Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Board Work Session on Capacity

I'll be attending today but a lot of meaty info here.

Story to come.

49 comments:

Jet City mom said...

Address special education program reconfiguration needs

That sounds like wait till assignment shakes out, then assign kids with IEPs to the schools that are underenrolled.

Zella Ozretich said...

I’m very curious about how they’re planning to increase the operational capacity at Eagle Staff. Especially since having the K-8 located in the same building doesn’t offer as much capacity as a full middle school used as such. How many portables are they planning to add, and where will they put them all?

Anonymous said...

I don’t understand why portables need to be added to Eagle Staff if Whitman is under enrolled. My memory is that Whitman parents weren’t happy about the number of kids they were losing.

Jane

Zella Ozretich said...

Yes; with better planning last year and fewer kids pulled out of Whitman, both schools would be better balanced in their capacity now.

GLP said...

At the work session today district staff said that they are planning to put 3-4 portables on the SE side of REMS for next year. Director Pinkham was clearly unhappy to learn these would block the murals (he asked specifically where they were going to be placed). The Board asked the staff to look at moving waitlists in the next week or so to move students assigned to REMS who applied to opt in to other middle schools.

Anonymous said...

Everyone knew RESMS was going to be overenrolled based on the boundaries they drew, yet they did it anyway. With blunder after blunder, how are we supposed have confidence in anything SPS capacity staff say?

Almost funny

Anonymous said...

I don't live in the RESMS boundaries, but I recall that everyone on this blog said last year that it makes NO sense the way the boundaries were drawn, with Whitman loosing a bunch of kids to RESMS even though RESMS would be over-enrolled soon and Whitman under-enrolled. Somebody needs to seriously remind Director Burke and other directors that every parent in the area knew that RESMS would need portables soon and that that is an absolute waste of money since Whitman has space. I am in the Hamilton area, so not directly affected, but happy to write a note to the school board too because of this wasteful, incompetent planning.

Wallingford Mom

Anonymous said...

This was a board amendment that led to co-housing 2 schools, and a board decision to flip flop on grandfathering Whitman students. SPS capacity staff advised against both and yet now teachers in both schools are left to make the best of the situation and their students will bear the brunt of the overcrowding. Sure would like to see the board take ownership of these decisions.

Eric B said...

Anonymous @ 10:26, I'll grant the board decision on co-housing schools, but laying the grandfathering issue at the Board's feet is a bit disingenuous. I suppose they could have forced the issue in the first place with a board amendment to move one of the elementary schools back to Whitman, but it was a staff decision to keep the recommendation of the RESMS boundaries despite evidence that it wasn't a good idea. On the grandfathering specifically, the Board forced staff to move Whitman waitlists, taking students out of RESMS and back to Whitman. Staff didn't even want to move waitlists, and now we have the possibility of 4 portables blocking the murals? Cripes.

Anonymous said...

The outrage over covered murals is driving me nuts. Where is the outrage over student centered teaching and learning:
- 94 kids in a PE class
- Students w/o a science classroom
- Lost activity space for students during lunch
- Lost Instructional space for PE
- Core classes with 34,35,36 students in them
- Students who can’t find a teacher for help because their teacher doesn’t have a classroom but rather moves from room to room
- A stage that serves as a classroom and limits the capacity of performing arts
- A second lunch that starts after 1pm
- ...
Eagle Staff is adding more than 100 students in the Fall. This is going to take a lot more than adjusting a feeder pattern or moving a wait list to right size.

InGoodFaith

Anonymous said...

I think that the Board's folding to many constituents over the Lincoln boundaries will come back to haunt them as well.

Helen

kellie said...

For the record, the 2013 board, approved the "Growth Boundaries Plan," a document with over 200 pages and 12 amendments. This was the very last vote for the school board directors, Michael DeBell and Kay Smith-Blum. The meeting went to nearly midnight, and there were so many details that by the end of the night, nobody was confident about what had actually passed.

The motion to place AS1 (now Licton Springs) at the Wilson Pacific Campus (now REMS and Cascadia) was based on a few facts that are continuously omitted from this conversation.

1) AS1 needed to placed SOMEWHERE. The opening of JAMS as a comprehensive middle school, displaced Jane Addams K8 (now Hazel Wolf K8). Hazel Wolf then displaced AS1 from the Pinehurst building and the placement of AS1 was left to the board meeting. Cedar Park was the logical location and the desired location but Staff insisted Cedar Park would not be an option.

2) The decision to place AS1 was based on the 500 empty seats at WHITMAN. The amendment that placed AS1 also directed staff to redraw the boundaries to accommodate that change.

All of the pain around this problem is because the instruction to redraw the boundaries was never included in a work plan.

Additionally, at this same time, the oversight committee was dissolved and capacity management was removed from the top board priorities. By the time that families testified about these issues, last year, staff asserted it was simply too late to make any changes.

So the magic formula. Create a 200 page plan and then remove all board and citizen oversight of the plan, because the head of all things facilities, testified that Staff has this under control and does not require oversight.

kellie said...

@ Helen,

Can you be more precise. The final Lincoln boundaries were pretty darn aggressive and is drawing students who live as close at 8 blocks to Ballard and 5 blocks to Roosevelt.

The challenge with Lincoln is that there was a very good reason why the school was closed in the first place. It is located extremely close to both Roosevelt and Ballard, making reasonable boundaries almost impossible.

kellie said...

I also attended the meeting yesterday. For the record, I have to say that this was one of the most productive and transparent capacity meetings I have attended in the 15 years that I have attended these meetings.

While there is still a long way to go in creating a reasonable amount of transparency regarding how these decisions that have tremendous impacts to BOTH building staff and families are made, Director Mack did a very solid job of pushing the conversation forward and not backsliding into finger pointing.

I was very happy to see ONE document that included both assigned students and the building capacity. This made it possible to have a difficult conversation about the tradeoffs. There are no easy capacity decisions, because every decision is interlinked.

While it may seem obvious to direct enrollment to Whitman where there is plenty of space and families want to attend, it is also most likely that the decision to add FOUR portables to REMS, also included the staffing allocation of 4 teachers. These teacher may or may not have been hired yet. The work session ran out of time, so question like that were not addressed.



Anonymous said...

@kellie, isn't this the problem? You said:

2) The decision to place AS1 was based on the 500 empty seats at WHITMAN. The amendment that placed AS1 also directed staff to redraw the boundaries to accommodate that change.

All of the pain around this problem is because the instruction to redraw the boundaries was never included in a work plan.

Additionally, at this same time, the oversight committee was dissolved and capacity management was removed from the top board priorities. By the time that families testified about these issues, last year, staff asserted it was simply too late to make any changes.

So it was known at the time of that decision that Whitman boundaries needed to be adjusted, yet staff didn't bother to follow up on that. Whether it was officially included in a work plan or not, it clearly needed to be done. Whether you're a big wig at JSCEE or in charge of capacity or even a lower level staff member working on enrollment or capacity or something related, isn't part of your job to make sure things that need to happen are happening? Who cares that capacity mgmt was removed from the top board priorities at that time--staff should have been on it, since it was a known issue. It should never have gotten to the point that families even needed to testify to the board about it, because it should have been obvious to everyone involved at JSCEE that it needed to be fixed. The board apparently knew. Staff at that meeting/vote knew. And parents posting here prior to and after the vote knew.

Staff messed up big time. Was it intentional, to get back at the board for their last-minute changes? Was it a big mistake? In either case, is there any accountability?

HF

NW Shuffle said...

I wish they would course correct now - tell families what the new boundaries will be in 2019-20 *NOW* and I know if I had a 6th grader starting at Eagle Staff this fall I'd be happy to switch them to Whitman so they don't have to switch middle schools in the future for 7th or 8th grade. At $170k a portable it's worth doing the work now - and having had an 8th grader moved this year I would have liked to have all the info when we started middle school. Let that info inform decisions now to avoid moving kids again. Other districts put out boundary changes much further in advance so families can plan accordingly. Put some effort into developing some more offerings at Whitman as an enticement. We see what attracts students - STEM, HC/AL, more language, Art, music, etc. Currently, Whitman has one of the lowest rates in the district of students who live in that AA who actually go there (53%) and now with the boundary change lots of vacant space. Let's change that and use that space for kids who live near there - saving $, improving community, and less moves for kids.

Anonymous said...

Whitman already has fabulous music programs (just saying) and advanced math (2 years ahead for those who qualify), and lots of amazing teachers.

Whitman Parent

NW Shuffle said...

@Whitman Parent - Agreed, Whitman does have those things and others and is a great school! However, that doesn't change the fact that almost 50% of the kids in its AA choose to go elsewhere. I think if they just added a few small things/extras more students in that AA would actually go there. It doesn't take much to tip the scale for choice - a lot of it is about perception and takes awhile to change without some concentrated effort. I know many great schools that parents mistakenly avoid and plenty of schools families flock to that aren't all that.

Anonymous said...

NW Shuffle, I agree with you, Whitman has certainly suffered from a bad rep., and the place desperately needs repairs/upgrades. I imagine the district will have to adjust boundaries(again)/add HCC, there is so much capacity, it's nuts.
Whitman Parent

David Westberg said...

Helen

It is my impression that this Board could care less.

David Westberg said...

Helen

I have been a member of this community for decades but can no longer happily withstand the abuse from SSD staff that we have been subjected to by taxpayer funded administrative staff. Melissa can put you in touch with me. Trust no others please.

Northwester said...

Perhaps if the Whitman principal was more welcoming of HC students, there might be more math-oriented students who would be interested in attending. As it is, parents talk—and feel that any kid with an HCC designation would be better served anywhere but Whitman.

Anonymous said...

@NW shuffle -Whitman has lost many students in their attendance area because NW also has a very high proportion of HC qualified students that are either at Eaglestaff or private schools. People are extremely happy with their elementary schools in NW which have been packed and even over enrolled for years. However, for many years people have avoided Whitman due to a lingering negative reputation.

We currently know some students who are spectrum who still don't like the school. The kids also pick up on the fact the school is in great need of repairs and renovation. I gathered from the kids with whom I spoke, it rubs off on them. In fact one student I know seemed to even suffer from feelings of low self worth and feeling of neglect, that I would attribute partly to going to school in such a run down place. We toured and the bathrooms had layers upon layers of wads of TP stuck on the ceiling. It does not help that the principal is not supportive of HC or advanced learning and that has been very well known for years to that community. Give the school a facelift, and make it the NW HC site and maybe it will improve. Although the current administration still may be a barrier to some.
NW mom

Anonymous said...

How can I find out how many students in a given boundary area choose to attend a different school than the one they would automatically be assigned to? Is this information somewhere on the SPS site?

Flummoxed

Anonymous said...

NW Mom, the place is certainly needs major renovations, but the rest of what you say hasn't been our experience. Kid is thriving there socially and academically (and was Spectrum qualified if any of that really matters), and well prepared for high school in September.
Ballard Family

NW Shuffle said...

Flummoxed - Yes, in the Enrollment Data section here, reports #3 & #4: http://www.seattleschools.org/cms/one.aspx?portalId=627&pageId=745564

Anonymous said...

@Ballard Family -That's good to hear your child had a different experience. Just trying to shed some light on why 50% in the neighborhood have not chosen Whitman. It is no coincidence. The reputation was poor and has been slow to change. They also lose alot of kids to either HC who either qualify after 5th or had stayed in their neighborhood elementary. We also know of many who went to private school after elementary then switch to Ballard in high school.
NW Mom

Anonymous said...

The murals at Eaglestaff are very important to the Native community. They should not be covered up by trailers. If Eaglestaff is overcrowded, then they need to look at adjusting the boundaries with Whitman.

HP

REMS said...

I e-mailed the Principal at Whitman about switching from REMS. They do not offer math 2 years ahead. If they did in the past, they don't anymore, or won't offer Geometry next year. It's not just math, it's almost all subjects. If we switched schools next year for 8th grade, my child would have to repeat Algebra as well as most of the classes taken in 6th. Kid wanted to move from REMS to Whitman, but it's really not an option, unfortunately. Also, not even related to HC, the language program at Whitman is quite behind the other middle schools, as well.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the link, NW Shuffle. I was surprised to see so many comments about Whitman that could also be made about McClure, so I checked out the data on how many kids in the attendance area choose McClure for their middle school. Similarly, almost 50% of the kids live in the McClure AA choose to go elsewhere. Wow! Fascinating.

Flummoxed

Anonymous said...

When my daughter transitioned from 5th Grade to Whitman, a huge chunk of her classmates went to Hamilton for HCC; many went private, and quite a few went to Salmon Bay. 50% doesn't surprise me too much.
Ballard Family

Anonymous said...

@Flummoxed -Also, a very high amount of HC qualified in McClure reference area as well. Another area where majority attend neighborhood elementary and then leave for private or HC program school for middle.
@HP- I believe the portables are not meant to be permanent, but they need them for next year. They should adjust boundaries to include also at HIMS which is back to being severely overcrowded again for next year as projected. They only had a one year relief with opening of Eaglestaff.
NW mom

Northwester said...

Portables are never meant to be permanent, but I'd love to see some stats on how many actually leave a school once they are planted. In this age of school safety with concerns about entry, I can't imagine why parents are not up in arms about their kids being separated from the main building in a portable with a direct entry to anyone standing outside (and no bathrooms!).

Jet City mom said...

Are special education students still housed in portables at Ingraham?
Combined with transportation that does not generally operate on half days' that really is not the way to make students who struggle, feel welcome.

But it is a vast improvement over Ballard high school who has decided in the past they were quick to say they were full, Ingraham was open to accepting more students with IEPs than Ballard, still is according to district data..

Melissa Westbrook said...

Northwester, many schools had portables for decades. One, Arbor Heights had them grafted onto their building; it was horrible. Your concerns are true; what about safety? Portables don't add bathrooms or gym space or library space.

Seattle Citizen said...

Jet City Mom - the district school reports show Ingraham with 13% Special Ed and Ballard with 10%.
That's not much difference, is it?

Anonymous said...

@Northwester,
At Hamilton the portables went away after one year. So, while a lot of portables are there to stay, they do get removed when not needed.

Wallingford Mom

GLP said...

SPS had special permission from the Landmark Preservation Board to put the portables at Hamilton, for one year only. So there is an outside factor there.

Jet City mom said...

Ingraham accepts special education students in 7 categories, Ballard in 4.

Northwester said...

@Wallingford Mom,
I poked around at the Daniel Bagley BEX remodel to see that the eight portables are finally leaving the school—the remodel includes a wing of eight classrooms to replace them. So yes, I do see that portables sometimes do move on. My issues with portables— no running water, lack of security relative to the rest of the school, a sense of classes in the portables being considered second class to the rest of the school, a lack of communication from the district on an operating plan for how long the portables will remain —still stand.

Anonymous said...

@Northwester,
Bagley's remodel has been pushed out, so fingers-crossed that it will actually happen. Portables are still on the premises and will be until the remodel moves forward.
-Former bee

Anonymous said...

Huh? Jet City Mom?
>>>. Ingraham accepts [special education] students in 7 categories, Ballard in 4.

What kind of hogwash is that? And where did you hear it? Are you talking about IDEA categories, or SPS cost saving made up BS categories? Either wayyy, your information is wrong. All high schools accept students in ALL IDEA categories. And most specifically, BHS has students with every type of disability, including blind and medically fragile. If you’re talking about the made-up, SPS-only disability categories: Resource (garden variety), Access (access to general ed, but everyone is legally entitled to that aren’t they?????). Focus (the kindergarten for life self contained program, where of course you can Focus because so little is expected focusing is a cinch), SEL (oh yeah, jail prep with a nicer name) or, most baffling, “Distinct”. Whatever the made-up crap is, BHS and IHS... both have all of these. BHS doesn’t have the very specialized program for medically fragile students. But this is highly specialized and relatively rare. Ingraham also has an adult transition program, arguably inappropriate in a high school.

And really Seattle Citizen? If BHS serves 10% Sped and Ingraham serves 13%, then yes that is pretty significant. I don’t doubt claims that students are being chased out of BHS.

sped reader

Seattle Citizen said...

sped reader - here are the percentages at the comprehensive high schools. Ballard is about in the middle.

Can you back up your assertion that Ballard is "chasing" special ed students out of the building? That is a serious accusation. Please demonstrate how BHS actively tried to keep sped students out.

Ballard 10%
Center 18
Cleveland 9
Franklin 10
Garfield 7
Ingraham 13
Rainier Beach 16
Roosevelt 8
Sealth 17

Anonymous said...

Don’t forget NOVA at 25%

Fairmount Parent

Melissa Westbrook said...

Yes, it's interesting to me how many people forget Nova. Why even at the last BEX Oversight Ctm meeting, Richard Best left it out as a high school (in the course of explaining why staff wants a new high school). Odd.

Seattle Citizen said...

I didn't include NOVA, Interagency, or other non-comprehensive schools because, well, non-comprehensive. I was comparing like to like.
sped reader made a claim about Ballard and I was comparing Ballard to similar schools regarding sped percentage. NOVA is an Option school.

Anonymous said...

You included The Center School and Cleveland which are also option schools.

Is the district asking why TCS and NOVA are attracting so many students with disabilities? If small schools are better for them, that’s one thing. If larger schools are choosing not to meet their needs, there’s a problem to be solved.

Fairmount Parent

SPS Mom said...

Hale was also left off the list. It was an incomplete list.

Seattle Citizen said...

Yes, you're right, Fairmount Parent, I mis-spoke. I forgot that Cleveland is an Option school now and didn't mean to include Center.

And yes, SPS Mom, I forgot Hale. I was in hurry, very sloppy. My apologies.

But my point stands: sped reader called out BHS as "chasing" sped out, and I merely wanted to show that BHS isn't an aberration, it's in the middle of the pack. If sped reader has some information that shows BHS "chasing" students away, I'm sure we'd all love to see it.