Wednesday, October 22, 2008

At Long Last... Answers on Denny-Sealth

Seattle Public Schools Facilities Department has finally answered questions that were asked at the public meeting of February 4, 2008. After only six months, the District has answers to these questions. The answers on the web site may still appear as "Response in progress as of 2/8/08" but here are the answers from Don Gillmore:

On the WEB there were four questions that had the “Response in progress” notation for which you requested updated information. They are:

1. Pink Room Question #25

Question: What are current independent security stats for each of the schools?

Response: Historic security stats for each school are on each individual school website. The information on the website includes disciplinary actions by year related to suspensions and expulsions (click on School Test Data and click on School Outcome Profile and scroll down). In addition, each school website has the “Student Climate Survey” which includes questions related to the school’s general climate (feeling safe).

2. Green Room Question #4

Question: Will Boren meet requirements for I.B. Program, facilities and IT? Some for Science Labs?

Response: The BEX team worked closely with the Sealth assistant principal in planning the move and facilities upgrades during the summer and fall of 2008. At the beginning of school (2008/09) the upgraded Boren facilities adequately met the major program needs of Sealth.

3. Green Room #13

Question: What kind of increase in ongoing safety personnel budget will come with co-location? Teachers feel that it is currently inadequate.

Response: The safety and security budgets are reviewed every year as a part of the normal annual budgeting process. The security budget allocation will be determined in the spring of 2009-10 for the 2010-11 school year. At that time the security needs will be assessed and security FTE assigned for 2010/11. Although some teachers may not be comfortable with this process, it is the normal district procedure.

In addition, Sealth students will move back to the remodeled site in 2010-2011 before Denny moves in some time in 2011. As a result, the Denny and Sealth students will not be on the same campus until 2011. This time gap provides an opportunity for Sealth to adjust to the new site and become acclimated before Denny arrives later in the year.

4. Green Room #14

Question: What is the plan during the transition to a “culture of safety” since it will be an ongoing work in progress?

Response: Each principal and their leadership teams are responsible for developing safety plans. Since the co-location will be phased in it is anticipated that Sealth will be the first to assess the site and the safety needs. As mentioned in previous discussions, the principals and their leadership teams would examine issues like: separate start times, separate lunch times, or same lunch times with some separation etc. to reduce mixing at the same time in the same places if that is their intention. Architecturally, the entrances and drop off areas are on opposite sides of the campus and qualified middle school children will be on yellow buses while high school students will be on Metro.

So all of you who doubted that those questions would ever be answered, can now have greater confidence in the Facilities Department, their openness, and the sincerity of their commitment to community engagement.

1 comment:

Melissa Westbrook said...

Well, speaking of security, the Roosevelt PTSA has been working on getting security cameras for RHS for over a year now. (As you may recall, RHS was built without including security cameras. It is the largest high school in our district and in a brand-new building and all the other comprehensive high schools have them but RHS does not.)

We just got - about a month ago - someone from the district to come to the school to do a walk-thru so we can figure out how many cameras we need and the cost to purchase and install them. This has taken a year to happen.

But now I find out that not only were security cameras not put in but the wiring needed throughout the building may not have been put in within some areas of the building. Are you kidding me? Who is working in Facilities that would allow a building design team to not put in security cameras? Who allowed the contractor to not wire the building properly so that someday cameras COULD be put in?

The Security department did not get a grant they applied for so now our choice is to raise the money ourselves, try to get a Small and Simple grant from the City (which will be difficult given that we cannot use volunteers to install the cameras)or get onto the BTA levy (and Roosevelt, being a brand-new building, will not get a walk-thru from the consultants hired to go thru nearly every building).

I thought it telling in Charlie's post to see this:

"Although some teachers may not be comfortable with this process, it is the normal district procedure."

Why would it make teachers uncomfortable?

Yes, academics and life safety issues are number one in this district unless Facilities says it isn't.

(One funny thing; I was reading an article in the NY Times about a conference, Association of National Advertisers. They listed nationally used buzzwords and in the list was ...stakeholder engagement. (Also included were silo, bonus and benchmark. I think we have all seen these in a lot of district writing.)