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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Assignment Letters Mailed: So What's the Good Word?

A request was made for a thread on assignments for this fall as the letters were (hopefully) mailed yesterday.

143 comments:

Unknown said...

I have an irrelevant question--

Gov. Gregoire just vetoed funding for gifted education for some districts: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/politics/2009240313_edreform20.html

What might this mean for Spectrum and APP? Thanks.

Unknown said...

I talked on the phone to someone at the enrollment center this morning. She indicated that letters were going out today but possibly not until tonight or Thursday a.m. I really hope they went out today as they indicated on their website.

north seattle mom said...

Schools typically get the assignment numbers before the letters are mailed out. Schools did not get those numbers today.

Josh Hayes said...

Well, nsm, at least not officially. I've heard scuttlebutt numbers for AS1, but scuttlebutt is just about worth the butt it's scuttled, uh, on.

From?

(FWIW, the rumor is a moderate uptick, but not as much as SPS wanted. What will happen? Will SPS close the school? Can Johnny Sue and Billy Joe Bob find happiness behind the tubas in the storage room? And can anyone help Timmy, who's fallen in the well and needs his insulin? Stay tuned!)

(Why yes, I am feeling a little punchy about now. Must be all those (WV) untisms I've eaten today.)

BL said...

Assignments are available through the automated phone system at 252-0212. You'll need to enter your child's student ID number.
For kindergarten, my son is 20th on the waitlist for TOPS (first choice) and enrolled at Lowell (second choice). We live in Stevens reference area, but much closer to Lowell.

sps grad and mom said...

Daughter will be thrilled to know she's going to Nova! She had been telling everybody about how much she wants to go to Nova, and it fits her personality and learning styles very, very well. Means I'll have kids in 3 different schools again, however, as her older brother still has a year of high school left.

TechyMom said...

How do you find out your child's ID number?

Unknown said...

We didn't get into Thornton Creek for first grade, but did get our reference school, so we are happy. Picturing lots of walking to school next year!

You may not have the student id number yet if you have an entering kindergartener, otherwise you can get it by logging into the source through the district website.

BL said...

Techymom,
It's the ID number at the top of your yellow copy of the enrollment application.

Chris said...

Thanks for posting that number! The not knowing was killing me. We live at 137th and 25th NE - looks like the rumors were true. Too far from Eckstein but close enough to Hamilton. 107th on the Eckstein waitlist - does anyone know how many kids get in off the waitlist in a typical year?

TechyMom said...

We got Lowell, our second choice, and #37 on the TOPS wait list. This is going to make the public-private decision very, very hard. I guess that's a good problem to have :-)

Unknown said...

We live half a mile south of our first choice, Bryant, and our kid did not get in. We got into Thornton Creek, choice number 2. So much for walking to school. Grumble.

Unknown said...

Even if you don't know your child's student ID number, you can call the enrollment center and they will tell you. They will also tell you which school your child got into, or if they are on a wait list. My daughter got into our reference school (our first choice), so I'm thrilled about that.

Unknown said...

It looks like we have a very high spot on the Bryant waitlist, so we may get to choose. Retract grumble.

jp70 said...

My son got into spectrum which is a relief. I'm still surprised a child can qualify for advanced learning and not receive the services, but that is a whole other topic.

anonymous said...

"107th on the Eckstein waitlist - does anyone know how many kids get in off the waitlist in a typical year"

According to the Eckstein registrar they did not move even one kid off of the 6th grade waitlist last year. They had to accomodate a number of Title I transfer students from AS1 (and maybe Summit too??). Those kids took all of the extra space at Eckstein, so they never got to the WL.

Question: Do kids being offered a transfer out of a Title I school get to pick from any non Title I school in the entire district? Or, are they offered certain non Title I schools in their neighborhood, reference area, or transportation area?

Robert said...

Our kindergartner got into Lowell (3rd choice) with her sister who is a walk zone transfer to Lowell so no sibling preference. We live .6 mi from Lowell and Stevens which we are number 2 on the wait list for (1st choice). So good news in that we have two good options. Probably the only silver lining from the closures in that without the additional 26 seats for kindergarten at Lowell we very well could have been placed into Leschi or TTM.

Unknown said...

We live in the JSIS reference area, around .8 miles from the school and did not get in and are pretty far down on the waitlist. I talked with the enrollment office and it sounds like you had to live very close around .4 miles from the school to get in--similar to last year unfortunately.

TechyMom said...

Does anyone know if Lowell had RIFs? Or who will be teaching K there next year? Or where I could find out? Thanks!

dcarnegie said...

In this thursday's note, Julie B. noted that there was one RIF at Lowell. Here's the text:

"Because of budget constraints and concern that too many certificated staff would have contracts for too few positions, the central office implemented the Reduction in Force (RIF) process. Lowell did not escape the impact. The least junior APP teacher will not be returning next year. I thank her for the time and dedication she’s given to Lowell School and wish her the best in her future endeavors. "

I am assuming that this is my son's current teacher, who was slated to be the Kindergarten teacher.

BL said...

Techymom,
Lowell had one RIF--the 1st grade teacher who was supposed to teach kindergarten next year.
They have more kindergarten assignments than expected. It sounds like they could wind up with two kindergarten classes or one plus a K/1 split.

Josh Hayes said...

adhoc asks:

Question: Do kids being offered a transfer out of a Title I school get to pick from any non Title I school in the entire district? Or, are they offered certain non Title I schools in their neighborhood, reference area, or transportation area?I'm trying to remember, since my kids do go to AS1. My recollection is that we were given the choice of schools within our transportation area. I am certain Eckstein was one option (for my son, now in 6th grade), and I think the other MS choices were Broadview-Thompson and Whitman, but I can't swear to those.

Denise Gonzalez-Walker said...

Here's something interesting:

Earlier this spring, we secured a spot for our son in Shoreline Schools for 6th grade, did all the paperwork required by both districts.

Regardless, we got an assignment letter from SPS today, assigning him to Aki Kurose, regular program. Yep, he's transportation eligible,too.

Obviously, we didn't do open enrollment. But given we live on the northern edge of the city and Whitman is our reference middle school, this assignment surprised me.

It makes me wonder where other families end up who don't actively participate in open enrollment. And what about all that business on saving transportation $$$?

TechyMom said...

BL, it sounds like you know a lot about what's happening at Lowell. Was that the only K teacher? How (and when) can we find out who will be teaching the K or K/1 class? I have a private school deadline looming, and need to make a choice this week.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Greta, I think nothing in general will happen as APP is funded under a state grant and Spectum is not funded by the state or feds.

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

Looks like you were right BL they do have a vacancy for the single K class next year.

Shannon said...

My son was assigned Lowell APP as we had hoped. However, a friend whose child has been at an independent school this year was assigned Jane Addams without transportation. They live at Greenlake.

Does SPS generally offer at least ONE school assignment with transportation to a school? They are not at any public school this year and would prefer another school WITH transportation.

anonymous said...

My oldest got into Hale as we expected (we live 1 block away).

We were however surprised that our younger son did not get into Eckstein. We live in Lake City, 1.2 miles away from the school, and the kids on our block have always got in (at least for the 8 years that we've lived here). It is our closest comprehensive middle school.

My son was assigned to his 2nd choice school, Addams. Remember that a child couldn't be assigned to the middle school unless they listed it as a choice on their application. So I checked with enrollment to see how many kids enrolled. They have 105 kids total in the middle school. I don't know how you make a middle school with 100 kids viable??? Further, there are only 5 Spectrum students assigned to the entire middle school. How do you make that work??

Here are the numbers:

6th grade -47 regular, 3 Spectrum
7th grade -32 regular, 0 Spectrum
8th grade -20 regular, 2 Spectrum

I have been nothing but impressed with Debbie Nelson, and am very glad that she is at the helm of the school! Her communication has been fantastic, and I have faith that if anyone can make it work, she can. So I am optimistic, and I'm looking forward to being involved in the shaping of this new school.

ParentofThree said...

RE: Addams, looks like they will have to have two 6th grade teachers, maybe only one 7th and one 8th. Could have very nice small classes, which will allow the teachers to help all the kids, including the five Spectrum. It could be a golden opportunity for your student. Your own private, public middle school!

Phinney Ridge Mom said...

Well I am pissed !!!

My older son, an 11th grader at Summit K-12 this year was assigned to BALLARD rather than his choice - which was Hale.

Where is all the support for the Summit students? I have seen NONE from the district. Transition teams? That was a joke right?

I had been told that the Summit kids who were to be seniors next year would get to go where they wanted to go.

What the hell?

As far as I am concerned... he can do internet school. Had we known he would not get Hale - could have pushed to finish this year - he only needs a couple credits.

This is just BS.

/rant

Stu said...

I have to admit that, though I love reading the blogs every night, I wasn't paying close attention to some of the assignment stuff.

If the district assigns a student to a school outside of the walk zone, isn't the school obligated to offer transportation to that school? I mean, Shannon wrote that a Greenlake family was assigned, without transportation, to Jane Addams. Isn't that too far, by district standards? (And I love the North End student being assigned to Aki Kurose; so much for neighborhood assignments.)

stu

momster said...

re adhoc's comment about eckstein acceptance perimeter - last year when we were choosing middle schools, i asked someone i knew at the district who said that in the prior year's (2007) open enrollment, the perimenter was 2.17 miles (as the crow flies) for the 272 general education students they accepted.

note - i knew we were not likely to get in as she told us we are 2.18 miles, and i'd known from the tours that eckstein was taking 40 fewer 6th graders in 2007 than 2008 (for 370 in total, including spectrum - compared to 410 in 2007).

does anyone know if they reduced the 6th grade intake even further for 2009? during the 2008 tours, the principal specifically mentioned their effort to reduce the size of the school.

reducing the 2009 incoming class size could have accounted for the decrease from 2.17 miles in 2007 to less than 1.2 miles (adhoc's address) in 2009 - or a big uptick in public school middle schoolers living near eckstein.

i wonder what explains it (and what the actual perimiter was this year).

Laura said...

Shannon,
If your friends chose Jane Adams, SPS will assign them there without transportation. End of story. This scenario happens all the time, especially with families that live on the edge of clusters. They just make the drive everyday by choice. If this is a mandatory assignment (i.e. Jane Adams was not a choice they put down on their enrollment form), SPS is required to provide transportation (unless they live in a walk zone) and they should have been assigned to a school in their cluster. If that's the case, they have grounds for an appeal and should contact enrollment office ASAP.

anonymous said...

I think there are a few factors in why the Eckstein perimiter was reduced this year.

First, according to the district waitlist and assignment PDF, Eckstein began accepting 50 less kids for 6th grade this year (08/09) than years past. And they will continue with the lower enrollment numbers next year (09/10). The reasoning: Hamilton is growing, and Addams just opened, so they can reduce the enormous size of Eckstein. That's a good thing for the school, but not such a good thing for neighborhood families for whom Eckstein is their closest comprehensive middle school.

Second: last year Eckstein was a Title I transfer school, meaning that kids from AS1 and other Title I schools could choose to go to Eckstein. They bumped out other kids that live closer to the school. I'm not sure if this is happening this year, but if it is, it could be that the school is reserving some spots of these transfers??

Third: Even though Summit kids did not get assignment preference to Eckstein, the closure of Summit meant many displaced NE students that needed to go somewhere. I'm guessing some of them chose Eckstein. And with the looming threat of closure at AS1 along with the loss of their beloved principal, I bet some of those families bailed to Eckstein too.

BTW, I made a typo. We live 1.9 miles from the school. Our neighbors that live a block further south than us got in. Our son is 4th on the waitlist. So, I'm thinking 1.9 miles is about the cut off for this year.

BL said...

Techymom,
I don't know much about Lowell. I just snooped in March and again today.
You might want to try calling or emailing Greg King to get the timeline for filling the K position(s).

whittier07 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
anonymous said...

Wow! I emailed Tracy Libros this morning to ask a complex assignment question that the enrollment office couldn't answer. Tracy just called me 5 minutes ago, at 8:30PM, with the answers to my questions! I didn't even include my phone number in the email as I didn't expect a phone call.

She's a rock star!

momster said...

just fyi, stu - re the north end student's assignment to aki kurose - mom said they hadn't enrolled during on-time enrollment in mar because they knew they were going to shoreline - and the district tells you that if you don't express a choice, all bets are off. i'm actually surprised they even got an assignment.

with all of the demand for area middle and high schools, it's not surprising that whitman and others filled with 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc choices - and that the only middle school with space available was aki.

plus, it's done by a computer program - no one there saying "hmmmm, this looks like a bummer for the gonzalez-walker family"

and regarding mom's comment about transportation - there again, the computer is just following instructions - which say transportation is provided for every student who lives > 2 miles from the school and is assigned to an "out of region school for which they are integration positive" - meaning they are white and the school is mostly non-white, or vice versa.

re mom's comment on isn't the district trying to save money on transportation - i think they are, but first they must follow the rules they've published (cfr above) - and wouldn't the public howl if they did not?

it's all there in the enrollment guides...here is the secondary guide for middle and high

Mercermom said...

Re limitations on Spectrum availability: families of kids who test eligible for Spectrum but who do not get spots should demand that they are provided with a Spectrum-equivalent program in a general ed setting (i.e., an ALO program). And it must be more than simply saying "we provide rigor for all in every classroom." How can the District say that it won't provide access to the same curriculum for kids who demonstrate capability? But parents would have to know the Spectrum curriculum and demand that what is offered to their kids is equally rigorous.

SE Mom said...

Adhoc-

I have sent several emails to Tracy with a question about the new assignment plan and have had no response.

Maybe we can send questions to you to get answers from Tracy!

Unknown said...

to M, parent of 2nd choice Thornton Creek. Thornton Creek was our first choice and we did not get in (no 8 on waitlist). This confuses me, as I thought alt. schools were processed via lottery. We also did not get our second choice, which was our ref. school (Wedgwood), so mysteries abound. We got Rogers, but are impressed with this little school, so whatever happens, we are OK. I hope you get into Bryant, as we would very much like your TC spot. It's a great school. =) Good luck.

cas said...

Spectrum is not really gifted so you can't really demand anything.

Gifted education is Lowell.

Spectrum qualified can be as low as 87th %, that's really not that spectacular requiring a different curricula than a 86% child, is it?

All kid need degrees of rigor where they are, APP which is 99% needs a special program and special rigor.

The District is not required to provide anything special for spectrum eligible kids-they can sit on the waitlist for years-they don't care.

Instead, fight for good teachers who provide rigor for every child where they are.

By the way, I am a parent of one Spectrum eligible kid and one APP eligible kid.

However, I also teach non-spectrum kids and I think all kids need rigor for the different "gifts" that each of them has.

Stu said...

momster: Thanks for the clarification on the Aki Kurose thing; that's much more logical. Still, it does seem stupid to bus someone from the North End of the district to the South End, especially when they're supposedly trying to establish neighborhood schools.

stu

Megan Mc said...

"Blogger whittier07 said...

This is strange ... we have three kids on our kindergarten list (who don't have siblings attending Whittier) that don't live even close to the school - they live in Magnolia, West Seattle & Madison Park and Whittier is in Ballard. Has anyone else heard of strange assignments?"

These could be kids affected by the closures that have priority assignment.

Robert said...

Megan how could a K student be affected by the closures?

Tracy L has always answered all my questions as well in a very timely fashion. I wish she could train the Board / Sup on this. Oh well.

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

Summit highschool students were to get top seating priority. This was in writing. And is somewhere on the SPS web site under Cap. Management.


Talk to the principal first, talk to other parents to see if this happened across the board. Call the enrollment office and ask about moving into Hale. Explain you are a Summitt parent and were to have priority into the school, get a "manager" on the phone etc.

Keep moving up the food chain....you will get your student in for 12th grade at Hale. It just will take more work than should be required...

You can also look into Running Start for 12th grade and earn college credit at any of the community colleges.

anonymous said...

"Summit high school students were to get top seating priority. This was in writing. And is somewhere on the SPS web site under Cap. Management."

Here is what the enrollment guide says about the Special Program Preference.

"Students reassigned to a different school for 2009-2010 because their school or program
closed will receive priority, after region priority but before distance or lottery priority.

Since high schools do not have a "region" like middle schools do, then a displaced Summit student should get preference into any HS they choose, and be enrolled BEFORE kids living closest to the school (distance), or lottery.

Kat said...

We are in the Bryant reference area and ended up 30th on the waitlist.

Even though geography is supposedly important enough to be a tie-breaker, we ended up at John Rogers, which is further away than 4 elementary schools (that we also ranked higher).

I am very, very disappointed tonight.

What are the chances of 30 kids opting out? Slim? or None?

SolvayGirl said...

"Blogger whittier07 said...

This is strange ... we have three kids on our kindergarten list (who don't have siblings attending Whittier) that don't live even close to the school - they live in Magnolia, West Seattle & Madison Park and Whittier is in Ballard. Has anyone else heard of strange assignments?"

It's been a while since we've been in an elementary, but I thought I heard something about daycare being a factor in student assignment (using the daycare address...I think it had to do with 1/2-day kids). I could be totally wrong...but it is odd to have three Ks assigned from so far away.

Denise Gonzalez-Walker said...

I get where you're coming from, momster, on the assignment protocols.

But still, there are middle schools with space a heck of a lot closer to North Seattle than Aki...McClure and Mercer both come to mind. You think those schools will be full this fall?

Hamilton hasn't had a waitlist in past years, either, though that's likely changing for 09-10, with the addition of APP.

But then doesn't the district need to boost Aki's enrollment as part of the SE Initiative? Perhaps I'm being way too cynical.

Unknown said...

I'm a little confused about the JSIS results. We didn't get in because we're .75 miles from the school. Supposedly they had half the number of sibs last year (13 instead of 26), yet they didn't get any further geographically. Does anyone know what that's about??

Mercermom said...

Cas, what I'm saying is that excess demand for Spectrum is a vehicle for demanding ALO in "general ed" classes. If it's ALO, then anyone can take advantage of the extra rigor. The District has a Spectrum program in which it says it will provide curriculum that is one year advanced for eligible kids. While some teachers are great about differentiating, others may feel that they don't have to if it's a "general ed" class at a school that has APP and/or Spectrum. We shouldn't allow the District to say, "You were the 61st kid, so you have to do grade-level work."

north seattle mom said...

For those of you on waiting list in the NE, it is not your waitlist number that is as important as how much the district over-filled the classroom.

The district included extra students in every K classroom. They tried to "add" extra K students to every classroom at the ratio that families typically don't take the assignment. In other words, if the waitlist would typically goes to ten. They just added those 10 kids to start with. So call the school and ask them how many kids they are over the target enrollment.

If they over-enrolled by 10, then you are really number 18 on the waitlist, not 8 :(

I head that 7 K classes were added in the north end again this year so it is likely to be crowded once again.

Rebecca said...

Judy, I believe there were 11 siblings of current JSIS students who did not enroll early. I recognize that some families may not have been sure that they were going to send their incoming K student to JSIS and so wanted to wait for open enrollment. Still, it's likely that most were, and it's unfortunate that those who knew didn't enroll them early so that families without attending sibs would have had a better sense of their chances of getting in to JSIS.

anonymous said...

SE mom, you can try calling Tracy Libros too. Leave her a message and let her know that your question is something that the enrollment office can't answer. I really have always found her to be quite responsive.

Anonymous said...

RE: "This is strange ... we have three kids on our kindergarten list (who don't have siblings attending Whittier) that don't live even close to the school - they live in Magnolia, West Seattle & Madison Park and Whittier is in Ballard. Has anyone else heard of strange assignments?"

Whittier is going to have a third kindergarten next year which is probably allowing a lot more kids into the school than usual. Or are they siblings? How long is the waitlist?

whittier07 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
whittier07 said...

Sorry for the bad information ... it ends up that the kids do have siblings at Whittier.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Summit high school students were supposed to have preference at any high school. Call Tracy Libros directly - something must have gone wrong. And, Hale has room (despite their renovations) and I'm sure there is a seat for any Summit student.

Elizabeth W said...

on 5/21/09 9:02 PM joanne said...

to M, parent of 2nd choice Thornton Creek. Thornton Creek was our first choice and we did not get in (no 8 on waitlist). This confuses me, as I thought alt. schools were processed via lottery. We also did not get our second choice, which was our ref. school (Wedgwood), so mysteries abound.
Thornton Creek assignment is by lottery. When comparing your and M's relative priority for TC, the assignment algorithm is blind to the fact that you chose TC first and M listed it second -- it only looks at the lottery number and whether you're in the N/NE clusters. Assuming you both live in the N or NE cluster and were both applying for the same grade, M's child got a better lottery number than you did.

Had M gotten her first choice, she would have "dropped out" of the TC lottery. Since she didn't, she was in the lottery and she "beat" you.

-- Elizabeth

Elizabeth W said...

When folks are leaving information about what school they did or didn't get in to, could they please note whether it's the entry grade or not? This makes it easier for we compulsive analyzers to get a handle on what's going on.

Thanks!

-- Elizabeth

Kat said...

Does anyone know if there's any chance of Bryant adding back the 4the 4th kindergarten class that was discontinued this year?

Elizabeth - re: my earlier comment about getting waitlisted at Bryant, our reference school and first pick, I am talking about kindergarten. (Probably obvs. from my question above!)

anonymous said...

I'm curious as to why the district did mandatory assignment for 24 K students at John Rogers. John Rogers had to continue with an extra K class this year and is still bursting at the seams. Meanwhile, 4 blocks away is Jane Addams, which is under enrolled. They have 300 kids in a building that holds 750??

Just curious, because almost nothing the district does makes any sense to me anymore.

Anonymous said...

Kat, we have a kindergartner at Bryant this year. Last I heard, there are going to be 4 K classes there next year, which is the usual number. This year, we had 5 K classes because well over 100 children were assigned to the school for 2008/2009. There has never been a plan to only have 3 K classes.

Opening Jane Addams was supposed to help with cluster capacity, and since Bryant already has more children total in the school than it was designed to hold, the plan was to go back to 4 K classes (but it's not sounding like this has worked out so well, huh?). One of the K teachers is supposed to move up to 1st grade to handle the current bubble (about 115 kids in K going to 1st grade next year).

Of course, now that one of the current K teachers has lost his job thanks to the RIF, I haven't heard what might change. My understanding is that they will move a K teacher from elsewhere in the district to teach that 4th K class. But maybe the K teacher that was going to move to 1st grade will stay in K instead. So maybe we'll be hiring a new 1st grade teacher.

I guess the question is whether or not Bryant can continue to add new classrooms to accommodate its neighborhood families. We lost a science room last year for the 5th K class, which will become a 1st grade class next year. What goes next? The music room? Part of the library? Do they add portables, which are apparently very expensive to operate? I don't know.

All of that said, I would contact Harium Martin-Morris since Bryant is one of the schools he covers. If enough families speak up, maybe they'll find a way to add a 5th K again, which is what happened last year when so many Bryant families got mandatory assignments to John Rogers.

Unknown said...

elizabeth, thanks, that makes sense. for some reason, i thought the first choicers would be in a lottery on their own first, but i think what you said makes more sense and is prob more fair.

TechyMom said...

Elizabeth,
We're entering K. We got assigned to Lowell, our 2nd choice after TOPS. We're 1.3 miles from it, in the old MLK reference area, which is now part of the McGilvra reference area.

Elizabeth W said...

Anyone know if the de-facto Wedgwood assignment area for Kindergartners contracted substantially this year? I have a report of a family in the closest 30% of the Wedgwood area not getting an assignment there when they expected one.

Karen said...

Elizabeth-- Wedgwood cut back to 2 Ks from 4 this year. They enrolled 29 siblings during pre-registration, which left a paltry number of seats for families in the reference area.

Elizabeth W said...

on 5/22/09 at 11:47 AMKaren said...

Wedgwood cut back to 2 Ks from 4 this year. They enrolled 29 siblings during pre-registration, which left a paltry number of seats for families in the reference area.Good grief! Was this announced ahead of time? I can see how this would help make Spectrum seat availability more predictable, but what a thing to do to the nearby families!

Anonymous said...

Wow about Wedgwood. Sounds like they redrew the reference areas by default this year and assigned the East side of the Wedgwood zone to Addams and Rogers. Unfortunately, it doesn't sound like any of the affected families knew this was coming.

Karen said...

I know, about Wedgwood. I only found out because I happened to attend the tour the day after sibling numbers came out. The principal was open about letting us know there would only be 2 K classrooms, but the sibling numbers were buried on the SPS site. Another parent at the tour told me where she'd found them.

Kat said...

Thanks, lak367. Sorry, I probably misspoke when I said "down to 3 from 4." I just knew that they were eliminating the "extra" class that they established last year to accommodate a similar bubble.

I will contact Harium Martin-Morris about this. I appreciate your suggestion. Hopefully if enough parents cry out, they will again accommodate us.

Sue said...

Intersting about Wedgewood. Many other schools were asked to take on another kindergarden class, from 2 up to three, and some even have 4.

Why is Wedgewood allowed to go down in size? Is this to force folks to Jane Addams or something?

Catherine said...

Hopefully if enough parents cry out, they will again accommodate us.This worries me. Bryant already has 546 students, and nowhere for another added class to go. Next year's second grade class is already going to have 30+ students per class.

Clearly Addams has not alleviated any of the pressure in the NE yet. It's a bummer the district could not/would not open Sand Point.

Elizabeth W said...

on 5/22/09 at 2:01 PM Keepin'On said...


Why is Wedgewood allowed to go down in size? Is this to force folks to Jane Addams or something?
...

I'm assuming they did it to match the size of their Kindergarten classes to the size of their general ed (as opposed to Spectrum) program.

-- Elizabeth

Karen said...

My impression, purely speculation, is that SPS viewed JA as the be-all end-all solution to the overcrowding problem in NE, without considering how it would affect families displaced from the southern end of the cluster.

I'm skeptical that they will open additional classrooms at overcrowded schools, because like others have said there's no space for another year of this bubble. And if you're just looking at the numbers (I'm guessing that's what SPS is doing) there's plenty of space at JA. But that doesn't make it right. Infuriating is more like it.

I imagine so many families were given mandatory assignments to john rogers because it was the geographically closest school in the cluster with space available. Although I'm surprised, because it was my understanding that JR has also been over-enrolled the past couple of years.

mom in seattle said...

Wedgwood went down to 2 Kindergarten classes for 2009-10, because there is not room in the building for more that 2 Kindergarten classes. Wedgwood is already very overcrowded. Wedgwood historically has had 3 Kindergarten classes. For the past 2 years it has had 4 Kindergarten classes and that has resulted in the school only being able to handle 2 Kindergarten classes for 09-10.

Anonymous said...

Yup, I agree with Mom @2:28. Wedgwood didn't go down to 2 K classes because it wanted to, but more likely because it has to in order to accommodate the large influx of children they've already had over the last 2 years.

There are only so many classrooms in a building, so like Bryant, they already have a bubble of 6-year-olds moving into 1st grade. That means a K class will be turned into a 1st grade class next year and probably keep moving up every year with this cohort.

I have such mixed feelings about all of this. Like Catherine said, Bryant is bursting with 546 kids already. Adding a 5th K for a second year in a row keeps increasing the over-crowding because the number entering at K is much greater than the number leaving after 5th grade each year. Yet families within walking distance really should be able to attend. I don't know the answer.

jp70 said...

REG capacity in NE:

Makes it very interesting to see what the boundaries look like once they are drawn up!

ParentofThree said...

All the district needed to do is create a real Spectrum program at Jane Addams, then assign all the Spectrum students to the school and put them all in classes together and teach the "Spectrum" model.

Parents saw through the ALO being touted as Spectrum and signed their kids up at schools that actually have the program, Eckstein as an example.

Kat said...

I don't want to just cram kids into overcrowded schools anymore than anyone else does. I understand that Bryant is filled to the brim.

But I feel like I *never* had a chance at getting into any of the three schools near my home... I'm almost equidistant from View Ridge, Wedgewood and Bryant.

We're only .7 miles from Bryant, but the reference area is so over-subscribed that the school filled up at .5 miles. Essentially, as someone else said, it's like we didn't have a reference area at all.

I'm sure that once my daughter gets settled, she'll be very happy at her school and we won't feel like we got the dregs. But that's what it feels like right now.

Charlie Mas said...

Let's remember that according to the original schedule, the Board was supposed to have adopted a new Student Assignment Plan in the spring of 2007 for implementation during this open enrollment period to affect the assignments for fall 2009.

And why couldn't the Board meet that schedule? Why is the assignment plan slipping further and further into the future?

Charlie Mas said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Karen said...

I should add, my frustration above is directed at SPS and their lack of foresight in preventing this situation before it got so bad. NOT at the individual schools themselves. I feel for the teachers and families who have continued to be so accommodating while their buildings and communities are pushed to the limit.

Elizabeth W said...

on 5/22/09 at 3:43 PM Kat said...

...I feel like I *never* had a chance at getting into any of the three schools near my home... I'm almost equidistant from View Ridge, Wedgewood and Bryant......

and indeed, with Bryant and Wedgwood over-subscribed and View Ridge highly popular, folks who live in your neighborhood only had a fighting chance this year if they live in the View Ridge reference area. (So far as I've heard -- anyone have View Ridge numbers/stories?)

Choice algorithms like the one SPS uses do a great job of pulling people into under-enrolled schools they prefer. Creating space in over-enrolled schools should really be thought of as a highly desirable side effect of the choice system.

You can see this for yourself by picturing what would happen in a city laid out on a single street (or along a single shore of a river) and having two elementary schools whose reference areas divide the line/street/river in half.

If both schools are highly popular, if the fluctuations in enrollment are due to random chance, and if families who prefer each school are well distributed throughout town, everything works great -- the folks closest to the under-enrolled school who also prefer it get to attend, thus freeing up space at their reference area school for their neighbors.

However, if the over enrolled school is also more popular, students living at either end of the over enrolled school's reference area end up at the other. For families living near the reference area divide at the middle of town, this makes geometric/transportation sense. Those at the far end have to travel past their reference area school to reach their assigned school.

Choice alone cannot solve problems like the assignments we've seen this year and last. When you reliably see de-facto assignment areas contract within the reference areas it means the boundaries are stale and must be redrawn.

Maureen said...

Any word on distance of last kid assigned to Montlake, Hamilton and Garfield?

I wonder how the south end is doing? Did Wing Luke and Van Asselt @ AAA draw full classes?

north seattle mom said...

@Karen,

You are right and you never really did have a chance. In the 05 closure plan, the district had recommended repurposing Summit into a traditional K8 program because of the growing NE enrollment. If this had been done for the 06, 07 or even the 08 school year, you might have had a chance but the 09 school year is just very late and capacity issues have fermented in the NE.

The issue now is not that the students are in the south end of the cluster, it is really the siblings. Students are pretty evenly distributed throughout the NE cluster but the majority of the schools are in the south end of the cluster so families in the north part have migrated south. This was not a problem when there was a little excess capacity in the system but now that everything is way over-capacity, just opening a school doesn't fix it.

The only good news here is that Debbie Nelson, the principal of Jane Addams is fabulous. She was at Sac for 6 years and was very much loved by families and teachers. I have heard from Debbie that she has recruited some great new staff so families are very likely to have an excellent experience.

I was not very optomistic about the split principals. I don't really know anything about Chris Carter but Debbie was much more impressive at the open house. I think now that she is the only one in charge in a few years JA will be another excellent school.

North End Mom said...

Sorry to hear there were so many families who did not get the school assignment of their choice.

I'm a John Rogers parent.

For those of you seeking information about our school, one of the best sources is our PTA website:
www.johnrogerspta.org

If your child was assigned to John Rogers and you did not visit the school during regular tours, you may call the school and schedule a school visit with the principal, Marcia Boyd (206-252-4320).

We will have three kindergartens next year. All three teachers are fabulous.

We have several families at John Rogers from distant neighborhoods such as Bryant and the U. District. They are mostly current kindergarten families. So, if you are from the Bryant reference area, you will not be alone.

John Rogers is a great school, with a strong sense of community.

I hope this information was helpful.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Good for you, Kim. Thanks for the info.

As I mentioned in another thread, the Board wants staff to be planning for BEX IV along with the upcoming levy for BTA III. One of the schools I heard listed for renovation during this Work Session John Rodgers.

I would suggest that parents in the NE think about where they want new capacity: John Rodgers, Laurelhurst, View Ridge? Where would it make the most sense? Then, tell the Board. Keep in mind that if there is not room at your school site to expand, the district is not going to pick that site.

seattle citizen said...

Greta, johanna, BL, sps grad and mom, Jamie, Butter Goats, M, Naomi, JP 70, Robert, a mom, Laura, Shannon, Phinney Ridge Mom, Stu, Laura, Mercer Mom, SE Mom, Cas, Kat, Judy, Rebecca, mom-of-two, Whittier 07, Elizabeth, lak367, Karen, Catherine, mom in seattle, Kim!
Thirty "new" posters are contributing to this discussion, and coming up with some amazig and informative information and suggestions for action! Yea! It's good to see these healthy and productive contributions to planning and action for individuals and their children within and around Seattle Public Schools! Yea!
As the assignments are made, and your children settle in, as your time is freed somewhat from having to worry too much about where the l'il darlin's will be, I look forward to hearing more from all of you in this blog. I know that the time, energy, and care evidenced by your attention to your children would continue to be equally fruitful if it were to now be redirected: from the school assignment of your children, a slightly altered focus brings you easily and quickly to the other, and equally important, issues of program placement, design, board policy, citizen participation, freedom of information, committee work and other minutiae discussed here in support of the children generally.
I look forward to joining you all in these ongoing and critical discussions.
I can't speak for Melissa, or Beth, or Charlie and the other long-termers that continually maintain and add to this long and effective blog (The Ancestors), but personally I am always sooo glad to see new people join us in the fray! We are an eclectic bunch, no doubt, and sometimes we annoy each other (heck, I annoy myself!) but this is one, fine open group of contributors.

You'll also note that our word verifier likes to chime in with sometimes cogent comments of its own: Meupers, it exlaims, there's cat-like cows hereabouts!
cheerio my dearios and toujours gai

North End Mom said...

Melissa,

Is there a link to the proposed BTA III projects under consideration, and their $ amounts? All I could find on the facilities site last time I looked was a link to a list of the BTA project requests from the public/staff. It sounds like there was more complete and/or updated info presented at the meeting you recently attended?

Thanks for the heads up about John Rogers. I believe it was considered for a previous BEX expansion and was removed from the list?

Unknown said...

@melissa westbrook
i really appreciate all that you do for SPS via this blog!!
you say "I would suggest that parents in the NE think about where they want new capacity: John Rodgers, Laurelhurst, View Ridge? Where would it make the most sense?"
is it really not obvious to SPS?? families do not move from these neighborhoods, generation after generation, it isn't like this is a transient area with people moving in/out all the time. i went to VR, Eckstein, and Roosevelt myself, as did many of my neighbors with elementary kids at VR, Bryant, and Wegewood. One look at the addresses of babies born at Swedish hospital 2003+ will tell SPS where capacity is needed?? we want to walk to school, and Jane Addams and John Rogers not so. you tell us, what do we need to do to teach SPS common sense?

Kat said...

Melissa,

For people like me who are coming a bit late to the party, can you tell me what "BEX IV along with the upcoming levy for BTA III" means? Thanks!

Kim, that is VERY helpful. Like I said, I'm sure we'll settle in nicely and be quite happy there. I wouldn't be surprised if we end up laughing at all this angst in a few years.

TechyMom said...

I walked by MLK yesterday and noticed there are still 2 portables sitting there behind the locked fence. They look kinda old, but maybe one of the crowded schools could use them to replace art rooms or something?

north seattle mom said...

@ Di
Yes, it really isn't clear at all. If you look at the published demographics on the sps enrollment website, you will see that there are over 700 families that live in the JR reference area. Families have been migrating to the south half of the cluster for a long time. JR with a functional capacity of 300 can't hold them so those families have to go somewhere and go to the south part of the cluster.

Stu said...

TechyMom wrote: I have a private school deadline looming, and need to make a choice this week.

This might not come out right . . . forgive me, I mean no disrespect.

You have a choice between the Seattle Public Schools and a Private School and you're struggling with the decision? I don't think it would take me more than a few seconds to come up with a goodbye letter to SPS.

I'm a strong believer in the public schools; we've donated money to Lowell, where our son goes, and to our neighborhood elementary, where he went before APP. We go to meetings 'cause we've always believed in strength in numbers. We write to our School Board Directors and read all the blogs so we're up on the latest news. However, if we could find a way to get our son out of this district, you'd be amazed at how quickly we'd jump.

This district shows an amazing lack of respect for the parents and students that it serves. They push through ill-designed and barely researched plans, with time for neither planning nor proper implementation, and constantly violate their own rules and procedures with no threat of recourse. School closures the year BEFORE new assignment plans? Sure, why not. A math program that doesn't meet the state standards and never shows the student how to actually do the problem? Perfect! Start times decided by transportation with no regard for learning, traffic, or parent-work patterns? That's us! Spectrum students without Spectrum programs; APP elementary and middle school programs pitted against each other and general ed populations; walk zones disregarded; neighborhood schools with severely limited seat availability for actual neighborhood kids; a raise for the Superintendent after only one year, while they're laying off teachers; bigger class sizes; violence at schools throughout the district . . . it seems to me that your decision is a no-brainer.

As a parent, my job is to make the best decision possible for my children. Many parents feel guilty abandoning the public schools but you need to find a place where your child feels safe, can learn and grow, and where he'll get the respect he/she deserves. At the moment, that doesn't appear to be the Seattle Public Schools.

stu

Unknown said...

@ stu.. you summed that up perfectly. i think the sps issues are actually quite similar to city of seattle, sound transit, king county and bright water, etc.. is it our laid-back-seattleness, no one ever gets organized enough to effectively push back on these ridiculous decisions? why can't we get strong leaders in the PNW that actually know how to plan and implement??

@N seattle mom.. i know nothing of the numbers situation at J Rodgers, other than i'm speaking of families with VR, Laurelhurst, Bryant, Wegewood as their neighborhood, just up the street school, and not being able to go to those schools -- instead being assigned JR or now Jane Addams with no transportation. The stop-gap was adding K classes the past few years at those schools. Now that there literally is no more room, rather than having developed a real solution, such as opening Decatur or Sand Point, where the capacity could still walk to school, we have many unhappy and confused families having to drive their kids to/from schools much further north in the cluster. And just wait until the boudaries are redrawn, siblings aren't grandfathered in, and those, like me, who have a kid walking to school now at one of those over-subscribed schools, might have younger sibs that won't even be at the same school.

Mercermom said...

Are assignment and current waitlist numbers available anywhere in one document? I'm sure the school district has it, but has anyone else obtained it? It would be helpful for everyone to see the total picture.

anonymous said...

Here is a link to the 2008/09 assignment and waitlist numbers.

http://blog.seattlepi.com/schoolzone/library/2008assignments.pdf

I haven't seen the 2009/10 document yet.

You can call the enrollment office for specific info on a particular school but that doesn't really help with seeing the big picture.

Central Mom said...

After years of not filling with capacity from nearby students, I heard that Hamilton is oversubscribed this year. Granted, the APP split fills many of the seats, but I believe remembering that there were 300 seats open via district functional capacity numbers (have to go find my notes over the holiday). Anyhow, folks from mid-Capitol hill who thought they could get in there (vs. wanting to go to Washington) didn't get in.

Anyone have insight into numbers at Hamilton? And is south-end busing still happening for 09/10 to Hamilton? (I've gotten that fact lost in the multi-year assignment plan delays.)

north seattle mom said...

@ Di
You had asked "Isn't it obvious?" in response to Mel's comment about how the NE needs to start lobbying and planning now for additional capacity in the BEX planning cycle. I am simply answering - No, it is not obvious. You clearly live right in the middle of an over-subscribed walk zone. What is obvious to you, is not obvious to families even 1 mile away.

Sandpoint is not an obvious answer to me. If you look under the information in new assignment plan, maps and data section, there is a whole lot of interesting info on the NE
http://www.seattleschools.org/area/newassign/maps_data.html

Laurelhurst while dramatically over-enrolled is not over-enrolled from the immediate neighborhood. Sandpoint is likely to be right on the edge if not in the "new" Laurelhurst reference area. Byrant will shrink because there are too many families that live in Bryant but Laurelhurst will grow because there are too few.

Sandpoint as an answer doesn't speak to me but if it speaks to you, then please go lobby and convince me and the district because something needs to be done. The BEX is at least three year out and by that point, Jane Addams will be very very full and we will be desperate once again and there won't be a nice big all city alternative school to "repurpose"

TechyMom said...

@stu no disrespect taken. Those are exactly the things pushing me away. However... I believe strongly in public schools. I see a lot of potential at Lowell, and in some respects think it would be fun and fullfilling to be part of shaping the new merged school there. It's hard for me to walk away from public school without the excuse of the bad assignment I was expecting. I went to private school and mixed experiences, with the social environment being pretty wierd. It's also $84,000 for to K-5, ignoring any growth that money might have elsewhere.

But then I just did that multiplication on a napkin, and knew what 6x4 was without thinking about it, a skill I'll have to teach my daughter myself.

anonymous said...

RE Hamilton, yes south end busing is continuing for 09/10, but there has been much talk about is being discontinued for 10/11.

Also, Eckstein took 77 less students this year than they did in 2006. They have been slowly reducing capacity. Those students have to go somewhere and my guess is many went to Hamilton.

Then there is the addition of APP to the building. That's a couple of hundred seats right there.

And with APP comes a multi teared band program, and the adddition of INT I II and III math. These are available to all students not just APP, so the school has become much more attractive to the local "non APP" families.

Then throw in the fact that they will be in their brand new, shiny building year after next, and you have all the components to make a super popular school!

By 2010/11 my guess is only local, close by families and north end APP will be able to get into Hamilton.

SolvayGirl said...

TechyMom said: "But then I just did that multiplication on a napkin, and knew what 6x4 was without thinking about it, a skill I'll have to teach my daughter myself."

That about sums it up. You will have to take charge of your child's education all the way at SPS. Lowell is probably a better option than most because the APP parents already have a well-oiled machine in place to deal with the District. But you are getting a new principal AND a new program to work into the APP system. It's a crapshoot at best...here's hoping you'll throw 7s.

My suggestion...give public a try and see how it works for you—especially since you're starting at Kindergarten. There's time for the system to improve during your child's school years. You can always opt for private later on. In this economy I believe it will be easier to get into a private school mid-way than it has in the past.

Our family did 8 years (inc. preschool) at public schools. During that time the school and the system deteriorated. We switched to private for MS and it was the best move for my child. She has blossomed into and incredible young teen who adores school, has a great work ethic, and a very positive attitude about who she is and where's she's going. The academics were terrific too.

So, if you can...save your money for now; you may need it for middle and high school. Or, if things change for the better, you'll have a great start towards college funding.

Unknown said...

techymom and solvaygirl1972- you must be kidding.

my first grader (in a non-spectrum, non-alo, non-app school) is about to go from subtraction math facts to multiplication and will likely be working on them for the rest of the year (unless she finishes and moves to division), along with all of the kids in her classrom who have been through the continuum of addition and subtraction facts, 1-9 and review.

Anonymous said...

I read on another site about a Wallingford family that listed Eckstein over Hamilton and got in. So how does that make any sense when folks like AdHoc who live just north of Eckstein can't get in? Someone else on this thread in Lake City is 107th on the wait list for Eckstein and got assigned to Hamilton.

I just don't get it. Busing kids from Wallingford to Eckstein while busing NE kids to Wallingford to go to Hamilton doesn't follow any of the purported algorithms. Maybe I don't understand the middle school process. I though distance mattered there too.

SolvayGirl said...

Sorry Evan...maybe things have changed, but we had to teach our child her multiplication tables. They were NOT taught or drilled in her SPS classroom. Or, it might just be your child's teacher.

Comments from others? How many people have children who learned their multiplication tables in school?

North End Mom said...

Di-
You said "i'm speaking of families with VR, Laurelhurst, Bryant, Wegewood as their neighborhood, just up the street school, and not being able to go to those schools -- instead being assigned JR or now Jane Addams with no transportation. "

Are kids really being assigned to John Rogers and Jane Addams from those neighborhoods with NO TRANSPORTATION? Students currently enrolled at John Rogers who live outside the walk zone, including those who live on the other side of busy streets, such as Sand Point Way, are offered transportation. Some families choose to carpool. Here's a link to the John Rogers walk zone map:

http://www.seattleschools.org/
area/transportation/walk/
downloads/rogers.pdf

The walk zone runs roughly from 95th St north up to 125th St, and between Sand Point Way and Lake City Way.

The map link above for John Rogers is dated Aug 2008.

Does anyone know if walk zones and/or other transportation policies have been changed (other than bell/bus times?). If not, then families should certainly be entitled to transportation if they live within the NE cluster and were assigned to John Rogers or Jane Addams instead of their reference area school (provided they live outside of the walk zones for these schools).

anonymous said...

I find it frustrating that Eckstein is reducing capacity at a time when capacity in the NE is at an all time peek, when they have a 136 kid 6th grade waitlist, and the year before the new assignment plan takes effect. Shouldn't they wait for the new assingment plan next year so they can see the larger picture before reducing their capacity?

In 2006/07 Eckstein accepted 449 students for 6th grade, for 2009/10 they accepted 372. That's 77 fewer students.

Meanwhile their 6th grade waitlist has almost tripled since 2005/06. In 05/06 there were 48 students on the waitlist, today there are 136.

Why are they reducing capacity now???

They can't force families into Addams as it is not a comprehensive MS so they can't do mandatory assignments there. Hamilton is full, so not much wiggle room there either.And we have a huge bubble of k/1/2 students that will be rising to MS in a couple of years, where are they going to go??????

It just doesn't make sense for Eckstein to reduce capacity right now???

momster said...

lak367, every time i hear someone talking about someone far away getting into eckstein, it turns out to be someone in spectrum, which is lottery, not distance.

also, the computer systems calculate distance as the crow flies, which people can't generally calculate for themselves (mapquest and google maps calculate driving distance) - i supposed if you lived at the far northeast edge of wallingford, you might be closer to eckstein (as the crow flies) than the 1.9 miles that adhoc in lake city is.

hschinske said...

My kids had multiplication drills several years in a row. I wouldn't say the drilling was terribly effective (even with home supplementation), but it certainly occurred, and may have had a cumulative effect, dunno.

Like me, all three of them seemed to develop competency with their tables after getting to the point of having harder problems that required fluency, rather than before. I still think that Mad Minutes and such are somewhat counterproductive, but maybe they work for some people. The difficulty is that some students may seem to be merely slow on learning facts, but actually behind on developing real number sense, which is a much more serious problem.

Spectrum seats at Eckstein do go by distance: years ago a number of Spectrum-qualified students used to get in from Greenwood and the eastern side of Ballard (a few kids from Whittier always went there), but the line's moved further east since then, I believe. It was never far enough west for my kids to have a chance.

Helen Schinske

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the clarification about middle school Spectrum. And I have to laugh - I know they do distance "as the crow flies" but our chidren are not transported to school by crows! They take buses or cars, which travel on roads, so if you're trying to save transportation costs, maybe distance should be tied to the actual commute time or carbon footprint. Or maybe the district will hire flying monkeys to save money next year. It would make about as much sense as some of the stuff that goes on.

It's only my first year in the school system, but it's completely exasperating. I guess I'm naive, but I'd like to think that all of the schools offer a quality education and can meet the needs of its diverse population. If my child is an advanced learner, why can't her needs be met where she is? Instead, at the elementary level, I have to consider not only which school to choose, but which Spectrum model (all day inclusion at Wedgwood? Pull out for certain classes at View Ridge?). Then I have to hope I can actually get a spot. It will all be different when we reach middle and high school, but I find it amazing that different courses and programs are offered at different schools, and your child's education is based on the whims of an antiquated computer program.

I guess I'm looking now at the special ed changes that are coming. Parents (and perhaps the audit?) said they don't want a program-based system anymore. They don't want their kids bused to this school or that school, but rather the district should have to meet their needs at their neighborhood school level. Well, I honestly feel the same way about all our kids. Each school should be able to meets its community's needs, then we wouldn't have folks from Wallingford and Lake City "fighting" for access to the most popular school.

Ugh. Sorry for the rant. Time to step away from the computer and go out and play!

Kat said...

Ugh. I was living in a fairytale world, in which once we got settled in kindergarten the rest would be easier. Now I hear that Eckstein may be a problem? Oy.

We're less than a half mile from Eckstein, hopefully for once our location will help.

I guess you all are stuck with me visiting this blog for at least, what? 5 or 6 more years??

momster said...

helen - re spectrum tiebreakers - the only distance in the equation is related to "middle school region" - which comprises specific elementary school reference areas.

the tie breakers listed in the 2009-10 enrollment guide for spectrum are:

(1) Siblings
(2) Middle School Region
(3) Special Program Preference* for
students at closed schools
(4) Lottery

for eckstein, the middle school region is "northeast" and comprises 13 elementary reference areas, including stanford international.

not necessarily for you, but for others reading who might be wondering - if two students apply for the same spectrum seat and they're both in the region, it doesn't matter which one lives closer - it's lottery that decides.

thus you get spectrum kids at eckstein from elementary reference areas you'll never see general ed kids from (unless they have siblings/have recently moved/etc).

it's hard to believe they'd change the tiebreaker order over the years since the times you're talking about - though they may have - including the definition of the "regions"

SolvayGirl said...

Thanks to lak367 for this hilarious take on the insanity:

"And I have to laugh - I know they do distance "as the crow flies" but our chidren are not transported to school by crows! They take buses or cars, which travel on roads, so if you're trying to save transportation costs, maybe distance should be tied to the actual commute time or carbon footprint. Or maybe the district will hire flying monkeys to save money next year. It would make about as much sense as some of the stuff that goes on."

WF: exploma (the degree of high schoolers will get when the Discover Math hits the fan?)

h2o girl said...

SovayGirl, to answer your question, my daughter had three years of muliplication drills at Whittier.

Would you mind sharing where your daughter will be going to high school? I remember you were looking hard at the Center School (which is where I'd love for my current 6th grader to go) but I fear it will be closed by the time she's a freshman.

WV: uslyst - an adjective for Discovering Algebra?

SolvayGirl said...

H2O...It looks like the elementaries got better about multiplication; it's been a while since we were there.

As for high school, we opted for private. We still liked TCS a lot, but between Discovery Math, the outside chance of future closure and the probability that Dr G-J will dismantle or dilute most of the alternatives, we just weren't willing to gamble our daughter's 4 years of high school.

She was accepted at 3 schools (Holy Names, Seattle Prep and The Northwest School). We qualified for aid and have generous grandparents to help us; she is our only. We live simply. We opted for NWS; it's the perfect fit for her and our family. We believe she will continue to blossom and thrive as she did at Explorer West Middle School.

We gave SPS 8 years as dedicated parents who did a great deal for the school. We still support public education, hence my interest in all that is happening. I want the District to have schools that would make all of Seattle's private school families abandon them. But I've already seen how little affect I have as an individual against the insanity that is this District. My child needs more than she can get at the public schools we could get into—it's as simple as that.

SolvayGirl said...

I wrote: "I want the District to have schools that would make all of Seattle's private school families abandon them. " BADLY...

Of course, I mean I'd want the SPS schools to be so good that the privates would close-up shop. :-)

Robert said...

Multiplication at Lowell APP happened a in the 2nd yr and ended a month ago and happened at home. I believe that was it.

Google maps calculates direct distances... My Maps and then distance tool.

I would think that with all this concern on assignments that certain placements would be great. I fear that arbitrary placements with non-equal support to schools (new assignment plan) will harvest the same heart break.

anonymous said...

Multiplication tables were taught in elementary school, even drilled a bit, but neither of my kids ever mastered their times tables in elementary. Once my older son went on to higher level math he mastered them just by virtue of the fact that he had to use them routinely. And, now in 5th grade, my younger son has mastered his times table. Honestly, I haven't found EDM all that bad. It's a heck of a lot better than Turk which is what my older sons school used in elementary. That was truly awful.

momster said...

Robert - brilliant - thank you for the google maps tip - i never knew that was there.

it took me a while, but i finally figured out it's 'my maps', 'featured content', 'distance measuring tool' - and you left click to mark the two points you're measuring the distance between.

to others' points about why 'as the crow flies' is ridiculous - i think they probably chose it because there is only one 'as the crow flies - straight line is the shortest distance between two points' while there are many road-ways to get from one place to another - so it makes the latter the fairer and and more defensible method.

momster said...

ps - re the distance between wallingford and eckstein - if you pick an address like 50th st and 4th ave ne (which i'm pretty sure would be considered wallingford - just at the ne edge), the distance atcf is 1.86 miles (vs adhoc's 1.9 miles between lake city and eckstein) - and so would be a case where a wallingford student makes it in and a lake city student does not.

my guess is the difference between a general ed student who makes it and one who doesn't is tenths of miles if not less.

not to say it should be this arcane an algorithm to figure out where your child is going to school.

thanks again for the atcf distance calculator, robert

Kat said...

Just to respond to the poster asking if anyone out of walking range did not get transportation to John Roberts:

While we DID get transportation, I just saw an email from another Bryant family that did NOT get bussing. I don't know how you can be in the Bryant reference area and be considered "walking distance" to JR, but there you go.

anonymous said...

Very interesting. I had calculated our distance from the school based on a driving route on mapquest. When I used the google maps feature and calculated the distance "as the crow flies" we are 1.67 miles from Eckstein. My son is 4th on the WL, so I guess 1.67 miles was the cut off for gen ed students this year.

Kat said...

I have to correct my last comment after re-reading the note that I referenced. Bryant was her first choice, but not necessarily her reference school...I misread in haste!

Melissa Westbrook said...

I concur with Solvay; there's enough good elementaries. Save your private schools dollars (if necessary) for middle and high school.

Reducing Eckstein. Look, we have Superintendent Olchefske to thank for overstuffing it in the first place. I also remember one indignant mom telling me that when she when to Eckstein in the '70s, it had 2,000 kids (which I'm not sure I believe). The point is sure, you can keep stuffing them in. BUT no matter how big it gets, it still gets funded as a middle school. Doesn't matter if it is bigger than about 5 of the high schools. You can certainly do more with less and stretch already shrinking resources but to what end? To have a good program slowly get worse? The Eckstein staff is good but not that good. No one can be. Whitman slowly pulled back on their enrollment and now Eckstein is. The timing may seem off but what kind of school will it be if it is overenrolled? It is also disrespectful to other communities that there are some schools that are allowed to be artificially LOW while others are expected to overenroll.

My sons' 5th grade teacher at Whittier made every single student know the multiplication tables up to 12 before they left her classroom. She had parents test and if a kid missed even one, you stopped for the day and they had to try again. (Only the tables they hadn't completed.) I felt like it really served my boys well.

anonymous said...

"The timing may seem off but what kind of school will it be if it is overenrolled? "

That's my point Melissa....the timing is off. I don't want to see Eckstein over crowded any more than anyone else. But, they have been accepting 430-449 students at 6th grade for many many years. Why stop now, the the year before the new assignment plan comes out? Why stop the same year that Hamilton begins housing the APP cohort, and is full with a waitlist? And, Addams?? You can't assign kids there so it isn't much help with neighborhood capacity either. The entire middle school is only 100 kids large. It will serve LESS students than Summit did. Capacity in the NE is at an all time high. Families that live within walking distance of Eckstein are not getting in. It hardly seems right to cut capacity right now without a larger plan.

it would be prudent to wait until next year to reduce capacity. The new assignment plan will be in effect, and every kid in every neighborhood will have a predictable assignment to a comprehensive middle school. They will move with their school mates and neighborhood friends.

This year the kids are all being torn apart, and split up. I'm not disgruntled about my son not getting in to Eckstein, and am optimistic that Addams will work just fine for him. I am however very disappointed and saddened for him because he is being torn apart from all of his elementary school friends and most of his neighborhood friends. And that sucks when you are 12. I have dealt with his tears every day this week.



I really think Eckstein should wait until next year, with the new assingment plan, and as part of a larger plan, to cut back.

momster said...

adhoc, they didn't stop accepting 430-449 students "now" - they accepted ~410 in 2007 and ~370 in 2008.

if anything, it seems like a rational transition.

eckstein is too large, and enrolling another 430-450 6th graders would not only have exacerbated that problem, it would have probably lengthened the sibling grandfather "tail" that will delay the full realization of the new plan - more students = more siblings = longer grandfather effect.

StepJ said...

Just a point of clarification.

At current there is no grandfathering of siblings in the new plan.

The tail is chopped off so to speak.

momster said...

stepj - you are absolutely right!

i think even the priority given to siblings for choice seats won't be affected by 2009-10 enrollment because (as i understand it) there will be relatively fixed number of choice seats "available after assignment of attendance area students"

thanks

StepJ said...

Thanks Momster. ;-)

Right now -- but it keeps changing pretty quickly -- there will be choice seats set aside for High School.

There will only be choice seats open at the elementary and middle school levels if there is any space left after the enrollment of the assignment area kids.

I live in the NE and there was enrollment well beyond estimates for this year and last -- and how many more years to come? As all schools are full and enrollment is beyond capacity I'm not seeing Choice seats open at the lower levels in the crowded areas of the city. :-(

Stu said...

The funny thing is that three years ago, when they were trying to close schools the first time, the district put Sacajawea on the chopping block because they were predicting there would be less demand for seats in the northeast cluster. Raj, wisely, vetoed it at the last second. Too bad he wasn't still around to keep TT Minor open; they're going to need that space in a few years too.

stu

Melissa Westbrook said...

I am planning a post on the Assignment plan as it has been tweaked but that involves a lot of cross-referencing posts from other threads as well as checking in with Tracy Libros on a few items.

One thing; I'm fairly sure there will be no choice seats for elementary or middle school. If the school is overenrolled, then the tiebreakers will kick in but it's not the same thing as set-aside seats for a lottery (as I think I understand that for high school).

Also, you could have sibs grandfathered in IF you were at the attendance area school your area is assignment. So if you have a child already in, get one in this year, that sib would stay in with your first child if they are in the attendance area school.

StepJ said...

Thanks for pointing that out Melissa.

Yes, at current if you have children already enrolled at whatever level they can stay at the school through the highest grade the school offers.

Personal - we live in the Bryant reference area and received assignment to Laurelhurst half day K. As Bryant, Wedgwood, Thornton Creek, Greenlake and View Ridge are all closer to us than Laurelhurst I don't imagine LH will be our new assignment area school.

Younger brother will enter K in a few years and I suspect our new assignment area school will be Bryant or Wedgwood? (As they are the two closest.) He would get an assignment there. I do doubt there will be open choice seats to have him join his sisters at LH. As nothing like Sibling Preference in the new plan we will have to decide on two separate schools, move to the Laurelhurst assignment area, or move the girls from LH to new assignment area school.

For areas with enough room I think the new assignment plan will do great things to move monies to the classroom. For areas that are overcrowded (as currently written) it may prove to be a logistical nightmare for families.

Melissa, I keep checking for your post on the board workshop that took place. I came late and did not hear the discussion about the Implementation phase. I would like to hear what, if any, questions the board members asked about this phase.

momster said...

melissa and stepj - when i said more 6th graders at eckstein would mean more siblings to grandfather, i was talking about siblings not yet in the school (and was wrong - because no grandfathering, per se).

melissa, you're probably right about no choice, per se, but won't they draw the boundary areas such that there will be some room for students outside the attendance area (yet also cognizant of future k-12 population projections), if only to comply with what is now in the draft as:

"The phased implementation plan will specify transition procedures so entry grade siblings and older siblings have the opportunity to be assigned to the same school if requested. This does not assure assignment of the entry grade sibling to the older sibling's current school."

"if the parent/guardian indicates that the priority is to have the siblings attend the same school and space is not available at the older sibling's current school (or for both siblings at any of the other schools requested), the siblings will all be assigned to the new attendance area school."

if there are a lot of kids currently in "out of reference area" schools, won't they have to do things that basically provide space for them in both schools? i.e., draw the boundaries wide enough so they could be assigned to their attendance area school, yet provide space in current school should they choose to be grandfathered?

though the same draft also says, "Current students are not guaranteed assignment to their new attendance area school initially - the shift to automatic assignment to attendance area schools will be determined by the implementation plan".

note - i went to the work session and did not hear anything about implementation - the section of the agenda that said "timeline and next steps" just referred to the intro and action board meetings (6/3 and 6/17), the public hearing in between (6/10) - and perhaps most interesting, the work session on boundary planning 6/24)

momster said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
WendyJ said...

We received our letter Thursday that our current 2nd grader who attends John Rogers was assigned to Wedgwood. We received a letter on Saturday that our current Kindergarten student, also at Rogers is still at Rogers and 4th on Wedgwood wait list. We live .2 miles from Wedgwood. We moved here 13 months ago and our oldest finished her first grade year at Wedgwood, but was "kicked out" for 2nd grade. We are glad she is back, but upset her sister didn't get in. The principal said they are keeping all current students. 4- first and second grade classrooms. I thought she'd get in with those odds, but we have decided to appeal. I cannot be in 2 places at the same time. I have 2 younger children as well, and I pray I don't end up with 4 kids in 4 schools. I'm sure SPS would say that is unlikely, but they would never guarantee that either.

Anonymous said...

Wendy, I think people have moved on to other threads or else your note would be getting a lot more attention.

This is one of the most outrageous stories that I've heard this year. First, though, I don't understand why your oldest couldn't stay at Wedgwood once started there. Does that have something to do with moving to the area mid-year? That alone doesn't make sense.

And I thought they had a place on the forms now to indicate a preference for siblings to stay together. Last year, a set of twins was assigned to 2 different schools for Kindergarten, and there was much activism to make sure that siblings could be assigned together. I didn't think the fix just applied to twins but to all siblings.

Definitely appeal. Call the board members who cover those schools. Perhaps even call the media and get your story in the paper. Make enough noise and they may eventually do something to ease the burden on everyone up here in the NE.

Elizabeth W said...

on 5/27/09 at 9:49 AM lak367 said...

I don't understand why your oldest couldn't stay at Wedgwood once started there. Does that have something to do with moving to the area mid-year? That alone doesn't make sense.
...

I believe this can happen if you move into the school district after the class sizes for the next year have been set and the seats have been allocated.

It may not make sense but it is a logical consequence of being over capacity coupled with the need to precisely specify who has enrollment priority over another.

Most of us would say, "Well, obviously they should fix the problem by allowing one extra kid in the class." No enrollment director worth having would fiddle the arrangements thus without the explicit power to do so being included in the board-approved plan. To do otherwise is to risk charges of unfairness, whispers about graft, threatened lawsuits, and the loss of a job, not to mention lots of whining from the other parents because classes are too crowded.

Stu said...

Except that you're dealing with children here. Put aside the parents, the educators, the administrators, the board, the superintendent, the government . . . the effect these decisions are having on some of these kids is devastating

I know that some people say that the kids are tough and we'll get through; that might be true but "they'll get through it" and "suck it up" shouldn't be policy, it should be the exception to the rule. There's safety in the familiar, especially for younger kids, and the friendships/bonds that are established at an early age help guide development. If you keep moving a child around, keep changing his building, teachers, friends, surroundings, what are you teaching him about responsibility, reliability, predictability, and just plain common sense and compassion?

Rules ARE rules. However, once a child's in a school, that child should be allowed to stay. Once a family has committed to a program, that family should be able to keep their kids together. (Of course, that's assuming the building/program isn't drastically changed.)

There are, obviously, specifics to every case . . . perhaps a form was filled out wrong, perhaps a first choice and second choice lined up for siblings differently. The overall principle remains the same; the kids need some stability and predictability and this district is offering neither.

stu

Elizabeth W said...

on 5/27/09 at 10:49 AM Stu said...

Except that you're dealing with children here....

I think Seattle's children deserve the best, as do its parents, teachers, and district employees. My bias is that I want to focus on the best achievable, practical solution. That solution should be informed by idealistic notions of perfection, but not expected to meet them from day one.


I don't think we should roll over and accept a bad assignment like this. My point is that this needs to be solved with policy decisions made and published ahead of time. That's an uncomfortable, political fact, but it is the most effective and prudent way to do it.

Writing these policies happens to be a lot more difficult to specify than simply throwing terms like "common sense" and "unfair" around, which is, alas, at least 90% of what you'll hear on the subject from "concerned parents".

I wish we were seeing more leadership from the Enrollment Department on this issue. I wish they were working to educate parents and the board about the sticky points of assignment algorithms and policies. That would allow for a much better understanding of where the deficiencies and failures of the new system will be.

My best case scenario is not that the process works flawlessly. My best case is that every year or two only one new, unanticipated failure crops up, and the Enrollment Department, Superintendent, and Board work together, with input from parents, to specify and implement a fair solution by the next year.

We know this hasn't happened in the past. The "twins issue" sat unaddressed for a long, long time. There's little excuse for the district's decision to ignore it. However, once the public pressure to solve it contained a substantial rational discourse component, a decent solution was implemented.