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Saturday, January 24, 2009

New K-8 at Addams

A request was made for a separate thread on what the new K-8 at the Jane Addams building should be. Here are some choices (although I'm not advocating for any of them, I think it would fill more easily with a focus rather than just being a traditional K-8):
  • middle school IB program
  • dual language program
  • math/science magnet
  • performing arts
Also, while we're on this subject, what would the name be? Call it Jane Addams K-8 to honor the building namesake, Jane Addams? (Her name was selected from an essay contest to name the building in 1949. She was a noted American social worker who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931. She was the first American woman to win the Peace Prize.)

From the archives:

Jane Addams Junior High School was the first secondary school constructed by Shoreline School District No. 412. At the time it was being planned, demographic studies indicated the school would serve all junior high students in the area for a long time. Few foresaw the tremendous population growth in this suburban district.

As Shoreline’s major secondary school, Addams was designed as a first-class facility with a capacity of 1,250 students. The building was meant to serve as a community center for the north end as well, so a fully professional stage was included in the auditorium.

The building was annexed into SPS in 1954. The archives say their team name was the Invaders and their colors blue and gold. I don't know for sure if this carried through to Summit (anyone?).

The Board had a motion before it recently to try to get a handle on naming as many buildings carry "double" names like Summit at Jane Addams which apparently gets confusing.

94 comments:

zb said...

Dual language, that's what might get me to leave either my solid neighborhood public school or a private school.

The problem is that it's a difficult program to build at the higher grade levels, so I think that it would have to be combined with something else in order to attract kids at higher grades, with the dual language program growing into the higher grades.

hschinske said...

I think a math/science focus would be fabulous and very popular. What I would like to see is a school that's designed from the beginning to allow for differentiated instruction in math and possibly in other subjects -- not tracking, but cross-grade groupings such that students would all be working hard at their own levels and could move up as needed. Jane Addams is less than a third of a mile from Hale: any chance that eighth-graders could take a math class there?

Helen Schinske

Melissa Westbrook said...

That's a good idea, Helen. A school loses money with Running Start (which is why many high schools are ambivalent about it) but the district would be serving students and parents (by offering math at a student's working level, not grade level) and keeping the money for a student being in SPS.

ZB, that issue of growing a program is why I suggested IB. You do have to grow IB (there's process to get accreditated) but it would be something the middle school part offers that would naturally feed into Ingraham (which IB is in the north end). I'm probably over-simplifying but I get your point.

hschinske said...

I'd like to add that I'm thinking ideally the math program would eventually grow to the extent that it could offer its own Int 1-Int 3 classes (as Eckstein does), but the Hale option would give them the opportunity to accommodate small numbers of advanced students at first.

Helen Schinske

Unknown said...

I would be attracted to Helen's plan, hopefully the acceleration would be available in science as well. I would at least look into the IB idea too... isn't it available K-12?

seattle citizen said...

Thanks for the historical background, Melissa. An intersting (to me!) piece of trivia is that the massive brick structure is build on a whole bunch of vertical pilings, consisting of entire trees, a rare and somewhat northwest version of foundation.

Also, a branch of Thornton Creek runs under the building. You can hear it if you go to the NW corner of the back parking lot and listen at the manhole there.

Speaking of Thornton Creek, not to steal any thunder from TC school, but perhaps the new K-8 could partner with the Homewaters Project (nee Thornton Creek Project), which is the educational arm of the Thornton Creek Alliance, an advocacy group that has been working to clean up the watershed for three decades. TCA succeeded recently in getting the new Northgate developers to daylight the creek through the south parking lot. Perhaps if people stopped setting the creek on fire (gas station leak twenty years ago) or emptying their chlorine-filled pools into it (eight years ago) the creek system and watershed could continue its recovery.

On that note, I'd vote for a school based on watershed education: NOT purely environmental, WE uses merely the geographic boundries of a watershed (instead of human-made political or street boundries) to study all sorts of things: Interdisciplinary study of environment, history, who works there, who needs social services there, where they get their power, what resources and how they're used...Math, science, writing, reading, arts...all themed around where we live, around "place."
But I guess we couldn't call it the Thornton Creek School...How about the Watershed Academy?

ah, word verifier..."phicheti": what Phish eats when they tour in NY and stay in Little Italy?

Jet City mom said...

It was only recently that the district put up the sign Summit @ Jane Addams-although it has been there for decades.

When the school was broken into- the security system at the district-sent police to Adams elementary in Ballard, so the neighbors were not the only ones unsure as to what Summit is.

And yes- the team name & colors did carry over to Summit. I always wondered where that came from-" Invaders" didn't seem very " Summit-like"

Jet City mom said...

If a new alternative program is going into the building- I would like to see one designed taking issues- like social justice & economic/environmental sustainability in mind.

They have a huge piece of land- a large parcel could be dedicated to a P=patch & greenhouse, where students could grow food- learn about nutrition- cooking- land use & restoration & urban agriculture. They could contribute part of their crops to local food banks and to the school kitchen-


This area is ripe for the opportunity to utilize the wealth of resources & interest we have in organic gardening and sustainable practices.
Lets really educate our children to be prepared for their future.
( iwould also strongly like to see a K-12 or a 6-12 in the building- rather than another K-8)

mom123 said...

Either an international school or a math/science magnet would be attractive.

Not so for Performing Arts.

anonymous said...

I would love to see the science/math magnet but with a traditional math curricumum. I bet the community would flock to such a school. I also love the idea of the P-patch/greenhouse/agriculture focus. JAne Adams has a HUGE field that gets direct sunlight. Much of the field is on a sloped hill so isn't used for ball fields, and thus goes unused. I don't see why a school couldn't have the agricultural focus and the math/science focus? It would be great to have both.

I also LOVE the elementary and middle school IB suggestion. Not only is it a great and unique opportunity for students, it could help with the capacity issues in the NE. A lot of NE families choose Roosevelt for HS, and as we know Roosevelt cant accomodate everyone. They get a 200+ kid wait list. If there were an IB program at the k-8, perhaps many of the families would choose Ingraham for the IB continuity. If that happened it would relieve some of the pressure on Roosevelt.

I hope the District realizes that this school will HAVE to have a strong and attractive program to get families from the south part of the cluster to choose it.

jmp70 said...

I believe a math/science magnet is going to be what attracts the most NE families up North. I would definitely consider it for one of my 3 kids who is very interested in and strong in those areas (one not so much and one still in preschool).

I'm not sure performing arts would attract as many families, but if that did happen, I would seriously consider it for my second grader who is very passionate about drama, art, and writing.

It is tough though to imagine sending my kids to different schools when I can walk to a great school 2 blocks away.....they really do need something attractive.

Suba said...

I think Summit is the better name because many people, including me, have a natural tendency to misspell Addams as Adams.

Jet City mom said...

I think Nathan Hale still has a greenhouse?
If Summit ( oops Addams) had a hort focus- that could easily reinforce a math/science emphasis and feed and strengthen hort classes at Hale.

( plus while I hate to see salmon fingerlings released into the creek without any hope that they will ever make it back- it does give the community additional avenues for study.)

hschinske said...

I agree about the Addams/Adams confusion, but I would hate to lose the Jane Addams name. I think it is the only district building named for a woman. The Summit name seems to me to belong to the community that's there now, not to the building, and I can't see using it for a new school.

Helen Schinske

Unknown said...

Perhaps we need a survey of NE parents as to what we would actually find attractive?

Attractive enough to give up a highly performing school, and the community that comes from walking there every day.

Charlie Mas said...

There's not much time for a survey, is there? The Design Teams won't be formed until early February and the Enrollment Guides go to print around the same time for a March open enrollment period.

Unknown said...

Very true.

north seattle mom said...

I think a math and science program would fill quickly. Lot of families would be willing to take a risk on school that actually taught real old fashioned math. I know plenty of parents and their struggling students that are frustrated with this conceptual math.

It sounds like the campus is well suited to support the sciences so that could be a nice fit.

However, if I had my wish, it would be a strong middle school so that families in the north end that can't get into Eckstein don't feel the need to go to Shoreline.

A 6-12 would be a waste at this point. There is plenty of HS spots at Hale and Ingraham for the folks that can't get into Roosevelt.

ParentofThree said...

I don't understand, why hasn't the district announced the new program? It is tour season. Who is going to sign up at this school?

north seattle mom said...

They said at the last board meeting that they would announce the new principal immediately after the vote next week. Enrollment then opens in March. so there is exactly 4 weeks for them to build a reason for folks to enroll.

anonymous said...

Emeraldkity the NE does not need a new k-12 or a new 6-12 school. We have plenty of HS space.

Here are some numbers (gathered from the new functional capacity report and the district PDF on first choice and waitlist by school)

Hale has the functional capacity to accomodate 318 9th grade students. However, only 164 incoming 9th graders named Hale as their first choice school last year. Hale wound up assigning 250 kids to the 9th grade class which means that of te 250 kids assigned, 86 of them did not list Hale as their first choice. And, even with the 250 kids assigned Hale still had 60 unfilled seats. It doesn't sound like Hale is very apealing to the community.

Ingraham has the functional capacity to accomodate 315 9th graders. However, only 136 incoming 9th graders listed Ingraham as their first choice school. Ingraham assigned 192 students to the 9th grade class. That means that of the 192 students assigned to the school, 56 of them did not list Ingraham as their first choice. Even after the 192 students were assigned there were 123 unfilled seats at Ingraham. It doesn't look like Ingraham is very appealing to the community.

Now lets look at Roosevelt. Roosevelt has the functional capacity to accomodate 402 9th grade students. 634 incoming 9th graders named Roosevelt as their first choice. Roosevelt assigned 437 students to their freshman class which means that they are operating 35 kids over capacity, and had a waitlist of 200+ students. They are indeed appealing to the community.

This tells me that while there is plenty of HS capacity in the NE, just not enough desireable capacity. The available capcity is not appealing to the community.

So it is clear that we do not need a new 6-12 school or a new k-12 school in the NE. What we need to do is reevaluate the capacity that we have and make it more appealing to neighborhood families. It is clear that the community overwhelmingly wants what Roosevelt offers. Maybe Hale and Ingraham need to listen to and respond to what the community is asking for?

TwinMom2003 said...

We are within walking distance to three very good schools -- Bryant, Eckstein, and Roosevelt. Eckstein being the closest. It is difficult to think of a scenario that would draw me away from that possibility.

Maybe, small class sizes in combination with multiple languages or a math/science focus? An onsite pre-school, and good before and after school care would help as well.

Jet City mom said...

I'm not in the NE-so not that familiar with the whole assignment problems there- I do see that 58% of the people who live in the Roosevelt district attend Roosevelt. ( I did get a lower figure when I did not include those who live by Montlake, I didn't realize that they were zoned for Roosevelt)

1563 students live in the Roosevelt assignment area- so I am wondering- is this according to census #'s, so would include private and out of district students or does this number only include the number of students currently attending SPS.?

Because the district has implied regarding the reconfiguration/closure of programs- & the money saved on buildings, will actually be used to attract students back to the district & supposedly benefit all students by attracting more state/federal money with increased enrollment
( I'm guessing if it isn't all spent on design teams and late meetings)

But if Roosevelt is supposed to meet the needs of the area- higher % could be more compelling.
& if more than 1600 attend Roosevelt- & more than 1500 live in the area- but only a little over half of those that live in the area attend Roosevelt-
( without those who live south of ship canal) it would seem to make a difference where they get the numbers.

Jet City mom said...

The Jane Addams building has had a preschool/child care in the building for a number of years- it was only recently ( last 5 years or so) that they had to relocate ( along with Seattle Civic Opera), which left many classrooms to fill up .

The wing that the child care was using- had access to a separate playground ( which could again be used and kept separate from the rest of school for security purposes.

Many elementary schools do have a child care facility attached and it was a disadvantage to Summit when the district decided to oust them- as that made it less attractive to the many families who count on a good program that is easily accessible.

My older daughter works in the Portland Public schools- and from what I have heard about the training- especially ongoing & the hiring policies & programs- they seem to have very high standards- certainly higher than what I have observed at the average center in Seattle.

The Portland Public Schools Board of Education passed a Childcare Policy in December of 1997 that provides for safe, affordable, educationally appropriate childcare for all elementary school students before and after school hours. Childcare is not only a parenting issue, or a workplace issue, but also an education issue.

Unknown said...

Speaking of the naming of Buildings;

Were you aware that Ingraham High School is named after the first Superintendent of Seattle Schools?

That he climbed Mount Rainier 13 times, was a conservationist and instrumental in starting the National Park at Mt. Rainier.

It seems Ironic that the School Board wants to cut down trees.

Even more Ironic is the excuse to continue a 1960 design which also resembles a well known architects work. Who was well known for how he worked with Nature in his designs, one of his most well known homes was Falling Water-built without ruining the trees surrounding it or the stream that goes under the building. The architect was Frank Lloyd Wright.

Ingraham school currently shows the ability to combine green architecture (courtyards) with learning. Removing the 73 trees in the area of the proposed addition that are older than the school (75 years old) and another 19 from elsewher on campus is tarnishing the reputation of a conservationist and leaving a blemish to the Seattle School District in regards to the way it respects the past accomplishments, honors history and values the futures environment.

Which truly is the least of their worries in respect to the many ways they are messing with students social, and educational futures with these school closures.

Ellen said...

I don't think the NE is the only cluster in the city suffering from a lack of desirable programs. In fact, those numbers look rosy compared to the central district. The main difference is that in the central district, the problem begins at K, not at 9th grade. And instead of looking at what families want from their schools and trying to improve programs, the distict is choosing to close schools, giving up hope that they can attract families to SPS by delivering quality education to all students. TT Minor/Madrona/TM/Meany cannot deliver the same desirable programs to its students and families as a McGilvra...why? I would like to hear the anwer to that question from the district. The families/students are in those central neighborhoods, but making different choices for their children's education than sending them to the neighborhood school. Successful schools are evident...why can't the district respond to what its families are asking for?

Free said...

Dear indefatigable blog hosts:
Would you please consider a up-front-and-center notice about the march and rally tomorrow? (CPPS has endorsed it, by the way.) Thanks for all you do.

March and Rally to Stop Closures and Support Schools

Sunday, January 25, 2pm @ TT Minor School, 1700 E Union
March to Garfield Community Center, 2323 E Cherry
Rally 2:30-5pm. Come anytime!

This is an all-city, family-friendly event with music, food and good company. Come share your school's success stories, voice frustration, or just find out what's going on!

Sponsored by ESP Vision
http://soseattle.blogspot.com/

Ed Lambert said...

Excuse me, but would folks mind not feeding on the corpse of Summit K-12 until we are officially pronounced dead?

BTW - If Summit does not find a home, then I think the historic team name of "The Invaders" would be a PERFECTLY appropriate name for the new K-8. Can we sell you some used T-shirts?

Ed Lambert said...

BTW:
My Summit 8th grader just pointed out the since Nathan Hale is across the street from Summit, it is much less than 1/3 of a mile away. (Actually, his words were, "Maybe THEY should take a math class.")

hschinske said...
"Jane Addams is less than a third of a mile from Hale: any chance that eighth-graders could take a math class there?"



While I am at it:
Summit is a K-12 and does have an enviornmental and social justice focus. You might want to visit soon.


emeraldkity said...
"If a new alternative program is going into the building- I would like to see one designed taking issues- like social justice & economic/environmental sustainability in mind....

...( iwould also strongly like to see a K-12 or a 6-12 in the building- rather than another K-8)"

Jet City mom said...

Ed-
THIS thread is regarding the proposed transition into Jane Addams building.

There are other threads concerning Alternative schools/closing schools- expanding schools, etc.

While I understand the frustration the Summit community feels- as well as the efforts they put toward the space over the years-
( don't patronize me by telling me to visit- I have served on the Summit Parent board & have been a regular participant in district/city/state- committees/hearings&forums, including advocating for Summit in instances when no other representative was present.

I quit my job in order to be in the building every day which I could not afford, but I couldn't watch children be harmed by lack of leadership- without trying to do something about it either.

I appreciate your passion- but hyperbole has not served Summit well- it isn't dead but like a shark, it has to move forward to breathe-

I am very familiar with the Jane Addams site- my oldest took dance classes from the Creative Dance Center there in the 80's, as well as the years spent running auctions, playing kickball on the dirt field- running my bookgroup around campus to settle them down- working in the library... but I also am very cognizant of how underutilized it is- and how much Summit needs an advocate with vision to do justice to the energy and ideas of the staff and students.

I also think it is critical that Summit rise up from the sick bed and take an active role( including more representation from staff/teachers/parents in becoming the all-city school it could be, in a more central location.

North End Mom said...

Seattlehorn,
A "no" vote on the final recommendations will kill the Summit program, whereas a yes vote, with an amendment (from the Board) to relocate Summit, is the only possibity of saving the program.

A march for "no closures" is effectively a march against the Summit program.

Since this thread is for the Jane Addams building, I'll put my two cents in. I'd love a Math/Science focus, and the environmental science possibilities sound great, as well as the possible partnerships with Nathan Hale, Homewaters and other area schools and science/technology organizations.

anonymous said...

Ed, I feel your pain. I really do, and I have written a letter to all school board members asking them to find a new location for Summit, and keep the program alive.

In regards to this thread, the Board has already voted on and approved moving Summit out of the Jane Adamms building. That is a done deal, and is seperate from the closure fiasco that is happening now, and will be voted on Jan 29th. Summit will be moving out of Addams whether you, I or anybody else approves or dissaproves of it. So although sensitive, the work of creating a new school from scratch must happen and it must happen fast. Open choice starts in 5 more weeks and the community still does not know a thing about the school, what it will offer, who will be the leaders....etc

As for Summit, the only question that remains is will the program move to a new location or will the program die? If you advocate for a new location and organize, please advertize it here. I will be happy to come out and rally with you. I think Summit has earned the right to stay alive.

North End Mom said...

Hello bloggers,
Just in case there was any doubt as to why the Jane Addams building was voted to be repurposed, I thought I would post some numbers for you.

There has been some discussion lately about non-NE cluster residents at NE cluster traditional schools. According to the data released in the Final Recommendations (Oct 1 2008 enrollment):

NE Cluster residents: 2642
non-NE Cluster residents: 303
Total students: 2945*

*("traditional" elementary schools only, does not include Thornton Creek or Summit, which have multi-cluster draws).

Composition of the non-resident population:

special education: 30
bilingual: 26
Spectrum: 25
unknown: 222


It is not known how many of the "unknowns" are Spectrum siblings, etc...

Due to distance tie-breakers, it is possible for students living near NE Cluster schools but within the boundaries of other clusters, such as the North Cluster (for Wedgwood, Sacajewea, and John Rogers), or the Central Cluster (for Laurelhurst) to get in, particularly for programs like Spectrum or half-day kindergarten, for which there are sometimes seats.

Interestingly, the NE Cluster EXPORTED 338 students to other clusters last year, more than what was imported into the over-crowded schools. This is 35 students more than the non-NE resident population in the NE Cluster. Therefore, the NE Cluster would be worse off, for sake of capacity, if it housed only those residing in the cluster, with no importing or exporting of students.

As shown in the functional capacity data, the cluster as a whole is over 200 students over capacity. The true impact is seen when the elementary cohort class sizes are examined. Last year's kindergarten enrollment of 618 students was underprojected by 91 students...almost 4 kindergarten classrooms!

NE Elementary Class cohorts ( Trad. schools + Thornton Creek):

5th graders: 445
4th graders: 455
3rd graders: 467
2nd graders: 450
1st graders: 513
Kindergartners: 618
2009-2010 K projection: 500

Five NE schools added a kindergarten class to meet the demand last year. There are not enough upperclassmen moving out of these schools to sustain the additional primary grade classrooms needed at these schools and to keep up with the cluster capacity demand.

This is why it is necessary to open a new school in NE Seattle.

Those involved with the NECC would have preferred for the solution to our capacity crisis to not have come at the expense of another program. The NECC lobbied for the opening of closed buildings and when the Jane Addams building was proposed by the District for repurposing, the NECC lobbied strongly for the relocation of the Summit program.

NE schools are suffering, and the overcrowding at a school affects the entire school population, due to the lack of PCP space (in at least one case, the gym is the only PCP space at a NE school), lack of space in common areas, such as the lunchroom and playground, and large class sizes. These schools need to dial down their capacities.

There is a need for capacity management in the NE and a need for the repurposing of the Jane Addams building.

I hope the Board sees that there is a need for a home for the Summit program, as well.

I, too, have written to the Board asking them to amend the Final Recommendations to include the relocation of the Summit program.

Maia LeDoux said...

As a mom of future 2010 and 2012 kindergarten students that live within walking distance of the Jane Addams building, I would vote math/science as a focus, with an social-environmental sub focus. I like the idea of a p-patch too, but if the greenhouses near the pond are available for the k-8 kids that would be great too.

I have heard so many great things about Thornton Creek from the the families attending so this is currently my top choice for my daughters.

I don't know the Seattle school terminology yet so I don't know what IB is.

Jet City mom said...

so- is University Heights in process of being purchased? I see by a recent-evaluation the district was considering selling it. I think that could be a good location for Summit.

It is more central but still in area of Summit- the building has been in use so should be in good shape- care of the building could be part of a sustainable curriculum @ Summit- as at the Northwest school.

By finding a building for Summit- and support for the transtion- the district could lessen the possibility that the NE Summit students would add to congestion in the more traditional schools.

jo said...

[I tried to post earlier - apologies if a repeat]

I'm a 20+ year veteran teacher, mostly working in the northend, worked K-12. Looking District-wide, I have to ask:

Why isn't TC moving to Addams to become the NE cluster's only alt K-8? As 1 is being re-org'ed; we'll be the only cluster w/out this choice.

It will be MUCH easier to move and expand a thriving K-5 into Addams than it will be to build a K-8 up from scratch - families will choose the known quantity.

That said, it is easier to start up a new K-5 than any other program. The demand K-5 seems (based on waiting lists) to be further south in the NE cluster - so provides seats there.

Eckstein is the epitome of a trad middle school, with many advanced math options (not so sure re: science). Where's the evidence of demand for a new math/science K-8 magnet school?? And where's the $$ for anything new coming from?

Not all schools can raise $100k thru parents - better attract some upper income families to the Addams building...

north seattle mom said...

H-Heights is an interesting question. If U-Heights were available then Summit would never have been asked to move and now close :(

The NE capacity issue really started with the old U-Heights reference area. Closing U-Heights left a huge geographic hole in the North end. Students that live in the old U-Heights reference area are now too far by the distance tie-breaker to get into any nearby schools. So re-opening U-Heights would put elementary capacity right in the heart of the dead zone.

hschinske said...

The "under a third of a mile" is the MapQuest figure. It's probably car-based, hence taking the long way around. (Or it could just be wrong. MapQuest is certainly not perfect.)

My memory was that Nathan Hale was across the street, but I didn't want to trust to it as the last time I was at Summit was a couple of years ago when my kids went to a summer music class there, and I don't have a good memory for that kind of thing. So I MapQuested for a backup. I'm sorry I ended up inaccurate anyway, but I did try.

Helen Schinske

Unknown said...

The only evidence we can provide is anecdotal. In lieu of actual research, all I can say is that I would like a math-science magnet with students working at actual level. I am a NE parent of a current kindergartener, currently occupying a coveted seat in the south part of the cluster.

hschinske said...

My son has choir at University Heights, and it's not in particularly good shape. It ought to have new plumbing and it must cost the earth to heat. I also think it would be tough on the community to displace all the programs there, particularly the farmers' market.

Helen Schinske

Melissa Westbrook said...

Ed, I certainly did not mean to inflict pain. But the Board is repurposing Jane Addams no matter what. I do not believe there is any change coming on that. I have repeatedly advocated for Summit to have a new home because, as I said at the public hearing, Summit is a viable program.

But people are going to have to make enrollment choices and if a large number of people can send a signal of what they want in this proposed K-8, we may all get a stronger district out of this.

Summit is literally right across the street from Hale (in a diagonal line). They surely could do some cooperative learning.

As for Hale's popularity, well, there's something you could see coming. When my older son started at Hale, we were not told about the coming change from separate AP/Honors classes to very few. In fact, we didn't figure it out until sophomore year. Many parents raised concerns and said it would make students' ability to access AP/Honors harder and we were told it was a done deal. (The quote I remember from the head of the LA department at the time was, "If we didn't have parents like you, we wouldn't have these AP problems.") And, they got their wish. Because Hale, back in 2001, 2002,2003 had great WASL scores (and still do) but were very popular. And now I see by the stats provided here that fewer and fewer students are picking Hale as their number one choice. Could there be other factors? Sure. But they have a strong principal in Marni Campbell and much the same faculty and staff plus are getting a fairly new building. I wonder. I know one former Hale student who switched to Roosevelt simply to be able to access more AP.

North End Mom said...

jo,

Thornton Creek was included in the preliminary proposals to move into the Jane Addams building and expand immediately to a full K-8, taking in displaced Summit and AS-1 students (it was originally proposed that both Summit and AS-1 be dissolved). That plan was rejected after many, including the staff at Thornton Creek, argued that there was not time to adequately train new staff according to the Thornton Creek ELOB learning model in time to expand to a full K-8 by Fall 2009. Also, many objected to the formation of an "uber-alternative" school at that site.

It would perhaps be easier to start as a K-5 and rollup into a K-8, as was done in the case of Broadview-Thomson. I don't think there have been any specific plans released as to the implementation of the K-8, other than the assignment of displaced students to it at all grade levels, which would imply that they are planning to have all grades present from day one (this, of course, is not set in stone until Jan 29th).

Melissa 'Liss' Cain said...

Just to chime in...

There is already a school in the NE with a strong social justice focus, major arts education, environmental learning, and strong community partnerships. It even has an organic garden, already.

Yes, it was voted to be "re-purposed" recently, as well.

As the parent of two boys that went to View Ridge for almost three years, I understand where the NE parents are coming from and what they feel that they need. I'm just frustrated about losing the place where my sons finally found a place to fit in. It's even worse to find out, as the district is closing that school, that most people never actually understood it. I know that I never understood its worth until my elder son was required to be placed there.

Jet City mom said...

Well my kids aren't in Seattle schools anymore- but here's my $.02 about Hale .

Whomever did the tours for the two years I went on them- was awful- came off as condescending- I wasn't the only one who thought so ( the intro to tour in the library actually- and I forgot her name)

Several people from Summit- do transfer to Hale for high school. The classes didn't line up time wise- so it was difficult to access offerings from the other school & over time- some of the stronger offerings in the Summit high school were less supported. There is still crossover- but not as much as in past.

Both my daughter and I liked Hale very much- although some things were strange ( insistence on stapling handouts into labnotebooks for all work according to the tour) & we also were impressed with some of the offerings, disappointed at others.

( plus the building- ugly- they should "personalize it" the way that Garfield students & staff did with the previous Garfield building- no , not knocking holes in the walls.... painting more murals- I know there are some- )

Astrobio-/photography good- weaker music offerings bad.( before school counts as weak- it's not swim team)

It also would have made sense to align with Summits class schedule- but Summit didn't start till 9am ( which was a plus for my daughter)

As a parent who has put one child through private college and another is starting next fall- I would also suggest that in these crunched economic times- AP will become more desired- as it gives students an opportunity to save money by testing out of entry level classes and receiving college credit. ( to a greater extent than Running Start- if they go out of state)

Generally- while still a strong program & does a good job of preparing students for college- IB ( International Baccalaurate) is not recognized in the same fashipn and material studied does not prepare students for the College Board exams, although they certainly can take the AP exams without having had to take the class.

Jet City mom said...

I agree it is difficult to grow a school. ( and in Seattle- where we barely can decide how to form a circle? consensus is a painstaking way to get things done)

Both my kids started out at different private schools that were mainly preschools/K-2s.
They both are still in existence- the older one much more established at this point with an impressive building on Roosevelt across from Scarecrow- the other in a residential neighborhood in Ballard.

But even at UCDS, where parents were free with their donations to the mission, it was pretty hard to envision their 5th grade- and parents felt much more comfortable transferring into a school that already had one. However our daughter was in the first "graduating" class, that was more than one student-and after that the ice had been broken.

I do not see how- a brand new program can be slapped together- to begin in the fall at the Jane Addams building. Even if we had oodles of money to be spent on the thing- which we do not- to begin a program without clear structures in place- and to decide later what is needed, is bassackwards.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Maia, apologies.

IB stands for International Baccalaureate. From their website:

Our three programmes for students aged 3 to 19 help develop the intellectual, personal, emotional and social skills to live, learn and work in a rapidly globalizing world.

"Founded in 1968, we currently work with 2,504 schools in 132 countries to develop and offer three challenging programmes to over 680,000 students aged 3 to 19 years."

It's more an overall program (as opposed to AP - Advanced Placement which are a series of different classes)for rigor. It's currently available here only at the high school level at Ingraham and Chief Sealth. It's well-regarded but not as well known as AP. Putting it in the new K-8 either at the middle school level or all the way through would make a nice addition to having it available in two high schools.

Maureen said...

I like the idea of a K-8 IB program. From what I understand, it would have to offer a traditional math curriculum. That in itself would be appealing to many families. It could also be a natural feeder for the Ingrahm IB program if it were a two cluster draw and/or HS reference boundaries aren't rigid (under the new assignment plan).

One plus of making it IB is that the curriculum would be set--there would be fewer variables that would make signing up for a brand new school seem risky. It could also attract teachers and administrators who are into IB so it wouldn't be a random mish mash of people who aren't employed elsewhere.

I doubt this could happen in six months though--would it be enough to say that SPS would work toward that goal?

hschinske said...

Wouldn't IB be more expensive to start up and administer? It would also take more selling, as many have not heard of the program. That said, I agree that it would be a reasonable program for that location. It's just that a focus that would have *no* extra start-up costs might be easier to believe in at this point.

Another thing that people are always asking for is a second school on the same model as TOPS, but if TOPS counts as alternative rather than traditional, perhaps technically this one can't be another TOPS? dunno.

Helen Schinske

kbr said...

I posted this on Harium's blog but it bears repeating here: whatever sort of program goes into this building, it has to be awesome.

This may sound like an oversimplification, so let me explain.

First, let's consider the NE problem: arguably some of the best elementary schools in CITY are located in the southern half of this cluster. We're counting on families to abandon these proven, incredible schools to try something new. We're counting on them to give up walking to school with all the other neighborhood kids. We're counting on them to start taking a bus 2-3 miles away. We're counting on them to do these things so that other families don't have to be squeezed out of their reference areas.

What is going to make this happen? Whatever goes into the Jane Addams building, it has to be MORE attractive than the existing schools in the NE cluster. It has to offer superstar teachers and administrators. It's going to need some serious cachet and promise to draw away from the overcrowded proven schools to the south.

So, Jane Addams has some big hurdles to overcome straight out of the gate. We need to identify what is lacking at the traditional schools in the cluster. We also need to identify a focus that is mainstream enough so that it doesn’t attract just the fringes. And we need to address the dirty little secret of the North End—there’s an imaginary “border” at 85th and Jane Addams is north of it. That may be the biggest hurdle of all for this new school if it’s going to compete against Bryant, Wedgwood, View Ridge and Laurelhurst. If we don’t address these issues head on, we will end up with a school community of mandatory assignments, and that does not make for a cohesive “village.”

We have an opportunity here to be in on the first floor of a ground-breaking school along the lines of John Stanford or TOPS. And that’s what we NEED at the Jane Addams site, a site that has the disadvantage of being in a less desirable location than Wallingford or Eastlake. In order to draw from the south and free up capacity there, if that is indeed the goal with this plan, this new school has to be like nothing this city has ever seen.

kbr said...

I should add, I don't know what the magic program is. The district needs to step up and take this seriously, gather some feedback and data, and come up with a strategic initiative here. If they have to hire a market research firm to get this done in the next five weeks, then that's what they need to do.

Josh Hayes said...

kbr, maybe this would be a good time to explain what the TOPS program is about.

Based on my tours there a few years back, it seemed, frankly, like a traditional school with intensive test preparation, and that didn't strike me as alternative in any meaningful sense. No doubt I came away with a bunch of misunderstandings; can you clarify?

But to tell the truth, the idea that a spankin'-new K-8 is going to spring full-blown from Dr. Goodloe-Johnson's forehead (Alert: Greek Myth reference!) in a matter of days is ludicrous. The only people who'll wind up sending their kids here are those who are forced to, just as one wouldn't want to send one's kids to "Camp Who-Knows?" Might be great, might be horrible, more likely the latter.

Josh Hayes said...

I should have mentioned, I've put in an amendment request for no more than two cluster transportation to any school.

This is something of a Swiftian proposal, I hope. AS1 has been given only N/NE transport, while Salmon Bay is going to continue (according to Board member Peter Meier) to have AT LEAST transportation from NW/N/NE clusters - probably QA/Magnolia as well.

Why? Well, because, see, ah...

Probably the argument is that Thornton Creek kids have preference at Salmon Bay, but that's just begging the question. "We have to transport kids, because we have to transport kids." Say what? If it's too expensive to ship kids from Ballard to Northgate, it is sure as hell too expensive to ship them from Lake City to Ballard! Especially with that lovely new K-8 school going in at Addams!

Can't have it both ways: if it's about saving money, then be consistent. If it's not, then don't pretend otherwise.

anonymous said...

For those that aren't aware there is a long history as to why TC students get assignment preference to Salmon Bay for middle school. Years ago the TC community was frustrated that TC graduating 5th garders had no similar alt middle school to send their children to. TC families decided to work together with the AE3 community (yes, there was an AE3 back then) to start their own small like minded alt middle school. It was called NOMS (New Options Middle School). It was a very small, grassroots school, that was operated in a small retail storefront! It faced many challenges as a new "from the ground up" alt school, and it struggled for quite some time. TC families were committed to making it work though, and stuck with it. Eventually the school took off and began to become somewhat popular. Then superintendent Joseph Olschefski decided that NOMS was to small, and that larger schools worked better. He decided, against all community input, to co-locate NOMS with a small alt elementary school named COHO. He decided to house these two sperate programs at the Salmon Bay building. The TC community did not take well to having the school they worked so hard to build move across town to Ballard with plans to grow it into a 650 kid mega alt school, and they were very vocal about their dissapointment. Olschefski threw TC a bone by promising them that they would have an assignment preference to NOMS with transportation. Though angry and sad, it was enough to appease the community. Coho and NOMS remained two separate schools for a couple of years, but eventually merged and became the k-8 that they are today. They renamed the merged school Salmon Bay.

There is a long history behind the TC/SB preference, so before advocating to do away with it, it might be prudent to review that history and make fully informed decisions. The history is all but forgotten as families move on and superintendents change..........

I'm not saying that the TC/SB preference should continue, I'm just saying that it is wise to know the history and make educated decisions.

TechyMom said...

If Jane Addams turns out to be a math and science magnet, or an IB school, I think I will put it on my list. It will probably be near the bottom, since it's far away. I don't expect it will fill the first year, so maybe I'll get in. Anyone want to carpool from Central?

Oh, is that not what the district had in mind?

old salt said...

I believe that a strong traditional math program at Addams would be enough to draw families there. There is a tremendous amount of frustration around the EDM experience. Maybe that is only true for parents who watched great math programs dismantled, not incoming families. Strong science, IB would also be attractive.


I wonder how hard it will be to make a big change in curriculum if many Summit teachers decide to stay with the building.

kbr said...

Josh, I haven't visited TOPS and can't provide any more detail about the program. What I do know is they've got decent test scores, they sound great on the website, and other parents speak well of the school.

But please don't discount these observations as uninformed "sheep" mentality! These things make TOPS *extremely* popular. Families are intrigued enough by the program to put it on the tour list, to consider it as an option over a neighborhood school, and in many, many cases list it as a first choice.

This illustrates my point: if we want people to not just consider the new school as an option but to list it as their FIRST CHOICE, the school district needs to put some serious work into building it.

If they don't, people won't, and the entire exercise of closing schools and shuffling programs around in order to ease overcrowding at popular NE schools will leave us pretty much right where we started.

zb said...

Did I post this already? Not sure. But, a math-science focus wouldn't attract me, 'cause I wouldn't know what this means in the elementary school grades. I mean, they're already supposed to learn math and science, right?

I guess there's some suggestion that "math/science" focus would mean choosing a different curriculum than Everyday Math. That, at least, would be concrete. But, I certainly wouldn't leave my neighborhood school (or private school) loking to switch from Everyday Math to Singapore, or whatever.

zb said...

"If they don't, people won't, and the entire exercise of closing schools and shuffling programs around in order to ease overcrowding at popular NE schools will leave us pretty much right where we started."

Yeah, I've been wondering the same thing -- cause there already was a program that NE families could choose to avoid crowding in their neighborhoods, the Summit K-12, and they presumably didn't choose it. So, the replacement has to have something different and something recognizable.

That's why I think John Stanford works as a model, but not TOPS. The list of things that attracts folks to TOPS: "decent test scores, they sound great on the website, and other parents speak well of the school" (and I'd add location) don't transfer to a new school, which won't have test scores, or parents who speak well of it, and Addams is not in the right location for NE crowding relief. I guess they could have a great web site, bu I don't think that's going to mean much. And, I'd add that a significant portion of the draw of TOPS is that it lets people escape neighborhood schools that they like less, in central -- that also won't help Addams.

So, Addams program is going to have to offer something concrete as a program to attract people.

Roy Smith said...

I would send my child to Jane Addams if the intention was clear that SPS wants to develop it into a K-8 IB program. The standard for IB is reasonably clear, and most importantly, it is a standard that is outside the control of SPS, and there is a certification process. Because of the certification process, Jane Addams will not be an official IB program next year - among other things, there are staff professional development requirements that have to be met, and the school must teach the IB program for at least one year on a trial basis.

Without an outside scorekeeper (such as IB offers), I don't trust SPS to be able to successfully start up an effective new program that will be attractive to anybody.

anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
hschinske said...

While certification would be required for an elementary/middle school IB program, you wouldn't have any outside exams as the high school program requires. So I don't really know how much accountability there would be in the long run. It is a good idea though, and perhaps as IB already has a foothold in the district, it wouldn't be considered too non-standard.

I mentioned some ways that a math focus could be established: cross-grade groupings, focus on mastery, the ability to accelerate in math as needed (and the ability to remediate without shame -- the idea being that a student could come in below level and exit above level without anyone being particularly astonished). I think if you made it clear from the beginning that such differentiation would be expected, it would be a whole lot easier for the teachers to set it up.

As for the science, currently all the students get in most schools is the science kit thingies. It wouldn't be hard to go beyond those. One thing I'd like to see, besides specific projects, is a focus on science within the reading and writing classes. It seems to me that most reading classes are far too focused on fiction, and techniques for interpreting nonfiction get short shrift.

Helen Schinske

Jet City mom said...

AE#2 @ Decatur- was actually the name that Thornton Creek had a short time ago- not III.

Re: space @ Summit Even though Summit K-12 did have a waitlist at both K & 6th for the years 2001-2004 & for 2007 & 2008)
The district has been trying to accommodate the overcrowding at Eckstein for at least five years- the talk around the city has been about how Summit is too expensive because of transportation and is on its way out- pretty hard to enroll your child there when you read the writing on the wall years ago.


But I am wondering why- since AE#2 was a school for North/NorthEast students- and since there were two additional alternative schools with middle school seats, in that NORTH/NORTHEAST cluster, AS#1 & SUMMIT,
why AE#2 was given priority to bus to the NORTHWEST alternative school Salmon Bay?

Salmon Bay has averaged over 100 students on the waitlist for the last four years to enter middle school-

The Northwest cluster needs more alternative seats. ( not only has Salmon Bay had a large waitlist- but TOPS- as well)

From looking at the waitlist for kindergarten for the years 2001-2008 @ TC, 17 students ( average) were on the waitlist.


If the school going into the Jane Addams building is a traditional K-8 I don't understand how it will assist TC community- who were looking for an alternative middle school or the Northwest cluster- who has at least 3 full classrooms of 6th grade students looking for a school
( or the 165 alternative elementary school students who were attending Summit & live in the N/NE cluster- not to mention those who were attending the middle & high school)

Are there any other alternative schools in the Northwest cluster besides Salmon Bay which is a K-8?

I also have to remind people that students with IEPs deserve just as much input and choice into where they attend school as other students in the district- & considering that their disability already has an effect of limiting their opportunities- I feel they should have MORE stated control on their learning environment. However- depending on disability- either the district by moving around programs- or the building administration, by controlling how many level #2-4 students they want to take, restricts that choice.

Maureen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Maureen said...

Does anyone know how Ingraham funded their IB program? I believe JSIS got a federal grant to start the international school.

Josh I have had kids at TOPS for ten years. I guess I'm as qualified as anyone to talk about the program there. I think what confuses people is that they expect an alternative program to not focus on academics. (Sometimes I think people think a school can't be called alternative unless it's so weird no one wants to go there:)!) I feel that TOPS does a very good job of balancing the social/emotional/cultural needs of the students without neglecting academics. Most teachers are willing and able to differentiate instruction in a way that engages a whole range of learning styles and levels and all of them are conscious of the need to respect the kids' cultures and emotional growth.

TOPS has historically had a very high level of parent involvement and shared governance. That said, the school has definitely changed from what it was fifteen years ago under Karen Kodama. The curriculum is much more standardized than it used to be and parent input is less influential. It remains a highly successful (academically and choice-wise) very diverse and culturally aware school with an emphasis on the arts and what it means to be a part of the city of Seattle. I have NO idea how anyone could replicate the program.

I've oversimplified. If you are interestd, go to the (very good!) website (topsk8.org) follow the "About TOPS" links on the upper left side of the home page to get all the details.

Regarding your Swiftian proposal re transportation: I'm not sure how you expect this to work out. It seems like you expect Board members to rise up and exclaim about how ridiculous it would be to limit busing to other Alt schools, so they have to increase busing for AS1. But why wouldn't they just say, oh you're right, ALL Alt schools should go down to two clusters. Have you informed other Alt schools what you have proposed so they can lobbey against it? (I'm pretty sure you haven't told TOPS).

1/26/09 11:48 AM

Josh Hayes said...

I really can't speak about TOPS since I don't know much about it; I very much agree with Maureen's comment that "Sometimes I think people think a school can't be called alternative unless it's so weird no one wants to go there:)!" Fair enough.

As for the cluster/transportation issue, Peter Maier made it very clear in his email to me that SB will continue to get transport all across the North End and that AS1 won't. I'm not worried that my proposal will in any way keep TC kids from their privileged spots and privileged yellow buses at SB. How they can cast this as a budgetary decision is beyond me; the District made a hell of a lot of promises to AS1 back in the day as well, and they've kept none of them. Why should this be any different?

The argument that the TC->SB preference has a historical precedent is irrelevant -- AS1 and Summit, for instance, were moved from central locations to peripheral ones with the promise that all-city transportation would never be taken away. Hah. They'll argue that conditions have changed; fair enough. Conditions have changed with COHO/NOMS as well: it's TWO CLUSTERS AWAY from Thornton Creek, about 6 miles. Things change: why should they continue to get preference? What if the school had moved to West Seattle? Would they STILL get preference?

If not, then you prove my point, and we're just haggling over the price. I'm really angry about this blatantly unfair policy, but blatant unfairness and hypocrisy seem to be the watchwords of SPS management these days.

Tosca said...

My son was at TOPS for first grade before he moved to Lowell this year. The thing that makes TOPS alternative is the strong "social justice" focus to the school. This is emphasized in different ways including themes each month as well as extra-curricular opportunities. In terms of instruction, however, it is traditional. There is a lot of parental involvement and the diversity is great. We liked it very much in many ways, and it is incredibly popular for good reason. But I don't know how easy, difficult or even desirable it would be to replicate elsewhere

North End Mom said...

This is also a cross-posting from Harium's blog, but is somewhat relevant to this discussion.

kbr,
There has been much discussion about how "special" the program at Jane Addams would have to be in order for it to populate well. The discussion has been ongoing for many months, since the building was first designated for repurposing.

Although the southern schools are crowded, especially Laurelhurst, Bryant, and Wedgwood, northern schools, such as Sacajewea and John Rogers, are also well beyond their functional capacities. One of the largest reference areas, based on student population, is the John Rogers reference area, which contains more than double what the school can physically hold. The Jane Addams building is located within the John Rogers reference area and adjacent to the also densely populated Wedgwood reference area.

The NE Cluster doesn't end at your imaginary line of 85th street, it extends all the way up to 145th street, which does (gasp!) include neighborhoods and schools catering to more socioeconomic and ethnically diverse populations than those in the south end of the cluster.

It would be great if the Jane Addams K-8 will form partnerships with the existing schools in the area and provide access to a neighborhood middle school for children graduating from north-end elementary schools. I do hope it is "special" enough to pull in families from the southern part of the cluster, to relieve crowding at the schools there, as well.

The best possible use for the Jane Addams building, in my opinion, would be a Math/Science magnet school, with an ALL NE Cluster draw, and a middle school component large enough to provide some relief from over-crowding at Eckstein, and give north-end students currently assigned to Hamilton a reason not to go to Shoreline.

hschinske said...

For as long as I have been involved with SPS politics, people have been saying that the district never seems to respond to market demand (shown by long waiting lists) by replicating popular programs. The example most often cited was TOPS. All I'm saying is that if that demand is still out there, it's one possibility.

Helen Schinske

kbr said...

I responded to North-end Mom’s comments on Harium’s blog, and I’m glad she brought this up, because the problem here has nothing to do with one neighborhood being “better” than another, or even one school being better than another for that matter. It’s all about where the people want to go.

From the SPS website (under the header “Historical Enrollment Information” at http://www.seattleschools.org/area/eso/story.dxml)
here is where the people wanted to go last year. This is a list of how many families picked each of the NE schools as a first choice for kindergarten last year (2008-09):

23 families picked John Rogers
45 families picked Sacajawea
140 picked View Ridge
151 picked Bryant
64 picked Wedgwood
113 picked Laurelhurst

Clearly, MANY more families opt for the south-of-the-cluster schools as their first choice.

Jane Addams will fill. The question is, are we better served as a community if the school is filled with families who picked it as their first choice, or families who got sent there as a mandatory assignment and are just biding their time on a waitlist somewhere else?

The school district needs to make Jane Addams a first-choice school.

TechyMom said...

In many circumstances, people are also content with getting their second choice. Second choice (or 3rd or 4th choice) is not the same as a mandatory assignment. It's a school you've decided would be ok, even if there's another you like better.

anonymous said...

emeraldkity I was not referring to AEII/TC. There was an AE3 years ago which was housed at Latona and was closed back in 1998 or there about. That is the AE3 that I was referring to in my earlier post. They worked with AE2/TC and Orca to create NOMS, as these were the three alt schools that were k-5's, and had no middle school. And, yes, I know that Orca is now a K-8, but it wasn't back then.

anonymous said...

"given school seats, in that NORTH/NORTHEAST cluster, AS#1 & SUMMIT, why AE#2 was given priority to bus to the NORTHWEST alternative school Salmon Bay?"

Because AE2 created NOMS, which is now Salmon Bay. It was their school. It was in the NE, and the Supt moved it to Ballard. AE2, AE4 and Orca built this school from the ground up and then it was taken away from them and moved. Did you know that Orca also had the Salmon Bay prefernce up until they opened their middle school. These three schools worked together and very hard to build NOMS, a school with the ELOB, experiential curriculum.

As for why they simply didn't just go to AS1 or Summit, that answer is easy. The only thing AE2 shares in with Summit and AS1 is that they are all alt schools. The schools are drastically different, with very different pedagodies and philosophies and AE2 did not feel that either school was a good match for their students.

Again, I am not advocating for the preference to continue. This is a new day, with new challenges, and a budget crisis. I'm just trying to give some perspective on how the preference came about and why it still exists today.

anonymous said...

Josh, instead of trying to tear other alternative schools down, and get the district to limit their transportation, why don't you ask the alt schools your bashing to assist your community in fighting to sustain their multi cluster or all city draw trasportation? Alt schools have been the targets of unfair and sometimes second class treatment by the district for a long long time, but we have a history of uniting and working together for the good of the whole. I find your comments to be divisive and selfish, and definately not in the communal spirit of alt schools.

Jet City mom said...

Yes Escuela Latona was in Latona Elementary in Wallingford- but no one ever called it Ae#III-it then became the International school. ( @ Latona)

Because AE2 created NOMS, which is now Salmon Bay. It was their school. It was in the NE, and the Supt moved it to Ballard.

I really don't know how/why you are keeping track- but actually New Options Middle school, was on Queen Anne before they moved to Ballard-at which time parents/teachers were quite adamant that it remain an all city option, and that two/thirds of the students enrolled at NOMs came from south of the ship canal so I am curious where you got the idea that historically NE has "dibs" on seats?
Perhaps you are confusing it with Coho, which used to located at Wilson-Pacific, which at least is north of ship canal.

Melissa Westbrook said...

What I recall from the CAC is district staff saying they were already making plans to limit transportation to all the alternative schools except Summit. At the time, I believe that AS#1, AAA and Summit were the only all-city draws. All the alternatives were going to be limited to two regions because of the extremely high costs of transportation.

And that raises a dogfight issue for the assignment plan that could get pretty ugly but here goes:

If each alternative was limited to two regions, would all of them be able to survive? Would they adjust to try to attract people in their regions and meet their desires in an alternative school? And if the alternatives wanted to argue their case for survival, could they to regular ed schools who might say that the dollars needed to be in the classroom and not on the road? TOPS could likely survive but would only drawing from two regions undercut their social justice focus? Can AS#1 survive?

Just as this closure plan is a lot about trying to shut down poor quality buildings, the assignment plan is going to be a lot about transportation dollars.

seattle citizen said...

Sooo...in case there IS a severe limiting of transportation to alts, does anyone in here have viable suggestions to defray this? Could alts be "attached", bus-wise, to regular schools? Could there be a designated transfer point, as I think I read in one of these threads, where, say, a student going to a south alt from the north could be dropped off at central regular school, there to transfer to a "south" bus?
If transportation was cut, what could parents and guardians do to help organize a transportation system that continued to allow students from distant points to get to the alts?
Just in case.

(word verifier! "refur": is this a verb, meaning to cough up a hairball? Or is it what the hep kitties roll?)

Josh Hayes said...

adhoc is probably not alone in not understanding what a "Swiftian proposal" is. Since this is an education-related blog, a quick history lesson:

Noted satirist Jonathan Swift ("Gulliver's Travels", among other things) in 1729 published an essay for which the abbreviated title "A Modest Proposal" has become standard, in which he suggested that starving Irish people might sell their children as food to the wealthy.

The idea, you see, is that the proposal is loathesome on its face, and serves to point up that a policy of neglect is in fact a policy of destruction.

MY proposal, to do away with multi-cluster transportation for Salmon Bay, was intended to strike the same note: alternative schools are few and far between in this city, and limiting transportation unnecessarily is not simply neglect, but deliberate destruction.

Unfortunately, the two Board members who have responded to the proposal said the same thing: it's okay to transport from everywhere to Salmon Bay, but it's too expensive to do it for AS1. Maybe if I had suggested, as Swift did, selling bits of our children to raise money for the school, they'd have gotten the reference?

Probably not.

And as for working with Salmon Bay, the day they do anything more than say that AS1 shouldn't be closed will be a new day for us all. I don't blame them at all: the district clearly has anything non-traditional in its (their?) sights, and the smart thing now is to keep one's head down while one's fellow sheep are being dragged away.

As for your comment on my tone, I make no apologies. The fact is that the proposed transportation plan screws AS1, and I have heard not One. Single. Word. of support from any Salmon Bay parent or staff member. The simple fact is, promises were made to both AS1 and Thornton Creek. The ones to TC are, apparently, being kept. The ones to AS1 are not. Why should I make nice?

Any of you Salmon Bay people want to jump in and tell me why I'm wrong?

Hah; word verification: trapp. I wonder what significance THAT has?

Josh Hayes said...

I like seattle citizen's suggestion very much -- I hate to keep harping on AS1, but that's where I go! And we've already started thinking about a parent-based team to escort kids to metro stops, pick them up at other stops, and walk them to school.

If SPS could provide a handful of buses to run from, say, some First Hill location to, say, some Green Lake location, parents might be able to use Metro or carpools to alleviate some of the adverse impacts of reduced transportation.

If the district could think of allocating some transportation dollars to a point-to-point system, rather than a route-to-school system, that might do a heck of a lot for flexibility.

Maureen said...

Reps from all of the Alts should get together before the Alt Audit and talk through our common needs and wants or most assuredly we shall all hang separately.

Time to fire up the internet: I've lost the contact info for the new Alt Ed listserve (from the meeting at Douglass-Truth). Does someone out there have it? Thanks!

anonymous said...

EmeraldKity asked "Because AE2 created NOMS, which is now Salmon Bay. It was their school. It was in the NE, and the Supt moved it to Ballard. I really don't know how/why you are keeping track"

I'm really not "keeping track" emeraldkity. My children went to TC, and I was volunteering in the library one day when a student asked the librarian during circle time why TC kids went to Salmon Bay for middle school instead of Eckstein like all of the other kids in their neighborhood. The librarian, who was actually on the original "NOMS" committee, and worked with AE3 and ORCA to put together a vision and build NOMS, explained the process to the children. She talked about the collaboration that happened between 3 alt elementary schools that very much wanted an alt middle school for their children to go to, and she talked about having to take space wherever the district could make if for them, and that the important thing was that they had access to a like minded alt MS. It was heartwarming, sensitive, and very educational to me. That librarian was beloved Mary Cooper.

But you are right about the location. I asked my son who was in that class with Mary Cooper and he said that the storefront in the NE was AE2's proposal to the district. They had found a space and everything, but the district decided against it and housed NOMS at Washington instead. It later moved to old Hay before merging with COHO and moving to Monroe (Salmon Bay).

And by the way there really was an AE3 at latona emeraldkity, whether they were called ae3 or not, and this IS the community that worked with AE2 and Orca. As I said Orca had the preference too. It was only discontinued when Orca grew a middle school. Did you know Broadview was known as AE5? Lots of interesting history.

http://www.seattleschools.org/area/siso/test/anrep/anrep_1999/241.pdf

anonymous said...

Sorry the above link was cut off. Here it is.

http://www.seattleschools.org/area/siso/test/anrep/anrep_1999/241.pdf

anonymous said...

Sorry I don't know why the link wont print? I'll try one more time

http://www.seattleschools.org/area/


siso/test/anrep/anrep_1999/241.pdf

K said...

Not to throw a wrench into the alt school history here, but I'm pretty sure AE 5 was at Broadview as a separate program. It moved to Wilson Pacific and eventually merged with NOMS to become Salmon Bay. AE 5 aka COHO. The legend I heard as a 2 time TC (AE II) and Salmon Bay parent was that AE 5 was started by parents who couldn't get their kids into AE II. Obviously these stories change over time and with the telling. It was also my understanding that NOMS was started by AE II, Escuala Latona and ORCA staff and parents which was the reason behind the ongoing assignment tie-breaker (which ORCA lost when they went K-8). I think there are still a few original teachers at TC and Salmon Bay who would know the history if they cared to share it.

TwinMom2003 said...

Maybe too late on my part to talk about the K-8...There are quite a few UW Professors, staff, and their families that live in the NE.

It just makes me wonder if it would be a possibility to partner with UW in some manner to not only help in getting the school up and running quickly. But also with the cachet of a known quality association as well?

Melissa Westbrook said...

When I attended one of the early Assignment plan meetings, members of the NE Coalition had already started thinking about how to cobble together transportation in case it was cut or limited for alternatives. One sticking point is if the district will actually listen instead of saying "no, we thought of that, it won't work".

TwinMom, that's not a bad suggestion except that this district is loathe to ask for outside help even when (a) it is offered and (b) could be of great value. Worth asking Mr. Kennedy, our COO, if he has contacted anyone.

anonymous said...

Since you ask Josh, I'll give you an example of some of your dirty fighting.

You are clearly frustrated (and rightfully so) that the district has limited AS1's transportation to 2 clusters, but instead of being productive, organizing, and making a cognizant argument in favor of a larger draw, you resort to dirty fighting and spite "I've put in an amendment request for no more than two cluster transportation to any school". Instead of reaching out to the alt community and working WITH them, you choose to throw them under the bus. It's ugly Josh.

How about this one Josh "I'm not worried that my proposal will in any way keep TC kids from their privileged spots and privileged yellow buses at SB". Surely, even you must admit this is dirty fighting, ugly and unproductive.

Then in another thread you move on to attack TOPS because they are not alternative enough. A claim you have also made in the past against Salmon Bay and TC. In reference to TOPS you say "based on my tours there a few years back, it seemed, frankly, like a traditional school with intensive test preparation, and that didn't strike me as alternative in any meaningful sense." You refuse to acknowledge post after post from parents like Maureen who continually try to explain how TOPS is alternative. I would think of all communities yours would be sensitive as to how it feels for someone to attack your schools practices, philosophies and pedagogy.

And on a personal level I can't forget your first response to one of my posts in which you accused me of being a troll. Moving right along in your most recent you call me silly.

You do fight dirty Josh. It's ugly and you should acknowledge it. Unfortunately I have seen this same aggressive style of fighting coming from many AS1 and Summit families. You appear unreasonable and narrow minded. When we moved here 16 years ago a friend warned "Seattle is so liberal it's conservative". You give true meaning to the phrase.

anonymous said...

Sorry, above comment posted to the wrong thread.

North End Mom said...

kbr,
Yes, it is widely known that with the combination of high test scores and higher overall family income levels/PTA budgets, the south-end NE schools do show a higher "demand" than those in the North, as shown in your "first choice" analysis. Please take into account, however, that the schools in the north (John Rogers and Sac) are also smaller overall, and have fewer kindergarten seats to offer than Bryant, Wedgwood, and View Ridge. In a normal year, 23 first choice picks would represent approximately half of the incoming kindergartners at John Rogers, and would be quite a feat, considering the stiff competition from other schools in the cluster, particularly under the choice system currently in place. Likewise, 45 first choice picks is a phenomenal number for Sacajewea, representing approximately 2/3 of this year's incoming kindergarten class.

This year, like 4 other NE schools, John Rogers added a kindergarten class to help with the capacity crisis, and in doing so, took in some children under mandatory assignments. Ironically, I've heard that some of the parents of these children are so pleased with the school that they have signed up to lead this year's kindergarten tours!

"Demand," as demonstrated by first choice picks, is not always a good indicator of the quality of a school, nor is the physical location of a school necessarily an indicator of a school's quality.

If a high quality, academically rigorous, program is implemented in the Jane Addam's building, let's hope any phobias concerning imaginary lines or "dirty little secrets" can be dispelled, and the program can grow to be as successful as all of the schools in the NE cluster.

North End Mom said...

Josh,
I always thought that the reason why Thornton Creek graduates have preference (and transportation) to Salmon Bay for middle school was because it was an opportunity to continue the ELOB learning model. I didn't know the history of it (thank you to adhoc and others for providing that). It makes sense to me that the District would make the effort to provide that continuity.

This transportation option would have no doubt been discontinued had Thornton Creek been expanded to a K-8.

It should be re-stated at this point that the primary reason why the TC expansion was rejected seems to be due to resistance from the TC staff, in that there was not adequate time to train incoming staff according to ELOB standards, necessary for keeping the integrity of their program.

I understand your frustration concerning the restrictions imposed on AS-1's transportation. The Board and the District do seem to be very concerned with reducing overall transportation costs (while inferring that these funds could be better spent in the classroom). It is one of the driving forces behind the new "Neighborhood Schools" Student Assignment Plan, and will soon affect all school communities, not just alternative schools.

seattle citizen said...

Maureen (and anyone else looking for alt ed blog site):

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/seattle-alted/

Josh Hayes said...

It would be much more useful if adhoc and I could take this discussion to email, but I doubt very much he'd be willing to do that. (Just in case, my email is josh at blarg dot net; feel free to email any time.)

While adhoc has completely misread what I wrote, it's true that closures breed hostility, as parents, children, and schools compete for a shrinking pool of resources. No doubt I have fallen victim to that angst.

Nothing I have written, however, is factually incorrect. I stand by what I've said and owe no apologies on that account.

I'm sure the blog is sick of this tempest in a teapot, and so I'll restrict my participation to less fraught matters in future.

Jet City mom said...

It is really interesting to me how schools have changed over the years-
I remember when Whitworth won a Golden Apple award and was featured nationally as an exemplary school.
My daughter attended preschool at Escuela Latona & even though the wood frame building had seen better days, you couldn't get your kid into it if you lived 8 blocks away.

When Lincoln & Queen Anne high schools were closed within a short time of each other- it was advertised as being equitable, because one was a North end school & one was a South end school.

For a time, even though there were quite a few alternative schools in the city, the demand was very high. I tried to get my older daughter into Summit K-12 for example for several years- but after 4th grade gave up and didn't try again. ( she attended private schools)

In a district that doesn't understand alternative education, the principal is critical. Summit had as principal for at least twenty years, a tenacious woman, who fought for her school, even though she didn't initially start as a alt school advocate.

Nova & AS#1 also until recently had long time- experienced principals.

But nowdays principals are shuffled around the district, and we are losing some good ones-sometimes because of seniority issues. The vice principal at Summit was great- but had conflicts with current principal & he had seniority. So she now is a principal at an elementary school in Portland.

As I mentioned with the on site child care- Portland is ahead of Seattle Re: education

we might do well to look at what they are doing- they have a much higher percentage of students that live in the city and attend public schools than Seattle does.

seattle citizen said...

Speaking of Golden Apples and alternatives:
Two years ago, two major programs (outside partners) that were mostly based at John Marshall Alternative (Bright Futures/Seattle Vocational Institute, for...voactional instruction, and 826 Seattle, which provived tutors and worked with students and staff to create strong and unique stories with each student) both of these organizations won Golden Apples, mainly for thier work at Marshall with those students....The year Marshall was still fighting for survival (and then closed.) Marshall itself developed an interesting proposal for a school/social service/community center type of restructure, that might have served as a fine framework for meeting the needs of many of its students, their parents, and others in the community.
But Marshall closed, that 100 page proposal languishes in some dusty file, SVI serves other students from other schools now, 826 just finished a book of Hamilton stories...
We need more institutional memory and a way to keep good programs and efforts afloat, even if buildings close and funding changes.

darekaaron said...

I haven't had a chance to read every comment, so forgive me if I'm redundant. I would love to see an IB program offered. Everything I've heard about it has been spectacular.

IB website:
http://www.ibo.org/programmes/profile/index.cfm

Any thoughts?