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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

New Assignment Plan pushed back

At tonight's Board meeting, the Superintendent told the Board that there isn't enough time to adopt a new assignment plan for 2008-2009 so the new plan won't be implemented until 2009-2010.

In order to implement in 2008-2009, the decisions would have to be made by October. That time pressure is now off. That gives the District a whole additional year to figure it out, but it means a whold additional year of delay for those who were looking forward to benefits from the new plan.

This definitely takes the plan out of this Board's hands and puts it in the hands of the new Board.

34 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great. Magnolia, Queen Anne, Laurelhurst and other outside the concentric circles high schoolers will continue to get screwed for another year. This is Seattle. Let's have a blue ribbon panel discuss it for another year. Meanwhile, more good will is lost.

Anonymous said...

Well, I have to say that I, as Dr Goodloe Johnson, am generally frustrated with the "Seattle Process"

However, in this particular case I think the delay was prudent.

Rushing through the plan might have been beneficial to the Magnolia, Qu Anne and Laurelhurst communities, but what about the families who are now referenced to Aki Kurose, or Rainier Beach HS?

All schools have to be equitable. They must offer a baseline of programs, and some form of advanced learning (AP,IB etc) BEFORE families are referenced to them. In this regard the district has a long way to go.

We have a new Superintendent, and will soon have a new board. I like the idea of the decisions being made by them. After all they will have to deal with any fall out from them.

Anonymous said...

I would agree with comments above from "outside the box".

I am also hoping that the SE Initiative - to help Rainier Beach, Cleveland and Aki Kurose - will go forward despite the rest of the enrollment plan being delayed.

Anonymous said...

SE Intiative is already underway, no delay there.

I am not surprised, there was actually never a statement that this would be done by 08/09, what was said that it would happen no sooner than 08/09.

ALL families should appreciate that a plan that is complete and modeled comes out, rather than one where you think the problem has been addressed but because it was rushed it has inherent errors.

Anonymous said...

http://www.thenewstribune.com/news/local/story/134124.html

According to this article Jennifer Rice, the Fed. Way teacher of kidnapping and molesting a 10 year old child, had a long history of inappropriate behavior. she had been relieved or resigned from 3 schools prior to this one, for her misconduct with students.

What has gone so wrong with our society? Why would we keep re-hiring someone with this type of record?? If it had been a male teacher would we have continued to re-hire him?

Roy Smith said...

Instead of trying to tackle all of the interlocking equity and access issues with one huge, complex, and potentially revolutionary overhaul of the system, why hasn't the approach of making smaller changes to fix specific problems been considered?

The fact that the SE initiative will continue is a good example of selecting a specific problem and focusing specific solutions at it. Why not also take a piece of the proposed framework and develop a plan to implement on the original schedule, with the understanding that other pieces of the proposed framework will be addressed next year.

As others have pointed out, the problems at the elementary level do not seem to be as intractable as problems at the middle school or high school level, so it makes sense to me that the elementary portion of the framework could be fleshed out and implemented on the original schedule, leaving the middle school and high school pieces for next year. Is this reasonable, or is it too ambitious?

Making all the changes all at once to try to fix all the problems (whether this year or next year) seems to me to be a good way to create lots of unintended consequences, and we might find that the improvements are not what we had hoped for.

Anonymous said...

Also heard from district staff (not at the meeting but in more than one conversation) that the idea of more closures is off the board in conjunction with the new assignment plan. political quagmire and no staff will to retackle the issue. there will be a number of therefores from this...such as Montlake closure not happening in CD cluster, despite what Charlie has argued. And I, for one, am glad.

Melissa Westbrook said...

As a member of the CAC, I was mystified why the Superintendent tried to close more schools on his own (and you see how that worked out). There shouldn't be any more schools closed until we see the effects of the initial closures (is it pushing more resources to fewer schools, are consolidated schools doing better, etc.) AND see how any changes to the assignment plan work.

Too many changes too fast just cause confusion and unhappiness and don't give the district any clear information on how to proceed.

Charlie Mas said...

Something that outside the box has written on the
Waitlists
thread is, I think, applicable here.

I hope I have the idea right and don't damaged it too much in the compression.

There are a few discrete neighborhoods which are poorly served by the current student assignment plan. These neighborhoods - at various school levels - do not have reliable access to a neighborhood school.

In addition, there are some severe inequties between specific schools at all school levels. These inequities don't need a new assignment plan so much as they need a new equity plan.

In each case, the current system works well enough for the bulk of the students. The trouble spots are just that: spots.

Consequently, we may not need an all new student assignment plan from the ground up. We may only need to tinker with our current plan a bit. In addition, the equity issues will not be solved by a change in assignment and we have no reason to delay that work for anything.

So maybe a few high priority decisions really could be done by October and ready for implementation in 2008-2009. And maybe we will find that we don't need much more than that.

Here is my list of quick solutions for ready implementation in 2008-2009:

A serious re-invention of Hale in which it grows to become everything it is now for those who want it to be what it is now PLUS the addition of high-end rigor that Hale needs to become for other students.

A serious re-invention of Rainier Beach with a newly instilled culture of achievement and high expectations for all students and teachers.

The addition of a comprehensive college prep program at Cleveland.

The re-opening of Lincoln High School as a 1200 seat comprehensive high school including the new home of high school APP. If it isn't too much all at once, the night school and the Secondary B.O.C. could also be co-located at Lincoln in 2008-2009.

If we can step into Lincoln year by year (which I'm not sure we can), then Hamilton can also be in the building for the next two years as the Lincoln High School program has only grades 9 and 10.

-- The Lincoln thing would be big because it will address the need for additional high school capacity in that part of the district AND it would free up 400 seats at Garfield for those who aren't ready to immediately accept the changes at Beach and Cleveland --

The programs at John Marshall could be moved to M L King, and Summit could move to John Marshall in time for 2008-2009.

John Rogers could move into the Jane Addams building and commit to expanding to K-8 in 2008-2009. Altenatively, Rogers could stay right where it is and Jane Addams could be restored as a 6-8 middle school. This would take some pressure off Eckstein.

To take pressure off Washington and to bolster Meany, the Spectrum program could move from one to the other. This might only be a temporary fix. A long-term solution will probably require a re-configuration of APP. One alternative quick fix would be to put APP and Specturm (for all of south Seattle) at Meany along with self-contained SPED and bilingual and to put all of the neighborhood kids at Washington.

If that happened, a lot of Southeast Region students who were expecting to go to Meany might have to find new seats. The District needs more there anyway. ORCA, The New School, and the AAA will all be K-8s, but it won't be enough. A better solution might be to move the AAA to TT Minor, move the New School to the AAA, and turn Southshore back into a middle School. Maybe they could call it Sharples. I don't think this could be done in time for 2008-2009, but either some other quick fix could be found or it could wait a year for the complete revision.

There is a possible solution for the elementary trouble spot that I know about.

It would be controversial to re-identify TOPS as a traditional neighborhood school but no more or less so if it were done this year instead of next year. Of course the students there would be allowed to finish there. Sibling preference would continue as well. Transportation, however, would phase out.

The other solution involves reconfiguring APP and re-purposing Lowell as a neighborhood school. It isn't reallyu available for implementation as soon as 2008-2009.

If these high priority issues (and maybe a couple others) were addressed by the end of this year for implementation in 2008-2009, the new assignment plan would be much less urgent and could wait for a 2009-2010 implementation.

Roy Smith said...

Charlie, you present an intriguing list of ideas.

I like your idea for Hale, but it would require an extremely talented leader to pull it off. The challenge is making it satisfy both those who like Hale as it is now, and those who want Hale to be more like Roosevelt. I'm not saying it can't be done, just that it will be very challenging.

I agree completely with your ideas for Cleveland and Rainier Beach.

With regards to Lincoln, since the real problem that should be addressed is the lack of a comprehensive high school to serve the Magnolia/Queen Anne/Belltown, I think putting a new high school in Lincoln should be regarded as a transitional step. Having a high school fill the "neighborhood high school" role without actually being in the neighborhood is simply a setup for further conflicts of the same flavor as we currently have over Ballard. If Lincoln is not seen as being as good as Ballard, then QA/Magnolia families will feel that they are being offered the scraps (much like they do with Ingraham now). If Lincoln is seen as being high quality, then it is quite possible that it will at some point be overwhelmed with students, thereby shutting out with QA/Magnolia families (for whom it is supposed to be serving) or shutting out families that can legitimately say they live in the neighborhood. For the long term (5-10 years, because it can't realistically be done faster), siting a comprehensive high school somewhere in Queen Anne, Magnolia, or Interbay is something that should be done.

Moving John Marshall programs to MLK makes sense.

Moving Summit to John Marshall makes sense, provided that the John Marshall building is large enough (which I think it is).

I find neighborhood K-8s problematic, and would rather that we fix the problem (middle schools that families are scared of) rather than create escape hatches (neighborhood K-8s) which may create as many problems as we solve. Therefore, I think we should leave John Rogers where it is and make Jane Addams a middle school.

- It's worth noting that there is an even larger area of north Seattle (with more students) that is not effectively served by a neighborhood middle schol than the QA/Magnolia area that does not have a neighborhood high school. I'm not sure why parents in this area haven't been as vocal about the deficiency, but it is most definitely there.

Anonymous said...

Charlie, I couldn't have said it better.

This is exactly what the district should focus on. The few spots/schools/neighborhoods that are not working due to lack of access or lack of equitable programs.

I think Charlie's list is a good one.

Hale should either become more of a rigorous, comprehensive high school offering AP courses to compete with Roosevelt, or, officially declare themselves an alternative school. If the latter ever happened (which I can't see the district buying), the district would have to provide another comprehensive HS for NE Seattle.

The SE initiative is a good start in addressing under performing schools, and I commend the district for finally tackling the issue head on. I will be very anxious to see the progress and outcome of the initiative. As I said this is a good START. In my opinion EVERY under-performing school in the city should be evaluated and have district level intervention, with a comprehensive, aggressive and swift transformation plan.

All High schools should offer comprehensive college prep programs. Period.

All middle schools should have some form of advanced learning, preferably a self elected, honors type program.

In my opinion the NE cluster does not need a K-8 program. They (we) need a comprehensive middle school that can compete with 1250 kid, very over crowded Eckstein. If a k-8 was still needed, in lieu of loosing the alternative Summit k-12 program (by using Jane Adams for a comprehensive MS) I would make AEII a K-8. They have asked for this expansion for years, and have one of the largest sites of any school in the district, so it is definitely feasible logistically. John Rogers, though not as popular as other schools in the cluster, is a larger elementary school, and always fills and has a wait list. It should remain as is.

I just don't know enough about the other parts of our city to comment, especially the Montlake/Stevens issue and the APP reconfiguration, but it sounds like What Charlie proposes sounds reasonable, and Lincoln certainly seems like a viable option. Why didn't the district think about that???

I know I am ambitions, and may be just dreaming, but everything that I mention seems logical and practical. It also seems achievable with a small amount of cohesive effort. Maybe Dr. Goodloe-Johnson will light some fires, and get things moving in the right direction. One can only hope.

Anonymous said...

Roy,

I see your point in your previous posting..

"With regards to Lincoln, since the real problem that should be addressed is the lack of a comprehensive high school to serve the Magnolia/Queen Anne/Belltown,"

I think you are right on target with your projections, and I can see that scenario playing out almost to an exact.

I also think neighborhood K-8's are problematic They should be left to the alternative schools that truly value and desire them. K-8's are typically too small to offer the comprehensive programs that a 6-8, larger, MS can offer. They lack things like a wide variety of electives, sports programs, science labs, great band programs, honors classes, etc. They just don't have enough students to make them happen.

Just for curiosity, what part of North Seattle does not have access to a middle school? North Seattle has Whitman, Eckstein, and Hamilton, AS1, Summit, and Salmon Bay.

WenG said...

Charlie: I agree. The task isn't as daunting as it's made out to be. Just focus on the pockets that need help the most.

I agree about RBHS and Hale. I think these things can be done and should be done quickly. I don't see a disconnect in having an alterna program and say, an IB program in the same building. (I realize some will argue that Garfield as a school within a school is rife with inequity, but I don't think it has to be that way, not at any school.)

It's time RBHS received support in becoming the best HS in the south end.

Making AEII (or Thornton Creek, I just found out) a K-8 is an excellent idea, and I think there's a base of support for doing so. They have room to expand, and given their focus on expeditionary learning, it makes sense to grow into a K-8. That way, you don't have to interrupt the momentum of what kid's are learning by uprooting them for MS, especially if there's no guarantee that they'll get into the MS they prefer, which for a lot of AEII families is Salmon Bay.

Growing AE II could also solve some of the crowding at Eckstein. AEII is alternative but just as focused on high achievement as other ES and MS schools. In my experience, they pursue these goals in a different way. To that end, and at the risk of offending Summit defenders, I think that moving Summit to a smaller venue opens up Addams to be another MS that can easily feed into the new Hale. Think of the options right across the road: alterna or as rigorous as you want to be, all with beautiful sport fields and the ability to share facilities as needed or desired, which would maximize the potential of each site. Plus, it's an address that's well-supported by Metro.

Charlie Mas said...

I had a different sort of Vision for the new Lincoln High School.

I saw it as a neighborhood high school recruiting mostly students from Wallingford, Phinney, Freemont, Queen Anne, Eastlake, and Montlake. It wouldn't replace the interest that Magnolia families have in Ballard or the interest that Laurelhurst and Viewridge families have in Roosevelt, but it would allow the reference areas for those schools to extend in those directions and allow those families to gain that access.

The academic quality of the new Lincoln would be assured by the presence of the high school APP students. I don't think we will have to work hard to sell that.

I expect a lot of Hamilton students to graduate to Lincoln, so the new Lincoln is likely to have an international focus. All the more reason for the Secondary B.O.C. to be there.

So Magnolia and West Queen Anne families would still expect to sent their children to Ballard, only now they would get in because Phinney and Wallingford families would be sending their chidren to Lincoln. Imagine if Ballard didn't recruit students from southeast of 3rd and Market.

Laurelhurst and Viewridge families would still expect to send their children to Roosevelt, only now they would get in because Wallingford and Tangletown families would be sending their children to Lincoln. Imagine if Roosevelt didn't recruit students from southwest of the freeway and 60th.

There really isn't that much pressure that needs to be relieved. 800 students would do it, no problem.

Roy Smith said...

Just for curiosity, what part of North Seattle does not have access to a middle school? North Seattle has Whitman, Eckstein, and Hamilton, AS1, Summit, and Salmon Bay.

Specifically for comprehensive middle schools, families that live near the northern edge of the district (Lake City area particularly) don't live anywhere near close to any comprehensive, as AS#1, Summit and Salmon Bay are all alternative schools.

All areas have access to comprehensive middle schools, but it is hard to argue that areas such as Lake City or the neighborhood north of Northgate Mall actually have a traditional neighborhood middle school.

In my neighborhood specifically (Northgate Elementary reference area), the reference middle schools are Whitman (just over 3 miles away) and McClure (in Queen Anne). Eckstein (which is not a reference middle school for this area) is also over 3 miles away. For comparison, almost all of Queen Anne and Magnolia is less than 3 miles from Ballard High School.

Charlie Mas said...

The capacity of Decatur, the home to AE#2, is listed in the Facilities Master Plan as 243, 262 with portables. The planning capacity cited on the CAC web site, however is 355. There is an absolutely huge amount of open space there, 9.92 acres.

The current enrollment there is 296.

The building's educational adequacy was rated a 3.7 by MENG. That's pretty darn bad. There are not a lot of schools with lower scores.

A case could certainly be made for renovating - or even putting up completely new construction - AE#2 as a K-8 at the Decatur site.

Roy Smith said...

Charlie, the problem I see with Lincoln is that you are counting on the quality (and equally, or perhaps more importantly, the public perception of quality) to remain high and relatively equal between Ballard, Lincoln, and Roosevelt. It is an admirable goal, and we should certainly try to make that happen, but it is not so clear that it will be successful over the long term.

Look at Hale and Franklin. Not very many years ago, these schools were both highly regarded, but now, not so much. (And its not even clear that either of them deserves their current unpopularity, at least not to the extent they are suffering for it.) On the flipside, Garfield is much more highly regarded and in demand than it has been at points in its past. The demand for seats at Garfield and Roosevelt is driven, at least in part, by the fact that Hale and Franklin have fallen out of favor.

So what happens when either Ballard or Lincoln (or possibly even Roosevelt) falls out of favor with families? At that point either Lincoln or Ballard will be oversubscribed, and the competition for seats between Magnolia and Queen Anne (who have no neighborhood high school) and the local neighborhood will create conflicts similar to the ones we are experiencing now with Ballard.

The existing high schools north of the ship canal basically have enough capacity to serve students north of the ship canal. Since that is the case, I think that we need to focus on adding capacity south of the ship canal and/or making existing capacity south of the ship canal attractive enough that people don't feel compelled to fight over north end capacity.

One way Lincoln could be made to work as a permanent solution without setting ourselves up for this sort of conflict would be to mostly eliminate choice, and mandate that, with the exceptions of magnet programs (APP, IB, some of the academies such as Biotech at Ballard, possibly some music or arts programs), all students will attend their reference high school. Then, all the district has to do to control student populations is make sure the reference areas are appropriately right-sized. I doubt that would be a popular course of action, however.

Anonymous said...

Roy, you are right, the areas close to Lake City and up to 145th (Shoreline border), have no neighborhood MS. You have a tough time getting into Eckstein if you live further north than 145th. That leaves Hamilton, which is a reference school, but certainly not a neighborhood school. The only other option is Whitman, which is not a reference school for this area, which means no transportation. given the distance I suspect nobody wants to drive their kids to/from Blue Ridge every day. I suspect the reason that you don't hear much from this community is because the Lake City, cedar Park neighborhoods are not very affluent. In fact it is a very modest area, with a lot of apartments and a fair share of transient families.

As for Decatur, they have fought for a rebuild and expansion for years. They are a successful and popular school, and get a WL at every grade. they also get average to high test scores, and are the only expeditionary school in the district. They have the space and desire, and the district needs MS capacity. It seems like a no brainer to me. In addition, their graduates seek continuity and thus they get an assignment preference to Salmon Bay in BALLARD!!! It costs a lot to ship kids from NE Seattle to Ballard, and it's not healthy to have kids sitting on a bus for an hour each way.

Anonymous said...

Oops in my above post, I said "you have a tough time getting into Eckstein if you live further north than 145th" I meant to type 105th. Sorry.

Also, Charlie, I like your idea of how Lincoln would be a neighborhood draw, and thus relieve Ballard and Roosevelt so more neighborhood families would have access. It makes 100% sense.

WenG said...

Charlie: When was the MENG analysis done that you refer to re: AEII? I'd like to see the entire report if you can post a link, please.

Anonymous said...

The success of a high school at Lincoln drawing from the affluent and low F&RL neighborhoods of QA, Magnolia, Phinney, Eastlake and Montake would be assured without the APP cohort. Why ruin Garfield and the success it has in making a high quality program, complete with college prep and support available to historically underserved communities, by pulling out the APP preference and all the honors and AP classes and myriad of oppotunities that come with the demand created by the sheer numbers in the cohort? Many families leave private middle school for Garfield because of the rigorous academic program, and many families stay in public because Garfield compares favorably to the private high schools. Having the APP cohort located in the central district for high school creates a diverse community - academically, socially, economically - that we are in danger of losing if assignment plan is going to move the most academically gifted and predominantly white students north of the Montlake Cut for high school. The new assignment plan will already resegregate the city if the push for neighborhood schools continues. A new problem would be created, potentially much more serious, by solving the QA/Magnolia high school dilemma at the expense of the central district and south east. Moving what makes Garfield a desireable program, and the only desireable high school program south of the cut, to the north end would be a big move backwards.

From the maps I have read, there are many, many students from southeast Seattle who jump over Ranier Beach, Cleveland and Franklin to attend Garfield. Wouldn't it be far better and more equitable to focus on improving the schools in the southeast rather than adding one more school, Garfield, to their ranks?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Lots of great ideas and discussion here.

There has been a lot of building renovation in the district, more to the south than the north. So I had expected, among other reasons, to see more to the north in BEX III. Maybe an elementary like AE II or Rodgers (Rodgers was on one preliminary list and I've seen Facilities assumptions that AE II could expand, at least for the time being, with portables. It interests me that others are thinking along these lines.

I love Charlie's tenacity. Garfield has another year at Lincoln, followed by Hamilton for 2 years, followed by Hale and then maybe, Ingraham. However, the district could change its mind and repurpose Lincoln and make Wilson-Pacific its interim. Stranger things have happened.

Good luck with that TOPS thing. It got a lot of outrage and anger when the CAC suggested moving it (both to help Eastlake have a reference school and draw back the many private school parents in that region). At least half of TOPS population comes from below the ship canal so it made sense at the time. But the building was developed for TOPS and they would be very unhappy to leave. Lowell is not in a good location to solve the Eastlake problem.

What is important to remember (whether you personally want to to or not) is that senior staff and the Board have to take a DISTRICT-wide view. Everything ripples in all directions and things that you think couldn't affect the north end do because something in the south changes (and vice versa)do affect it. The district has to take that into consideration in their decision-making.

Charlie Mas said...

When I suggested Lincoln as a comprehensive neighborhood high school, I did it in the context of reference area high schools added to the assignment plan. So, if tastes change and Ballard, Lincoln, or Roosevelt ever fell out of favor, it wouldn't necessarily change the draw pattern. In this context, Magnolia would be part of Ballard's reference area and most of Queen Anne would be part of Lincoln's reference area. While these schools are not in their neighborhood, they would be their "neighborhood" high schools. It wouldn't be necessary to eliminate choice any more than the reference area plan was going to do anyway.

roy smith writes: "The existing high schools north of the ship canal basically have enough capacity to serve students north of the ship canal."

I'm not convinced that's the case. First of all, I make the division north and south of the Ship Canal on the east side of Lake Union and north and south of downtown on the west side of Lake Union, so Queen Anne and Magnolia are in the north. It's a transportation thing. The Canal isn't as great a transportation barrier as downtown proves to be. Which is easier to cross?

Second, by my reckoning, using the capacities in the Facilities Master Plan, there are NOT enough seats in the North. Enough meaning enough to assure each student of a seat at a specific traditional comprehensive school and to set aside 10% of the seats at each school for out-of-area students for choice.

There are a lot of numbers swirling around, not all of them accurate. The FMP lists the capacity for Ballard as 1554 while the enrollment is 1700. Plus there are a lot of interpretations available, so I couldn't say with any certainty that anyone is right about any of it. In either case, moving 400 students from south of the Ship Canal to north of the Ship Canal would address any need for seats in the south.

anonymous at 5:54 has raised a grave concern: if APP leaves Garfield, would that ruin the school?

I think this perfectly demonstrates the ambivalence people have for APP and Spectrum. People like to complain about "that little White college upstairs" or "the private school within a public school" when resources are being allocated, but if there is any talk of the program leaving, then we hear concern that the school will be ruined.

I recognize that may not have been kind or fair. Sometimes I just get sick of it. I know that the people who say the first of those things are not the same people who say the other, and these quotes clearly represent extreme views. Just the same, we need to treat APP and Spectrum just as we would treat any other Special Needs program in a school. The school should adequately provide for it - not starve it - and should integrate it into the community but shouldn't be dependent on it. Could you imagine this kind of strum und drang over the bilingual students at Washington or the students at Garfield with IEPs?

We have seen schools wrap themselves in programs, and it leads to weird situations. It seemed to me that Viewlands Elementary practically based its entire opposition to closure on twelve students in the autism inclusion program. 12 students! If you knew the times that people have brushed me off by saying "APP is only 1300 students", and then we were all supposed to move the world for the transcient benefit it would afford 12!

The question is this: what should drive program placement? Should a Spectrum program be placed in a school to help prop it up? I don't think so. Has it ever worked? Should students have to travel for their program because the principal at their neighborhood school doesn't want the program? I don't think so.

The Board is moving towards a Program Placement Policy, and in the early draft it is about how the placement will serve the students in the program - creating a beneficial effect on the school is not a criteria. Contact the Student Learning Committee if you think this criteria should be added. One of the criteria may prove to be that the placement should be close to the students' homes. The center of gravity for APP students is closer to Lincoln than Garfield.

Does anonymous, or anyone else, truly believe that Garfield needs APP to be successful? Is APP what makes Garfield a desirable program? Desirable for whom? Successful for whom?

If APP proves a draw for private school families, then wouldn't it still prove to be a draw at Lincoln? Would it not prove to be a greater draw for affluent families anxious about sending their children to 23rd and Cherry?

Does APP create a diverse campus at Garfield? It seems to me that we had some numbers on this in a recent thread. Without APP, Garfield goes from about 44% White to about 35% White. That thread also featured this from an anonymous writer:
"No matter how many feel good articles there are, Garfield is segregated because of the APP program."

I think we all believe in improving the schools in the South and Southeast. Does having APP at Garfield solve the school's problems or mask them?

Here's a puzzler: What would happen to Garfield's instrumental music program if APP were re-located? Did you know that the bulk of the students in the Washington instrumental music program are APP students? Is that also true at Garfield?

weng asked. The MENG reports are on the District web site on the CAC pages. These pages have become a little hard to find, along with the CACIEE pages. Look for links to them near the bottom of the "About Us" page.

Anonymous said...

Charlie asks "The question is this: what should drive program placement?"

In my opinion these should be the four main criteria.

Supply and demand: Enough desire and kids to make the program successful.

Equity: evenly distributed programs throughout the city, or at minimum same access to S end as N end.

Right size program to building and access to transportation.

Other less concrete considerations: The affect the addition or removal of a program would have on the community.

Charlie asks "Does anonymous, or anyone else, truly believe that Garfield needs APP to be successful?"

Yes, I think they do. I think APP supports the rigor that has come to be expected at Garfield. Would Garfield be the competetive, strong program that it is if APP were not there? Was it strong before APP was there? Will the Garfield families fight to continue to have strong programs at Garfield after APP is gone? What about the fund raising that all of the affluent families contribute to the school? What will happen to Garfield with the loss of those dollars? Up until this point it has been the APP families that demand and support the rigor, the AP classes, etc.

Now, that's not to say that APP owes Garfield anything. They clearly don't. APP should not be bound to that building for any reason. However, there is no doubt in my mind that it will have a huge affect on the Garfield community.

Lastly, Charlie asks "If APP proves a draw for private school families, then wouldn't it still prove to be a draw at Lincoln?"

Of course it would. Lincoln would be a very strong, popular program. However, the more affluent North end has a history of strong schools. Roosevelt, Ballard, Hale, and now Ingraham with it's IB program. The south end by comparison does not have any, EXCEPT Garfield. I think that's what the previous poster was saying. It would unbalance things between the north and south even more.

That being said, I do think that it would be appropriate to have an APP site in both the north and south end. I just don't know enough about the numbers to make any suggestions as to how that would work. Charlie, are there enough students in the Garfield APP program to split between two campus, Garfeld and Lincoln?? Are there enough north end families to warrant a spit??
I am a huge advocate of NOT busing kids all over the city, and keeping them as close to home as possible.

Anonymous said...

Last question for Charlie:

Do you have some stats on where families are coming from to attned Garfield APP? Percentage from the north vs south?

Roy Smith said...

charlie mas said . . . First of all, I make the division north and south of the Ship Canal on the east side of Lake Union and north and south of downtown on the west side of Lake Union, so Queen Anne and Magnolia are in the north.

Weren't you taking somebody to task in a recent thread for using one concept to express a different concept?

We're using different definitions for what is "north of the ship canal". Queen Anne and Magnolia are south of the ship canal, in my definition.

The issue, for me, is not whether the ship canal is a barrier to transportation (you're right, it isn't really), but whether a school is perceived as belonging to a neighborhood. For better or worse, a high school in Wallingford (Lincoln) will be perceived as belonging first to Wallingford, and only secondarily (if even that) to Queen Anne.

No matter where the lines are drawn, if the high schools at some point have very unequal popularity, then there will be pressure to change where the reference areas to conform to "common sense" - i.e., high schools serve their neighborhoods first and then others if there is space, and this pressure will always work against Queen Anne and Magnolia, thus leaving them perpetually in conflict with neighborhoods north of the ship canal (my definition of north).

Anonymous said...

Isn't the demographics of Wallingford and Queen Anne pretty comparable? If I live in Laurelhurst I don't expect Laurelhurst High School, I go to a school in Ravenna/Roosevelt. I don't get upset because the school is Ravenna's school. I don't buy that the school has to be in Queen Anne to be their neighborhood school. Is it a distance thing? What would be the distance from Central Queen Anne to Lincoln versus Garfield and Ballard?

Anonymous said...

I agree with the above poster.

We only have 10 or so comprehensive HS's in the entire city, so not everybody is going to have a HS right in their backyard. When you live in a demographically challenged neighborhood you may have to travel a bit to get to your "neighborhood" school. Every area deserves and is entitled to a neighborhood school, however it may not always be in your neighborhood. That would be logistically impossible. I think, with few exceptions, most families reference school will be the closest school to their home, but there are always the exceptions.

I think the problem and major complaint has been when a neighborhood has no reference school, such as the case is now for Queen Anne/Magnolia for HS, Laurelhurst and Lake City for MS, and Eastlake for EM.

Charlie Mas said...

The number of APP high school students and the locations of their homes is available on the District web site in the maps and data section of the new assignment plan pages.

There are 205 APP high school students who live closest to the four high schools north of the Ship Canal. This includes some students who live south of the Ship Canal, primarily in Queen Anne and Magnolia who live closest to Ballard. This is part of what confuses the line on North/South splits.

There are 193 APP high school students who live closest to the six high schools south of the Ship Canal.

There is no way that a 200-student APP cohort at Garfield could support the variety of AP classes now available there. The number of them would, of course, be diminished as well. If we presume an even distribution, then only half of the students are in grades 11 and 12 and therefore taking AP classes. How many different AP classes can 100 kids create the demand for? How few kids will the school create a class for?

The more non-APP students take AP classes, the easier it would be for Garfield to maintain the variety with half as many APP students.

And which north-end school - if not Lincoln - is ready to take 200 APP students? Ballard and Roosevelt don't have the room, Hale doesn't have an educational philosophy consistent with the program. Would it be Ingraham? Does the school offer many advanced classes outside of IB?

Melissa Westbrook said...

I would concur with Charlie on the issue of AP classes. Hale had been claiming that they had too few kids for some of their AP while meanwhile, they had kids clamoring to get into AP US History, had 2 teachers who could teach it and ended up doing an application system for 1 class section. It was terrible. If you don't have a critical mass of kids for these classes, schools feel they have better things to do. It's better and cheaper to have many at fewer schools than 2-3 at each school (but every high school should have at least 2-3 or pay the on-line costs for students at those schools who want to take them).

Charlie Mas said...

In the end, whether it will be good for Garfield or not, APP is likely to move. I don't know if keeping half of the students will help, but the fact remains that there is no place in the north of the district to put them unless the District reopens Lincoln.

I can also tell you that the APP community will advocate STRONGLY for the cohort to be kept together. Let's face it, at high school the cohort is the program. Yes, Garfield has, under the current principal, started to actually address the fact that APP is there and create some curriculum for those students, but it ain't exactly carved in stone.

There is a very serious question about how the loss of these 400 students would impact Garfield. Surely it would be more than 400 because there are students who are at Garfield largely due to the presence of the APP students there. Those students would also be lost.

Garfield's academic reputation is a direct result of APP students in the school. The music program there is also dependent on APP to a significant degree. But the honors for the school are not as important as the work it does for the students.

Garfield's academic effectiveness cannot be predicated on APP. If the presence of the APP students is masking problems at Garfield, those problems need to be addressed - whether APP is there or not.

I understand the concern that without APP at Garfield there is no academically challenging high school anywhere in south Seattle. I think that fear discounts and disrespects Franklin and Sealth, but hear where it is coming from. The solution is not to add it on to a school but to build it into a school.

I know that the Southeast Initiative is supposed to address this concern, but I'm already worried that people don't get it. They don't the purpose of the Southeast Initiative. It is to pay for advanced classes even if only a few students are in them. The extra money is so the schools can offer the full range of academic opportunity - including the advanced end - even if it would not normally be cost effective to do so.

Maybe the Southeast Initiative will work and these schools will build, within themselves and their communities, the resources to offer challenging college prep classes. That would be best. That would be better than their continued dependence on carpet-bagger students imported to raise the test scores and win music prizes.

The situation at Washington is exactly the same. The principal at Washington says that his school is overcrowded, that about 200 have to go and he wants it to be half of APP. He wants to keep half of APP for the test scores, the award-winning music program, and the money they raise. He doesn't want them to go because without APP and Spectrum, Washington is not much different from Meany. The general education students at Washington are fairing only a little better than those at Meany on test scores and very few of them are in the music program.

Washington, however, continues to have a stellar reputation based on the achievements of the APP students there.

So, while I recognize that the removal of APP would completely alter Garfield, particularly the school's academic reputation and music program, I think our focus should not be on those things but on what Garfield does for the students there. Whether some other students are sitting in another classroom down the hall or not, what is happening in classrooms of the general education students at Garfield?

Frankly, if the presence of the APP students is masking problems that are not being addressed, then perhaps it is best that they be relocated.

Anonymous said...

This may require a different thread, but it is so interesting to me that so many people seem to have adopted the idea that Eastlake doesn't have a neighborhood school. The fact is that a significant number of reference area kids were only waitlisted in one year between 2001 and 2004 (the most recent data available). It is true that in 2002, 24 reference area kids were on the Oct waitlist, but in the other years the numbers were 0, 0, and 1. Contrast that with Bryant: 48, 46, 51, 0 or Whittier: 24, 28, 34, 49.

I have been told that Stevens has a bubble class every six years. I wouldn't be surprised if the bubble "echo" (i.e. younger sibs) wasn't part of the problem. Does anyone know what years the bubble classes entered Stevens?

I have also been told that a significant number of kids leave Montlake for private or Lowell in the upper grades and that their spots are filled by nonreference kids whose siblings then have priority for K. Couldn't leaving some upper grade spots empty be part of the solution?

Anonymous said...

There was a kindergarten bubble class at Stevens in the 2000/2001 school year.

My child goes to Bryant, and I just wanted to mention to Maureen that Bryant is able to take all of the kids in their reference area. The kids on the WL are not in the Bryant reference area, though many live in the cluster.

Anonymous said...

outside the box caught an error I made: I was reporting TOTAL Oct waitlists for all of the schools. The correct numbers are: Montlake 2001-2004 REFERENCE area students on Oct waitlist: 0, 8, 0, 0.

Bryant 2001-2004 REFERENCE area students on Oct waitlist: 28, 26, 29, 0. (Bryant's numbers are for full day K, half day didn't have a waitlist).

Whittier: 4, 13, 3, 0

This is based on SPS Enrollment Planning Data that was available during the assignment plan debates about two years ago (the table is called "Table 1 - Seattle Public Schools Kindergarten (year) On-time Assignments and Waitlists." I can't find it on the web site anymore--I have hard copies.)

Is it possible that Bryant covers its reference area kids by assigning them to the half day kindergarten? Also, this data is from several years ago--Bryant may have covered its reference area in 05 and 06 like in 04.


I think that the Stevens bubble did have an impact at Montlake. In another analysis I did, the mode sibling difference was two years. I need to think more about how reduced availability at Stevens would create more demand for Montlake by reference families. Do many people from Montlake/Eastlake usually chose Stevens over Montlake and know not to bother two years after a bubble class? (Of course, eight is a fairly small number, so it could just have been a demographic blip.)