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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

School Closure/Consolidations Rumors & News

What are now just school closure and consolidation rumors will become news by 6 pm.

Affected school principals are talking to their staff now. The "workshop" for the public with the Board and District is at 6 pm tonight at the Stanford Center. (I hope to attend and "live blog" the event.) And then a statement will be released to the media and all district employees at 7 pm.

I have mixed feelings about spreading rumors that are already out there, but I decided to go ahead and post here what is already posted on the The Stranger's blog (The Slog) to generate discussion and hopefully collect more information from anyone out there who knows.

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From The Slog:

City School Closure Rumor of the Day
Posted by Jonah Spangenthal-Lee on Tue, Nov 25 at 12:08 PM

The Seattle School District will announce its preliminary closure plan at a school board meeting tonight (6 pm at district headquarters) and there appear to be a few big surprises on the agenda:

According to sources in the district—who asked not to be named—the district will recommend closing TT Minor Elementary, Alternative School # 1, the African American Academy and Lowell Elementary, which currently houses the district's Advanced Placement Program.

The district will also apparently move Thornton Creek Elementary to the Jane Adams building—which currently houses the Summit K-12 program—and move Summit's program to Rainier Beach.

Seattle Public Schools spokesman David Tucker would not confirm any of these changes before tonight's board meeting, but staff at several schools have already been told about the district's plan.

22 comments:

reader said...

Does anyone have more info/insight as to the relocation of Summit to Rainier Beach?

WS said...

I'll definitely be liveblogging at our site, West Seattle Blog (westseattleblog.com), so either that means two live sources (one with a citywide take and one with more of a West-side take) or at least I'll be there so that if you aren't, it's not uncovered. I also will tweet major developments via our Twitter account, @westseattleblog (if you're not near a computer, you can arrange to monitor Twitter via cellphone) - Tracy at WSB

WS said...

Arbor Heights Elementary on the list, according to Arbor Heights folks who have already set up a site:
http://savearborheights.blogspot.com/

Beth Bakeman said...

Thanks, Tracy. If I'm there, I'll be with my three kids (two twin red head girls and a younger girl). Would love to meet you.

--- Beth

Jet City mom said...

well- there is a building with space for Summit K-12, at Rainier Beach- but givena local high school principal- decided against having sports teams from his high school practice at RB, for safety reasons- when they were without facilities- I am wondering what has changed to make it a desirable facility for a K-12 program.


I am also wondering- has the community at Rainier Beach been able to participate in the process at all? Or are they even aware that this is a consideration?

With South Lake high school, which celebrated their grand opening just a few months ago on Rainier Ave S, is there a compelling need for another alternative high school in the same neighborhood?

anonymous said...

I thought the k-8 at Adamms was going to be traditional. If Thornton Creek moves there it will be an alternative school. And, would the district open up a new k-5 in the Decatur building once Thornton Creek vacates?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Not just South Lake (which is re-renty) but not one but two K-8s (but if they close AAA, what will be there?) and Dunlap, all in about 1.5 miles of each other. That's a lot of programs competing against each other.

I was aware that Thorton Creek had, in the past, thought about being a K-8 (and ironically, they actually have the space to expand). Maybe they will have Thorton Creek expand to K-8 at Jane Addams (and established program to be sure but is it enough to draw in the numbers they need to fill it as opposed to say, an international school). I wonder what their reaction will be. And will the old Thorton Creek building become a traditional K-5?

I had thought it would be Rainier Beach, Roxhill and Arbor Heights for sure.

h2o girl said...

Moving Thorton Creek to Jane Addams is a confusing choice. I wonder if they're planning to co-house it with the new K-8 there? Doesn't that seem to contradict having the new K-8 alleviate overcrowding elsewhere? I suppose we'll find out in a couple hours.

Beth Bakeman said...

A comment from a West Seattle teacher on the West Seattle blog says Pathfinder is proposed to move to the Arbor Heights building.

Arbor Heights Elementary reportedly on school closure list

Steve Zemke said...

If Lowell is really on the list the District has a lot of explaining to do about how closing a citywide successful APP program in a central location makes any sense.

The District has a successful program to help gifted kids and it's future should be dealt with separately from other school closings. It's not just a building and budget issue but how to keep a critical mass of students and teachers together that works.

Unless the APP program is moving to a larger facility to serve more students and families in a central location it makes no sense to close Lowell Elementary.

ParentofThree said...

Remember, it's all rumors so far. If Lowell is closed I am sure it is in relation to a restructure of the AP program. And there have been rumors that there were changes coming to AP.

There are probably some other missing links that will be made public shortly that will put it all into context.


Or at least I hope it will.

anonymous said...

This is the exact reason that I thought AS1 should encourage their students to stop opting out of taking the WASL. All of the families that opt out earn the school a great big zero, which is averaged into the schools overall performance and ultimately results in well below average test scores. Year after year. This rebellion against the WASL has finally come back to bite them in the behind.

AS1 is currently in step 4 of NCLB, and will certainly move on to step 5 next year. In step 5 the district is mandated to either restructure or close the school. It looks like the district is getting the job out of the way now instead of next year.

Now, a great little school, that served it's community well, will be closed because they refused to conform and take a test. In the end it's very sad, and I think, it was avoidable.

dan dempsey said...

So is the district going to video this meeting and make it available through streaming video?

Beth Bakeman said...

Yes, but, from what I understand, not live. It will taped and shown later.

Sahila said...

seattlegal -
have you attended AS#1, do you have kids that go there?

Have you talked to any of the parents about their choices to have their kids either take or not take the WASL?

If your answer is no to these questions, then on what information do you base your opinion that the school has been failing and that the stubbornness of parents has resulted in the closure of the school?

Its not correct to say the school is failing - we measure achievement using yardsticks other than the 'holy grail' of standardised testing. No one knows how our kids would 'perform' and what the test scores would be if they all took the WASL - they might top the state, especially as a high percentage of the kids go on to high school as honours students.

The Alternative in AS#1 stands for something - its not just there as an empty descriptor... its a pity some people in the Seattle education community cannot respect the choices the AS#1 community has made, for perfectly valid educational, philosophical and societal reasons.

anonymous said...

Respect the decisions or not, AS1 is closing, and probably in large part because of their perceived lack of performance due the low WASL scores. The district must (federally mandated) restructure or consolidate the school next year. No matter what the community believes in, the philosophy of the parents, what alternative stands for, on and on, the school will close due NCLB sanctions as a result of not taking the WASL. So philosophies as you will, it will not keep the school doors open. It is puzzling to me that parents are unwilling to waiver, even to keep their school alive.

anonymous said...

And, no Sahila I have not had a child attend AS1. I did tour the school however, and the counter culture, rebellion that I felt coming from parents and admin turned me off, though the program itself would have worked very well for my child.

Gouda said...

Any word on where the APP program would go? Perhaps a smaller APP k=8 at AAA?

reader said...

Split it up. That was recommended anyway.

LouiseM said...

Beth, Thanks so much for hanging in there to keep us all up to date!

-Trish

LouiseM said...

Well at least they had enough sense to keep the T.T. Minor Montessori in tact.

starpepper said...

Our local Government with their right hand, are trying to encourage more families to live downtown yet with their left hand they are trying to shut down the only public school that is situated downtown.
Just the other week the local government was speaking about how they would like to see more families living downtown as they feel this would create a strong community atmosphere in the heart of the Emerald city. The local government cannot encourage families to live downtown if they are going to shut down the only public school in the downtown area. Mayor Nickels’ needs to give families an incentive to live downtown. A great start would be to keep (The Center School) the only public school that is downtown OPEN!