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Showing posts from 2008

How Big? This Big!

People sometimes ask me just how big of a jerk can I be. In truth, they don't use the word "jerk", but I'd like to keep the blog family-friendly. Well, I think I may just have an answer. Over the next few days I will be writing e-mail messages to every person who is serving as a project manager on a Strategic Plan project and asking them some very pointed questions about the progress that they are making on their project. Most, if not all, of the projects are woefully behind the schedule set in the Strategic Plan itself. Moreover, every single project is out of compliance with the Community Engagement Protocols finalized in October. I'll be asking them pointed questions about that also. Ironically, the Community Engagement projects are also out of compliance on these protocols. I know that makes me a pretty big jerk, but here's the element that puts me over the top into a league of my own: I'm also contacting every person named as the Executive Sponsor o

Confusion Part Three: Where Will That Capital Money Come to Help Closures?

So we have all seen that the district staff (and the Board) have been talking about various capital projects that will be needed to help manage the capacity issues. Things like adding a science lab(s) to Cooper should Pathfinder (a K-8) move into the building, finally(!) putting money into SBOC when they move into Meany (if that happens as well), Old Hay, Blaine, etc. But where will we find that money? I mean, there may be some money still in the BTA levy (or projects could be added to the upcoming BTA levy in Feb. 2010). But that means other projects don't get done. And, of course, money is already committed in BEX III to its projects. Or is it? I guess it is if a project is working at a breakneck speed. From the November 2008 New School newsletter: "Thanks to an intense construction schedule of 10 hour days and 6 day weeks, the project is currently on schedule and New School staff and students are set to move in to start the 2009-10 school year." Now that too

Confusion Part 2

Again, I'm confused. If Montlake is now part of the Lowell package and Lowell's building isn't closing, shouldn't the closed building (Montlake) have the public hearing? Or are both ideas still on the table (close Lowell building and disperse the students to two other sites OR close Montlake, move them to Lowell and take half of Lowell's population to one other site)? Even if both are on the table, that would mean, legally, that the district couldn't close either building without the formal public hearing for each and yet I don't see one scheduled for Montlake? Montlake also has a nice " Save Montlake " site. Sadly, their school survey closed. It had some interesting questions especially the hypothetical one about whether parents would be willing to pitch in to pay for a new building (can they do that? That would be one for the record books).

Confusion and Finger-Pointing

In a previous thread, a reader (Jamie), provided a link to Cooper Elementary's " Cooper School Works". It's a great page (and I have to wonder why they were complaining about not being able to get information together - this is very professional looking). On this page they list all the reasons that picking Cooper is wrong. Some of it doesn't make sense like "Is it because of undercapacity (empty classrooms)?" They say no because if Pathfinder moves in, there won't be room at other schools for Cooper students (I'm thinking the district is hoping all those students will go to underenrolled West Seattle Elementary but that isn't likely). They also say that their enrollment is rising and yet, "Many of our students come from the High Point housing development. This development is not yet complete, so the number of families from there opting to bring their children will increase. Also, if another school closes Cooper could take on m

Accountability

Just like the Superintendent, I keep coming back to accountability. The difference is that for her, it is all in the future, while for me it is all in the hypothetical. The Superintendent talks about accountability - and she talks about it incessently - as if it were something that we should expect next year or the following year. It's something that she is going to insist upon. The Board seems to have caught the accountability bug, too. They throw that word around like seed for chickens. But I haven't seen them look for any, expect any, or demand any. I keep wondering what they are waiting for. They have had opportunities. There was supposed to be a set of accountability requirements for the Southeast Initiative. They were about a year late - to the point that the first year's numbers came before the first year's benchmarks - and no one has mentioned them this year. No one mentioned the specific targets that were required to continue the expanded transportation for

More to Think About

I am, frankly, confused on one issue (just one? for purposes of this discussion, just this one) about this round of closures. We had a couple of mergers in the last round (Viewlands/Broadview-Thompson and High Point/Fairmount Park). (There was also TT Minor and MLK but that was worked out by principals and not the communities themselves.) I'd have to ask at these schools how that worked out. High Point and Fairmount Park got a new name - West Seattle Elementary - and so they may have forged a new joint identity. I know that Broadview-Thompson has retained its name. I haven't heard the word "mergers" used a lot this time around and although there's a lot of movement of different groups of students around, it doesn't sound like schools are merging. But wait! Carla Santorno muddied the waters by saying at the last Board meeting, when she was explaining these program design teams, that schools would bring parts of their own identities and they would

Meeting Tomorrow

This was posted elsewhere but I thought it needed more attention in case you are interested in attending. Educators, Students, & Parents for a Better VISION of Seattle Schools (ESP VISION) Are you against the school closures? Come join us to plan the next steps in uniting all of the schools together against the closures. We are asking parents, educators, and students from any school -- whether your school is on the chopping block this time or not -- to come with ideas for how we can save our schools and improve public education in Seattle! Organizing Meeting: When: 6pm, Monday, December 29th Where: Garfield Community Center (corner of Cherry and 23rd) Contact: Vicky Jambor (vjambor@msn.com) 206-851-4862 ...Because Teachers, Students, and Parents know that... School closures will not achieve "Excellence for All" 3 Classes the Seattle School District should take to understand why school closures will not lead to "Excellence for All" Basic Math: You don

No Dead Zone Here

I think the district, because it's a holiday period, and then we have to shake off the snow blues and the post-holiday stupor, is hoping that no one will be talking about closures. I really doubt if the newspapers will be covering much until school starts. There are no meetings to attend. But I've read through the minutes of the hearings so far and there are few surprises (although some interesting reading). Yes, we need to plan on how to say farewell (and, in my case, good riddance) to 2008. But let's not let it all go and then suddenly try to snap out of it on January 4th. Because, folks, that's exactly what the district is counting on. Let's keep up, shall we? This is not a dead zone here.

Public Hearing Updates

From the News and Calendar section of the district's website: Lowell hearing rescheduled to January 20, 6:30 to 8:3p.m. School Board Policy H01.00 sets forth that public hearings be held for all buildings proposed for closure in the Superintendent's Preliminary Recommendations. Individuals who were on the public testimony list for the original hearing of Dec. 18 (rescheduled due to inclement weather) have first priority to testify. Individuals on the original list will be contacted by phone and/or email. Others may sign up to testify on a space-available basis. Email hearing@seattleschools.org or call 206 252 0042. Sign-ups will be accepted until NOON on the day of the hearing. After that time, sign-ups will be accommodated on a first-come, first-served basis at the building site if space is still available. If any additional buildings are proposed for closure in the Superintendent's final recommendation - due to be announced on January 6, 2009 - a public hearing wil

Let's Meet Arne Duncan

President-elect Obama chose Chicago's superintendent of public instruction, Arne Duncan, to be his Secretary of Education. Mr. Duncan is the son of educators - his father is a college professor and his mother ran a school for African-American youth - although he himself was never a teacher. He attended Harvard where his thesis was "Values, aspirations and opportunities of the Urban Underclass". (I'll see if I can find it and see what he thinks.) He himself aspired to play professional basketball (and thus Obama continues to round out the White House basketball team with the count now at 4 including Obama). He did play professionally in Australia where he met his wife. They have two children. In 1992 he was tapped as director of the Ariel Elementary Initiative in Chicago's tough South Side. In 2006, the City Club of Chicago named Duncan Citizen of the Year. In 1998, he was selected as Deputy Chief of Staff for then-superintendent Paul Vallas (who is no

Open Thread (In Case You Find Yourself Snowbound and With a Burning Thought)

What Do You ThinK?

I had been all set to write a thread about Arne Duncan, Obama's pick for Sec'y of Education. Or I was going to write about assignment issues that are cropping up because of the proposed moves/closures. Or if they will try to reschedule the public hearings/meetings the district canceled tonight for next week. But...are we all tired? I can actually go either way (but I'm such a newshound that I'll keep up whether I blog or not). I was just thinking that maybe if all the bloggers here said there's going to be a week furlough that everyone could take a break and not even look at the site. (And I haven't even asked Beth if this is okay. Beth?) But I'm listening to Joni Mitchell singing "River" and looking at the snow and wishing for good things for our soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan and people struggling financially and mostly, from our point of view, some decent resolutions to the problems in our district so we can just send our children to

Governor Releases Her Preliminary Budget

Governor Gregoire released her preliminary budget today and sure enough, there are cuts to I-728. From the article in the Times, "Among the cuts proposed by Gregoire: $682 million in pay increases for state workers and teachers; $500 million in health care for children, the poor and the disabled; and $178 million in funding for Initiative I-728 , which was approved by voters in 2000 to reduce class sizes in public schools." According to Mr. Kennedy at last night's Board meeting, SPS gets about $21M from I-728. I don't know from this cut if we would still lose that much. Also included was levy equalization cuts which I do not believe affects our levies because of the size of our district. From the article: "Which raises a question: What's being cut if state spending is essentially flat? The answer: Mostly proposed increases in state spending. Simply put, it generally costs more money each year to provide the same level of state services. For exampl

All Seattle School Meetings Cancelled Today

Just saw on the West Seattle Blog that all Seattle School meetings are cancelled for today. That includes the hearing at Lowell on the APP split and the program meeting at Cooper on the proposed closure. On the district website I also saw that the Operations Committee meeting scheduled for today is postponed until after Winter Break.

Time to Apply some Accountability

There is a historical trend by Seattle Public Schools whereby the administration forces change on a community and eases the change - or supresses dissent - with promises of mitigation. Then, when the time comes, the District fails/refuses to fulfill those promises. This has been played out countless times. The District gets what they want right now in exchange for what the community wants some time down the road, then the District doesn't actually come through with what the community wants, but the community has no recourse. We are seeing this story again with the current round of closures. Communities are raising a lot of concerns - legitimate concerns. The District is answering those concerns with promises. We need to document those promises and we need to put some meaning into them. How? The only promises from the District that count - that are in any way enforcable - are things the Board resolves. So the language of the Board resolution to approve the closures and consolidat

Wroten Family Granted an Injunction

From the Times this morning, an article about a temporary injunction granted to the Garfield student who was taken from the enrollment rolls at Garfield High. The judge will hear the case on January 21. From the article: "The lawsuit, which states that Wroten resides in a Seattle home, claims the school district has wronged the Wrotens in three ways: by denying Tony Wroten his constitutional right to a public education; by denying him due process; and by breaching the contract reached between the district and the Wroten family last summer." I don't know about the last two but the first one is not going to fly. Mr. Wroten's parents had several choices about his education for these last weeks. They could have enrolled him in a Renton school OR applied as a non-resident to any number of Seattle public high schools. Nothing was stopping him from getting a public education. Just wanting that education at a particular school - no matter the emotional ties to th

APP Times' Op-Ed

The Times printed an op-ed this morning by a Lowell parent, Al Sanders, who thinks Lowell APP should be split up but proceeds to use the 7 stages of grief to pick apart arguments against splitting and moving Lowell. Mr. Sanders' student has been at Lowell 3 months. Unfortunately, he doesn't really give his reasoning why it's a good idea and what APP students are getting out of it. He says: "I would rather work toward the goal that if it can work at Lowell, with the right conditions, it can work at Thurgood, Hawthorne or any other Seattle school. I think that maybe, just maybe instead of focusing on trying to prevent the inevitable, that people would start accepting it and begin working on trying to make it successful at the next school our community is going to be part of." I note that phrase "with the right conditions". Just like Thorton Creek is worried, I think Lowell is justifiably worried. These are three huges moves (one for Thorton Cre

Highlights from Board Meeting

Beth covered most of this but I wanted to provide bulleted items. (I managed to miss most of the speakers, recording Channel 28, not Channel 26.) UPDATE - Two of the speakers I heard referenced that there would be no more SE Initiative money (this was an RBHS speaker and a AAA speaker). I thought we were in year 2 of a 3 year plan so it was confusing. Anyone know for sure? (My apologies - I skipped over this in my notes.) Center School alum referenced Center School as an "alternative" program. (This may be something that needs to be addressed at Center School keeps moving towards being an alternative rather than non-traditional general ed program.) It looked like an overflow crowd. Michael DeBell thanked the crowd for their respectful attitudes as well as the speakers. Mr. Kennedy went over financials, both revenue and expenditures. He did say something I hadn't heard before; namely, that we might still loss state K-12 money (7% reduction) even if we don't lose I-7

Understanding Dr. Goodloe-Johnson

Charlie's comments on the KUOW thread about trying to understand Dr. Goodloe-Johnson's motivations fit in nicely with this interview I found on the Seattle Channel: Seattle Voices with Maria L. Goodloe-Johnson, PhD 12/15/2008 Watch this in-depth interview with Dr. Maria Goodloe-Johnson, Seattle Public Schools' Superintendent, who has been making headlines recently with recommendations to close schools throughout Seattle. Learn about Goodloe-Johnson's background and what has inspired her to take on this difficult challenge.

December 17th School Board Meeting

See the Superintendent's Update slide presentation for details on the budget, high school closure, special education and functional capacity updates. 7:50 pm Meeting continues, but I'm signing off for the evening. See the West Seattle Blog for more details. 7:37 pm Functional Capacity Analysis; Brad Bernatek; reviewed process and timeline; talked again about "building walkthroughs." Final functional capacity done by January 13th. Elementary & K-8 process different than for secondary schools. Work done in consultation with principals to make sure fully understand spaces and uses. Existing portables are included in functional capacity. 7:33 pm Special Education update; Carla Santorno; special education student assignment information connected to closures will be released in the final capacity management recommendations on January 6th. In addition, we have really looked at making some changes based on our audit and students will be reassigned based on service

TT Minor transcript

Here is a link to the TT Minor Public Hearing transcript. I was pretty impressed with the remarks and feel sad for this neighborhood that lost MLK and now may lose TT Minor. One remark that you may want to know about is that there is a meeting to discuss schools in the area. It was hard to understand from the transcript but it appears there is a meeting at noon, at Garfield, on Saturday. I would check with TT Minor parents or at Garfield before you go.

The other side of transparency

You know, this has bothered me for some time, but never more than now: anonymous comments By that I mean comments left by people who who not sign their complete name or a name linked to another website/blog of theirs. I know this is all in the name of encouraging conversation, dialogue, etc. - but please. People must realize that 28 comments on a blog post, each signed with a different cutesy nickname - could easily be the writing of one - or two people. And who exactly might those people be? There is absolutely no way of knowing. Could be a school board member, a 4th grader in Omaha, or the original blogger him/herself. I know this type of forum exists in other venues - newspaper articles or opinion pieces, for instance. Some blogs may moderate comments, so that inappropriate stuff does not get up there, but there is still no way of verifying who left the comment without a full name. Somebody might suggest that anybody could sign anybody else's name. True. Sure, somebody els

What Went Wrong

(Here's a link to the excellent coverage of the Genesee Hill public hearing last night over at the West Seattle blog .) A reply in a recent thread lead me to another blog (let's call it Blog S) where the closures are being discussed. Now I had initially thought to provide a link because our blog strives to give as much information and coverage as possible on Seattle education. However, when I popped over to it, I found a LOT of anger and vitriol and near-slander. I posted one thing and promptly got flamed. It is a very angry blog. None of you are children but I don't even want to give out the URL (you could find it if you tried). The tag line of the blog is "You can disagree, but I’ll still be right; that means, I don’t need you to agree with me for me to be right." (That pretty much says it all.) So why am I bringing it up? I'm posting about it because there are claims that no one is covering the story that Steve Sundquist allegedly worked with pa

Floored

First, a quick thanks to Beth Bakeman for allowing me to join the Seattle Public Schools community blog. As I mentioned over on my recently-shuttered Chalkboard blog (aren’t closures all the rage these days?), I’m excited to join a vibrant online community focused on our schools. ----------------------------- When it comes to Thornton Creek’s proposed move to the Jane Addams building, ends up we can’t trust the ground beneath our feet. Or rather, the ground poses a snarl for the possible move. I learned at a school meeting last night that the Decatur building (Thornton Creek’s current home) and Jane Addams building ( Summit ’s current abode) are both due to get new floors over the summer 2009. According to Thornton Creek’s principal, in order for the district to replace the floors, staff will have about 24 hours from that last dismissal bell to vacate the building for the summer. And because Jane Addams is getting a floor makeover, too, it means that theoretically,

Tomorrow's School Board Meeting

Assuming that snow doesn't cause a cancellation of tomorrow's School Board meeting, here are the list of people who are testifying tomorrow night: 1. Chris Jackins, Garfield Construction Contract 2. Carol Simmons, Alliance Grant 3. Patty Iwamoto, Arbor Heights Elementary 4. Eric Iwamoto, Arbor Heights Elementary 5. Kim McCormick, Capacity - NE Cluster 6. Tamara Leonard, Capacity - NE Cluster 7. Lauren McGuire, Capacity - NE Cluster 8. Kelly Van Gelder, Center School 9. Caroline Brown , Center School 10. Kendra Wagner, Center School 11. Ricky Malone, Closures 12. Molly Gras-Usry, Cooper 13. Jean Hoppe, Lowell 14. Tracy Dobmeier, Montlake 15. Kenneth Sherr, Montlake 16. Lara Kreyenhagen, Montlake 17. Heidi Kaplan, Montlake 18. Shannon Callahan, Nova 19. Melissa Cain, Preliminary. Recommendations 20. Pam Berry, School Closures ***** The agenda also includes: Superintendent’s Update the Preliminary Recommendation for Capacity and Closures Chief Academic Officer’s Update Chief Op

Reports on Public Hearings from Tuesday

Open thread for people to post on their experiences at any of the three public hearings on Tuesday: Genesee Hill, Mann and Old Hay.

KUOW and School Closures

Well, I got halfway through the KUOW show on school closures and thought "what a snoozefest". I'm sorry but Dr. Goodloe-Johnson repeats everything she's ever said before on a subject and man, can she stay on point. And, for whatever reason, KUOW has decided more is better and they end up with very little outside voice (via phone or e-mail). They had Michael DeBell (in studio) with Jesse Hagopian (a teacher and activist), Dr. G-J (via phone) and another teacher (forgive me, I didn't get his name) from RBHS. Michael answered questions about the upcoming enrollment period for students and said although the enrollment placements will be mailed out in early May, previously the district did have them go out in early May and it's not really much later now. He was asked if the Board is guiding the process and he said, "we don't guide the process." Steve Scher, the host, touched on the issue of Arbor Heights e-mails that came to light (plus the

More Hearing Updates

Here is the transcript from last night's hearing at Pinehurst; it was the only one I saw at the Capacity Management website. I myself haven't had time to read it. Also, here is this message from Bridgett Chander, Director of Communications, for the district about tonight's Genesee Hill meeting: Dear community members, We want to thank those of you who have signed up to testify at tonight's public hearing and those who wish to attend . The weather has created concerns about safety, and we send this information to update you about conditions around the Genesee Hill building where the hearing will be held from 6:30-8:30 tonight . Road conditions this morning lead us to recommend that those who choose to drive to attend the hearing consider carpool ing if they can and look for parking along the north shoulder (school side) of Genesee. That road was recently sanded. While there is some remaining ice on the shoulder area, it is much clearer than

Design Teams

It seemed to me that everytime the District staff were faced with a near-impossible question to answer, their response was that the "Design Team" would address that issue. How will Thornton Creek assimilate students from two other alternative programs? The Design Team will do it. How will Thornton Creek suddenly expand from a K-5 to a K-8? The Design Team will do it. How will all of the re-located students get established in their new schools? The Design Team will do it? How will the SBOC and NOVA share Meany? The Design Team will do it. How will Thurgood Marshall balance the needs of APP students and neighborhood students? The Design Team will do it. How will Thurgood Marshall create a single community from these diverse populations? The Design Team will do it. How will we Hamilton be able to meet the academic needs of APP students? The Design Team will do it. How can families be assured of quality and effectiveness? The Design Team will do it. These Design Teams must be l

Update on Public Hearings

Our good friends over at the West Seattle Blog had this about the public hearings and the weather via Patti Spencer at the District: "At this time, we plan to proceed with all scheduled public hearings. If there is a change, we will announce that immediately via our Web site and other means. We understand that some locations in the city are experiencing more challenging road conditions than others. We want our families and community to be safe, and we also want to hear from them. In addition to public hearings, we also continue to receive feedback via e-mail at capacity@seattleschools.org and schoolboard@seattleschools.org " The weather is due to stay cold and perhaps snow Wednesday or Thursday night. So be careful out there. Also, some thoughts on what might or might not help in public remarks: -the obvious - no name-calling, no swearing, no yelling - your audience will tune you and your message out -humor always helps - takes the bite out the situation and calms the ro

Tomorrow on KUOW

"I am interested to hear about similar developments at other schools, and any closure developments that parents, teachers, and students are noticing: pfletcher@kuow.org. Also, KUOW will have a call-in show on school closures Tu 12/16, 9-10AM, 94.9FM . We would love to hear from your readers and bloggers. (800) 289-KUOW or 206.543.KUOW. Thank you!" This came from reporter Phyllis Fletcher at KUOW, our local NPR station. I believe you can also e-mail: weekday@kuow.org with comments. You can do that now and likely should put "school closures" in the subject line.

The Ugly Side of School Closures & Consolidations

Not that there is really a pretty side to school closures and consolidations, but the ugly side is highlighted in a KUOW interview on their website today: School Closure Jockeying When a school is slated for closure, like in other high-stress situations, the people involved show both the worst and the best of themselves. During the first round I was involved with, the Graham Hill community really came together, forging relationships among parents in the regular and Montessori program and addressing existing racial tensions. The school was better and stronger once the closure effort was over. In the case of Arbor Heights, based on what I hear in the KUOW interview, I think the desire to protect their school from closure at all costs brought out the worst in some of the PTSA Board language and actions. But when the district and School Board make it absolutely clear to all schools targeted for closure that they should develop and present alternative proposals if they want to keep the

Early Morning Phone Calls from Seattle Public Schools?

Did anyone else get yanked out of bed this morning with an early morning phone call from the Seattle Public Schools headquarters? My home phone rang at 5:50 am. My husband didn't get to it in time, and no message was left, so I dialed *69 and was surprised to find out it was the school district office calling. Then ten minutes later my cell phone rang. This time, the School District left a message announcing the 2-hour delay because of icy roads. I don't remember signing up for home phone calls in case of school delays, but I'm certainly going to call the district to ask that it not happen again. I usually get up around 5:30 or 6 am for work anyhow, but my husband and kids are sleeping and I don't want a phone call waking them up to tell them that they can sleep in longer! Okay...that's really weird...I just got another call from the district on my home phone (this time at 6:30 am) announcing the delay. Is this a case of auto-dialing software gone crazy?

New Meeting for Special Education Parents

From Seattle Public Schools: As you are aware the District has announced preliminary recommendations on district-wide capacity management and building closures. We recognize that the topic of potential school closure is always an emotional one fraught with concerns about where will my child be placed next year if my school closes? It is especially concerning when dealing with students that have more significant disabilities. Superintendent, Dr. Goodloe-Johnson, wants parents to understand that "We are considering building closures in order to strengthen academic programs and protect the District's long-term financial health." She recognizes and has said "these are very difficult decisions to make, but they are decisions we must face now, and we must face them together, as a community." The District is committed to using this opportunity to strengthen and expand services for special education students consistent with recommendations from the "Special Edu

West Seattle Closures & Consolidations

Contrary to what I expected prior to the announcement of preliminary recommendations, only one school building (Genesee Hill) and one program (Cooper) are proposed for closure. I am grateful that the importance of having a K-8 alternative school option in West Seattle is being recognized by both the district staff and the School Board. I'm not happy that Pathfinder 's continued existence is proposed to come at the cost of another school program (originally Arbor Heights and now Cooper ). My hope is that, if the Cooper program closes, many neighborhood Cooper students will choose to try an alternative school experience and enroll at Pathfinder K-8. I would like to see Cooper students given priority for enrollment at Pathfinder for 2009-2010, if they wish. And I hope that neighborhood Cooper students who do not want an alternative school experience will be given priority for enrollment for next year in other West Seattle North schools. One of the things that Rebecca, a Cooper

South & Southeast Clusters Closures & Consolidation

Unlike the last round of closures that had lots of South and Southeast schools involved in the proposals, this round has relatively few. The Rainier Beach / Aki Kurose proposal for co-location I believe has merit. There is some research that 6-12 schools can be good for helping students otherwise at risk of dropping out reach graduation. Rainier Beach staff and teachers seem to be working very hard to improve the academics and keep a small community-school environment where the teachers know everybody. I believe a 6-12 configuration would address the concerns about the building capacity and allow those teachers to continue their good work, while also bringing Aki Kurose, a school that needs to be restructured according to NCLB, into a school that is on the upswing. I'm surprised that the African American Academy closure proposal is not receiving more opposition than it is. We may still hear more, but from what I have read and heard from south end parents and activists, some pe

Central & QA/Magnolia Closures and Consolidation

The amount of change being proposed for the Central cluster is mind-boggling. By my count, 8 schools in the cluster are affected by the current proposal. And, on top of that, the proposed changes to the APP program, which affect students from all over the city, is part of the mix. Add in the couple of proposed changes to the Queen Anne/Magnolia cluster and the whole thing is messy. Out of the whole thing, I think the proposed closure of the Center School is the worst idea. With Summit either being closed or reduced to a K-8, the closure of the Center School would leave only Nova as an alternative school option for 9-12 graders. Not all students who want/need an alternative high school learning environment will do well in Nova's program. The Center School differs greatly from Nova and provides some students the small 9-12 alternative option they need. I don't know enough about all the other schools and programs (T.T. Minor, Bailey-Gazert, Thurgood Marshall, Montlake, Lowell

North, Northeast, & Northwest Closures & Capacity Issues

I appreciated having one combined thread last week to address the "Potential Final Recommendations" presented last Tuesday, but with the upcoming Hearings this week, I think it's time to split out some of the clusters into separate threads. At Katie's request (on a previous thread), I'm starting with North and Northeast clusters where the overall capacity issues combined with the proposed closures create a confusing situation. And even though NW isn't specifically affected by the closure proposal, I'm including NW here because some of the kids who go to AS#1 and Summit (and probably Thornton Creek) are from the NW cluster. 1) I absolutely agree with Katie that Summit should be moved somewhere central (probably Meany) because 1) it would help with N & NE cluster capacity issues; and 2) I don't want to see the number and variety of alternative seats in the district reduced so drastically without a through program review and a clear plan. 2) Thor

This Week's Meetings

Here's a round-up of meetings this week (if I missed one, please let me know and I will add it): December 17th - School Board Meeting at 6 p.m. Should be a dogfight for speaking seats as schools try to get their voices heard as many times as possible. Signups starting 8 a.m. tomorrow via e-mail or by phone 252-0040. Public hearings on closures will be held at buildings proposed for closure from 6:30-8:30 p.m. on the days and locations below. Sign-ups via phone (252-0042) or email will be accepted until 12:00 noon on the day of the hearing. After that time, if spaces are available, they will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis at the site of the hearing. Interpreters will be available at the hearings to assist individuals who need those services. Monday, Dec. 15, 2008 ▪ T.T. Minor - 1700 E. Union St. (13 people signed up to speak) ▪ Pinehurst – 11530 12th Ave. N.E. (19 people signed up to speak) ▪ Van Asselt - 7201 Beacon Ave. S. (4 people signed up to speak) Tu