Sunday, July 15, 2007

Using Income to Create Diversity in Schools

This is an excellent article from the NY Times about different applications of income in enrollment in different districts around the country. It focuses primarily on San Francisco which uses income as one factor.

"The number of schools where students of a single racial or ethnic group make up 60 percent or more of the population in at least one grade is increasing sharply. In 2005-06, about 50 schools were segregated using that standard as measured by a court-appointed monitor. That was up from 30 schools in the 2001-02 school year, the year before the change, according to court filings."

"Only a few plans appear to have achieved all three goals. Others promote income diversity but not racial integration while still other plans are limited and their results inconclusive. Those who have studied them say a key to that outcome is how aggressively a plan shifts students around and whether there are many schools that can lure middle-class students from their neighborhoods into poor ones."

A district that offers good results but a lot of moving kids around is Raleigh, N.C.:

"The most ambitious effort and the example most often cited as a success is in the city of Raleigh, N.C., and its suburbs. For seven years the district has sought to cap the proportion of low-income students in each of the county’s 143 schools at 40 percent.

To achieve a balance of low- and middle-income children, the district encourages and sometimes requires students to attend schools far from home. Suburban students are attracted to magnet schools in the city; children from the inner city are sometimes bused to middle-class schools at the outer edges of Raleigh and in the suburbs.

The achievement gains have been sharp, and school officials said economic integration was largely responsible. Only 40 percent of black students in grades three through eight in Wake County, where Raleigh is located, scored at grade level on state reading tests in 1995. By the spring of 2006, 82 percent did."

I'll try to pass this article on to the Board so that they might get an idea of what has been tried and the outcomes.


Jet City mom said...

Ive posted on this before- I even used to email Dick Lilly about it, when he was the education writer for the times

A school with families that have the time/money to be involved in the classroom, that have the background and history to have education as a priority, to support and even enable programs that go far beyond the basics, that model what advanced education looks like to their kids and their kids friends, these things cannot be bought even with extra money for programs to serve low income kids.

Kids are only in schools 6 or so hours a day. But the teams they join, the friends whose houses they hang out at, the parents who they mimic come from their school community.
Money doesn't buy intelligence, but it can buy flexibility.

Maslows classic hierarchy of needs
applies I think.
When you are trying to meet basic functions, its hard to get beyond making sure your oxygen intake is sufficent.
even a Gates grant to the school, isn't going to guarantee that for the families.

But if a child whose family is trying to work on the basics of food and shelter & maybe even safety and employment, can be exposed to the more complex questions like self esteem,working with/for a group and what is ethical behavior, that is going to help broaden their perspective and reach for higher goals, than the reinforcement of " us vs them" that they may feel if they are in a school which mainly serves low income students and perceives schools ( and families) in shinier neighborhoods as "different than them".

Anonymous said...

I 100% agree with class of 75.

Anonymous said...

I think an income tiebreaker is a good idea, if we're talking about low-income kids.

I don't want to see a situation where the family that makes $75K has priority over the familty that makes $80K. First, because I don't really want to show my bank balance to the school district, and second because a family with a stay-at-home mom and $75K income may actually be "better off" in many ways than a family with $80K and two working parents.

I'm a working parent, and this isn't a slam. I'm just saying that once you get into the middle class, lots of other things besides income start coming into play, including decisions families may have made to trade income for time.

Anonymous said...

Class of 75: I agree with you. However, because Queen Anne and Magnolia do not have a high school, and we do not have enough high school seats in the north end of the city, the use of an economic tiebreaker, will keep most of these kids out of Ballard, Roosevelt and Nathan Hale, just like the racial tiebreaker did. Those kids who want to go to Ingraham, will go there, with my blessing.

If the District wants to keep these mostly middle class families in the system, as well as attract them from the private school system, there has to be space for them. If it's not important to the District.......

We have a north end seat capacity issue without the use of more tiebreakers. The District will have a whole new generation of disgruntled parents from Queen and Magnolia if they use an economic tiebreaker without providing a new comprehensive high school.

Like Yogi Bera said, "It's deja vu all over again". You may correct me if I misquoted him.

Creating a new high school in the north end will also provide more seating space for those families in the south end who do not currently want to go to the SE schools. We all hope that someday the SE schools will be competitive with the north end schools.

Yes, I am writing from the perspective of a Magnolia/Queen Anne parent. I'm advocating for these neighborhoods, just like some of you advocate for other neighborhoods. The Laurelhurst neighborhood will be affected similarly to Queen Anne/Magnolia by the use of an economic tiebreaker as well.

Roy Smith said...

Ms. Brose: What exactly is it that makes Ingraham inferior to Ballard and Roosevelt in the eyes of Queen Anne and Magnolia parents? Is the problem really that Ingraham is seen as substandard? If so, how? Or is it that Ingraham just isn't "as good as" Roosevelt and Ballard, and therefore it is unacceptable to your neighborhood because while you are getting something sufficient, somebody else is getting something even better?

I sympathize generally with the opinion that the north end is short on capacity and something needs to be done about it, but I have some real difficulty with your attitude about "being forced" to send students to school at Ingraham. I bet if you felt "forced" to send your children to Rainier Beach, you would be grateful for the chance at Ingraham.

Roy Smith said...

Kathleen Brose said ...
However, because Queen Anne and Magnolia do not have a high school, and we do not have enough high school seats in the north end of the city, the use of an economic tiebreaker, will keep most of these kids out of Ballard, Roosevelt and Nathan Hale, just like the racial tiebreaker did.

The District will have a whole new generation of disgruntled parents from Queen and Magnolia if they use an economic tiebreaker without providing a new comprehensive high school.

Was the PICS lawsuit really about equity and non-discrimination? Or was it about disgruntled upper-middle class white parents not getting their children into the high school of their choice? I'm confused . . .

What happens if the district opens a new comprehensive high school in the north end of the city, and it is only perceived to be the equal of Ingraham, and not the equal of Roosevelt or Ballard? What if the waitlists for Ballard and Roosevelt don't go away, and Queen Anne and Magnolia are still on the losing end of the distance tie-breaker for those schools? Will Queen Anne and Magnolia parents feel they are being "forced" to send their children to the newer, but apparently less desirable, high school?

Some parents appear to have the attitude that only the best high school in the district is adequate for their children, and they will be very upset if they are not guaranteed access to that high school. It is my opinion that trying to please these parents (who are very vocal, but who hopefully are a very small minority) does absolutely nothing for the greater good, and may in fact harm efforts to improve things for everybody.

Anonymous said...

Are we talking income tie breaker after or before having a guaranteed school.

I completely agree about the North End having a huge capacity issue. It is felt from elementary through high school and I think it is only going to get worse. I think opening a high school on the North End as well as a Junior High would alleviate that a lot as well as rennovating a couple elementary schools and making them bigger.

If the income tie breaker comes in after the guaranteed school thing, people in Laurelhurst, for example, will get a guaranteed decent school in the North whether it be Nathan Hale or Roosevelt (I assume). The problem now is what has been hashed out over and over - they are very different schools from each other. When I talk to people around NE Seattle, there is a love for one or the other, not both. If there was an income tie breaker, people in the North End would have no chance of getting into the non-guaranteed school (again whether it be Nathan Hale or Roosevelt). Right now, a lot of people in Laurelhurst who didn't get into Roosevelt are going to Garfield. They are going South because they want the type of school Roosevelt is. Will they have that choice if Nathan Hale is their assigned school and an income tie breaker comes in? Or will Nathan Hale be forced to become more like Garfield and Roosevelt, but what about all those families who LOVE Nathan Hale. I feel for the SSD administrators right now - there is NO WAY to make everyone happy.

Now I know people in the South end are having a hard time feeling badly for them since they are both good schools (NH and Roosevelt). The problem is that the Seattle School District is saying that they don't want to take away choice, but in fact they will be.

I really don't know what the right answer is, but I think a good start is increasing capacity in the North End and increasing quality in the Southeast. I don't have a problem with an income tie breaker as long as there is capacity in the North End to allow people who live North spots in at least one of those schools first if they choose and if they provide the baseline of AP courses at NH to make it a competitive school in the eyes of college administrators.

Roy Smith said...

Anonymous 1:45, your post is a perfect example of why I question the entire premise of moving to a more neighborhood-centric high school assignment system. I am not saying the premise is wrong, but it is certainly not definitively right, at least not at this point.

. . . if they provide the baseline of AP courses at NH to make it a competitive school in the eyes of college administrators.

Is Nathan Hale really not competitive in the eyes of college admissions officers? My suspicion is that the real issue is whether it is competitive in the eyes of nervous parents, not so much whether it is competitive in the eyes of college admissions officers. Is the demand for schools like Roosevelt driven by parents' fears that schools like Nathan Hale aren't good enough? Are these fears justified? I have heard well-reasoned arguments on both sides of these questions. I acknowledge that college admissions are increasingly competitive, but being idealistic, I would like to think that college admissions officers are looking harder at the student and the student's record than they do at the high school that that student attended. Does anybody who read this blog have any sort of first-hand knowledge about this question?

Anonymous said...

Ms. Brose:

You comment about a lack of North end capacity ignores that there is plenty of capacity at North end schools, just not at the schools you want (i.e. Ballard and Roosevelt).

You CHOOSE to move to a penninsula without a nieghborhood school. If you want the District to adopt a nieghborhood school system, then the consquence of your choice to move to a nieghborhood without a school (and without sufficient population to justify spending my tax dollars to build you one) is that you get to vie for whatever seats are open at the schools in other people's nieghborhoods.

Anonymous said...

Here is something I found at http://www.collegeboard.com/prof/counselors/apply/14.html
in regards to the importance of AP type classes:

At large and small schools alike, a student's grades in college-preparatory courses continue to be the most significant factor in the admission decision. A student who has challenged him- or herself by taking college-prep courses (at the advanced level when possible) and who has performed well (though not necessarily at the top of the class) will have the greatest odds of being admitted to the majority of selective colleges and universities. Whatever courses students take, earning good grades and high standardized-test scores should be their top priority, because all colleges weigh these things heavily when making admission decisions.

Anonymous said...

"Are we talking income tie breaker after or before having a guaranteed school."

It is my understanding that there would be seat aside choice seats to be filled using tie-breakers. Of course, this means that not every family that wants to claim Roosevelt or Ballard as "thier" school will have it as thier default school, but they will still have a shot via trying for a choice set aside seats.

Roy Smith said...

Of course, this means that not every family that wants to claim Roosevelt or Ballard as "their" school will have it as thier default school, but they will still have a shot via trying for a choice set aside seats.

Looking at the maps and data related to the proposed enrollment plan (all available on the SPS website), it seems fairly likely that a fair number of families who live closest to Ballard or Roosevelt will end up with default/guaranteed enrollment at Ingraham or Nathan Hale. I wonder how people will react to that outcome?

862 high school students live closest to Ingraham; current enrollment is 1246. 1161 students live closest to Nathan Hale; current enrollment is 1090 but the building can probably hold two or three hundred more without much trouble.

Meanwhile, 2387 students have Ballard as their closest high school, but enrollment there is 1674.

Roosevelt has 1563 students that live closest to it, but due to demand it is overenrolled at 1714.

Has anybody thought about this possible unintended consequence: if the district moves to default/guaranteed assignment system in high schools without fixing the disparities in quality or perceptions of quality, how many people with high school age children will choose where to live based on the high school reference areas? If the reference area of Roosevelt is right-sized now, will guaranteed assignment cause the local student population to balloon as private school students are attracted back into the system by guaranteed assignment and other families are attracted to the neighborhood by guaranteed assignment? How often will reference areas be re-right-sized in order to account for demographic shifts? And if one lives near the edge of a reference area, how does this impact predictability of assignment?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Okay, let's all understand that Ms. Brose has put a lot of time, energy and probably, tears, into the lawsuit. And, she comes,as she says, from a very neighborhood centric viewpoint. I'm fine with cutting her some slack.

However, I can take issue with undercutting Ingraham as a less than satisfactory school and others can select it "with my blessing" (which likely isn't needed).

I ask again for all of us to watch our use of language. Every school has a community and whether or not you would choose that school doesn't mean that it needs to be putdown to make a point.

I have a few ideas where a new comprehensive high school might go but there aren't a lot of choices. If there was a new one created, Center School would likely have to go. We cannot afford to keep it, plain and simple. (We don't even know, in the discussions over what to do with Seattle Center, if Center School will even be part of the new plans.)

Roy, from my research on college admissions (and recent experience with my own son), every college and university looks for the highest rigor a high school offers. So, if you go to a high school that doesn't offer AP but took the highest math, science, etc. you could and did well, your app will be tagged as such. However, if you go to Hale where it is offered (but with little guidance and no specific AP curriculum) and you don't take it, you would likely be dunned for that during the process. AP is difficult even as a stand-alone class; I can't imagine how much harder it is when you are in a regular ed class trying to do AP work (which requires after-class meetings)as some classes are at Hale.

Most college admissions officers know the top high schools (public and private) in every state. In Washington, they know Lakeside, Bush, Roosevelt, Garfield, etc. UW and WSU likely know most of the high schools in the state and what their offerings mean. However, out of state admissions officers don't have time to decipher every school. Hale had said (but I don't know if it came to pass) that they would send out letters with application forms about their structure.

I recently read a book by a former admissions officer at Duke. It was quite eye-opening. I'll pass on some of what was said as an early-warning for those of you with students younger than high school age.

This officer had an acronym, BWRK, which means Bright Well-Round Kid. They are a hundred a dozen (as opposed to a dime a dozen). Asian kids with a 4.0? Tons. They like well-rounded kids but are suspicious of multiple leadership roles, athletics, etc. It seems like they want to see a deeper commitment to whatever your child's interests are. Meaning:

-community service? Did your child flit from thing to thing or work at one nursing home for years and create a music program there?
-music? More than one instrument? More than one band? Tutored other students?
-Athletics? Any awards for good sportsmanship? leadership?
-it doesn't have to be traditional stuff. Did they start a company? Or write a letter to a CEO of a company that changed the way they do business? Doorbell an entire region of a city for an environmental initiative?

You get the point. They don't want 20 activities. They want to see some depth of commitment to whatever kids do. They want to see that interest in science go beyond the science fair (unless, of course, it's the Intel Competition). Do your best to help your child expand his or her interest so that they do have something to bring to the table when they apply for college.

Anonymous said...

Hi Roy:

Can you give us a cite for where you got your data? (just because I want to play with it, too).

I think you bring up an interesting point about how right-sized reference areas will be redrawn, though of course, this problem applies at every level of school. I would suspect that it would have to be something like a re-districting scheme, done on a regular schedule. But, that, in turn does mean that there would be fluctuations in school populations because of demographic changes occurring in between re-drawing of reference areas.

I just read the "seattle school histories" section on View Ridge, and was shocked to hear that in the 1950's, the school's population peaked at over 1200. Wow. It's clear that we demand more of our schools today.

"A 1951 addition provided six more classrooms. Even that was not
enough. In 1952–53, the 7th and 8th grades were shifted to Eckstein,
but enrollment continued to grow until it peaked at 1,206 in 1957–58."

Roy Smith said...

The sources for these numbers are Maps and Data supporting New Student Assignment Plan, and the Middle & High School Choices 2007-2008: Enrollment Guide for Parents. You can also find capacity figures on the SPS website (I don't have links at my fingertips), but capacity figures are not always to be trusted as noted numerous times on this blog. Hale having extra capacity in the building and Roosevelt being overenrolled for building size are general impressions based partly on slightly suspect capacity numbers and comments made by various people on this blog.

Anonymous said...

From what I understand, a lot of the "problem" with Ingraham has absolutely nothing to do with its quality, and everything to do with how tough it is to get to from various neighborhoods (especially by Metro).

Jet City mom said...

When I am king- I will make Hamilton a 8-12 school, move it to Lincoln and give the people that were shafted when they closed Queen Anne and Lincoln the same year, without a safety net plan.
Summit-AS#1 can move into the Hamilton building
A "new K-8 can move into the Jane Adamms building- maybe patterned on Tops or Salmon Bay

OK I know those choices aren't "neighborhood schools" but neither is the International school & I have a headache :(

Anonymous said...

Roy Smith and others:

I know some people are annoyed with me, to say the least! I'm not taking it personally. You don't know me, or what is in my heart or mind. Like I said, I am advocating for these communities.

The biggest problem with Ingraham for many Magnolia and Queen Anne parents is the distance. It takes up to 2 hours to get home via public transportation. It limits afterschool activity and parental involvement. We want a school reasonably close to home for obvious reasons. I'll bet the parents in the SE would like to have access to great neighborhood schools for the same reasons.

Our communities' kids were not given a choice in the choice system in 2000. Most were mandatorily assigned to Ingraham. I know it's easy to say "who cares" when you don't live in these neighborhoods, or you make unfair assumptions about the people who live there. This year the kids, once again, were receiving their 3rd or 4th choice of a comprehensive high school. The Center School is a great school, but it isn't comprehensive. We don't know what is going to happen to the school when the Seattle Center makes structural improvements. Melissa is probably right, that we can't afford both a Center School and a new comprehensive high school for Queen Anne and Magnolia. This is another tough decision that has to be made.

Just because we chose to live on a peninisula, doesn't mean we shouldn't be treated fairly. Just because people live in the SE doesn't mean they shouldn't have access to great schools, in their neighborhood or in the north end. I agree that the system has not been fair to them as well. All our kids deserve access to great schools, whether we have a choice system or neighborhood system. I think we can all agree on that.

I like all the ideas that this blog is putting out there regarding the potential new assignment system. I am learning about the pros and cons of the system along with all of you. I know that people from the District are looking at this blog and I hope they are learning from it as well. You all are bringing up great talking points in this important dialogue about the public education of this City's children.

Anonymous said...

Everybody wants access to quality neighborhood schools, and everybody should be entitled to this. Anonymous at 2:27 suggests that since you chose to buy a house in Laurelhurst you are not entitled to a quality neighborhood school. This is one of the more ridiculous comments that I have heard on this blog. Because you live in a certain neighborhood your child should suffer the consequences and not have access to a neighborhood school. Did you really mean to suggest this? How absurd.

Why in the heck would people from Laurelhurst or QA want to ship their kids to Ingraham (the border of Shoreline) as their kids take a 2 hour public bus ride right past closer, higher performing schools such as Hale, Roosevelt and Ballard? How absurd. You should be ashamed of yourself, and stop trying to persecute families because of where they live or how much money you percieve they have.

Anonymous said...

And, instead of Laurelhurst what if it we a low income minority neighborhood in S Seattle that was being denied access to a high quality program in their area? you would be up in arms, cursing the school board, the assignment plan, and yelling racism. Why is it OK to do it to Laurelhurst or QA?

Anonymous said...


My point was that you can't beat the nieghborhood schools drum if you elected to live in an area where there is no nieghborhood school. It has nothing to do with quality, though I take HUGE issue with the idea that Ingraham is inferior, particularly compared to say, what is currently offered (and more pointedly, not offered) at Rainer Beach.

Should a child who lives a mile from Ballard be displaced because someone who lives 6 miles away on Magnolia considers Ballard to be thier neighborhood school? Should the District spend 80-100 million dollars to build a new comprehensive high school for the admittedly small number of QA/Magnolia students who have access to nearby schools, just not the ones they would prefer? In my mind the answer is no.

Transporation takes to long? If there are as many families actually impacted by this as claimed, then it would be pretty easy to get Metro to run a route. The bottom line is that many of these students DRIVE themseleves to school, or get dropped off. The big bad public transportation excuse is a Red Hearing. There are plenty of students spending a whole lot more time going from the Rainer Valley to Ingraham, who are thrilled with the opportunity compared to what is close to them.

Anonymous said...

"if it we a low income minority neighborhood in S Seattle that was being denied access to a high quality program in their area"

Those nieghborhoods already are denied access to a high quality program, because none is in the area. That is an apples and bannanas comparison. If there were high quality schools throughout the District, you would not see South Seattle students taking buses North to Ingraham or Hale.

No one is dening any North End parent access to a quality school. I dispute anyone who would claim that any of the North End High School Programs - save John Marshall - are not quality, or at least 10 times better than Cleveland or Rainer Beach. I am not picking on those school communities, but pointing out that absent the extra funding they have been and will continue to get from the District, they would not be able to offer a complete class schedule to any student, let alone one that includes AP or lab sciences or arts and humanities electives.

Anonymous said...

Ms. Bose-

You write "Just because we chose to live on a peninisula, doesn't mean we shouldn't be treated fairly."

My problem isn't that you are being treated fairly, it is that you want special treatment. You want a nieghborhood school that is in someone else's nieghborhood!

You can't have a nieghborhood school when you choose to live some place where there is no nieghborhood school and not sufficient demand to justify creating yet another nieghborhood school for you (because the last one, the Center School, is not "good enough'). This is ridiculous. My tax dollars should not be spent supporting your desire to have the perfect school, particularly when there are schools out that there are so far beyond the schools that you are turning your nose up at.

Anonymous said...

"Roy Smith said...
Kathleen Brose said ...
However, because Queen Anne and Magnolia do not have a high school, and we do not have enough high school seats in the north end of the city, the use of an economic tiebreaker, will keep most of these kids out of Ballard, Roosevelt and Nathan Hale, just like the racial tiebreaker did.

The District will have a whole new generation of disgruntled parents from Queen and Magnolia if they use an economic tiebreaker without providing a new comprehensive high school.

Was the PICS lawsuit really about equity and non-discrimination? Or was it about disgruntled upper-middle class white parents not getting their children into the high school of their choice? I'm confused . . ."

I am pretty sure now that it is the latter. Pehaps someone should bring this to light when DWT trys to take millions of dollars from the District based on the so-called "civil rights" claims.

Ms. Brose, if the District uses a socio-economic tie-breaker, should we anticipate PICS will fire up the litigation machine again if QA/Magnolia familes are "forced" to accept Ingraham or Hale?

Anonymous said...

What I'm a bit confused about, after reading the seattle school histories is why so many more students were assigned to these schools in the historical past than is acceptable now. It looks like both Roosevelt and Ballard peaked at 2700 kids in the days when demand peaked. Clearly that's non ideal, but is there some reason other than looking for the ideal that the schools can't accommodate more kids today? (I'm not trying to be facetious -- I'm wondering if rules and codes have changed, and how the schools actually accommodated that many students in those old days). Some of the grandparents must have gone there then. What was Roosevelt like when there were 2700 kids enrolled? What was View Ridge like with 1200 kids?

Can we solve the problem of under supply of spots by increasing capacity at those schools? Flexibility of capacity has to be part of the plan, with fixed reference areas. I don't think we're going to be able to deal with peak demand by building more schools -- one never can, because the school system moves too slowly.


Anonymous said...

It is my understanding that at the highest levels of enrollment, many SPS schools ran in split shifts. I would check with the District archievist, she is really quite knowlegable about all things SPS.

Anonymous said...

For some families, distance & commute time do trump academic opportunities. And, for my family, they have also been more important than diversity.

We did not move our children to Lowell when they tested in, because the commute took too long. The opportunities we could provide as a family during that time outwieghed the academic advatages of the APP program for us.

We are not in a very diverse neighborhood because we priotized a short commute to work in the U district over a more diverse southend neighborhood. That was many years before children, but the extra 1.5 hrs a day of family time has remained a priority for us.

Certainly there have been trade offs. And those are not the best decisions for every family.

I do not know how I would feel if we lived and worked near a southend school. But I was home schooled between attending schools in several different countries. (Talk about a non-aligned curriculum. :) So I think I could make it work to keep my children from spending so much time commuting.

Anonymous said...

Roy, To answer your question about Hale being competetive, and what college admissions are looking at when recruiting, I found this on the Hale website:

The value and/or need of Advanced Placement courses continues to be a focus of national and local debate by families, by educators, and by the media. The message Nathan Hale receives regularly from colleges is that they want students who have experienced authentic, rigorous coursework that provides students with high levels of critical thinking, writing, research, and communication skills; obviously, these skills are not limited to AP material. Researching and speaking with college professors and admissions officers, national academies, and leading educational authorities lead us to conclude that we will continue our annual evaluation of AP curricula in light of our commitment to developing students who are academically college-ready with a strong and deep knowledge and skill base, who not only can make it into college but STAY enrolled beyond their freshmen year. As a result, the offering of AP curricula at Nathan Hale takes different forms:
“Stand-alone” courses that provide preparation for the AP Exams in Japanese Language and Culture (exam first offered spring 07), Spanish Language, Calculus, and Statistics; and
Coursework that may be done on-line or in an addendum meeting with teachers outside of regularly scheduled class time providing for AP Exam preparation: Art, Calculus BC, English Language, English Literature, Physics, and United States History.
In order to receive AP designation on their transcript in conjunction with a specific course, students must enroll to sit for an AP Exam in the spring of the year in which they are doing coursework. However, in order to sit for an AP exam, students need not be enrolled in an AP course. AP tests may also be offered in other subject areas not available at Nathan Hale (one could check the College Board website at www.collegeboard.com). At some colleges, students who take Advanced Placement (AP) courses and pass the AP tests with a score of 3 or better (top score is 5) are granted credit, although for more and more colleges, credit is only granted for scores of 5. Some colleges waive prerequisite courses, although these are becoming fewer and fewer (for example, the UW may not waive a particular course, i.e. Literature 101, but provides for awarding general education credits, possibly reducing the overall number of credits for which the student must pay). There is a fee for each AP test, and the College Board usually offers the exam in May. Students should check with prospective colleges as to how AP is credited, since college rules vary.

Anonymous said...

According to some recent articles about Bryant school history, the playground was full of portables to accomodate a school more than twice the size it is today.

Anonymous said...

I'm all for expanding capacity where it needs to be expanded, even in the form of portables. The problem with Bryant is that there really isn't a shortage of seats in elementary school. The reason that Bryant, Laurelhurst, Wedgewood get a wailtlist is because people shy away from John Rogers and they all try to get into the more popular schools. We live up here, and as far as I know everybody who lives in the Bryant reference area gets in, same with View Ridge, Laurelhurst etc.

It is at middle and high school where there is a problem, and I am all for expanding capacity there. The problem is Eckstein is already the largest (1250 kids) middle school in the state of Washington, and has a lot of portables. How much bigger do we want it? A lot of families choose private just based on how huge Eckstein is now, I can't imagine adding another 300-400 seats? Hale could definately take more kids comfortabley, but they barely get a waitlist, so there is really no reason to. They fill, but get everyone in that applies. They are alternative, and are just not in demand like Roosevelt. Roosevelt is the true issue. They are the only traditional comprehensive high school serving NE Seattle and they can't accomodate everybody. They expanded capacity this year to 1700. How much larger can they grow?

Anonymous said...

The stat about Eckstien ignores that Hamilton is underenrolled. It is being rebuilt larger. The perception that there is a seat shortage ignores that there are plenty of seats at Hamilton, Ingraham, and in most years Hale. The issue is not lack of capicity in the North end, but lack of guarenteed access to schools that are percieved to be the "best" schools in the District.

Anonymous said...

And that is with Hale deliberately underenrolling...

It is ridiculous to talk about spending tens of millions of dollars to open a new school or reopen Lincoln perminately so long as there is plenty of room.

If there is demand that Hale be more traditional, it will be. That is where change - if it is needed - should happen, not throwing money after non-existance problem. Case in wasted money point = Center School.

Anonymous said...

Where do people who go to Eckstein live? I hear people from Lake City can't get in. I've heard people from Laurelhurst often can't get in. Heck, I even heard someone last year tell me their daughter who lives walking distance to Eckstein didn't get in (though she is in for 7th grade). I drive by it every day and see buses so I assume people are going there from farther away. I'm just curious how Eckstein is so overcrowded/the largest middle school in the State, but people who live so close aren't getting in.

Anonymous said...

The Eckstein draw is a 2.25 mile radius from the school, so north of 110 (lake city) usually doesn't get in, and sometimes Laurelhurst doesn't either. Most Bryant, Wedgwood, View Ridge, Ravenna, Meadowbrook, U dist families get in.

Anonymous said...

No, anonymous, it is not lack of predictability to get into "the best" schools in the district. It is lack of predictability to get into OUR neighborhood school. We live near Eckstein. All of my kids freinds will go to Eckstein. We want a neighborhood school. What is wrong with that? We don't want to ship our kid to Hamilton, to go to school without his freinds, and a huge co-hort of John Stanford kids that move to Hamilton together (they have a preference) and a huge group of SE Seattle kids. We want our neighborhood school. Any why when we live 2 miles from Roosevelt, our neighborhood school, would we want to ship our kids way out to Ingraham when all of their freinds are at Hale or Roosevelt? We want our neighborhood school. That is not unfair, and if you really think that is asking to much, I ask you to examine your rationale. I am prepared to leave Seattle for good over this. It is ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

Do you really think that there is not an over capacity issue with HS in NE Seattle? Is it really reasonable to expect families that live in the Roosevelt neighborhood to just pass it up and go to Ingraham in N/NW Seattle? I just don't buy it. It's not fair.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps if the families who feel entitled to particular schools who do not actually live in the nieghborhood - Ms. Brose, I am inlcuding you in this group - where not taking up seats, actual nieghborhood kids would be at the schools.

Anyone ever ask why the Hack family, who are part of PICS, still have kids at Roosevelt even though the are not within the distance bubble? The oldest child got in via the racial tie-breaker because he was adopted, and every successive child is there. How is that for nieghborhood schools?

Anonymous said...

I guess the answer is Roosevelt is not your neighborhood school if you live more than two miles away now. It is someone else's neighborhood school so long as more people live closer than you under the current system.

It will not be your nieghborhood school under the new system, but at least you will have a shot at a seat, which is more than you can say now. Is Lincoln any more your neighborhood school than Hale?

You say you child's friends are at Roosevelt or Hale. Hale did not have a wait list last year, and only has one this year because they choose to underenroll.

So, how is knowing that you child will definately get into Hale any worse than knowing now that you live 2 miles away but definately will not get into Roosvelt?

Anonymous said...

Because we do not want an alternative HS. We want a traditional program with AP classes. And we want it in our neighborhood. What the heck is so wrong with this???? I just truly don't get it. I don't think that's asking to much. Our kids went to an alternative school for elementary and we did not like it. It was not a good fit. We do not want to go down that road for HS. And we shouldn't have to. We should be able to go to a traditional school in our neighborhood. GEEEEEZ

Anonymous said...

(1) Hale is not an alternative school.

(2) Roosevelt is not your neighborhood school so long as more people who want to go there live closer than you. It is someone else's nieghborhood school.

This leave with you a choice: (1) hope people who live closer than you have no more children or make other choices or (2) take an active role in making Hale more like what you want.

SPS does not have the ability to build a new high school any place that they do not already own land, so unless you want Linclon reopened (and prove to those of us who do not live were you live that this is a wise use of my tax dollars when there is North end capacity) you are not going to have any option closer other than Hale.

Or you can leave the District. There is no way to magical way to expand Roosevelt's capacity, and right now if you live more than 1.7 miles away, you are not getting in.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 9:56,

Why is it so important that your child goes to Middle School/High School with his/her friends?

I can see both advantages and disadvantages.

My kids are in a K-8, but that means they will go to HS with almost none of their friends--I don't see why that is a terrible thing. (From what I hear, after nine years they are pretty sick of each other!)


Anonymous said...

Maureen that was a choice that you made for your kids when you chose an alternative school. Not everybody wants that for their kids. I moved from middle to HS with my freinds. So did my husband. It was a great experience for us both. That's not to say that anything is wrong with your choice, it's just not what we want for our kids. We are not alternative type parents, we are fairly traditional, please try to respect that. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Hale is an alternative school. Have you read their website at all??? They are a comprehensive HS, yes, but alternative none the less. Their philosophy as you will read on their website is very anti AP/IB. They have block classes, late start, no cut sports teams, and many other things that put them in a unique, non traditional HS. Why are you trying to force a school on us??? I would never presume to chose a school for you. I will say it again. We do not want an alternative, non traditional HS. We want a traditional,comprehensive HS in our neighborhood.

Pretty soon you'll be assigning us to Summit.

Anonymous said...

Yes, after 9 years of being with the same small group I can see how TOPS kids would be tired of each other, and ready for a change. Fortunately when you go from a k-5 program to a large school like Eckstein and eventually Roosevelt. You have the best of both worlds. You have your elementary friends that moved with you, as well as 800 1000 other kids from 6 or 7 neighborhood feeder schools, so your social group is just perfect!!!

Anonymous said...

Not all K-8s are "alternative schools." That presumption to me indicates that you do not know much about SPS schools other than a desire to claim Eckstien and Roosvelt as "yours" even though they are not, because other people live closer. That is not going to change under any system, you will get aced out so long as other people who live closer want the schools you want. That is the downside of "neighborhood" schools, your neighborhood is only determined by taking into account where everyone else lives and wants to go to school.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:53 PM-

Ah, yes you are trying to force a school on everyone else.

You want Rposevelt as you nieghborhood school without taking into account that you do not live close enough for it to be so. But, you don't want anyone else who is in the same boat as you - to far to have it be a lock - in the same boat as you.

Anonymous said...

To anonymous at 10:41. Why would I want to take an active role in making Hale into the school I want it to be. Wouldn't that be horribly unfair to Hale. There are many families who love Hale for what they are. A small, alternative, inclusive, non competetive (In the sense that they feel all kids will achieve), etc.

Wouldn't that be elitist and ugly of me to try to take over Hale? That's just not fair.

Pitting communities against each other is just ugly.

Anonymous said...

If Hale is not want you want, and you live too far from Roosvelt as it is, than you still have a "traditional, comprehensive HS" choice: Ingraham.

What do you propose is the answer that right now, when all that matters is distance, you live too far away from the school you want?

Anonymous said...

Why in the world would I not want to go to Roosevelt 2 miles from my house, and instead send my kid to Ingraham, with a different peer group, low test scores, and much futher away from my house? That's just not rational thinking.

We want Roosevelt, or another comprehensive HS IN OUR NEIGHBORHOOD, or we will move to Shoreline, where going to a neighborhood, comprehensive HS is not a bizaar irrational thought. It is reality, along with feeder schools and keeping peer groups together. It works for them. It worked for our families when we were kids. And I am going to make it work for my kids.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:06-

The reality is that you are not getting into Roosvelt under the current system because you live to far away.

So, the only way you would get in the future so long as people who live closer than you want to go to Roosevelt is via seat aside choice seats. (There are no such seats in play now, and you live to far away to get in).

This means no one is currently taking a seat away from you at your nieghborhood school, you just live too far away for it to actually be your neighborhood school.

So, unless you think having a chance at getting in via choice set asides under the new plan when you have absolutely no chance of getting in now when all that matters is sibling and distance is a bad thing, I am confused as to your point.

Anonymous said...

Is there a way to find out how many students from each neighborhood goes to each high school? I think it would be interesting reading. I know Melissa mentioned there were quite a few people who are going to Roosevelt next year from Magnolia, Queen Anne and SE Seattle - siblings from the Racial tie breaker. I'm also curious as to the split between Nathan Hale and Roosevelt in neighborhoods in N Seattle and where Laurelhurst is currently sending their kids. Also curious how many kids in SE Seattle are sending their kids up North for high school.

Also, where are kids at Hamilton going to high school now (split between various schools). I know it has been mentioned that Hamilton might feed into Roosevelt and I'm not sure of geographical distances (how far west is 2 miles currently from Roosevelt to get an idea who goes there now).

Anonymous said...

I'm saying that the system is screwed up, when a family can not go to their neighborhood school. Roosevelt is our neighborhood school. My son could walk there.

I am not disillusioned. I know we won't get in. I know the district and the new assignment plan will not benefit us. But I will make it happen. I will either move closer to Roosevelt or move to Shoreline. We will make it happen one way or another. Call me hard headed.

Anonymous said...

Again, so long as more people live closer than you, Roosevelt is NOT your nieghborhood school. I understand that you will move to get what you want. If you move closer, it just means you are pushing someone else into your current position, close, but not close enough.

So, do you have an actual proposed change for anyone besides yourself?

If not, then I am happy you had a sounding board, but it did not bring much to the dialouge other than you are upset that you live too far from where you want, and there is no way for the DISTRICT (as opposed to you moving) to change that.

Anonymous said...

"Is there a way to find out how many students from each neighborhood goes to each high school? "

Yes, check out these maps, brought to you by SPS: http://www.seattleschools.org/area/newassign/maps_data.html.

The specific ones you want are "Where do high school students live who attend the following schools?"

Anonymous said...

Link got cut off:


Anonymous said...

My point is that families are not going to just suck it up and ship their kids to far away high schools. And they shouldn't. Concerned parents will find a way to make the system work for them. I will find a way to make the system work for me. I'm sorry if you found this converstation useless. I am in hopes that district admin and board members read this blog and see what our concerns are. I don't have the answers, and I would never presume to. But hopefully the district will come up with something. It makes much more sense geographically to have the Hamilton kids go to Ingraham and the Eckstein kids go to Roosevelt, and leave alternative Hale as a choice school. Build a new school in the QA neighborhood to relieve Ballard and Ingraham, and close the Center school if there is not enough demand for it.
But that's just my two cents, I'm no demographer or statistician.

Anonymous said...

But there is no way to fix your problem because you refuse any option (Hale, Ingraham ect) because you don't like them. And, for the last time, Ingraham is NOT oversubsribed, there is no need to build a new school to "relieve" pressure on Ingraham. I seriously hope no one in a decision making role cateers to your mentality of I want what I want but I am not willing to do anything about it.

Anonymous said...

It is not over subscribed because kids from QA have to bus 2 hours to attend it, as it is their only option for a comrehensive HS. Is that fair. It is also the only North HS that has room for the kids from the S end that want to come up North to a better HS.

My problem is not with Ingraham. If I lived closer to it, I would gladly have my kid in their IB program. I hear it is fantastic. My problem is it is not in my neighborhood and I don't want to ship my kid off to another neighborhood, and that is my right and my choice. I'm sorry if you feel that is so wrong. Lets agree to disagree and end this discussion here.

Anonymous said...

I have never lived in a city where there was not enough room for kids to attend their local schools??? This is puzzling to me. I have heard of kids travelling to attend a magnet HS or other specialty schools, but never just to get a traditional HS (except in the era of mandatory bussing). Doesn't this seem unacceptable to anyone else. It obviosly doesn't bother the anonymous that keeps trying to push the other anonymous into taking a far away school for his/her children, and be happy with it? I am curious as to anonymous situation. Where do your kids go to school? Are they in your neighborhood? Just curious

Anonymous said...

I think it is a pretty basic expectation to have a traditional HS in your neighborhood. It is an absolutely ridiculous notion to think that families should just search for high schools all over the city that may have space for their kid. The family that lives within walking distance to Roosevelt should get it. They should not have to take an alternative type school, nor should they have to search for an under subscribed school (Ingraham) in someone elses neeighborhood.

Anonymous said...

It seems that we must work on a definition of 'neighborhood school'.

Currently students are assigned by distance. That creates a circle around each school. So that a student outside of that circle may have to travel past that school to get to the next closest school that has room. To some of us that circle defines 'neighborhood school'. In that case your neighborhood school may not be the closest school to you. (Evidently it could be a 2 hr bus ride away.)

To others of us 'neighborhood school' means the closest school to our home. That is where we have issues with capacity. If we draw equidistant boundaries between the schools, there is not enough capacity at some schools to accomodate all the 'neighborhood' kids.

What if the assignment area for each school would have a different shape. So that the boundaries would included the correct number of students for each school's capacity and would meet the boundaries for the nearest schools.

Anonymous said...

In the NE that would work if Hale were a traditional school. But without the capacity at Hale to take the traditional families, then that leaves Ingraham, and Ingraham is far away. Not even close to NE Seattle, and has a large population of Queen anne and S. Seattle kids. That would not be a neighborhood school in my book. Hale does relieve a lot of the pressure from Roosevelt, and a lot of people love Hale's more alternative philosophies, however it shouldn't be perceived as a traditional, comprehensive HS, and therefore can't be a neighborhood reference school.

Folks, nobody liked mandatory bussing in the 70s and we still don't like it today. But that is what NE Seattle is left with if you live further than 1.81 miles from Roosevelt. It stinks. We want a neighborhood school. Is that really to much to ask????

Anonymous said...

It sounds like Ingraham is not a neighborhood school for anyone. SOunds more like an all city draw, as does Hamilton. That's kind of sad, an all city draw is not what you are looking for. Our kids went to Salmon Bay for MS (all city draw) and we hated it. Their freinds were all over the city, logistically it was a nightmare, and we didn't know very many of the families. Also volunteered a lot less because it wasn't close to our home. This is all OK if you choose it, but to have to take an assignment to a program like this does not seem fair. I'm with the above posters, they should have a neighborhood school.

Jet City mom said...

I do agree that it is a basic service- but just like police protection fire response or tranportation, some neighborhoods are served better than others.

WHen I was growing up- if a school wasn't large enough, then portables were added-WHen I was in junior high- lunches were in shifts- 3 different times and the cafeteria was still so crowded that we ate in the bathoom.
Shifts also make scheduling classes much more difficult- and IMO fewer students get wants/needs met.
I also grew up on the Eastside, and while I was able to walk home from the elementary school( Rose Hill) when I had missed the bus, when I was in 5th grade, a grade school (Ben Franklin)opened up a block away.
I could also walk to junior high( Rose Hill) and high school( Lake Washington), although I eventually attended an alternative high school(BEST) that was three miles away ( which I walked to as there was no transportation to other than neighborhood schools)
The idea that a student could be withing walking distance of a school that served the "neighborhood" and not be admitted would be unthinkable.

That said- I do know quite a few people with rising 11th graders- who like in the Ballard or Roosevelt neighborhoods & have no idea if they would have gotten in, because Ingraham was their first choice.
I looked at it- & I really like it.
The facilities have been upgraded to accomodate the IB program as required.
Unlike some of the larger schools, arts facilities are open to all who apply.
Sports fields- quite nice ones, are right there and teams are no cut.
Very involved and energetic principal who is an alum.
( As is her father, which is why D didn't want to attend although she admitted it would have been her 2nd or 3rd choice after Hale)

I also know several kids who have gone through Franklin and although I like the current principal personally, but have had continuity and communication issues with her- she has many ideas- some are great and get implemented- others just take up time- ( but I could say that about my own life)

But it isn't just principals who are in charge of a building- for example- Garfield had several ineffective and worse principals, but the community held it together until their current principal- who is pretty good.
But for instance one principal, in her former school had to take extreme measures to oust an incompetent teacher, by assigning her a class that she knew she could not handle and after a short time on leave she quit. The other teachers knew that was being done & had told me that "parents" needed to complain to the district about the teacher, so that kids weren't put in her class.

Frankly, I have never had the district pay that much attention to me individually or even collectively to think that they would go against the teacher union, just because of an incompetent teacher. After all, they have people who used to be incompetent principals in their ranks.

Anonymous said...

I will say again. I have no problem with Ingraham academically. I think it's a great school. I hear their IB program is fantastic. I take issue with the fact that it is not in my neighborhood. I do not want my kids freinds to live in QA and S. Seattle. I want them to be in our neighborhood, where I can get to know them and their families. I do not want my kid to have to ride two metro buses to get to school twice a day, and he's only going to be a freshman so wont drive for a couple of years. Others may consider program over distance and that is absolutely fine if thats what you choose. We do not choose this. We want a neighborhood school, and hold to thought that this is not an outrageous, unrealistic expectation.

Brita said...

Hello all,

I think Tracy Libros and her staff are working on the last poster's suggestion as we speak. The old system ended up with 'neighborhood schools' and de facto circles around each school--some larger than others depending on capacity and local population density and choice of 'neighborhood' students to attend that school or not.

My understanding is that all told, we have enough HS spaces for the current HS students. However, the previous system meant that some students had no 'neighborhood' school (i.e. they fell outside all circles)--clearly a hugely unfair situation.

If instead we look at 'neighborhood school' from the other perspective (which HS is closest to your home), then we will get not circles but uneven puzzle pieces. These can be designed so that every student gets into a HS relatively close to home but it also means that generations who have attended a particular school (e.g. Roosevelt) may not get in, since the Roosevelt puzzle piece may be offset to the north or west or whatever.

To the capacity question--our learning and teaching staff have pointed out that to actually teach effectively to all students it no longer suffices to cram students into neat rows. If you visit schools this fall, you'll see students at tables, with computer work stations, etc. which may take up more space than in bygone eras.

I really find everyone's comments useful and appreciate all the constructive ideas coming forth on this issue. Redesigning the student assignment plan and reference boundaries IMHO is more significant and more difficult even than closing schools.

Brita said...


I should not have said 'previous post' but 'Wendy's post'.

Anonymous said...

NSSP, you asked about how schools had such large capacity decades ago. I believe the answer is correct that split shifts and portables made it possible. I think the SPS archivist is Eleanor Tewes-- I have found her extremely helpful. I'm sure she could clear this up.

NE demographics- the enrollment in NE is rising every year at the elementary level. SPS has a demographer. I have heard that the demographer predicts several hundred more SPS enrolling kindergartners in NE by around 5 years from now. This makes it seem as though it won't be just the popular schools facing capacity issues over the next few years. This matches my personal experience that more young families are moving in as neighbors in NE. It does seem as though the District will need to consider re-purposing Jane Addams.

Anonymous said...

I agree with demographics. Someone earlier posted that we have capacity in the NE at John Rogers and the other schools just have lg wait lists because people from the John Rogers reference area don't want to attend. While in part that is true, each of the other NE cluster schools have been consistently asked to take more kids each year to serve the reference areas and as a result class sizes are increasing. John Rogers has been full as well.

Are they even considering opening a new elementary school (they being the district). I read in the paper several weeks ago that they had marked like 4 elementary schools they had planned to remodel/expand capacity at by 2030 (all North End schools). If that is their plan, I think it needs to be done sooner than 20 years from now.

Anonymous said...

" I do not want my kids freinds to live in QA and S. Seattle"

Would you like to put your children in bubble wrap and prepare for them live in a world of isolation?

Your problem is that you live to far from the school you percieve is your neirborhood school - it isn't, otherwise kids who live on your block would be there now, you live to far away, it is other people's nieghborhood scool - and you refuse any other option, including sending your children to Hale with thier friends.

I see you never answered any questions about Lincoln as an option for you. Is it an option given that even if there is a starit distanced crietria for high schools you will not get into Roosevelt so long as people who live closer perfer it?

To me, you are not talking about lack of capacity, you are demanding one school yet have given no proposal as to how you solve your percieved problem.

Anonymous said...

It is true, the families in the Rogers reference areas often choose other more popular schools in the cluster, but don't generally get it. They get assigned to Rogers. So Rogers does not have any excess capacity, even though it is less desired than the other schools.

NE Seattle does need a new school or added capacity. My kid is at Bryant and they have the larges class sizes that our teacher (18 years) has ever seen. 30 kids in her 3rd grade class.

The Roosevelt and Eckstein issues are just as dire. Something needs to happen, and quickly. I think repurposing Jane Adams as a traditional k-8 would relieve elementary and middle school (Eckstein), but what about Roosevelt?

My though on High school relates to issues with Hale. I have two ideas.

1-Make Hale a bit more traditional. That's not to say "take it over" as the pervious poster mentioned, but the school should respond to what the community wants and needs. Hale is in an area where families need a comprehensive, traditional High school, so they should rise to meet the demands. And if they refuse the district should intervene. The first step would be to add suffiecient AP offerings in traditional stand alone classes.

2- If Hale truly wants to continue it's alternative and anti-AP philosophy, then break hale down into two schools sharing one building. Hale on one side, and a traditional program on the other, perhaps even sharing many classes, resources etc. I truly believe that many that go to hale do not go for the alternative philosophy, but go because it is their only neighborhood option. These folks as well as the families turned away from Roosevelt might be quite happy with an option like this. And it may be a quick fix.

Hale certainly has the space to not only divid, but add several hunderd seats in capacity.

Anonymous said...

Or repurpose Jane adams to a traditional, comprehensive 6-12 program, a model that the gates foundation has been trying to get Seattle to try for years. Much research has been done on the 6-12 model, and how the lack of transition from MS to HS leads to a much lower drop out rate.

Anonymous said...

and since at this point nobody seems to have to go outside of the NE neighborhood for elementary school, it seems reasonable to first focus on middle/High school, and later address elementary issues.

Roy Smith said...

Based on the discussion on this thread, I have come to the following conclusions:

1) No plan is going to please even close to everybody. It is entirely possible that a new plan might not even please a majority. This is particularly true in north Seattle.

2) If the proposed plan comes through more or less as presented, there will be a number of families that live closer to Roosevelt than they do to Hale are going to be upset to find themselves in Hale's reference area. Similarly, there will be families that live closer to Ballard than they do to Ingraham who will be upset to find themselves in Ingraham's reference area. I reached this conclusion simply by comparing school capacities vs. where high school students actually live. The ones near, but north of Ballard may be especially irked to find that while they are not in Ballard's reference area, families in Magnolia, much further away, are.

3) I find it unlikely to expect that Hale will either be designated an alternative school (therefore have no reference area), nor will it be forced to become Roosevelt-lite. One or both of these facts will upset some people.

4) Establishing a baseline course catalog, while perhaps worthwhile on its own merits, will, with very limited exceptions, do nothing to erase either perceived or actual differences in quality. Depending on how it is undertaken, it does have the potential of homogenizing the high schools. To some people increased homogeneity is highly desirable, to some people it would be marching in exactly the wrong direction.

5) The SE initiative will probably be money well spent. Less clear is whether or not it will actually make a significant impact on perceptions of school quality in SE Seattle.

6) Brita has it right when she says that revising the high school assignment plan will be even more difficult than the school closures process was. I hope Tracy Libros has a very thick skin, because at the end of the process, there are going to be people that hate what she has shepherded through. The only open question is which people are going to be the ones that hate the new plan.

Anonymous said...

Why is asking all schools to offer a minimum base line of course offerings "homoginizing" them? I don't see knowing that your child will get a minimum catalog of courses is homogenic. If you want an alternative program, there are plenty of them out there, and most have excess capacity, so you could certainly choose one of them, no?

Roy Smith said...

Why is asking all schools to offer a minimum base line of course offerings "homoginizing" them?

I said it could depending on how it was undertaken, not that it was a sure thing. It depends on how extensive the base line is. If the base line is minimal, then it won't impact the schools much. If the base line is very broad-ranging, then the base line requirements combined with the reality of limited resources may adversely impact the ability of schools to do things their own way.

Anonymous said...

"hale will not likely be re-classified as an alternative school"

This may be so, but if it holds on to it's traditional status, then it better provide a traditional program and traditional offerings, including AP classes, competetive band, etc.

It will HAVE to be a Roosevelt lite if that is what the majority of the community wants and demands. That's the way it goes.

Roy Smith said...

It will HAVE to be a Roosevelt lite if that is what the majority of the community wants and demands. That's the way it goes.

Ask the folks at Madrona if thats the way it goes.

Anonymous said...

Madrona was a different case. The leader, in this case the principal has perpetuated the unwelcoming situation. Basically racism against the rapdly gentrifying community. Eventually Madrona will change principals and slowly but surely it will change to accomodate the needs of the neighborhood families. We've had this conversation before, you can't change my mind, I am totally convinced this will happen.

Eckstein's principal, Marni Campbell will be at the helm of Hale. Eckstein is a middle school version of Roosevelt (IE a roosevelt lite), competetive music program and all. With her leadership and a new baseline of course offerings to include AP, Hale will be more attractive to the traditional families and it will conform like it or not.

Sorry, Roy

Roy Smith said...

No need to apologize. I'm just not at all convinced that change will happen just because of community demand. How long has SE Seattle been demanding a quality high school?

I also don't have an ax to grind either way on whether or not Hale should change. Personally, I would be just fine with having my child attend any one of the north end comprehensive high schools (an attitude that seems to put me in a smallish minority). If Hale becomes more like Roosevelt, that is hardly a disaster. But it is also not a disaster if it stays exactly as it is now.

But, acknowledging that I am in the minority, change or lack thereof at Hale will certainly upset somebody, and very possibly a lot of somebodies.

Anonymous said...


Thank you for commenting on this blog. I wish more school board members would comment here as well.

Anonymous said...

Can we steer this discussion back to the elementary and middle school placement? That's where the District is starting anyway, and the changes there will roll up to changes at the high school level.

Anonymous said...

I'll also take a stab at an elementary baseline. I believe that Madrona does not meet this at the moment, and there are probably others that don't.

Reading, Writing, Math, Science, and Social Studies for every grade, including K.

Remedial classes and/or tutoring for kids who are not working at grade level. Kids who need help should get it, but kids who are working at or above grade level should not be held back.

ALOs. Yes, I beleive that every school should have these. Spectrum and APP could stay separate, but every kid should have the option to take an advanced class if they want to. Mixed-age classrooms might also work, but that's probably a little too alternative.

Arts, including drawing and painting for all kids. Performing arts could be extra-curricular, but there should be at least a school play and some sort of musical recital (even just singing while the teacher plays the piano) at every school.

Foriegn language. Younger kids learn this much more easily than older kids, and it's silly that we wait until middle school to offer it.

PE and Recess. Childhood obesity is on the rise, and poor health will ruin your life even more than flunking the WASL will. Besides, if adults can't sit still until lunch without a break, how can we expect 7-year-olds to do so?

After school care. Could be offsite with transportaion, but it seems a lot more effective and cheaper to have someone monitoring the playground until 6pm.

Free, Full-day K

I'd also like to see universal pre-K for 3 and 4 year olds, but that's a job for the governor and state legislature.

Anonymous said...

"Free, Full-day K" is still in the hands of the state, who has traditonally only funded half day K.

Anonymous said...

FYI- I don't think that they will start at elementary and middle. I think that the District (rightly) gets that high school is the area in which things are most broken.

Honestly, I think that this may be the one thing everyone agrees on, the current plan does not work for SE families who feel like they have no quality nieghborhood options, the plan does not work for Magnolia/QA families who want to be assured access to a school the is near where they live (though I quibble with the idea that the QA families are closer to Ballard than say, Garflied), and it does not work for the parents who live more than 1.7 miles from Roosevelt who feel like Roosevelt is thier nieghborhood school. Is anyone happy with the current system? Given that, I think it is more likely that we will see a high school plan first, then middle and elementary.

Jet City mom said...

To get to Ballard from Queen Anne you can either go down 15th and across Ballard Bridge , or go over to Aurora Bridge

To Garfield from QA you can go from Aurora then up Denny/Mercer to 14th
(PITA depending time of day)
Much easier usually to get to Ballard but 15th is getting much heavier traffic

But anyway- they have to fix the high schools first because kids have been pushed along from grade school to middle, but when they end up in high school their issues can't be ignored anymore.

Example- my daughter was behind grade level in math- in middle school- even though she had resource room to address that( so theoretically that was two hours of math a day) & even though she had never gotten below a B in the class, when she was tested for high school math placement, she tested at two years below grade level.

( She no longer had resource room in high school, but three years later was at grade level in math & passed the math WASL)

That was an extreme example, but deficits in education, has to be made up in high school or we lose our opportunity to help.

Anonymous said...

The #8 bus goes directly from lower Queen Anne to Garfield, and it's not more than a 30 minute trip.

Charlie Mas said...

There was some discussion about what school is someone's "neighborhood" school.

I think about this a lot an the answer varies depending on location.

Type 1. There are a number of people who live very close to one school. For them, that school is their neighborhood school.

Type 2. There are a number of people who live close to two or more schools - my home, for example, is close to Beacon Hill, Kimball, and Maple. I consider them all to be our neighborhood schools. The house happens to be in the Kimball reference area, but that doesn't mean that Beacon Hill and Maple are not neighborhood schools for me.

Type 3. Finally, there are some people who do not live particularly close to any school, but there is one school which is least far from their home. An example of this would be Ballard High School for families in Magnolia. Although the school is not in their neighborhood, it is their neighborhood school because it is the closest to their home.

Ending the list here precludes the possibility of a Type 4 in which a family doesn't have a neighborhood school. The solution, in that case, would be for the District to provide one. We reject the conclusion that there are some people without a neighborhood school. They have one; it just isn't close.

We could argue with folks about what is or isn't their neighborhood school or if they even have one, but I would hope that we would all acknowledge that each of these perspectives is valid.

While some might suggest that it isn't "fair" for Queen Anne and Magnolia families to claim Ballard as their neighborhood high school, they would have to acknowledge that it isn't "fair" that the district didn't provide them with one.

It isn't a consequence of their choice to live where they do; the District owes the citizenry universal service. Post and phone are other examples of universal service. No matter how remote your home, you get your mail and you get phone service. You may be able to think of some exceptions, but let's be real: Magnolia is not all that remote.

So to provide the families of Magnolia and Queen Anne with at least a Type 3 neighborhood school, some of the folks with Type 2 neighborhood schools may be surprised to find themselves in the reference area for one of them when they may have presumed that they would have been in the reference area for the other. They still have more than one neighborhood school, and they knew that they would have to be in the reference area for one of them, but they were surprised by the one it was.

Anyone looking at the whole system, however, would not be surprised. Anyone looking at the whole system would see that stretching the school reference areas around to cover all of the territory pulls the edges off the midpoints between schools.

Let's remember that a reference area is not a mandatory assignment. Let's also remember that you can continue to think of more than one school as your neighborhood school even after you are in the reference area for just one of them.

Let's begin with the premise that everyone has a neighborhood school. We need that premise if we are going to move towards more of a neighborhood school assignment system.

Anonymous said...

Melissa Westbrook said
"I recently read a book by a former admissions officer at Duke. It was quite eye-opening. I'll pass on some of what was said as an early-warning for those of you with students younger than high school age.

This officer had an acronym, BWRK, which means Bright Well-Round Kid. They are a hundred a dozen (as opposed to a dime a dozen). Asian kids with a 4.0? Tons. They like well-rounded kids but are suspicious of multiple leadership roles, athletics, etc. It seems like they want to see a deeper commitment to whatever your child's interests are. Meaning:

-community service? Did your child flit from thing to thing or work at one nursing home for years and create a music program there?
-music? More than one instrument? More than one band? Tutored other students?
-Athletics? Any awards for good sportsmanship? leadership?
-it doesn't have to be traditional stuff. Did they start a company? Or write a letter to a CEO of a company that changed the way they do business? Doorbell an entire region of a city for an environmental initiative?

You get the point. They don't want 20 activities. They want to see some depth of commitment to whatever kids do. They want to see that interest in science go beyond the science fair (unless, of course, it's the Intel Competition). Do your best to help your child expand his or her interest so that they do have something to bring to the table when they apply for college. "

This quoted passage terrifies me.

Whatever my child's interests are? She loves swimming, singing, painting, reading, hiking, dancing, movies, sculpture. Sorry honey, I know you are only 5 but we gotta start thinking about picking one and really focus or you aren't going to college. WHAT????

Are we really expecting kids to decide and focus at a graduate degree level on one thing, maybe two while they are in HS? Can a 13-15 year old really choose an area of focus? Based on what? Isn't childhood (and life for that matter) supposed to be about exploring all sorts of options, experimenting, learning and growing? If you find your passion and love it, great. But are we limited to only one? Also, in this age of change, having a wide variety of knowledge and skills is essential to survive as markets change.

It seems like sometimes SPS HS structure/offerings lean toward supporting the mile deep concept. We have so many alternative schools, which are often mentioned in the context of "if only X school weren't alternative or specialized, we could solve this issue". How did we get so many of these schools? Do we have more than most other SDs around the country?

I realize Melissa was passing along what she had read but holy smokes, its scary if that's the bar kids need to clear to get into college.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Quick comment about the Duke book: this admissions officer was talking about getting into the Ivy League/top end schools like Stanford, Duke. There are many, many fine institutions that exist that may not be "name-brand" but are (and would be) fantastic for your child. I was only trying to help people see that colleges/universities are competitive today and just having a 4.0 isn't likely to get you into a top school.