Open Thread for Thornton Creek at Jane Addams


ParentofThree said…
I don't know if the school is big enough, but could Thronton Creek and Summit merge into a K-12 next year at Jane Addam and then slowly eliminate the 9-12 grades to become a K-8 in several years? (if there is not enough room to keep it as a K-12)

Or what about Summit and NOVA combining? That also seems like a good fit. (not sure where SBOC should go. Could it stay for another year or so while the "dust settles a bit?)

In either case RBHS must be closed. (I personally thought that was a given.) Yes, the disctict would need to deal with gang issues....but the disctict needs to deal with gang issues anyway. Keeping RBHS and Cleveland students apart is not a solution. Nor is keeping RBHS open by tossing another program into it. Seems to me like that creates more problems then it solves.
Unknown said…
The Seattle School district proposes closing schools. That’s the topic today on The Conversation on KUOW (NPR) Seattle.

Is your school on the chopping block? Why shouldn’t it be closed? Call The Conversation feedback line right now at 206 221 3663 or email us at
Or you can listen and call in during the show at 1 pm.
seattle citizen said…
Just an observation:
On opening this blog, I noted that there are about seven new threads, one for each school/program closure/movement. I then noted that a couple schools has one or two comments, a couple had three or four, one had seven...and APP had 23.
a) dividing these threads up is, well, divisive. Can't we all comment generally? Is this "divide and conquer"?
b) I hope that the APP stakeholders can continue to contribute to the other threads;
c) I hope that stakeholders in the other schools can step up their commentary
d) I hope that everyone is advocating for everyone (a repeat of "a", but necessary!)
Carry on.
anonymous said…
The district promised a traditional K-8 in the Jane Adamms building. It is what the families of the NE cluster want. Now they are moving Thornton Creek, another alternative school into that space and growing them to a K-8.

First of all, the Thornton Creek community has repeatedly said they do not want to grow into a k-8.

Second of all, repurposing the Decatur building to a new k-5 will help the elementary overcrowding in the NE, but it will not help with the middle school (Eckstein) overcrowding that will be a train wreck in about 4 years.

The families that choose Eckstein will not choose Thronton Creek. Thornton Creek is an alternative school. Eckstein, as stated in the enrollment guide is a pre-collecge prep traditional school and Spectrum school. They will not be in competition with one another. They are vastly different programs.

In fact Thornton Creek and Eckstein are such incompatible programs, that when Thornton Creek students move on to middle school, instead of going to Eckstein (the neighborhood middle school located a half mile away from Thornton Creek) they get assignment preference and bus service to Salmon Bay, an all city draw school, way out in the NW cluster.

I can't see how the 6-8 portion of Thornton Creek will relieve any pressure on Eckstein.

It may take some of the kids that live north of 110th that do not get into Eckstein and are assigned to Hamilton, but I don't see it relieving Eckstein, which is where the over crowding is.
K said…
As an ex AE II (Thornton Creek) parent I have mixed feelings about the expansion of TC. The growth of the school to K-8 has been a divisive issue in the community in the past. I do believe that there is probably more broad support for K-8 now as the opposition was fueled by some staff who are no longer part of the school.

I think the Thornton Creek program may have a more broad appeal than some of the other alternative programs. It may be able to draw parents who might otherwise choose Eckstein but would prefer a smaller school with a solid academic offering (similar to Salmon Bay). They have been working within a model (ELOB) for 12 years that would give them a good framework for designing a middle school.

Not all Thornton Creek graduates go on to Salmon Bay. It was my experience that it was split pretty evenly between Salmon Bay, Eckstein and private schools. We chose Salmon Bay despite the problems inherent in shipping a kid across town. The idea of a smaller, more personal school outweighed the drawbacks. There is always a waiting list for Salmon Bay and I believe that the Salmon Bay model of enrollment (larger middle school with smaller elementary) could be a very successful program in the NE if done right.
Maureen said…
Does anyone know if the District is proposing the Salmon Bay model for the TC middle school? Does TC currently have two classes per grade level? (the 07-08 #s look funny - 59 in K but 39 in 5th). If they maintained the K-5 enrollment, (say 335 if you up 5th grade to 60) they could add 360 6th-8th graders (and have 4 classes per grade level) and still fit easily at Addams. That would cover about 200 kids who may well have gone to Eckstein. (Of course lots of NE kids are being sent to 2nd choices, so this will only help if Eckstein cuts back on the number they admit--otherwise Hamilton will just end up admitting more S end kids)

TOPS only has 2 classes (60 kids) per grade level and that seems small once they get to MS (but we don't have room for more).

I'm getting excited thinking about the cool science program TC could offer for middle schoolers--expeditionary--environmental science!
anonymous said…
I've now seen several comments from AS1 families (on this blog and on the Chalkboard blog) where AS1 families are saying that they would like to have AS1 merge into Thornton Creek K-8 at Adams. I've even seen a post that said the AS1 community will propose an assignment preference for next year, so all of their students who want it, will have a guaranteed assignment to Thornton Creek.

That all sounds well and good, except that AS1 and Thornton Creek have almost nothing in common, except that they are both alternative schools. The two schools have drastically different philosophies, and for years they have refused to even co-locate because of this.

What will happen when AS1 students refuse to take the WASL at Thornton Creek, a school that encourages participation, and perform above state average on the test? Will this cause problems?

What will happen when their teacher at Thornton Creek assigns homework? Many AS1 parents refuse to have their children do homework as it's against their philosophy. Will this cause problems? Thornton Creek expects children to do homework.

And what about the democratic free school pedagogy that AS1 embraces wholeheartedly - it is at the core of everything they do. Thornton Creek is not, nor does it want to be a "free school", they are much more traditional that AS1 was.

The AS1 community is not talking about co-location, they are talking about merging and becoming one program.

Are they willing to fold into the Thornton Creek school? Are they willing to embrace a new school culture? Or will they fight to make it another AS1?

These are definately things to ask yourself, your community, and any new school that you may transition to.
Maureen, I heard (but do not know if this will happen) that the K-8 at Addams would be a mushroom type like Salmon Bay rather than a silo type like TOPS. Meaning, adding more students at 6th to create more opportunities for electives, etc.
Greg said…
Maureen, Thornton Creek currently has 12 general-ed classrooms, 2 per grade level. This is up from last year, when there were 11, which was always a challenge; just try to divide 11 classrooms among 6 grades. I believe in '07-'08 there were 1.5 5th grade classrooms (one split 4/5, one straight 5), which was what worked with the students they had.
katie said…
Thornton Creek also has three self contained autism classrooms for a total of 15 classrooms. Based on the proposal, the Jane Adams building will already be full when it opens. Between the Special Ed that will remain in the buliding, plus the 15 classrooms from Thornton Creek, plus the Special Ed from Meany, plus the over flow from AS1, plus the families from Summit, they are going to need at least 3 classes per grade. That leaves no room for the planned mushroom in the proposal. Facilities seems to be double counting a whole lot of spaces.
Roy Smith said…
Speaking as an AS#1 parent, the main things I would like to bring to Thornton Creek are the AS#1 climbing wall and program, and the Rites of Passage program for eighth graders. I think both of these could easily fit into the way TC operates as a school.

I have no problem with my child being assigned homework - she gets homework now as an AS#1 student.

The democratic free school pedagogy has value. That being said, AS#1 is not an effective implementation of that pedagogy. The way it is implemented at AS#1, no decision is ever final if an individual or group disagrees with it and no structure is ever respected if an individual or group disagrees with it. This applies even if the structures were built or decisions made on a completely democratic basis. I don't think this is how a democratic free school ought to work, so I'm fine with going to a pedagogy that is actually being implemented in an effective manner (i.e., ELOB).

I will keep my own counsel with regards to my child taking the WASL, regardless of what school she goes to. Hopefully, with the election of Randy Dorn, the WASL will soon be a sad, useless piece of our history, anyway. I'm not categorically opposed to standardized tests, I'm just opposed to one dimensional evaluation of schools (which use of the WASL has encouraged), and I am opposed to ineffective tests (which by every reasonable analysis, the WASL is).
AutismMom said…
Speaking of the autism programs at Thornton Creek. All the autism programs, except for the the K-2...will move to the new building. The new K-2 autism program for the new Addams building, will come from the Summit school. So... all the autism programs EXCEPT the K-2 will move with their school... the K-2 from Summit, however will be from the old Summit. That seems really weird, and a bad transitional practice. The entire Thornton Creek autism program functioned as a continuum... students move as needed between the classrooms. BUT.. now that will be completely disrupted. In my opinion, it wont fly. The entire Thornton Creek autism program should move (not 2/3 of it)... Summit should have another option... perhaps moving to the old Decatur building.
The situation is even more crowded than Katie suggests.

The entire capacity plan was predicated on a K-8 with a mushroom model where there would be "new" spaces for middle school in the north end. Currently families at the north end of the district mostly go to Shoreline for middle school because they are too far to get into Eckstein and Shoreline is much closer than Hamilton.

That means the board approved a plan for a K-8 with two elementary classrooms per grade and then the remaining classrooms would form a a mushroom where there would be 4-6 classes per grade for middle school. This would have made much needed room for families that live North of 115 at the middle school level. (yes, if you live more than about 1.5 miles from Eckstein, you can't get in) With this plan there is only room for 4 classes per grade in a chimney model. So no *new* middle school spaces, only new space for families that leave.

With the Thornton Creek families that takes two classes per grade, the Autism classes will take one per grade and that leaves one class per grade for the AS1 families that get newly assigned and a few seats for displaced Summit families in the NE, that for some crazy reason think it is unreasonable to put a Kindergartner on a bus for well over an hour to the exact opposite end of town.

This is irresponisble in the extreme with the capacity issues already at hand. There is no justification for closing Pinehurst. The building can handle about 300 kids and we need every seat possible.

Schools in this part of town already have K classes with 30 students. The cluster can't take much more.
AutismMom said…
Correction North Seattle Mom, there are not 1 autism sc classes, there are 4 total proposed autism self-contained classrooms at TC:
K-1 (from Summit, now a K-2),
2-3 and 4-5 (from old TC),
6-8 (from Meany).
Autism Mom -- That is not the case. There are currently three classes at Thornton Creek and all three will move under this plan. The Summit program was designed to be a replica and build out to three classes. I directly asked for clarification about this at the Board Work Session and staff confirmed that the eventual configuration would be for 9 classrooms to be able to meet the full k-8 demand.

I think this is a good and very necessary thing. Reducing transitions for autistic kids is a great thing.

However, staff can't say that they are BOTH solving the capacity problem in the NE and filling the building on day one.

They stated that they can close AS1 and the Pinehurst building because the Jane Adams building solves the capacity problem in the NE and the extra space at Olympic Hills that was going to be used by the NE can then be used to handle any capacity in the N.

My point is that they are double and triple counting things. Olympic Hills is BOTH going to relieve capacity problems in the N AND in the NE. It can't do both, it is a little school.

Jane Adams is going to be the home for Thornton Creek, AS1 N and NE families, an autism K8 AND be a comprehensive middle school for the North end.

The Jane Adams building just isn't that big. Something on that list won't fit and making promises that can't be kept won't help any program. Promising a K8 autism program and then going "oops, no space, we need to move you somewhere else." I think we have seen that plan in action already.

Also the planned inclusion program that would be at the new Decateur building is very needed. There is a tremendous need for more seats in the NE for both gen ed and spec ed kids.

The bottom line is that you can't both make new space and close a building at the same time. Closing any building in the N end at this point will only intensify the capacity crush and ultimately that means even fewer special ed seats.
The first criteria for building closure is
Geographic Need –How do we balance capacity across the district to ensure appropriate number of seats in each geographic area?

Closing any building in the North will not balance capacity and it will not help the budget crisis. The district received a lot of extra and unexpected money from the state this year because of all the extra students in the north end. If we close more buildings in the north, we are only going to push those funding dollars to Shoreline with the students. When Viewlands was closed only half of the families took their SPS assignment. The rest either went to private school or to Shoreline and those funding dollars were then lost to SPS.

Closing Pinehurst would repeat this mistake. Whether or not AS1 remains a program in that building, the building could and should be used.
AutismMom said…
North Seattle Mom,

I know there are 3 autism sc programs at TC. But the preliminary plan says they plan to move only 2 autism programs, leaving the K-2 (which is really a K-1) behind. Is the website wrong? I'm curious where you got your information, who said it. At those work sessions, they typically don't send their special education staff... so it's hard to know what they are actually planning. On page 4, it says in the Thorton Creek Row about its autism programs:

RELOCATE to Jane Addams building to
create a self-contained K-8 autism continuum at Thornton Creek K-8. One K-2 class will REMAIN at Decatur

They do need to have service K-8, if that's the size of the expanded school. But, they don't really need to have a program per grade. Especially if they ever do move to an "integrated service delivery model". Most of these kids aren't local, and they surely aren't served inclusively, or with any inclusive option despite their IEP recommendations. Moving forward the district plans to end these type of specialty programs, in favor of more local generic programming according to regular assignment rules. So it seems odd that they would plan to increase seats at non-local, highly specialized programs, such as these self-contained programs.
I read that too and I get that is the official rationalle in the report. However at the meeting, I directly asked the facilities staff to clarify this for me and they said the intention was to build a real K8 autism program with room to grow. They expected roll up from the current program, and new seats from Meany and expansion space. Some of this was talked about in their testimony to the board.

My point, just to be very clear about this is NOT that there shouldn't be an autism program. I think a 9 class autism program would be wonderful. The point, I keep trying to make is that they are using very very bad math.

My point is that they filled the building before it opened no matter how you count.

The entire NE cluster is over capacity to begin with. Every elementary is full and some of them are having severe capacity management issue. Students at Wedgwood are no longer allowed to play tag on the playground because it isn't safe with all of the bodies. There are K classes with 30 kids in them. Middle School students go to Shoreline because there is just No Space at Eckstein. Spectrum eligible middle schools have no where to go because the Eckstein program is full and the wait list rarely moves. This is a real issue and it needs to be fixed with additional new spaces.

With this plan, you open 15 new and additional ELEMENTARY classrooms at the Decateur building for gen ed and special ed. You then add additional ELEMENTARY classrooms at Jane Adams to accomodate both Thornton Creek AND AS1 and an autism program. Using the smaller of the autism class numbers, this is still at least 25 classrooms. It could be as high as 30 classrooms if they do an expanded autism program. But for the sake of argument, lets say that you are correct and they continue their policy of serving spec ed last and limit the largest program in the NE to only 4 classrooms. I don't think that is the plan but I don't want to argue with you about it.

That is great news on the elementary front and should bring some much needed relief.

However what about Middle School?? With all these new elementary seats, where is the middle school to serve them.

We should not loose site of the fact that this is financial crisis. When students go to Shoreline the state education dollars go wtih them. This is great news for Shoreline but will make the budget crisis even worse.

With the smaller spec ed number that leave room for about 4 classes of middle school students per grade. That is about the same as Salmon Bay. However, Salmon Bay only has about 1.5 elementary classes per grade. This leaves room for new middle schools to join. This new set up would have 3 classes per grade in elementary and that would leave only one NEW Middle School classroom. If there was an expanded autism program, there would be no additional middle school spaces.

I don't want to see the need of middle school, special ed and elementary all pitted against each other.

Closing Pinehurt removes 300 seats from the N end and makes it so that Jane Adams is full on day one.

Two weeks ago, the board voted to move Summit to create space for a K8 with a larger Middle School because of dramatic capacity issue. It was a very hard decision to relocate Summit.

I am saying closing Pinehurst is a an insult to that decision and erases any capacity gains in the NE.

And what about the Summit families from the NE that chose Summit because it was their neighborhood school. This plan doesn't leave any room for them either. I can't imagine that these families were thrilled at the prospect of a full Jane Adams building that leaves them with Rainer Beach as their only option.
North End Mom said…
I share many of the concerns of North Seattle Mom. The focus of these recommendations was supposed to be CAPACITY MANAGEMENT. Yes, it is a difficult task given the current budget shortfalls, and attempting to increase capacity without opening new buildings requires a creative approach, BUT many things that were proposed were not thought through in terms of what impacts the decisions would have on overall capacity in the North/Northeast clusters.

At the workshop Tuesday, everyone seemed quite pleased with the proposal of moving Thornton Creek to the Jane Addams building to grow as a K-8, as it will IN THEORY generate new general education elementary school seats at Decatur, as well as potential middle school seats at the Thornton Creek K-8. The middle school seats will be at an alternative middle school, not a traditional middle school (as was proposed and is desperately needed). Given Thornton Creek's reputation for having high academic standards, this COULD be an adequate, short-term solution to the current capacity crisis, as long as Thornton Creek is allowed to maintain the integrity of their program, and IF following take place.

1)AS-1 remains open. Assignment of AS-1 students to Thornton Creek will obliterate the "mushroom" K-8 model (300 elem/500 middle school), leaving no middle school seats available for NE and N cluster children who currently have no neighborhood middle school (Sorry SPS, Hamilton isn't your "neighborhood school" if you live in Lake City).

2)Summit should be relocated to CENTRAL location! It is highly unlikely that many Summit families living in the North/Northeast clusters will follow the program to RBHS. This will ADD to our capacity problem in NE Seattle, not help it. Also, will there be room for the Summit "refugees" in the new Thornton Creek K-8? It's looking pretty full.

3) A better solution needs to be found for the North/Northeast population of Lowell. The reality of what has been proposed is that many of these students will be coming back to their already over-crowded neighborhood schools, and/or filling the Decatur School building. We need that building to meet current capacity needs, not to meet ones generated by displacement of students now being served at Lowell on Capital Hill.

The idea of putting North/NE APP at Pinehurst is intriguing, but that still doesn't solve the potential overcrowding at Thornton Creek K-8 (where AS-1 students are proposed to be assigned).

I have watched closely as proposals for the Jane Addams building have gone from comprehensive middle school (Capacity Task Force proposal), to traditional "mushroom" K-8 (Board proposal), to the current proposal of an alternative K-8 that is being billed as a "mushroom" model, but will be so over-stuffed at the bottom end from day one, that it will not be able to serve the middle school needs of the surrounding community (and that is IF parents from the traditional community decide the alternative model would work for their child).

What is left for us in the north end? We still do not have reasonable access to a comprehensive middle school! The closest middle school is in Shoreline, and this is not an easy transition, as they have 7th-8th grade middle schools, so these kids have to enroll in an extra year of Shoreline elementary school, then make the middle school transition. Amazingly, MANY families find this to be a better choice than putting their kid on a bus for one hour in each direction to Hamilton. Nothing against Hamilton, but the Shoreline schools are CLOSER, and with middle school starting at 7:45 AM, the proximity to school is important to families, so the hassles of transitioning to Shoreline are worth it.

So, while on the surface it looks like SPS pulled a magic act, by increasing capacity without opening any buildings, they haven't. We will be flooded in the NE with alternative and APP kids looking for seats, as well as faced with our original capacity crisis. It is questionable at best if the current "solutions" will help, perhaps a little at the elementary school level, but there will be very little relief at all at the middle school level.

If there are any long-plans in the works for resolving the middle school crisis in NE Seattle, I would LOVE to hear them! It is in SPS best interest to accomodate ALL of our families. The city line is at 145th Street, not 110th! Otherwise, SPS will continue to lose an increasing market share to Shoreline Schools, and THAT will not help their budget one little bit!
anonymous said…
As a north Seattle family who has an 8th grade son attending a nearby Shoreline middle school, I can tell you that Kellogg, our Shoreline school is much more convenient than Hamilton would be for us. It is much closer to our home, and it is much higher performing than Hamilton. It is a fabulous school, and we are so grateful to have had this option, when we couldn't get our son into Eckstein (we live 1.6 miles away from Eckstein).

We are not alone. There are many other NE Seattle families that choose Shoreline elementary and middle schools. Shoreline elementary schools are much higher performing than than the far north elementary schools in N Seattle (Olympic Hills, Northgate, and even John Rogers). And as for middle school, Kellogg is every bit as strong as Eckstein, and is half the size at 690 kids. It is a very attractive option.

Shoreline has the space to accomodate the north Seattle kids and welcome them with open arms. In fact all you have to do is walk into the school, fill out the out of district form, and you walk out enrolled. It's that easy. If SPS doesn't provide N Seattle families with some attractive options, the exodus to Shoreline will continue.

Pinehurst should remain open, whether it houses the AS1 program or not. I actually think AS1 does a good job of serving the population that they do. Most of the families that choose AS1 will not filter into other schools easily, there is a reason they do not mainstream. They really need what they have in AS1. That said, if Pinehurst were to be repurposed why couldn't it house the elementary portion of Thornton Creek (it's a n and ne cluster draw school). Then Jane Adams could be the Thorton Creek Middle school and k-8 autism program?? Would that attract families?? We must have some option to relieve the pressure and overcrowding at Eckstein and the current plan just doesn't address that at all.

Any other ideas for middle school over crowding in NE Seattle????
anonymous said…
Just to add to my above post, if Jane Adams were to house only the Thorton Creek middle school and the k-8 autism program, it would be large enough to be a comprehensive middle school and offer all of the electives, sports, band, some advanced classes, and after school programs. It could still follow the Harvard based, ELOB pedagogy that is the guiding principal of Thorton Creek, but it would be large enough to be comprehensive. It could truly be a gem, not to mention a savior for the north end!!!
North End Mom said…

Do you have capacity numbers for the closest Shoreline elementary schools and middle school (Kellog). Do they truly have the capacity and the desire to take on more N. Seattle families?

Many of us in the N. end were holding out hope that we were FINALLY going to see the middle school crisis resolved by these recommendations, but if our needs are once again ignored, I'm sure there will be a MASS exodus!
Charlie Mas said…
When the District changes the student assignment plan, each middle school will have its own reference area. The reference area for Eckstein will have to start in the northeast corner of the district and move south and west from there. When that happens, it will be students living south of 110th who won't be able to get in to Eckstein.
Unknown said…
Just a quick clarification to ad hoc and others -- Thornton Creek is a NE cluster option only -- not a north and northeast one.
anonymous said…
North end mom, I do not have capacity numbers, but I know there are many north end families at Kellog. It is located at 25th ave NE @ 160th street, so for many of us it is just as close to us as Eckstein is, and much closer than Hamilton.

I have posted this before, but I will mention it again. Kellogg test scores are very high, they are competitive with Eckstein. They are much smaller at 690 students, but are a thriving, comprehensive, traditional middle school. The offer self select honors classes in science, math, english and social studies. No tests to get honors classes, and no waitlist. Any kid that wants the challenge get it. They have a great sports program, very strong band program, a full array of electives, and after school offerings. And, get this, every kid gets an ibook laptop. They have won the national technology school of distinction award several years running. I can't say enough great stuff about the school!

The only drawbacks are that Shoreline middle schools are 7 and 8 grade only. So, for kids coming out of seattle elementary they would have to go to a shoreline elementary for one year, or private, or Hamilton or ???? The only other drawback is no bus service to Seattle, but if we had enough families we could probably request bus service. It might be worth it to them, after all they are getting the state funding that follows every student enrolled their no matter where they live.

Tamara - Thornton Creek is and always has been a two cluster draw school (n and ne). I just double checked their website to make sure nothing has changed and it hasn't. I would imagine since the n cluster has no alt school now, the district will continue the two cluster draw even with the new assignment plan, which doesn't help the over crowding in the NE at all, but is more equitable for families seeking an alt school.
North End Mom said…
The current reference area for Thornton Creek (at Decatur) is both the north and northeast clusters. See their website:

According to the preliminary recommendations submitted on Nov. 25th (p. 24-27), the proposed Thornton Creek K-8 at Jane Addams will also draw from the north and northeast clusters.
North End Mom said…

I've heard all the claims that the mysterious, yet-to-be revealed new assignment plan will provide middle school feeder patterns for each elementary school reference area. I certainly hope so.
North End Mom said…

Thank you for your views on Shoreline schools. I know of several families with similar opinions. It definitely sounds worth looking into.
katie said…
It sounds like Kellogg is really wonderful. No wonder so many families choose to go there rather than take an hour plus bus ride to Hamilton. Since it is only two grades it is not that much smaller than Eckstein's 1200 kids in three grades with 1/3 of them in portables.
anonymous said…
Kellogg is much smaller than Eckstein. 50% smaller. It serves 690 students, while Eckstein serves 1250. While Kellogg may serve 345 kids per grade, the total bodies in the building are 690. 690 teenagers under one roof is much much more manageable than 1250, no matter how you dice it up. And they have smaller class sizes and no portables!!! All of my sons teachers know him very well.
anonymous said…
The other great thing that Shoreline offers for north end families is another high school option. Kids that move through Kellogg are offered a spot at Shorecrest HS, which is right next to Kellogg. Shorecrest is a traditional HS that rivals Roosevelt in every way. For families that live in the north part of the NE cluster, who can't get into Roosevelt, and whose child may not be a good fit for somewhat alternative Hale, there is another option in Shoreline...Shorecrest.

Socially, it's great for the kids too. Since, Shoreline only has one high school east of I-5 (Shorecrest) all of the Kellogg 8th graders move as a class to Shorecrest. In other words the graduating 8th graders of Kellogg are the following years freshman class at Shorecrest. The cohort stays together.
Charlie, why couldn't Hamilton's reference area go east to west and Eckstein's north to south? My feeling is that the district should try to provide the shortest bus ride for the most kids. I don't get why north end kids should have a longer bus ride being bused past Eckstein to get to Hamilton than if kids in the east of the region busing past Eckstein to get to Hamilton.

The assumption is that everyone in the lower part of the region (NE)should go to Eckstein but that leaves an entire
region (N) to have to go further to Hamilton with a longer bus ride. How is that fair?
anonymous said…
Harium is asking for input on the closure/consolidation on his blog. He is board director for the NE cluster. Make your feelings known
Megan Mc said…
AS#1 @ Pinehurst must stay open :

1. Geographic & Proximity Criteria. Closing AS#1 would destroy the capacity plan that was just passed because it eliminates the increased capacity in the N, NE, NW. The numbers are being double counted: The Jane Addams building has 32 teaching stations. If the new Thornton Creek K-8 is set up as a mushroom model then there is no other rooms for other k-5 classrooms: 12 taken up by TC, 10 taken up by Autism, 8 taken up by AS#1 which only leaves 1 left over classroom for excess NE capacity and NO room for additional middle school seats.

2. Geographic & Proximity Criteria. Decator K-5 will be filled with NE families on day one. Olympic Hills and Northgate have also been promised to NE families for capacity relief.

3. Cost Per Pupil Criteria. The building could be filled with displaced Summit families who do not want to move out of the area thereby reducing the cost per pupil number.

4. Cost per pupil criteria. We accept that all city draw transportation would end. Future transportation would be included for N, NE, NW only.

5. Balance to Programs Criteria. There is high demand for alternative schools. There would still be no leftover capacity at Salmon Bay and Thornton Creek with the removal of 700 alternative seats from the North end (summit and AS#1). There would be no room to add alternative seats in future years.

6. Balance to Programs Criteria. AS#1 serves an important equity function as evidenced by the higher number of minority and free/reduced school lunch students.

7. Academic Performance Criteria. AS#1 is performing well under the Alternative Schools check list developed by the district. The WASL is not a good measure for the school.

8. Academic Performance Criteria. District should wait until they have an alternative schools audit to make determinations about whether or not to continue the AS#1 program.

9. Potential Consequence. Closing a north end building will ensure that Shoreline will get more North End families which means less money for the district. 20% of families did not go where the district reassigned them last time. 10% left SPS altogether. The district would lose money by pushing families out.

10. Potential Consequence. Unnecessary disruption. Anyone else that moves in the building will displace the current population without giving them anywhere else to go. The district will only be switching populations by keeping Pinehurst open but discontinuing AS#1.
Anonymous said…
So how does making Thornton Creek a K-8 help with middle school capacity issues in the NE? Are they expecting that parents with kids at Bryant, Wedgwood, etc will choose this program over Eckstein? Is that a realistic expectation? If we wanted an alternative school, we would have chosen Thornton Creek at Kindergarten.

I just don't understand how offering an alternative middle school program is "better" than having offered a new tradiational K-8 in the Adams building and leaving Thornton Creek where it is, as a K-5. I'd really love to understand how this is supposed to work.
anonymous said…
I agree with the above poster, using Adams to house an alternative school will not address the over crowding at Eckstein. At all.

I think the Adams building must be used for a traditional middle school, or at the very least a traditional k-8 school. But an alternative?? Summit and AS1 could not fill their buildings. While all of the traditional elementary, middle and high schools in the NE are full with wait lists.

Doesn't this tell the district something? We need more traditional seats, not alternative.
katie said…
Thornton Creek is also full with a wait list at every grade just like all of the traditional schoosl and they added additional classrooms as well last year just like all of the traditional schools. Salmon Bay and Tops are alternative K-8s that also full with wait lists at every grade every year. That also tells the District something.

I am not saying it is a good idea. A better idea would have been to open a closed building like Sandpoint or Marshall so that there was actual new capacity. But in a budget crisis, the district simply refused to open a new building.

I think the real issue here is that a Thornton Creek K8 would be full right at the start and then we still need a new middle school in a few years. Thornton Creek has very high test scores and enough families would choose it that it would easily fill.

It will not take any pressure off of Eckstein but frankly I don't think anything will take pressure off of Eckstein. Most of the families in the Jane Adams neighborhood are already too far North to get into Eckstein. They are either bussed (past Eckstein, much to their chagrin) to Hamilton and/or drive to Kellogg in Shoreline. This type of K8 might be attractive enough to get some of those Shoreline families back to SPS.

Eckstein is a very high performing school and it has a track record of handling its 1200 kids very well. I don't see that number going down anytime soon. The number of kids in the area are going up to quickly. Hamilton, Eckstein and Jane Adams would all be full in a few years, regardless of how each of the schools are programed just because of the number of bodies in this part of town.
Charlie Mas said…
The is no shortage of middle school space in northeast Seattle. There is plenty of space. The problem is that the space is at Hamilton and Hamilton is not appealing to the community it is supposed to serve.

Folks in the Northeast may not like the space, but they do have it.
anonymous said…
This whole conversation has just taken a different turn.

As you know Hamilton serves about 400 students that live in it's immediate neighborhood.

Now Director Martin Morris posted on his blog that Hamilton will be the new reference school for kids that live in the Meany reference area. It will officially be a reference area school for Capitol Hill/Central.

That does not leave much, if any, room for NE students.
anonymous said…
Thornton Creek will be full from day one with current Thornton Creek students, AS1 students, and displaced N Seattle Summit students. They will not be adding any new capacity, just accommodating current kids who have been displaced. In fact the new TC will not be able to accomodate all of the displaced students that live in the N plus there own. So the capacity issue will in fact be exasperated by the closure or AS1 and move of Summit.

So how Charlie, can you say that there is no shortage of middle school seats in the NE cluster.

Kids living north of 110 already can't get into Eckstein as is. Some do go to Hamilton because they get a bus, but many, and I mean many, go to Shoreline (myself included) because the school is close to our home, their middle school is strong, and they welcome us with open arms.

I have to choose a ms for younger son next year. Where can I send him? We probably won't get into Eckstein. Now, we won't get into Hamilton either, and frankly, I'm glad because it doesn't perform well, and I don't want my kid on a one hour bus ride (selfish me). Though I do not want an alt school for my child (I tried one it didn't work for him) I couldn't get into TC anyway. It will be full from day 1. Heck, I can't even go to Shoreline because their middle schools only offer 7th and 8th grades.

So Charlie, since you say there is no lack of capacity in the NE, please tell me which traditional MS my child can go to. And, please tell me quickly because I have to enroll him in a few weeks. And please, for gods sake, don't suggest something across town.
Charlie Mas said…
The District has a number of capacity management problems. One of those problems is with northeast middle schools. The problem does not require the District to change the amount of capacity, but to re-allocate it. That re-allocation will come with the new student assignment plan.

There are fewer than 2,000 middle school students in the Northeast Region. That's straight off the enrollment data from the District's new assignment plan web site. When the renovations at Hamilton are complete, the school will have a capacity of 1,000. Eckstein clearly also has a capacity of more than 1,000. Between the two buildings there is certainly sufficient space for all of the northeast region students. That's an objective truth.

In the new student assignment plan, middle schools will not share reference areas; they will each have their own. In the new student assignment plan, the middle school reference areas will be right-sized and will correspond with elementary school reference areas to create feeder patterns for vertical alignment and social continuity.

It is clear to anyone who considers the matter that the reference area for Eckstein will probably encompass the reference areas for John Rogers, Olympic Hills, Sacajawea, Wedgwood, Olympic View, and Decatur - give or take. Most of these parts of the city could not be in any other middle school's reference area.

The reference area for Hamilton is likely to include the reference areas for View Ridge, Bryant, Laurelhurst, Green Lake, JSIS, B.F. Day, and West Woodland.

Please remember that the creation of a reference area for Decatur will push the Bryant reference area south and the View Ridge reference area east and south from their current boundaries.

I may be wrong about some of the specific schools, but the general idea will hold. Between these two schools there is plenty of room for all of the students in the area. The distance tie-breaker, however, has caused it to be poorly allocated by keeping the students in the far north out of Eckstein.

There are two critical points here. 1) There can be no question that there is sufficient middle school capacity in the northeast already. 2) Anyone looking to the future will see that Bryant, Laurelhurst and View Ridge are most likely to be in the Hamilton reference area when the new student assignment plan is written.

If you see it any other way, please describe your reasoning.
North End Mom said…
To clarify Harium's comments about the displaced Meany students, he said in his reply to Charlie:

"In the orginal proposal, some of the students from Meany would be assigned to Hamilton others would be assigned to schools near their residences."

I don't see any mention of setting up reference areas for Hamilton in Capitol Hill.

Adhoc, unless you are comfortable with the Thornton Creek option (and middle school seats there miraculously appear), Shoreline Schools seem to be working well for you, and seem to be your best option for next year, despite the inconvenience of having to first enroll your child in a Shoreline elementary school for 6th grade, then move up to Kellog middle school. I know families who have done that, and it has worked for them. The lack of transportation is a pain, though, so it is not an option that is accessible to all families.

Charlie, there may not be a NE middle school crisis at the current time, because there are seats at Hamilton that could be filled with students from NE Seattle, but projections show a very different story in just a few years time.
old salt said…
So we will be busing kids to a reference middle school when they are in the walk zone for a different school.

I would like to see the transportation budget decrease when we are finished with the new assignment plan.
Roy Smith said…
bird lover said: I think the Adams building must be used for a traditional middle school, or at the very least a traditional k-8 school. But an alternative?? Summit and AS1 could not fill their buildings. While all of the traditional elementary, middle and high schools in the NE are full with wait lists.

Doesn't this tell the district something? We need more traditional seats, not alternative.

It may have already been said, but Thornton Creek, Salmon Bay, TOPS, Orca, and Pathfinder are consistently full and consistently have waitlists. There is plenty of demand for alternative schools, unless the particular school is failing, just like there is plenty of demand for traditional reference area schools, unless the particular school is failing.

Thornton Creek is a strong program and I have faith that it will be able to effectively utilize a larger building. AS#1 and Summit are struggling, and it may make sense at this point to make room for the strong programs and clear away the programs that are not in demand.

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