Disqus

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

New Assignment Plan meeting

There will be a drop-in meeting on the New Assignment Plan from 4-6pm on Wednesday, August 22 at the JSCEE, Room 2772. That's tomorrow for those who read this the day I post it. I can't be there due to work obligations.

Here are some questions that I would love for someone to ask:

1. What are the capacities for the various school buildings? There are numbers in the Facilities Master Plan, but they do not appear reliable. There are other numbers in the CAC reports, but we don't know if they are reliable either. The question appears more straight-forward in elementary schools than at middle and high schools, but even in the elementary schools the answer depends on programmatic decisions.

2. What are the sizes of the various special programs in schools? How big is the biotech program at Ballard? How many students does it take to make a viable Spectrum program in elementary and middle school? How many students are needed to form complete programs of other types? If we are going to set aside seats for these programs, we need to know how many seats to set aside.

3. What are the effective reference areas for each school? For the schools that were oversubscribed, how big was the circle that defined the limit of the distance tie-breaker? This is particularly important for identifying those parts of the district effectively without a reference area school.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

The NY Times today had an article about that state's "most persistently dangerous schools."

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/22/nyregion/22schools.html

Apparently this reporting by states is required by NCLB. Anyone know where the WA state list of "most persistently dangerous schools" can be found? I found some old documents on OSPI's website defining what "persistently dangerous school" means in WA State, but no actual reports.

Roy Smith said...

The definition of a "persistently dangerous school", can be found in this state policy document (dated June 30, 2003), from which I have copied the definition below. I'm not sure what constitutes a "violation of the federal Gun-Free Schools Act", but it seems unlikely to me that any Seattle schools meet these criteria - it would, or at least should, be all over the papers if they were even close.

Definition of a Persistently Dangerous School
A school will be considered “persistently dangerous” if it meets both of the following criteria for three consecutive reporting years:

1. Expulsions for federal Gun-Free Schools Act violations:

School Size / Minimum Number of Expulsions
Up to 1000 students / 2 per year
1001 to 1500 students / 3 per year
1501 to 2000 students / 4 per year
2001 to 2500 students / 5 per year
2501 to 3000 students / 6 per year
3001 to 3500 students / 7 per year
More than 3500 students / 8 per year

2. Expulsions for other violent criminal offenses:
a. For schools with 300 or less enrolled students: three expulsions per reporting year.
b. For larger schools, one expulsion for every 100 enrolled students, or a fraction thereof, per reporting year.

Roy Smith said...

Some more questions (I also can't make the meeting):

1. What are the demographic projections for enrollment 5-10 years from now? What assumptions were used to create those projections? Has the potential for demographic changes resulting from greater enrollment predictability been considered or modelled?

2. Will "right-sizing" of reference areas be a one-time event, or will it occur at regular intervals? If so, how often?

3. If the school enrollment in a reference area unexpectedly increases, and the reference school subsequantly becomes oversubscribed, how will available seats be prioritized? Who will have priority - new students who reside in the reference area or current students who do not reside in the reference area? Will the sibling tie-breaker be retained?

Anonymous said...

Roy -

There are incidences of guns being brought to schools and interpersonal violence in both Seattle and Tacoma (and it does show up all over the paper - for instance the shooting in a Tacoma HS last year, and the Rainier Beach HS rape). I have sent an email to OSPI 's safety center to ask if they have any data.

Perceptions of safety, both within the school and in the surrounding community, play a big role in parent's choice of schools, and I think any data out there should be made available as part of the new assignment planning process.

Anonymous said...

Got a prompt response from the state, pasted below:

As of this writing, no K-12 public schools in Washington State have met the criteria for designation as “persistently dangerous.” We are reviewing all of our school safety data systems, and your feedback is helpful. I will discuss with my associates and see if we can find a way to more clearly indicate the status of schools on this issue. Thank you.

Craig

Craig D. Apperson
Director

Washington State School Safety Center
Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction
P. O. Box 47200
Olympia, WA 98504
Telephone: (360) 725-6044
FAX: (360) 664-3575
E-mail: craig.apperson@k12.wa.us
Web Site: www.k12.wa.us/safetycenter/

Roy Smith said...

school safety said . . . Perceptions of safety, both within the school and in the surrounding community, play a big role in parent's choice of schools, and I think any data out there should be made available as part of the new assignment planning process.

Absolutely true. Every school's annual report can be found in the schools section of the SPS website, and in the annual report for each school is a section about disciplinary actions that reports the numbers of suspensions and expulsions at that school. This data is not broken out by type of offense.

I couldn't find any other data on the SPS website with regards to discipline or physical safety at schools.