Disqus

Sunday, November 23, 2008

E-mail From Dr. GJ

I received this on Friday:

Dear Seattle Public Schools staff members:

I want to ensure that you have easy access to information about the capacity management and building closure process as well as answers to any questions and concerns you may have. This email provides updates and links to key information.

On October 29, the School Board unanimously voted to accelerate the capacity management process, which is one of the five key focus areas for this year as we implement Excellence for All, our Strategic Plan. As we balance capacity in each area of the city, we are considering how to ensure that we provide equitable access to quality programs for all students. On Monday, November 3, the Seattle Times published an opinion editorial by the School Board that sets out the context for capacity management and building closures.

At the School Board meeting on November 12, we discussed the guidelines and foundational questions that will be applied as buildings are considered for closure. Guidelines include building condition, lot size, cost per pupil, proximity and academic performance. Foundational questions focus on opportunities to strengthen programs and increase equity of access to programs across the district.

I will present the preliminary recommendations on capacity management on November 25, and the School Board will vote on the final recommendation on January 29. A detailed timeline is available at our Capacity Management Web site, where you can also read updated FAQs and get more information about upcoming community workshops and public hearings. On November 25, the preliminary recommendations will be presented to the School Board at a workshop beginning at 6:00 p.m. at the Stanford Center. Staff at buildings and programs included in the proposal will receive information from their Principal on Tuesday afternoon. All staff will receive an email from me on Tuesday evening with the details of the proposal.

Building closures and program changes are among the most difficult decisions school systems face. The process, as well as the final outcome, can be very challenging for students, staff and families. I know that staff and families at the buildings identified for closure or program changes will have many questions about next steps and how each individual in the school community will be affected. We will provide as much information as possible with the preliminary recommendation. Our capacity management team, which includes the perspective of a staff member who was principal at a building when it closed in 2006, is planning carefully to be able to provide the maximum support possible to our students, staff and families.

Thank you for supporting each other and our school communities. I appreciate your continued emphasis on learning and teaching throughout this process.

Best wishes,

Maria L. Goodloe-Johnson, Ph.D.

Superintendent

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