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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Open Thread for Hawthorne/Thurgood Marshall/TT Minor/Leschi

26 comments:

TechyMom said...

Montessori at Leschi is a good thing. I'm hopeful that this will help Leschi become a better school. It will be on my list. Probably not first place, but maybe 3rd. Since I probably won't get my first 2 (TOPS and McGilvra) a good 3rd makes me happy.

If we test into Spectrum, we wouldn't have to change schools. Maybe, just maybe, this can help the Spectrum program at Leschi too.

Charlie Mas said...

The APP review had three things to say about the possibility of splitting or relocating the program.

1. The entire 500 students are not needed to form a viable cohort. Re-think what is the critical mass of students necessary to form a sustainable learning community.

2. Do NOT split or duplicate the program until you have defined the curriculum.

3. If you place the program in a school with general education students, put it in a school where the general education population is similar to the APP population in socio-economic status and academic achievement.

Each half of the program will have about 250 students, which is enough to form a viable program. There will be only one 1st grade class at each location and it may be small, but half programs of 250 should work.

The District says that splitting the program is just the kick in the ass they need to create the urgency to write the curriculum and they will have it ready for the fall.

There is, however, no way for them to get around the mismatch in SES and academic achievement between the APP population and the populations at Thurgood Marshall and Hawthorne.

Hawthorne is 76% FRE and the 4th grade WASL pass rates last year were 46.7% in reading, 43.3% in writing, and 26.7% in math. All are below the state average, below the district average, and below the previous year's pass rate.

Thurgood Marshall is 83% FRE and the 4th grade WASL pass rates last year were 35.9% in reading, 51.4% in writing, and 28.6% in math. All are below the state average, below the district average, and below the previous year's pass rate.

Before elementary APP was at Lowell it was at Madrona. The relationship was a total disaster. Putting elementary APP at Thurgood Marshall and Hawthorne sounds like an exact repeat of the Madrona disaster.

So the questions are:

1. How does the District reconcile their decision to place in the program in buildings that are so unsuitable per the APP review?

2. What steps will the District take to prevent a repeat of the disaster at Madrona?

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 conversation@kuow.org
Or you can listen and call in during the show at 1 pm.

http://www.kuow.org/program.php?current=TC

Charlie Mas said...

Shouldn't the site for north-end elementary APP be in the north-end?

According to the District, they would have put it there, but there isn't a building where they can put it. Hmmmm. We'll have to ponder that. Perhaps we can find one.

Roy Smith said...

Charlie Mas says: According to the District, they would have put it there, but there isn't a building where they can put it. Hmmmm. We'll have to ponder that. Perhaps we can find one.

Pinehurst will apparently be available. It can hold 280-300 students.

Pete! said...

If I am correct, there isn't a K-5 APP program for the "north end." That is going by the SPS website, which could obviously be wrong, (and found here.

Perhaps a better question would be: "How will those programs work with the existing communities at Marshall and Hawthorne?"

What is the statistical information on south end students that make APP but can't go to Lowell because they can't get a bus there or the travel is too far?

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.

Charlie Mas said...

There is no elementary APP location specifically for the north-end right now. Right now there is only one elementary APP location - Lowell - for the whole city.

The proposal from the Superintendent, presented last night, was to close Lowell because the building's condition is so poor and move the elementary APP students to two different locations. One, at Thurgood Marshall, for the students who live in the Queen Anne/Magnolia, Northwest, North, and Northeast clusters, and another at Hawthorne for the students who live in the Central, South, Southeast, and West Seattle clusters.

I hope this clarifies matters for the_Lorax.

There are no students who cannot get a bus to Lowell. Elementary students who qualify for APP are all provided with yellow bus transportation to the school unless they live within the school's walk zone.

jd said...

I'd love to hear from some Thurgood Marshall and Hawthorne parents about their schools, and their concerns and hopes for the coming invasion. Given the outlook of the staff and the superintendent, I'm going to assume that the plan will move forward as presented, and want to focus on what's needed to make the integration of APP into these schools work.

Charlie Mas said...

Okay. I've looked more carefully at the district's report and I now understand something I had missed before.

Take a look at page 109 of the preliminary report and appendices.

Hawthorne has a planning capacity of 428. The functional capacity is surely smaller, particularly given the presence of self-contained special education students in the building.

The District projects placing 238 APP students there. These APP students have siblings. The sibling tie-breaker comes first - even before reference area. If there is one sibling for every four APP students (a ratio I made up without any data to support it), there will be about 60 APP siblings that will also enroll at Hawthorne ahead of the neighborhood students.

Of the 428 seats at Hawthorne, about 300 of them will go to APP students or their brothers and sisters. 34 seats will go to special education students. There will fewer than 100 seats for neighborhood general education students. That's going to have to be a pretty small reference area. The neighborhood students will be outnumbered 3:1 by APP students and siblings.

The situation at Thurgood Marshall will be even more severe. It has a planning capacity of 422, a projected APP enrollment of 261, and a projected self-contained Special Education enrollment of 23. Take away 65 seats for an APP sibling for every four students in the program and we are left with only 73 seats available for neighborhood general education students. The neighborhood kids will be outnumbered 4.5:1 by APP students and their siblings. The general education classes will be about half neighborhood kids and half brothers and sisters of APP students. How small will the reference area have to be for Thurgood Marshall?

bikemom said...

"TechyMom said...
Montessori at Leschi is a good thing."

Montessori at TT Minor is a good thing, too. We are loving our experience there.

I believe that if it were allowed to expand, we could fill all of the "excess capacity" at TT Minor with Central Cluster students who want to enroll in the Montessori program.

We need more integrated school options in the Central Cluster. It seems that we have some of the most segregated schools in the District.

So far, the Montessori program at TT Minor is a great mix of kids, I'd love to see it allowed to grow.

Montessori will be good at Leschi, but does TT Minor really have to close?

Unknown said...

Yes, bikemom, is completely correct. I am sure it is possible for Leschi to improve with a Montesorri program in the same way it has at TT Minor, but not a strong arguement to move it.

reader said...

Perhaps the district is assuming that APP siblings will not get any sibling preference in these new buildings as they have no preference now (because there is no program). And, would they really want it? None of the ones I know with sibs would put their sibs in those selected schools. I think that is a pretty moot point.

Charlie Mas said...

I think APP families might choose to enroll their other children at Thurgood Marshall and Hawthorne once they learn two things:

1) The District has absolutely guaranteed that each of these schools would develop an Advanced Learning Opportunity program in their general education classrooms.

2) Once things get rolling, the APP siblings could account for anywhere from one-third to two-thirds of the general education students - or more.

Charlie Mas said...

The trick to this is to stop thinking of the schools as they are, and to start thinking of the schools as they will be.

reader said...

Ok... I'll imagine the great, popular Hawthorn and T-Marshall of the future, with lots of advanced learning all around. The neighborhood kids will get in because they will enroll at kindergarten. Like all students enrolling in popular schools, they may not get in at other grades. The APP sibs will get in as space becomes available.... which could be, not at all, since the school is small, great, and full. So, the situation will be the same as it is now, which is evidently quite fine. Sibs stay home, and go to the school according to assignment rules. So, your point is still moot, which is to say, it isn't a real problem.

Dorothy Neville said...

Reader: Siblings will enroll in kindergarten as well. Based on ptsa surveys of APP families, they value diversity and like that it is available to their kids in middle and high school. And committees have been formed to work on increasing diversity in APP elementary school.

So I would think that Charlie may be onto something. Younger siblings of APP students would start out at Hawthorne/TM. Many, but not all, will eventually test into APP, but before then, they can bridge the gap, so to speak, between the regular and ALO classes and the APP classes. Would a strong active push to get siblings enrolled alleviate some of the negative issues that existed when APP was at Madrona?

Charlie Mas said...

reader should not presume that "The APP sibs will get in as space becomes available.... which could be, not at all, since the school is small, great, and full."

Check out the data on student turnover for Hawthorne and Thurgood Marshall.

At Hawthorne, only 66.8% of students enrolled the previous year returned to the school last year. And 42 students transferred out during the year. That's 16% of the average enrollment of 258. If those rates hold up, then there will be seven to ten seats made available in each grade at the beginning of the year and another three seats in each grade that becomes available during the year.

At Thurgood Marshall, only 51.4% of the students enrolled the previous year returned to the school and 105 of the 297 students - 35% - transferred out during the year. This would translate into 15 seats made available in each class at the start of each year and about ten seats made available in each class during the year.

Younger siblings will be applying for kindergarten seats and will get in ahead of neighborhood students.

Due to the rapid student turnover at these schools, even APP families seeking seats in the general education programs shouldn't have much trouble getting one.

Thanks to the updated sibling rule in the student assignment policy, two siblings are admitted to a school at the same time. So a family can get sibling preference for a general education child at one of these schools in the same year that they choose it for the APP-eligible student.

reader said...

Look, it's ridiculous. Do you know anyone who wants to go to T Marshall in the north? There's already an ALO, as you mention. Did siblings want to go to Madrona? The answer is no, they do not want to go. Even S-end people with APP sibs will not switch, and I know several of these. Further, there are lots APP kids, with APP siblings. Will a non-APP sibling want to forego their neighborhood experience at a good school... just to ride the bus with their APP sibling. That's all a red herring, a pot shot at the plan, and I think everybody knows it.

Pete! said...

Charlie, thanks for the clarification. I appreciate it.

What I am still slightly unclear about is #3 of the APP Review... why do the APP kids need the be in a school of similar socio-economic status and academic achievement? Is it that the APP kids will stick out like a sore thumb at Hawthorne/Marshall? Would they not be able to be friends? How did they come to that conclusion (is there research behind it?)?

I am not going to make any false pretention about understanding how difficult it is to have your school closed, or program moved. But why exactly wouldn't parents send their kids to T Marshall or Hawthorne? We can say "none of the ones I know would go" but there isn't clear explanation of why that is. It is something I'm grappling with.

jd said...

Lorax -- I think many parents simply have fear of the unknown, which leads to a lot of false assumptions. They've never been to Thurgood or Hawthorne, nor do they know anyone who has sent their kids there. They may have never been in an environment where they are the minority. With so little experience, it sometimes takes a while to get their mind around the fact that schools are also filled with good kids for whom their parents and teachers want the best. If the APP program winds up there, and people see the school up close, more will get over their various issues and see sending their sibling there as a viable option. I think the choice model in seattle makes people focus so much on optimizing everything that smaller differences seem to be a bigger deal than they actually are.

Charlie Mas said...

Good questions. Why did the reviewers say that APP should go into a school with similar SES and academic achievement?
Here is the report. The reccommendation actually appears on the very last page of the report. The concern was that severe differences between the populations could be the source of divisiveness.

We have already seen this played out here in Seattle when elementary APP (then called IPP) was housed at Madrona. It was a poor partnership.

I don't think anyone can predict whether APP families will choose to enroll siblings in the general education programs at Thurgood Marshall or Hawthorne. reader has predicted both that they won't be able to get in and that they won't want to get in. I won't predict if they will or not, but I can project what would happen if APP families did enroll their other children at these schools. I can also say that I think they should.

I believe the District will work hard to make these programs successful. I think Bob Vaughan will work hard to make these programs successful. I think that Carla Santorno and Dr. Goodloe-Johnson each have a personal stake in seeing that these programs are successful.

Moreover, I live in Southeast Seattle myself and I think that these programs can be successful. I think that the presence of APP in the schools and the high-level attention paid to the programs will attract involved families from all over the clusters. It's possible that Thurgood Marshall could become the fifth school on the assignment form for a lot of families in the Central Cluster (Montlake, McGilvra, Stevens, and TOPS being the first four). I think families in the South might list Hawthorne as a fourth choice.

TechyMom said...

I agree that Montessori at TT Minor is a good thing. It was a good thing at MLK too. I did some volunteer work to start it there and donated a fair bit of money to it there. MLK is 3 blocks from my house, and I was sorry to see it close. I was glad that the Montessori survived that closure, and I'm glad that it survived this one.

Leschi is nicer campus. I'll admit that it's also somewhat more convienient for me, but it really is a nicer building, with a big park next door, a great view, access to beaches, and a lot of other plusses. Montessori and Spectrum at the same school is appealing to me, and I'm hoping the two together can attract more neighborhood families, and maybe even get Spectrum-elligable in kids in Central to go there instead of private school. The neighborhood is far more affluent than the school. Getting affluent neighborhood kids and Montessori and Central Spectrum kids to go to this local school could, potentially, make this a successful, integrated school in a nice building in a good location. I'm hoping the Montessori is the spark needed to get this started.

There are some good things about Minor, and I would have preferred to see T Marshall or Gatzert closed instead, but I think this move will be ok, and has the potential to do some good things.

Unknown said...

Regarding the APP sibs at Marshall & Hawthorne - if you are a family with 1 APP kid and a sibling at another school, it means that to be an involved parent you must support, via time & $, two schools. You may have conflicting schedules for school events, requiring you to choose one over the other. Given this, if this same family had the choice to send both kids to the same school, and focus their support on one school, why is it so hard to believe that they would choose to send the sib to the same school as the APP kid?

hschinske said...

How much will the district lose in Title 1 funding for Thurgood Marshall and Hawthorne if APP moves in? How will that dollar amount compare to what the Lowell PTA typically raises each year? I suspect we'd end up losing money per pupil in this transaction.

Helen Schinske

Charlie Mas said...

I believe the District would get the same funding, but, like the neighborhood students, it would not go to these schools anymore. Like the neighborhood students, the Title 1 funding would go to other schools.