Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Tuesday Open Thread

What's on your mind?

(Fair warning, I'm a little tired of this emphasis on HCC and I think others are as well.  This thread is NOT open to that dicussion.  I'll delete any comments on that subject.)


Anonymous said...

This: http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/politics/florida-politics-blog/fl-reg-bright-futures-galvano-20170830-story.html

Just FYI, details about the Bright Futures Scholarships (FL lottery funded) for ALL qualifying Florida's HS graduates: http://www.floridastudentfinancialaid.org/ssfad/bf/. And it has been in place forever - it is nothing new.

There is nothing even close to something like this in WA, afaik.

Am I missing something?

Northgate Mom

Anonymous said...

Proud recipient of that here, as well as other resident-based scholarships, from decades ago. Didn't realize WA doesn't have something similar. And I thought FL education was supposed to be close to the bottom of the heap.
-Pragmatic Xennial

Lynn said...

Washington has the College Bound Scholarship.

Florida's program rewards academic achievement while Washington's provides support to students from low income families whose parents are organized enough to sign up while their children are in the 7th or 8th grade.

Different states with different priorities.

Anonymous said...

When is SPS going to do something about those diesel fume spewing yellow buses?

Districts around the US are going with CNG, compressed natural gas. The smog gets worse and worse and some of these First Students buses are woefully under-maintained and expel vast amounts of cancer causing soot.

Metro is currently is buying all electric battery powered buses to augment its wired electric buses and hybrid buses.

SPS is a huge player in the bus leasing market and should be able to put some pressure on First Student to switch to cleaner buses.

Friends of my daughter did a carbon footprint presentation mc'd by Ron Sims when they were in middle school and I remember it was an astronomical amount of carbon that these buses pump into the atmosphere every day.


Eric B said...

SODO, SPS has basically two levers on First Student. They can put less polluting bus preferences into the next busing contract (ie we are more likely to select your bid if you use CNG). Unfortunately, I don't think that any company other than FS has enough bus barn space to bid on the SPS bus contract. I doubt they're worried about competition moving in. The other is to outright pay more for CNG or electric buses. That seems unlikely given all of the other financial pressures on SPS.

The city could probably do something about it with either incentives or requiring bus fleet operators to have a percentage of operating hours on less-polluting alternatives.

Anonymous said...

@ Lynn,
you sound both patronizing of the poor and dismissive of our state's efforts to achieve equity in education.

I think the stats on Florida's program illustrate how unfair it is. It gives money to high achieving private high school attendees!!

It gives most of the money to families who don't need it.

I would never hold Florida out as an example of a state trying to improve the lives of its poor citizens.

It has an ugly history of racism and discrimination that continues to the present.

Let's not forget Trayvon Martin and the exoneration of his killer.


Anonymous said...

Oh the great carbon hoax. Please explain this then,

Weather website Higgins Storm Chasing declared that “the coldest temperature in several years for Australia”. Indeed, the last time it got anywhere near that cold was a low of -12.8C on 4 August 2015, again in Perisher. Last year, no where in Australia got below even -12C.

The real math and science says the verdict is still out on carbon. Now if you want to get diesel buses off the road for Diesel exhaust, a specific type of diesel fume, has more negative health effects than regular diesel fumes. Short-term exposure can irritate your eyes, nose, throat and lungs; it can cause coughs, bronchitis, headaches, lightheadedness and nausea.

I think we all could agree.


Anonymous said...

As the parent of a new high school student, I'm flummoxed by the Running Start thing. Can anyone explain the following:

(1) Who is eligible to participate?
(2) Who pays for kids' community college classes? Does SPS wind up paying more or less per kid if that kid had taken those classes within the high school in which they are enrolled versus at the community college?
(3) Who is tracking/who has stats on how many kids are doing Running Start?
(4) Who is tracking/who has stats on how many kids are doing Running Start BECAUSE their high schools didn't have space to offer these kids the core classes they need to graduate?

Thanks to anyone who can shed some light on this.

--Concerned parent

NESeattleMom said...

Also, how does college in the high school work? I was chatting with a high schooler about language classes, and that kid said the levels in the high school don't go high enough so they plan to take college in the high school. How do they have class room space for that if the school is full, and how do they have room for that if they don't have room for higher level language classes. I know nothing about this, so what I absorbed from a 9th grader may not be exactly what they said.

Anonymous said...

(4) Who is tracking/who has stats on how many kids are doing Running Start BECAUSE their high schools didn't have space to offer these kids the core classes they need to graduate?

We weren't asked by the school. Stats on that would require self reporting. As far as costs, students pay for books ($$) and fees on their own, but not tuition.

RS parent

Anonymous said...

Has anyone seen reports on enrollment numbers for the fall? I don't see any P223 reports yet for the fall.


Anonymous said...

Also don't forget about all of the SPS students now enrolled in Red comet the online school. We heard SPS has already used up all of its allocations for red comet. There must be 100s of SPS students enrolled. We need to get the data on this.

At this rate of online adoption SPS may not need more space in the future. I know of two students that have already finished the WA state history class in just over a week. About the same time it took others to complete the health class online.

I wish they had online school back in the day, it would have saved me from riding the bus almost two hours a day.


Anonymous said...

@ skittles, how does Lynn's comment come off as patronizing and dismissive? Lynn just gave facts. There are different targets, and different priorities. Lynn did NOT suggest one approach was better than the other. Your sure read a lot into that!

Also, you said:

I think the stats on Florida's program illustrate how unfair it is. It gives money to high achieving private high school attendees!! It gives most of the money to families who don't need it.

First of all, where does it say most of the money is going to private school students? I saw something about financially needy students, and farmworkers, and National Merit recipients, but nothing about private school students (many of whom can still be needy, by the way, since they, too, can rely on financial aid).

Second, what's so bad about merit scholarships, anyway? So Florida want to try to lure National Merit scholars to the state--that makes sense to me. Trying to retain some of your top brain power is generally a good idea, as opposed to having your top performers all leave for schools in other states.

As the parent of a kid who worked his a$$ of to do well and qualify for merit scholarships, I think your apparent objection to this approach is absurd.

all kinds

Anonymous said...

As far as I understand it, college in the high school (CiHS) classes are taught on high school campuses like regular high school classes, they just use college curricula and texts. They are taught via some sort of agreement with/ oversight by colleges, and earn you both HS and college credits. You're right that there needs to be space, and teachers, available for them.

If a HS does offer CiHS language classes, I would assume they would be classes that represent the next level...which kind of means the high school classes do go high enough, right? For example, maybe they only offer through French 3, but then they offer a first year college French class that is considered the equivalent of French IV, even it's called French 101.

It's also possible that the student confused the concept of taking college classes while in high school with the program CiHS.

What school is this, and maybe people with direct experience can better answer this.


Eric B said...

Unclear, you're pretty much spot on. It's a regular high school class, but students can get college credits for the work because the teacher is (a) qualified to teach college classes and (b) does the curriculum that the college would require for the quarter. There's no AP/IB test to get the credit--the student just needs to have a good enough grade. I think there was a small registration fee, but it wasn't much.

Garfield appears to be doing this pretty aggressively in foreign languages. Ingraham did the same with a British Literature class for seniors who did IBX. As I recall, you could only get 2 quarters of credit (not 3) in a year because of something about the college's quarter schedule and SPS' semester schedule. I could be wrong on that.

It seems like a pretty good win-win, with students getting college credit for courses they would have done anyway.

kellie said...

@ Concerned Parent,

It is a wee bit challenging to get an accurate picture of what is happening in Running Start based on publicly available information. I have been keeping an eye on it for a few years and as far as I can tell there isn't anyone tracking this data at the district.

Here are a few little snippets

* Running Start information is NOT included in any of the annual enrollment reports. It should be a line item in the high schools reports but the Running Start students simply vanish from all of the official reports included in the Annual Enrollment report to the Board.

* Running Start is reported on the p223 as an AGGREGATE number of Full Time Equivalent students. In other words, all of the PART time RS students are aggregated into a total number. As such, there is no way to determine the number of full time vs part time from this report.

* There were 773 FTE students in RS for 2015-16 and this increased to 985 FTE for the 2016-17 school year. That was a 27% increase and would expect to see another jump for the 2017-18 school year.

* There are no reports that break out these students by either school or the reported "reason" for going to RS.

* There was a new report last year that showed enrollment week by week for September. (I have no idea if Enrollment will produce this report again but it was a FANTASTIC and very helpful report that showed clearly and crispy which schools gain and lose enrollment during September.)

* For High Schools, Rainier Beach, Nova, Franklin and Cleveland added approximately 200 students in September. The other schools all lost students in September ... over 500 were subtracted from these remaining schools between the September and October reports. The net change for all high school was about 300 students but as you can see, the region variation was striking.

* It is reasonable to assume that many of the students who left for Running Start in September had not planned this shift. Students who planned on Running Start and completed their paperwork the previous Spring would have been accurately counted at the beginning.

As a side note, 985 FTE makes the Running Start program LARGER than several of the high schools.

Anonymous said...

@all kinds

Here's Exhibit A from Lynn: Low income students "whose parents are organized enough"

If you didn't pick up on that dog whistle, too bad.


kellie said...

@ Concerned Parent,

Your "because" question requires a bit of background to answer.

High School is dramatically different from K8. The funding for K8 is based on the October 1st enrollment. Based on that number, the school district is funded. While the number of enrolled students may go up or down over the course of the school year, ON October 1st, every one of those students if funded.

High School is funded by AAFTE (Average Annual Full Time Equivalent). This means that high school is ONLY funded based on the attendance at the school. If a high school student moves, drops out or switches to Running Start or doesn't have a full schedule they are only partially funded.

The net effect of this is a vicious cycle where high school is dramatically underfunded as only 95 out of 100 students in the building are really funded - year over year, the AAFTE tends to be around 95% but it varies.

The next piece of this puzzle is that high schools MUST provide graduation requirements. However, they do not need to provide college readiness requirements. Three years of math is required for graduation but four years is really required for college.

As high schools must prioritize graduation credits, this does mean that many students who want college ready requirements have no choice except to go to Running Start to get them. That combination of not actually being fully funded combined with prioritizing graduation credits means this is a vicious cycle that sends many students to RS when they would rather be in high school.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Concerned Parent, I'm fine with asking questions IF you can't find the answers. But the questions you asked (most of them) have answers via Google. I suggest starting there and then coming back here. I don't know if the district is tracking your #4 question but certainly they know the answer to #3.

College in high school is via UW; that, too, can be Googled for direct information.

Anonymous said...

Exactly - agree completely with Truthout.

And what parent wants to predict that 5 years later they are still poor, desperate and striving? Or what about the mom/dad who goes through a crappy divorce? I think having to enroll in 7th or 8th grade for this program is absurd and doesn't help those who need it.

Anonymous said...

My kid took Japanese (3rd year) at Hale for credit at North Seattle College. The teacher had an arrangement with the college. I think it translated to 2 quarters of college Japanese. My kid had to register at North Seattle.


kellie said...

@ Mel,

You would suspect that you should be able to find the answer to question #3 via google or on the district's website. But, not really. That very simple questions requires a tremendous amount of inside knowledge. The only place that information is listed is on the p223 monthly enrollment reports.

IMHO this is information that should be readily available and should be part of the basic enrollment reports and part of the high school capacity task force, but it just isn't. The information isn't anywhere that is findable.

I only had the total enrollment numbers ready-to-hand, because another parent took the time to dig through some of the old reports and compile and sent me a copy to ask me some questions ... because it is just that confusing.

What was interesting to me is that the official district reports had been showing high school enrollment as flat for four years when it was very clear that the 9th grade cohorts were getting larger each year. Officially, the district had been behaving as if there wasn't any capacity issues at high school until this year.

It is very anomalous when you have 1,000 more 9th graders than the previous year, but your total high school enrollment did not increase at all. Where did those students go? Apparently, I am the ONLY person that seemed to ask this question, based on the responses I got from downtown.

It was only when I started to look into that further that it became clear that Running Start (and other online classes that are NOT tracked at all!) is where the students are going and that there is NO EFFORT on the part of downtown to investigate this. Or if there is any interest or effort investigating this, then those reports can't be found publicly in any of the likely places.

kellie said...

@ MJ,

I concur with your assessment.

I don't think SPS is going to need another high school (beyond Lincoln) any time soon. I think the entire Memorial Stadium high school is a nightmare scenario.

Between the increasing online options and the decline in cohort sizes, there really doesn't seem to be a reason to open TWO high schools. A remodel at Rainer Beach and Franklin seems like a much better use of limited resources.

Anonymous said...


Thank you so much for your expertise and research!

According to your numbers, when SPS adds 1,500 high school seats in 2019 (1,000 at Lincoln and 500 at Ingraham), they might fill them and still need to keep many of the portables they have at the high schools. Ouch!


Anonymous said...

Why didn't SPS listen to FACMAC and put in a 2,000 seat high school where Cascade and RESMS are now???


SusanH said...

I'm appreciating this Running Start discussion! I've wondered about this a lot, and never understand what type of student was best served by it.

And how does it affect your college application? I always assumed that colleges preferred you to take the most advanced classes you can get at your high school, rather than knocking out some intro college classes during those years. For example, I thought AP Statistics might be more valuable in the college admissions process than Statistics at a community college. But I may be completely wrong. And how does Running Start affect your class rank?

It's a little sad to miss out on the social bonding of a robust four-year high school experience as well. But it does seem that more and more students are doing a combo of high school and Running Start in the 11th and 12th grades. Maybe largely because they can't get the classes they need in SPS...

Jet City mom said...

I apologize if this was already mentioned.
My eyesight is deteriorating and it is difficult for me to adequately scan everything, even on a screen.

When my oldest was entering college, albeit 16 yr ago, we had Washington Promise scholarships.


It looks like that no longer is a thing, even though it was supposed to have been made permanent.

Anonymous said...

If a student wants to get some college credits and try out something other than what their HS offers, I fully support RS. If schools are not offering the promised sequence in the pathway, or the District has terrible capacity projection causing schools to burst at the seems and forcing students out to get classes, then this is a travesty. Shame on SPS!

REMS/LS/Cascadia should have been a HS campus. Ignoring that recommendation made no sense. Why do they form those rubber stamp committees anyway?

Former RSstudent

Anonymous said...

@ Truthout, I suspect the reason Lynn said that was because it's true. That's often one of the criticisms levied by the anti-advanced learning crowd, that parents have to navigate a multi-step eligibility/application process and it's too challenging or hard to keep up with the requirements, timelines, etc., especially for parents who are low income, less educated, less connected, and/or non-English speakers. The application window is short, and schools don't do a good job of outreach, so you have to be pretty organized and connected (or lucky to have a good teacher) to apply in time. My guess is that Lynn was highlighting the fact that the scholarships aren't available to all low-income students who might otherwise qualify, but instead only to those whose parents manage to hear about it and jump through the right hoops at the right time, many years prior to when the scholarships would become a reality.

all kinds

Eric B said...

Momof2/Former RS Student, SPS didn't take the FACMAC recommendation for a new high school on the Wilson-Pacific/RESMS site because the recommendation was late in the process and would have required re-thinking a lot of the work that had already gone into the plan. It would have taken a lot of work to get the high school open on time, a lot of convincing the Board that this was a good idea, and eating some crow about projections. That's not to mention re-visiting boundaries, having to explain why they were completely deviating from the BEX IV plan, and some faith that the projections were all going to turn out about what they expected. None of that would have been easy. I'm not saying SPS should have continued down the path, just that they had some pretty decent reasons for the staying the course.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone heard that the SPS Capacity Management Task Force Committee is NOT meeting anymore?

Today, a parent representative who had served on the committee told me that the committee is no longer active. The last meeting notes I found online are from May 2017.

Is that true? Does SPS think the capacity challenges have gone away?

Queen Anne Mom, also a gardener

Anonymous said...

@all kinds

It's called a "whistle" because it can be rationalized.


Anonymous said...

Rumor mill indicates Lincoln may become international school. Will it be an elite school for the NW students, or will all north end students have access? If it is only for NW, that leaves NE seattle with Hale as their option besides Roosevelt.... So NE gets TC, CP and Hale, while NW gets HW, JSIntl, McDonald, Hamilton, IB@Ingraham,

IB/Language Access4all

Lynn said...

Thank you @all kinds. In my opinion, the registration deadline of June 30th of the 8th grade year unnecessarily limits access to this benefit. It excludes kids whose home lives are chaotic, whose parents are working several jobs and unable to pay much attention to school communications and kids who move into the state during their high school years. It makes no sense to me.

Anonymous said...


That was way better than saying it's only parents "who are organized enough".

Working two or three jobs while raising children actually requires a ton of organization.

Unfortunately, you follow up with the "unable to pay much attention" dog whistle.

SPS, for one, often translates into other languages only when community volunteers take the helm. It's also hard to "pay much attention" when the information takes a mining degree to find.


Anonymous said...

@ SusanH
There is no kid "best served" by RS. Most people think of it for the kids who are college ready, as an alternative to AP/IBS classes, but I encourage a lot of my non-honors kids to consider it. Any Junior or Senior who can pass the COMPASS (Entry test, think it's still named this) test into 100 level classes qualifies. There used to be more qualifiers than that, but it seems there really aren't any more. Students have to get signed off by counselors before registering, but even students who fail a college class are allowed to continue (at least at my non-Seattle school).

I generally encourage my students to look at technical degree/certification at the colleges, especially as I teach next to a college with extensive tech programs. Low-income students can get a technical degree on the state's dime if they play it right, and the high school counseling staff can help them navigate hoops like registration and get familiar with bureaucratic pathways that they haven't been exposed to before. The shortened schedule also means that they can work more flexible hours than their peers, and sometimes that money means food on the table. I also suggest the tech programs to my bright-but-poor-school-fit square pegs. The tech classes are pretty small and very hands-on, with tools and equipment that they don't have access to at the high school, and it's been a great experience for the couple that given them a try.

Other students I encourage to do RS are the 4-year transfer students especially if they are in an income bracket where tuition will be hard but they aren't eligible for much in the way of assistance, and the students who are good at school but don't do the 100 other things that colleges want on their Freshman admissions applicants. I try to explain how transfer degrees work and that they get priority acceptance if they can complete the transfer degree and apply as a Junior (though grades are still crucial).

And then there's the kids (me) that like education but hate all the trappings of high school. There's a lot that light up when told that they can escape the chaos early.

All WA public colleges accept RS credit, but private can choose. Some colleges don't accept "dual credit" credits, although I don't know if that extends to AP or not.


Anonymous said...

Another Lincoln question: is SPS still planning to let us know what the Lincoln boundaries will be this fall? Rick Burke, I think, fought for that. Wondering who will go where, as it might influence our decision. May go private to avoid the disruption.


Anonymous said...


I thought it was called a "whistle" because only some people catch the double meaning. Don't see what that has to do with rationalization.

-pragmatic Xennial

SusanH said...

OuttaSeattle: Thank you SO MUCH for your long, thoughtful reply. You must be a real asset to your school, and I so appreciate your insights.

Anonymous said...

There are many people who have no experience with poverty and prejudice.

That's not their fault.

Lt. Uhura

Anonymous said...

My sophomore is already planning on Running Start for next year. He says that the crowding at Roosevelt is just so crazy that he wants out. I can't even imagine what the situation at Ballard looks like as Ballard is much more crowded that either Roosevelt of Garfield.

My older student just graduated from Roosevelt and had a great experience. Several of their friends did Running Start because they had trouble with their schedules but my student had a pretty basic standard schedule.

I have mixed feelings about this. I'm having a hard time imagining my current 15 year old starting full time community college at 16 but ... he and all of his core friends are all really clear that it is only going to get more crowded next year and they want to leave before the upcoming geo-split gets too distracting.

I just wish that there was anyone at the district level taking capacity issues seriously. The cohort that entered high school this year broke the NE Elementary schools, forced a new middle school to open but somehow that impact on high school that every parent in the neighborhood knew was coming is somehow a huge surprise.

I just don't understand how Ingraham could have such a long waitlist and plenty of space for portables when Ballard and Roosevelt are so desperately over-crowded. I never expected to have capacity conversations be so common place among parents but those of us that have been dealing with this stuff for the last decade in the NE have all needed to become capacity literate if not experts to just navigate school.

EricB's explanation seems plausible if a bit far fetched. I remember when they were threatening to close Sacajawea because enrollment was declining and it didn't make any sense then either because even then every preschool had long waitlist lists and all the schools were pretty full and starting to get portables.

Someone had to know this was coming right? How can it be possible that high school crowding is a surprise again and how can we need parents (and the seemingly tireless Kellie) to unlock the mystery of Running Start?

- tired NE parent

Anonymous said...

We are also reluctantly considering RS as a least worst option. I guess your plan is working, SPS. That is, if the plan is to have no plan.

PO'd parent

Anonymous said...

2018-2019: new board, new superintendent, new capacity planning leadership
2019-2020: new capacity and hopefully a capacity planning team that honors the SAP, cares about families and students, and a departure from this wigit approach.

Looking Forward

Anonymous said...

Like going to college on a campus, spending 4 years in a high school is a social emotional growth opportunity and chance to establish lifelong friendships and community roots. Shipping kids out to running start in 11th and 12th grade means dropping a significant portion of 'whole child' growth.

SPS is appalling in its lack of willingness to get ahead of the problem and now as most prepared parents know the class of 2021, 2022 and beyond are getting far less than what the promise of public schools is supposed to offer our kids. The less knowledgable parents are getting shellshocked right at Go this year. All students in this city are getting less here. Every mitigation hail mary for too crowded schools is fewer dollars for the less crowded schools which sit on the south side and need every penny they can scrape together to meet those student needs.

Tried pleasant. Tried persistent. Tried rude. Have gotten nothing but talk to the hand from this district's administrators.

North of 85th

Anonymous said...

FYI - Ingraham has 2 portables this year. It's also going to have a construction trailer soon and the entire front of the school will be a construction site for the next 2 years as they add a new wing to accommodate 500 more students.


Jet City mom said...

If more alternative choices for teens were available, I might agree with you, North of 85th..

But kids are in different places and "comprehensive" high schools are not a good fit for many.

I dont feel that allowing students to enroll in community college courses is "shipping them out".
In fact, I know students who left top private high achools by choice to do just that.
Some students welcome the opportunity to take those courses, it is a very different environment.
By the time they are 15,16, 17, students may yearn for the opportunity to be more in the world, and Ive seen them flourish.

I do feel that SPS needs to reflect on what the community wants and needs, and offer more choices.

Eric B said...

A while back, Flip said you can only add 4 portables/year* to a school unless you go through the Environmental Impact Statement process. That's a lot of hassle and potential roadblocks, so I can see why they don't want to do it. Ingraham got 4 classrooms (2 each in 2 building units) and I think you can expect they'll get another 4 next year to tide over until the new building opens.

As far as planning ahead, the basic response I've gotten for a while is a shrug. The new capacity comes online when it comes online, and there's not much else to be done. That doesn't satisfy me, but I don't wield a very big stick.

* Assuming lot coverage and other requirements are OK. As I understand it, no more portables can be added to Ballard or Garfield next year.

SusanH said...

Jet City Mom: I don't think anyone is suggesting that this option NOT be available for those who want it. It just shouldn't be the ONLY way for college-bound kids to get the requirements and credits they need.

Confused Parent said...

We should be offering a public high school education that makes it possible for kids who work hard to eventually be qualified to work at the major employers in the region. If this involves teaching BC Calculus in high school, it is in the best interest of our schools to teach that.

I can't believe that the district plan for 2nd graders who are advanced is extra worksheets -or- enter an AL program that is essentially grade skipping but without actually skipping grades. If it is so crucially important to keep 7 year olds with other 7 year olds, why at the other end of the pipeline is the district hemorrhaging 15 year olds into college with the 18 to 23 year olds?

When I asked whether my 2nd grader could just skip second grade and go to 3rd grade, I was told this would create huge problems when all the other kids learned how to drive and my child couldn't yet. So I find it especially weird that the district told me that and yet their plan for my same child at the age of 15 (before the kid can drive, people!) is to send the kid to college with students who are old enough to legally drive, have sex, drink, smoke pot, etc.

Talk about mixed messages. Is it important to students with other students of the same age or isn't it?

Anonymous said...

Good points, confused parent. It all boils down to capacity and funding, with little regard for the educational experience, unless a students is going along with a perfect cookie cutter schedule, or as some refer to it as scope and sequence.

Looking Forward

Anonymous said...

So I find it especially weird that the district told me that and yet their plan for my same child at the age of 15 (before the kid can drive, people!) is to send the kid to college with students who are old enough to legally drive, have sex, drink, smoke pot, etc.

Not to minimize the importance of an age-appropriate experience for high school students, but I think Running Start is only for 11th and 12th grade students, so there shouldn't be many 15-yr-olds in that bunch. More like 16, 17, and 18, so old enough to legally drive and have sex--but hopefully not at the same time!

And I agree that what's age-appropriate for one kid may not be for another. The traditional high school experience is too confining for some.


Anonymous said...

@ Eric B- "Assuming lot coverage and other requirements are OK. As I understand it, no more portables can be added to Ballard or Garfield next year."

Uh oh....both schools are projected in report to have many more students next year.

Anonymous said...

While I am as steamed as anyone about SPS's consistent and repeated capacity blunders, please let's everyone remember this is a very old problem:


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

Sardine, That's exactly why we need to pay a lot of attention to the next version of the student assignment plan, due to be approved before the election. That plan needs a concerted effort to relieve problems at Ballard and Garfield. To a lesser extent, Roosevelt and Ingraham are also concerns.

Among other things, I think this plan needs a rational waitlist policy that is as much focused on moving students out of Ballard and Garfield as it is moving students in to other schools. That's at the high school level. At other levels, there's more thinking to be done.

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

During the closures, there was huge disconnect with the "boots on the ground" and "downtown reporting." The boots on the ground consistently reported that cohort sizes were increasing annually and that class sizes were increasing. As such, parents and teachers simply could not comprehend the motivation behind closing schools when all they could see was increasing enrollment. Downtown reported that AGGREGATE enrollment was declining they projected it would continue to decline for the last 10 years, so schools must be closed at all costs.

This was a huge disconnect and everyone has paid a price for the failure to successfully resolve that cognitive dissonance.

This dynamic has repeated itself with high school. Parents and teachers are crystal clear that for the last six years, the incoming freshman class sizes have increased. This has put increased pressure on pushing out the upper classmen to other solutions (Running Start, Red Comet, etc). Because high school capacity is ONLY reported as Full Time Equivalent, this dynamic of the upper grades being pushed out is completely invisible in the reports.

Whenever a student individually solves their problem of "not getting the classes that they need to be college ready," these students simply disappear in the FTE numbers. The FTE numbers make no distinction at all between students who drop out of high school, move to other district or find a part time solution. The AGGREGATE numbers are the only reported numbers, just like the AGGREGATE numbers were only numbers used to close schools.

EricB is correct in that every time someone raise this issue downtown, there is the shug, that indicates "I don't see a problem." That is the most accurate piece of information. Downtown does not see a problem because the MANNER in which high school is reported does not show a problem.

Once again, the cognitive dissonance between downtown reporting and the boots on the ground is causing all of this needless havoc.

Anonymous said...

@ no princesses, pretty rich that you complain about supposed NIMBYism while also saying they should get those stinkin' IB students outta your school, don't you think?

And seriously, you think forcing high school age students onto college campuses is the solution? Really? Are community colleges going to start offering high school sports and band and student council and other such opportunities to provide a comprehensive high school experience to these teens? Or do they not deserve it, since their so darn smart or motivated or whatever?

All types

kellie said...

EricB is correct about the Student Assignment Plan. The SAP is scheduled to go to the SPECIAL Operations Committee of the whole meeting on October 5th and then to the board for a full vote before the current board before a new board is elected in November.

Based on the Board Retreat Agenda, there is are some pretty significant and lofty goals that are being considered for the SAP, including clarification about what "space available" and "choice" really mean, as well as pathway changes. This very short timeline will most certainly not allow for any meaningful community engagement, so hopefully there are only modest changes to the transition plan in the pipeline and not the wholesale swap for a new plan as almost happened last year.

Capacity Wonk and now Board Candidate Eden Mack has very thoughtfully followed this issue for years.

Anonymous said...

Many RS, home schoolers and online students use SPS for sports ,music, theater and or even art classes. It's perfectly legal for students to mix and match classes in and out of SPS buildings.


Anonymous said...

Another school shooting.

This time in Spokane. One dead,three injured. Shooter apprehended.

From the Spokesman Review:

"Officials had not named the suspect as of 1 p.m., but he appears to have been a sophomore at the high school.

Michael Harper, 15, said he was a close friend of the shooter.

“He was weird,” Harper said. “And he loved the show Breaking Bad. He never really seemed like that person who had issues. He was always nice and funny and weird.”

Harper said the shooter had written his friends notes indicating he planned to do “something stupid.”

“He made a note,” Harper said. “I didn’t get mine, but my friends got theirs. I read one of my friends’ and it said he was going to do something stupid. He took it to a counselor.”

That counselor not reporting would be problematic.

Counselors have a huge responsibility and I hope ours at SPS have been trained adequately to spot signs of violence, and self-harm as well, in students.

But if a note showing intent to commit violence or "something stupid" is revealed to a counselor, one would hope they would take immediate action.

I look forward to the day our constitution is interpreted correctly and private gun ownership is banned.

This country and this planet needs to embrace the future, a future without competition and violence between people, and or fellow animals for that matter.

Today we see the Medicaid for All introduced, a move towards sanity in our country, but guns gotta go.


Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

The communications and engagement timeline, as per the recent board retreat agenda anyway, says this re: the SAP 2018/19 modification process:

• Webpage with purpose, process, and eventually outcomes, launch Sept
• SPS homepage posts, social media and media (Sept – Nov)
• Initial communication out to all families and key partners (translated email & phone call), Sept
Key partners: SCPTSA, SEA, PASS, City, SESEC, YDECK
• Five SAP meetings across the city from October to Early November - Open House style with representation from all relevant departments available to answer questions regarding changes
• Final outcome communicated to all families (translated email & phone call), TBD

• HCC & Advanced Learning Engagement: Use ThoughtExchange (top 5 languages) and focus groups with partners – 6 to 7 week process

Operations Committee – October 5, 2017
Board Introduction – November 1, 2017

Is it just me, or is the timeline out of whack? They are bringing it to the 10/5 Ops Ctte, but aren't planning to engage parents until Oct-Nov. There's also mention of a 6-7 week process re: engagement of HCC and AL, but how is there time or that with this schedule?

Also, what's up with the "partners"? The SCPTSA, unions, the City, SE Seattle Education Coalition, and Youth Development Executives of King Co. and that's it? If one of the big issues is HCC high school pathways, why are HCC middle schools called out as partners, or the HCS Advisory Committee, or any group that deals with gifted ed services for high school students???


Anonymous said...

@ no princesses, so is it ALL IB students who are snobby, but only those who are in (or had the option to be in) IBX that are so distasteful? Maybe a GE student who elects to take an IB class is ok, but a HC student who does isn't? Does that sound about right?

While you're at it, maybe we should get rid of all AP classes, too. Because, you know, the students who take those are SO snobby too, right?

It's a sad day when academic success is so unpalatable to some people.


Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

no princesses is now trolling the IB with wild and completely FALSE allegations. I would implore Melissa to exercise her role as blog administrator to block trolling like this that aims directly at kids who access IB programs. This individual is calling the KIDS princesses and snobby. Melissa and the other blog administrators need to stop this now or take the blog offline. Thanks to this troll the blog has become damaging and dangerous. If this doesn't stop here at the blog I will contact the district, and the school board and the IB administrators. I will also talk face to face with the moderators on this blog - one of whom is my child's teacher. Melissa, I appreciate the work you do but you need to step in an take responsibility for allowing this nonsense to continue. Do not give these trollers a forum.


Anonymous said...

No princesses,

I have an IB student at Ingraham who takes Metro. How does that fit your black & white view of IB = bad, none-IB = good?

No prejudice

Anonymous said...

No princesses,

Good luck in the real world - you'll need it.


Anonymous said...
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Eric B said...

No princesses, you're just missing some extremely basic facts.

1. The yellow bus that go to Ingraham are because the state pays for transportation for HCC kids.
2. The yellow bus shuttles are not restricted to HCC students. Anyone who shows up at the stop can get on until the bus is overloaded.
3. If the buses are consistently overloaded, SPS adds another bus.

So, yeah, get rid of IBX and HCC identified students. Because that means that the yellow bus shuttle that serves a bunch of Gen Ed students gets the ax. Preconceived notions unsupported by facts for the win!

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Why should the state tax payers pay extra for wealthy families kids to have their own special bus when metro will work for everyone else?

Some People

Anonymous said...

These kids are smart they know what's going on. Most just try and ignore the pomp and circumstance around IB but it's getting harder since it's regularly thrown in their face.

Keep Fighting

Anonymous said...

No princesses,

Why are you immediately assuming that I will not talk to any none-IB students at Ingraham? Even though I am new to the school, I already have spoken to some and plan to talk to more. While you are worried about bullying, you unfortunately sound like a bully yourself.

No prejudice

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Melissa: I'm tired of the emphasis on HCC, it's not meant to be discussed on this thread.
No princesses: Now for something completely different: IB! Not technically HCC...
Unclear if they're trying to be clever, are a pedant, or just don't read/regard the guidelines.

-Pragmatic Xennial.

Anonymous said...

@ No princesses, so let me see if I have this straight:

IB students who bus to Ingraham ARE the problem (or maybe it's anyone taking IB classes there, I can't tell).

AP students, in general, are NOT a problem.

So...if those Ingraham IB students went to a different school and took AP classes, they'd be fine, but something about being in IB converts them into intolerable snobs that other students just can't deal with? I find that hard to believe.

You sound very bitter, but you don't seem to have a lot of factual information. What's all this "pomp and circumstance" re: IB that is negatively impacting non IB-students? What sort of systemic "snobbery" have you seen? The busing argument is BS, since they are only getting that as mitigation for the fact that they have to go to more distant schools to get appropriate HC services. If there are truly school policies and practices that unfairly privilege IB at the expense of non-IB, those should be discussed. Same goes for systemic behavioral issues. So how about some facts to back up your seemingly wild and unfounded argument, which seems at this point to be more based on personal biases than anything else? (P.S.- IB students aren't wealthy.)


Eric B said...


"1. Anyone can get on a yellow bus? , wrong. You need approval to ride on any SPS bus."

No, really you don't. Buses are first come first served, no need to sign up. So saith the school website: http://ingrahamhs.seattleschools.org/cms/One.aspx?portalId=10767&pageId=27136583

If you go and read the page, you'll also see that there is no shuttle to Laurelhurst. Extreme maybe, facts definitely not. Do you even have a child at Ingraham or are you just making up steaming piles out of sheer spite?

Anonymous said...

This conversation organically went from capacity to RS and Ingraham poped up due to the large amount of Ingraham students attending RS.

Anyone can take an IB class, I don't see what the big deal is, but the writing load is more than most students are used to.

I do think IB is just a little obnoxious, but I also think that about Lakeside.

IHS Parent

Anonymous said...

Anyone can ride an SPS bus?

Just stop and think about it, anyone can get on a SPS school bus, really? If there are no assigned students to the bus then why would SPS run a bus. If no one shows up does the bus go back to the barn?

BTW, that is not how my children's buses work. You need to be assigned to the bus and any guest needs a green card and permission from their parent in advance to ride the bus.

What happens if the bus fills up with NON IB students leaving no room for the IB students?

I think they are playing a game of semantics and I would hope SPS bus drivers are not just letting anyone jump on a school bus.

I'll make a quick call to transportation and verify.

IHS Parent

Anonymous said...

What happens if the bus fills up with NON IB students leaving no room for the IB students?

Your "concern" for those IB students is noted, but I suspect your worries are groundless. Aren't the shuttles for students living further away? If the shuttles go to/from places OUTSIDE of the Ingraham zone, those non-IB students would have little reason to take them, since most live WITHIN the Ingraham boundary. I don't imagine there are many non-IB students who would want to get up extra early to walk AWAY from school in order to catch a bus to school just to mess with IB students, but who knows, maybe that'll be the next new thing.


Anonymous said...

I view the IB program as private interest taking over a public school. I say this because it's my understanding that IB is funded by private funds or donations, is this correct?

Why carry on a program that has no reliable funding source?

--Just me

Anonymous said...

IB does use up resources and the verdict is still out where the schools AP programs are equivalent or better in substance and rigor.

The ST had this to say, “The Rainier Beach IB program is a proven winner for students and families in our community. We deeply appreciate the support,” said Stephen Nielsen, deputy superintendent. “This is an excellent example of supporters recognizing a need and stepping up to meet it.”

But at Chief Sealth High, the good news for Beach may sting. Every year Chief Sealth scrambles to cover the cost of IB for 413 students, though the school, like Beach, is more than 50 percent low-income. Ingraham High School has a more affluent population, though it too funds IB at the cost of other programs.

“It looks like the district is picking and choosing winners,” said Gary Perkins, who coordinates Sealth’s IB Career Program. “Our demographics are not that different, so I don’t see how you save IB at one school and not another.”

IB skeptic

Eric B said...

I'm sort of confused by people being so upset by the Ingraham shuttle buses. This is a place where there is an extra service that comes with HCC being made available to benefit all students at the school and people are up in arms that it exists? I could understand people being upset if there was an HCC-only bus, but not really that funds the state gives for transporting HCC students are used for Gen Ed. Having a child on one of those shuttles for a couple of years, there's no risk of them running empty.

As far as private funding for IB, there is very little at Ingraham. There is a small scholarship fund for students who need help covering IB exam costs. That fund is basically supported by donations from parents. Students pay exam costs. I believe that the district funds the IB coordinator position in addition to regular staff costs. I don't think that there are any other outside funding sources.

IB is not a cheap program. I believe that the rigor and comprehensive nature of IB is worth the extra expense and that Rainier Beach, Sealth, and Ingraham should have their budgets made whole since the district wanted them to start up the programs there. I'm also biased, since I have one IB graduate and another student who is planning on entering the program. I will say that if you just want to maximize the number of college credits earned, you should go to an AP school.

Eric B said...

PS If the bus fills up with non-HCC students*, then the HCC students do what every other student does. They hoof it to Metro and are tardy for first period or try to get a ride from a parent or friend.

* You're appearing to equate HCC and IB. Any Ingraham student can join the IB program junior and senior years. HCC students can choose between IBX (sophomore and junior years) or regular IB or no special program.

Melissa Westbrook said...

"There are many people who have no experience with poverty and prejudice.

That's not their fault."

Maybe so but that then behooves them to make the effort to understand how it feels for others in this country.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Boy, I can't turn my back for a minute.

I did say - "I'm on hiatus for a week" - but apparently, I'm not allowed a personal life unless I want the blog to go wild.

First, do NOT, under any circumstances, call any one a name ESPECIALLY children. Not in your moniker, not anywhere. What kind of person does that to a child? Don't like the parents? There are many ways to express concern, outrage, disagreement but name-calling doesn't have to be one of them.

Second, thank you to those who tried to correct the misunderstandings over bus service. I know that Laurelhurst DID have yellow bus service for high school at one point but only because the City refused to provide any Metro service in that area.

Third, are there to be no advanced learning programs in this district? Beating up on IB? It's barely funded. The district loves to start programs but not truly fund them and they limp along. Think IB isn't worth it? Do your research; it's a highly respected program and, in fact, many districts want to expand it down to middle school.

Lastly, I find it very disrespectful when I, as moderator, as for a subject to not be brought up and then it is.

Anonymous said...

kellie said this:

"The SAP is scheduled to go to the SPECIAL Operations Committee of the whole meeting on October 5th and then to the board for a full vote before the current board before a new board is elected in November.

Based on the Board Retreat Agenda, there is are some pretty significant and lofty goals that are being considered for the SAP, including clarification about what "space available" and "choice" really mean, as well as pathway changes. This very short timeline will most certainly not allow for any meaningful community engagement, so hopefully there are only modest changes to the transition plan in the pipeline and not the wholesale swap for a new plan as almost happened last year."

We elected a new board in 2015. Surely they will put the brakes on this and allow for new board members to weigh in - and for the public to do so as well.

If not, those board members elected in 2015 had better prepare for challengers in 2019.

Delay SAP

Anonymous said...

What is the point of IB when there are plenty of AP classes?

Why all the fuss?


Anonymous said...

BTW IB is different than the thing that shall not be named.


Anonymous said...

one boy dead, three others shot - with bullets - through the head for the boy, through the abdomen for a girl and another girl in the back, according to the spokane paper

two guns the kid brought to school - an ar-15 rifle .223 caliber civilian version m-16
same as used in newtown and a handgun

duffle bag used to conceal weapons - one gun jammed according to witnesses

reinterpret now

Anonymous said...


Wow! Look at the numbers. For all the talk about their inherited intelligence and whatnot by the resident bourgeoisie in-crowd of this blog...

Interesting that with all of the informed parents who post here, no one bothered to mention these dismal SPS results. They are practically reaching for the Kubler-Ross books on another local blog that has many of these same readers.

The dismal SPS scores must be because of Honors for All. Yeah, that's it.

The other blog has already blamed it on "social justice warriors".

Predictable as night follows day.

The in-crowd was already doing preventative damage control a few days back by warning of the "high cut-off" scores. The overall numbers went down, but the proportion of SPS to Eastside districts continues on its downward trajectory.

Looks like most of good-gene mixing folk bought homes on...

the Eastside

Anonymous said...


From the comments, related to the most recent PSAT:

...the College Board has other issues. On my daughter’s 219 – she had one perfect section, missed 1 each in two sections, and missed 5 in the fourth math/no calculator section, more than she usually misses. The reason I think that is significant is that section had only 17 questions, and 2 were thrown out as unscorable, which to me as a past science ancillary material writer indicates a very poorly written section. That shouldn’t have happened on a test at this level. In addition, the College Board originally intended that section to have 20 questions, but found students couldn’t complete that section, and they dropped the number. So my daughter got caught on a section with severe design issues.

This was also the year in which the College Board had a data breach and leaking of test questions just prior to the fall SAT. Something shifted this year, but not just in WA State.

big picture

Anonymous said...

IB is an international program (hence the name). Kids all over the world take the same IB tests. Many kids interested in IB (such as mine) like the global nature of the program and know kids all over the world who are taking this course of study. As a parent, I like the fact that the SPS cannot meddle with its curriculum. So in that respect, it is very different from AP classes.

Also, as Eric B points out - the buses are used for the Gen Ed students and the IB students from outside the IB school's area are allowed on the buses (as is any student). Then they transfer to city buses.


Melissa Westbrook said...

Delay SAP, this Board knows the issues. However, the rush to get this done will mean less vetting time by both parents and the Board but that's the way the staff rolls. I think there needs to be public meetings and a real vetting by parents/Board and if that doesn't happen, the Board should vote no. There is NOT a good reason to rush this process.

Step B, IB and AP are very different and good in different ways. Schools that have one, generally don't have the other. They are vital to many students getting into college.

The Eastside,you might want to watch your language. NO one here said intelligence is inherited. As well, SPS has 6 or 7 National Merit finalists and this is not that different from past years. I think there were many more in the '90s. Also, don't be cryptic, what other blog are you speaking of? I dont' think Honors for All has anything to do with this.

Anonymous said...

@Momof2: "genetics and inherited characteristics mean that most gifted children have parents who are gifted themselves or close to it" posted 9/11/17

reality bites: "There's a genetic component to intelligence, and and if highly intelligent people end up finding partners who are also highly intelligent, there's a greater likelihood any offspring will also be highly intelligent." posted 9/12/17

DisAPP: "It doesn't make sense to expect that...eligibility rates should simply match the racial demographics of the SPS population, because genetics, like it or not, do play a role." 9/12/17


Anonymous said...

While SPS cannot "meddle with the curriculum," there is no one holding teachers accountable for delivering the IB curriculum as designed. In our experience, final exam scores are closely correlated with the teacher's knowledge of and adherence to the most current IB curriculum. On paper, the IB courses are structured for both breadth and depth, but without appropriate resources and teacher planning, students may not be well supported in meeting IB expectations. If concepts don't get covered (which happens in some classes) even the brightest students will not get top scores on the IB exams. Is that any different from AP? So while teachers should not in theory meddle with the IB curriculum, some can and do muddle it. Like all of SPS, it varies by teacher.

no guarantees

Anonymous said...

My kid is tall like me, AND has the same medical condition known to run in families. Must be coincidence, as apparently genetics and inheritance are make believe.

Who knew?

Anonymous said...

Posters on recent other threads, on which you have closed commenting, have declared that intelligence has a genetic component and the reason there are so many students enrolled in that "dare not say its name" program is due to their highly educated parents who have passed on their genetic brilliance. We are in bell curve territory here.


Anonymous said...

Re: National Merit Semifinalist numbers, it should come as no surprise that SPS has been losing ground. If a district is hostile to advanced learning; doesnt have an appropriate curriculum; has teachers who aren't trained in teaching this population and/or are academic giftedness deniers; and you generally work to slow these students down (e.g., start two years ahead, but end less than that), why would we not expect other districts that do more to support their highly capable students outperform us? I think it's silly to try to make excuses about it being a poor test, or unimportant, or whatever--I think the important thing is to accept these trends and say "yes, SPS is doing a crappy job of educating HC kids," itt would be an interesting research project to compare academic programs for HC students across these regional schools. I'd bet that those schools with strong numbers have more rigorous high school programs overall, and that their elementary and middle school programs ar likewise stronger. It would also be interesting to see the percentage of each school's semi finalists who received supplementation. Are SPS students only keeping up as well as they are (which isn't well) due to higher rates of outside supplementation?

Disputed the pster(s) who seems to feel such glee that SPS numbers are decreasing, this says nothing about the kids themselves. It's an indictment of SPS AL. Gifted minds don't come "pre-loaded" with knowledge--they must be fed.


Anonymous said...

Sounds like you should take your concerns directly to Stephen Martin and the board,
specifically "Rick" and "Sue".

Speed Dial

Anonymous said...

Research suggests that intelligence is about half inherited, half other. Adoption studies, for example, find adoptees to be more like birth parents than adoptive parents in intelligence.

Saying something has a genetic component is not the same as saying something is purely based on inheritance.

Reality bites

Anonymous said...

Is that called "Eugenics Light"?

Charles Murray

Anonymous said...

This borders on ridiculous. You are saying students need IB to get into collage, but SPS is not paying for IB for all. You are suggesting that unless a parent forks out the $930 for IB testing their child will not get into collage.

I thought SPS had adopted a goal of having all students collage ready? How is all this working out when most of the students do NOT take IB or AP classes?


Anonymous said...

It's a good think my child is taking art, if being collage ready is important.

darn autocorrect

Anonymous said...

NMSF for the past few years, listed in order of Lakeside, Garfield, and Ingraham (taken in part from a post 2 years back)

2017 - 16, 4, 4
2016 - 28, 10, 11 (Roosevelt 8)
2015 - 24, 7, 6
2014 - 33, 11, 10
2013 - 42, 19, 0
2012 - 40, 15, 2
2011 - 31, 22, 2
2010 - 36, 18, 3
2009 - 28, 17, 0
2008 - 30, 20, 2


Anonymous said...

Has anyone else noticed that the names of the students are overwhelmingly Asian? Maybe the schools have less to do with the high test scores than the parenting these children received. Asian students have significantly higher SBAC scores than white students in Washington state. For example, over half of Asian 8th graders in Washington score a level 4 in math, but only 31% of white kids do. Why does no one discuss this?

Parenting counts

Sandor B. said...

Those NMSF numbers make it look like something suddenly and abruptly shifted between 2013 and 2014. Abruptly in 2014, it looks like Garfield stopped being able to attract, retain and/or sufficiently educate top testers. And Garfield appears to have been sinking ever since. 2014 seemed to be a watershed year for Ingraham, on the other hand, which was suddenly able to attract, retain and/or sufficiently educate top testers. What happened that year????

Anonymous said...

(P)SAT is an "aptitude" test. Like CogAT. Only you can't pass it with a note from the doctor, and there's no do-overs. Academic preparation has nothing to do with it, so say the creators, just like CogAT People who swear up and down that the CogAT has positively identified their kid as in the best and brightest crowd, are now backpedalling at the NMSF lackluster results. So let's see. What are we supposed to believe? We are told the kid is tragically gifted and bored, and has so much more aptitude than everyone else.But now, the same people are saying the poor performance is due to poor education, the segregated classes that they have clawed their eyes out to be a part of. Let's get the story straight. Your kid is sooooo gifted they need a segregated program. Your kid is sooooo far ahead, they need a segregated program. But at the end of the day, the program wasn't ahead at all, and the students didn't demonstrate special aptitude, but they still need a special segregated program. I guess some people will go for segregation at all costs no matter what.


Anonymous said...

A bit late to the party.

Want to add that 10th graders cannot earn college credit for a CiHS class. They can take the class, but the UW will not award any credit. This decision was made several years ago, by the UW, but was not made clear schools and students.

So, if you have a 10th grader in a CiSH class be aware: No college credit.

got burned

Anonymous said...

Garfield as a going concern? Not so sure. Garfield will become the new Franklin in two years time. A great school, but very different than what it used to do for diverse range of students.

Once it was a great school: it really cared about every child who came into its doors, wanting each and everyone of them to be the very best he or she could be, to go as far as her/his ambition and hardwork would take them.

Not anymore.

They don't care about certain kinds of learners. Sadly, some bulldog parents actually think this is a good thing. So sad, and so shortsighted.

Here's the thing, if you don't care about all kids, it's going to end up boomeranging back on all kids. Even though many bulldogs & parents of bulldogs think all they're doing is implementing "equity", what's really happening is something very different.

The minute you decide it's OK to set aside the needs of one type of learner, you've just embarked on a slippery slope with a very steep downward trajectory.

Right now, Garfield is coasting on a reputation from 4 years ago. But major academic changes have created a perception of hostility that have driven students to take different pathways, enrollment numbers have shown that for the last two years. And with Lincoln opening, you'd have to be blind not understand the profound impact that will have on Garfield ( look at the maps for Lincoln, each showing HCC numbers).

With the numbers shift, you have to ask how long is it feasible for Garfield to offer as many sections of as many AP courses as they have traditionally done? In contrast, Ballard and Roosevelt, overcrowded as they are, are upping their master schedules per the student body demand (Roosevelt built out more state of the art science labs in recent years).

High school is a 24 credit experience. Parents have to look at if their students can obtain the right kind of credits with quality instruction. That answer is becoming tilted in the case of Garfield. Running start may help support gaps Master schedules will no longer support college bound higher achievers , but RS really wasn't intended for that, it was intended to be an alternative for students who are oriented in that direction.

I care about all students, and that is why I for one am very sad to see the hostility towards one segment practically supported by booster club. We really are all in this together, and if we can't support excellence for all, or if we think education is a zero sum game, public education itself will suffer. And that hurts everybody .

I'm an old timer, my kids are about done, but seeing fellow bulldogs and their parents holding signs that are incendiary against our students is disheartening, just as we were deeply disheartened when fellow Queen Anne parents protested the placement of Interagency in a QA SPS facility. We were vocal supporters of inter-agency then, because we know all students must have all of their learning needs met. Just like we protested to the board when they were closing middle college in West Seattle. Again, we believe all students need must be taken care of, whether it's middle college or inter-agency or Bulldogs.


Anonymous said...

Every test can be prepped.

As far as genetics, this explainer from the government is good. The secrets of genes and how they are effected by their environment and how these effects can be incorporated into the genetic code of an organism.

This blog is often short on science, at least current science.

Dre PhD

Anonymous said...


This explainer

Dre PhD

Anonymous said...

Of course if the district would boost ALL kids with potential equitably, it would cost money.

olly oxen

Anonymous said...

It looks like Interlake is Bellevue's IB high school and gifted/talented high school. Maybe their program is better than Seattle's.

Interlake High School (IHS) is a public secondary school in Bellevue, Washington, one of the four traditional high schools in the Bellevue School District. It is known for its offering of the International Baccalaureate program and its Gifted and Talented program.


Anonymous said...

You ask what happened at IHS in 2014? Pretty sure that was junior year for the first cohort of IBX.


Anonymous said...

Perhaps the fact that educated Chinese American families have clustered in Bellevue is also playing a role here.

- demographics

Jet City mom said...

I wanted to mention that today and tommorow, is Salmon homecoming at the waterfront!


"YOU are invited to participate in the Salmon Homecoming School Days on the Waterfront – Thursday, September 14th through Friday, September 15th – taking place in Waterfront Park, just south of the Seattle Aquarium. In the past, interactive presentations and displays have attracted the most interest and attention and are strongly encouraged. Please note you are welcome to participate in the public event on Saturday, September 16th.

We are expecting approximately 500 fourth and fifth grade students each day for the School Days program on Thursday and Friday. Please join us for this exciting event! There is no fee for participation in the School Days event. We will be coordinating with each education booth to participate in an interactive activity around one of the following themes:"

Anonymous said...

Yes, it's pretty obvious what happened. They opened an hc pathway at IHS. Add the numbers together, and it stays pretty steady, around 20, until the NMSF cut off goes up, at which point the numbers drop off everywhere. Eastside and privates, too.


Wondering said...

Does anyone have recent numbers in relation to merit scholars coming out of Seattle Public Schools? I'm interested in the trend.

Anonymous said...

Historical numbers for Ingraham and Garfield are posted up thread. If you want other numbers, search "National Merit Semifinalists [year] Seattle Times."


Anonymous said...

My kid at Washington middle school said that they are being told that they are now required to buy and wear WMS shirts and sweats in PE. Is this common in SPS system? We already have clothes for PE and don't want to buy more from the school. He said the kids mostly hate this.

Anonymous said...

"Add the numbers together, and it stays pretty steady, around 20, until the NMSF cut off goes up, at which point the numbers drop off everywhere."

The numbers should not have remained steady since APP/HCC was, at the same time, identifying starting to identify (what? double or more?) increasingly higher percentages of students.

The numbers of NMSF students went down on the Eastside, too. The proportion of students compared to Eastside continued and continues to drop.

the Eastside

Anonymous said...

Without entering into the thorny politics surrounding the CogAT and SAT/PSAT, I just want to emphasize how extremely limited ALL these standardized tests are in identifying intellectual talent, creativity, or potential in young people. As someone who has worked privately with many students over the years, I have to say that some of the most gifted kids I've ever worked with are NOT necessarily the ones who do well on rote, fill-in-the-oval, multiple choice exams. Also, it is important to understand that many kids here and elsewhere are privately tutored or "prepped" for these kinds of tests, and this can make a big difference in their results.

Happily, increasing numbers of highly selective colleges are realizing the inherent limitations of the SAT/ACT in predicting student success, and are becoming test-optional: https://www.fairtest.org/university/optional

I wish there was some other way to assess ability, giftedness, and potential in students, but there's not. Or rather there is, but it's called life.

-past prepper

Anonymous said...

@the Eastside, NMSFs are in the 99%ile, while Commended Scholars are generally the 96%ile and higher. Surely you understand only a small segment of identified students will score high enough to meet NMSF cutoffs, given that the achievement cutoff for program qualification is 95%ile.

-getting old

Melissa Westbrook said...

Again, there are those of you that are trying to twist others' words. Of course, both genetics and upbringing/environment matter. My point was that people are not solely smart depending on their parents' genes. Science has proven that.

Parenting Counts, I have indeed raised the issue of why certain Asian groups seem to have many high achievers. But that is certainly something we don't talk about, almost like it's just a given.

But across the board, no matter income or race or ethnicity, when you have parents who make education their top priority, you see more high achievers.

I am NOT saying that most parents don't care about their kids' educations. I know the overwhelming majority do.

But some parents know how to support learning OR it is such a high priority that, whether they themselves are highly educated, they form the structure of their family around that learning. I don't know of research that has studied why some groups structure their families that way but clearly, some do. Is that the main reason kids in these groups do better academically? Again, I don't know.

"As far as genetics, this explainer from the government is good. The secrets of genes and how they are effected by their environment and how these effects can be incorporated into the genetic code of an organism.

This blog is often short on science, at least current science."

Yes, and some readers are short on grammar (effected versus affected).

Of course, Dr. Dre, environment has much to do with how well children do in school. I'm not sure who would argue against that.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous Anonymous said...
"My kid at Washington middle school said that they are being told that they are now required to buy and wear WMS shirts and sweats in PE. Is this common in SPS system? We already have clothes for PE and don't want to buy more from the school. He said the kids mostly hate this."

Sounds like they accidentally ordered 700 t shirts too many and are trying to get them sold!
I didn't think SPS had a policy that requires buying their clothing for gym class.

Anonymous said...

NMSF takes the top 1% of scorers in the state. If certain schools and district's aren't accounting for as large a share as before, it's that those students aren't doing as well relative to others as they were before. Maybe there are new schools that are enrolling some of those kids (e.g, Tesla); maybe there are different settlement patterns; maybe other schools have improved their curricula and instruction; and so on. You can't draw a lot of conclusions from the overall stats, but they do bring up some interesting questions.

@ reader, your comment is pretty ignorant. The SPS program takes students who are already, or are capable of, working several years ahead of their grade level, so yes, they are often bored in GE classes. The fact that many don't end up in the top 1% of statewide PSAT scorers says nothing. For one, our program serves a broader group than the top 1%--it takes those who score in the top 2% compared to national norms, which translates into MORE than the top 2% in WA, since our state outperforms the average. Given that we also allow retesting every year (and results can vary a bit), we end up with what, closer to 5%? That means most HCC students would NOT be in the top 1% statewide. It's just simple math.

Two, our program takes kids who are working two years ahead and does everything possible to slow them down. By the time they even start high school, they are only about 1 yr ahead in science, and not at all ahead in LA and SS. In many other districts, HC services support students to move forward, not stagnate. They work to provide, not deny, more advanced opportunities.

Three, a highly gifted elementary student DOES need special services, and a parent can clearly see this and push for it. But if the kid doesn't score in the top 1% ten years later that's hardly proof they didn't need services originally (see prior point). And despite your claim that not producing a lot of NMSFs is somehow proof that these kids "aren't ahead at all", I'm pretty sure these students, overall, are still significantly outscoring their non-HC peers. Like they do on SBAC scores, etc. They might mostly all still be in the top 5% in the state, as they probably originally were.

nice try

Jet City mom said...

Past preppet, I have also observed that.

We also found that elite colleges seem to do pretty well finding the diamonds in the rough. That is students who would make to most of their time on campus, despite mediocre test scores or even grades.
Students are much more than numbers.

Anonymous said...

yep, elite and HCC a match made in heaven at expense of many!


kellie said...

Hey Mel,

Would you be willing to start a thread on Running Start / HS alternatives. The RS aspect of this thread has been overwhelmed once again by trolls intent on discussing that which you asked to not discuss.

If you measure on a per year basis, this two year program is the LARGEST SPS high school at the moment and it is not part of the high school boundary conversation or any of the capacity conversations.

I have done a little more research and there are a few more dynamics at play, the community college enrollment includes Running Start as well as a variety of CTE programs and a few program geared towards dropout prevention. This is a huge aspect of the high school conversation.


Melissa Westbrook said...

Boss, and your proof of that is what? What extra time/teacher/spending does SPS do for HCC? And, the program is open to all and the district - not parents - is at fault for the low minority numbers.

Sure, Kellie.

Jet City mom said...

I wouldnt know about that BOSS, neither of my kids were in the HCC program, although one did take AP at Garfield, as most any student can do.
Both attended very good schools, one school even would be called elite, I suppose, being as they do not offer any merit aid, only meet full need.

Wondering said...

Here are SPS's National Merit Scholars dating back to 2014:

2014: There were 26 National Merit Scholars in Seattle public schools:

Garfield- 11
Nathan Hale 2
Ingraham- 10

2015: There were 14 National Merit Scholars in Seattle public schools:

2016: There were 20 National Merit Scholars in Seattle Public Schools:
Garfield- 10
Roosevelt- 8

2017: There were 8 National Merit Scholars in Seattle Public Schools:

Ingraham 4

I agree with one commenter. There does not appear to be a lot of advanced learning opportunities in middle school. As a matter of fact, science is barely existent.

Anonymous said...

You missed a Center School student in the 2017 numbers.


Anonymous said...

i would say mw that if there is fault it is the fault of the district no the parents. reminder that black may = new folks to america including those who are not real immigrants. there are also those brought in for sports and told to say they are homeless and living and coaches homes. they also may be escaping years of civil war.

reminder that hispanic may = new folks to america including those who are not real immigrants. there are also those brought in for sports and told to say they are homeless and living and coaches homes. they also may be escaping years of civil war.

no way to know what hispanic means. no way to know what black means. BUT we assume what we know about asian and white. no deep dive here. they may be recent immigrants too.

garbage in garbage out is the rule on data. we have a trash understanding on what is going on in our schools.

no caps

Anonymous said...

guess what job the person who said this has and who he's talking to?

"At the end of the day, I voiced my concerns about the thought that somehow three centuries of American history of raping and murdering people based on their color is somehow equal to what Antifa is doing today,"

i mean this is RadicaL


Anonymous said...

It's going to be interesting to see the National Merit scores this year after whatever they did to knock down the numbers last year.

It could be some of our potential scholars are entering one of the early entrance programs at UW. Doesn't the Robinson Center get most of its kids from SPS?


Anonymous said...

I think it's incorrect that the Robinson Center gets most of its kids from SPS. In my student's year it was 25% or less. I think there were more from out of state/country than there were from SPS, and the rest were from the east side and surrounding areas. It's probably different by year.

But even if they were getting a bunch of SPS students, it wouldn't seem fair to include them in the SPS numbers, as if they represented SPS's success. Those kids leave SPS precisely because it is NOT working well for them, and they have likely sought out other opportunities and supplementation along the way.

RC vet

Anonymous said...

It was Senator Tim Scott talking to President Trump on Wednesday.

"Scott told POLITICO later Thursday that he had raised concerns “about the fact that somehow three centuries of American history of raping and murdering people based on their color is somehow equal to what Antifa is doing today.”

“He is who he has been, and I didn't go into it to change who he was,” Scott said. “I wanted to inform and educate a different perspective. I think we accomplished that. To assume that immediately thereafter that he’s immediately going to have an epiphany is unrealistic.”"