by limiting choice enrollment at IHS, they're hurting kids who wouldn't go to Hale anyway! (Which is not to say they should allow in only those kids who would otherwise be assigned an overcrowded school.) Moreover, they're actually hurting those overcrowded schools, which could shed a few kids who would rather be at IHS (and who would be welcomed by the IHS staff). It seems kind of crazy.

Thanks,
NE Parent

Anonymous said...

@unclear: Plenty of families are taking the reassignment to Eagle Staff either happily or willingly. But right or wrong, Whitman families were promised at least a couple of years ago, in a decision by Flip Herndon, that any Whitman student who wished to stay at Whitman could stay at Whitman (though those outside the assignment area wouldn't receive bus transportation). It was communicated to families during this school year that the way to take the option to stay was to apply through open enrollment. The desired target enrollment I heard for Whitman to retain enough staff and budget for its offerings and programs was 600. The imposition of a cap at 500, leaving current Whitman 6th and 7th graders on a waitlist, is a shock and further erodes any trust in promises from SPS.

Also, does anyone know who is it on the waitlist for Eagle Staff? Non-reassigned kids from Whitman? JAMS? I doubt many from Hamilton. So, who?

Fireside

Anonymous said...

@Fireside, I know a number of non-reassigned kids from Whitman are on the REMS waitlist (they wanted to go with their friends). Knowing that there could be easy swaps heightens the craziness.

-Frustrated

Anonymous said...

The board should immediately release the enrollment numbers for each school.

MJ

Anonymous said...

Just wait and see what happens when things go bad on 90th and Aurora.

Enough said

Anonymous said...

If SPS management doesn't independently immediately reverse its decision to release enrollment numbers, a crowd-sourced call to FOIA the same information should do the trick.

Listen: They can do this the easy, right way in collaboration with their customers - Seattle families or the difficult, hard way -- with ill will from families and bad press from the media. Either way it needs to happen.

I don't doubt they were trying to do the right thing in balancing capacity issues. I also don't doubt the unintended consequences have kicked them in the butt. Now is not the time to hunker down and hide downtown. Publish the information and get busy with the enrollment fixes.

DistrictWatcher

kellie said...

@ Eric B.

That promise to Whitman was not only made it writing, it was posted on the SPS website for TWO YEARS. I have screenshot of it and that screen shot was widely circulated during all of the boundary meetings last Fall. The board is very well aware of that promise.

kellie said...

@ NE Parent,

I *wish* I could explain that better.

Your logic matches my logic on how the wait list really works.

My point #2 was simply a summary of multiple types of statements made by enrollment. This "policy" of not moving wait lists that could hurt other schools started with Cleveland High School. In that case, most of the students on the Cleveland wait list were enrolled at Rainier Beach. As such, someone made the executive decision to NOT move the Cleveland wait list so that Rainier Beach would have more students. That issue has been going on for a few years.

The bottom line is that parents think about capacity dramatically differently than enrollment services. Family think that open enrollment should be used to actively manage capacity and move students from over-crowded to less crowded school. In the case you mention, Ballard and Roosevelt are so fundamentally over-crowded that any and all attempts to move enrollment to Ingraham and Hale should be pursued.

However, enrollment services seems to be prioritizing ensuring that schools are given the same number of students in their projections to create the "illusion" of staffing stability. I say illusion because with the budget gap, there is no staffing stability this year.

kellie said...

@ This stinks,

I confident that folks are now describing this as a "budget issue" as it is clearly not a "capacity issue." It is simply not possible to say that there is not room at Whitman.

I am equally confident that this is in no meaningful way a "budget issue."

The top level of the budget is driven by enrollment. Every student brings a certain number of dollars from the State to the district. The district then has one big lump sum that they get to divide amongst the schools. We all know that the average per pupil varies pretty significantly from school to school but the amount from the state is consistent.

Therefore when the district is saying "budget issue" what the really mean is an "allocation issue" at a particular school.

Here is the link to the 2016 WSS that explains how staff are allocated at schools.
https://www.seattleschools.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_543/File/District/Departments/Budget/Budget%20Development%202017/wssmodel17.pdf

For middle school the "break point" for extra staff is 700. As such, there is no extra cost to the district until there are more than 700 middle school students. If the entire wait list moves, Whitman will not be over 700.

However, the Assistant Principal line is different. That is not based on the number of students but rather the number of teachers. If there are fewer than 23 FTE then there is no Assistant Principal. If there are 24 FTE, then you get a .5 Assistant Principal and with 27 FTE, you get a 1.0 Assistant Principal.

Per the March 28th, Budget allocation, Whitman was assigned .5 Assistant Principal. It is possible that the budget issue they are referencing is that moving the wait list might cause that .5 to be increased to 1.0.





Anonymous said...

@NE Parent,

We are in the boat you describe. Default assignment to AA at Ballard but would much rather be at Ingraham or Nathan Hale for capacity and other reasons. Currently we are #3 on the waitlist for Ingraham Grade 11. It would be great to see the actual enrollment figures since I would be willing to bet the Ingraham numbers have been artificially capped for reasons that probably make no sense to anyone on this blog. It would take a miracle but why is the District unwilling to consider swaps to facilitate better opportunities for students?

Marmauset

Anonymous said...

If the district is willing to cause all this chaos over $35K we are all in trouble. Perhaps SPS should sell off the 12 unused portables at Whitman so they can keep the lights on.

Kelly, can you post the screenshot and emails for all to see?


This stinks

Anonymous said...

Call me naive, but does anyone think the district will be balancing out their enrollment and moving kids off waitlists the next couple of months? I am wondering if what we are seeing is the result of a slow, big bureaucratic district. I have worked for big bureaucratic public agencies before and things happen step by step and often slowly. From the outside looking it, it can make no sense.

It makes no sense to put a "cap" on a under enrolled school. It seems they would want to balance enrollment better to avoid disruptions, changes in staff allocations etc at schools. Perhaps that is a second step that is coming? Anyone email upper level administrators and get a reply? The board and district is well aware of enrollment inbalances, overcrowding, under enrollment. I am having a hard time believing they will not be working things out.
-JH

kellie said...

I can't post the screen shot but here is the text of the "promise"

Students who will be assigned to Wilson Pacific (or whatever the name may be in the future) and start at Whitman can follow one of two paths. They can stay at Whitman for the duration of their middle school experience or they can attend Whitman for the year(s) before Wilson Pacific opens and then attend Wilson Pacific when the building is complete.

kellie said...

@ JH,

I don't think your question is naive. It is very reasonable.

IMHO, it is completely and totally irrelevant whether or not enrollment services intend to move the wait list over the next few months. I am certain that everyone working on this has good intentions.

For me, the issue is simply a matter of priorities. What is the priority for enrollment services? What is their mission? Who do they consider to be their customers? Who is their most important customer? When you have to choose between competing priorities, what priority wins?

Enrollment services has multiple customers -
* students and families who want services
* the schools where the students are assigned
* every single district department whose work includes student.

That's a lot of customers and a lot of competing priorities. Just managing a standard assignment process is challenging. So managing a standard assignment process PLUS a secondary choice assignment process gets complicated very quickly.

The way the entire assignment process was handled this year - between geo-splits, boundaries, promises made and now promises broken, make it crystal clear, that students and families are NOT the customer.

We have a limited choice program in Seattle for a good reason. With 28% private school enrollment, SPS is always dangerously on the edge of losing critical community buy-in. If you have ever lived in a city where the middle class has effectively abandoned public schools, you know how ugly that can get.



Eric B said...

The district can and will move things quickly if the school board gets behind it. That's why I'm asking for a work session so these issues can be aired and discussed.

kellie said...

I would break this waitlist into categories.

1) Broken promises - a plain and simple breach of public trust. These NEVER should have happened. Particularly in a year where SPS has relied heavily on parents to lobby over the levy cliff and the challenges of a $50M budget gap.

2) Vision or Planning Failure - the failure to optimize the choice process to move as many students as possible out of over-crowded schools and into schools that can better handle a few extra students.

3) Missed opportunities - every families that gets their choice assignment is a happy customer. There are so many "1" on this list. One student does not make or break any particular school.

4) The usual suspects - every year, there are long wait lists at certain schools. This is known and expected.

Another NW said...

Regarding the issue of.. "For middle school the "break point" for extra staff is 700. As such, there is no extra cost to the district until there are more than 700 middle school students. If the entire wait list moves, Whitman will not be over 700."
the latest allocations for REMS on 3/28 were as follows:
6th grade: 265
7th grade: 224
8th grade: 231
Total: 720
Seems like if waitlist moved to Whitman, would actually save $?
http://www.seattleschools.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_543/File/District/Departments/Budget/2018%20Budget%20Development/17-18%20Allocations/allocations18.pdf

SeaDad said...

As Kellie so wisely pointed out above:
"With 28% private school enrollment, SPS is always dangerously on the edge of losing critical community buy-in. If you have ever lived in a city where the middle class has effectively abandoned public schools, you know how ugly that can get.

That is the biggest equity issue Seattle Public School faces.

Anonymous said...

The school board has been captured by staff - again - and cannot be relied on to help. But bureaucrats do still respond to public pressure. Go to the JSCEE as a large group and demand answers - and don't leave until you get them. That's the only thing that works at this point.

Misillusioned

Anonymous said...

Hello Ms. Harris, we know you read and comment on this blog. What say you about the RESMS/Whitman enrollment situation?

Sully

Anonymous said...

Director Geary reads this too, but stopped commenting after she got mad about the Cascadia split. The District staff read this page regularly and they're surely working hard to figure out how to sort things out. I'm with Kellie--I don't think they have bad intentions, just a backwards process and improper priorities. Now I see why Flip stopped presenting at the growth boundary and SAP meetings; he didn't want to be quoted or held accountable for the Whitman mess.

Fix AL

Anonymous said...

It's not just happening to Whitman families. I'm hearing that JAMS kids who now reside in the RESMS attendance area, and who applied to stay at JAMS during open enrollment, aren't showing up as being on the JAMS waitlist.

Something is really messed up.

-North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

Families that live along 3rd ave NW and north of Holman road just have to drive south to 103rd take a right and head up the hill a few blocks to Whitman. Now the district expects us to drive all the way to 90th and stone into a huge traffic mess with street people and junkies all over the place. No thanks, we will seek private school enrollment or try and get into Shoreline. I just can't take anymore incompetence from SPS.

MeDo

kellie said...

@ marmoset and NE Parent,

I have been looking at the high school numbers and the wait list scenarios. Without transparent data, all we have is rumor and innuendo and guesses about which school can do what. It is always in the best interest of the district to share basic facts whenever possible. Because facts create buy in.

Here is the limited facts I can find. Here are the North End High School projections, per the 3/28 Budget allocation.

Ballard - 1904
Ingraham - 1361
Hale - 1173
Roosevelt - 1846


At the moment, we have no way of know if the high schools followed the same pattern as the middle schools where the wait list was started at about the same point as the budget allocation. It is a reasonable guess, but it is a guess.

If that guess is correct, then question becomes ... "Can Ingraham or Hale better handle more students over and above this initial allocation than Ballard or Roosevelt are ready to handle their allocation?"

I have no idea what the answer is, because we have no idea what the enrollment number is. That said, my best recommendation would be for the PTSA's of the various high schools to connect with each other and see if there are any grass roots solutions.

NE families did this years ago regarding split siblings. The schools connected and by collaborating they were able to effectively get the wait lists at elementary schools moved so that families stayed together.

Anonymous said...

At a school board meeting end of last year, someone asked the board (Eric B?) to please plan for high school over-enrollment,imbalances and at Ingraham by starting the process for adding portables. I am wondering what the response was about that request.
-JH

kellie said...

MeDo just beautifully illustrated how this assignment issue, quickly morphs into a true budget issue.

Families care about education. This blog exists because so many people are passionate about education. It is extremely challenging to "force' families into a choice they don't want. Even harder, when they think it is a bad choice for them.

So the rationale for the Whitman waitlist could easily be that REMS "needs those students more." But that does not mean that those students will actually show up at REMS. The students on the REMS waitlist are much more likely to actually attend REMS than the families on the Whitman waitlist assigned to REMS.

If all 68 of those families just left for homeschool, private or Shoreline, then the district lose approximately $700,000 in expected funding and the budget gap grows even wider.

Anonymous said...

Just a FYI, if your student has an IEP the district can't unilaterally move them from Whitman to RESMS. You can use the stay put provision to prevent this.

If you dispute a proposed change to your child’s placement, the “stay put” provision allows them to do just that—stay put. The student will continue to get the same amount of services while you and the school complete a dispute resolution process.

If the district fights then you can use the mobility argument which supports the negative impacts of up rooting students from their current school and peers.

Lots of info on the net on this issue.

SPED Parent

Anonymous said...

This is incorrect. The school district can change the school assignment of a student with a disability. They do this all the time. They can't change placement which is program type. To get a stay put order, you have to file for due process. And you have to win the case that IDEA's placement was the same as Seattle 's school assignment process. Good luck.

Wow. All this crying because of perceived lost school choice is absurd. When new schools come online, you have to change boundaries. New schools won't be good if they are underenrolled or unbalanced. And overcrowded old ones aren't good either. The district has to load balance. Choice system absolutely has to consider the impacts on all schools. What would people do if they had real problems?

Another Sped Parent

Eric B said...

JH, that was me. The response was to put two portables in the Garfield staff parking lot and two (I believe) at Ingraham. I don't know if the two at Ingraham were for a program being moved there or for enrollment growth.

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

Another Sped parent, no one is saying that things would not shift with new schools opening. But Whitman parents were told - in writing - one thing and now another is happening. Also, Whitman is not overcrowded so why move so many kids out? As well, the number of schools with "waitlists" that do have space makes this all very suspicious.

Anonymous said...

@Another SPED Parent,

I'm not sure if your response is based off of your own personal experience or not, but the law is very clear on how IEP change decisions are to be made. The district has consistently violated the ADA laws for 20+ years and it does get away with many illegal activities, because the district feeds off of parent's ignorance of the laws and lack of resources.

That being said, the district can not unilaterally decided to move your student without your and your child's participation in an IEP meeting to discuss and review the merits and impacts of the decision. To clarify, "stay put" is synonymous with "status quo" and in effect means your child's educational environment will remain constant while your complaint works its way though the system. It could take 6-18 months for a due process hearing to commence, so in your filings you simply ask for a stay put motion. You might have to have a pre conference hearing to argue your motion. You're likely to be granted the motion, unless you have a particularity complex situation where the district can show that staying put with cause irreparable harm to either party.

If you file in late June your practically guaranteed not to have a preliminary hearing date before December which means your child will not be moved in the 2017-2018 school year. Now you have successfully achieved your goal of "stay put". At this point your action is moot and you withdraw your complaint just before the hearing day.

Our children are not pawns to be used to load balance the districts mismanagement. I believe SPS has spent over $25 million over the last decade on software and personnel to help with capacity management and analytics. I suggest they seek a refund.

SPED Parent

Anonymous said...

Kellie or someone is there a link available to learn how many students will be/have been admitted for next year 2017-2018 to various schools due to open enrollment choice? I am wondering if they make this information public? Looking at the waitlists with under-enrolled schools etc, I am wondering if they admitted ANY students to choice schools (yet)?
-JH

Anonymous said...

Sped Parent, I hear you. And yes. You can file for due process, which will be granted. It will cost 30 grand. It might allow your kid to stay in your program when under the "stay put mandate" for 6 months. The law is not at all clear on the difference between school placement (which is an IEP team decision) and school assignment (which is a district decision). If you win, you can collect your fees and stay with the substitute teacher probably. If you lose, the district may go after you for the fees. I don't know who will win. I doubt you can win that, and I'm pretty optimistic about most infractions.

The district promised that all special ed services would be available at all comprehensive secondary schools. ( we know they lie about this all the time). Will both schools really have all sped programs? If so it might be ok. Or will it be partial programs with lots of subs? Or just a simple booting of sped?

Another sped parent


Ps. Yeah Melissa. Doesn't everybody know they lie all the time? Liars lie. But they actually have a decent reason now. Choice has always been a lie.

Anonymous said...

A district's due process legal cost are not passed on to the plaintive the 'parent win or lose. A DIY due process cost you next to nothing ,but will cost the district more than their funding allocations for a student. My guess is the district will grant any request for a high incidence SPED student to remain at Whitman without a fight.

SPED Parent

Anonymous said...

Is there evidence that SPS is manipulating SPED placements between RESMS and Whitman?

MJ

Anonymous said...

Back when they were determining the feeder schools for RESMS, everyone said they were pulling too many from Whitman and reassigning them to RESMS, and that RESMS would end up overcrowded (or at the very least, with a very large and potentially more difficult to manage first-year crowd) and that Whitman would be severely under enrolled. So the decision was...to just roll with that plan and finalize those new feeder patterns and boundaries anyway? I'd like to know what JSCEE staff and Directors were thinking. Did they not foresee this? Or do they not see it as a problem? And how do they feel about the broken promises issue--or I should say, this particular broken promises issue?

Hey Directors, care to explain yourselves?

unclear

Anonymous said...

The district is too big, too bureaucratized, and administration bloated. Too many people who are afflicted by the peter principle.

observer

Anonymous said...

Observer-- I agree with the too big comment. But legislative attempts to reduce the size of WA school districts (breaking Seattle for example into smaller districts) have failed.
-another observer

Anonymous said...

I wish SPS were split and there was a regional leadership with a focus on efficiency and closing the gap. I nominate the super in Everett.

SPS north and SPA south have different needs; look at Bellevue, Lake Washington and Woodinville and Northshore for ideas.

Reform the District bureaucracy and stop pushing so much testing and merit based competition between teachers.

Queen 4aDay

Lynn said...

Schools in Magnolia, Queen Anne and the northern ends of Capitol Hill and West Seattle have different needs than the rest of the schools south of the ship canal. Do you support breaking down SPS south further into two districts? High schools and elementary schools have different needs. Shall we create two districts in the north end - one for elementary and one for secondary schools? Schools with low incidence special education programs have different needs than other schools. Should they have their own district? What about language immersion schools?

Every time I see this suggestion, I assume you're thinking we need a district for poor kids and a district for kids who aren't poor.

Anonymous said...

Please fill in the ship canal it's racist and is dividing our city. Thousands of low income homes can be built on the land. Just say no to rich white privileged boat owners.

Jamal

Anonymous said...

Lynn, yours is a sophormoric generality and hardly worthy of the time it took to read it. The district can be broken up and it needs to be. Whether north-south, east-west, or some other way, it can be done. Intelligence and will are better than broad aggregations.
observer

Lee said...

Over half of Seattle residents rent. There are renters north and south of the ship canal. There are title one schools north and south of the ship canal. There's public housing north and south. There were almost 3,500 homeless students in Seattle in the 2015-16 school year. They were attending schools north of the ship canal and south of the ship canal.

The district needs to be split because its dysfunctional.

How often do families from Arbor Heights find themselves hanging out at Olympic Hills? And vice versa.
How often do families from Broadview-Thomson find themselves hanging out Rainier View? And vice versa.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Lee and Observer. It can be done and should be done. It would function better if broken into 4 districts.
-another observer

Anonymous said...

Cedar Park and Olympic Hills have students living in great poverty, and that area has been identified as one of the greatest concentrations of poverty in all of SPS with a great variety of languages spoken. Around Ballard and REMS there are pockets of poverty and substantial Diversity. There is a lot of poverty around north gate and Sandpoint, but north seattle is aggressively generalized as elite and (white) privileged. Saying the district should be split so we can better serve our children is smart. Saying don't split the District because if you think otherwise you're racist is rude and simplistic thinking.

Fix AL

Lynn said...

If Queen was not referring to poverty, what are the differing needs between SPS north and south that would be easier to manage separately?

Obviously the district is dysfunctional. It's not because it's too large - this isn't a particularly large district compared to those in other areas. As of 2012, we were the 94th largest district in the country.

Stretching the same amount of money to hire another $250K per year superintendent isn't the solution. The next superintendent must have experience in running a well-functioning district and be willing to refocus administration on serving the schools. Central admin exists to hire teachers and principals and provide them with training as necessary, choose and supply curriculum, manage enrollment services and arrange for transportation and meal service and assure the safety of our children.

I like the new head of C&I. He's not been here long and has already drawn the board's attention to one of the district's most egregious failures - the district does not provide schools with curriculum and necessary materials. There are many subjects for which books and materials were adopted so long ago (decades!) that they cannot be replaced. The new middle schools will open next fall without math textbooks. They're planning to purchase 550 student laptops for a school with expected enrollment of 465 though. Maybe we're just going to transition to using the Khan Academy?

Anonymous said...

I agree with Lynn. Size isn't the cause of our dysfunction, and splitting the district doesn't necessarily fix it (and it creates other challenges, like increased costs). Two smaller districts would each still have the same very wide range of students to serve--from students working much below standard to those working many years ahead; students with IEPs and 504 plans; native English speakers and ELLs with a wide range of language backgrounds; students living in extreme poverty and students whose families are in the top 1% of incomes; students who are homeless and students living in multi-million dollar houses; students who have a single parent/guardian who is often not around and students with two parents who provide extensive support; students whose parents don't have much education and students whose parents have PhDs; and so on. However you split the district, you'll still have all types. Having fewer total students wouldn't make it any easier to serve them well--it would just mean there was less funding available to do so.

@ Lynn, what's this about a new head of C&I? Sounds promising!

HF

Lynn said...

Mr. Kinoshita was hired over the summer - here's a link to the announcement.

On page nine of the minutes of the November C&I committee meeting, you can see that he was already thinking about both the need for materials for new schools and suggesting solutions to the problem. He also stated that the current waiver process would be reviewed and tightened up.

His briefing paper on instructional materials for new buildings is on page 76 of the agenda for that meeting.

Speaking of waivers, the annual report on approved waivers begins on page 126 of the agenda for the December C&I Committee meeting. Anyone surprised that their school is not listed?

Anonymous said...

...one of the district's most egregious failures - the district does not provide schools with curriculum and necessary materials. There are many subjects for which books and materials were adopted so long ago (decades!) that they cannot be replaced. The new middle schools will open next fall without math textbooks.

Let's hope SPS finally makes headway on this shortcoming, and doesn't default to using EngageNY or some other random, incoherent sampling of online sources of questionable value. Some teachers seem to like the freedom, but it leads to a lack of coherence and great inconsistencies in skill and content coverage, even within a school. I used to laugh at the skits where they peppered people on the street with random history questions, but I'm seeing little in the way of a solid curriculum that will keep my kids from being those uninformed people. My only concern would be poorly designed curriculum forced on schools, which leads to more waivers, which leads to more inconsistencies...which takes us back to where we started.

The existence of waivers is an opportunity to compare outcomes, however. Has the district done a comparison for various schools and groups? Do schools using waivers vs the adopted materials show any difference in outcomes? If so, are they doing anything else differently?

They're planning to purchase 550 student laptops for a school with expected enrollment of 465 though. Maybe we're just going to transition to using the Khan Academy?

Whoa, what? What school (Rainier Beach?)? Did we not learn from LA's laptop for all program? Is this a pilot and what is the funding source?

-parent

Anonymous said...

What exactly does a superintendent do for $250K per year. Why would you assume each district would need to pay someone $250K or that each district would require so many centralized staff...they would not. De fund JSCEE, split the district, sell off JSCEE building and empower each school to do excellence.

Why not

Lynn said...

parent - it's Meany Middle School. Here's a link to the agenda for the March Operations Committee meeting. The Board Action Report begins on page 160. The purchase for Meany is on page 171.

I didn't think the district had enough technology staff to keep the current computers running.

Anonymous said...

It makes more sense to me to split the District and improve management by creating manageable sized districts vs trying to keep it together to preserve the big pot of money that is spread too thin and completely mismanaged. North /South split makes sense, but who cares how it's divided, just do something to improve things. Status quo isn't working. Different needs for north and south seattle was referring to financial issues, but also neighborhood cultures and communities. When has SPS been managed well? Ever? Never? Why not consider splitting it? The excuse for the $74M deficit was the unusual size of the district. Lake Washington school district is Big but not unruly, and they are not facing the same deficit and mismanagement issues we are.

Could it be north Seattle doesn't want to lose access to Garfield? So, recreate Garfield at Lincoln and then split the District. Garfield doesn't want you anyway.

Queen 4aDay

Lynn said...

Lake WA is about half the size of Seattle. It also has a 12% poverty rate in comparison to Seattle's 36%. Which half of Seattle would you be in if the district was split north/south?

Here are the FRL %s for each high school attendance area:

Ballard 12%
Ingraham 39%
Nathan Hale 35%
Roosevelt 12%


Chief Sealth 66%
Franklin 65%
Garfield 46%
Rainier Beach 76%
West Seattle 28%

Only one high school attendance area south of the ship canal has a lower poverty rate than any school in the north end.

Anonymous said...

The existence of waivers is an opportunity to compare outcomes, however. Has the district done a comparison for various schools and groups? Do schools using waivers vs the adopted materials show any difference in outcomes? If so, are they doing anything else differently?

The district has a "Research, Evaluation and Assessment" department, but they don't seem to do any evaluation of academic program effectiveness. They mostly seem to do scorecard-related data, which means looking at standardized tests and climate surveys. Their efforts seem to be primarily directed toward external reporting, with little or no emphasis on evaluation for QUALITY IMPROVEMENT. There are a lot of questions they could be asking and a lot of different ways they could be using the data they have--not to mention a lot of different questions they COULD be asking to dig a little deeper into any of the many issues that have been concerns for years and years--but they don't appear to be interested in looking beneath the surface. Maybe they're afraid of what we'll see?

data seeker

Anonymous said...

"Garfield doesn't want you anyway."

Wow.

Anonymous said...

If people want Garfield then move south. The south end has much more affordable housing opportunities. We need to stop busing kids around and work on local schools for local kids...

Just stop

Anonymous said...

Splitting North-South would lead to a better funded north end and more poorly funded south end. Yes, there are students in poverty across the district, but disproportionately more in the south end. Fewer dollars would need to stretch even more to cover students with high needs, while in the north end, the $/student would actually increase as they'd have disproportionately fewer students with high needs. A split makes no sense, and would most likely harm those in the south end.

reality

Anonymous said...

Splitting North-South, with BHS, Hale, IHS, and RHS in the north, would create a north district around 20% FRL and a south district around 50% FRL (excludes Center School and Nova in calculations, and doesn't take into account HCC at Garfield).

nonsensical

Anonymous said...

"Obviously the district is dysfunctional. It's not because it's too large - this isn't a particularly large district compared to those in other areas. As of 2012, we were the 94th largest district in the country."

I knew a legislative policy person who worked in upper administration at OSPI in Olympia who did alot of research on Seattle. He also concluded the district was too large to function well. At the time we were concerned with the fact that SPS was unable to garner federal grants like Tukwila. They did not qualify based upon the formulas although had pockets of poverty. One thing that stuck with me was his comment " Seattle Public Schools being so large results in mediocrity for all".
-JH

Anonymous said...

As JH points out--SPS is so big it is difficult to secure grants or support (or agreement or collaboration) to effectively hone in and solve some of its issues. And, yes--Garfield would rather not be a magnet school for HCC. This is not a news flash, so why say "wow!"?

Queen 4aDay

Anonymous said...

P.S From a funding standpoint he felt Seattle schools would be much better positioned to receive more federal funds if broken into smaller districts. He felt the north was a drain to the south end's more concentrated high poverty schools. He did not state two districts, just smaller districts. Tukwila received alot of grant money that schools in our South end could not but there was high need. UW also had federal grants with Tukwila, they could not work with Seattle due to federal and state grant guidelines.
-JH

Anonymous said...

Whenever splitting the district comes up on this blog, you get the same tired answers about doubling or tripling super pay or some other tired and superficial money argument. A smaller district would enable administrators to do more and those administrators would be more visible to a smaller more local clientele. Smart people post on this blog but many have shown little imagination. That's why I post rarely. You get tired responses. The bigger the bureaucracy, the more the money goes down the money hole. It is true of all bureaucracies and large corporations. Wouldn't you rather deal with local business? I would.

Thanks, JH, for your information. We are a district that needs to change to succeed. Doing the same thing over and over . . . well, Lynn, I bet you can finish that one.
observer

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to add that smaller districts would undoubtedly attract more corporate money as well as grant money due to the fact that it would be spread more equally and with greater oversight and less interference from bureaucrats. JH comment on Federal money makes total sense.
observer

Melissa Westbrook said...

I actually think the district is a reasonable size for a mid-sized urban district. LA, Chicago, now those are districts that are too big.

I absolutely think it is within the reach of this district to at least function well. That we elect Board members - election after election - who do not at least demand a district that functions well - you know, like enrollment, curriculum, a decent website - is curious. No wonder the district can't tackle big issues; they aren't even getting the trains to run on-time.

Is this the worst mid-size urban district? Of course not. But it's shameful that there are so many highly-paid employees at the district level and yet, they just muddle along.

I was at an event last week for WPD with many other activists and their issues. I was chatting up a teacher who said she had taught mostly in Bellevue but, for the last couple of years, in Seattle. I asked her what the difference was. She said "day and night. If I need curriculum in Bellevue, it's there. Curricular resources? There. Support from the principal? There."

You could surely break this district up but you will end up seeing a concentration of F/RL students in one or two districts and more manageable numbers in the north end. Then there will be cries about equity and we're back to square one.

Naturally, it's hard to tell how much having fully-funded schools would make a difference for SPS.

Lynn said...

So observer, which region do you live in and what do you think would change in your local schools if the district was split? For example, a split by region would leave the NE with 450 more high school students than are currently at Nathan Hale and Roosevelt.

It wouldn't have to be a regional split of course. Anaheim has a pre-K to 6th district and a high school district. That would allow administrators to specialize.

Anonymous said...

It doesn't matter where I live. My opinion isn't based on what's best for me. And it appears my opinion is supported by at least one person who has studied it. I haven't seen any credible support for your opinion.

It just makes sense to me. We are not other districts regardless of size. We are a district that should be doing much better. But we aren't. So change needs to happen and not the tired change and whining that seems to be repetitive here. I read the blog. I learn from it. But that doesn't make you the experts. Informative yes. Problem solvers, not.

Provide something concrete that will solve the problem besides more money. Honestly, I've just posted my opinion. If you have to be right, I probably won't concede it so we have nothing to continue talking about.

observer

Anonymous said...

Queen 4aDay agrees with observer and JH, and cares greatly about teachers and students across our district. I've heard the same line from teachers that they are completely unsupported from the district re:curriculum. It's a waste of time giving the C&I or AL office another dime.

Q4aD

Anonymous said...

The idea that splitting the district such that we ended up with smaller, poorer ones that could then qualify for more grants has me scratching my head. It's like saying "Hey, good news--I'm going to cut your salary in half so your kids will qualify for free lunch!"

Being needy enough to qualify for aid isn't the ideal. Federal aid doesn't offset the increased needs. High FRL schools are generally NOT a good thing.

data seeker

Anonymous said...

"High FRL schools are generally NOT a good thing."

They are already rampant in Seattle because of the SAP.
This discussion about not splitting the district because
it leaves a tale of two cities is disingenuous.

It is already a district of haves and have nots as
long as SPS continues its neighborhood assignment plan.

And, yes, highly concentrated FRL schools are usually correlated with much
worse outcomes for students.

But fixing that fixable disgrace isn't on anyone's bucket list right now.

FWIW

Anonymous said...

The difference, FWIW, is that a split district could not shift $/student from low need to high need as easily. Throwing out purely fictional #'s, suppose $10,000/student is provided to districts. SPS could spend an average of $4,000/student at some schools (like Bryant) while spending an average of $15,000 per student at other schools. Take the Bryants out of the district, and you have a lot less to go around. How is counting on Federal $ for high needs schools, which has a lot more strings attached, an improvement?

simple math

Anonymous said...

What about the issue itself of highly impacted FRL schools in SPS that could
be changed, Simple Math? You did not address that.

Federal grants, according to previous posters, are currently denied due
to the current construct of the district.

On the other hand, the proliferation of PTA funding to the "have" schools
exploded when the WSS formula was enacted because it seemed unfair.

The real issue is that SPS continues, by design and choice, to have highly
impacted FRL schools. That is my issue. I am not advocating about a district
split or not.

FWIW