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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

School Board Meeting on January 21

Both of Carla Santorno's presentations for tonight's School Board meeting are already posted online.

- School/Family Partnership Advisory Committee Annual Update

- Math Update (7:18 pm update; just noticed that this presentation has now been removed from the agenda)

And Dr. Goodloe-Johnson's presentation is now posted as well. It includes responses to School Board and community questions/concerns about the closure recommendations.

- Superintendent's Update

***************
9:00 pm - break (I'm done blogging for the night. If anyone stays/watches to the end, I'd be interested to hear whether the Board follows Chris Jackins' request to remove several items from the Consent Agenda so they can be discussed further before voting.)

8:40 pm - School-Family Partnership presentation; Michelle Corker-Curry and parent committee (including Charlie Mas) presenting.

8:30 pm - DeBell asked Board for any other questions on closures.

Sundquist asked whether 1-3 and 4-5 split for APP would be possible. Dr. G-J said will bring back response to Board later.

Sundquist raised SBOC desire to have own building. Asked whether co-location is really necessary according to district research. Staff answer seems to be "no", it is the instruction that happens in the classroom that is essential.

Chow verifying that any changes/questions/amendments from Board members need to be submitted in writing in by noon next Tuesday to Superintendent for review. DeBell said "yes." Amendments will then be posted on district website by Wednesday at noon. Also pointed out that closure vote on Thursday, January 29th will not include public testimony so tomorrow night (22nd) is final opportunity for public testimony on closure proposal.

Maier asked whether minor changes discussed tonight (Summit and AAA enrollment priority for alternative schools) will be posted as amendments. Dr. G-J said these are responses to inquiries, not changes. Any Board member who wants that to be implemented needs to officially propose it as an amendment.

7:55 pm - Returning to Dr. G-J's presentation. Lead of by Brad Bernatek to talk about functional capacity.

Released data on January 13th. Details on slides 23-25 in Superintendent's presentation.

(missed most of this presentation and follow-up Board questions for kids' bed time; please post comments about anything missed here)

Dr. G-J addressed potential impact of closures on attrition rate, then spoke about design teams.
- Eleven design teams, one for each site directly impacted by the proposed closures and program relocations.
- Additional design teams to "support the students and staff at the fourprograms that are being recommended for discontinuation (AAA, Meany, Cooper, and Summit)."

Maier asked for frequent reports to Board on work and progress of design teams. Dr. G-J said "yes" that is part of plan.

7:30 pm - DeBell stopped Dr. G-J for Board questions on presentation so far.

Sundquist asks clarifying question: will closed schools have design teams? Dr. G-J says "yes" and will discuss further later in recommendation.

Sundquist also asks whether Cooper school can be moved together to another school that is either empty or has room. Will labor agreements allow that? Holly answers that it is important to note that doing so would disburse another community. Since another community would be dispersed, labor agreements and issues of seniority would make it so that move of staff and students together could not be guaranteed.

Carr asks about other potential moves that would keep large groups of Cooper students together. Holly answers that there isn't a better solution for placing students than the one proposed. Tracy Libros says it is a question of whether it is more important to keep larger groups of students together or more students closer to home. Says Arbor Heights and Roxhill have space but are not near where Cooper students live.

Carr asks follow up question about how students who are being displaced will be well-served. Dr. G-J says closing education gap is important both for students being displaced and others across the district who are not being well-served.

Maier asked follow-up question on enrollment priority for Summit K-12 and AAA. Tracy Libros explained that regional priorities and transportation rules still apply which means no additional transportation costs are incurred. Martin-Morris asked follow-up question. Points out that for many Summit K-12 students who live in the North/Northeast this priority may not be meaningful since no open seats at Salmon Bay or Thornton Creek. Libros confirms that there are not enough alternative seats in the North/Northeast for all displaced Summit families. Says it would also be good to look at first-choice data because some Summit families go there by choice but others choose it because couldn't get space elsewhere.

Bass says that wish had given schools opportunity and resources to improve and metrics for success before presenting school closure proposal.

DeBell asked whether additional resources/interventions can be focused on schools where students displaced by closures are attending. Dr. G-J said "yes."

7:15 pm - Superintendent's Update

Dr. G-J reviewing presentation posted at the top of this blog post earlier tonight.

Started by reviewing achievement data and talking about work to close the education gap.

Moved to responses to Board questions on closures from 1/7/09. Says will focus resources and attention of district on schools displaced students are assigned to create a "strong academic environment."

Summit K-12 and AAA families could get priority for enrollment (after siblings and region) to other alternative schools. Transportation would follow the same rules that currently apply.

Students who wish to apply to other APP program could apply and be admitted on a space available basis. Currently only 2 students are within walk zone to Lowell who will be assigned to Thurgood Marshall under current proposal.

Outlined details of where Cooper students would be assigned. Largest number to Gatewood. Second largest number to West Seattle Elementary. Third largest number to Pathfinder.

Discussed staff assignment process.

Says can't move T.T. Minor Montessori with T.T. Minor General Education program together to Lowell because wouldn't leave room for other programs in Lowell to agree.

Reviewed data on APP testing and how many who qualify enroll (currently 85%). Suggests reopening APP testing window for kids in certain affected schools (Thurgood Marshall, T.T. Minor, Meany, Hamilton). Says APP classes will continue to be self-contained.

Briefly discussed NOVA/SBOC co-location.

6:10 pm - Public Testimony...only blogging "highlights" not comprehensively tonight; for me that means either new information, new opinions/perspectives or interesting quotes.

Chris Jackins: "closure proposal is like one unfortunate game of Sorry"

Robert Femiano: teacher who would prefer to have additional instruction days rather than 3 days of professional development; asking for teacher survey before making this decision; opposes closure proposal, particularly closure of T.T. Minor and other Central district changes.

Carol Simmons: spoke about institutional racism and negative impact of closures on children of color and from low-income families

Summit K-12 student spoke movingly about being a "social outcast" who hasn't fit in to any other school.

Debra Mobley said large numbers of APP students attending Washington Middle School and Garfield are non-residents.

Chris Fitzgerald spoke about central administration costs growing 2-4 times faster than revenue and attrition rates.

Maria Ramirez (Executive Director of Campana Quetzal and member of Friends of SBOC and contributor to this blog) stood with group of others who agree with her; says proposed move of SBOC to Meany is not in best educational interests of SBOC students. Spoke of district's past promises. "You have not begun to address the 75 recommendations in the bilingual audit." Wants a planning year before any changes are made.

62 comments:

ParentofThree said...

Several issues addressed in MGJ's presentation.

They will open the testing window up (a bit) to students impacted by closure.

APP will be all self-contained in all schools.

ParentofThree said...

Onto math. Can anybody find what materials are being considered for 9-12? The report says to see pages 12-14, but it only goes to page 8.

TechyMom said...

From MGJ's presentation... 85% of APP-qualified kids are in APP, and only 4% are not in advanced learning of some type. So, um, where's the problem? Those sound like darn good numbers to me.

old salt said...

I imagine that the 85% would only include children who qualified for the current year. Often families that decide not to move into the program, also do not retest every year.

Melissa 'Liss' Cain said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
another mom said...

At the end of the Superintendent's update, there is mention of new principals being announced for buildings affected by closures or program relocations shortly after the board vote on January 29th. This says to me that these people have already been chosen without input from the usual stakeholders. I know of no principal currently employed by SPS with the kind of experience necessary to lead an APP/neighborhood school. The current principal of Lowell has zero experience with this kind of co-housing. What are they thinking?

north seattle mom said...

At Harium's meeting on Saturday, he said that the new program principals would be announced tonight. So that more than suggests that the new folks know their principal assignments.

dan dempsey said...

Dear SPS Mom at 6:26 you said:

Can anybody find what materials are being considered for 9-12? The report says to see pages 12-14, but it only goes to page 8.

Try this document:
http://www.k12.wa.us/CurriculumInstruct/pubdocs/PublishersNotices/OSPIMathHS-IMR-Rpt1-15-09.pdf

Also here is my two cents worth on the Math Update that did not happen.

Melissa 'Liss' Cain said...

To re-post a version of my earlier comment that I deleted:

The Summit K-12 student was my son, Jacob Looke. While I am always very proud of him, I am especially so tonight. For any teen to stand up and speak to power in such a meeting is an act of courage. For a teenager who has been identified for far too long by his PTSD and emotional issues, it was a breathtaking act of bravery.

As I said tonight, it's past time for them to listen to the students that they are supposed to be serving.

dan dempsey said...

Thoughts on page 3 of Superintendent's update.

Percentage meeting standard increased in the last year by at least 1 percentage point in 12 of 20 areas tested.
This looks like a pretty normal statistical variation so 12 went up by at least 1 point and 8 did not. This hardly ranks as a statistically significant result.

Education gap is generally narrowing in reading & writing over the long-term.
Math is still a mess but we blew our adoption money and will do nothing significant.

10thgrade WASL results increased from 2007-2008 across the board.
right math for grade 10 improved from a passing rate of 50.2% to 50.4% ( I guess anything is considered an increase ... statistically significant or not).

In regard to closing the achievement gap 4th grade Hispanic WASL math passing scores declined from (spring 2007) 44.5% to 34.5% (spring 2008) (That is statistically significant). That must be hard to do when one increases time spent on math each day to 75 minutes during the 2007-2008 school year.

To improve a system requires the intelligent application of relevant data. The relevant data on EveryDayMath was available prior to May 2007 but the administration chose not to intelligently apply it. Instead they chose to hoodwink the board.

Charlie Mas said...

I noticed that the report on functional capacity suggested that the S.B.O.C. and NOVA would just fit into Meany, but I was concerned that the tight fit did not allow for any room for the S.B.O.C. to grow - as it must when students are allowed to continue in the school and earn credit towards graduation.

No one on the Board asked about it, but I asked Courtney Cameron (nee Jones) and she said that the District would be changing the S.B.O.C.'s entrance criteria, exit criteria, and possibly (probably?) be splitting the middle school and high school parts so I shouldn't worry; the revised program will fit.

The functional capacity numbers for Thurgood Marshall indicated that there are 18 homerooms available (after PCP rooms and self-contained classrooms are deducted). The District figured that APP would need 10 of them and that would leave 8 for the general education program. I think that APP will need more than ten since APP students don't come in discrete chunks of 24 students per grade. But they say that the post-split functional capacity of the building will be 430 - so all the kids will fit.

Charlie Mas said...

I found it disturbing that the principals are to lead the design team.

I think it's important that the design teams be able to dictate some things to the principal and I don't think that will be possible with the principal at the head of the team.

I don't think it is a good idea to put the person who created the status quo in charge of the change.

For example, the principal at Hamilton, Katie Cryan-Leary has already expressed her decision to have a minimal instrumental music program at the school. So how is she going to lead the design team to develop a full-blown music program there? Jon Halfaker has already decided what sort of electives should be available at Washington, so how likely is he to revise that decision?

And how many principals will be replaced? Will Winifred Todd continue to be the principal at Thurgood Marshall? If she needs to be replaced, then doesn't the principal at Hamilton also need to be replaced? Why or why not? Discuss.

Finally, of course, there is the matter of the communities denied input regarding the selection of their principal. That's not how it's supposed to happen.

another mom said...

"DeBell asked whether additional resources/interventions can be focused on schools where students displaced by closures are attending. Dr. G-J said "yes."

What budget will absorb the extra costs of this? Isn't there a budget shortfall?

Phinney Ridge Mom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Phinney Ridge Mom said...

IF the board has been listening and decides to delay closures and such - puts things on hold to evaluate....

....What happens to Summit K-12???

We are already ousted from our building (by previous decree) and it seems the "new design committee" can't wait to get in (as evidenced by testimony last night from the NE Coalition)...

SO... WHERE does that leave Summit K-12 ?????

Andrea said...

January 21, 2009

Dear Superintendent and School Board Members:

Change is in the air, we have a budget crisis, and money must be saved. We all get it. We would all embrace it, as a matter of fact. We'd work with you, crunch the numbers, look for viable solutions. But, instead, you are opting for other, negative ones. We've seen it coming.

As the dreaded day approaches, I can't help but wonder if anyone has really taken the time to look at the history of the Seattle School District. Really, I've seen no evidence. We stress the importance of history lessons; just voted in a president with a strong, academic background; and yet, rather than learning from the past, you are acting like so many other narrowly sighted leaders. It makes me wonder. With support from the district, Summit K-12 could surely be a jewel with bragging rights. And, yet, you have not learned the history which has led us to this dismal place.

You have been told countless times about Summit K-12's program. You have witnessed passion and have been given proposals which would work. And, yet, you have not had the courage to look at the history and learn. Though we've said it before, I'll give you my thoughts.
• Despite being on the closure list repeatedly, 530 kids have continued to choose it. (I'll ask you again, would you choose to send your kindergartener to a school that had been on the closure list? Probably not, but the reputation and options of this school have been strong enough to keep us coming.)
• Summit K-12 is not just the only public K-12 in the state of Washington, it is also a wonderful school for the arts, experiential learning, and social justice. As an educator myself, I have been taught that these methods enhance educational success. Did you realize that?
• Summit K-12 also offers things that many families can only find in private schools. Many people are already seeking this option for next year. You, alone, are pushing them there. Isn't that counter to what you're intending to do?
• At Summit K-12, my three children within a 5-year age span, can go to school together. They talk about the same people, ride the same bus each day, they laugh about "what happened at lunch today," and they comfort one another in the halls. Perhaps these things aren't reflected in WASL scores, but they have meant the world to our family.
• My children have experienced: movement classes, swing dance, jazz dance, African dance, hip hop dance, modern dance. They have fine arts class, graphic arts class, ceramics, and steel drum. My children have gone river rafting, camping, and on a marine biology trip to Maui. They've had choir, elementary music, instrumental music, and the learning of, "Brown Eyed Girl" with their guitar-playing teacher. As part of their PE program, they had regular PE and weekly swimming lessons. They've been able to join any middle school sport offered without the fear of being cut or not played, and there's always room on the ski bus on Fridays. My children have been in plays and musicals, and they've watched amazing productions of high school performances since they were five. They've aspired to these things. They've looked forward to being a part of them. They haven't yet experienced all that Summit K-12 has to offer, and they are sad.
• My three girls have learned to appreciate those from all walks of life. Compassion for others is not something exercised on special days. It is modeled, expected, and taught. They have not only seen but internalized that every person on this planet -- Blacks and Whites, Gentiles and Jews, Rich and Poor, Muslim and Atheist, Gay and Straight, Blue Haired and Crew Cut -- brings something to the table. They might not like them or want to be best friends, but their teachers actively show them how to accept, understand, and respect. There may be differences, but the commonalities between people are profound.
• And, yes, dear Leaders, they have learned to multiply, they have learned to read, they have learned to write. My children score high on the WASL. My children read every day, write passionately every day, learn history and social studies every day, and examine different types of soils in science class.
• My children love their kindergarten buddies and swell with pride over knowing seniors. Tall, 18-year-olds swoop down to high-five a first grader; a second grade teacher pauses to greet an 8th grade sibling as she passes by on her way to ceramics class. A 6th grade girl knows that she belongs, because she sees her fourth-grade teacher each morning.
• Finally, most importantly, my children have learned to think and to be inspired by their learning. They rarely complain of boredom at school. They brag about the creative assignments given to them by passionate teachers.

Don't you want your child to attend that school? None of these things can be assessed through some scientific test, yet I'd guess that most of us would pay top dollar for this opportunity if we had it.

Board Members, it's your turn now. We understand that you have difficult decisions before you, but don't you think that the history of this program that you're about to close is worth examining? Did you know that, before all of this craziness, Summit K-12 had a long waiting list? Wouldn't you like to support a school like this? Wouldn't you like it to be your success story? Wouldn't you like to say that you sat on the board the year that we supported a school which had unfairly been given a bad rap due to district decisions. We saved that school, we gave it a home, we polished the jewel. Now, we get to brag. Wow. We came too close to closing it. What a sad day for Seattle that would have been! Phew. We're glad we have it. Look at all those private school families we've lured back into our district. We saved Summit K-12.

Please make that your dream and your goal.

north seattle mom said...

Phinny Ridge Mom has it exactly right. What happens to Summit? There is absolutely no reason to not move them to Meany at this point. There would be enough room for current Meany students to remain and enough room for Summit. Summit has a very strong middle school program in addition to its warm and inclusive community.

The SBOC doesn't want to colocate at Meany. Nova wants to stay in its very cheap and efficient building. They are just closing Old Hay for one year, there isn't any savings in that. It is going to cost more to open and close it than will be saved.

The vote to move Summit already happened outside of this process. I am constantly surprised that all of the voices that want this process to stop, don't include finding a home for Summit.

Jet City mom said...

I stayed till the bitter end last night- and what I can't shake is the testimony of the couragous Summit K-12 freshman as to the support the Summit program/community has given to him.

How anyone, can think of closing a school, which offers a unique opportunity for students who have tried to fit in other places & failed, a place where they can not only get by, but thrive.


54% of Adults in Seattle have a college degree.
58% of Seattle public school students currently graduate from high school.

Very few students are aged K-12 in the district/city, yet the district believes that cutting programs tp save money , will attract families back into the system. Apparently not only to the district but to the city-???

(I'd like to see figures, after paying for " design teams", staff to attend meetings, how much is saved by closing buildings and how long will it take to recoup that?)

Speaking of design teams, since G-J stated that the purpose of design teams will be to facilitate students transition to/from their new communities- how much are they budgeting for this?
Cooper for example, students will be assigned to NINE other schools, so their design team will be charged with working with teachers from those nine schools. I expect as much time and attention to be spent on those nine schools as I do for the design team that apparently has already been formed for TC ( according to an audience member) to move into the Jane Addams building.

seattle citizen said...

I, too, cannot fathom the decision to close Summit. There is no apparent rationale for it.

There IS a rationale for moving it: NE needs room, and Summit, being an all-city draw Alt, can move without TOO much disruption.

But there are places to move it to, and by NOT moving it, there is the possibility that 550 students will flood the N and NE "traditional" schools, defeating any gains made by moving them out of Jane Addams.

As has been pointed out, Summit could easily move to Lincoln, Macdonald, John Marshall, Meany...

That this is apparently not happening leads me to believe that Summit is just not LIKED, that somehow it disturbs the grand plans. THIS leads me to believe that the grand plans are more dire than just the lost of Summit: Standardization, streamlining, every school the same...Those who worry about APP might do well to worry about Summit, too.

seattle citizen said...

Jacob Cain:
Not incidentally, your speech last night was moving, eloquent, and, as you yourself indicated, took a lot of courage and effort (to stand strong in the center of the crowd and speak.)

Great, great job. Thank you for standing and speaking for your community, and thereby for the larger community of students.

north seattle mom said...

Emeraldkity,
Under the current plan TC is not moving into Jane Addams. The design team is supposed to build an entire new school from scratch in the next few weeks. I agree that they better get started or you are just going to have an empty building in the most crowded part of town.

That said, I agree with both you and Seattle Citizen. There is a real reason to move Summit but there is no excuse for closing Summit. The Summit program is safe home for hundreds of students. We have plenty of schools that are safety challenged and none of those schools even being discussed.

There is plenty of room to move Summit. I just can't comprehend the unwillingness to choose a central location. Summit at Meany would be a very attractive option for the central and south parts of town and be a real reason for families to leave the overcrowded N and NE.

seattle citizen said...

I applaud the creation of SOME common curricula: Particularly in the areas of developmental or remedial studies, where a student is behind. By having a common, district-wide set of developmental tools, all schools can be on the same page in addressing the needs of students who are having difficulty. The student benefits from familiar strategies, the educators benefit from common language and assessments to use in discussing students needs.

BUT: A move towards common curricula at ALL levels is disasterous. This country is grounded in the adventurous, the daring, the innovative, the exploratory...A move towards common curricula at all levels, towards direct instruction, would stifle the creativity that we value so highly (and is so highly valued in the world of work)

I have a feeling that many of the "non-traditional" schools are valued because they go their own ways, they facilitate all sorts of diverse ways of learning and interacting with the world. While I understand the need for accountability to students (preparing them for the world), to parents/guardians (communicating what their children are getting out of a particular program) and to the taxpayer (assuring them that their billions of dollars are well spent), but I bemoan the loss of individuality, of free and deep thinking that might accompany a drive towards commonality in curriculum and assessment.
The loss of Summit, to some of us, might suggest this dire situation is at hand.
How many parents/guardians will sit still (in SPS) while their child is constrained by the chains of commonality (and, dare I say, banality)

TechyMom said...

Other, similar alt schools south of the montlake cut (TOPS, ORCA, Pathfinder) have waiting lists. We want these sorts of programs down here. Summit could take some of that overflow, and as others have suggested, keep some families who languish on those waiting lists from choosing private school.

There are some suitable buildings down here with low enrollment: AAA, Madrona, Aki, Meany. Students from the existing programs could be given first crack at joining Summit, as is being done with Cooper students at Pathfinder.

north seattle mom said...

Can we start a new thread just on Summit. I think a whole lot of folks don't really get just how dire the Summit situation really is. The board already voted to "relocate" Summit in November to make room for a new K-8 in the Jane Addams building. Part of the closure process was to find a new home for them.

Even if the board votes no on the package next week, Summit is still homeless. This is a very different situation than all the other schools that have already been discussed. Could someone more familiar with this process that I am start a new thread explaining it?

zb said...

I'm confused by what the predicted effect of Summit K-12 closing will be in NE. Is Jane Addams going to accept students for 2009-2010? Or not until 2010-2011? And, will they have a reference area? Or be a "choice" school?

And, what is going to happen with 550 students (how many live in NE) being distributed through the NE schools?

zb said...

"Cooper for example, students will be assigned to NINE other schools, "

emeraldkty -- what's your source for this info? I've been trying to find out what the assignment plans for students from closed schools are, and have been completely in the dark about them. Do they get an assignment, and only participate in open enrollment if they don't like their assignment? Does this effectively mean that they trump the distance tie-breaker? (For example, a Summit K-12 student who lives in View Ridge's reference area, and is in the 3rd grade. If there's one open spot, after siblings, do they get it?).

Rudy D said...

Techymom is right on. Summit K-12 would be in huge demand in the south end, at any of the locations she mentions. Less so at Rainier Beach HS due to transportation costs, RBHS being on the far southern edge of the district.

Summit would probably become an attractive option for south end kids who will likely be unable to attend Meany or Hamilton middle schools any longer, under the proposed assignment plan.

Melissa 'Liss' Cain said...

I am planning on making a Summit post this evening, so we could certainly talk about at least part of these issues then.

zb, last I knew, about 70 percent of the Summit students were from north of the Ship Canal. I'm not certain how that breaks down in N, NE, and NW, but I'll look into it.

Also, the assignment information for Cooper and such is from this pdf presentation from last night. The numbers breakdown for Cooper is in there. Summit and AAA would receive tiebreakers, after region and sibling, to attend alternative schools. This doesn't help those of us in the north end much, as all of the alternative schools besides AS1 are full.

samdinista said...

The proposal to close Summit K-12 does nothing to alleviate overcrowding in the N.E. cluster. In fact, closure of the Summit program exacerbates the problem in the N.E. cluster. 40 % of the Summit student body will be re-absorbed into overcrowded traditional schools in the N.E. cluster, an unacceptable solution for families that chose an alternative program in part to escape overcrowded traditional programs in the first place. The current plan also decimates capacity in the central cluster, an area that all models show growing in population.
The current plan does nothing to address the needs of SPS, it's students and families, does not plan for the future, and does not meet any of its stated goals.

The current proposal does nothing to meet the stated goal of addressing the district's financial crisis, and will in fact make the crisis worse.
Analysis by ESPVision estimates the potential savings of $3,000,000.00 will be offset by losses of $2,700,000.00 as families leave the district as a direct result of closures. In the last round of closures, over $1,000,000.00 was spent relocating 700 students. This proposal impacts over 3,000 students. Using the costs from the last round of closures as a guide, it will cost the SPS approximately $4,285,000.00 in total to move this number of students. Costs for central office expenditures have risen 10% since 2003, while other expenditures have risen only 2.9%, yet there is no recommendation to significantly reduce expenditures in the central office. Recent recommendations from the CFO reduce transportation costs by $2.2 million without any closure related savings, creating a balanced budget without removing all-city transportation for AS#1, Summit K-12, AAA, etc.

The current proposal disproportionally affects alternative programs. The School Board recent;y affirmed a commitment to alternative education, and is now turning its back on that commitment and on the families that choose alternative programs. Closure of these academically sound and successful programs will negatively impact student achievement. Closing school programs based on WASL data is scientifically unsound because the data has not been disaggregated. Aggregated data from schools with a highly mobile student population is inaccurate because the data is skewed by students that have previously NOT been in the program. Additionally, examining test scores without factoring in Economic and Single-household status puts lower income schools such as Summit at a statistical disadvantage.

As the parent of an IEP student who has attended The Summit K-12 program through middle school, I can attest to the academic success at Summit. We chose Summit to avoid the large middle school program at Eckstein, because I knew my student would not thrive in a student body numbered in the thousands. Closure of the Summit program removes the only viable middle school alternative to "mega-schools" like Eckstein, Hamilton, et al., and does so with no foreseeable advantage to SPS, students or the greater community.

In addition, I ask the members of the school board to hold a 'vote of no confidence' on the leadership of Maria Goodloe-Johnston, and to ask for her resignation. Her top-down, authoritarian style of leadership has proven to be divisive, and her recommendations are a threat to the academic success of every student in SPS. Her vision of schools run as businesses is part of a radical ideology that is grossly out of touch with the views of her constituents. Further, we have seen the results of the 'Government as business' model in the eight years of rule now ending. We can not afford to allow this radical model to become entrenched in the administration of SPS.

anonymous said...

"Closure of the Summit program removes the only viable middle school alternative to "mega-schools" like Eckstein, Hamilton, et al., "

I'm certainly not advocating for the closure of Summit, and hope that the district is wise enough to find Summit a new home, but that said, there are other options for Summit students besides the "mega-schools". There is nearby AS1, Salmon Bay (I know it's hard to get in but it is all city draw and your chances are as high as anyone elses), TOPS, NOVA (for HS), and of course the new K-8 that will be housed at Jane Adamms.

anonymous said...

I would also take a look at Broadview-Thompson. I hear their K-8 is thriving, and gets great reviews from parents!

Uppergeorgetowner said...

We are a South End family that selected Summit as our first choice. Unfortunately, it has not been all smooth as a significant amount of energy is being put into understanding and fighting the District's decision to close it rather than into educating the kids. Teachers seemed burned out, and tired of fighting the good fight.

To boot, school leadership had been pretty much silent until recently; it seemed as though they were hedging their bets not wanting to come out on the losing side of the equation.

The biggest challenge has been first learning the program is evicted, and then closed with no clear enrollment plan for our children! The new K-8 will be an option only for N/NE families. Other viable options have waiting lists.

With the economy struggling and various other pressures, my family simply does not have the time or resources to fight it. We can't wait five months to find out what our options are, and thus have decided to enroll in private school.

Thank you Seattle Public Schools, for destroying our long held committment to public education and our trust in the institution obligated to serve us. Way to go.

seattle citizen said...

Does anyone know the official reason for closing Summit? Particularly given the stated intent to "move" it in the preliminary recommendation?

Jet City mom said...

Thanks Melissa for answering the Cooper ?.

While all the displaced alternative school students will have priority to other alternative choices for their address, it will be third- after sibling and proximity.
Since the alternative schools, already have limited seats, and may not have openings after sibling and proximity slots are filled- " giving" these seats to displaced alternative students- is an empty promise.

Nova, as far as I can tell, is the only alternative high school option, and how many seats will they have, and do they even know where they will be? ( and is Nova all-city, like Summit?)

We applied to Salmon Bay for 7th grade and got in, but daughter decided to stay @ Summit. However- Salmon Bay is NOT an alternative school IMO. Far from it. ( Just ask some of the minority families- students who march to a different drummer- who thought that it was an alternative school)

I also am NOT picking on APP, however- having two twice-gifted students, one who was educated through college in private schools- it strikes me that while there is more than lip service paid toward keeping the APP cohort together,
there is NO consideration given toward the needs of special education students to be assigned to a school where they have a supportive network of families/peers/teachers, other than where their placement will be is - to be determined-.


A couple additional comments.

If the state superintendent is intent on ditching the WASL, is it still appropriate to use to qualify APP students and as criteria to determine academic achievement for closing schools?

How can the superintendent sleep at night knowing that our district is harming families & knowing that she makes almost $100,000 more than the governor of our state?

If the resources of community meetings/design teams and polls had been provided to the communities that will be shuttered ( and had they known what the criteria was to determine their placement on that list), would they still need to be closed?

I've posted this before- but since many who do not have children currently enrolled in SPS do not have the time/interest to go through this anymore- I will post it again.

Summit K-12 was the only Seattle public school we felt would serve our family. My oldest child did not get in, during a time when it was very popular throughout the district, largely because of a strong advocate in the principal.
Instead she attended UCDS & SAAS after we concluded that the district wasn't interested in replicating the program or that a seat would open before the school year started.
Our younger child, started out in private school, a K-2 school & we decided to try for Summit for third grade- but if there wasn't a slot, then we would stay private.

We considered moving to Kirkland to the house I had walked to Lake Washington high school, Rose HIll Junior high & Ben Franklin elementary from, but we wanted to stay in the city & we wanted to continue to have access to Summit K-12.

She did get in for third grade & stayed until 8th, but largely because of lack of administrative support for true alternative schools from the district, she changed to Garfield for high school, however because we were exhausted from the pressure from the district to alleviate pressure from parents who couldn't get their students into Eckstein & wanted the building the Summit community had spent blood, sweat and tears into improving, if she hadn't gotten into Garfield we would have used private schools.

I am just one voice, but I represent many whose children are not served by SPS if a breadth of alternative programs are not available.

anonymous said...

Emeral Kity, which alt schools are you referring to when you say "While all the displaced alternative school students will have priority to other alternative choices for their address, it will be third- after sibling and proximity."? What alt schools use proximity for assignement? Not Salmon Bay. Not TOPS. Not Summit. Not NOVA. Not TC (although they only draws from N/NE). Proximity is not used for assignment to any alt school that I know of, but I am not an expert so please correct me if I'm wrong. And, yes to answer your question NOVA is all city draw in that there is no distance tie breaker enrollment is based on the lottery system and kids use public transit.

As for Salmon Bay, we could not have more differing opinions. I thought SB was very alternative, in fact i was much to alt for my son who is better served in a traditional environment. When we transferred my son to a traditional MS and saw how radically different it operated it could not be more clear that SB was indeed very alternative. Can you give some specific examples as to why you think SB is not alternative? And, how it is not alt enough to meet the needs of your friends "minority children"?

anonymous said...

I should add that when I speak about distance or "proximity" I acknowledge that some alt schools only serve certain clusters. Like Pathfinder only serves West Seattle (I think), TC only serves N/NE, AS1 N/NE and maybe NW, TOPS serves S/SE/Central/N/NW (I think)But anyone living in the clusters that the school serves has equal access to the school. There is no "distance' or "proximity" tie breaker. And of course the all city draw schools like SB/NOVA/Summit, etc don't limit enrollment to any cluster at all.

Lets make sure when we post info it's accurate so as not to create more confusion or chaos to already chaotic and confusing times.

Melissa 'Liss' Cain said...

adhoc, what is being referred to is from that pdf that I linked to:

"We would modify the existing Special Program Preference tiebreaker to give a priority to AAA and Summit students. This is the 3rd tiebreaker, after siblings and region, and before lottery number.

This would result in 3 special program preference tiebreakers: Thornton Creek to Salmon Bay; John Stanford Int’l School to Hamilton; and Summit and AAA to alternative schools."

zb said...

"We would modify the existing Special Program Preference tiebreaker to give a priority to AAA and Summit students. This is the 3rd tiebreaker, after siblings and region, and before lottery number."

My understanding of this would be that a Summit K-12 student (in 1-4) who lived in NE (i.e within the region) would get a priority assignment to TC, after siblings, and thus, would not have to participate in the lottery for an available spot.

But, that's because I'm interpreting "region" to mean reference area or cluster, and not "distance" or "proximity". As adhoc says, it's my understanding that "alternatives" don't use distance tiebreakers, though some have cluster preferences.

That leaves an open question about high schools, though, specifically Nova & Center School (now, I think they no longer use the distance tiebreaker, though I don't know if that plan has gone through). If they don't use distance, doesn't this mean that Summit K-12 (10-11 graders) should get priority assignment there? Though, I guess I've heard that Center School doesn't accept 11-12 graders, so maybe only 10th graders?

Anyone else with an interpretation?

(Also, I guess I'm interpreting this PDF as though it was a legal document, and we know it's not. My suspicions are that the reassignment just hasn't been thought through very clearly).

anonymous said...

Yes, ZB you are right. Summit students living in the NE cluster could apply to the new K-8 at Adamms, AS1, TC, Salmon Bay, and NOVA. They all serve the NE region, so the only tie breaker before theirs is sibs. The displaced Summit students are practically guaranteed a spot at these schools, and rightfully so. Summit families living in the North cluster can add TOPS to the above list.

I understand that these schools are all very different, and may not be inter changeable with what Summit, but at least the displaced families will be able to gain access to these alt schools if they choose to do so.

Central Mom said...

AdHoc...

Small correction...TOPS draws from the NW cluster, but not N. Its draw clusters are Northwest, QA/Mag, Central, South and SE. So it would be AAA and Summit folks from those areas.

I think there are anywhere from zero to a handful of openings per grades 1-8 each year. Last year's sixth grade class took @ 6 new students, I believe.

So, some hope, but not much for entrance to TOPS. And of course, this would pretty much mean no one else in the District would be getting in, except at K.

ArchStanton said...

seattlecitizen: "That this is apparently not happening leads me to believe that Summit is just not LIKED, that somehow it disturbs the grand plans. THIS leads me to believe that the grand plans are more dire than just the lost of Summit: Standardization, streamlining, every school the same...Those who worry about APP might do well to worry about Summit, too."

I've said as much elsewhere. Although I'm directly impacted by APP, I have no desire to see Summit be discontinued. This plan is carried largely on the backs of SPS' alternative, non-traditional, non-mainstream schools (Summit, APP, NOVA, SBOC, AAA). It seems that those they can't or don't want to destroy outright will be the pawns they can shuffle around to put butts in seats any time the demographics shift.

Elizabeth said...

Chiming in here. . .Broadview Thompson is full. Thorton Creek is full. TOPS is full. Salmon Bay is nearly full and has the TC preference. Center school has little room to grow. Nova has been said to have a waitlist and is not going to work for many S K-12 HS students or they would be there already. Hale is a decent option for those who can get in (there's room for now). AS#1 has always been an option for S K-12 students and they choose not to enroll. AS#1 is in deep jeopardy and is moving away from what once made it a stronger alt school (since Ron Snyder left and thereafter many all-city alt ed families).

So, choices are bleak for Summit K-12 to have the "soft landing" via the assignment preference.

Lastly, if it hasn't been answered:

Of 146 K-5 students at Summit,
NE -- 42
N -- 54
NW -- 11
Cnt -- 22
SE -- 13
WS -- 4

Of 186 MS students at Summit,
NE* -- 85
NW -- 39
Cnt -- 33
SE -- 26
SW -- 3
*includes N elem. (OHill, O View, Grnwd, DBgly, Grnlk, JSItl, BFD)


Of 176 HS students at Summit,
NE -- 36
N -- 70
NW -- 19
Cnt -- 31
SE -- 14
WS -- 6

Central Mom said...

Ellie...
Pls. post your numbers over at Harium's blog, also, as I'm sure he's reading it this week. I plan to do the same.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Is Summit liked? I wouldn't use the work "liked" but whatever the reason, Summit has been in staff's sights for the last 5-6 years. Before there was the CAC closures (and then the attempted Phase II closures), the district had tried closures. In that document, they summarily (and airly) just closed Summit. It was quite shocking. So they have been out to get rid of Summit for quite some time.

I am going to be speaking tonight, hoping to persuade the Board to move Summit (and reduce it to K-8 if only to save their good middle school program). Either move Summit to John Marshall, Lincoln or Meany. Or have Summit be a K-8 and share with Nova. Personally, I'd want Summit to be in Meany, Nova stay in the Mann building (which would get rebuilt; if they can do it for South Lake, they can do it for Nova). And find a real home for SBOC.

I'd like to persuade the Board to put the elementary APP move on hold. It is a disaster waiting to happen whether it's APP taking over Thurgood Marshall (just through sheer numbers) or whether the two groups can co-exist gracefully.

I'd like to persuade the Board to NOT move Van Asselt into AAA (and I think there may be traction here because of AAA's building being a K-8). Move Aki into New School's building (or AAA) and revamp it. If it's good for Denny and Sealth to be together and work together, then it would probably be good for Aki and RBHS. New School can work in AAA. The other issue here is having Van Asselt, Wing Luke, New School and Dunlap all within about 2 miles of each other. That is too many elementary spaces near each other.

Lastly, I hope to point out that the fighting between Arbor Heights and Cooper didn't have to happen if the Board didn't take everything that Facilities says as gospel (Cheryl Chow certainly does; she seemed to say so at a recent meeting). They have their own needs and agenda. That doesn't make them bad people but their view is not the full view.

In closing, I'm reprinting a comment to Dick Lily's recent piece at Crosscuts. I feel how this writer does as well.

"All I see is a complex and risky cascade of changes that theoretically may save a small amount of money. But no long term vision to grow enrollment and increase funding in the process. No focus on improving facilities and teaching staff, refining curriculums and emulating successful school programs. It’s all about maximizing building capacity and functional needs, with an off-the-mark comment about large class sizes not being important thrown in for good measure. I see a reactive rather than a proactive approach to problems. I’m one of the actively involved parents who has supported Seattle Schools for over 5 years and I feel like heading for the hills.

— HaroldG"

seattle citizen said...

I, too, have sometimes wondered where the "meat" is, where the positives are that outweigh the negatives. People seem to be asking for some articulated vision(s) of positive change.

This gets me thinking that I've heard a couple, and maybe others have more (new thread? Postive directions?)
1) developmental levels of service, addressing at-level, below level, far below level in some of the basics
2) a desire (if ineffectively expressed) to spread the good programs around
3) an oldie but goodie: safety net reorganization - ID safety net schools as such (as opposed to lumping them with other non-traditionals) and study better service models...

any others?

owlhouse said...

Feet in the Street. Will it make a difference? Maybe if Seattle wakes up to realize that the impact of this process is not limited to affected families. Public schools need community allies, closures or not.

I've been, in turn, saddened, confused, angered and overwhelmed by this round of capacity management. I have yet to be inspired by any piece of it, let alone the leadership charged with the design and management of proposed changes. Somehow, I'm not yet resigned...

ESP VISION-
Rally & March in support of ALL Seattle Public Schools-
Sunday, 1/25
2p @ TT Minor School (marchers meet)
2:30-4 @ Garfield CC- Rally!!

This is a family friendly event with music, food and good company. Come share stories of the success of your school.

anonymous said...

Ellie the TC preference for SB is only for TC students entering SB at 6th grade. Plus the Summit tie breaker would come before the TC tie breaker. The TC tie breaker was 3rd, right after sibling, and all TC students who applied always got in. The Summit preference will now be the 3rd tiebreaker, and the TC tiebreaker will become 4th. So Summit Students WILL get into SB for 6th grade, and will get any attrition seats at the other grades.

NOVA has a history of accomodating everyone that applies. They do not like to turn anyone away. They do get a very small waitlist once in a while, but work very hard to clear it and get everyone in. But that won't be a problem for Summit students. NOVA is all city so they use the lottery. Summit students would get assigned to NOVA BEFORE the lottery. The only students before Summit students to get assigned will be sibs, and there are not that sibs, so Summit students WILL get in.

Broadview Thompson, TOPS and TC, are popular programs and full, but any openings at all would go to Summit families (after sibs). So there are definately options there too though they will be fewer.

AS1 has plenty of space for Summit Students.

And lets not forget the new k-8. They are NOT full. They don't even have one student enrolled yet. And Summit students living in the N/NE get preference there too. So Summit kids would definatey have a home there too.

I feel for the Summit community and I have written Harium an email asking him to please find a place to move Summit and keep them intact. I hope the board does this.

But please lets keep sight of the options for Summit families should the program close and not make the situation more dire than it is.

owlhouse said...

AdHoc- "NOVA has a history of accomodating everyone that applies. They do not like to turn anyone away. They do get a very small waitlist once in a while, but work very hard to clear it and get everyone in."

Still, NOVA could not accommodate all students this fall semester and did not work through their waitlist. And, it's my understanding that NOVA co-housed with SBOC will not have space to grow. While I'm sure the NOVA community would welcome Summit students, the district would be better served by keeping Summit open, as a K-12. It can be done.

samdinista said...

Adhoc -
It really doesn't matter if Nova can accomodate some or even all of the displaced Summit high school students - Nova is not Summmit.
Nova is a great program for a very particular type of student, one that is highly motivated and self directed. Summit offers a more structured environment, and is a fit for a different group of students - that would not be adequately served at Nova or at traditional high schools.
All alternative schools are not the same, any more than traditional schools are the same. Each is shaped by its neighborhood demographic, the principal, the PTA, etc. Implying that Summit families still have "choices" because there will still be a small handful of alternative programs after this round of closures is insulting.

anonymous said...

Samdinista, please note my earlier post where I said "I understand that these schools are all very different, and may not be inter changeable with Summit, but at least the displaced families will be able to gain access to these alt schools if they choose to do so."

My child has attended two different alt schools and I know first hand that alt schools are not inter changeable. I wasn't suggesting that they were. I was pointing out the available options for Summit families if or when Summit is closed.

Josh Hayes said...

adhoc is quite correct:

I know first hand that alt schools are not inter changeable. I wasn't suggesting that they were. I was pointing out the available options for Summit families if or when Summit is closed.

It's impossible to read the minds of district personnel, but I have the feeling that they believe a lot of Summit families will sign up at AS1. This will accomplish a number of things: it'll free up the Addams building with its magical mystery school, and that'll magically, mysteriously, alleviate crowding in the NE cluster. It'll bump up AS1's enrollments, despite the fact that they plan to restrict bus transportation to AS1 to only the N/NE clusters (while Salmon Bay gets N/NE/NW clusters...hmm...is that a double standard I smell?). And it'll give them semi-cover to argue that "every cluster will have an alternative school" -- despite the fact, as adhoc points out, that while all traditional schools are pretty much the same, alternative schools come in a rainbow of flavors. My kids would NOT do well, for instance, at TOPS.

From my conversations with Board members, though, it looks like the writing is on the wall for Summit, and I just can't understand it. A program drawing 550 kids clearly has people interested in it; so it can't fill the Addams building. Big deal: put them in a building more suited to their size!

Can't understand why the District pulls this "amazed" face when they stick all-city-draw schools out in the periphery of the district and find they don't draw well.

north seattle mom said...

I also don't understand the sudden reluctance to relocated Summit. Staff clearly is opposed to relocation but until recently, the board consistently pushed and instructed staff to find another option for Summit. Any ideas as to what happened to cause the shift? It seems that Summit at Meany is still a great option. Summit and Meany both share and arts and social justice focus. Is it just that all good ideas must die in this process?

Ed Lambert said...

My comments from 1/22:


My Name is Ed Lambert, and I am a parent at Summit K-12.

As I attend these school board meetings, I have been thinking a lot about the damaging influence of the culture of “Seattle Nice”. I define Seattle Nice as a thin veneer of politeness covering up for a fundamental inattention to what is most important.

At board meetings, for example, I have heard nothing but praise for the staff. I am sure that they are all nice people. However, I am absolutely STUNNED that you have not pushed harder on the quality of their work.

Being nice is fine. However, there are many parents in the district that are afraid that their children will not SURVIVE high school. On Halloween, a beautiful child that was one of my son’s former classmates died on the steps of Garfield High School. You have met students from Summit that are barely able to hold it together. The lives of students literally hinge on the absolute perfection of the work done by your staff.

Yet, rather than demanding impeccable standards, you have been accepting a closure plan with logical gaps that are large enough to drive a yellow bus through. You allow the Superintendent to respond to your questions with a hyper-speed powerpoint, and an impossible patter of glib double-speak. I am ABSOLUTELY AMAZED that you, as a governing body are accepting this without question. This is not the time for you to be giving “atta boys” to the staff. This is not the time for “group think”. This is the time to be a responsible boss and make it clear that if this plan is wrong and students suffer – that staff will be FIRED.

Here are just a few of the massive failures of this plan:

- 530 Summit students are forced from Jane Adams, but the plan does NOT effectively deal with overcrowding in the NE cluster.

- Critical facts were HIDDEN until LAST WEEK – BIG facts, like that there are 303 students from OUTSIDE the NE cluster in those traditional schools. Or the fact that there is room for SEVENTY SIX more students at Viewlands because they opted for smaller class size. These potential 379 seats are likely double what will be gained by closing Summit. Did you guys notice this?

- The plan does NOTHING to help under-enrolled schools in South Seattle. Wouldn’t this have been a good time to work to increase attendance by pushing popular programs further south? Why not APP south at Aki Kurose? Why not Summit at Washington or Aki? We have a huge # of open seats in the South, yet we are closing programs like Summit and AAA? Where is the governance?

- What about the bizarre exchange that happened last night around Cooper potentially relocating intact to another program? Director Sundquist and Holly Ferguson created the impression that it might not be possible to “legally move one program out and replace it with another one due to union contract issues”. Isn’t that precisely what is being done to Summit, AAA, Meany, and Cooper? There was no logical closure to that conversation. Where is the follow up?

- Another huge area that you not forcing the staff to address is revenue. If more than 50% of our African American students did not drop out, wouldn’t that boost revenue? We don’t need to just chase after marketshare from the privileged when we could just better serve the kids we have. Where is the vision?

- The recent document that states that closures don’t drive students from the district is laughable. It always costs more to get a new customer than to keep an existing one. It is insulting to our intelligence to overlook the fact that if the same number enroll, but you had fewer students LEAVE, you could have a potentially BIGGER NET increase. Why has that work not been challenged?

- Wouldn’t it make sense to keep students from moving away? It is pretty safe to assume that all of you own your own homes. Here is a newsflash – when students are on Free and Reduced Lunch, they probably RENT their houses. When you close down schools that are majority FRL, their families can MOVE! While they may not have much money, they are not stupid and they DO care about their children. They will move to Kent, to Shoreline, to Renton.

- Speaking of the economics of this plan. How is it even possible that in this supposedly morally righteous and “socially-responsible” city higher income schools were removed from the closure list?

- Why is it that all schools with lower income families remain ON the closure list? Summit (47% FRL), AAA (80% FRL), Cooper (71% FRL), Meany (68% FRL). Again, how can this be acceptable to you?

Time permitting, I would read a list of a dozen more BIG problems with the plan.

In closing, I ask - what kind of Boss to you want to be? A “Seattle Nice” boss or do you want to be a responsible one?

I give you this challenge – If one year from now, we can come back and say “I told you so”, which of you will resign? Which staff members will lose their jobs? That is what accountability looks like. The stakes are too high for anything less.

TechyMom said...

Ed, I agree with almost all of what you said. Agree strongly, actually. But, not with this part "We don’t need to just chase after marketshare from the privileged when we could just better serve the kids we have." We don't do try to increase marketshare either, and it's another way we could increase revenue. We don't do anything to increase revenue. When people leave SPS, whether they drop out, move, or go to private school, we respond by closing schools. We should respond by trying to get them to come back, or by finding out why they left, and addressing it before others follow them.

owlhouse said...

Techy Mom, you're right. Of course district should work to build and promote programs, growing market share. We've heard that on multiple threads and from multiple voices. The district itself seems to think that tough economic times alone will bring people out of private schools back into the public system.

Not good enough. We have not heard from the district, or much discussion on this site, of the economic, emotional and societal "cost" of failing our African American students. No where in this capacity plan is there a vision for improving retention. Rather, we see successful schools, serving predominately minority communities, destabilized or dismantled. The stagnant HS completion rate for Seattle's African American community could easily the be core argument against the district's ill-informed, short-sighted closure plan.

h2o girl said...

Ed Lambert:
WOW. Fantastic. I am standing up and applauding you right now.

Josh Hayes:
I believe that Salmon Bay actually gets all-city transportation. I'm not 100% postive, but I think that's the case. My daughter told me there are at least a dozen different bus routes that arrive there every morning.

anonymous said...

SAlmon Bay is only all city draw for MS. For elementary it is N/BE/NW/QA

Melissa Westbrook said...

Oh Ed, you don't know how much I wanted to stand up last night and say, "I told you so" to the Board (about Pathfinder and New School). I didn't because I wanted to advocate for things that could be solutions. But, it is difficult in knowing that some of this could have been averted.

What bugs me is somehow this district, despite what it plans or says, never sees down the road more than a year. I didn't have a crystal ball but I knew that AAA wasn't working and should be closed and the great building repurposed and here we are two years later and that's happening.

Josh Hayes said...

It's hard to figure out what the transportation plan is for Salmon Bay -- and of course, I don't want to mess with their student body. It's just, well, just, to provide equitable treatment for schools which are ostensibly the same.

I was drawing my information from the PDF file available here:

http://www.seattleschools.org/area/newassign/maps/08-09/attend/SalmonBay.pdf

Mind the wrap. I can construct a "tinyurl" if we need one, but the image clearly shows all areas north of the cut as being in the transportation area for Salmon Bay. This, of course, is the current plan -- and AS1, for instance, currently has transportation all-city.

Let me be clear here: I'm not trying to take away SB's NE cluster transportation. I suppose that might be "equitable" -- in the same sense that closing all the alternative schools would be equitable: all children would have equal access, that is, zero. But if the district can bus kids from Lake City to Ballard, why can't they bus them from Ballard to Northgate?

snaffles said...

Is there anyway that Board members could parlimentarilly vote to put school closures on hold until they know for sure where students want to go?

It seems that there is way to much confusion of numbers for capacity and where students are able to go to actually make informed decisions.

I find it very disappointing that each time a new plan is proposed the School Board and Superintendent back it by a statistical argument, based on a new survey tailored to what they want.
It is a total waste of taxpayer dollars. And the students lose in the end.

Unknown said...

Watch out for the Design Teams. Check out who is on them, who or what they are connected to. The possibility that special interest or selection will happen is extremely high. At Ingraham the Design Team was hand picked by the Principal. So please investigate and check the Design Teams credentials and credibility.

On the subject of Ingraham, Why is the building project still in the Boards plans? The capacity report shows the school as having 300 empty seats. The Schools own assesment indicates that only 32% of the students chose the school as a 1st choice. And that only 68.5% want to return. These numbers place Ingraham tied for 2nd in the lowest numbers for schools. Why is there going to be an addition?

Wouldn't it serve the Students better if the money for the addition went into schools for elementary students? Especially elementary schools in the North end?

Can anyone explain why the addition should be added to Ingraham?

Thanks

Melissa Westbrook said...

Snaffles, yes, the Board could vote to table the whole thing if they wanted. But you do have to realize they have to work with the Superintendent and she and her staff have been working very hard and to see it stop might hurt the relationship between the Board and the Super. The question might be; where do the Board's loyalties lie versus what is their responsibility to the voters/parents?

Sam, the BEX money can be used for any capital project. When they come out with a list, it is to help voters see, in specific, how different schools need to be rebuilt and why. The Facilities department is very much the tail that wags the dog in this district. Where the Super and the Board might step in, say in curriculum, programs, etc., they take a largely hands off approach to Facilities because of a lack of expertise.

It's Facilities goal to redo every high school (and do them all before going on to middle schools). Now, it looks like Ingraham, RBHS and Sealth will likely not get the total redos of Roosevelt, Ballard, West Seattle, etc. But Sealth and Ingraham have been getting major upgrades since the BEX program started. RBHS, not so much and now I see that their modest project seems to have fallen off the BEX schedule. (I have a call into Facilities as to why that is.)

But the Board could very well direct the district to use those funds to update an elementary school or start rebuilding one in the NE or anywhere else. Facilities will tell you they would lose money on projects already in design, they've likely signed contracts, etc. The problem is that the list was wrong to begin with but no one was really paying attention and now it's too late.

Also, Facilities moves money around like you wouldn't believe. It is hard at any given time to know how much they have, where it is going and how far over budget they are on projects. (I think Garfield went about $25M over budget so try to find that money.)

Can't wait for that State Auditor's report this spring on the district's capital program.