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Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Open Thread

We hadn't had an open thread in awhile to talk about any burning issues in your head.

How was Open House/Curriculum Night at your school? (Roosevelt's is Thursday.)

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

How come Hale (small school) has so much space to take South Seattle kids into their program, and Roosevelt (much larger school) just two miles away does not?

Why is Hale so under enrolled, while Roosevelt is so over enrolled?

I don't ever hear people talk about how under enrolled Hale is, because they make up their under enrollment by taking South Seattle kids to fill their spots, and thus "fill up". But they are really under enrolled. Not able to attract enough neighborhood kids to their program, while Roosevelt has a 400 kids wait list.

What is the big difference between the two schools? Why are NE families not choosing Hale?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Well, you might call it differences.

1) Hale is deliberately small by design (about 1100). Roosevelt was built for 1600 has 1738 and is likely to hold at about 1700. Hale will be unlikely to be able to stay at 1100 because of the change in enrollment plan (probably for 2009-2010) and the fact that the district is not going to build them a new building that seats just 1100. They will probably have to grow to 1400-1500.

2)They have differences in programs. Hale has a FM radio station which is unique to most high schools in the country. It has been voted the top high school station at least once by the Village Voice. Hale has a Horticulture program. Hale has a mentorship program where a teacher meets with students and talks about issues that students are concerned about as well as has book chats.

Hale like many high schools has waxed and waned. It used to have a top band program in the '70s. It really came to life several years ago under the leadership of a great principal. The staff and teachers made the decision, about 6 years ago, to phase out separate Honors and AP classes (most of them). This was not decided on by parents or students. Hale believes through differentiated curriculum they can deliver what each student needs whether they are pursuing AP/Honors or not. Hale has a brand-new auditorium and has stepped up its drama program.

Roosevelt has been a consistently large school (I was told 2600 at one point) and consistently popular school. Drama has always been a key program and is today. It is not just doing musicals and plays; they have a full curriculum for it. Roosevelt has a great music program; both Orchestra, Band and Jazz Band (nationally ranked). Roosevelt has the greatest number of AP courses after Garfield although the LA department doesn't teach any AP. Roosevelt has a program for deaf students. Roosevelt is one of the few high schools to offer Latin.

I can't speak to the enrollment at Hale in terms of where people people come from. I know that Hale has lost some of its luster in the last couple of years. I could speculate why but Hale has decided to go its own way and perhaps parents didn't like it. I didn't care for its past principal but they now have a new principal.

I also think that, once again, people get a firm lock in their heads about a school and refuse to listen to others. Or refuse to visit it. Roosevelt has a very long tradition of alums sending their students there and probably has a greater loyalty and student base because of that.

Jet City mom said...

Open House?

Well- the auditorium was packed! Great turnout which was fun- but then it ran over because of technical glitches- and the office staff who were monitoring the bell changes for parents never got synced-
5 minutes to find the classes- first class was on the 4th floor- my D assures me that students talking to their friends are not any faster than their middle aged parents.

We found the room in time for the teacher to introduce herself- show us where the sign in sheet was then it was time to go to the next class.

Which was outside in a different building- I had to ask several different people where it was.
Then we had to back to the 3rd floor for the next class- I really do not see how kids can gather up their stuff, change classes, go to the bathroom get a drink of water and get to their next class which is likely two or three floors away not to mention also down another hall.
They need the exercise sure, but they also need to breath and stretch, not just hustle and hurry so they won't be marked absent.
This made Open house very stressful- much different than a few years ago, when they had 8 minutes inbetween classes.

( Melissa- wasn't Hale forced to close their greenhouse a few years ago, or did they find a way to keep it open?- I think they have a lot of key programs- but easier to keep them going with a few more students)

Anonymous said...

I don't know if the horticulture program is alive and well, but I do know that they lost their facilities across the street at Thornton Creek, including the greenhouse. It was flooded and has not been replaced or repaired.

Class of 75, which school were you talking about?? Thanks

Melissa Westbrook said...

Well, see, that's what happens when your child leaves a school. My son graduated from Hale a couple of years ago and I just thought it was still there. I wonder if it will be replaced when they are replaced. That's a shame.

Anonymous said...

Horticulture is still being offered at Hale, and it appears to be in the greenhouse - parents at open house were told they didn't have to go to the greenhouse, but would meet in a classroom in the building, so that seems to infer that the greenhouse is in use.

Dan Dempsey said...

For Math fans:
Hale uses Interactive Mathematics Program IMP, which in my opinion leaves most students unprepared to pursue a technical career after leaving high school. It is slightly better than Bellevue's awful Core-Plus. Most Hale math teachers supplement IMP I believe.

Roosevelt on the other hand has used a very traditional math approach for decades I believe. Those who take four years of math and do reasonably well are prepared to under-take a technical career.

If I had a child interested in Science, Medicine, Engineering, Computer programming etc., the choice would be easy.

Dan

Anonymous said...

The one thing I was disappointed about at Curriculum Night (elementary) is that the teacher left no time for questions.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Roosevelt had its Curriculum Night. I would say it was well attended (crowded) but many parents were in pairs so for a school of 1700, probably not as many as I would have hoped.

Personally, I was a little disappointed. There is something about LA teachers and them wanting to incorporate all kinds of arts into their curriculum. They have a block system for LA/Social studies so we met with both teachers for 25 minutes and never heard what the curriculum was, just how they taught. I was very surprised to see on the list of needed items things like pastel sticks, glue sticks (in high school), guitar strings, instruments.

There is also a problem with the math because somehow a pre-calc book got approved for what is not a pre-calc class. There has been a lot of rumbling from parents as students have been very frustrated trying to keep up with what is essentially a year ahead. It's been addressed now but it's a month into the year.

However, I loved my son's Spanish teacher (who also teaches Japanese and speaks Italian as well - I told her she should be in the state department). She has the most detailed Source page ever. I also enjoyed his Independent Living teacher who is like a great mother hen (and she had the class make cookies for the parents,yum).

Melissa Westbrook said...

I left out that a couple of my son's teachers said they had taught at other SPS high schools (that shall remain nameless) and that Roosevelt had higher expectations than those other schools. It was somewhat disturbing because I didn't know if the notion of high expectations came from the teacher or the schools.

Dan Dempsey said...

Melissa,

High School expectations are in a way connected to K-8 preparation and skills.

Given the SPS defiance of policies D43.00 D44.00 D45.00

The k-8 preparation of students in different parts of the city may be vastly different. This results in High Schools and classrooms that may have greatly different expectations because the entering skill levels of students entering those institutions is in no way even close to similar

Dan.

Anonymous said...

Dear Frankie:

The data at the Seattle Schools website doesn't seem to support your impression that Hale is full of South Seattle kids. Please check out the data at the following website.
http://www.seattleschools.org/area/newassign/maps_data.html

Horticulture is indeed alive and well at Hale - the Greenhouse was never flooded out and as with many things I read on this website, this discussion contains numerous factual errors and inaccuracies concerning Hale.

Beth Bakeman said...

Anonymous,

Please correct any "factual errors and inaccuracies" concerning Hale you see posted on this blog.

A blog is, in many ways, like a Wiki, where knowledge is generated by the people who contribute. There are no editors and no fact-checkers.

So it's up to you to contribute what you know in order to share knowledge across the community of those who read and post on this blog.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 9:03 can you give another link, the one you provided didn't work.

I would like to see the data.

We live very close to Hale, and thus have several friends who have children attending Hale. Their biggest complaint is that many kids are NOT from the neighborhood. They say that many are from the south end, and some even come from Shoreline SD. This tells me that Hale does not fill up with neighborhood kids, and fills their excess space, as does Hamilton and Ingraham, with south end kids. This is a fairly well known fact, but I would be very interested to see data that shows otherwise.

Meanwhile, Roosevelt has a 400 kid wait list. No space for Shorelines students their. No south end students either.

I was not trying to say that Hale was not a great school, perhaps it is. But, there has to be a reason that Roosevelt has a very big wait list and fills with neighborhood kids, and Hale doesn't. What is the reason?

As for the greenhouse, I took a walk over to look at it (I live across the street). It is NOT in use. Perhaps, they have built a new one somewhere that you are referring to? The original greenhouse that they were using as of a year or two ago WAS flooded, and closed by the parks dept.

Anonymous said...

A few years ago, Hale actually had more kids on their waiting list than Roosevelt. Hale has suffered from ineffective leadership from the school's two previous principals - the post Eric Benson ones. The school now has an excellent leader in Marni Campbell. Her comments in the front page story in the PI this morning (10/9) are an example of her commitment to addressing parental issues.

Roosevelt lives on its reputation. Hale actually had a higher WASL science pass rate for 06 than did Roosevelt. Roosevelt is also a lovely new building. Who won't want to go to a school where the heat works and the ceiling doesn't leak at times.

Hale may be making some mistakes - they seem to be very anti-AP which may encourage students and parents to look elsewhere. They continue to hang on to the Benson era when it may be time to rethink some things.

Marni Campbell as principal at Eckstein lead the preparation of most of the Roosevelt students, so I imagine she will do great things for Hale. Good leadership is a key ingredient in attracting parents to a school and Hale has got it regardless of whether or not the Greenhouse is standing.

Anonymous said...

"Roosevelt has a 400 kid wait list. No space for Shorelines students their. No south end students either."

Not true. The wait list was 300 students. Non-residents are allowed to continue once they are accepted in many cases, and there are many south end students who are at Roosevelt via sibling preference from the tie-breaker days, who have subsquently moved south, or are in a special education program or are the sibling of someone in a special education program.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Just to clarify; the overall waitlist at RHS was 400; out of that 400, the freshman waitlist had been something like 325. Roosevelt is at about 1738 (too many,my opinion). The waitlist will be dissolved on October 31st (at all schools) and only new enrollees are eligible to get in IF there is room (which there is not).

Also, I am with Beth; this is like Wikipedia. I do my very best with figures and facts but as I have said previously, this isn't my fulltime job (or Beth's or Charlie's). If you know differently and have a source, please, let us know.

Anonymous said...

Beg to differ, but the wait list was over 400 kids, they just moved 100 or so kids very quickly. They eventually moved a lot more, and moved the wait list a fair amount. They also added capacity to accommodate. Please do explain how south end kids are getting in, lest the sibling preference (which soon cycle out)? The cut off to "get in" was 2.8 miles radius of the school. IE if you live more than 2.8 miles, according to enrollment services, you did not get in.

I too am a fan of Marni Campbell and hope that she can shine at Hale, and improve the school. I hope the first thing she works on is adding AP classes. This is a HUGE reason that families with high performing students shy away from Hale.

Anonymous said...

What do you wanted to improve at Hale? Let's be clear. What didn't you like about Hale when you were a parent there, Melissa? I'm assuming those shortcomings are why you are now at Roosevelt.

There are parents at Roosevelt who are not all that happy either. I think the difference is you won't hear too much about what's wrong there until it makes the front page of the Times or PI (think football team stealing from the UW, think student being murdered...) For some reason, people don't hold those things against the school the way they recall the smallest details of incidents at Rainier Beach or Franklin or other south end schools.

Face it, north end parents, you continue to talk about schools in the south end as though you really know what goes on there. The current publicity about the incident at Hale should not keep people from viewing the school for what it is, a comprehensive north end high school trying to address the needs of the students who go there. I wish Marni Campbell all the resources she needs to "compete" with the over-shadowing of Roosevelt. I'm sure she is up to the challenge.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Hale was the right fit for one son and Roosevelt is the right fit for another. (I also had moved by the time my younger son was ready for high school; Roosevelt is very close by.)

I have both praise and unhappiness for my experience at Hale as a parent. However, it was a good-to-great experience for my son especially in terms of teachers and counselors. (Principals, not so much except for one year with Eric Benson. And, in fact, I think the two other principals there, one interim and the other permanent, did damage to Hale and its reputation which was high when we enrolled.)

The slow but steady move away from separate AP/Honors classes coupled with the hostility and distain that most of the teachers there have for those classes was very disheartening. The fact that parents had no role in that decision was even worse (at least parents at West Seattle were part of their decision-making process).
The fact that the school hid what they were doing from prospective parents on tours and in school literature for at least 2 years was not good. If you feel you're doing the right thing, then let people know BEFORE they enroll. Why would they hide it? One counselor shook his head sadly and said, "We're worried fewer people will choose our school."

But, I am proud that my son is a Hale graduate and grateful to teachers and counselors there for such a good, happy experience for him.

Anonymous said...

So why would someone with a high achieving student choose Hale, when they don't offer AP classes?

What DOES Hale offer that would attract families of high achievers?

Honors classes?? Great test WASL/SAT scores?? Other things like drama, band, athletics. What do you get when you choose Hale?

Again, why would someone choose Hale? Take Roosevelt out of the picture, and let's focus on Hale. I would like to hear from some people who have attended Hale and can talk about the good things that Hale has to offer, and why it attracted them. We will be making the big Hale vs. Roosevelt decision this year, and I am all ears right now.

Anonymous said...

http://www.seattleschools.org/area/newassign/maps/nhale_near.pdf


Check out the District Website concerning where students live who attend Hale - the data doesn't seem to support the original post which talks about Hale being filled with South Seattle kids. It's my impression that Hale gets a large chunk of their students from Salmon Bay so there may be a bit of geographic diversity accruing due to the Salmon Bay students choosing to attend Hale.

Both of my children have attended Hale - one graduated last year and one is currently a junior- and I've been very happy with the education they have received. Overall the quality of the teachers is quite high and frankly has been much better than we experienced at Eckstein. Hale has a distinct educational philosophy - the school was very upfront about it on the tours we attended- and it's one that both my children and my wife and I have embraced. We've been very satisfied with our experience at Hale and would choose it again for our two children.