Wednesday, May 24, 2017

District Picks Medsker as Lincoln Principal

From Superintendent Nyland:

Dear Families:

Ruth Medsker has been selected as the Principal of Lincoln High School, reopening in the fall of 2019 in the northwest region of the district. She will begin her new position in July 2017, as she leads the development of the first comprehensive high school to open in the district since Nathan Hale in 1963. The complexities of opening a high school including development of a master schedule, hiring over eighty staff, athletic coordination, and building strong elective programs like arts and music is a significant body of work. With proactive planning, we are investing in smoother transitions for students who may have to move schools and will be putting into place a rich high school experience for all Lincoln High Schools students.

 A High School Boundary Task Force has been formed to examine potential boundary changes as a result of Lincoln High School’s opening. The Task Force had its first meeting on Thursday, April 27 and will continue to meet into the fall when it anticipates having new boundaries for Lincoln High School. You can learn more about their work here.

More about Principal Medsker
Ruth’s experience and strengths in leadership, planning, communication, and collaboration, as well as her extensive knowledge and understanding of the challenges and opportunities associated with opening a school made her the clear choice for this important position. Ms. Medsker has served in a variety of teaching and administrative roles in Seattle Public Schools, including both as a General Education and Special Education teacher, Assistant Principal, Principal, and Executive Director of Schools, and most recently principal of West Seattle High School. Under her leadership at West Seattle High School, the school has awarded City Family and Education Levy funding, a competitive grant; received state recognition for academic achievement; and secured funding to make numerous capital improvements which enhanced the learning environment.  In addition to leading West Seattle High School, she is also currently serving as a Principal on Special Assignment, tasked with engaging staff and the community to re-envision high school and bring high school programs into alignment with the new 24 credit graduation requirements enacted by the Washington State Legislature. Her deep knowledge and expertise in these areas will be a benefit as the vision, mission, and focus of Lincoln High School are developed.

Her work in the coming year will include community engagement with prospective students and families in the Northwest and Northeast regions of the city; regular planning work with the facilities and planning teams of both Seattle Public Schools and the assigned contractors; hiring of core faculty who will assist in the formation of the school’s mission, vision, and curricular focus; and regular meetings with the surrounding Wallingford community as the school comes to life.

Principal Medsker will work closely with district and building leadership to ensure a smooth finish to the 2016-17 school year at West Seattle High School. The process for finding a Principal replacement will commence immediately.

Please help Seattle Public Schools congratulate and welcome Ruth into her new role. Director Rick Burke will be hosting Principal Medsker at an upcoming community meeting focused on the re-opening of Lincoln High School. This meeting will take place on Monday, June 5 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Hamilton Middle School. Official planning for the school will begin this summer once Ruth has transitioned from West Seattle High School.

Warm Regards,
Larry
Dr. Larry Nyland, Superintendent

53 comments:

Anonymous said...

Run for the hills.


Not sending our kids there.

We will move/rent.


N O W A Y to this.

Not impressed. Anyone who pushed for trimesters was not serious about excellence in education. Anyone not serious about EXCELLENCE is not where we are going to go. Elementary? Fine. Middle? Not happy, but whatever. High school? Not happening.


signed,
Escape


You think we are 'not giving a fair chance' or 'judging unfairly?', perhaps; you are free to send your kids there in 2019. We are NOT. Period.

Melissa Westbrook said...

While I understand why it would be difficult to have a hiring committee (without any known school focus and no teaching staff), I believe that parents and student should be given an equal place at the table in planning. This is a big deal and needs to feel like a community effort.

Anonymous said...

SPS is building a new high school? Where?

Wondering

Anonymous said...

At least they named a principal, a real principal not a planning principal, in advance for once. Better.

Optimistic

Anonymous said...

Wow 100+ million right after spending 400+ million. How can SPS keep a straight face when crying poor?

Billions

Melissa Westbrook said...

Billions, what exactly are you talking about? What are those figures?

Wondering, they are reopening the old Lincoln High in Wallingford as a high school.

Anonymous said...

I'm inclined to agree with "Escape." That she LED the 24-credit task force that came up with the ridiculous 3x5 option--and that they were willing to make that recommendation while fully acknowledging that they didn't know whether or not it was actually feasible for certain groups (e.g., students taking IB classes, students taking many AP classes)--does not show a lot of support or consideration for or understanding of the needs of advanced learners and university-track students. Whether or not it's designated as an official HCC site, Lincoln HS is likely to serve a lot of advanced and highly capable students, and the principal will need to be committed to doing so. Her recent task force work suggests she isn't, so parents are going to need to get involved ASAP and turn her around on that one.

I think Kelly mentioned that Ms. Medsker has some good experience and connections that will serve her well in getting the logistics in place, so let's just hope she also has some good community engagement and listening skills and is willing to expand her understanding of what the community needs.

HS soon

Anonymous said...

Lincoln's renovation is estimated at 60 million the real cost will be north of 100 million once all the change orders are approved.

I believe the past few years SPS project cost are very close to $400 million. You have to tease out all the ways the district hides cost and moves levy funds around so I just estimating. They are not up front with spending as they should be.

Even if it's only $300 million and $60 million that's still not the kind of monies a poor school district spends in just a couple of years.

Billions

Melissa Westbrook said...

Billions, I have many thoughts on this and agree with you somewhat but this isn't the place for that discussion. I do agree that the district will spend more on Lincoln and not even get a really new building out of it.

dan dempsey said...

Escape wrote:
.."Not impressed. Anyone who pushed for trimesters was not serious about excellence in education. Anyone not serious about EXCELLENCE is not where we are going to go."

I strongly disagree. Eagle Ridge HS in Klamath Falls, OR is moving to the 5 period day on trimesters next year. Eagle Ridge is very serious about academics.

(1) The trimester schedule matches with local community colleges, which makes it much easier for students to build a schedule that includes both Eagle Ridge classes and classes at Oregon Tech.

(2) A two trimester class has about the same number of instructional minutes as a two semester class. 75 min x 120 days = 9000 minutes ;; 50 min x 180 days = 9000 minutes. At ER the AP classes will be taught in the first two trimesters, thus all 9000 minutes are finished prior to AP testing. The third trimester is then available for a class at a local college which runs on trimesters as well.

The Eagle Ridge principal and board of directors believe they are very serious about excellence in education. Eagle Ridge has no sports programs. It enrolls about 200 students vs Klamath Union HS with about 600 students. ER normally outscores KU on state testing. ER made this change to 5 x 3 for academic reasons.

Anonymous said...

Jill Hudson was on that committee too, wasn't she? She is one of the strongest principals in the district. No plan is going to be good for all, that's for sure, but knowing that Jill also recommended it goes far in my book. As a parent with one HCC student and one not, I can see how especially the recommendation would be troubling for IB. But for the majority, it might be the best solution and in this case that is probably what the committee was eyeing, the majority. Off-topic for this thread but I don't see that committee recommendation as being a reason to negate Medsker from the get-go especially since she is now definitely the leader for Lincoln's first years. We need to work with what we have. At the same time, West Seattle H.S. seems a very different vibe than what she is going to encounter on the north end in terms of parent lobbying, so I am prepared to have a bumpy road ahead in interactions. The community and Medsker will need to find ways to work together positively.

Frequent reader

Anonymous said...

Dan, your points are good ones but I think that abdicating education to the community colleges is an emergency measure that schools use when they can't provide the needed classroom rigor for whatever reason (size, money, motivation). Also, I remember (back in the dark ages) when I tried to take CC classes concurrent with high school it was a big stressor for me - just transportation-wise. There is no reason that a big district like SPS has to adopt a baroque practice to provide rigor in the classroom. Presently, IB is providing close to the only academically rigorous curriculum in the district, as far as I can tell, so making the program difficult to implement strips the district of even more academic rigor and leaves it little more than a babysitting service. OK, so I ended on a dramatic note there but you get the point.

-SPSParent

Anonymous said...

@ Dan, Do our community colleges have the capacity, and desire, to be the third trimester provider for our high school students, including 14-yr-olds?

@ Frequent Reader, Isn't Jill Hudson's approach very one-size-fits-all? That's not going to fly for Lincoln. It would appear that both principals involved in Lincoln's planning are less interested in providing/ensuring access to advanced coursework. I hope I'm wrong.

HS soon

Chicken Little said...

I've been in planning meetings where trimesters were discussed. There are many good pints about, not the least of which, most stTe universities run on trimesters

Anonymous said...

@ Chicken Little, Unfortunately the Seattle Public Schools calendar doesn't align with most college calendars. High school students trying to take college courses during trimester 3 would find that those classes actually start during trimester 2...when they are busy with HS classes. If they could somehow manage to double up for a couple weeks, that means they'd be ramping up college classes while working on HS finals, and they (and their families) would lose their spring breaks altogether, since the colleges break earlier. It also means they'd be studying for (and taking) their AP exams while already dealing with the hassle of off-campus college courses.

It only works if college and high school calendars match up, which they don't here in Seattle. Details matter.

HS soon

Anonymous said...

Can anyone here who's worked with the new Lincoln HS principal tell us a little about her and her relationship/working style with her prior school communities (parents, students, community groups etc.)?

Let's please not make summary judgment against this person. She deserves a chance to succeed. And she deserves the community support to enable that success.

--Concerned parent (and likely future Lincoln HS parent)

Anonymous said...

Universities and colleges on quarters, start their fall quarter in late September. Winter quarter starts after winter break and Spring quarter after spring break. Spring quarter usually starts at the end of March, beginning of April and ends mid-June. Not sure how they would get the high school year to match up with that.

WSU is on semesters. WWU and UW are on quarters. I believe most of the community colleges are on quarters.

HP

Anonymous said...

Nathan Hale principal as "one of the strongest in the district"? DISAGREE.

If you said Brockman or Wynkoop (former & current Ballard principal) or Vance of Roosevelt, who run successful schools with robust academic emphasis & incredibly strong performance arts, many would agree. If you had even said Howard, Garfield principal, who runs a complicated master schedule that also has bright spots of academic and performing arts excellence, many could appreciate the merit.

But you called out the principal of what many call 'the slacker school' as being strong? Her ideas include filling kids' schedules with the fabulous opportunity to TA. How many NH students can't get AP courses? Ever heard of their performing arts program? We can disagree, but seems like there's a robust anti-excellence meme there.

Lincoln kids, like all students in every building in our district, deserve excellence. Nothing less. Like all, their high school assignment will be directed by their address. But unlike many, their principal selection was done without parents on the hiring committee. Why? When JAMS started, parents were in the interview. That was crucial to the acceptance of the principal in the community who would build a new school with students ripped away from their existing, exceptionally high-performing middle schools: Eckstein & Hamilton.

By having parents on the committee, there’s authenticity to the process of procuring & installing a new principal. The district does not enjoy a high degree of confidence from the public: transparency and consistency are critical. Lincoln principal process was neither. That is the issue.

Lincoln is starting by ripping away kids from exceptionally high performing high schools: Ballard & Roosevelt. Unlike middle school, high school is the ultimate high-stakes end-game. It leads to college. Yet, no parents on the committee?

How many national merit scholars has the principal produced in her time? Ivy league acceptances? These metrics may be unimportant to you, but I doubt they're are unimportant to the parents who are being ripped from BHS and RHS & pushed into Lincoln. These questions are just a metric, but they speak to how the incumbent views achievement. How an interviewee would address those types of questions could reveal a lot, her/his competence, her/his strategy to raise and emphasize achievement, etc. That is important to know in making a selection.

Community acceptance & buy-in crucial. SPS should have done a national search. Many extraordinary educators would jump at chance to start a brand-new comprehensive high school in a fantastic neighborhood in a city as amazing as Seattle, brimming with over-educated, education-loving families.

Wallingford, Queen Anne, & Magnolia families got screwed out of the most important decision in the entire Lincoln school process, who the principal is. How does Nyland possibly justify this to the Board?

Tolley is behind this. Consider what he did to Rainier Beach back when he was the SE director. It doesn’t inspire confidence. Look closely: the autocratic approach to the decision, the end result of the decision, who was picked (who was not).

Unless parents show up in droves to the board to protest the process & question the result, Lincoln will be pushed down a very clear lane. Make no mistake: this is entirely politics. This was an exercise of power. This does fundamentally determine the fate of how Lincoln will rise or sink. Look at who Tolley installed at Washington. Look at what has happened to WMS in the short time she's been there. Tolley picked her for a reason. Now for Lincoln he has picked this.

The way this was done & the end result have set a tone. A bad one. It's a harbinger of who's in charge & what matters, & apparently it is not the parents. It was unnecessary to have gone down this way. It was an unforced error. Lincoln doesn't need and can't afford any of those.

Zero

Anonymous said...

What Zero said!

-SPSParent

Anonymous said...

I share the skepticism. We've been through the turmoil of too many forced moves and broken promises to feel hopeful. Let's hope we're proven wrong.

-cautiously pessimistic

Anonymous said...

Zero hazing at Hale, unlike some of the other schoools you mention. Tolerant, inclusive structure and atmosphere. Low drop out rate and high achievement and participation rates for non majority students. Of the less than ten cum laude graduates at UW 2016, one was a Hale graduate. Need I say more?

For progress

Anonymous said...

Hazing at RHS, BHS, or IHS? Haven't heard of it.

Looking ahead to boundary discussions, in light of the stranglehold on the waitlists and changing definitions around "space available," I'd suggest families push for more clarity around enrollment policies. When JAMS opened, some families simply enrolled at Eckstein through choice assignment rather than move to JAMS.

-thinking ahead

Anonymous said...

Most of what Zero pointed out as priorities are exactly the reason parents probably were not asked to be part of the principal hiring decision.

The community demanded a decision maker at Lincoln. We've got one whether we like her or not. Onward.

Observing

Meadowbrook Mom said...

Hale students could stand to pick up some trash, though. The grounds are a disgrace.

Anonymous said...

Well my slacker just made the dean's list at UO.

HP

Anonymous said...

My slacker kids graduated from their respective universities cum laude in Physics, and summa cum laude in English.

not tracking is not the same thing as slacking.

northender said...

ForProgress mentioned a lot of nice fluffy stuff, but nothing about challenging classes for kids who want (or need) them. In that regard Hale is a black hole, and that's the problem with a one-size-fits-all approach in general; kids who have atypical needs aren't served. It's fine to do this at a couple schools as long as families can choose, but it does NOT scale out to an entire district, and the big fear would be if Lincoln comes online with that same mentality because that region is filled with high achievers.

Zero hazing at Hale, unlike some of the other schoools you mention.

Zero that you're aware of. Never forget that. I do believe that it's negligible at Hale, and nothing like Garfield, which I'm sure was the intent of your comparison.

Tolerant, inclusive structure and atmosphere.

Inclusive. The current catch-all euphemism for one-size-fits-all. Or none, depending on the situation.

Low drop out rate and high achievement and participation rates for non majority students.

Sounds good. How about majority students? Curious why the qualifier.

Of the less than ten cum laude graduates at UW 2016, one was a Hale graduate. Need I say more?

With a smart ass finish like that, you deserve to be taken down a notch, so here goes. Your comment is complete BS. First, there are individual students everywhere that can thrive in practically any environment. There is little to nothing in place at Hale to support the highest achievers, and many jump out to running start classes as soon as possible. That doesn't mean it's a bad school, but there is no justification to your insinuation that attending Hale was a factor in this student's scholarly achievement at UW.

To continue, clearly you don't even know what Cum Laude means. With around 7,000 graduates, there are on the order of 450 Cum Laude students each year. But wait, perhaps you meant Magna Cum Laude. No, that's around 200 or so each year. Perhaps you meant Summa Cum Laude? Even this highest honor, which goes to the roughly top 0.5% of graduating students would be around 35 students. Less than 10? Never heard of any such distinction.

For progress

From what I've read, I think "For Homogenization" would be a better moniker.

Anonymous said...

Hale is not the best fit for everyone but neither is Ballard, or Roosevelt, or Garfield, or any of the other high schools. It works for a lot of kids, some of which are HCC. I know of one HCC kid at Hale that got a perfect score on the ACT. Hale worked for them. I know of 2 Hale graduates that were accepted into the UW musical theater program where they were required to audition. They came out of Hale's theater program. It is easier to participate in theater, music, and sports at Hale than a lot of other high schools.

HP

Anonymous said...

Hale is good if you fit in, if not watch out. Lots of clicks there, way more than most other High schools in SPS. Check out IG for details.


Shoreline transfer

Anonymous said...

Back on topic, this is about Lincoln not other Seattle high schools.

Lincoln is going to be 'seeded' with kids pulled from Ballard & Roosevelt. Not all high schools are right for every student, but clearly BHS & RHS are very high performing, with plentiful AP courses, latin, high end maths, robotics & jazz. The parents whose children are pulled out of BHS & RHS are going to be demanding comparable access to the highest quality education. Those who wanted something 'different' are already at Nova, Center, or where the best fit was.

Lincoln must fit in context with the Ballard & Roosevelt tradition of high academic achievement & high performing arts excellence.

Garfield has 601 HCC students, Ingraham has 373. Garfield has trended down, because parents see the feckless behavior of the district. They are trying to go to where they are less likely to be pulled. Ingraham has trended up; families are assuming if one is there for IB, you can't be pulled mid-stream as that is an internationally accredited course of study, and so to be yanked from that school is not about being yanked from a school, it is being yanked from a course of study. That is a whole different ball game.

In the potential Lincoln area, there are 600 HCC students.

288 HCC high school students reside in Ballard, 99 go to BHS. 309 HCC students reside in Roosevelt, 91 attend. The rest of these HCC students in Ballard/Roosevelt area go to Garfield & Ingraham. This trend toward staying 'local' is new in the last couple of years. HCC parents have been through umpteen splits & have seen this high school spilt coming, that is likely why they didn't choose to go to Garfield, they feared a geosplit out of Garfield, & thought if they had the 'right' address, their students could avoid being pulled into Lincoln. It has all been about avoiding Lincoln for the last 2 years. FYI, Hale has only 20 HCC students.

So, right out of the gates, Lincoln should be looking like it will fit in this BHS & RHS context. The district should strive to get the community confidence, and the excellence of a high school hinges on the principal. The principal sets the tone. Of expectations, of priorities, of school culture. It is the principal that is THE attractant to future faculty. Teachers want to work for a stellar principal who matches the teacher's philosophy. A principal with an outstanding reputation is worth his/her weight in gold. It is the lynch pin of this launch. Lincoln depends on the principal to attract staff, and build a cohesive faculty. A professional, experienced & focused core faculty that want to make Lincoln nationally ranked. Blow the barn doors off of Interlake and Newport. 100% graduation rate, national merit scholarships, all of it.

BUT. Can we say that this is what we will get? Got??

There was no national search for this extraordinary opportunity. WHY? What is the justification for no real search? Why have parents been shut-out of the strategic hire? WHY? Why this incumbent? WHY? Does this incumbent match the district preferred criteria, launch a school in trimesters to prove it can be done? What is driving their decision, and does it coincide with the parents' driver set of priorities?

These are the questions the district shrugged off when it made the announcement. This is the stake it drove into whatever shred of confidence that may have existed with respect to the district getting Lincoln right. Tolley is in the driver's seat. And Nyland is...where exactly? He retires, this year, next? Will he even be around with Lincoln opens? We have skin in the game. He does not. So yes, for Lincoln, it is zero down, and, unless parents voice what they want, what they expect, then they can continue to be run over by the district and a principal with a talk to the hand attitude. What professional would take this kind of job under the cover of night? That does not speak well to their understand of what a launch takes.

Zero

Anonymous said...

Nailed it, Zero. You are absolutely right that Lincoln needs to be a good fit with Ballard and Roosevelt to ensure continuity for students pulled from those (and possibly Garfield, too, if they pull some north-end HCC students). I agree--and I suspect the community does as well--that we should be aiming for this to be one of the top high schools in the state. If the district can't muster that, despite the favorable demographics, that would be a huge failure.

HS soon

Anonymous said...

Rome wasn't built in a day people. Wanting a 5 star experience on Day One is not going to happen. Not. Going. To. Happen. But the school could be quite good and full of energy and a budget and program focus of SPS if the community gets collaborative with SPS and kicks in on volunteerism and enthusiasm from the get-go starting this summer. Director Burke has set the right tone IMHO.

Projecting that it will be an abysmal failure for the HCC kids, when the program hasn't even been sited there, is nonsensical. Sheesh. Given the attitude, if I were King, I wouldn't site it there. Leave it at Garfield. Bus or take chances on the IB lottery at Ingraham. That would be the end of the overbearing HCC parent crowd at Lincoln and if I were a principal who had 500 balls to juggle to get the school off the ground that might well be what I'd ask SPS administrators to do. Leave it at Garfield and let me do my job of opening the place. Note I did not say not welcoming the HCC students nor did I say all HCC parents. Just the ones who hate the place before they've stepped foot in the non-opened building.

Observing

Anonymous said...

Saw on the West Seattle blog that Roosevelt's Brian Vance will be leaving Roosevelt to be the principal at West Seattle, which is where he lives. Anyone know who will be the new principal at Roosevelt next year? Nothing on their web site yet...

http://westseattleblog.com/2017/05/west-seattle-high-schools-next-principal-brian-vance-to-succeed-ruth-medsker/

Northeast Mama

Anonymous said...

Hey Observing, it's not just HCC students who want AP classes, ya know? Also, Garfield doesn't have room to keep taking all the HCC students anyway, does it?

Skepticism and concern are not the same as hate. Highlighting issues that need to be addressed is not the same as projecting failure. If you read the comments above, most also indicate some level of hope that these fears won't come to pass, and that the community will get involved in helping to shape the school into something that IS a good fit. These comments are, more than anything else, a call to action.

Nobody expects a five-star experience on day 1 (or even day 720, as this is SPS we're talking about), but the programming offered to 11th graders, if they are pulled from AP-heavy programs at surrounding schools, needs to be comparable. It's not ok to decelerate their academic progress, make them retake classes, etc. Nobody expects that it will all be smooth sailing in the early years of Lincoln, or that there will be the same variety of offerings at the outset. But there will need to be enough academically appropriate offerings to accommodate the needs of its student population, which, whether HCC is sited there or not, will include a lot of HC-qualified students, AL-qualified students, and above grade level students. I find your unwillingness to consider the needs of such students overbearing.

HS soon

Anonymous said...

Curious too! We got an e-mail from Brian Vance announcing his departure, but no idea what steps are in place for replacing him. Anyone?

NE mom of 3

Anonymous said...

Who will be the new RHS Principal? Front runner is RHS AP Kristina Anderson Rodgers, who was trained by Phil Brockman at Ballard before coming to RHS. She thought highly of my students staff and family, and it's definitely more well regarded than most of the middle school principals.

-BTDT

Melissa Westbrook said...

I will put up Mr. Vance's letter and provide my thoughts there.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Can I also just say that it's okay to talk about principal qualities but let's not demean schools.

Anonymous said...

WSHS parent here. Someone asked about Ruth Medsker:

"Can anyone here who's worked with the new Lincoln HS principal tell us a little about her and her relationship/working style with her prior school communities (parents, students, community groups etc.)?"

Initially, I was not a big fan. She came off as top-down and less collaborative than I, and other parents would have liked. However, I have learned that she is willing to listen and is a strong advocate for her teaching staff. She cares about kids and does know quite a bit about the system, curriculum, etc. WSHS is on the rise as well after a few rough years; I attribute some of this to her leadership. I am excited that Brian Vance is taking over because I think he will be the extra push WSHS needs to move it into the top tier high school it can and should be. Our feeder elementary schools, as well as our excellent middle school, Madison, need to feed into a more rigorous high school, and that hasn't always been the case with many opting for private high schools.

-WSHS Parent

Anonymous said...

She was an abysmal executive director. But then, can we point to any great ones? The job itself is a paperpushing ineffective middle management resource suck.

Maybe she got better as a principal.



Seen It

Anonymous said...

"need to feed into a more rigorous high school, and that hasn't always been the case with many opting for private high schools."

That and the fact that West Seattle is thrilled to be getting Vance, because clearly Roosevelt is a high-flying school... yeah, that says it all. This placement to Lincoln is problematic.

What WSHS Parent said aligns with what Schmitz Park/Genesee Hill families have said about West Seattle High School for years. They noted Chief Sealth's success and knew that was a better place to go for academics. WSHS to them was not considered a good choice. That is not a demeaning statement, that is observation of the perception that was/is held, fairly widely a few years ago. So, foisting that principal upon Lincoln, fits with perfectly Tolley paradigm. Seems like some in this district won't be happy until all excellence is snuffed out. That is one way to eliminate the gaps in opportunity (of course the other is to make every place excellent).

Tolley putting that administrator at Lincoln; that is the product problem, but, then there is also the process problem.

Lincoln families, this can be walked back. It should and must be. Nothing is more important than the principal. Nothing.

A shoddy physical building with a rock star principal will attract dedicated joyful staff who love teaching and persevere despite downtown. And, working together they would create a student-centered rock star program. We have all had experiences in the work place where inspiring leaders create positive energy that is self-reinforcing and results in a magical place to work, where everyone pulls together and in 100% behind the mission and so things get done. We probably also have had the experience where one inept or negative person is in the exact wrong position to make everything so much more difficult and makes it an uphill battle to get the tasks accomplished that support the mission. Wastefulness results. Time is spent not doing the right thing, but doing the CYA thing. Leadership really matters. Lincoln is the first high school in more than 50 years. It should be a rock star. It should start with a rock star leading the charge. Not a retread.

So this is a hill worth battling on. Write the board. Wait and see is one approach, but, it is the approach that will get you tire marks on your backs as you are steam rolled over. QA/Mag and Wallingford elementaries, K8s and middle schools should push hard to make Lincoln the best, since they are going to land there.

What is so, so, so infuriating is the inconsistency with principal placement process. Some communities get, others don't. Not cool. The equity of access model suggests that all communities should have an equal footing when it comes to participation in the process. But it seems some have 'most favored nation' status, while others get dictated to with a follow-up of 'talk to the hand'. The board should howl on this on. Where are they???

Zero



NESeattleMom said...

We lucked out three years ago at JAMS with the principal, who entered as a planning principal, and seems to me, to be doing a great job with many different populations at JAMS. I don't know her personally, but I think that choice was excellent.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Zero, well said and I agree. That NESeattleMom says "lucked out" is telling; no school community should feel they lucked out or dodged a bullet or worse, feels they got stuck.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Asking for a consistent principal policy is not micromanaging and if there are PASS issues, then they should be made clear to parents and teachers.

Anonymous said...

Yes, @NESeattleMom, JAMS does have a great principal -- she was chosen by a committee that INCLUDED PARENTS FROM THE FEEDER ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS. She was the right person for the job; she had a fantastic track record and experience and was the kind of principal excellent teacher were attracted to work for. So guess what, they came in droves! That principal got the pick of the litter, because a new school equals an open hire -- it is a chance to hand pick the best of the best. But, the best only show up if they know they are getting an excellent leader. JAMS works because a great principal, chosen by parents together with SPS, started off the school with a clear vision/mission that was developed by parents that she picked to get things going. It was an intentional process that was very heavy on authentic engagement to craft one community that would meet the needs of diverse learners.

Lincoln should get that same chance to be as successful. The parents should get to be on interview team. They should get input. The are the 'consumers' 'customers' 'partners' or whatever else you want to call them. Their children will be shunted to Lincoln away from Ballard and Roosevelt, they are invested, they have skin in the game. They need to have their say. What was done was not in keeping with best practices, or, in keeping with actual practice as JAMS certainly did have parents in the principal process.

Why does TOPS get to have a say in its principal selection, but, North Beach doesn't? Why is there no consistency? Is it because of political clout? Communities 'dialed in' get to be insiders, but, those who don't 'work the system' take what they are given?

Is that what equity looks like? Random, inconsistent, depends upon your lobbying strength?

Lincoln principal appointment needs to be walked back and rebooted. This was not an appropriate process.

Zero

NESeattleMom said...

Zero,
I agree with you about principal placement at JAMS and at Lincoln.

I think the school district should be more open about their planning for various groups they plan to move around.

Anonymous said...

Is Magnolia going to Lincoln?

dd

Anonymous said...

Why should QA/Mag go to Lincoln? The parents are starting to make inroads in the Ballard booster and PTSA infrastructure and the school is doing very well with the McClure and Blaine kids who come in. Metro works well getting the kids back and forth across the bridge.. I would peel off more kids from Phinney and Fremont for Lincoln, kids who are already north of the ship canal.

Interbay

Book Doctor said...

Why was she only planning principal for such a brief time. Is that normal?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Book Doctor, I find it unusual. There could be several, intermingling issues.

One, Brian Vance at RHS said he wanted a challenge and the opp for WSHS to get a strong prinicipal while making Medsker principal at Lincoln presented itself.

Two, the district didn't want to go thru a lengthy search (which would have likely involved parents and teachers) and so decided to just make Medsker permanent princpal.

Three, stuff we don't know.

Lynn said...

Interbay - Here's a 1974-75 high school attendance area map that the high school boundary task force is reviewing: http://www.seattleschools.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_543/File/District/Departments/task_forces/high_school_boundary_task_force/April_27_2017/SPSDistrictMap1974_20170421_AAHS.PDF

The problem with recreating these boundaries is of course that there is no longer a Queen Anne High School. If the district builds a high school at Memorial Stadium, this is a good picture of what we can expect boundaries to look like at that point. The difficulty lies in the transition period.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Excellent find, Lynne; I agree with your analysis. Looking at that map, I do see only a small part of Green Lake going to RHS while the rest goes to Lincoln. Interesting.

Yes, the issue of a downtown high school does come into play but honestly, that is so far off - passing BEX V, planning/building the school - that I doubt it could come on-line any sooner than 2022. And, you'd have to explain the need for that building to get built first over existing schools that desperately need renovation (like Rainier Beach).

That fight - between a downtown high school and a renovation for RBHS - is sure to be a huge equity fight and I'll be fascinated to see the district's reasoning, given how very little capital funding they have invested in RBHS as compare to any other comprehensive high school.

Anonymous said...

Lynn-- Interesting seeing this map. Population has also shifted since 1974, with the north exploding in student growth and the south end losing students. Also, Ingraham is adding 500 seats adding more capacity so likely that will affect these old boundaries. Given our population explosion which is not slowing down any time soon, we need to raise funds to do both a renovation of Rainier Beach ( attracting more students to IB who will support the program) as well as add the new QA high schools.
-H