Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Wednesday Work Session: SAP

The current Student Assignment Plan was approved in 2009.  This is what is stated at the district webpage about it:
The 2009 Student Assignment Plan is an historical document that details many of the principles of the current plan. The Superintendent's Procedures for Student Assignment sets forth the implementation of the policies established by the Board in the 2009 Student Assignment Plan and the Student Assignment Transition Plan for 2017-18. These documents are the guides for Admissions and other district staff and must be viewed as integrated companions to fully understand student assignment.
 I will take a page from Director Burke's lexicon and call that a "word salad."  Yes, the 2009 SAP is a "historical document but it IS the document of public record for assignments in SPS.  Everything else is a temporary "transition" plan of updates. 


The SAP is 35 pages and includes:
- Board policy on assignment ( page 4) including the intersection of capital issues. This is not in the new SAP plan even as BEX V looms large.
- overview of types of schools (starts on page 7) This is not in the new SAP plan.  Also on page 7:
There are not feeder patterns from middle school to high school.  Each attendance area high school has its own geographic attendance area.
This, too, is not in the new SAP.

Page 13, discusses "open choice" seats in high schools.  The new SAP does not. 

The SAP discusses tiebreakers and also provides a chart that shows every single school and its tiebreakers and transportation.  The new SAP does not.

The "new" SAP:

Student Assignment Plan for 2018-2019 (red-lined from Transition plan)

This plan is just 19 pages.  But even at 19 pages, it feels too long and, if you are a district dedicated to "equity" trying to read and understand this plan is not what anyone could call equitable.

 In the agenda, they have a non-redlined version followed by a red-lined version.

Here's what the BAR says it will do:

The purpose of this action is also to update information in the Student Assignment Plan. The Plan for 2018-19 continues most of the assignment rules in effect during 2018-19, but some highlights and changes are:
  • Updating the transfer policy guidelines for families with a choice seat;
  • Clarifying space available as it applies to choice seats allocated in the School Choice Process;
  • Updating language to clarify current Special Education services and placement;
  • Aligning the School Choice deadlines for students opting into HC or continuing in the dual language immersion pathway with the general education timelines 
What is NOT in that list are all the things deleted from the 2009 SAP.  That's wrong. 
 
Onto the Work Session portion on the SAP which starts on agenda page 33.

It starts with the BAR which says this:
The 2009 New Student Assignment Plan was created when major changes to assignment policies took place, but the information in that document is now updated and maintained in recent documents. This Board Action would retire that document and help to minimize confusion between documents.
I would agree that it would be helpful to update the 2009 plan, but not totally revamp it without acknowledging that.  They make this sound like housecleaning.
The Superintendent’s Procedures for Student Assignment 3130SP sets forth the implementation of the policies established by the Board in the Student Assignment Plan.
Yes, that's true but the BOARD decides on the plan from which the implementation policies flow from. 

Hilariously, there's also this:
There will be no fiscal impact to the changes outlined in the updates to the Student Assignment Plan for 2018-19.
I absolutely call BS on that and so should the Board.

With guidance from the District’s Community Engagement tool, this action was determined to merit the following tier of community engagement:
Not applicable
Tier 1: Inform
Tier 2: Consult/Involve
Tier 3: Collaborate


And the winner is...."inform."  You as parents are not going to be "consulted or involved."

The SAP - the single item that touches every single parent/guardian and student in this district and you don't need to be involved or consulted.

Oddly, this is stated (bold mine);
The Advanced Learning Department has also utilized the community engagement tool ThoughtExchange to engage with families on their perspectives on high school advanced learning opportunities. Over 1,900 people participated. There will be additional focus groups and engagements for non-English speaking families throughout October. Advanced Learning will be at all the regional meetings. There may be additional Advanced Learning changes based on the analysis of the feedback received. These changes would be reflected prior to the October 25 Operations Committee meeting.
7. EQUITY ANALYSIS
The Racial Equity Analysis Tool was reviewed and the recommended motion does not disparately impact historically underserved students.
Have they read the plan? It's way too complicated for even the average parent.
8. STUDENT BENEFIT
This action clarifies language and aligns timelines in support of creating processes that are clearer for families and help to create more predictability for schools around staffing. Feedback was received from families during the 2017-18 school choice process that certain policies were not clear, and these updates provide more clarification.


There may be additional Advanced Learning changes around the HC pathways at the high school level which would require updating to this section. Changes would be in support of creating more access and opportunities.
Even if parents asked for clarification, they didn't ask for a new plan.  And I find it interesting that they want more predictability for schools but not for parents.

Page 76 starts the review of the ThoughtExchange info about HCC which I will move to a separate thread (so no comments here, please.)

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

This "new Student Assignment Plan" doesn't actually look like a Student Assignment Plan but more like a series of excuses for why the staff will not use a plan but will instead wing it every year and assign students ad hoc according to what they think will make the other parts of their jobs easier.

They will probably be surprised to find that it doesn't really make the other parts of their jobs easier.

Maybe we should call them out for misrepresenting it as a Plan.

Irene

Melissa Westbrook said...

Irene, yes, we can add that to the list of reasons.

Anonymous said...

Here are a few more examples of some of the things omitted from the draft SAP--things that will be lost if this is considered a standalone document rather than a transition plan supplement to the 2009 SAP.

Footnote 5 from the original SAP, re: sibling tiebreakers:
Foster students placed with a family through DSHS or other Court or legal status designations are considered siblings for assignment purposes. Students who are homeless are assigned consistent with the requirements of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, as incorporated into the No Child Left Behind Act, as amended.

Footnote 9 from the original SAP re: assignment to attendance area schools:
There will continue to be a limited number of programs or services that are unique enough, and that serve such a limited population, that they cannot be offered in every service area or high school attendance area. In those cases, students will be assigned based upon individual needs. In addition, there are situations of exceptional student misconduct, harassment, or involvement in the court system for certain offenses that will result in some students attending a school other than the designated attendance area school. In those cases, students are assigned individually based on the specific situation. The circumstances in which such assignments will be made are to be set forth in administrative procedures maintained by the Superintendent or the Superintendent’s designee.

These types of very specific details are incredibly important, both for families and for enrollment staff. They aren't big issues like "what is an option school?"--which is also missing from the new document, although it refers to option schools 26 times--but they are important nonetheless.

It's abundantly clear that the new SAP is NOT adequate as a standalone document. Until a new comprehensive document is produced, it should remain a transition plan.

DisAPP

Anonymous said...

Here's another reason why the information in the 2009 SAP is important.

According to the 2009 SAP, the development of attendance area boundaries is based on:

• Proximity of students to schools
• Safe walk zones
• Efficiency of school bus routing (elementary and middle school boundaries)
• Metro transportation routes (high school boundaries)
• Demographics, including anticipated changes in enrollment
• Opportunities for creating diversity within boundaries
• Physical barriers (water, etc.)
• Balanced target enrollment for each middle school and its feeder elementary schools to create predictable feeder patterns from elementary to middle school
• Availability of Open Choice seats at all attendance area high schools for students from other attendance areas to enroll through school choice

These do NOT, however, seem to be the factors used in developing the draft high school boundary scenarios. Why not? Whose decision was this? What are the factors to be used in future boundary revisions? Shouldn't this information be included in a comprehensive SAP?

DisAPP

kellie said...

There is this troubling narrative that keeps recurring both in this document and in many district meetings. That narrative is that somehow "choice" is a synonym for "privilege" and there "promoting equity" and "removing choice" are the same thing.

I find this deeply troubling for two reasons.

1) This narrative completely ignores the reality that promoting equity requires the active direction of resources towards poverty and underserved communities. It is an inexpensive strategy to claim equity without directing resources. This is both convenient and dangerous. It also manages to distract any meaningful conversation away from the underlying challenge of historic housing patterns.

2) This narrative conflates all "choice" into privilege and conveniently ignores that public education is ultimately a voluntary act and is completely dependent on the broad based taxpayer support. It ignores that the truly wealthy simply don't participate in public education. It completely ignores the lengths that families in all demographic categories will take to ensure that that their children have access to an appropriate education.

This SAP presented to the Ops committee will have the effect of removing all choice from families and converting Seattle from a limited choice model to the classic public school mandatory assignment model in the name of equity. Nationwide that system is fertile ground for charters and vouchers.

However, if history repeats itself, as it usually does. The direct impact of this change is declining total public school enrollment combined with increasing FRL percentages. At the height of the choice systems, SPS had over 55% FRL and declining total enrollment. Under the current plan, enrollment has increased every year and the total FRL % had declined to the mid 30's.

One version has more total resources to direct to fewer students. The other version has fewer resources and more students that need those resources. I know which version I would prefer.


kellie said...

Thanks Mel for your thorough analysis of this document. I concur with all of your conclusions.

Thanks DisAPP for highlighting the boundary criteria. Apparently, the boundary criteria that was negotiated over many years, with tremendous public input, only exists inside this "historic and confusing document." That explains why it does not exist in the high school boundary task force.

The bottom line here is that staff completely re-wrote the criteria for how the PUBLIC will access public education. And somehow this is magically going to happen at ZERO cost and have so little impact on the community that simply INFORMING the public is more than adequate.

This document will be in the Operations Committee this afternoon. The technical process is that the Board will be asked to move this document forward to a full board vote. If you have concerns about this, please email the board and ask them to not move this document forward and send it back to staff to re-work.




Anonymous said...

And in ignoring walk zones and the impact of the plans on transportation costs and implementation, they are also ignoring the impact of bus emissions on climate change - to the detriment of Seattle city's goal of becoming climate neutral by 2050.

http://www.seattle.gov/environment/climate-change


-NW Mom

kellie said...

Here is one more problem. This 2018 plan has no details on the surge capacity plans for 2018. What’s the plan. Is there going to be a mysterious 9th grade academy for high school? Because there certainly isn’t space at Garfield, Roosevelt or Hale for more students.

Book Doctor said...

I am very disappointed in how hard the new transition SAP document is to understand. And very disappointed in how hard it is for me (a person with a PhD in literature (i.e. in reading, analyzing and criticizing written documents)) to interpret how it will affect my children. I would like to send an email to the board and tell them what I hope they will consider, but I don't understand the following things:

1. What is "staffing capacity" and how is it determined and how do we find out what a school's (or a grade level within a school's) staffing capacity is? Who determines this? When do they determine it? What is it based on? How can families find out how staffing capacity will impact them? It seems like whoever determines staffing capacity controls every family's access to everything.

2. Families often cannot predict if or when or for how long their children might need a service. It's hard to read these documents and figure out how they apply to your family if you're not sure whether your child needs a service or not. Figuring out your assignment school is relatively straightforward, but the second you might want or need to deviate from that, the document causes a lot of confusion.

3. The 2009 plan says, "there are situations of exceptional student misconduct, harassment, or involvement in the court system for certain offenses that will result in some students attending a school other than the designated attendance area school. In those cases, students are assigned individually based on the specific situation." Is this provision lost or maintained in the 2018-19 plan?

4. If the 2018-19 SAP is a revision of the 2009 SAP, why was the red-line edit done on a 2017 transition file? Do they all apply? Does one take precedence?

5. The 2009 plan says there are 3 types of schools: Attendance Area Schools, Option Schools, and Service Schools. Which type are Cascadia and Decatur?

Anonymous said...

@Kellie "Here is one more problem. This 2018 plan has no details on the surge capacity plans for 2018. What’s the plan. Is there going to be a mysterious 9th grade academy for high school? Because there certainly isn’t space at Garfield, Roosevelt or Hale for more students. " Or at Ballard either....I think Ballard is most overcrowded in fact. Any empty buildings anywhere?
-worried

kellie said...

@ worried,

Yes, I meant Ballard but typed Hale. Ooops!

Garfield, Roosevelt and Ballard are all crazy overcrowded and these same schools are going to be expected to handle even more students next year. In theory the reason for the changes to HCC pathways is because Garfield can't handle extra students in 2018. But what about Roosevelt and Ballard? What's the plan?

The last time this happened and Whitman, Hamilton and Eckstein were all full, there was a proposal to do a 6th grade academy, as a one year bridge solution because it was going to be at least an extra school year until JAMS could open. That process was at least public. This time, we are just supposed to trust that "Enrollment Planning" with their "staffing capacity formula" has a solution ready to go to solve the need for surge-capacity for 2018.

Staff is essentially asking the board to "trust them" that there is a surge capacity solution and that this "mysterious-solution" will not require board approval or board oversight or even ... board notification.

There are so many sweeping changing in this 2018 plan, that even I lost sight of the simple fact, that the 2018 plan was completely absent.

There is "physical capacity" at the Center School but will there be "staffing capacity." It should be possible to add some capacity at Ingraham and Hale, but will they do this? Franklin and Cleveland have been artificially "staffing capacity" capped for a few years now so there is definitely physical capacity there. WSHS and Rainier Beach also have physical capacity.

kellie said...

@ Book Doctor,

Those are great questions. I can only answer question 4. The plan is that the 2009 SAP is officially retired, so that none of the information in that document will apply any longer.

Anonymous said...

The plan is that the 2009 SAP is officially retired, so that none of the information in that document will apply any longer. And thus, many of the issues spelled out in the 2009 SAP will no longer be spelled out anywhere, but will instead be subject to staff whims as they arise.

Re: surge capacity for Ballard and Roosevelt, with all the changes a'coming, I suspect even more north-end HCC families will decide to skip the Garfield pathway in favor of Ingraham and/or their neighborhood school (if Ballard or Roosevelt). That may be good news for Garfield, but not so much for the other schools. But incoming 9th graders will need to know PRIOR to open enrollment what the surge capacity issues will mean for them, because the course offering available at a comprehensive school will be different than those at a 9th academy. That's a particular issue for HC students to be served in their neighborhood school.

unclear

Anonymous said...

@Kellie " It should be possible to add some capacity at Ingraham and Hale, but will they do this? " Someone reported that at the first SAP meeting at Eckstein, Ashley Davies stated she would like to relieve Garfield by sending more students to Ingraham. However, Ingraham will only be able to handle one portable, as construction will be underway and trailers taking up space for the addition.

Anonymous said...

@Kellie " It should be possible to add some capacity at Ingraham and Hale, but will they do this? " Someone reported that at the first SAP meeting at Eckstein, Ashley Davies stated she would like to relieve Garfield by sending more students to Ingraham. However, Ingraham will only be able to handle one portable, as construction will be underway and trailers taking up space for the addition.
-worried

Anonymous said...

It’s a benefit to high schools at large that HCC students be returned to them from Garfield and it also solves the over enrollment at Garfield issue. Students at Garfield are losing instructional time by having to get from the portables to the third floor every day. It’s just not possible to do this in the time frame of the passing period. This is how the guaranteed HCC pathway hits all students, but particularly those who can least afford to miss those valuable instructional minutes. They are being stolen from them by having an over enrolled school due to the HCC pathway. This is the reality of a lack of equity in enrollment planning that urgently needs to be corrected. It’s not an abstraction or a sentimental lament for Tracy Libros. Time has moved on and we need a new and just plan to reflect current reality.

Go enrollment

Anonymous said...

Garfield is not the only over enrolled school with portables.

seriously

Anonymous said...

@ Go enrollment, FYI it's not the HCC pathway that is responsible--it's district mismanagement of capacity/pathways, poor planning, etc.

Funny that you say it's a benefit to "return" them to other schools...when many of those other schools are also overcrowded and would face or are already facing those same challenges with portables and passing periods. Isn't that just shifting the problem to others? It's also not a benefit to the HCC students who would lose access to advanced courses, but I guess that isn't your concern either.

But few expect there to be a continued pathway to Garfield for north-end HCC students come 2019, so

rest easy



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

Garfield is unique in being overcrowded and with portables due to the HCC pathway guarantee.

Reference area students should not be losing instructional time because one cohorted group is guaranteed services there. This is a human rights issue.

It’s ironic to attribute this situation to poor planning when it’s in the old assignment plan that so many on here favor. A new more progressive plan is necessary to correct these imbalances and unaccounted for externalities that harm our less privileged students.

Go enrollment

Anonymous said...



"They are being stolen from them by having an over enrolled school due to the HCC pathway. This is the reality of a lack of equity in enrollment planning that urgently needs to be corrected." Put down the piece pipe my comrade you are smoking too much BS and it is coming out of your pores.

GIGO

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

"This is a human rights issue." Maybe you should ask a human my comrade.

GIGO

kellie said...

Thank you Go Enrollment.

The narrative that "these kids" don't belong at "this school" is always productive, in all the various forms that narrative can take. As a bonus, you are factually incorrect on several points.

1) Enrollment Planning simply does not understand how to manage the "swirl" that happens via the choice process, due to the loss of institutional memory. They are so myopically focused on a narrow definition of budget neutral that they miss the big picture. EricB did a built an exquisite waitlist model with the real data of real time wait list moves and the impacts it would have on schools but no luck.

There were many current Garfield students on the wait list at both Ingraham and Franklin this year and for the last three years. Had enrollment planning been more thoughtful and proactive with regards to high school capacity, Garfield would be one of the only schools that was appropriately sized this year.

2) Roosevelt and Ballard have far worse capacity troubles this year (and last year). Returning HCC students to those school is not a viable option.

3) The portables are not the least inconvenient class at Garfield. The gym and theater and other classes held in that building are further than the portables.

4) Franklin has space and wants more students. Once again, Enrollment planning refuses to address this.


kellie said...

I think most reasonable people would agree that addressing equity takes the active allocation of resources towards an equity based solution.

As such, I am deeply suspicious of "equity solutions" that don't have a strong "financial component." Programs like Rainier Scholars are very effective and they involve resources. Ending a pathway might make something look more equitable but it is just not the same thing as doing the hard work to identify gifted students in underserved populations and then doing the hard work to ensure that there are resources ready and waiting for those students.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, kellie. I've always agreed that equity is generally about doing more for a group in need, not less for everyone else.

If @go enrollment is so upset about these lost instructional minutes, maybe they should take the matter up with Ted Howard. I understand Garfield's revised schedule this year includes 175 minutes per week (!) in "Advisory," resulting in a significant loss of scheduled instruction for every class.

DisAPP

Bully Doggy said...

Garfield has about 150 HCC students who live in its own assignment area. Plus, in 2019, based on counts of the current younger kids there will be
9th grade: 135 HCC students who live south of the cut (not including QA/Magnolia)
10th grade: 141 HCC students who live south of the cut (not including QA/Magnolia)
11th grade: 104 HCC students who live south of the cut (not including QA/Magnolia)
12th grade: 92 HCC students who live south of the cut (not including QA/Magnolia)

When a school is overcrowded, ironically students are not the source of the problem. The entire educational system is here FOR the students. If there are a lot of students someone needs to put two and two together and decide a lot of schools and classrooms and teachers will be needed to educate these students. And that someone is NOT the students.

Anonymous said...

@Kellie- " Roosevelt and Ballard have far worse capacity troubles this year (and last year). Returning HCC students to those school is not a viable option."

Not viable. But, I have not spoke to ANY north end parent who is interested in sending their child to Garfield next year. I predict there will be fewer than previous years. If not Ingraham, most will go to Ballard or Roosevelt. Some parents are of the mindset that AP is a better option for their HCC kid than IB.

The district had better plan for a surge in Ballard & Roosevelt enrollment. They will not be able to fit them all. Or actually create additional north end HCC pathways as they have mentioned at the SAP meetings. But a solution for next year and beyond must be planned.
-G

Anonymous said...

For parents who are paying close attention, I agree that many more are likely to forego the Garfield HCC pathway this year. On top of all the seemingly-now-usual problems such as difficulty getting a full schedule, long commute times, and anti-HCC sentiment, we now have the expectation that this next year's cohort will be the last large HCC cohort at Garfield. While GHS may be able to offer a full slate of AP classes for the next couple years while they have plenty of 11th and 12th grade HCC students, by the time next year's cohort are seniors it'll be a very different situation. Also, a lot of people choose Garfield partly for the strength of the music program, and that may suffer as well if--and I don't know if this is the case, but people have complained about it the past--HCC students disproportionately participate.

DisAPP

Anonymous said...

The HCC advisory sent an email to the board and superintendent 10/30 on their recommendations for HCC pathways http://discussapp.blogspot.com/
NW