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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Jane Addams Thread

A request was made for a thread about the Jane Addams School and what has been happening there. Here it is.

14 comments:

anonymous said...

At the 3/5 JA open house basic questions couldn't be answered with the explanation that they still did not have a budget. Supposedly JA received it's budget on 3/6. Has anyone heard any updates? Any design team progress?

Unknown said...

The next open house is March 17th from 6:30 to 8:00. I urge anyone interested to attend.

The principals are both strong and energetic, with a lot of positive force and an appealing idea-- an environmental science / math program that will utilize an on-site greenhouse, Thornton Creek watershed involvement, Spectrum, etc. The first year will be bumpy and then it will be just another great NE school that attracts neighbors near and far. So: as someone who's worked a lot on bldg. budget stuff, yes, I agree some of it's hazy, but that's liekly due to the difficulty forecasting enrollment, b/c enrollment drives all the budget allocations. Families enrolling will have a certain degree of trust-- trust in a well-known, experienced principal at elementary and a newer but well-respected middle school principal. One very cool aspect of this new community: family involvement will really set direction here.

My advice: get in now while you can get a seat, especially if you are interested in Spectrum (seats are tight elsewhere in cluster).

anonymous said...

Here is what I learned at the 3/5 tour.

The school will operate as a chimney model K-8. They will start out with 4 K classes, and may adjust that number for following years. They will have three 6th grade classes, two 7th, and two 8th grade classes. It looks like they will be able to accomodate rising 5th grade Addams students, but they won't take in any new 6th graders from the community, except to fill any attrition seats (not much relief for Eckstein, huh)

They are hoping for an enrollment of about 500 students for the first year, and expect the school to grow but are not sure how large it will wind up.

I have a middle school student so I focused more on the middle school.

For grades 6,7 and 8 the school will offer CMP2 for math, just like every other middle school in the district.

For grades 6,7,8 they will offer a full year of science. They are using the district NSF kits. They could not answer what their vision is for their focus on environmental science. When pushed and asked how this school would differ from any other school that offers math/science the only thing they could say was they will have a greenhouse and they are close to Thornton Creek.

For LA/SS middle school students will have a blocked class with strong a strong emphasis on Writers Workshop.

The middle school will not have a 6 period day, but students may go to a "math teacher" and a "SS/LA" teacher - but none of this has not been confirmed yet.

They are not offering any electives for middle school students because the school will be too small.

They will offer art and PE

They will offer Spanish but don't know how it will be offered? Will it be offered all 3 years of MS? Will it be offered as a regular class that kids go to 5 days a week? Or once a week?

Spectrum will be offered as an integrated model, not self contained.

They will offer band but are not sure if it will be offered during the day or as an after school program.

The school will offer some sports teams for MS, but they don't have any idea which ones or how many.

They do not know if the school will offer after school activities for MS students.

The design team and principals have only been meeting for a month, and without a budget (yikes) they are trying to start a brand new school. Both principals are still working full time at their current schools. As for Chris Carter he is also working on closing the AAA which must be an enormous and emotional task. I am planning on going to the March 17th open house. They said they would have a lot more information for parents as they will have their budget by then.

Melissa Westbrook said...

The greenhouse is likely to be shared with Hale as theirs is coming down. Staff have said that the most likely place to replace is at Jane Addams. But sharing might be a good thing anyway.

seattle citizen said...

I hope they talk to the Homewaters people (Homewaters used to be called The Thornton Creek Project; it is an outgrowth of the Thornton Creek Alliance, a long-established advocacy group in the area.)
Homewaters is the educational arm of the Alliance, and uses interdisciplinary studies to teach students. They use "watershed education," which means studying "place" from a variety of perspectives. It uses "watersheds" instead of, say, townships or neighborhoods because watersheds are natural boundries, not political of social.
The beauty of this is that you can study all sorts of things, not just environment. Watershed education is NOT just environmental education. Students can look at social, historical, scientific aspects; they can study jobs, transportation, art....anything; the connection is that these things are grounded in PLACE, and it is often the place the student lives.
A benefit of this is that students have multiple access points to form meaningful connections to the study.
This sort of thing can be integrated in LA classes, Social Studies, math...

So I hope the new Addams school can utilize not only the place around them (heck they sit ON TOP of a minor tributary of the creek; you can hear it under the manhole cover in the NW corned of the back parking lot!) but also the wide network of people who have been educating in and about the area for decades.

(disclaimer: the focus of my masters thesis was the Thornton Creek Project: I'm a fan!)

Charlie Mas said...

Small point: "Spectrum will be offered as an integrated model, not self contained."

That's not Spectrum; that's an ALO.

The delivery model, the self-contained classroom, is what distinguishes Spectrum from an ALO. Without that delivery model it isn't Spectrum.

I'm not saying it isn't effective or isn't a legitimate way to serve students. It is. It just isn't Spectrum.

Shannon said...

Is there anyone one can speak with about the program other than at the evening session?

I confess to being all toured out. I can't be bothered to try and process too much more but I would like to know about their vision of Spectrum as it seems to be implemented differently in different schools.

anonymous said...

Shannon you can contact Chris Carter and Debbie Nelson, the two principals. Debbie Neslon has been very receptive to questions via email and has taken the time to answer my questions in detail. Chris Carter has been responsive too, but is generally answers with one liners. Here are their email addresses.

ececarter@seattleschools.org dnelson@seattleschools.org

anonymous said...

For those interested the final Jane Addams tour will be this Tuesday, March 17, from 6-8P

Hamilton is having a tour on the same evening, March 17th, and their entire design team will be on hand to answer questions. Hamilton will have one more tour the following morning, Wednesday, March 18th.

anonymous said...

This was the letter sent by Chris Carter and Debbie Nelson the new Jane Addam's principal's, to Summit staff to help them decide whether they wanted to apply to stay at Jane Addams next year.

Summit Staff,

We would like to thank everyone for your warm welcome last Thursday and for your well thought out questions. It was a short amount of time together and our hope is that we provided you with a clear picture of what the Jane Addams K-8 program will look like, and what we mean by a highly traditional program. We want to see everyone make a decision that is right for themselves as individuals. In order to help you do that, we wanted to reiterate some important aspects of the program.

As we mentioned, our focus is on environmental science and math. We not only envision a rigorous program in these areas, but one that is considered the strongest in the Northeast Cluster. In addition to this focus, we will be fully implementing a school wide Writers Workshop curriculum, along with providing a balanced literacy program in every classroom. This is the core of what Jane Addams will be all about, which means we will be involved in extensive professional development and work together.

Since this will be a new program with a new staff working together, the monitoring of what’s happening in each classroom and the level of accountability will be more intensive than in an established program. This more extensive monitoring and accountability will include:

a strict adherence to pacing guides and curriculum implementation
regular reporting of pre/post unit tests, and student progress reports in math
frequent assessments in reading (running records, fluency checks, etc.)
dedicated grade level meeting times with a pre-determined focus (outlining writing plan for upcoming month, reviewing student work, analyzing data, etc.)
monthly grade level meetings with the principals to review student progress and upcoming curriculum
all staff receiving a formal observation within the first 3 months
data team work 2x month


In terms of a “traditional” program, we also feel it would be helpful to better define what this means and be a little more specific. Although flexible in many ways, we are both structured and believe that in an academically rigorous program such as this, common routines and procedures and high expectations are essential for student success. In order to provide this environment:

all students, K-8 will be walked in lines to PE, Art, Science, etc. and the expectation will be that students move through the building quietly so the learning of others isn’t disturbed
staff will be addressed by last names only
dress will be professional (no shorts or midriffs showing)
students are expected to be respectful of all adults in the building
Room and work spaces should be kept organized and neat
we will have common language K-8 for student expectations and problem solving


We realize this program will be very different from what many of you are used to. We want to honor everyone’s teaching style and beliefs in educating students, and for that reason wanted to be as specific as possible. If this program fits you and you’re committed to its success, we gladly welcome you. If other options are in your best interest, we also understand that. As a reminder, everyone’s form should be returned by Thursday afternoon, March 12th. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact one of us.

Debbie and Chris

Sahila said...

Walking kids in line to PE or Art makes a school traditional, does it????

What a hoot - my AS#1 kindergartner and his peers get walked in line by his gym teacher, down the hall from his core room to his PE class in the gym every day! And they are asked to be quiet and respectful of the scholars studying in the classrooms they pass...

Such a telling snapshot of the misunderstanding of differences between traditional and alternative - traditional equals good, orderly, respectful behaviour and alternative equals chaos and kids running amok in the halls!

Dorothy Neville said...

"a strict adherence to pacing guides and curriculum implementation
regular reporting of pre/post unit tests, and student progress reports in math"


Thanks for sharing this AdHoc. Does anyone else see the irony, or contradiction in the lines above?

Strict adherence to pacing means that there's no reason to do a pre unit test. It wouldn't matter a bit if the pre-test information gave data to show that some kids have already mastered the material you plan to present and that other kids are nowhere near ready for the material, missing the necessary concepts. Why gather that sort of information when you will not use it. When you will instead simply follow the plan created by the publisher of the material, regardless of whether it is fitting the academic needs of the students?

Come to think of it: why even perform a post-unit test? Again, if it is not going to influence teaching (because you are following the strict adherence to the master schedule) then why find out how well the kids actually performed?

Maureen said...

Maybe the testing is to indicate who would benefit from additional one on one help? Will Addams have the budget to cover tutors (maybe for every kid in the class) so that the pacing can continue on track?

Sahila--notice that the teachers will all be called by their last names--THAT is clearly what makes it a traditional school! I guess all of the TOPS (AS#1 etc)teachers had better start showing their belly buttons and knees--that will ensure our alternative status (since our kids are also encouraged to walk quietly to PE and respect the others in the building!).

Sahila said...

Maureen - I'm just killing time (and avoiding some tasks I dont enjoy!) before I have to go and collect my child from school and attend a BLT meeting this afternoon, and a school community meeting and Site Council...

I cant say how much your comment made me laugh out loud, and the mental images that are presenting themselves based on these documents/statements coming out of the new K-8... I'm feeling almost hysterical at the idiocy that's being presented here in the year 2009....